Diary of a Sutton Councillor

Your Councillors’ Summer Update

  

A long spell of good weather, England in the semi-finals of the world cup and no rain at Wimbledon – it all feels a bit surreal and rather discombobulating.

This can’t possibly be an English Summer!

Whatever the weather the work of your ward councillors continues and here is our latest update:

Wallington Square

Your three ward councillors have been keeping an eye on this private development and liaising with the contractors and residents. At a recent site meeting we were able to confirm that spikes will be added to all the struts and ridges to prevent pigeons roosting.

The paving is the square is looking very dirty already, a lot of it is due to the pigeon droppings so we have asked for it to be given a good clean. However there appears to have been oil of some sort staining the paving which we have asked to be investigated as this is going to be harder to clean up.

The problem with the downpours over the shopfronts when we had heavy rain was the result of the guttering being incorrectly installed (essentially it was back to front). This has now been corrected. The drainage of the square has been confirmed as being to the required standard.

There are electrical connections so that Christmas lights can easily be put in and the light-sensitive lighting has been fully installed and is working well.

Following liaison with the local Police works have been undertaken to prevent young people getting onto the canopy. CCTV has also been installed.

The owners are yet to secure a tenant for the empty unit but are marketing it currently.

Wallington Library and Gardens

Refurbishment works

Wallington Library is undergoing refurbishment to improve the children’s library area, adapt the Mallinson Room so it can be hired out, and use the old conference room for a new Health and Social Care integrated team based locally to support Wallington Residents. More information is available here. The library will be closed for this work until Tuesday 7th August.

The work aims to ensure the ongoing viability of the library by making the space work harder as well as seeking to meet the needs of residents. Our borough libraries are proving very popular as places for our students to study, so the council is increasing the space available for study use.

Your ward councillors have been working with the Friends of Wallington Library and Gardens to make sure that they are able to continue their positive work for the library and residents. Staff changes and the refurbishment had caused a few problems but we hope that with our backing the library staff will work in partnership with the Friends for the benefit of the library and its users.

Unlocking the Library Gardens

We have received complaints that the library gardens were locked whenever the library was closed. This had occurred due to incidences of anti-social behaviour in the gardens including vandalism of the pond and fountain. We agreed with residents that as public space the gardens should be open in the early evenings and at weekends to be enjoyed by the community. We are therefore pleased that thanks to our efforts the library has agreed to leave the gardens open with immediate effect.

We think that anti-social behaviour is less likely to take place when the gardens are well-used. Determined vandals were able to access the gardens even when locked, and the lack of other users made it easier for them to misbehave.

Wallington Gardens fountain and pond

Contrary to rumours the pond is here to stay. It has recently been drained for cleaning and has now been refilled. The pump has repeatedly broken and a replacement is in the process of being purchased.

Professional pond and water experts have been consulted on the pond and they advised that the water was contaminated and unsuitable for fish. They have confirmed that the pond is not of a suitable size to sustain any significant numbers of fish in a healthy and humane way. As a result the fish have been rehomed and a mesh will be introduced to prevent vandalism and the introduction of fish to the pond.

As rubbish and food are regularly thrown into the pond as well as fish it means that it would be impossible to prevent future contamination of the pond presenting a health hazard to both the fish and the public. For this reason fish will not be a feature of the pond. The fountain will however remain and be in use once the new pump is installed.

Untidy Grass Verges

IdVerde are contracted by the council to maintain Sutton’s parks and grass verges. The significant rain earlier in the year meant that they were unable to cut the grass according to schedule as their vehicles would have cut up the wet ground. They aim to cut the grass verges twice monthly during the April to June growing season.

This means that the grass is longer when it is cut, and cannot be cut as neatly. The cuttings are left in place as mulch and normally are not noticeable. However because the grass is currently longer when it is cut, and drier, it is more visible and is being blown into the roads and gutters. The contractors have still to get back on schedule to cut it as frequently as required.

The result is that our grass verges are not looking as tidy as they should. The council is aware of this and IdVerde are working to get round all the verges to keep on top of the growth.

In the meantime please report excess cuttings in the street that need sweeping up here.

You can report very overgrown verges here.

Wallington Music Festival

The festival held in June was the fourth year it has been held and continues to be very popular with locals. Steve, Muhammad and Jayne work alongside the other residents and businesses who give up their time to help organise the festival. We are lucky to have such community-minded people and great venues and contacts to bring such high quality music to Wallington.

Our own councillor Steve Cook, who is currently our Sutton Borough Mayor, surprised the crowds when he opened the festival, as he then joined a specially formed band – The Mayors Flares and proceeded to play drums as they knocked out some popular numbers. All caught on video here.

Wallington Girls School Event dates

Wallington Girls School puts out information each term about upcoming events at the school, especially those likely to see an increase in traffic and parking congestion. If you wish to be included on their circulation list please contact the school via Jenny Andrews: jandrews@wallingtongirls.org.uk. Local residents have found this to be very helpful advance warning and the school works with Parking Enforcement and has also worked with Woodcote Nursery to provide additional parking for attendees at their events.

Hillside Gardens Roundabout

Residents have repeatedly raised concerns about safety at the mini-roundabout on Sandy Lane South at the junction with Hillside Gardens. We raised this with the council and as a result a speed check sign has been introduced to encourage vehicles to reduce their speed on the approach to the roundabout.

Changes to bin collection schedules

As part of the new waste contract all four boroughs in the South London Waste Partnership: Kingston, Merton, Sutton and Croydon, will eventually all receive the same waste collection service. Although at present all have their waste collected by Veolia, there are differences between bins and collection days.

From September Croydon will be fully on the same system as us and to achieve the savings and ensure the most efficient vehicle routing across the boroughs there will be some changes to the days that your waste is collected. These changes will particularly affect those wards closest to Croydon so our ward, Wallington South will have some changes.

For some of you it will mean putting out your bins in a different week, and in other cases the bins you put out each week will change i.e. it might be paper and card with landfill rather than mixed recycling and landfill.

Any Saturday collections will now be made on a Monday.

You will receive notification if you are affected followed by a new calendar.

There will be additional collections during the changeover to ensure that no waste waits longer than a fortnight for collection, and the food waste no longer than a week. The crews will accept side waste over the period of the change too.

There will be no changes to the bins themselves or what you put in them so do keep up the good work. Sutton is now recycling 50% of its waste – making us the top London borough for recycling, and we have significantly reduced the amount of waste being sent to landfill since the new service was introduced.

New Trees Planted

We were pleased to secure funding from the Local Committee to replace diseased trees in Woodcote Road close to Birdhurst Court. We also saw a broken bench replaced.

New trees planted in the area have suffered as a result of this long hot dry spell. If you live close to one please give it a bit of TLC by watering it regularly. You can use your waste washing up water or bath water as long as they have nothing stronger than washing up liquid in it.

 

A Foodbank for Wallington

Sutton Community Works is a charity that already runs a foodbank in Sutton, and is also the group responsible for the Street Pastors and a Job Club. They work closely with Sutton Council and the police. They have identified a need for a foodbank in Wallington and are in the process of setting one up to open in September. It is expected to be held once a week for a couple of hours at St Michael’s Church in Milton Road. The Woodcote Flying Club have offered to be a collection point for donations, and the charity is looking for other places to be collection points. They are also looking for volunteers to be stock checkers etc.

Whilst it is shocking that foodbanks are necessary, we fully support this local initiative and hope that local people will help with donations and help.

 

PLANNING NEWS

The scaffolding around Lidl appears to be in respect of work to replace the roof. It does not require planning permission but is subject to Building Control sign off.

An Enforcement Notice was been issued in respect of works on Land Adjoining 274 Woodcote Road Wallington.

DM2018/01097 11 Hall Road Wallington SM6 0RT Change of Use from a Care Home to a House in Multiple Occupation involving a single storey rear extension, a two storey side extension and alteration to side elevation. Conversion of loft space involving an additional dormer extension at rear. Click on the link to comment on this application

DM2018/00539 11 Park Hill Road Wallington SM6 0SD Conversion of existing 4 bed residential unit into 1×1 bed, 1×2 bed and 1×3 to 4 bed flats with associated parking and landscaping. Refused as provides inadequate space standards and amenity space, insufficient off-street car parking and potential harm to the street tree.

DM2018/00128 25-27 Beddington Gardens And 18 Holmwood Gardens Wallington SM6 0JG Demolition of a 1 storey house and 2 bungalows. Erection of a three storey building plus roof accomodation compromising 22 x one bedroom flats, 14 x two bedroom flats and 4 x three bedroom flats with accomodation in the roof, 32 solar panels on block B, landscaping, basement parking with 40 car parking spaces, cycle and refuse stores. Refused on the grounds that it is overdevelopment of the site, out of character with the surrounding area, would provide insufficient light and privacy to the occupants and does not provide sufficient affordable accommodation or family units.

DM2018/00398 127 Boundary Road Wallington SM6 0TE Demolition of existing single-family dwelling and erection of one 2-storey block with accommodation in the roof level and basement, containing 8 flats with associated access, 8 parking spaces, cycle storage and refuse store. Refused as overdevelopment of the site and an inappropriate design that would cause harm to the streetscene

D2017/78438 127 BOUNDARY ROAD WALLINGTON SM6 0TE
Demolition of existing single-family dwelling and erection of one 2-storey building with accommodation at roof level, containing 9 flats ( eight 2-bedroom and one 1-bedroom) with associated access, 9 off-street parking spaces , cycle storage and refuse store. Refused as overdevelopment of the site and an incongruous design that would cause harm to the streetscene

D2017/ 78115 Public convenience and land r/o Crosspoint House 28 STAFFORD ROAD WALLINGTON SM6 9AA Conversion of public convenience and erection of a part two, part three storey extension to create two 1 bedroomed and one 2 bedroomed self contained flats, together with roof terrace and balcony and refuse and cycle store. Refused due to its excessive scale and poor design that would detract from the character of the area

DM2018/00354 5-6 Ross Parade Wallington SM6 8QG Erectionof part four, part five storey extension to existing building comprising 33 self contained flats (twenty four 2-bedroom, eight 3-bedroom and one 4-bedroom) with refuse store and 62 cycle parking spaces. Application withdrawn

 

BEDDINGTON AND WALLINGTON LOCAL COMMITTEE & AREA NEWS

The Beddington & Wallington Local Committee took place on 17th July at Wallington Boys Grammar School. Items of interest to our ward were:

Local Police Update

The Front Counter at Crosspoint House is now closed and all the Safer Neighbourhood teams will instead be holding one hour Community Contact sessions each week in venues in their wards. These will be advertised over social media and through local forums.

The Wallington South Team had been made aware of two brothels operating in our ward and after working with landlords and housing associations have successfully closed both down.

The Team are also working with us to seek to gate the Ross Parade alleyway to prevent the anti-social behaviour this area regularly attracts.

TfL Funding for Traffic Schemes

The council has to propose schemes for funding by Transport for London on an annual basis. Two of the four schemes included for funding in the 2019/20 bid are in our ward: Clyde Road/Ross Road and Onslow Gardens/Blenheim Gardens. These schemes are to address traffic and parking issues in these areas. As there is unlikely to be sufficient funding for all four schemes we asked that the Clyde Road/Ross Road scheme be prioritised of the two in our ward, as the pressures are greatest there.

Capital funding for local schemes

It was agreed to continue funding hanging baskets and festive lighting across the area. This takes up a significant amount of the funding allocated to the committee but they are well supported by local residents and businesses, and there is still funding left for other schemes.

It was noted that previous agreed schemes had now been implemented including the installation of new play equipment in Roundshaw Park including specialised disability play equipment; and improvements to the Mellows Park tennis courts and multi-use play area.

Event Fees and Charges

There will be a review of the process for Event Fees and Charges including street closures for street parties as the current system is too bureaucratic and is proving a blockage to community events taking place. We were saddened to learn that some planned events did not take place as residents were put off by the requirements. When local groups approached us about these problems we were able to help them successfully through the process, but not everyone contacted their ward councillors and so may have given up. If you have any examples of hitting problems when applying do let us know so we can feed this into the review.

The next meeting of the Beddington & Wallington Local Committee will be on 30th October at 7pm. Venue to be confirmed.

Award-winning Community Representative

We would like to congratulate our local Woodcote Avenue Road Fund Committee community Representative Colin Wadeson who won an award for his contribution to the local area at a recent event celebrating the work of the community representatives that attend the local committee meetings and act as leading members of the community, making the area better for everyone. Colin was especially recognised for bringing the bandstand and resulting music festival to Wallington, as well as his practical help with the Christmas Fair and festive lights switch-on.

 

So that is it from us for now. Have a lovely summer, and don’t forget your suncream.

Jayne, Steve and Muhammad

Your Wallington South Liberal Democrat Councillors

 

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August 3, 2018 Posted by | Information, Liberal Democrats | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Chair’s update on the work of the Housing, Economy and Business Committee

HEB meeting held on Tuesday 19th June 2018

Key items of business:

  • Council Tax Reduction Scheme Annual Review 17/18 –  No changes to scheme required but set up Task & Finish Group to consider amendments to care leavers support and impact of inflation. Agreed.
  • Beddington Village Conservation Area Appraisal – Community drafted appraisal to be used as a material planning consideration – Agreed by majority vote. Independant voted against, all three Conservatives abstained.
  • Building a Sustainable Sutton – Local Plan Technical Guidance Note – approval of guidance on the Carbon Offset Fund, Biodiversity Calculator and Greenspace Factor – Agreed
  • Rents for Housing Revenue Account New Build Properties – proposal to set rents for new build council housing at up to 65% of market rent – Agreed
  • Set up of Task & Finish Group to consider reducing Empty Property Exemptions for council tax – for decision at September HEB

Other business since previous meeting

 

Tram extension to Sutton

There was a joint presentation by Merton & Sutton to the Mayor’s Good Growth Board on 28th February where the Deputy Mayor for Transport confirmed backing of the Sutton Tram extension.

 

Mayor’s Draft London Plan and changes to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF)

Both of these plans set much higher targets for housing delivery than we included in our Local Plan. We think the proposed targets are based on flawed calculations and are undeliverable. Robust responses have been submitted to both: Draft London Plan  NPPF

 

Employment and Skills Board Meeting on 11th June 2018

Agenda included:

  • An update on the Disability Confident Event on 19th June delivered by DWP & LBS
  • An update on the work of the Early Help Board
  • An update on the Big Bang Festival of Science on 9th – 14th July
  • Opportunity for joint bid to Young Londoners Fund
  • Feedback on South London Partnership Skills Strategy work
  • Regular Partners Updates

 

SHP

I have continued attending regular Fire Safety Meetings of SHP, the Council and the Fire Brigade following the Grenfell Fire.

I also met with SFTRA chair and vice-chair  for quarterly discussions.

 

Council housing new build

Work is progressing well at Fellowes Road, Richmond Green and Ludlow Lodge. An unauthorised person gained access to the Ludlow Lodge site and climbed the crane there. The police and council’s project manager were on site whilst the man remained in situ.

Members had visited the site previously and confirm it was secured, but following this incident the council will be making an inquiry into the security of the site.

 

Regeneration

Consultation with residents is ongoing about potential regeneration schemes at Elm Grove in Sutton Central and Beech Tree Place in Sutton West. The ward councillors are briefed and involved in the process. Elm Grove is more progressed and viability work is now underway using the feedback from residents on needs and preferences.

Work is being done looking into building housing on garage sites at Alexandra Gardens in Clockhouse. Ward councillors have been briefed.

 

Other

As Trustee on the Wandle Valley Regional Park board representing the council’s interests I attended board meetings in March and May.

I represented Sutton Council at a Camden-organised Resident Safety Event focussed on the Dame Hackett Review into Building Regulations following the Grenfell Tower fire on 26th March.

Sutton was co-sponsor of the Sutton Business Awards held on 21st June at the Holiday Inn.

July 9, 2018 Posted by | Information | , , , , | Leave a comment

Stunning talent at the 2018 Wallington Music Festival

   

The sun smiled on the fourth annual Wallington Music Festival as hundreds of people gathered to hear local musical talent perform throughout the day.

Willow RiversThe musical feast began in the library with Rhodri Williams playing a selection of popular pieces on the Mallinson Room piano, followed by Willow Rivers performing her own stunning compositions.

At 11.30 the festival moved into the Library Gardens as The Brook Choir opened the show and quickly got the crowd singing along.

The Mayor of Sutton, local councillor Steve Cook and his Lady Mayoress Pauline Cook formally opened the festival at noon, but then the Mayor seated himself behind the drums and played a rocking set as part of the specially formed band The Mayor’s Flares also featuring Andy Brook on guitar. Where else but Wallington!

For the rest of the afternoon the crowds were treated to a range of performances switching between the bandstand and the main stage on the steps of the old Town Hall. List of performers shown further down.

It was a lovely family event. Those who knew what to expect came prepared with blankets and picnics and settled down with their families to enjoy the day. Others wandered in to see what was happening and then stayed, other people came specially to see certain performers.

There was a free activity stall for children to make their own bunting flags, a facepainter, and for the adults a mobile bar provided by the Duke’s Head. The festival had been expanded to use Jubilee Gardens as a food area where the bar was set up alongside street food provided by Chef Arif, The Woodcote Flying Club and Byrnes. Tables and chairs had been arranged under the beautiful tree in Jubilee Gardens which proved to be a great place to chill and still hear the music. The Cafe in the Library Gardens was kept busy as people decided to stay and make a day of it.

At 6pm the performances moved on from the library gardens out to a number of venues around Wallington: The Ginger Frog, The Brook, The Duke’s Head, Cactus Grill, Wallington Arms, The Woodcote Flying Club and Hotrocks. I didn’t get round all the venues but those I did were packed out and rocking.

The range of music was huge from choirs and classical, to jazz, rap, acoustic, folk, rock and pop. Much was original work, and I am sure we have witnessed a number of stars of the future.

People were blown away by the quality of the performers, and we are both proud and lucky that we have such a wealth of talent locally to be able to provide a festival of such a musical high standard.

Much of the reason we can showcase such talent is down to local man Andy Brook, who sources and co-ordinates the performers for the festival. Some of the venues book acts directly, but all liaise with Andy over who is performing where on the day.

A number of local people and businesses work voluntarily to bring the Music Festival together: Ric Adams, Colin Wadeson, Christine Lindsay, Alan Fitter, Andy & Thea Brook, Jean Grima, Chloe Rae, Andrew Langley, Steve and Teresa Green of The Woodcote Flying Club, , Arif Hasan, Emma Waterman from the Duke’s Head, Sally and Nick Byrne, Paul Verlander from Carpenter & Co Solicitors who were our main sponsors this year and Steve, Muhammad and myself as the local ward councillors. (Apologies if there is anyone I have accidently forgotten.)

A special thanks to those businesses that get involved in the organisation of the festival. They put huge amounts of time and effort in, but the rewards are felt by businesses and venues throughout Wallington, as well as providing a great event for the local community. Also thanks to Gary Milsom for providing PA equipment and more, and a special shout out to Thea Brook for being a brilliant MC all day.

But what really makes this now annual fixture a success are the great artists who come and perform for our enjoyment. Here is the list of performers at this year’s festival – look them up on Spotify etc. to hear more of their work:

Acoustic Bliss
Alien Brain
Amelia Langley
Angelica Rincon
Anne Sumner
Annie & the Make Believe
Atlantis
Bel Stubley
Bigworld
Cat Totman
Charlie Ardley
Chebeto Requena
Chloe Ray
Chris Barrat
Chrissy Fuel & the Flames
Dan Davison
Dan Davison
Dragonfly Sky
Eltel
Emily Clair
Ernesto Marichales
Evensong
Gary Mason Charity Drummers
Hank Osasuna
Henry Bravo
Jack Bennett
Jack Flint
J-Catz
Jemma Jenkinson
Jordan Rutland
Kazoom
Kinacho
Lily Otten
Luis Landa
Maya Lane
Michael Alexandra
Oliver Hall
Pat Giles Clarinet Quartet
Paul Captain Watson
Peter Green
Peter Munt
Queen V
Rhodri Williams
Rob Cushman
Scott McFarnon
Scott Roxburgh
Sea Goats
SM6 Jazz Project
South London Sinfonia
St Elpheges Choir
Terry Finch
The Brook Choir
The Mayors Flares
The Reasonable Sips
The Steve Eggs Band
Tom Johnson
Uncle Greedy
Vinny Joe
Willow Rivers
Zero Carbon Band

Our rag-tag bunch of organisers led by Ric Adams is entirely voluntary, wanting simply to share the joy of music with the fabulous Wallington community by putting on an open-to-all local event. We are associated under the name AllinWallington so we can apply for a bit of local grant funding to help with expenses setting up this festival and the Wallington Christmas Festival.

The day went brilliantly, and the atmosphere was great. Best of all no one fell in the pond!

I am sure Ric Adams will have some fabulous pictures of the day that will be posted on the Wallington, Surrey Facebook page so look out for those.

 

 

 

June 24, 2018 Posted by | Information, Opinion | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wallington South provides borough’s First Citizen

Mayor of Sutton Cllr Steve Cook and local Sea Cadets

Wallington South once again has the honour of supplying a Mayor for the new municipal year as Cllr Steve Cook takes on the role of First Citizen of the borough. This means that Steve and his wife Pauline will be attending various events and civic functions representing the borough, and also raising money for the Mayor’s charities, St Helier Kidney Fund and Home Start Sutton.

The role means that Steve has to be non-political for his term, but don’t worry, he will still be able to take up ward casework as usual.

June 14, 2018 Posted by | Information | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sutton’s response to the Consultation on the Draft National Planning Policy Framework

10 May 2018

The Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP
Secretary of State for Communities & Local Government

Dear Secretary of State,

Consultation on the Draft National Planning Policy Framework

The current focus on addressing the housing crisis is to be welcomed. However many of the policies and ideas put forward will either be ineffective in addressing the crisis, undeliverable or will produce negative consequences.

First there is the focus on delivering units of housing. This is reducing the very human requirement of needing a place to reside down to the basics of simply a place of shelter, a roof over their head. This ignores the social impacts of poor quality housing and overcrowding.

Space standards are allowed to be reduced to squeeze in more units, and place-shaping, infrastructure and community-building are all inconveniences subsumed to the demand for greater housing numbers. The result will be social malaise, poor health both mental and physical, and a reduction in the attractiveness of our towns and cities.

Design appears to have been relegated to an afterthought, only seen as a function to be able to deliver more houses in ever smaller spaces.

People do not want units or boxes, they want quality homes with local schools, accessible transport and access to green and open spaces.

The second failure of the focus on units is that development is encouraged that does not meet the underlying need.

Why are we filling all available space in our towns and cities with accommodation that the vast majority cannot afford?

Developers will require a minimum 65% luxury apartments to subsidise the 35% affordable element. So we are getting yet more units of unaffordable housing that no one wants or needs squeezed in just to deliver a few affordable units that are desperately in demand.

This failure in previous housing delivery policy is now expected to be addressed by removing all sense of character and place in the drive to now provide housing units. Top-down targets imposed on local areas allow for no sensitivity to heritage, character and place, and may end up largely undeliverable as sites are already at a premium.

As ever the Planning System is being wrongly blamed for the crisis, and then held accountable for delivery that is outside of its influence.

The response to policy papers by tweaking the NPPF will not resolve the underlying causes of the housing crisis but will instead erode the quality and offer of our towns and cities making the UK a less attractive place to live, and may result in social tensions and disharmony similar to the previous impacts resulting in ghettos and sink estates that previous flawed attempts to address housing issues created.

We have responded to the questions put, but suggest that the thinking around addressing the housing crisis needs broadening  beyond planning policy.

Yours sincerely

Councillor Jayne McCoy
Chair of the Housing, Economy & Business Committee, London Borough of Sutton

June 9, 2018 Posted by | Information, Liberal Democrats, Opinion | , , , | 1 Comment

Opening of new social housing for over 60s

I was very pleased to be invited to join the Sutton Mayor Cllr Jean Crossby to celebrate the official opening of Dillon Court, a development specially designed to accommodate older residents.

The development in Brighton Road, Sutton replaces the outdated Grace Court sheltered accommodation and provides 39 affordable housing flats, and 11 shared-ownership flats. This is a collaboration between CCHA and Orbit housing providers.

A tour of the development revealed well designed and spacious accommodation, and included flats adapted to accommodate people with disabilities including adjustable-height kitchen worktops and lowered bathroom fittings.

All the units include emergency call out facilities and access to a well planned communal garden area.

It was also good to hear that partnership working with the nearby Sutton Lodge Day Centre had resulted in CCHA contributing towards renewing the kitchen at Sutton Lodge, which will in return welcome residents from Dillon Court to attend their regular events and activities aimed at older people.

May 16, 2018 Posted by | Information | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thank you

Steve Cook, Muhammad Sadiq and myself are honoured to have been voted back in as representatives for Wallington South ward on Sutton Council.

It is always a pleasure talking to residents on the doorstep, hearing about local issues and your aspirations for the area. It was also lovely to receive good wishes and thanks for the work we have done on your behalf previously.

We are inspired by the faith residents have placed in us and we will continue to work hard to keep Wallington a lovely place to live or work, stand up for our area in council, and keep you informed of decisions that impact upon you or the area, as well as local events and activities that might be of interest.

Do contact us by email if you think we can be of help, or if you would like more information about the council or local issues. We are happy to visit you by appointment.

We will continue to hold our monthly surgery at the rear entrance of Wallington Sainsburys, third Saturday of every month (except August) 10 – 11.30am. Feel free to just pop by and say hello, no appointment necessary.

 

Thank you once again

Steve Cook, Jayne McCoy & Muhammad Sadiq

May 9, 2018 Posted by | Liberal Democrats | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Wallington South Councillors’ Spring Update

Spring appears to be playing peek-a-boo with us, with one day the bulbs and seedlings starting to show, the next they are lost under a pile of snow. But the promise of warmer days and lighter nights is definitely there, so it is time for an update from your ward councillors.

Ward News

Street cleaning

Veolia have taken over responsibility for keeping the borough’s streets clean, and they are required to maintain them to a certain set standard. Whilst most of our streets are being maintained, there are a few areas that persistently fall well below standard and we have had to chase Veolia to do a proper clean. One of the key issues has been clearing up the debris left by leaf fall.

Please do let us know if your street is not being cleaned to a good standard as we will inform the council which has the power to levy fines if Veolia are not meeting the standards in the contract.

Bins

Most households are now receiving a regular collection, with just an occasional missed bin due to the weather or roadworks. However there are still a few persistent problem areas, usually flats. In the first instance please report a missed collection online, however if the bin is not collected after a couple of days then please let your ward councillor know. We can escalate the matter and ensure that the council is aware that Veolia are not performing and penalise them accordingly.

Veolia are no longer issuing new bins or recycling boxes in response to new requests. However if you put in a request prior to November 2017 let us know as they should still be honouring these requests. The same goes if you never received the correct receptacle in the first place.

Tree pruning

It is tree pruning season for Wallington South this spring, and the biggest problem our contractors face are vehicles ignoring the temporary No Parking signs so they cannot access the trees. Please note the date if notices go up in your road and try to park your vehicle elsewhere on that day.  However we realise that in many cases it is not residents but commuters or non-residents who are the worst offenders. However they are more likely to take notice if there are not lots of other cars parked despite the signs.

Wallington Music Festival

On to happier things: the Wallington Music Festival will be back again on Saturday 23rd June and the local team are already busy arranging for the best local talent to perform for your delight.

 

Beddington & Wallington Local Committee feedback

Road safety schemes

The Beddington & Wallington Local Committee deals with requests for road safety improvements and the committee and community representatives decide on which schemes should be prioritised for funding out of the (shrinking) TfL funding allocation.

The committee agreed that funding should be allocated to implement School Keep Clear markings outside Sherwood Hill School on Stanley Park Road and for improvements to the vehicle access here.

It was agreed for HGV restrictions in Clyde Road to be put forward for funding from the TfL allocation.

A further junction assessment will be undertaken of the Woodcote Road/Stafford Road (Sainsburys) junction to see if it can be improved without increasing delays to the wider highways network.

Design options to improve the Foresters Drive/Wordsworth Road/Sandy Lane South junction are being drafted.

Speed activation signs are to be installed to slow vehicles approaching the Sandy Lane South/ Hillside Gardens mini-roundabout following concerns raised with us by residents.

Other local projects

With funding cuts the council can no longer afford to automatically replace trees that have had to be felled due to disease or damage, but using local committee public realm funding we have been able to replace a number of felled trees across the area including two in Wallington town centre and six in Heathdene Road.

A damaged bench in Woodcote Road close to Woodcote Avenue will also be replaced and funding was agreed for the lovely hanging basket displays around the Local Committee area.

Slightly further afield but within the local area a new heritage post was purchased for Wallington Green to support hanging baskets there.

The committee had also agreed for two pieces of play equipment for disabled children to be installed at Roundshaw Park.

Mellows Park will have its tennis courts relined and the Multi-use Games area pressure-washed and relined.

A zebra crossing will be installed in front of Highview Primary School.

All of the projects and safety schemes were suggested by local residents either directly or through their ward councillor. So if you have any ideas for projects to spend the funds allocated to the Local Committees do get in touch with us. There are also Neighbourhood Grant schemes available for community events which have been used to help support the Wallington Music Festival and Christmas Lights Switch on as well as for community street parties.

Bandon Hill Cemetery WW1 war graves project

Most of our war dead were buried in graves on the continent but did you know that there are 55 war graves in Bandon Hill Cemetery? With funding from the Heritage Lottery fund the Council, with support from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, is running an initiative to help care for these war graves and to research the lives of those buried there. For more information about the project and to get involved email steve.penneck@sutton.gov.uk.

Working with the Local Police Team

Steve, Muhammad and Jayne attend the Safer Neighbourhood Team Ward Panel quarterly meetings along with residents to discuss local policing matters. We were pleased to learn that Wallington South is one of the safest wards in the borough, and therefore in London. However nowhere is crime-free and the most frequent incidences are burglaries, motor vehicle crime and moped enabled crime. The advice to prevent the first two is simple: ensure your car and house are locked and don’t leave valuables on display. The local team advised however that the biggest criminal activity they face across the board is online scamming.

You can find out more about the local team’s work on their website or like their facebook page

More worrying was learning about the cuts to London’s Police funding by the Treasury, meaning that there are proposals to merge boroughs in order to make savings. For us that would mean Sutton merging with Bromley and Croydon under one Area Commander. This is concerning as it is expected that most of the resources would go to Bromley and Croydon as they have higher crime rates, leaving Sutton exposed. The over-stretched police force would also have to make compromises in the way it deals with crime. We have a petition running against this merger.

Wallington High School for Girls

Wallington Girls circulates information about upcoming events at the school which may result in additional traffic in the area:

  • April 18th Parents’ Evening 4 -7pm
  • April 24th e-Safety Evening 6.30pm and Welcome to WHSG evening (for prospective 6F students – to be confirmed)
  • April 26th Parents Evening 4 – 7pm
  • May 24th GCSE Art exhibition in the hall 5pm

Planning News

The application to develop the Wallington Public Hall site was agreed unanimously at the Planning Committee on Wednesday 21st March.

There is an application in respect of Wallington Square to allow construction work between the hours of 6pm and 11pm over a six week period to allow the installation of the canopy over the square. This is to prevent having to close the square during the day which would impact on businesses. Although the consultation deadline for this application is 2nd April, work has already started out of hours. It is therefore subject to an enforcement notice.

If you are disturbed by noise as a result of this out of hours working you should report it to the council’s Environmental Health team – call 020 8770 5000 – there will be a 24/7 duty officer who can take calls out of hours if necessary.

Borough News

The council elections will be held on 3rd May and we appear to be already into the silly season of misinformation, smears and in some cases, downright lies. Sadly some people think that this is the  way to do politics. We would disagree – if you can’t make your case based on the truth, then you have no case. We would rather give you the facts, even if some of them are uncomfortable, or you disagree with our decisions, at least we are being honest with you.

It is very easy to make allegations, but harder to defend, more especially now social media allows things to be reposted and shared repeatedly. It would be impossible to post the facts in response to every single time misinformation is posted or reposted on social media, not to mention time consuming, but that does risk the lies and misinformation becoming accepted as fact.

Your Lib Dem councillors would rather spend their time working for residents, which is what we were elected to do. So please take the claims you read with a pinch of salt, and if you do come across stories on social media or election leaflets that particularly concern you then please contact us to get the bigger picture and the facts.

Local events diary

Wallington Community Wellbeing Group

Come and Meet Us Event Friday 27th April 11am to 3pm. Get healthcare advice and try taster sessions for new activities like yoga, hand drumming, singing and Tai Chi. Lunch provided by Chef Arif. www.wallingtoncommunitywellbeing.org. This group also collates a calendar of local activities and groups for the over 50s.

Carshalton & Wallington Morning Townswomen’s Guild

A new guild is opening and looking for new members. The grand opening will be on Wednesday 11th April 10am at The Scout Hall, 72B Woodcote Road, Wallington, SM6 0LH. For info call Mary 0208 395 1161

Get Active and make new friends

Hillside Gardens Tennis Club is offering free cardio tennis sessions throughout March. For more info contact tenniswallington@gmail.com

Walk for health meets every Tuesday at 10.30am outside Wallington Girls School for a 30 minute walk, with options to extend the walk. Call 0208 647 3000/07770 533000 email: walks@wallington-community-group.org

Wandle Valley Regional Park also organises walks every Monday at 10am in front of the Pavilion Café in Beddington Park and Fridays at 10am in front of St Mary’s Church Beddington. Contact Anna on anna.desogus@wandlevalleypark.co.uk tel. 07809458494

Beddington Park Gardening Club

Every 2nd Tuesday of the Month, 10.30am. Contact sarah.price@sutton.gov.uk or call 020 8770 6060

Councillors Ward Surgery

We hold a drop in surgery every third Saturday of the month (except August) 10 – 11.30am in the Wallington Sainsburys at the Wallington Square end. No appointment necessary, or feel free to just drop by and say hello. Our next surgery is Saturday 21st April.

Other News

Jayne is walking 25 miles to fundraise for UK Sepsis Trust

Jayne is doing the 25 mile Easter Walk on 31st March together with her husband and youngest son to raise funds for UK Sepsis Trust. Any donations for this worthy cause would be very much appreciated: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/colin-mccoy1

 

That is it from us. Don’t be fooled by the glimpses of sunshine yet – remember the saying Ne’er cast a clout ‘til May is out so keep a coat handy so you don’t get caught out by a chill wind or April shower.

Have a lovely Easter

Jayne McCoy, Steve Cook & Muhammad Sadiq

Liberal Democrat Councillors for Wallington South

London Borough of Sutton

March 30, 2018 Posted by | Information, Liberal Democrats | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Charles Cryer and that Tory Amendment to the Council Budget

The Conservative opposition led by Cllr Tim Crowley circulated an eleventh hour amendment to the Council’s budget at the last meeting of this term. It was only circulated after the meeting had already begun.

Essentially it called for a freeze on councillors’ allowances to be spent on subsidising the Charles Cryer Theatre. It was their only amendment to the budget.

Because of a historic decision to take the matter of setting and agreeing our own council allowances out of councillors hands, this was a proposal that the Tories knew we could not honour.

The decision had been taken and had cross-party agreement many years ago to take the politics out of councillors allowances and pin them to the national public sector pay settlements. So if public sector workers get a pay freeze, so do we. If they are given a pay rise, ours rise by the same amount. This takes the issue of voting on giving ourselves pay rises out of the equation and keeps this sort of politics out of the argument. However any change does have to be included as part of the annual budget and therefore agreed as part of that. Para 11.7 and 11.8 in the budget papers record this.

Council inviting bids to keep the Cryer in community use

The council & Lib Dem councillors are still working to ensure use of the Charles Cryer for community benefit and there has been significant interest with some really exciting ideas. It was agreed some time ago that in light of the financial pressures across all council budgets we could no longer afford to subsidise the theatres, especially considering that attendances were so low. We can’t justify subsidising such low visitor numbers to the tune of £500,000 a year when we are struggling to find funds to support our children with special needs, or adults needing meals on wheels and carers.

You have also got to ask the question, of all the things the Tories could have suggested a reduction goes to fund, why the Charles Cryer? They didn’t suggest putting the money towards children with special needs, helping the elderly or the homeless. They chose the Cryer because it is a popular issue of concern with residents, who may not realise the extent of the financial pressures councils across the country are under.

A political stunt

The proposal of reducing allowances to pay for the Cryer was therefore just a political stunt by the Tories so they can then put up posts about it on Facebook and in their literature.  The Tories know this, which is why they proposed this amendment, knowing we couldn’t honour it.

What the Conservatives did do in the debate was defend their government and claim that reductions in local services are due to council mismanagement rather than their government’s cuts to funding. That mismanagement is just their political narrative too, and without grounds, as in local government circles Sutton is held up as a bastion of sound financial management and innovative solutions. It’s current external Audit Statement on Value for Money states:
The Council have historically managed their finances well and have consistently achieved planned savings targets.

The Carshalton Central councillors have provided more information about the Charles Cryer and other heritage buildings in Carshalton on their website.

March 22, 2018 Posted by | Committee Meeting, Information, Liberal Democrats, Opinion | , , | 1 Comment

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