On 16 August Richard, in his capacity as the Mayor of Sutton, together with the chief of Sutton’s police service, Chief Superintendent Stringer, gave enthusiastic support to the teams from Sutton police and the local Muslim community who met for their annual cricket match at Purley cricket ground.
Proposals for a new waste collection service include a weekly collection of food waste.
There will continue to be fortnightly collection of re-cycling waste. The waste that currently goes in the brown bin will be divided, with the food waste collected weekly and other waste collected fortnightly. At present around 40 per cent of brown-bin waste is food waste, so this will mean residents will be able to reduce significantly the amount of waste in their brown bins. These changes will mean less waste goes to landfill, which is good for the environment.
Garden waste collections for paying residents will be extended from nine months a year to all year round. This will be collected in the same green and brown wheelie bin.
Street cleaning operations will be extended to 10pm from the current 6.30am start.
The new contracts will enable Sutton Council to save £10.3m over the first eight years. It is estimated that Sutton’s recycling rate will increase from 37 per cent (2014/15) to 42 per cent by the end of the first year of the contract.
Sutton Council has agreed to the shared service approach with its neighbours due to the unprecedented Government cuts to the Council’s budget, along with the opportunities to increase recycling rates. Currently Sutton has to save £31m from its annual budget due to Government cuts. The Council’s annual budget is £148.4m.
Amna Ahmad has been selected overwhelmingly as the Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate for Sutton and Cheam, ready to fight the seat if a snap election is called in the autumn. The Liberal Democrats are now ready to fight a General Election, having selected candidates in areas with a proud liberal tradition, such as Sutton and Cheam.
This follows reports that the new Prime Minister might go to the country early, before a possible recession and to take advantage of Labour in-fighting.
As the former London Assembly candidate for Sutton, Amna has a strong record of fighting for people, having campaigned for better trains, half price fares and more affordable housing for local residents.
Amna Ahmad said: “I am really proud to have been selected. It would be a huge honour to represent this wonderful area.
“I am well aware that Sutton, Cheam & Worcester Park does have its challenges. As such my three campaign priorities will be to improve train services, provide more school places for local families and protect local health services.
“Nationally the country is in crisis. Both the Conservatives and Labour are focused entirely on in-fighting while the economy worsens, threatening jobs, public services and our efforts to build the houses Britain so badly needs.
“The Liberal Democrats are well placed to fight a general election whenever it is held and I am raring to build on our local tradition of delivering for local people. Since the referendum we have signed more than 17,500 new members nationally including a large number in Sutton.
“The Conservatives have destroyed their reputation for economic competence, with investment plummeting, putting Sutton jobs at risk. Their vicious cuts to local government are putting a strain on our community services. Labour has given up even trying to speak to the British people, and is engaged in a vicious fight with itself. We, meanwhile, are selecting candidates in key seats.
“Only the Liberal Democrats are an open, optimistic and united party committed to spreading opportunity for the next generation and focus on re-building the British economy to protect jobs and services.”
On 20 July we attended the Sutton South Hello annual garden party, held in the garden of Nancy, in Chalgrove Road. About 50 residents attended. There was good weather and music, and a good time was had by all.
Sutton South Hello, a social club for the elderly and those seeking friendship, is the result of collaboration between local Councillors, associations, residents, churches, our Sutton South Safer Neighbourhood police team and voluntary organisations like Age UK Sutton and SKILL (Sutton Centre for Independent Living). Heather Honour, former Liberal Democrat Councillor, chairs the Board and has worked hard to involve all aspects of the community in the project. Richard is a trustee of Hello, sits on the committee and was amongst those who helped found it.
It was launched at Christchurch, in Christchurch Park, on 9 May 2012 by the then Care Minister, Liberal Democrat MP Norman Lamb, and was the pilot for similar initiatives elsewhere in the Borough.
On 12 July Trish and Richard attended the police consultative group meeting for Sutton South Ward, held in the church hall at Christchurch. It is a pity these public meetings attract so few members of the public, only four tonight. The police priorities for the next quarter will include seeking Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinators at Farm Close and Audley Place, and tackling the problem of rough sleepers in Ambleside Gardens and Beauclere House, in Brighton Road. There was also discussion of the theft of bins at blocks of flats in Brighton Road and in Christchurch Park. The overall level of crime in the area remains low.
The police are very keen to monitor any community tensions that might have arisen as a result of the EU referendum. Emotions may run high for a while and there have been some reports in the national media about a rise in hate crime and harassment in some areas. We have not heard of any such incidents locally; but obviously the police rely very much upon the community and the Neighbourhood Watch to monitor things like this for them.
If you have detected any such issues – or know of anyone who has – please do not hesitate to contact Sutton police to report them.
If anyone wishes to make an anonymous report they can always call Crimestoppers at any time – day or night – on 0800 555 111, in complete confidence.
On 6 July Richard, by invitation, attended the Eid celebrations held annually in Overton Park (see picture above) at the end of Ramadan, to show his support for multculturalism and opposition to hate crime.
Cllr Ruth Dombey, Leader of Sutton Council, Niall Bolger, Chief Executive of Sutton Council, Cllr Tim Crowley, Leader of the Opposition at Sutton Council, and Sutton Borough Police Commander Dave Stringer said in a joint statement on 30 June:
“Since the EU referendum result there have been media reports of hate crimes against people living in this country. However, there has been no increase in hate crime incidents reported to the police in Sutton and across London.
“We are grateful that Sutton has not seen an increase in such intolerant and antisocial behaviour. The vote is not a licence for racist and xenophobic behaviour. We would urge residents to be vigilant to ensure that all borough citizens continue to live together in a peaceful, harmonious and responsible way.
“We are aware that certain events can spur intolerance, hate or extremism. Anyone who witnesses or suffers any hate incident of any type should report it immediately to the Police so that they can take action and deal with any incidents quickly.
“Sutton is a popular place to live, in part because we are a tolerant, open society that values people of all cultures, nationalities and religions. At this time it is more important than ever that we show solidarity with our neighbours of all different faith and cultural groups to ensure that extremist views and behaviour have no part of our community.”
On 20 June Trish and Richard attended the flag raising ceremony, raising the Armed Forces Day flag in Sutton Town Square, to honour our armed services. This marked the start of Armed Forces Week. Richard, as Mayor, led the event.
Richard said “Our Armed Forces are busy working around the world, promoting peace, delivering aid, tackling drug smugglers, tackling people smugglers, providing security, fighting terrorism. They work in difficult, dangerous and unpleasant conditions away from their families and the luxuries we all take for granted. They operate in environments where the very basics of security and safety are absent. They face, daily, a daunting challenge, doing work that is vital to the protection of our society and our way of life. we now watch with pride as the Armed Forces Day flag is raised for those who are currently serving and those who have served.”
On 25 June Richard visited the army centre in Stonecot Hill (see photo) and observed the work of 151 Logistics Corps. On 20 July he attended a reception given by 151 Logistics Corps at which there was stirring rendition of “Highland Cathedral” (a composition popular with the concert bands Richard plays with) by the Ghurka pipe and drum band.
The weekend of June 11 and 12 was incredibly full for Richard and Gloria, in their roles as Mayor and Mayoress. On Saturday Richard and Gloria attended the Carshalton Carnival, the picture showing them with the Carnival Queen and her attendants. Richard then opened the St Helier Festival, after which he played the trumpet with the Phoenix Concert Band at a concert during the afternoon tea for senior citizens at the Friends’ Meeting House in Cedar Road.
On Sunday there were many street parties, including one in Cumnor Road, to celebrate the Queen’s birthday.
[ Further and regular updates on Richard and Gloria’s Mayoral activities can be found on “Richard’s Blog” – go back to the top to find the link to click on. ]
At the South Sutton, Cheam and Belmont Local Committee on 9 June some interesting and encouraging statistics were presented on our part of Sutton, drawn from the latest independent survey of the views of Sutton residents.
They showed that 83% of our residents are satisfied with how the Council runs things. More than half agreed that Sutton Council provides value for money in the services it provides. Some 83% of residents said they were satisfied with the area as a place to live.
Local residents feel fairly well informed about about the services and benefits provided by Sutton Council, with 79% agreeing that they were well informed. 75% feel informed about how their Council tax is spent and 76% believe they can influence Council-run services in their area. In each case these figures are significantly above the figures in Sutton as a whole (the comparative figures being 64%, 65%, 51%).
Local residents have significantly lower levels of worry about crime in the area, for every category of crime. Almost all feel safe walking alone in the neighbourhood by day and thre quarters feel safe walking alone in the neighbourhood after dark.
Our residents are great volunteers – over one in three regularly volunteer, compared to 19% in Sutton as a whole.
MY FIRST DAY AS MAYOR
Richard writes “I was very touched by the confidence shown in me by fellow Councillors in choosing to elect me Mayor. My first day as Mayor, following my election, involved two contrasting events that I attended with my wife Gloria, the Mayoress. I am told that in the course of my year as Mayor I may well attend over 300 events, and I hope they are all as stimulating as those on day one.
First, I had to cut the ribbon at the start of the “Cloverleaf” cycle ride commencing in the town centre. These evening rides are into their twentieth season and involve a ride of a couple of hours one evening a week during the summer months. A crowd of about thirty cyclists assembled. I was able to tell them that I am a cyclist, owner of a Dawes Galaxy bike, and twice completed the annual London to Brighton bike ride, as well as cycling across France to Chartres ten years ago to visit the cathedral there. Some of the cyclists are collecting sponsorship money so I offered that if they collect sponsorship for the Mayor’s charity appeal, supporting Sutton Shopmobility and the Altzheimer’s Society, I would invite them into the Mayor’s Parlour for a chat and a photo.
The second event was at All Saints church, Hackbridge and Beddington Corner, where the Reverend Susan Lynn Billin was licensed as priest-in-charge by the Bishop of Croydon. This was a moving service in a parish that has been without a priest-in-charge for about a year but that clearly has a big and enthusiastic congregation. I joined the MP Tom Brake in wishing Lynn the very best in taking on these responsibilities.”
[Further information on Richard’s day-by-day activities as Mayor are on his blog. Scroll back to the top of the page and find Richard’s Blog.]