Diary of a Sutton Councillor

Wallington South Councillors’ Spring Update 2019

It’s officially Spring, but the weather appears less certain. Some days we get a bit of sunshine, the next a downpour of rain. Well it is April! Here is what we have been up to since our last update.

WARD NEWS

The pond and fountain in the library gardens

Works to restore the pond and fountain in the library gardens have had to be put on hold thanks to repeated vandalism and theft of the pump. There is also a slow leak in the pond that will be expensive to fix.

We do not think that we should let the activities of a few thoughtless people with no respect for the property of others deprive us of our fountain, which is part of the original design of the library, so we have asked for options and costings to repair the pond and fountain.

Do you agree it should be restored or should we give up on it and remove the pond?

If you witness anyone involved in vandalism please do call the police on 999 immediately.

The gates to the library gardens are meant to be left open for access even when the library is closed, however we are still finding the gates are locked on Sundays. The railings are so low they clearly are not a deterrent to those planning access for criminal activity, and in fact more people using the gardens means they are less attractive to vandals.

We have therefore raised this with the council to ensure that the gates remain unlocked so all our residents can enjoy the gardens.

One-way trial for Tharp Road

Those of you who use Tharp Road will be aware that the on-street parking means that the road is effectively single-lane. It is also used as a cut through from Demesne Road to Plough Lane. Residents in Tharp Road complain of regular problems of cars unable to pass in the road resulting in broken wing mirrors of parked cars and road rage incidents. They asked the council to look into potential solutions and it has been agreed to trial a one-way system from east to west along Tharp Road.

There are obvious concerns about the impact of this on Demesne Road, however the traffic modelling expects the impacts to be minimal. The only real way to test this is to trial it, so that is what have agreed to. The benefit of a trial is that if, after a few weeks for drivers to get used to the one-way system, the impacts are significant and clearly not working, it can be easily cancelled.

Residents in affected and neighbouring roads will be advised of when the trial is due to start.

 

No cycling through Wallington Square

There are signs showing that cycling is not permitted through the pedestrianized Wallington Square, however we have had a number of complaints about youths cycling in the square without due regard to pedestrians and making a nuisance of themselves with the businesses.

When challenged the youths claimed the signs meant they could cycle in the square. This is a simple failure to understand Highways Code signage however, to ensure that there is no misunderstanding and help residents and the police challenge cyclists, we have arranged for simple ‘No cycling’ signage to be added.

Any incidences of cyclists involved in anti-social behaviour likely to cause an accident or intimidation should be reported to the police. Use 999 if it is currently taking place, or you can report it online if it is after the event.

 

Shall we get the Old Town Hall chiming again?

The clock on Wallington Old Town Hall used to have bells chiming out the hours. The chimes were deactivated whilst Orchard Hill College occupied the ground floor so as not to disturb the students. However, Sutton College have now taken over the whole building since Orchard Hill moved to other premises, and they have said that they have no objection to the chimes.

A trial is planned after the Easter holidays and if there are no complaints we will have the bells ringing out the time once again.

 

The Parking Strategy is finally coming to Wallington South

Residents seeking solutions to local parking problems have had to be very patient whilst the council has changed its approach from small ad-hoc schemes to an area-wide review and more holistic approach. The Wallington area was last on the list of areas to be addressed but it is finally our turn.

The strategy involves a three-stage consultation process with Stage 1 seeking information from residents of where the parking problems are in our area. Council officers will combine this information with their own data compiled from other sources and will put out some initial proposals to address the problems for consultation as Stage 2.

Stage 3 will see the proposals revised or withdrawn in response to feedback from stage 2 and final proposals put out to statutory consultation under a required Traffic Management Order.

The final stage of the process will be implementation of the schemes.

From discussions with residents about parking problems we have a rough idea of where the main parking problems are, such as the Ross Road area. Also from talking to residents it is thought that some form of controlled parking is the only way to resolve the worst of the parking problems.

Experience from other areas already going through the stages shows that there can be significant disagreement even within the same road as to what solutions would be acceptable, so we would like to have some early conversations with residents most likely to be affected. We are planning to arrange some meetings with residents in the near future.

 

Wallington Music Festival

The Wallington Music Festival returns once again and will take place on Saturday 15th June.

It will start once again with performances in the Mallinson Room of the library in the morning, with the bandstand in the library gardens being the focal point for performances in the afternoon.

There will be fantastic food provided by Chef RF and the Woodcote Flying Club, as well as other delicacies and a mobile bar.

In the evening the event will spread to local pubs and restaurants offering free entry to enjoy live music late into the evening.

The event is organised by the local community with the help and sponsorship of local businesses and some funding from the council. The aim is to showcase local musical talent and provide an enjoyable event for the community in the heart of Wallington.

 

Wordsworth Road/Sandy Lane South/Foresters Drive junction

For many years residents have raised concerns about this junction. Working with our Beddington South ward colleagues we now have council officers looking at proposals to make this junction safer. When we have some firm proposals they will go out for consultation and we will keep you updated.

 

Telecoms Mast stopped from blighting Woodcote Green

When we learnt of proposals to locate a telecoms mast and cabinets on Woodcote Green just where we had reinstalled the old horse trough and erected a noticeboard we were not happy. Together with local residents we registered our objections and got the plans pulled.

The mast is now to be located on the other side of Woodcote Road near the roundabout where it will be screened among the trees.

Cancer Research UK shop closes

Sadly, despite our efforts, the Cancer Research UK charity shop has now closed. When we heard how badly the volunteer staff had been treated we set up a petition against the closure and currently over 500 people have signed. Tom Brake MP also raised his concerns having met with the staff involved.

Despite this the shop was very quickly closed. We still think we should voice our concerns with the charity about the way they treat its volunteers. You can sign the petition here.

Wallington High School for Girls school events

Wallington Girls school keeps us informed of events at the school that are likely to see an increase in traffic and parking so local residents are pre-warned. Here are the upcoming events for the summer term:

April

  • 24 Welcome to WHSG evening from 5pm-6.30pm* (1)
  • 25 Year 10 Parents Evening from 4-7pm*

May

  • Year 7 Parents’ Evening from 2 – 6.30pm*
  • Welcome to WHSG evening from 5pm – 6.30pm*(2)

June

  • 13 Art Exhibition from 5-6pm*
  • 20 Wellbeing Festival 2-4pm*
  • 27 Sixth Form Induction Day*

July

  • 3 New Year 7 Induction Day**
  • 4 Open Evening 4-8.30pm**
  • 15-17 Enrichment Days (may be coaches arriving/departing beginning and end of school day)

 

PLANNING NEWS

 

DM2018/01835 25-27 Beddington Gardens And 18 Holmwood Gardens Wallington SM6 0JG   Outline planning application to determine access, layout and scale for the demolition of existing houses and the erection of a part 4 storey building and basement comprising a total of thirty seven self-contained flats, with associated hard and soft landscaping, refuse and cycle storage and thirty nine off street parking spaces        Refused

DM2018/01282 40 Wallington Square Wallington SM6 8RG Permission has been granted for change of use of the cab office to become an ice cream parlour.

DM2018/01976 34 Heathdene Road Wallington SM6 0TB Demolition of existing dwelling and the erection of a two storey building with roof accommodation comprising 7 self-contained flats with 5 parking spaces, cycle store, re-cycling store, terraces leading to the rear garden and new front boundary wall and railings. Please note that the current elderly owners of this property intend to still be residing in this property in one of the new flats.

New Applications:

DM2018/01957 Old Town Hall Woodcote Road Wallington SM6 0NB Installation of 2m high gates and railing to the rear

DM2019/00194 No 1-2 Ross Parade & 7-13 Woodcote Road Wallington SM6 8QL Erection of a first floor rear extension, installation of 21 rooflights (front and rear ) to convert roofspace into living accommodation and creation of a shared garden with secure refuse and cycle parking in connection with the provision of seven self contained flats (6X 2-bedroom and 1X 3-bedroom).

 

BEDDINGTON AND WALLINGTON LOCAL COMMITTEE NEWS

The last Beddington & Wallington Local Committee took place on 22nd January at Croygas Sports Club. Items of interest to our ward were:

Capital funding for local schemes

Funding was agreed to continue the planting and maintenance of the hanging baskets and flower troughs in Wallington high street and along Stafford Road. Two flower towers for in front of the old town hall were also agreed for summer, and hanging baskets for the bandstand in the library gardens.

Funding was agreed for the extinguishing of the public right of way through the Ross Parade alleyway to Woodcote Mews and for the alley to be gated.

We were pleased to note that the School Keep Clear markings had been implemented at Sherwood Hill School on Stanley Park Road.

BBQs and Parking Enforcement in Beddington Park

As the trial enforcement has come to an end and had been effective in reducing some of the anti-social behaviour associated with the use of the BBQs proposals were presented to be able to continue with an outside organisation managing enforcement in the park.

Councillors at the meeting did not think there was sufficient information about each of the options and that further discussions with resident groups was required to determine a suitable solution.

As a result the decision was deferred for further work and discussions to be undertaken.

Police Safer Neighbourhood Team Update

We were advised that there had been a reduction in anti-social behaviour in the area thanks to the introduction of alcohol prohibition notices deterring street drinking. However a rise in street beggars on the high street has been noted and the police are monitoring the situation.

The next meeting of the Beddington & Wallington Local Committee will be on 30th April at 7pm again at the Croygas Sports Club.

 

BOROUGH NEWS

Building Council Houses

Ludlow Lodge, Wallington

When the government changed the rules on funding for housing Sutton Council immediately took the opportunity to start building new council housing. The first development at Fellowes Road is already completed with new tenants already in. There are 93 homes being built with full completion due by the summer.

Further funding has been made available so the council is working on plans to build more council homes for local people.

 

EU Citizens Settlement Scheme

In light of Brexit the UK government has reached an agreement with the European Union on citizens’ rights. This will cover those already resident in the UK and those arriving during the period to 31 December 2020.

The agreement protects the rights of EU citizens after the UK leaves the EU and enables them to continue to live their lives as now. It also covers their close family members. The EU settlement scheme is a new service introduced by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) the scheme will open fully from 30th March 2019.

Sutton Register Office will offer a FREE in-person service to scan and verify biometrically chipped passports and ID cards using a device which has been purchased by the Register Office.

In Sutton, Citizens Advice will be providing support to residents to enable them to complete the online application process.

 

Help the Council improve its online services

The council is seeking input from residents to help improve how you access services via the website.

It is holding a number of workshops up until the end of June that you can participate in to shape the council’s digital offer.

You can register here to take part in a workshop to suit you. 

 

So that is it from us for now. We wish you all a happy Easter, and don’t forget your umbrella when you venture out.

Cllr Steve Cook, Cllr Jayne McCoy & Cllr Muhammad Sadiq

Your Lib Dem team for Wallington South

 

 

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April 22, 2019 Posted by | Information, Liberal Democrats | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Council Budget debate 2019

Another year, another budget debate with the Conservative opposition criticising the budget but failing to offer any alternative of their own. But as we have seen with Brexit, the Tories seem generally to lack the vision to see the need for a Plan B.

Cllr Garratt appeared to have been given the role of opposition budget spokesperson, but in his fifteen minute response to the financial statements under debate, somehow managed to avoid talking about the budget almost entirely. Instead he used the time to rehash complaints about bin collection and street cleaning, but again, without any answers to the issues.

The doom and gloom of trying to balance a budget with diminishing resources was given a period of light relief as we saw Independent Councillor Nick Mattey launch his stand up career. The feedback issues with the main microphone system gave Cllr Mattey the opportunity to take centre stage to deliver his budget speech. His contrived ranting expounded a series of conspiracy theories that so escalated into the realms of the absurd that ten minutes in and the chamber was in tears of laughter. Even the Tory benches had its members’ shoulders shaking with merriment and the application of tissues to watering eyes. We were even treated to the rare sight of Cllr Pascoe cracking a smile – something I have not witnessed in my eight years of knowing her.

The Nick Mattey show ended and it was back to business with Cllr Mo Saqib bringing the debate to its conclusion with a throwback to the Conservatives about their Government’s responsibility for the many ills local government was facing. Sadly, having politely sat through many speeches of criticism from their members, once the Lib Dems passed anything similar their way, the Tory benches erupted with outrage, barracking, shouting and harassing Cllr Saqib so his comments were drowned out. This playground behaviour had to be twice called out by the Mayor as he asked the opposition members to do the courtesy of allowing Cllr Saqib his five minutes to speak uninterrupted.

Unfortunately time ran out before everyone who wanted to speak could do so, including me. Not wanting the work put into a speech to go to waste I publish it here:

BACK TO THE 80s
Let’s be clear – we are raising council tax. And we are raising it by the maximum amount we can – just under 5%.
That is not going to be popular with residents, it is a gift to the opposition for them to attack us. And we are all residents – so we too will all have to pay extra council tax.
So why on earth are we putting it up?

To try to put it simply: councils get funding for delivering services in three ways: central Government funding, business rates and council tax.
Since 2010 the government has continually reduced the amount it gives to councils, whilst at the same time asking us to deliver more services.
In addition we have a growing population of older people and children with complex needs requiring specialist support, all of which is very expensive.
So with less funding from government, the only way to keep up with demand is to increase council tax.
It is in effect a government stealth tax. The government takes money off you through general taxation, but by not passing it on to councils, they know we will have to raise council tax. But for that you will blame the councils, not the government.
Clever that!

The Conservatives over there like to try to divert the blame from their inept government and say we are wasting money, and not managing things well.
Well they are on the Audit Committee. Maybe they should read their papers. Year after year our external auditors state that this council manages its finances well and offers good value for money.
And the boroughs that are in a mess currently, tend to be Tory ones.

In contrast what has happened over the past few years, let’s call them the austerity years, is that here in Sutton we have done everything we can to avoid passing on too much of the pain.
We have squeezed and scrimped and managed to close a budget gap of £83 million over the last eight years, that is more than half of our total budget in 2010.
But despite all this, government cuts mean we still have a further £22 million to find just to continue limping on, so we need to raise council tax.
The opposition will condemn us for this, but what will the borough look like if we don’t?

Well we would be closing libraries and childrens’ centres, stopping meals on wheels. Only the most desperate cases will receive social care support. Our roads and streets will fall into disrepair, unmaintained and dirty. Our parks will be scruffy and unattractive.
It will be a case of back to the eighties. Because that is exactly what the borough looked like back then, after years of Conservative control. By the mid-eighties Sutton had a reputation as a run-down borough.
It was a deliberate neglect of the borough that was the quid pro quo for keeping taxes low under Conservative policy. A policy that led to the Lib Dems eventually taking control, and retaining it for over 30 years.
We got elected on the back of a promise to improve the borough, and with the honesty that we would raise council taxes to pay for those improvements. Not only did we deliver on our promises, but we took Sutton and made it one of the best places to live, work and raise a family.
We need more honesty that low taxes mean you don’t get quality services.
If residents are happy to go back to the poor state the borough was in under Tory rule in return for low taxes then they have that choice. But that is not what I am hearing. Residents have got used to living in a well-maintained borough and don’t like to see it slip one bit.

Claims that the conservatives would manage the council better is a joke. The reason that councils are underfunded is due to the enormous balls-up the Conservatives are making of running the country.
There are too many examples of Conservative incompetency: Boris’ garden bridge, Crossrail, that ferry contract, Graylings’ Virgin trains deal, Universal Credit, the housing crisis…..
Is that really the example they want us to follow?

Whilst the Conservatives are fighting for who will be next up the greasy leadership pole, the economy is paralysed with uncertainty. Billions have been wasted on this Brexit clusterbomb, billions which could have been spent on our NHS, on Policing, and on local government services.

Yet they sit there happily supporting their government’s self-imposed austerity, self-imposed economic wrecking-ball, self-imposed self-implosion.

On that track record, I wouldn’t let a Conservative near a piggy bank, never mind a council budget.

 

 

March 3, 2019 Posted by | Committee Meeting, Liberal Democrats | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wallington South Councillors’ December Update

Christmas is upon us – where did the year go?

Before we find ourselves welcoming in 2019 it is time for the latest update from your ward councillors.

WARD NEWS

 

Elles House Crossing

In response to requests by residents your ward councillors have been working on getting a safer crossing point from Elles House across Shotfield . We are pleased that the council has now implemented a scheme to make it easier for residents with mobility issues cross the road at this point.

Leaf bags

Under the new contract with Veolia the leaves in tree-lined roads will have two special leaf-clearing visits over a ten-week period once most of the leaves have fallen. The leaf clearing was initiated in November so local streets should have had their first round of sweeping.

Leaf bags can also be provided to residents or groups who wish to clear leaves themselves from the pavement and public areas in their area. You will need to arrange for Veolia to collect the full bags. To receive the bags and arrange collection please call the council’s contact centre on 020 8770 5000 and ask for Neighbourhood

Services. Alternatively you can email Neighbourhoodservices@Sutton.gov.uk.

Park Hill Road replacement trees

Residents in Park Hill Road were upset to learn that a number of trees in their road were diseased and had to be felled. Unfortunately with the relentless cuts to local government funding the council is no longer able to afford to automatically replace felled trees. However Sutton Council does provide a small amount of capital funding to Local Committees for local residents to use for local schemes. At the request of residents we successfully bid for funding to replace the trees in Park Hill Road and are pleased that they have now been replaced by new ones.

Christmas Waste Collections

Recycling and waste collections will change during the weeks commencing 24 December 2018, 31 December 2018 and 7 January 2019. Please note collection changes for Wallington below:

Usual Collection Day Revised collection Day
Tuesday 25 December 201 Thursday 27 December 2018 2 days later
Saturday 29 December 2018 Sunday 30 December 2018 1 day later
Monday 31 December 2018 Wednesday 2 January 2019 2 days later 
Tuesday 1 January 2019 Thursday 3 January 2019 2 days later 
Saturday 5 January 2019 Sunday 6 January 2019 1 day later
Monday 7 January 2019 Tuesday 8 January 2019 1 day later
Tuesday 8 January 2019 Wednesday 9 January 2019 1 day later
Saturday 12 January 2019 Sunday 13 January 2019  1 day later

Collections return to normal from Monday 14 January 2019.

 

REAL CHRISTMAS TREE COLLECTIONS

Drop Off Points for trees
For Christmas 2018, Christmas tree drop off points are being piloted in the borough. This will provide more options for residents to dispose of their real Christmas tree.
From Saturday 5 January to Sunday 13 January, there will be three locations across the borough where you can drop off your real Christmas tree to be recycled.

The sites will be open from 9:30am-3:30pm:

  • The Mount, Clockhouse – on the green opposite the Jack & Jill pub, CR5 2QY
  • Roundshaw Park, Lindbergh Road, SM6 9HB
  • Kimpton Refuse and Recycling Centre, Kimpton Park Way, SM3 9QH

All decorations and tree pots must be removed prior to disposal.

Kerbside collections

From Monday 14 January to Saturday 26 January 2019, real Christmas trees will be collected free from houses on the standard kerbside collection service. All decorations and tree pots must be removed.  Trees will need to be placed out for collection by 6am on the day of the brown wheelie bin collection.

 

Assisted bin collections

There appear to be ongoing issues with assisted collections not being carried out by the Veolia bin crews. If you are meant to have an assisted collection but it is not being done on a reliable basis then please get in touch with us so we can make sure Veolia are aware and try to get the problem addressed.

Wallington Foodbank

The Foodbank is now open in St Michael and All Angels church in Milton Road, Wallington. Organised by the Roundshaw Community Network with funding from Metropolitan Housing and a grant from the Sutton Council  Beddington & Wallington Local Committee.

All the Foodbanks in Sutton work on a voucher referral system issued by local agencies. For more information visit the website.

Wallington Christmas Festival brought local cheer

The tree is up and it’s a whopper! The annual celebrations centred around the switching on of the festive lights in Wallington took place on Friday 30th November heralding the start of Christmas festivities.

Steve, Jayne and Muhammad were pleased to have contributed to the event in various ways: Steve putting up the tree and decorations, Muhammad stewarding , Jayne manning the Grotto as an Elf and all helping with the planning and organisation.

The Festival is brought to you by local residents and businesses  forming the voluntary group AllinWallington. Special thanks to Carpenters & Co for their generous sponsorship, Sutton Council for Neighbourhood Grant funding, Your Move for the fabulous tree. The Woodcote Flying Club are always generous with their contribution in terms of a meeting venue and food and drink stall, Sutton College organised the indoor market at the Old Town Hall and Ginger Frog lent us Phil Deguara as our excellent MC.

Small Dog Area Petition

After an horrific attack by a large dog on her small Jackapoo, Brody that resulted in immediate euthanasia by the vet, local resident  Gaye Fisher is calling for better protection for small dogs. Gaye is working with MPs to see legislation changed to make such attacks a criminal offence. After learning of an increasing number of attacks locally Gaye also wants to see a designated area for small dogs in Beddington Park where owners can feel able to let their small dogs run off the leash safely. There is an online petition to demonstrate your support for this scheme.

 

PLANNING NEWS

 

DM2018/01282 40 Wallington Square Wallington SM6 8RG Permission has been granted for change of use of the cab office to become an ice cream parlour.

DM2018/01097 11 Hall Road Wallington SM6 0RT Change of Use from a Care Home to a House in Multiple Occupation  Refused

New Applications:

DM2018/01835 25-27 Beddington Gardens And 18 Holmwood Gardens Wallington SM6 0JG                     Outline planning application to determine access, layout and scale for the demolition of existing houses and the erection of a part 4 storey building and basement comprising a total of thirty seven self-contained flats, with associated hard and soft landscaping, refuse and cycle storage and thirty nine off street parking spaces

DM2018/01976 34 Heathdene Road Wallington SM6 0TB Demolition of existing dwelling and the erection of a two storey building with roof accommodation comprising 7 self-contained flats with 5 parking spaces, cycle store, re-cycling store, terraces leading to the rear garden and new front boundary wall and railings. Please note that the current elderly owners of this property intend to still be residing in this property in one of the new flats.

 

BEDDINGTON AND WALLINGTON LOCAL COMMITTEE NEWS

The Beddington & Wallington Local Committee took place on 30th October at Wallington Boys Grammar School. Items of interest to our ward were:

Implementation of outstanding Double Yellow Lines

Officers confirmed that outstanding schemes for Cranley Gardens, Stanley Gardens and Mulberry Mews  were going ahead and we expect to see them implemented soon.

Capital funding for local schemes

Projects approved for funding included new gates for the rear terrace area of the old town hall to enable performances to take place; replacement trees for Woodcote Green and Park Hill Road and a pedestrian improvement scheme for Woodcote Road.

The next meeting of the Beddington & Wallington Local Committee will be on 22nd January at 7pm at the Croygas Sports Club, 48 Mollinson Drive.

 

BOROUGH NEWS

 

Tramlink Consultation

Transport for London (TfL) are consulting on options for a new transport link for Sutton. This is your chance to have your say on whether you want to see a Tramlink connecting to Morden or Wimbledon or the alternative of a Rapid Bus Transit. Details of the routes and options are available on the consultation site: tfl.gov.uk/sutton-link. Consultation runs until 6th January.

 

Air Quality Action Plan Consultation

The council is seeking resident input into its draft Air Quality Action Plan.  You can read the plan and give your views here: https://sutton.citizenspace.com/environment/draft-air-quality-action-plan-consultation. The consultation runs until 6th February.

 

So that is it from us for now. We wish you all a lovely Christmas and happy New Year.

 

Jayne, Steve and Muhammad

 

 

 

 

December 25, 2018 Posted by | Information, Liberal Democrats | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Heartfelt stories from councillors for Anti-Bullying Week

The Liberal Democrat Group submitted a motion to Council relating to Anti-bullying Week 2018 promoted by the Anti-Bullying Alliance. It was proposed by Cllr Chris Williams and seconded by Cllr Jenny Batt, the two vice-chairs of the People Committee.

The motion recognised the increasing incidences of bullying, and resolved to be clear that bullying is unacceptable in any form. The motion contained a pledge by Sutton councillors to lead by example in our interactions, for the council to join the Anti-Bullying Alliance and undertake their training programme, and to ensure clear signposting for residents to appropriate support.

We were pleased that the motion achieved cross-party support.

Unfortunately time constraints meant that not all the speeches could be heard. Two of my colleagues had prepared speeches based on their personal experiences that they still wanted to share to show others that they are not alone:

Councillor Nali Patel

Dear Mr Mayor, please forgive me for not standing whilst I speak on the motion against bullying.
Everyone needs power and control in their lives.
However, people who bully others use their power in an unhealthy way to hurt someone else.
They cross other peoples’ emotional and physical boundaries, often with devastating effect.
Being disabled, I would like to talk about an incident to show how bullying has affected me emotionally.
I usually go to pay at the health counter in the Boots because it has easy access and also the counter is low enough for me to reach.
On one occasion, there were two queues. I joined one of them. We had to go in turn as only one counter was open. When my turn came I drove my scooter closer and placed my things on the counter.
All of a sudden I heard very abusive words from a lady with her baby. She touched my disability scooter and said I was pretending to be disabled. However much I tried to explain she turned deaf ears. The scene she created mesmerised and horrified me.
Eventually the manager came out and took the lady to another counter (without saying anything to me)
This left me feeling unwanted and useless. This type of bullying leaves a permanent mark.
Incidents, like this, are repeated on public transport and in many other places. I belong to British Polio Fellowship and such painful, bullying incidents are always discussed.
I fail to understand why, because we are disabled, it is thought OK to hurt us; to kick us when we are already down; to leave us on the verge of breaking down. We feel alone, with no one there to stand up for us, or to save us from the bullies.
Even in modern, enlightened Britain, the world is still for people who are physically fit. And the phrase, coined in the late nineteenth century, seems to me still to hold true today. It is “survival of the fittest.”

***

Councillor Muhammad Sadiq

Bullying – A problem which has been around globally for many, many years.
When speaking of bullying, we automatically think of the stereotypical scenario where a school kid is being pushed around in the playground by some ‘bullies.’
A recent poll found that almost half of children were worried about returning to school after the holidays because of bullying. These children are often the ones who suffer in silence because they are worried of the repercussions if they tell someone they are being bullied.
It is a common concept that people grow out of bullying and the term is often mistakenly linked to children and schools. A sad reality is that bullying is not confined to the playground.
A recent study has shown that work place bullying is increasing and many are still too afraid to speak about it.
A significant increase in racist bullying both verbal and physical has been reported since the Brexit referendum-yet another sad consequence of this vote.
This also links to another method of bullying on the rise: Cyber Bullying. A National Bullying Survey found that a staggering 42% of young people have felt unsafe online. Cyber bullying can occur 24 hours a day, 7 days a week putting no end to the victims’ misery, whether it is a young child or adult.
Bullying can affect a person’s well-being, academic or work place progress and the most common, a person’s mental health. I am sure we have all come across one too many articles of suicide due to bullying. These people either suffer in silence or not enough is done to hear their voice and concerns. No person, young or old, deserves to suffer any form of bullying.
Despite all the laws and procedures in place to deal with bullying, it is unfortunate that bullying has become normalised. We must all stand in unity, and do everything in our power to stamp down on bullying.

 

November 27, 2018 Posted by | Committee Meeting, Liberal Democrats | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Liberal Democrat approach to Planning

I am shamelessly plugging a publication produced by Wera Hobhouse MP and Councillor Adele Morris the Lib Dem Lead for Planning at the LGA that compiles articles by a variety of Lib Dem colleagues on the subject of town planning.

It includes an article written by me about how we developed our  Local Plan to incorporate the views and aspirations of our residents.

Getting the Balance Right 

 

 

September 28, 2018 Posted by | Information, Liberal Democrats | , , , , , | 1 Comment

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

 

August 3, 2018 Posted by | Information, Liberal Democrats | , , , , , , | 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

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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