TACKLING SPEEDING ON THE ROADS OF SUTTON SOUTH

20mph on lampost sign
Since we were elected as Councillors for Sutton South Ward we have been concerned about speeding in the Ward. Following the speeding survey we promoted in 2011 new traffic islands in Cavendish Road have had an impact on the speed of vehicles using the road. The new zebra crossing with the re-distribution of parking bays along the road – so there is more parking along the road, which generally does slow the speed of traffic – in Cedar Road (between Brighton Road and Langley Park Road) has had some impact on speeds there.
We have also sought to deal with the specific problem of the speed of vehicles approaching the right turn from The Ridgway into Chalgrove Road with better signage on the road and on lamp-posts as your approach the bend.
A proposal now under consideration and discussed by the local committee on May 25 concerns the area of the Ward west of Brighton Road. If fully implemented this would introduce a 20 mile per hour limit in the area east of Overton Road (including Overton Road) as far as the Sutton to Belmont railway line, so including these parts of Worcester Road, Grange Road, Camborne Road and Stanley Road. There would be signage to indicate the speed limit and some raised junctions, and road humps, where roads crossed. This follows a speeding survey indicating some vehicles travel too fast along these roads. There will, of course, be extensive consultation with residents before such a proposal is implemented and, given current funding restrictions and other priorities, action on this proposal – which is a proposal for Transport for London funding – cannot be guaranteed even if supported in consultation.
We would welcome any reactions, particularly from residents who live in the area.
We have also previously floated, in the list of bids to Transport for London, consultation of residents on the inclusion of Christchurch Park in the Sutton South 20mph speed limit area.

CONSIDERATIONS RELATING TO BUSES IN SUTTON SOUTH

 

bus

Councillor Whitehead, the Chair of Sutton Council’s Environment and Neighbourhoods Committee, and Sutton Council officers will be meeting with TfL London Buses in the New Year to discuss how bus services can be tailored to meet future development proposals in the borough. It will also provide an opportunity to raise any issues related to any shortcomings with existing services. A similar meeting was held earlier in 2016.

This is an opportunity to set out views on any changes we would like to see made to services in the area, including changes to frequencies or the duration of services, or route diversions/extensions to provide missing connections.

Officers will consider how this information is presented to TfL. However, the final decision on any such changes rests with TfL and there will be limited resources available.

Local residents in Sutton South Ward have raised with us the following concerns:

Route frequency – although residents have commented that on some routes, such as route 80, frequency and reliability is good, bus 470 is seen as too infrequent, being only about every half hour.

Similarly, route S4 could be more frequent.

A further difficulty with the 470 is that it does not run on a Sunday so our suggestions for the 470 are to increase the frequency from once every half an hour, run it on Sundays and (see below) extend it to Epsom hospital.

The X26 bus to Heathrow is used by many and the increased frequency of the X26 is welcome, but the buses have difficulty in keeping to the timetable, perhaps because of the length of the route. Some residents say they would not use it if travelling to Heathrow to catch a plane as it is not 100% reliable. There may thus be a case for increasing the frequency further.

Route length – could the 470 go to Epsom hospital rather than Epsom market as there are residents who use it to go to the hospital?

On route 151, the frequency and reliability is generally good but the service could be improved if some rush hour buses turned round at North Cheam, bearing in mind that the 213 duplicates the 151 onwards to Worcester Park.

Timetabling – it is noted that the 80 and 280 buses running northwards along Brighton Road frequently arrive at the same time. Could the timetabling be looked at?

A resident made the following comment on the S1 timetable information.

“We use the S1 service quite a lot, and really appreciate it, especially when the frequency increased to every 15 minutes a while ago.  However in the latest timetable adjustments it is not scheduled for the same minutes past every hour, as it used to be outside peak times, so is not so easy to use.

Unfortunately this also coincided with TfL rearranging the timetable information on their website.  It is still easy to look up when a particular bus is due, but it used to be easy to print out a complete timetable for the service, on one side of A4 for each direction.  Now the timetable information gives the times of buses for the one particular stop you select, and it is 3 pages of printing for each stop. For example if I were to print the times from my local stop to Sutton or St Helier and to Banstead, and back again from those three,  I would have 15 (sparsely used) pages.

For many people who use the service, and cannot or do not wish to be constantly looking it up on phones, it would be much simpler if there were the option of printing one complete timetable.”

Passenger information – it was pointed out that the two bus stops in Mulgrave Road close to Sutton station do not include digital displays on bus arrival information. Although there are other ways of getting this information, on your mobile phone, not all passengers have the skill to get this.

A review of the information arrangements was suggested for some routes. On route 164, at some stops the bus is recorded as a minute away or due but it does not turn up for six or seven minutes.

Other matters – There was some comment on arrangements at Sutton station. A resident suggested that congestion in Mulgrave Roadcould be alleviated by moving the taxi rank. It would be possible to move it to The Quadrant now the side entrance to the station is open, but this would probably be unpopular with the taxi drivers and railway passengers, and was not a proposal pursued under the Sutton Gateway project. A resident also commented that this part of Mulgrave Road has on occasions been briefly flooded during very heavy downpours. I have asked Council engineers to investigate.

A summary of these comments, by bus route, is:

470 – increase the frequency from once every half an hour, run it on Sundays and extend it to Epsom hospital

151 – the service could be improved if some rush hour buses turned round at North Cheam, bearing in mind that the 213 duplicates the 151 onwards to Worcester Park

80 and 280 – buses running northwards along Brighton Road frequently arrive at the same time so review the timetabling

164 – review the information arrangements as at some stops the bus is recorded as a minute away or due but it does not turn up for six or seven minutes

S1 – review the way the timetable is set out on the website

S4 – review the frequency.

It should be noted that while this summary is focussed on suggesting improvements, many residents have commented to us in favourable terms on the frequency and reliability of local bus services.

I have put this digest of views forward to officers for consideration. Any decision rests, of course, with Transport for London.

TRISH LEADS THE FIGHT FOR A BETTER TRAIN SERVICE

R and T at station smallMany of our residents commute to London by train, and the combination of good schools, low crime, a green and leafy borough and proximity to local railway stations is what attracts many London commuters to Sutton South Ward.

For this reason we are concerned at the reports we get from many residents that the train service is not adequate. Both of us have, at times, been commuters into central London and we know the frustrations. In September Trish made an impassioned speech to Sutton Council on the problems residents have experienced, quoting the stories residents have shared with us of cancelled services and broken down trains. The Council called on the Government to review the franchise of Southern Railway and Govia, and implement stringent penalties for failure to deliver an adequate service.

Since Richard was elected he has fought successful campaigns to save the Thameslink service and to get the side entrance to Sutton station open. We are now campaigning to get Network Rail to increase the capacity of the station car park. We want to monitor the performance of the railway so please continue to contact us with your thoughts and experiences.

tunnel train

PROGRESS ON TRAFFIC AND PARKING SCHEMES IN THE WARD

 

The extended yellow lines at the bottom of Downside Road

The extended yellow lines at the bottom of Downside Road

There is further progress on the traffic and parking schemes under consideration for the Ward to report following the meeting of the South Sutton, Cheam and Belmont Local Committee held on 8 September 2016 and the discussion at the Environment and Neighbourhoods Committee on 15 September of a global strategy for parking. To ensure a consistent approach throughout the Borough, all local schemes will be drawn into a central strategy and progressed on the basis of an assessment of priorities.

An ambitious scheme for the introduction of a 20mph scheme across most of the area of Sutton South Ward west of the Sutton to Belmont railway line has now been included in the “Local Implementation Plan” prepared by Transport for London. This was the subject of proposals put to the local committee in 2015. However, it is on the “reserve list” which means that implementation in the near future is most unlikely.

A parking scheme for the newly-named Berridge Close is agreed, implementation to coincide with the opening of the adjacent Subsea7 building, as this will lead to more intensive use of the road by those working in the building and accessing the underground car park. Obstructive parking in Berridge Close could lead to problems when the building is occupied, so needs to be avoided. It is proposed that the road will be included in the controlled parking zone with four parking bays in the road, reserved for residents with parking permits. Completion of the building is unlikely before December.

Traffic and parking schemes were the subject of a session at the December 2015 meeting of the South Sutton, Cheam and Belmont Local Committee, when residents noted down parking and traffic problems. A list of the proposals raised by residents was reported back to the local committee meeting on 10 March.

In relation to our own area, the proposals fell into three main categories.

First, concerns about intensive and sometimes obstructive parking in Mayfield Road and roads nearby (The Ridgway, Chalgrove Road, Upland Road).

Second, concerns about visibility at the Farm Road / The Ridgway junction.

Third, a set of other concerns, mostly about speeding at various locations.

This listing will form the agenda for further work by the traffic department within a wider cross-Borough study, which is centrally managed by the Council. A number of minor, initial proposals were agreed on 10 March, including to restrict parking at the Prior Avenue / Banstead Road junction due to visibility issues.

The question of a parking control scheme in Mayfield Road and the surrounding area was the subject of a consultation exercise by local Councillors last year which showed support in Mayfield Road but not adjacent roads. On 10 March the local committee agreed to devote some of its public realm funds to fund the traffic department to “kick start” a study of potential for parking controls in this area. A discussion between traffic engineers and Ward Councillors to consider this study was held on 8 June in Mayfield Road. The traffic engineers will design a parking control scheme for consultation. The precise parameters of this scheme and the consultation have yet to be finalised. Consultation with residents is due to begin in January 2017.

Some residents of Audley Place have commented to us that there is difficulty when driving out of Audley Place in seeing vehicles coming down Camborne Road, if cars are parked close to the corner. We raised this issue with traffic engineers and the Council is proposing a small extension of the yellow lines on each side at the exit from Audley Place. We think this will do the trick in terms of making it easier, and safer, to drive out into Camborne Road.

Residents of Tapestry Close have complained to us about obstructive parking in the Close. We raised this issue with traffic engineers and a scheme of yellow lining was proposed. Further consultation with residents, required by law, found some residents objecting and this scheme is currently on hold.

Several schemes consulted on some time ago have now been implemented, including yellow lining at the bottom of Downside Road to deal with obstructive parking (see photo above) and switching some “pay and display” bays to “dual use” so residents with parking permits can use them, in Grange Road and Langley Park Road.

COUNCIL OPPOSES THREATENED CLOSURE OF SUTTON STATION TICKET OFFICE

R and T at station small

Southern have been consulting on certain changes to Sutton station that will involve the closure of the ticket office. The details are on their website at

www.southernrailway.com/your-journey/station-information/changes-to-the-opening-hours-of-ticket-offices

Richard and Trish have helped draft the response from the Council, opposing this change. The following is an extract from the lengthy and considered Council response.

“The Council strongly objects to the proposed closure of Sutton ticket office. Sutton is the 6 th busiest station on the Southern network and 7th busiest in south London, having almost 7 million passenger entries and exits per annum. The Council has major growth plans for Sutton, a Metropolitan town centre, in terms of housing and employment, which will result in a significant increase in station usage over the next decade. The Council has also recently completed the Station Gateway scheme at Sutton, which made some significant improvements to area outside the station, as well as opening the side entrance. The ticket office at Sutton is well used most of the time and there is often a queue. We consider that the ticket office at Sutton should remain open during the peak times at least, and this should include the busy periods at weekends when there are a considerable number of leisure and infrequent passengers who do not have smartcards and may need advice or help. Outside peak times sufficient staff should be available on the concourse to sell tickets and assist passengers with the machines. As the station concourse in front of the ticket barriers at Sutton is quite small and congested we would suggest having a station host desk or podium in the existing ticket hall with a formal queuing system as for the ticket office. Many stations in your “Model 3″ outside London have much lower usage than Sutton yet are to retain their ticket office, and we consider it is important that this major London Metropolitan town centre should retain a ticket office facility.”

We have reproduced below some of the key points made by Southern, taken from their website. Most residents use the train service from Sutton station from time to time and those we have discussed this issue with support our view that this is a proposal we should object to.

CHANGES AT SUTTON STATION

Southern point out that the majority of customers use ticket machines rather than the ticket office. They propose to establish a “station hosting point” with the staff available on the concourse, able to sell the full range of tickets from first to last train. They propose to move staff onto the concourse as ‘Station Hosts’

The website states that Station Hosts will be:

  • visible and available from first service until the last, which is longer than current ticket office hours
  • trained in customer service
  • able to sell tickets and provide information using a new handheld device
  • helping passengers use the ticket machines

Sutton station will have a Host on duty at specified times, Monday to Friday 5.25 to 23.00, Saturday 6.25 to 23.00, Sunday 7.00 to 23.00, these being in excess of the current ticket office hours as the ticket office closes at 9pm. The Host will provide assistance with ticket purchases, information provision and assisted travel. The Host will have a hand held ticketing system that will enable them to provide tickets that are not available from the self-service machines.

The Ticket Office will close. The primary point for purchasing tickets on the station will be from the self-service machines or from the Station Host. In the event that a ticket type is not available through these machines then the Host will have access to a ticket office machine within the concourse area to enable those ticket types to be issued.

Southern State “At some of our stations we know that our ticket offices sell fewer than 12 tickets per hour and the vast majority of customers don’t use the ticket offices on a daily basis. At these stations, we want our staff to become more available for all users of the station and ensure there is a visible presence on our station concourses where they can help customers with all of their queries, provide information, offer assistance and have the ability to sell tickets when needed.

At some of our busier stations, we want to relocate the ticket selling equipment to a station hosting point so the staff are available on the concourse, able to sell the full range of tickets but for longer times than today.

We believe that this will provide an improved customer experience, with all the affected stations being staffed from the very first to last train, 7 days a week. Facilities such as waiting rooms will be open for longer and Station Hosts will be available answering customer queries, providing advice and assisting with ticket purchases.”

 

A NEW LOCAL PLAN FOR SUTTON

devonshire google

On 18 February Richard and Trish attended the launch event for the consultation exercise on the new local plan for Sutton, held in the Europa Gallery in Sutton’s central library. They were both members of the small task group that drafted the main document being consulted on.

The consultation encompasses three documents:

  • The local plan “Issues and Preferred Options” document, to which Trish and Richard contributed, which revises the Sutton local plan last adopted in 2012
  • The draft Masterplan for Sutton Town Centre
  • The draft Masterplan for the London Cancer Hub, the area previously known as the Sutton hospital site, where the proposals include expansion of the world-renowned Institute of Cancer Research and a proposed new secondary school to cater for the expansion in the number of children in Sutton seeking secondary school places.

The plan aims to preserve the green, suburban feel of Sutton which our residents so like, with our many street trees, while meeting the aspiration to have enough homes in Sutton for our children to grow up here. In planning for new homes, there will be an emphasis on preserving the more suburban areas of the borough, and insisting on good quality design.

The plan takes account of the need to meet the increasing number of children the Borough has to find school places for, while not compromising on the excellent standard of Sutton schools. The plan looks at transport links, and preserves the route of the proposed Tramlink, for which we are seeking funding. The plan is being consulted on and we hope many residents will respond. Following the consultation, further documents will be prepared later in the year, and there will be further consultation. The weblink address to respond to the consultation is

www.sutton.gov.uk/sutton2031

“GATEWAY” PROJECT COMES IN ON BUDGET

The old side entrance - shuttered and barricaded

The old side entrance – shuttered and barricaded

The New Entrance - open all day every day

The New Entrance

The £1.2 million Sutton Gateway project – largely financed by Transport for London – has come in £8 000 within budget, a remarkable degree of accuracy.

The main success for Sutton South Ward residents, in particular those who commute to central London, is the opening of the side entrance to Sutton station. The side entrance is now open from 6am to 11pm seven days a week. The cycle racks next to the side entrance have been improved and the number of racks doubled.

The project further developed the area around Sutton station with:

– newly planted trees to improve the look of the area

– more lighting and CCTV cameras to make the area safer

– extra cycling facilities, with new bike racks and shelters

– the town centre clock

– a re-arrangement of the bus stops to reduce congestion

– re-design of the Cedar Road / Brighton Road junction to improve visibility for motorists

– after 6.30 some taxis can park immediately opposite the station, with the bus stop previously opposite the station moved further down Brighton Road to ease congestion of buses at peak times

– the timing of the pedestrian crossing at the High Street / Grove Road / Sutton Court Road junction has been amended to give more time to cross

– the number of parking spaces in the station area has been increased

– general improvements in design and to the “public realm” around the station, with more flowers, more colour and better signage

– new “legible London” signs based on this design, still to be installed.

legible london sign

These changes are largely funded by grants the Council has obtained, not local Council tax payers.

The results of the earlier consultation exercise on the Gateway Project indicated general support for the scheme, but we were able to make a number of changes to respond to specific issues raised. In our Ward, a particular concern for the businesses was the need for a loading bay on Regents Parade just south of the station. We successfully lobbied for this to be incorporated into the scheme.

The improvements attributable to the Gateway project are complemented by the installation of the new zebra crossing in Cedar Road, which was not part of the project.

SLOW DOWN IN THE RIDGWAY

bend

At the south end of The Ridgway, in our Ward, there is a sharp right hand bend into Chalgrove Road. Richard has lived in The Ridgway for 26 years and Trish lived in the road for a while before moving to Langley Park Road, also in the Ward. Richard comments that the bend has not, over the years, generally caused a problem, but twice in the last 14 months motorists have failed to make the turn and crashed through the fence of 1 Chalgrove Road.

Richard has got two signs put up on lamp posts in The Ridgway, as you approach the turn and a “slow” marking in the road. Let us hope there are no further incidents.

slow in road

IS THE TRAIN SERVICE DETERIORATING ?

tunnel train

Many Sutton South residents commute into London for work so the quality of the train service is vital to us.

Work continues to improve Sutton station, with the new side entrance now
to be opened for longer hours and the Sutton Gateway project improving the
look of the front of the station. But residents in Sutton South Ward who
commute into London tell us that the quality of the train service has deteriorated in the past 6 months. Just two years ago our campaign to
preserve the Thameslink route from Sutton through to north London was
successful, but now the quality of service
has fallen. Paul Burstow, Trish and Richard have started a new campaign to fight for better rail services. We have been handing out surveys at Sutton train station to get residents’ views. If you have an experience to share, get in touch – specific examples will help the campaign

SIDE ENTRANCE TO THE STATION OPEN

best statiion small

 

Here is Councillor Simon Wales, chair of the Sutton Gateway Project Board (on which Richard represents Sutton South), cutting the ribbon to open the side entrance on 26 September.

simon at station

And, below, this is what it used to looks like – shuttered and barricaded.

side entrance

Work is completed and the new side entrance to Sutton station is open. Hooray.

A further meeting of the project board guiding the Sutton Gateway project, a board on which Richard represents Sutton South Ward, heard on 25 September that good progress is being made with the scheme.

The most important news is that the building work on the side entrance is completed enabling the passageway from The Quadrant to be restored and the side entrance to be opened for passenger use. The side entrance is open from 7am to 7pm.The cycle racks next to the newly opened side entrance have been improved.

Work at the front of the station commenced in September and will be completed by March 2015, but with no work over the Christmas period to avoid any inconvenience to shoppers. Some of the work will involve traffic diversions.

The project’s proposals to further develop the area around Sutton station include:

– refitted shop fronts, new paving and newly planted trees to improve the look of the area

– more lighting and CCTV cameras to make the area safer

– extra cycling facilities, with new bike racks and shelters

– a town centre clock

–  a new crossing in Brighton Road

– the opening of the side entrance to Sutton station

– new “legible London” signs

– a re-arrangement of the bus stops to reduce congestion

– an additional crossing for pedestrians outside the station

– re-design of the Cedar Road / Brighton Road junction to improve visibility for motorists

– it is not proposed to move the taxi rank, except that after 6.30 some taxis will be able to park immediately opposite the station, with the bus stop opposite the station moved further down Brighton Road and with some buses stopping in Mulgrave Road

–  there will be “live” bus information in Sutton station, subject to further research by Network Rail

– the timing of the pedestrian crossing at the High Street / Grove Road / Sutton Court Road junction will be amended to give more time to cross

– the number of parking spaces in the station area will be increased

– general improvements in design and to the “public realm” around the station, with more flowers, more colour and better signage.

The changes, including the changes to the bus stops, will be completed by March 2015.

These changes are largely funded by grants the Council has obtained, not local Council tax payers.

The results of the earlier consultation exercise on the Gateway Project indicated general support for the scheme, but we were able to make a number of changes to respond to specific issues raised. In our Ward, a particular concern for the businesses was the need for a loading bay on Regents Parade just south of the station. We successfully lobbied for this to be incorporated into the scheme.

On 27 February Richard and former Ward Councillor Heather Honour organised a breakfast meeting with local businesses in our Ward to take their views on the Sutton Gateway project. Several joined us in the Rose Café in the Brighton Road, which serves excellent scrambled eggs (Richard’s breakfast). This is right in the area that is to be developed so we were able to chat and walk round the area to see the proposed changes.

Public consultation on the emerging proposals ran till 5 March. Consultation was by leaflets in the locality, questionnaires to members of the public, posters, newspaper advertisements, exhibitions, further “stakeholder” meetings and putting information in Sutton station.

Residents and businesses close to the station were consulted, together with the emergency services and other groups with a major interest such as Network Rail, Southern Rail and TfL.

Also of great value will be the “legible London” signs at the station entrance. See the designs at

http://www.tfl.gov.uk/microsites/legible-london/3.aspx

legible london sign

Richard says “As a local man who for twenty years of my life commuted to central London by a route that meant I walked every working day along Wellesley Road and past the shuttered and barricaded side entrance, to enter the station from the front, it has long been an objective of mine to get the side entrance open. Every second counts when you are a commuter.”