GOLD DUST FOR THE LOCAL ECONOMY: SUBSEA7 MOVE IN TO THEIR NEW HQ

The new building now completed

The new building now completed

The design for the Subsea7 office in Brighton Road

The design for the Subsea7 office in Brighton Road

Over the weekend 15 January Subsea7 have started to move their staff out of the Reed building in the Quadrant and into their attractive new headquarters building in Brighton Road.
By this time next year there will be 750 people working in the building.
The Sutherland House building – now re-named Northumberland House – almost opposite, is being converted to 128 flats, with parking spaces, that are being offered for rent. The first residents were moving in over the same weekend. The shops at the bottom are yet to be occupied. Sainsburys have changed their mind about opening a store there, but it would have been competing with the Tesco opposite.
Money has been spent improving the look of the former Sutherland House

Money has been spent improving the look of the former Sutherland House


Occupation of these two buildings, increasing footfall in the area and business for local shops, restaurants and hotels, will have a positive effect on the local economy. And the Subsea7 project will keep many hundreds of jobs to our area that would otherwise have been in Epsom or Leatherhead, and add several hundred new jobs. Jobs are gold dust for the local economy.
On 24 November we attended the final meeting of the liaison group with Subsea7 and local residents that has monitored the progress of the project to build the new headquarters of Subsea7, here in Sutton.
The company will arrange visits for local residents to see inside the building when it is fully occupied. And discussions continue on a new pedestrian crossing outside the building, crossing Brighton Road, given the massively increased footfall from those who work in the building arriving at Sutton station and walking down Brighton Road.
On 4 September last year the Subsea7 building was “topped out.”
subsea on the roof 1
“Topping out” is a ceremony traditionally held when the building has been built to its full height. Richard and Trish were there on the roof of the building when the final piece of concrete was put in place on 4 September.
The site won the Ivor Goodsite Hoarding Competition 2015!  The site was one of 8 winners out of 48 entries nationally to receive the award which showcased the great artwork used on the hoarding, produced by local schools; Devonshire Primary and Overton Grange Secondary.  The schools produced widely praised artwork on the themes of ‘Under the Sea’ and ‘Subsea 7’.
The picture below is of Trish and Richard with the Devonshire Avenue primary school artwork displayed at the site.
Following consultation with residents on the parking arrangements in the side road separating the site from Raeburn House and Girtin House, now named Berridge Close, the road is now included in the controlled parking zone with parking bays in the road reserved for residents with parking permits.

TWO OF US SMALL

CRIME REMAINS LOW IN SUTTON SOUTH

Sutton police station in Carshalton Road

Sutton police station in Carshalton Road

 

Trish and Richard attended the Ward police consultative committee meeting on 10 January. The police again reported that crime in our area remains low.

In the final quarter of 2016 there were 3 residential burglaries in our Ward (down from 6 in the corresponding period a year previously), 3 non-residential burglaries (down from 7), 7 thefts from motor vehicles (down from 12) and 2 thefts of motor bikes.

The police had executed a number of drug searches in the last quarter, which they felt had had a positive impact. Priorities continue to include drugs, looking out for rough sleepers in stairwells of blocks of flats, anti-social behaviour at bus stops, speeding checks and aggressive begging around Sutton station.

The police consultative panel next meets at Christchurch hall in Christchurch Park on 9 May. This is a public meeting. See if you can come.

There were several “Speedwatch” events in the last quarter, some involving students from Overton Grange school, using a speed gun to catch and warn speeding motorists.

Richard at an earlier Speedwatch event in The Ridgway

Richard at an earlier Speedwatch event in The Ridgway

 

SUTHERLAND HOUSE – NOW NORTHUMBERLAND HOUSE: RESIDENTS MOVE IN

sutherland house

The contrast - what it used to look like and now looks like

The contrast – what it used to look like and now looks like

Residents have started to move in to the the block in the Brighton Road just south of Sutton station that we all knew as Sutherland House but which now has a new name – Northumberland House. Perhaps the owners changed the name as – after it being empty for five years – they want to signal a new beginning for this building. They have spent money on the renovation and certainly improved the way it looks, as the pictures above show.

The apartments in the block, a few hundred yards south of Sutton station and in our Ward, are available to rent. The Acorn Group are in charge of renting out the flats. If anyone is interested in renting they can contact Kimberley Ellen (kimberley.ellen@acorn.ltd.uk or ring her 020 8315 6917). The flats are also advertised on the website Rightmove.

On 14 January Richard visited the block. It has been refurbished to a high standard and it is good to see it occupied. There are 128 flats with parking spaces.

As long ago as December 2015 we met with Council officers and the developer to discuss renovation of the front, to fit in with the Gateway scheme further north. We have sought agreement that the owners fund the renovation of the area in front of the building, to bring it up to the same standard as the area renovated during the “Gateway” project just to the north.  The shops at the bottom are not fully let out and we have hopes that the area just south of the station will include of a mix of good restaurants, shops and maybe a wine bar as the area will have so much  more footfall. We are pleased that the Rose cafe and Sofra are surviving. We look forward to the area in front of the building being renewed and improved in due course and the vacant shops let out. However Sainsburys have pulled out of opening a store at the bottom.

We have been critical of the developers as they used a route to bypass normal planning permission requirements, but at last the building will be occupied. The year 2017 will be a good one for the area with the occupation of the Subsea7 building and Sutherland House, bringing people into the area who will spend money in local shops and restaurants, which will give the whole area an uplift.

The area has in the past suffered from a group of “all day drinkers” who walk the streets drinking alcohol from cans. However, one of Richard’s first acts when elected in 2010 was to get the “no drinking” zone extended from Sutton town centre into Sutton South Ward. This makes it unlawful to drink alcohol in public in the area if a police officer asks you to stop.

Richard and Trish held a surgery at Sutherland House to advise residents

Richard and Trish held a surgery at Sutherland House to advise residents

STUNNING SUCCESS FOR SUTTON IN 2017 LONDON NEW YEAR’S DAY PARADE

The float entered by the London Borough of Sutton won fourth prize in the 2017 London New Year’s Day Parade, our best result in over a decade and a stunning achievement given the stiff competition from other London Boroughs.

Masterminded by Christine Lindsay of the Gary Mason Drummers and put together by over 60 unpaid volunteers, the float was on the theme of the Wizard of Oz. The theme of the parade was “Lights, Camera, Action” and floats were expected to reflect this theme.
The prize is a trophy – which will be displayed in the Mayor of Sutton’s Parlour – and £7 000 to the Mayor’s Charity Appeal for two worthy charities, Sutton Shopmobility and the Alzheimer’s Society. Richard received the trophy from the Deputy Lieutenant of Greater London, Roger Bramble DL, following the announcement of the results after the parade.
Richard, as Mayor of Sutton, travelled with the Mayoress – his wife Gloria – near the head of the parade on a bus carrying all 32 London Civic Mayors. He commented to the press
“This is a stunning achievement, up against very stiff competition from the other 31 London Boroughs. I am so grateful to the wide range of volunteers and sponsors who made this outstanding entry, a highlight of the parade, possible, and am astonished to find my charity appeal is £7 000 richer as a result.”
on-the-bus
The pictures show the float and the Mayor on the Mayoral Bus.

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.

PREPARING FOR WINTER

PREPARE FOR THE SNOW

PREPARE FOR THE SNOW

We hope you’ll join us in checking in with vulnerable neighbours to see if they need help in cold weather.

POWER CUTS – The cold weather is upon on us. Do you or someone you know need extra support during a power cut?

Although power cuts don’t happen very often when they do they can be worrying.  UK Power Networks is the electricity network for London and it provides a ‘Priority Services Register’ for people who might need extra help in a power cut.  Older people, families with very young children, and people with specific medical conditions are among the many people who are eligible to register for free support.  You can find more details and register by visiting ukpowernetworks.co.uk/prioritysupport or calling 0800 169 9970.

FREE GRIT – Sutton Council’s offer to residents and businesses in Sutton Borough of 10kg of free grit per household or business, to use on their drives, paths and nearby pavements, was again a great success, as was the free parking in Sutton car parks on the weekends before Christmas.

 

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

CELEBRATING THE CONTRIBUTION OF BLACK CULTURE TO SUTTON

Richard and Gloria at the Black History Month Closing Event

Richard and Gloria at the Black History Month Closing Event

On 29 October Richard, as Mayor of Sutton, delivered a strong message of support for the contribution those of African and Caribbean heritage have made to the borough. This is a concern Richard and Trish share – on 8 October Trish attended a service in St Paul’s Cathedral to express our detestation of the racist hate crimes that followed the Brexit vote.

Richard was making a speech closing Black History Month, which he had opened at an event at the start of October, and he repeated themes he had raised the previous day when addressing the Annual General Meeting of Sutton’s Afro-Caribbean Heritage Association.

While drawing attention to positive developments in the promotion of diversity and multiculturalism he said he had been shocked by the racist hate crimes that followed the Brexit vote, and hoped this was a phase we would quickly move on from.

The Mayor said:

“Each year October is Black History Month, focused on raising the awareness of African and Caribbean history and cultural heritage, and celebrating the positive contribution of this heritage to the political, economic and cultural life of Britain.

My own family has a great interest in black history, in diversity and multiculturalism. Our daughter is married to man whose family comes from Ghana, so we have a grandson who is of mixed race. I look forward to having long, deep and meaningful discussions with him about diversity and multiculturalism, and what he can draw from a heritage that is both British and African. But he is only one year old, so not yet.

First celebrated in the UK in 1987, Black History Month is marked annually as an important point of reference for the black community. I believe we have made progress in the UK over recent decades in tackling racist attitudes, increasing diversity, and improving equality, within Sutton and in Britain as a whole. I tell my daughter and my son-in-law that when I was growing up in the 1950s and 1960s in this country, her marriage, a white woman marrying a black African man, would have been unusual and provoked openly racist comment in the white community.

Today, where she lives in Brixton, it is quite usual, and when I take my grandson to play groups there, such as the one I took him to in Brockwell Park last Monday, I cannot help but notice what an enormous melting pot there is of children of many different colours and racial groups, and many variation of mixed race, playing happily together. It makes me optimistic about the prospects for further progress in building a diverse community, something that is re-enforced every week when I represent the community, as Mayor, at Citizenship ceremonies, where people of many different cultural backgrounds take British citizenship.

For that reason I have been shocked, we have all been shocked, by the racist attacks and hate crimes following the Brexit vote, and we must pray that this is a phase we will, as a community, quickly recover from.

Sutton’s Black History Group was established in 2010 and has promoted a wide range of free community-wide events. The Group has been strongly supported by Sutton Council which is why I, the Mayoress and the Deputy Mayor Councillor Patel are here today, to show that support.”

TAKING CRIME SERIOUSLY

With Chief Superintendent Stringer

With Chief Superintendent Stringer

Sutton South Ward has one of the lowest crime levels in London, but we cannot be complacent and need to take the simple precautions necessary to avoid making life easy for the criminal.

We are well served by our local police, and we meet them regularly to assess crime trends in the Ward. There are many blocks of flats in the Ward and recently there have been a small number of incidents reported to us of rough sleepers spending the night in stairwells.

The problem of homelessness has, of course, increased recently due to Government housing policies. We have been involved in discussions with housing managers and the police about precautions such as entryphone systems and sought to help local groups that are trying to deal with the problem of homelessness and rough sleeping. If you observe rough sleepers in stairwells it is best to contact the police on the non-emergency 101 number. They can also be directed to sources of advice such as the Salvation Army (02086429862), Shelter (02034686293) and the Sutton Civic offices (02087705800).

Sutton police station in Carshalton Road

Sutton police station in Carshalton Road

A MORNING OF CELEBRATION OF DANCE IN SUTTON TOWN CENTRE

The dancers wore traditional dress

The dancers wore traditional dress

On 17 September Sutton hosted a performance in the town centre from the famous dance group L’Aubade de Quercy, who come from Sutton’s twin town of Gagny near Paris.
The group danced for an hour in Trinity Square in the centre of Sutton, alongside the Pennyroyal Clog Dancers and the East Surrey Morris Men, making it a remarkable international festival of traditional dance. L’Aubade de Quercy specialise in traditional French folk dancing, performed in traditional costume. The group included ladies who demonstrated lace making, traditional in this part of France.
The lace makers

The lace makers

Prior to the performance Richard, as Mayor, welcomed the group to a reception in the Mayor’s Parlour, where the dancers from Gagny presented the borough with an emblem made in lace, and Richard presented them with a copy of the Sutton Coat of Arms.
Richard holding the lace emblem presented to the borough

Richard holding the lace emblem presented to the borough