On 7 March Ricard, as Mayor, opened a remarkable exhibition put together by Heather Honour and her Sutton South Hello team. This featured the reminiscences of elderly members of the group, based on a number of themes, such as their experience of evacuation of children during the 1939-45 war. Richard had attended some of these reminiscence sessions and found them fascinating.
Sutton South Hello goes from strength to strength.
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.
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.
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 (email@example.com 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Many 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.