Diary of a Sutton Councillor

Information, advice and activities for over 50’s

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February 2, 2016 Posted by | Information | , , , , | Leave a comment

The importance of trees in urban spaces

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I was searching through some old files and came across this extract taken from ‘Greening the Concrete Jungle’ a Policy Brief produced by the Woodland Trust that I thought deserved a wider audience.

The importance of trees in urban spaces

The beauty of towns and cities arises from a mix of good architecture and design, and the landscape of public spaces. There is strong evidence that improving green infrastructure and the urban environment helps promote inward investment by creating a more attractive environment for businesses and their staff.

Trees are a vital element in providing structure and texture to green infrastructure, and yet this has been eroded in many places. Maintaining what we have, ensuring future generations of trees to replace those that are being lost, and imaginative creation of more places rich in trees is central to making towns and cities places people want to live in, visit and do business in.

Health and Wellbeing

Trees and woods are vital to health and wellbeing. There is a strong relationship between the quality of urban green space and people’s health and wellbeing.

Increasing tree cover mitigates some of the effects of a warming climate, reduces the impacts of poor air quality, and increases the opportunities for people to adopt a healthy lifestyle.

Green space, and trees in particular, provide both direct shade and reduce the temperature through the cooling effect of evaporation from the soil and plant leaves. One mature tree transpires up to 450 litres of moisture a day – equivalent to five room-sized air conditioners left on for 19 hours.

Trees improve air quality by absorbing pollutants such as sulphur dioxide and ozone, intercepting harmful particulates from smoke, and dust and of course release oxygen through photosynthesis. This helps to alleviate the problems caused by chronic respiratory disease.

Each year, 24,000 people in the UK die prematurely from air pollution. Research by the British Lung Foundation suggests that one in every seven people in the UK is affected by lung disease, almost 8 million people. The UK also has one of the world’s highest rates of childhood asthma, with about 15 per cent of children affected and a higher prevalence in lower socio economic groups in urban areas.

There is evidence that trees not only provide physical benefits but can also be important to mental health.

Trees and woods can have a restorative and therapeutic effect on the mind. Studies have looked at the beneficial effects of natural surroundings on children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Trees have been found to enhance mood, improve self esteem and lower blood pressure. The quality of natural features and trees in the city helps reduce mental fatigue and stress, and has important benefits for child development.

January 29, 2016 Posted by | Information | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Planning application in for old BP site on Stafford Road

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An application has been submitted for the old BP garage site on Stafford Road. The plans are for a four-storey block at the front of the site and a three storey block to the rear comprising 29 residential units and two retail units. There will be 20 residential parking spaces provided and 8 commercial parking facilities with the access from Stafford Road.

The good news is that the developers are applying for A1 or A2  use for the retail units which is for shops or services, NOT hot food takeaways.

You can view the plans and comment online on the council website. The reference is D2015/73381.

January 23, 2016 Posted by | Information | , , , , | 4 Comments

Get ready for the cold snap

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The weather is set to get even colder in the next few days so help us make sure that Wallington is ready for the potential frost or snow.

Hopefully many of you will have taken advantage of the free grit offer and have your supply on standby to grit your driveways and footpaths.

Please help you and your neighbours by checking that your nearest grit bin is topped up with grit. You can find your nearest grit bin locations on the council website. Just enter your address on the Local Services page. If the bin needs topping up note the bin number and location and use the Report It function on the council home page to report it. Feel free to use the grit in the bins for slippery pavements or residential roads that the gritters don’t usually get around to. The gritting lorries will be prioritising main transport routes, areas outside schools, GP surgeries and health centres, high streets and care homes

Muhammad, Steve and myself have reported any drains that have not coped with the rain so that they are cleaned ready for any further rain or snow melt, including the big puddle in Wallington Square. If you notice any others again use the report it function on the council website to get these attended to.

Thames Water have been in touch with councils and advised the following:

“As well as the possibility of flooding, the cold weather can bring more bursts and leaks on our clean water pipes. As soon as water entering our reservoirs drops below 5 degrees Celsius, we see an increase in leaks and bursts as cast iron pipes contract. If you or your residents see any leaks please report these to us as soon as possible via our 24 hour freephone leak line 0800 714 614, or
www.thameswater.co.uk or Twitter @thameswater.”

And of course don’t forget to check on any elderly neighbours to make sure they have supplies and are able to keep healthy and warm.

There is more information about being prepared for the wintry weather at the Winter Information Centre on the council website.

You can check whether your child’s school is closed due to severe weather using the OpenCheck tool.

The AA has useful advice for driving in cold and wintry conditions.

Stay safe and help others by reporting any problems you come across.

Jayne, Steve & Muhammad

January 14, 2016 Posted by | Information | , , , | 1 Comment

Support your local small businesses on Saturday 5th December

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Small Business Saturday is an initiative that supports small local businesses by encouraging their communities to ‘shop local’. It is an opportunity for small businesses to showcase themselves and to grow by demonstrating the quality and value that it can give to its customers and how it differentiates itself from its larger competitors.

This year to support Small Business Saturday Sutton Council is offering free parking in locations throughout the Borough to encourage shoppers to shop locally and support their local high streets including Gibson Road, Wallington Library, Carshalton High Street, Kingsway Road Carpark Cheam.

There are 7,400 SMEs in Sutton and they rely on your support. Show them some love on Saturday 5th December.

And if you are a small business looking for help and advice the Sutton Chamber of Commerce run 121 Business Clinics offering just that. See their website for more details. Or check out the Council’s Opportunity Sutton website for details of its Business Rate Relief scheme for small businesses and other support and information.

November 27, 2015 Posted by | Information | , , , , | Leave a comment

Festive Light Switch-on back for 2015

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The local people who brought us Wallington’s first Festive Switch-on promised it would be back for a second year, so aided and abetted by the Wallington North and South ward councillors the big night is set for 3rd December.

Chief organiser Ric Adams was keen to ensure that it is bigger and better than last year and thanks especially to Thea and Andy of The Brook it will be. Having got the party started at the Wallington Music Festival they have booked the Harry Satcher Band to do a session at our switch-on, as well as another Festival favourite Firehorse, and the Big Mack Band who are regulars (playing) in the Wallington Arms.

The festivities start at 5.30pm and focus on the Old Town Hall where Sutton Mayor Muhammad Sadiq will be joined by Tom Brake MP and the young winner of Tom’s Christmas Card competition to perform the official switching on of the Wallington lights at 6.30pm.

Wallington Square will play host to local traders with stalls full of goodies including mulled wine and mince pies.

There will also be performances from local school choirs and even Morris Dancers!

Last year was fantastic fun so please show your support again for this community organised, Wallington-focussed festive celebration.

November 19, 2015 Posted by | Information | , , | Leave a comment

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