Diary of a Sutton Councillor

Free Easter Lunch for Wallington Seniors Tuesday 5th April 2016

easterAfter the success of their Seniors Christmas Dinner our wonderful Wallington Arms Public House is now putting on a free Easter Lunch for senior Wallington residents.

It takes place on Tuesday 5th April, 12 noon at the Wallington Arms.
We are so pleased at the community spirit of one of our local businesses so please pass on the invitation to your friends and neighbours who might be interested.
For more information and to reserve places please contact the pub direct on 0208 773 0404

March 24, 2016 Posted by | Information | , , | Leave a comment

Love Food Hate Waste

love food hate waste logoSutton Council is supporting the Government’s Love Food Hate Waste campaign and I must say that it is a campaign that very much chimes with me personally.

You see I have become a bit of an addict at seeking out recipes to use up leftovers and fresh produce before it goes off.

I have made it even more of a challenge as for many years I have had a regular organic veg box delivery. Whilst I love trying to use seasonable veg that hasn’t travelled for hundreds of miles, it has led to me encountering a much broader range of fruits and vegetables than I would have picked out at the supermarket. As a result I have had to learn how to prepare and cook them. Some vegetables I have come to know and love: squashes, aubergines, kale, spinach and leeks, but there are still one or two that I haven’t developed a taste for like celeriac and Jerusalem artichokes (although I did manage to smuggle Jerusalem artichokes into a recipe recently that the family actually liked!)

What is left of my carrot & honey muffins

My latest effort – carrot & honey muffins – or what’s left of them.

My failsafe is to make soup. There are so many soup recipes out there that I don’t believe there is a single vegetable that can’t be made into a warming and delicious soup (except perhaps celeriac!) Family favourites in my house are Leek & Potato, Pumpkin and Sweetcorn, and Chinese Noodle soup –  which is especially good for using up small bits of whatever leftover meat and leafy veg you have.

My next favourite way of using vegetables or an excess of fruit is to use them in baking. Carrots, parsnips, potatoes and beetroot can all be used in cake recipes. I love to see the faces when I serve up my chocolate beetroot cake and people realise that it tastes really moist and chocolatey and nothing at all like beetroot. I have a special apple cake that is full of fruit and so good when you need to use up your apples as they start to wrinkle, and of course if you can make a crumble topping or pastry that is an easy way to use up most fruit in various combinations.

Some other dishes I find helpful for using up leftovers are:

Macaroni cheese – use up those end bits of cheese and throw in any leftover veg – peas, onions, frozen mixed veg, chopped kale or spinach.

Kale or spinach are also lovely mixed in with a curry, and very good for you. Curry is also good for a variety of veg leftovers.

Meatloaf with courgette and herbs is a firm favourite in our house when I have a glut of courgettes.

Banana & cocoa muffins – perfect for using up overripe bananas.

Omelettes and frittatas are perfect for lunch and can use up lots of leftovers like bacon, tomatoes, mushrooms, chorizo, cooked potatoes, peas and onions.

Leftover wine (it can happen occasionally) gets thrown into tomato sauces for pasta, and don’t throw away your stale bread (unless it is mouldy of course) as there are many recipes that need stale bread, or blitz them into breadcrumbs and make a savoury crumble topping (mix with grated cheese) or mix with melted chocolate and ground almonds for an indulgent chocolate cake.

Having given it a trial I have now swapped to the Sutton Community Farm for my regular veg bag delivery as I was very impressed with the quality. Even less food miles as it is based in Wallington and I know I am supporting a local enterprise too.

If anyone is interested in some of the recipes I have mentioned drop me a line as I am happy to share.

The Love Food Hate Waste website has lots more tips and recipes for anyone who wants to find out more, and Sutton Council is providing special activity sessions for local people in support of the campaign – for info contact amy.harris@sutton.gov.uk or on 020 8770 6389.

 

February 15, 2016 Posted by | Information | , , , , | Leave a comment

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 | , , , , , , , | 1 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

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