Diary of a Sutton Councillor

Ward walkabout with Veolia

On Wednesday Cllr Cook & I took Veolia reps around the ward to show them some areas where there are persistent issues with the new waste collection service.

At some places we called on the residents who had complained so Veolia could hear direct the problems they were having.

 

It was clear that the existing bin stores and range of bins at some blocks of flats do not work with the new system, and it will require some discussions with residents and the managing agents to make it work.

We will continue to monitor the situation and Veolia’s response.

 

May 19, 2017 Posted by | Information | , | Leave a comment

Sutton honours Wallington WW1 Victoria Cross Hero

A ceremony was held on 29th April 2017 to commemorate the centenary of the action that led to the award of the Victoria Cross to 2nd Lieutenant Pollard VC. At the ceremony in Wallington Library Gardens a memorial stone to Alfred Pollard was unveiled by the Mayor of Sutton, Cllr Richard Clifton.

2nd Lieut. Pollard was born and raised in Wallington, and members of his family were in attendance.

May 2, 2017 Posted by | Information | , , | Leave a comment

Phone mast threat to Woodcote Green seen off

Cllr Steve Cook views the proposed location with residents

Vodafone recently put in notification of their intention to put a telecom mast and large cabinets on Woodcote Green, next to the air raid shelter.

Not only would this be an eyesore on a beautiful village green opposite Wallington Girls School, it was right where local residents had asked the Local Committee to locate a new heritage sign explaining the history of the green.

Through the Beddington & Wallington Local Committee residents have previously secured restoration of the air raid shelter on the green, moved the the horse trough back to its original position, and received funds for spring bulb planting. So what an insult to spoil it all with an ugly mast and cabinets.

Your ward councillors worked with our Beddington South ward colleagues and the local residents association to submit our objections to the plans. This has paid off and the council’s planning officers agree that it would be wrong to allow the mast here and have now refused the application.

So thanks to a bit of people-power the mast threat has been seen off and the lovely new heritage board is now in place.

 

The original plans

May 1, 2017 Posted by | Information | , | Leave a comment

Safer crossing in Beddington Gardens

The council is currently undertaking works in Beddington Gardens to make a safer place to cross near to the junction with Shotfield.

There are a number of older people living in special residential accommodation in this area and some of them told Steve, Muhammad and me that they found it daunting trying to cross Beddington Gardens. Many of them regularly use the Jubilee Health Centre or the library.

We put a request in for this to be looked at. A zebra crossing was not possible as it would have required removing part of the hedges, which are protected as a heritage feature of the area.

Officers are therefore building out the pavement here, which both slows down traffic and narrows the road to reduce the distance pedestrians have to get across the road.

We hope that when complete this will make life a little easier for our more senior residents.

April 28, 2017 Posted by | Information | | Leave a comment

Reporting your bin collection issues

Please report your issues online via the council website to free up the phone lines for people who don’t have internet access.

There is a dedicated webpage with information and special links for reporting issues – look under Waste and Recycling on the Sutton Council website.

This page also allows you to check the collection days for your recycling and general waste at your address. The address finder is a bit quirky, especially for flats. If you enter your address and it says it is not recognised try entering your flat or house number, and then the street rather than the name of the flat block. Then enter your postcode. If that doesn’t work just enter your flat number and postcode.

All issues reported online will be logged for action.

If you still have problems reporting your issues online then contact your local ward councillor. You can find who are your ward councillors and how to contact them here.

If you have still not received new recycling bins; or your street does not appear to be on a scheduled round; or you are in a block of flats and it is clear that Veolia still do not understand what your collection should be, then please raise this with your ward councillor as well as reporting it to the council. That way we can understand the extent of the problems and take it up with senior council officers and Veolia.

Not sure what goes in which bin? There is an A-Z of rubbish and recycling on the council website.

 

April 26, 2017 Posted by | Information | , , | Leave a comment

Sutton wins Small Business Friendly Borough Award 2017

Heather Evans and Sarah Lomax from the Opportunity Sutton Team with Cllr Amy Haldane

I was very pleased to hear that Sutton was joint winner with Lambeth for the Small Business Friendly Borough Award presented by London Councils and the Federation of Small Businesses.

Our award was for the ‘Best Programme of Support’ by our Opportunity Sutton Team for the Pop Up Sutton Entrepreneurs Market.

Pop Up Sutton is an initiative to enable entrepreneurs to get a foot on the business ladder.

Over the course of the 18-month programme participants are able to access a series of workshops and one-to-one advice sessions designed to guide entrepreneurs through the process of setting up and running a business. Once a month a free pop-up stall is also provided to give entrepreneurs a platform to showcase their products or services to a ready made audience in Sutton town centre.

The scheme has been developed by Opportunity Sutton as part of its remit to stimulate and support new business in the borough.

We have had excellent feedback from participants in the scheme saying how much they have learnt that has enabled them to establish their business and develop their product lines.

There were 18 nominations for this category – the highest number of nominations, with 9 shortlisted, so congratulations Sutton for this achievement.

 

April 4, 2017 Posted by | Information | , , , , | Leave a comment

Wallington South Councillors’ Spring Update

Here is our latest round-up of local news and what your ward councillors have been up to:

Ward News

Faulty speed sign
We reported the faulty speed sign on Stafford Road that was somewhat erratic in its speed measurements. We are advised that this sign will be replaced in the next couple of months.

Car Park Ticket Machines
The keypads on the ticket machines in Wallington Library car park have faded and are difficult to read. We have been advised that these machines are to be replaced with new ones which will also accept the new one-pound coins. The half an hour free parking for the 84 bays in the library car park will still be available.

High Street loading-only bays to change
The loading bays outside KFC in Woodcote Road are set to change shortly to Goods Vehicle Only loading. This is because of the continued abuse of the bays and dangerous reversing across the cycle lanes into oncoming traffic. These will be strictly enforced and tickets can be issued after two minutes of contravention rather than the current 10 minutes applicable for a general loading bay. Vehicles will be required to park parallel with the road and not reverse out of the bays.

Staff changes to Wallington South Police Safer Neighbourhood Team
We have learnt that Sgt Suzannah James, who headed up the Wallington South Safer Neighbourhood Team is moving on. She will be leaving the Police altogether and taking up employment that better fits around her family.
We have very much enjoyed working with Suzannah and wish her all the best for her future. We are yet to be advised of her replacement.

Changes to Wallington Library
Work to ensure our libraries continue as vital parts of the community have led the council to plan the co-location of health and social care teams in parts of Wallington library. They will be making use of the large meeting room and some of the library offices. Experience elsewhere shows that co-locating social care staff teams close to the residents they work with has all-round benefits and efficiencies.
The Mallinson Room will be adapted to allow its use as a meeting room, however, we have received reassurances that it will still be available to the public when not booked for meetings.

Service of Hope and Reconciliation following the terror attack in Westminster
Steve, in his role as Deputy Mayor, will be representing Wallington and the borough at a special memorial event at Westminster Abbey next Wednesday following the terrorist attack on Westminster Bridge.

Planning News

News just in! Phone Mast threat to Woodcote Green averted
Vodafone recently put in notification of their intention to put a telecom mast and large cabinets on Woodcote Green, next to the air raid shelter. Not only would this be an eyesore on a beautiful village green, it was right where local residents had asked the Local Committee to locate a new heritage sign explaining the history of the green. Through the Beddington & Wallington Local Committee residents had also secured restoration of the air raid shelter on the green, restored the horse trough to its original position, and funds for spring bulb planting. So what an insult to spoil it all with an ugly mast and cabinets.

Your ward councillors worked with our Beddington South ward colleagues and the local residents association to submit our objections to the plans. This has paid off and the council’s planning officers agree that it would be wrong to allow the mast here and are recommending refusal of the application.

Permission granted for St Bernadetts, 19 Stanley Park Road
Planning permission has been granted to demolish St Bernadetts and build a three-storey block of 9 flats.

Wallington Arms to extend
The Wallington Arms pub has received permission for a rear extension to extend the pub use to the second floor, and also to provide additional residential accommodation on the upper floors.

Planning application in for flats in Ross Road
There is an application just in to demolish the garages next to Julian House and build a four storey block of six flats, with seven parking spaces. The application number is D2017/76681 and you can view and comment on the plans here. You can view the Design and Access Statement here.


Work starts on old BP Garage Site Stafford Road

After seeing off the McDonald’s drive-through application and helping affected residents get amendments to the more acceptable flats proposed for the site, we are pleased to see work finally start on the site. Obviously, there will be disruption for local residents so please let us know if the contractors start to operate at unsociable hours or there is excessive dust and we can seek enforcement of the conditions of construction. You can also report it direct to the council via the website.

Borough News

Drop in day TODAY for all your questions about the new Waste Collection service:

Tuesday 28th March 10am – 8pm at Resident Lounge, Shearing Drive (no 46) SM5 1BL

The new waste collection service starts from 3rd April so once your recyclables have been collected this week you will need to start separating paper and card from your glass, plastic and tins.

There are four different leaflets being distributed depending on whether you have a kerbside wheelie bin collection, in flats with communal bins, have black bag collection, or live above shops. Some people have received the wrong leaflet – for example, some flats have wheelie bins rather than communal bins. If you think you have received the wrong leaflet contact the council to let them know.

You don’t need to spend money on compostable bags for your food waste caddy, you can use newspaper to wrap up your food waste. Alternatively, Sainsbury’s sell paper bags to line your food caddies which Jayne has been using for her compostable waste and finds them stronger and yet much faster to degrade in her composter.

Don’t forget to sign up for your Garden Waste collection service, which will now operate all year round.

Council investment secures London Cancer Hub plans
The council has agreed to acquire land from the Epsom & St Helier NHS Trust that will secure the site for the development of the London Cancer Hub in Belmont, on the site of the old Sutton Hospital. It was originally planned to acquire the land through a joint venture with the Institute of Cancer Research, but further work showed that this was an unnecessarily clunky vehicle and it was far simpler for the council to acquire the land itself. The council and the ICR are still working closely along with the Royal Marsden to achieve the long-term vision for the site, and this investment will provide certainty for prospective investors.

More information here.

Government cuts to School Funding
In Sutton, we have some of the best schools in the country – but the Government is putting them at risk with massive cuts to school funding.

98% of schools face a real terms cut in funding, with £3 billion cut by 2020. The average loss for each pupil is staggering: £339 for each primary school pupil and £477 for each secondary school pupil.

These cuts will have a catastrophic impact on schools that are already struggling with numerous financial challenges.

Your Lib Dem team is campaigning to stop the government making these cuts to school budgets and you can add your support by signing the petition here.

Upcoming Events and Activities

World War 1 commemoration ceremony in Wallington Library Gardens
As part of a national initiative to honour all those who were awarded the Victoria Cross in the WW1, the Mayor will be unveiling a memorial stone in honour of Lieutenant A O Pollard on 29th April at 11am. Lieutenant Pollard lived in Wallington and is the sole recipient of a Victoria Cross from WW1 with connections to the Borough. He went on to have a successful career writing crime fiction and died in 1960. The Local Committee have chosen the Library Gardens as the most suitable place for the commemorative stone. Around the time of the event, there will be a small display in the library.

The event is being held in conjunction with the army. Lieutenant Pollard was a member of the Honourable Artillery Company, and the programme will include a short service of remembrance and a one minute’s silence.

The Mayor’s Charity Quiz
Friday 21 April 6.30 for 7pm – 10 pm Robin Hood Junior School Thorncroft Road, Sutton, SM1 1RL

All proceeds to the Mayor of Sutton’s Charities: Sutton Shopmobility and The Alzheimer’s Society. Tickets are £12.00. Pizza Supper included in the Ticket price (Please advise if vegetarian alternative required).

Tickets can be purchased from the Mayor’s Macebearer, Luke Stephens at luke.stephens@sutton.gov.uk or phone 020 8770 5167 or 07400 062488
Make up your own table of eight, or contact us and we will fit you into a table

That is it for this update. Have a very happy Easter, and go easy on the chocolate.

From,

Steve Cook, Jayne McCoy, Muhammad Sadiq
Lib Dem Councillors for Wallington South
London Borough of Sutton

March 28, 2017 Posted by | Information, Liberal Democrats | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Superdragons vs Sutton Primary Schools

The three Superdragons in the boardroom

I was delighted to take part in the Sutton Junior Dragon’s Apprentice Challenge as one of the Boardroom ‘Superdragons’.

Organised by SCVS, four of the borough’s primary schools accepted the challenge to come up with an innovative business idea to raise funds for a local charity.  The schools formed teams, agreed team names, and were helped in the task by an allocated apprentice mentor. Three of the mentors were apprentices working at Sutton Council, and the fourth was an apprentice from Metro Bank.

The teams had to plan, organise and manage the fundraising activities, and then prepare a poster and a presentation for the final stage of the competition where they faced the Superdragons in the boardroom.

We Superdragons were very impressed with the great ideas and hard work the teams had put into the challenge, and with the very professional presentations. The children had clearly had fun too.

The schools taking part were: Westbourne Primary school – who put forward two teams, Cheam Common Junior Academy, All Saints Benhilton, and St Elphege’s RC Junior School.

Cheam Common Juniors present their project in the boardroom

There were a number of awards for a range of categories, and the winners will be announced shortly.

The challenge was a pilot of an initiative originally arranged by Broxbourne and East Herts CVS. SCVS are keen to roll the challenge out to more schools next year to make it a regular event.

The teams were given £50 seed money and in total nearly £2,000 was raised for local charities thanks to the hard work of the competing teams.

 

March 25, 2017 Posted by | Information | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sutton Council Budget Debate 2017

Monday saw the 31st council budget from a Liberal/Lib Dem administration in Sutton.

The budget was presented by Cllr Simon Wales, Deputy Leader and Lead Member for Resources, stating that, “Producing a budget is a team effort and I am grateful to all those who have played a part in getting us to this stage.”

To demonstrate this we had a total of 12 of our councillors contributing to the debate on the night. In contrast, and in these times of severe and significant pressure on council’s budgets affecting social care, schools and homelessness, the Conservative opposition had only two of their eight councillors with anything at all to say on the matter.

Even the two independent councillors felt the budget was important enough for them to contribute to the debate, even if Cllr Mattey’s fantastical ramblings took us off to La La Land.

My Lib Dem colleagues talked passionately about what the Government’s cuts meant for the services the council provides, and the innovative ways we have tried to mitigate the damage through shared services, new service delivery vehicles and targeted solutions. In particular Cllr Crossby welcomed the £1.25m that will be spent to transform Sutton’s performance in tackling domestic violence and abuse.

But it was Cllr Abellan’s speech that I felt summed up the way things are done under a Liberal Democrat administration. It is so good that I have reproduced it in full:

We’ve heard many great speeches so far tonight and if there is one clear message that stands out it’s that we are delivering value for money, working hard for every resident and keeping our borough one of the best places to live, work and raise a family. 

But don’t just take my word for it. Our Ipsos Mori surveys continue to show remarkable levels of satisfaction with our services, our recent peer review demonstrated that we’re already one of the best Councils and if this wasn’t enough, last summer, Carshalton Central residents put their trust in us once again by electing Councillor Chris Williams.

Mr Mayor, this last year has seen another assault on local Government from this Tory Government but despite the challenges, we are proud to present a balanced budget this evening. 

And the challenges have been great but we have rolled up our sleeves, got on with the job and as we’ve heard tonight, found innovative ways to deliver good value for money for all our residents.  

Innovative by sharing services with other boroughs when necessary and by developing an approach that delivers the best outcomes for our residents. By finding millions of pounds of savings with a new waste contract that will help us to significantly increase our recycling rates. 

Transformative by improving our partnerships and leading on the Sutton Plan.  Or by investing money to deliver a world-leading hub for cancer research and treatment right here in Sutton. 

As Liberal Democrats we believe that no one should be left behind and that’s why despite these difficult financial times, our decision to spend over 1 million pounds to tackle domestic violence is something we are very proud of. 

Mr Mayor, what have we learned from the opposition this evening? 

We’ve learned that they continue to support damaging cuts from this Tory Government. 

We’ve learned that they still have no vision for Sutton, no credible policies, no costed plan, no alternative budget, no leadership. 

And as we’ve heard tonight from Cllr Crowley, they confirmed that they would only reveal their plans for Sutton the year of the election. So here is the Tory plan, we hibernate for 3 years and come out at election time.

How can Sutton residents trust them to spend their money wisely? 

Mr Mayor, in these times when politics is being used to divide us – middle class and working class, young and old, immigrant, EU citizens,  the values that unite this group of Cllrs are needed more than ever if we are to continue to keep a compassionate, tolerant and cohesive community here in Sutton. 

We are not career politicians. We believe that our communities are stronger when decisions are made as close to our residents as possible. That no one should be left behind. We are immersed in our communities in many different shapes and forms and our engagement did not start and does not end with our position as Cllrs. We see this is a strength that keeps us in touch with our residents, help us stay grounded, not lose sight of what matters to residents and to understand that behind every policy, every decision, there are thousands of lives. These values have helped us build a healthy and trustworthy relationship with Sutton residents over the years. 

So as we enter into the last year of this administration, let’s be proud of this budget, let’s congratulate the work of our officers and strengthen our partnerships but let’s continue to champion these values and not forget that we have a lot more work to do . I commend this budget. 

This heartfelt speech was followed by the Conservatives’ second and final contribution from Cllr Garratt. I summed it up in my own speech as “A presentation of alternative facts, and a plea for more funding for cycling and bridges.” It aptly demonstrated the Conservatives complete failure to understand how the budget pressures we face require fundamental and substantive changes in the way councils operate, not just salami slicing or shuffling money around. Over the last three years, under the leadership of Cllr Crowley, the opposition has failed to offer any solutions or ideas, and seek only to oppose, insinuate and undermine our efforts. They offer no policies, and have no principles.

Independent Councillor Graham Whitham correctly predicted the fence-sitting of the Conservatives in abstaining from voting either for or against the budget, and reminded them curtly that the reason they had been elected was to make decisions, but by abstaining in this and the many other decisions they have the opportunity to participate in, they were abdicating that responsibility.

As Cllr Wales highlighted, here was an opportunity for the opposition to support the voices of their colleagues in Conservative-run councils, for even they are calling on their government to cease this onslaught on council budgets. But no, they clearly supported their Government’s policies whilst accepting no responsibility for the harsh cuts being imposed on their residents as a result. Shameful.

March 8, 2017 Posted by | Committee Meeting, Liberal Democrats | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Celebrating the opening of Subsea 7 new offices in Sutton

With council leader Ruth Dombey and Deputy Mayoress Pauline Cook

With council leader Ruth Dombey and Deputy Mayoress Pauline Cook

Yesterday I attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the official opening of the new Subsea 7 offices in Sutton.

These stunning new offices replace an old council car park, and enabled this global seabed engineering company to maintain and expand its presence in Sutton.

Not only is it an asset for the borough to be home to such a prestigious company, Subsea 7 give back to the borough by working with local schools encouraging our young people into careers in engineering.

I take an especial pride in having seen this project from inception to completion, as it is a positive result of the more facilitative approach our Planning Department is taking with businesses wishing to invest in the borough.

The building meets BREAM Excellent rating and includes features specifically to improve biodiversity. In particular it has a green roof planted especially to attract the rare blue butterfly, and there will be more trees planted on the site than were removed for the redevelopment.

February 24, 2017 Posted by | Information | , , , | Leave a comment

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