Diary of a Sutton Councillor

Tuesday 3rd November 7pm

Beddington & Wallington Local Committee

The main items on the agenda for this meeting were the Beddington and The Grange Parks Draft Management Plan, an update on Public Realm projects and a report for decision on Footway Parking in Cul-de-sacs.

In Questions from the Public one of our community reps requested a more detailed breakdown of the expenditure on public realm projects to date. It was agreed that Mr Barker would prepare this for the next meeting.

In response to a question asked by Ms Hyatt at the previous meeting asking the Council to look into introducing a by-law preventing the illegal parking of caravans we were advised that in fact the legal department were already investigating this very issue with a view to implementing a suitable by-law.

Under Feedback from Previous Meetings the summary response from The Executive to our request to lock the gates at St Mary’s Field playground was tabled and read out. The committee was very disappointed that the Executive had requested that the Safer Sutton Partnership produce more evidence before the request to lock the gates was granted. It was felt that sufficient evidence had been presented to the Beddington & Wallington Local Committee for us to decide it was necessary, and that had been at the request of the local Safer Neighbourhoods Team. The committee tasked me as chair to make the committee’s views on the matter known to the Executive.

The Committee was being asked to agree the implementation of the Beddington and The Grange Parks Draft Management Plan. Bill Wyatt, Assistant Parks Manager explained how the document had been prepared and what consultation had taken place with local residents and the Friends of the Park. He explained that the Plan included all the work that they would like to have done in the Park as and when funds became available. Mr Wyatt was clear that there was insufficient money currently available to do everything in the Plan. The Plan also contained details of the day to day maintenance requirements of the Park.

The Committee approved the Plan.

Under Public Realm Mr Barker, Lead Locality Officer, provided an update of projects implemented to date and those still outstanding. In particular he brought the Committee’s attention to the issue of repairing or replacing the lights at Roundshaw recreation ground. It was reported that repairs could cost anything up to £10,000 and whether repaired or replaced the Parks Department did not have sufficient budget to manage the additional maintenance. Members of the public wanted to know exactly how much the maintenance was expected to cost, talking in terms of ‘changing a few light bulbs’. Mr Wyatt was unable to provide estimates but was adamant that Parks had no spare capacity to take on additional maintenance responsibilities. The committee requested that Mr Wyatt brought back more detail about the cost of maintaining the lights to a future meeting.

The ongoing work to try to improve Elms Pond was discussed in detail. The Parks department had received a report from specially contracted consultants that the expected cost to maintain the fountain using a special filter and associated works could cost up to £100,000. This far exceeded the amount of £30,000 set aside for the project. It was suggested by Mr Wyatt that they go back to the advice from earlier consultants and try to do the best they could with the existing facility up to the amount of £30,000. They felt that they would probably need additional funds probably around £10,000 to be able to do the work. It was also noted that the consultants had noted a crack in the concrete base of the pond which would need investigation and repair before any further work could be carried out.

It was agreed that the committee did not want to spend £100,000 on the pond and a suggestion was made by Community Rep Mr Sammons to put in a water feature much of the kind found at any good garden centre. It would be much smaller than the existing fountain, and as the size of the current fountain was felt to be causing some of the problems with the filter, it would still be in keeping with the intention of the pond. There was a lot of support for this idea and Mr Wyatt agreed to go and investigate this possibility in more detail.

Finally we had a report for decision about Footway Parking in Cul-de-sacs. The issue concerned whether Penalty Charge Notices should be issued to cars parked with their wheels on the pavement or to those parked in front of dropped kerbs. A number of cul-de-sacs in the local committee area had been consulted and the proposal was to enforce, or not enforce against either type of footway parking in each road according to the wishes of the residents as shown by the results to the surveys.

The first concern of committee members was that they had been unaware that footway parking was not currently being enforced in cul-de-sacs. It transpired that the decision had been made in 2005 by council officers not to enforce. Members were not happy that councillors had not been involved in this decision. Members also raised concerns about cul-de-sacs not included on the list of streets surveyed. Donna Ashby, the officer presenting the paper, responded that only those cul-de-sacs from which they had received a number of complaints about footway parking had been reviewed. Councillors responded that they had themselves received sufficient complaints about parking in roads not on the list and felt that this was a failure of the exercise.

Then problems were highlighted about there being eleven roads in the area not only having different enforcement conditions from the majority of roads in the borough, but also each having different conditions. A member of the public wondered how a motorist was to know when it was ok to park across a dropped kerb & when it wasn’t. It was all too confusing. It was felt that it may also prove too complicated for consistent enforcement by parking officers. The committee felt that any decision about the enforcement of footway parking in cul-de-sacs, or any other roads, should be consistent throughout an area and so rejected the paper. It was felt that the topic deserved wider discussion at a future meeting.

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November 20, 2009 - Posted by | Committee Meeting

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