PC Towler with the Mayor at the ceremony

Many Sutton South residents will know our principal neighbourhood police officer, Police Constable Mark Towler. Mark has for many years been our Police Constable, a man who knows our area like the back of his hand and who has made a great contribution to keeping the local community safe. While nowhere has zero crime and we can never be complacent, the borough of Sutton is one of the safest in London and Sutton South Ward one of the safest Wards in Sutton.

On 11 May Richard attended, as Mayor of Sutton, the Metropolitan Police Service Sutton Borough Commander’s Commendation Ceremony, where a number of serving police officers from Sutton and some members of the public received awards in recognition of their service to our community. The Mayor is invited to present these awards. This service ranged from acts of bravery to prevent crime to systematic action and campaigns to reduce crime. We are delighted that PC Towler received an award, recognising his work to reduce crime in our area, the citation reading “commended for motivation, commitment and drive to reduce anti-social behaviour in Sutton South ward linked to the supply of drugs, through the use of search warrants and arrest of offenders, improving the quality of life for his residents.”


Richard with Ethel

On 30 March one of the oldest residents of our Ward, Ethel Hansford, celebrated her 100th birthday. Congratulations Ethel. Ethel once worked at Croydon airport, and now lives in Thomas House in Grange Road. Ethel is mobile and has many great recollections of her interesting past.

Richard had a very busy day. In the morning he opened the new Poundland store in Sutton. There was a queue of over 100 waiting to go in when the store opened. This was not the only new establishment in Sutton that he opened on that day, opening the refurbished Red Lion pub in Hackbridge that evening. In the afternoon he attended Ethel’s 100th birthday party. Later in the evening he hosted a reception for food bank volunteers in the Mayor’s Parlour.

With the staff of Poundland at the opening


The winning team

On 24 March Richard and Gloria, as the Mayor and Mayoress of Sutton, helped judge a competition at Wilson’s school in Sutton to determine which of eight local charities would receive an injection of financial support.
Eight teams of boys had prepared presentations on chosen local charities. The most compelling presentation would win a donation of £1 000 to their charity, with two other prizes of £250, under a programme prepared by the charity fundraisers “First Give.”
The winning presentation was on behalf of Bromley and Croydon Women’s Aid, which runs a support service for victims of domestic abuse. The other winners were the Garwood Foundation, which helps people with disabilities, and PSDS, a local charity to help those with Down Syndrome.
Richard said, when presenting the awards, that the quality of the presentations was outstanding, particularly the case studies, the mix of media used to present the case, and the extensive research that clearly underpinned all that was said.


On 25 March, as Mayor and Mayoress of Sutton, Richard Clifton and his wife Gloria attended a ceremony at the war memorial in Manor Park in Sutton to mark the anniversary of the crossing of the Rhine on 23 March 1945, an operation (Operation Varsity) that hastened the conclusion of the Second World War.
The ceremony is held every year, organised by the Parachute Regimental Association, and is attended by Sutton’s Mayor, members of the Association and serving members of the Parachute Regiment. This year, following the tragic events in Westminster a few days previously, it was also attended by local police officers. The event is held in Sutton as one of those closely involved in the operation, which – though successful – involved massive loss of life, was from Sutton and wished to commemorate the event.
The Mayor of Croydon and the Deputy Mayor of Kingston also attended.


At the Sutton South Hello garden party last summer, a great event for our elderly residents

Sutton South Ward has one of the oldest age profiles of any Ward in Sutton. The many care homes and blocks of sheltered accommodation in the Ward partly explain why we have a more elderly population, but there are also many elderly people living in their own homes. We want to enable people to live in their homes for as long as they can, which is why Sutton Council is one of the only London Councils to fund Admiral nurses. These are specialist nurses trained assisting those with dementia, working closely with families and carers to help people to live at home. We are proud to be members of a Council that provides such help, despite the severe financial squeeze the Council is facing, as an expression of our Liberal Democrat values.




Parking in our Ward has increased in recent years partly due to more people working in Sutton or commuting to town as the economy has recovered, and not being prepared to pay to park in the town centre car parks, although their prices are amongst the cheapest in London and they are never full.


Responding to residents’ concerns, the Council’s Environment and Neighbourhoods Committee has agreed a parking strategy for the Borough involving an area by area consideration of parking controls. To make this manageable the study will be scheduled over several years, dealing with the town centre in the first year. Any changes to the town centre controlled parking zone and car parks will have an impact on the roads in our Ward so the plan starts from the centre and moves outwards. Our area will be considered the following year.

People have a mix of views on parking controls in their road. As they can displace parking into nearby roads, it is not intended to introduce further parking controls in the roads in our Ward prior the study next year. But we would welcome the views of residents in preparation for this study.


On 15 March a contingent from Sutton Police Cadets received a special award from the Lord Lieutenant of Surrey, Mr Michael More-Molyneux, and the Surrey Royal British Legion, for the funds they have raised for the Surrey Poppy Appeal. They were the only police cadet group to receive an award at the ceremony led by the Lord Lieutenant to celebrate the fund raising work of cadet groups throughout Surrey and the outer south London boroughs.
Sutton has one of the largest contingents of police cadets in London and for the past two years they have won the prestigious Gravesend trophy which is competed for by police cadet groups in the Metropolitan police area. The photograph shows them being congratulated by Richard, as Sutton’s Mayor, at the presentation ceremony.
Richard told the cadets “Sutton is blessed with numerous scout, guide and cadet groups providing opportunities for young people. The police cadets are particularly strong in Sutton, and I was astonished to learn of how much effort you have put in to raising funds for this very worthy appeal to help those injured in military service.”


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.

The Sutton South Hello party for the Queen, 15 June 2016, was a great success



The Mayor cuts the ribbon

On Thursday 23 February Subsea7’s spectacular and attractive new office building in Brighton Road, just south of Sutton station, was formally opened by Richard, as Sutton’s Mayor.
The ceremony was held as the last of the Subsea7 staff previously located in The Quadrant next to Sutton station moved into the building. The ceremony was attended by Trish and other Councillors, including the Leader of Sutton Council, Councillor Dombey.
Subsea7 are an offshore exploration and technical support company, and they had brought one of their submarines from Aberdeen to the building to show it to guests. Paul Rosier, of Subsea7, gave the audience a potted history of the site, including information on the famous people who had once lived on the site. These included the famous engineer Harold Berridge, who invented techniques for measuring the strength of concrete, after whom the adjacent road has been named Berridge Close.
Subsea7 had considered re-locating from Sutton to an adjacent Borough, but their staff were keen to remain in Sutton. They wanted a purpose-built new office building and purchased the site in order to build an HQ to their own design. They have closed their office in Hammersmith to concentrate their staff in Sutton, and will eventually expand to employ up to 900 staff at the site.
In opening the building Richard said “This is great moment for Sutton. This is one of the most attractive new buildings in our town and the decision of Subsea7 to locate their headquarters here will be of massive benefit to the local economy, bringing jobs and prosperity to local shops, restaurants and hotels. As a Councillor for this Ward, I have supported this project throughout.”

The Mayoral party


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.