[ Snow in The Ridgway – click on any of the photos on this site to see them full size ]

The cold weather and snow in December was a massive challenge for the gritting teams of Sutton Council. As your local Councillors, we received many enquiries concerning the gritting of particular roads. We were in frequent contact with the gritting teams.

While it is inevitable that there will be roads that have not been gritted as frequently as some residents would like, the gritting teams made heroic efforts. We would like to pay particular credit to duty manager Mick Carter and his team. Mick and his team worked virtually round the clock, getting home in the early hours of the morning, during the snowy weather. We alerted Mick to a request from some elderly residents at Hampton Lodge, a block of flats for people aged over 60 and where some residents are over 90, in Cavendish Road, in Sutton South Ward. After a strenous evening gritting, a gritting machine arrived at Hampton Lodge at 1.30 in the morning. It was found that the machine was too large to get through the gates of Hampton Lodge so the driver backed the vehicle in as far as it could go and spread as much grit as possible, before putting down a mass of grit on the pavement and the road outside, so that when people left the premises they would be walking on a secure surface. Well done! Mick was still working at almost 4am when he emailed Councillor Honour to tell her what had been done. Councillor Honour  said to Mick “on behalf of myself, Richard Clifton and the residents of South Sutton Ward can I say a big thank you to you and all your team. The fact that you were working at 3.56am shows the grit and determination of the whole team.”


[ The gritting team with Councillors Honour and Clifton. Team members Mateus Malczuk, Lee Hunt, Graham Murray and Mick Carter are in the picture. The other member team member is Przemyseaw Szczygiel. ]

Priority is given to the main and through roads, and to roads used by buses. This meant that for most of the period of snowfall the “hail and ride” “S” buses continued to run through Sutton South Ward, though the S4 was suspended for a short period by the bus company.

The new grit bins at many locations in Sutton South Ward, and the Council’s arrangements for distributing grit, came just in time and helped. 


Please note that the story that you could be sued if you cleared the snow from the front of your house and then someone slipped when the area iced over again, is a complete urban myth. There is no record of anyone being successfully sued in these circumstances. We want to encourge everyone in Sutton South to consider clearing the pavement in front of their house, if able to do this (not everyone can and please don’t take risks if it’s too much hard labour in the cold), as their contribution to “The Big Society”. 

Please get in touch with us if there is anything you want the Council to do if the cold and snowy weather returns.


[ Gritting takes place in the early hours.  This picture was taken in The Ridgway]


Plans to deal with the cold weather include facilities for residents to collect grit, advertised on the Council website, and many more grit bins all over Sutton South Ward. Here is a selection of the bins. In the cold weather they have been emptied by local residents many times over, and the gritting teams have commented to us that they are emptied almost as fast as they are filled. But that means they are being used for their proper purpose and being of benefit to local people.


The bin in Ventnor Road,  at the start of the slope (slippery in cold weather),  put in at the request of residents.


The bin in Hillcroome Road, put in following a request to Councillor Clifton from a resident.


The bin at the middle of Downside Road, which is a hill (there is also a bin at the top), put in after a request to Councillor Clifton from residents.


The bin at the end of Devonshire Avenue.


Thanks to the efforts of Councillors Heather Honour and Richard Clifton, on Thursday evening  18th November members of the Sutton South, Belmont and Cheam Local Committee acknowledged the need for extra play areas for children and young people in South Sutton ward. Following a question raised by resident Mrs Ceri Schillinger and interventions by Councillor Honour,  the committee agreed to investigate how to improve outdoor play areas for children in the ward.  Sutton South has only one safe outdoor playing area for children, the  small Devonshire Avenue Nature Reserve. In recent years, when the Local Committee had only Conservative councillors as members, Sutton South ward lost out to Cheam and Belmont and did not receive its fair share of  “public realm” funding available.  Now, with three Lib Dem councillors ( Heather, Richard, and Mary Burstow in Cheam) the committee is waking up to the needs of all its residents.

Councillor Honour said, “We want to hear what play schemes the people of Sutton South would like their children to have.  Of course we do not have much space so we will need to as creative as possible, but I am glad this subject is on the agenda at last”


 Councillor Heather Honour has congratulated Sergeant Dave Williams and the members of the Sutton South Safer Neighbourhoods Team after an amazing police coup, uncovering a cannabis factory in an empty office building in Sutton South Ward, Sutherland House.

Writing to Sergeant Williams, she said “Congratulations to you and your team on the discovery of the cannabis factory in Sutherland House.  What a very positive story for Sutton South Safer Neighbourhoods Team!”

Police uncovered one of the biggest cannabis factories ever found in Sutton Borough. The cannabis factory was over four floors of the disused office building at Sutherland House, Brighton Road, Sutton – just a few yards from Sutton train station.

Officers estimate the 6th to 9th floors of the building contained around 3,000 plants. Two of the floors contained plants three feet high that were within days of being harvested. The other floors contained a nursery, a drying room and living accommodation for two people complete with beds.

The cannabis factory was discovered after an electrician had been called to carry out some electrical work by the building’s management company. The electrician became suspicious and alerted a Police Community Support Officer, who was on patrol near the building at the time. Officers forced entry to the top floors and were astounded by what they found.

Forensics experts were called in to gather initial evidence and to take photographs whilst the police helicopter circled overhead in case the suspects were on the roof of the building. Sergeant Dave Williams, of Sutton South Safer Neighbourhoods Team, said: “It’s the biggest find I have ever had.”


Sutherland House, where the cannabis factory was found, yards from Sutton rallway station.


Sutton police station, the base for the Sutton South Safer Neighbourhoods Team.




An amazing number of people helped us get two Liberal Democrat Councillors elected in Sutton South. Thank you. We now want to build up Lib Dem support in the ward and increase our number of councillors to three next time.  It is very important that we keep our Ward members in touch with what we are both doing and find out what you think we can all do to make Sutton South an even better place to live in.   Being a Councillor is not a job for slouches!  The few paragraphs below give you a sample of what’s been going on.


Although crime is statistically low in our area, on a number of occasions we have met local police from the Sutton South Safer Neighbourhood Team to discuss what to do about the drug dealing that has been taking place outside some blocks of flats; “street drinkers” congregating near Forest Dene on Cedar Road, and about serious instances of anti social behaviour affecting a number of residents in social housing. Some significant proposals are under discussion. We are of course in touch with our local Neighbourhood Watch scheme.


Richard is becoming something of a planning expert!  He has spoken several times at the Development Control Committee on planning applications that have worried residents, and attended Planning Inspectorate hearings on appeals concerning planning decisions affecting the Ward.  One concerned a nursing home in Mayfield Road, where the owner breached planning conditions. Another concerned the prospect of additional noise and disturbance for residents of Grosvenor Court in the Brighton Road from a proposed pizza takeaway which planned to use six motorbikes to deliver pizzas.

Open Spaces 

Although Sutton is renowned for its delightful green open spaces, there is only one such area in Sutton South, the nature reserve in Devonshire Road. After we discovered that 50 per cent of children in Devonshire School do not have the use of a garden, we’ve been working to improve this area, but without detracting from its purpose and basic informal character. 

In collaboration with LibDem Councillors in Carshalton Central we are forming a Friends of Warren Park group, a much loved park on the borders of this ward. Do let us know if you are interested in being involved.

Local Schools 

We have been talking to residents and head teachers about the Council’s proposals to increase the intake and expand the buildings at both Devonshire and Barrow Hedges Primary Schools.  Expansion is needed because the number of young children has increased in the borough.  Both Head Teachers support the proposals and see them improving standards. It should now become easier for our local parents to get their children into these popular and successful schools. But we will be watching to make sure that the expansions are well managed, to meet the concerns of some parents at Barrow Hedges about issues such as parking.

We visited Overton Grange School to discuss road safety concerns with the Head Master. Following this visit council officials have come forward with proposed improvements, which we support.


Rubbish etc 

Rubbish remains a problem.  Some local residents are vigilant in tackling this unhealthy and unpleasant eye sore.  We have been addressing the issue of rubbish at the side of Sutherland House and Richard as dealt with problems about rubbish disposal at Grosvenor Court.

Other issues we have taken up include blocked drains, potholes, grit bins, noise in flats, the pruning of trees and replacing trees damaged by cars in Copse Hill.

Sutton Housing Partnership 

With staff from Sutton Housing Partnership, we have visited a number of properties that they manage in this ward to identify necessary remedial work to the buildings.  More visits are planned.  We believe that our concern about the state of the ball court at Sutton Court has revived plans for its improvement, which are now being pursued.

Meetings, Meetings and More Meetings! 

Aside from this, we are both members of several Council committees, including the Health and Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee, the Health and Safety Committee (which Richard chairs) and the Audit Committee. Heather is a member of the Smarter Sutton Services Steering Group, looking at strategies to transform planned expenditure reductions into an opportunity to improve efficiency and services. She has already made her maiden speech at a Council meeting

Local Action 

We both sit on the Sutton South, Belmont and Cheam Local Committee. This has previously been entirely Conservative controlled.  Most residents are unaware of the committee which provides small amounts of funding for local capital projects.  We need to make this committee work better.  Please come and take part.