Diary of a Sutton Councillor

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.

Advertisements

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

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

HEB Meeting held on Tuesday 13th February

Key items of business:

  • Local Plan adoption – agreed unanimously. The Plan was fully approved at Full Council
  • Local Development Scheme – programme of ongoing strategic planning work agreed
  • Locally Listed Buildings of Sutton document- excellent catalogue of listed buildings in the borough which we hope to publicise more widely.
  • Brownfield site register – new requirement for a list of sites available for development – taken from Local Plan
  • Economy Watchlatest economic statistics for the borough
  • Discretionary Rate Relief – Pub Scheme extended for another year

 

 Other Business since last meeting

Tram extension to Sutton

Myself, Cllr Whitehead and Cllr Dombey, along with senior officers and the Merton Council Leader met with the London Deputy Mayor for Transport and TfL to discuss progress on delivering the tram extension. TfL were extremely positive about the plans and appeared dedicated to making it happen. Some new options have been proposed to bridge the funding gap with external sources. This was followed up with a joint presentation by Merton & Sutton to the Mayor’s Good Growth Board on 28th February.

 

London Plan

The Mayor’s London Plan is currently out for consultation until 2nd March. It contains new worrying housing targets that are double those in our Local Plan and the Mayor expects these to be delivered on small sites i.e. backgarden land, house conversions and flats in the middle of suburbia. This flies against our Local Plan where we seek to preserve the historic and suburban character of our borough and direct housing to town and district centres, with regeneration providing both additional housing and improved environments for existing residents.

Positive aspects of the Mayor’s Plan are the highlighting of Sutton as an Opportunity Area in light of the London Cancer Hub potential, and inclusion of the Tram extension to Sutton.

More here.

The council has submitted a response to the consultation.

 

Employment and Skills Board Meeting on 5th March 

Agenda included:

  • A talk on the work of the Early Help Board
  • A presentation by Reed in Partnership, the organisation procured by the South London Partnership to deliver the Work and Health Programme (now Better Working Futures)
  • An update on the Sutton for Science strategy and Big Bang Festival of Science activities
  • Regular Partners Updates 

 

SHP

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

HEB Members Cllr Melican and Cllr Emmerson attend SHP board meetings and associated events as the council’s representatives on the SHP Board.

Steve Tucker, previously Interim CE of SHP has now been confirmed to the permanent post of Managing Director of SHP – a posting that has met with widespread approval by tenants, leaseholders, staff and the council as great improvements in approach and service have been noted since Steve took over from the previous CE.

 

Beddington Farmlands

A petition has been raised by the Wandle Forum for enforcement of the planning conditions requiring the restoration of the landfill site at Beddington Farmlands into a country park and wildlife reserve. Cllr Piracha and myself met with Planning and Biodiversity Officers for an update on the situation. It was confirmed that progress has been ongoing with restoring the site and there has been oversight by Planning Enforcement, but there has been no breach and therefore no fault on the council’s part, or Viridors. The only delay to the restoration was due to the Judicial Review brought by the Green Party PPC which meant all work has to be stopped until the JR was concluded.

Officers plan to meet with representatives of the Wandle Forum to explain the situation and talk about the next steps for the restoration.

 

Sutton Living Ltd

A planning application for the Wallington public hall site has been submitted.

Rather than selling the site to a private developer the council is using its new Housing Development Company, Sutton Living Ltd, to build new homes for local people on the site. The plans propose using the hall site and half of the associated car park to deliver 31 flats of mixed sizes in two blocks of three and four storeys with a commercial retail unit fronting Stafford Road.

The development will provide the maximum required number of affordable units, and under the terms of the council’s company all the residential units are required to be marketed to Sutton residents first, with special discretion for care-givers moving in to look after a Sutton resident, or ex-forces personnel. The layout also preserves the access to garages of properties in Onslow Gardens.

Other projects in train are listed in the papers for the last Sutton Shareholdings Board on 6th December.

 

Council housing new build

I took the council leader to view progress with the council house new build at Fellowes Road and Ludlow Lodge. Kind & Co, the build contractors are ahead of schedule so we hope to see people moving in this year.

 

 

SDEN 

I attended a Golden Shovel event with Cllr Whitehead and partners Viridor, Barratts and Eneteq to celebrating getting the first pipes in the ground for the decentralised energy network. We were also able to view the properties being developed by Barratts in Hackbridge on the old Felnex site.

The company is currently billing new residents who have moved into the New Mill Quarter properties. A temporary energy centre is on site to provide energy until the pipes are connected which is expected to be July next year.

 

Economic Development

An investor conference was held on 1st March at the newly refurbished Empire Cinema. This is part of the work to attract quality developers and investors to Sutton to enable us to deliver the best quality environment we can. It also launched the Sutton for Science programme which aims to encourage Sutton residents and young people to take up training opportunities so that they can take advantage of the new employment offer arising from the development of the London Cancer Hub. It is a programme that local schools have been keen to participate in.

Cllr Dombey and I accompanied Vince Cable and Tom Brake on a visit to the ICR for Vince to learn more about the Cancer Hub project, which later appeared on BBC London News.

Other

I attended a Sutton Chamber Business Networking event that featured Paul Scully MP invited to talk about ‘The Future of Sutton’.

I attended another LGA Grenfell Task & Finish Group overseeing the work of the LGA on the response to Grenfell, this time in conjunction with the FAMC and the new London Deputy Mayor for Fire Services.

I joined Cllr Gordon and Cllr Wales on the Sutton Shareholdings Board, a sub-committee of Strategy & Resources which has oversight of the council’s trading companies on 22nd February.

 

March 6, 2018 Posted by | Committee Meeting, Information, Liberal Democrats | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Chair’s Update on work of the Housing, Economy & Business Committee (HEB)

HEB Meeting held on 13th June key items of business:

Review of Planning Pre-application Service We agreed an amendment to the rate of charges to introduce an additional category to reduce the fees for smaller developments (1-4 units), formalised notification of councillors of major pre-app proposals, and asked officers to investigate whether we could publish the pre-app advice letter as part of the report to committee as standard practice.

Draft Character Appraisal of the Burton Estates Area of Special Local Character (ASLC) (produced by the Belmont & South Cheam Neighbourhood forum) This was agreed and we would encourage other Resident Associations to undertake their own Character Appraisals of ASLCs to strengthen their influence when determining planning applications.

Management of Housing Stock Review This considered whether we continue with Sutton Housing Partnership (SHP) as our Arms Length Management Organisation, bring the service in-house, or form a shared service with Kingston. On evidence gathered and external consultants’ report we agreed the option to progress with SHP as an improved ALMO. It was noted that this option could deliver the required savings.

Estate Regeneration Resident Engagement Proposals This set out the principles of engagement and transparency the council will adopt with residents in estates with potential for regeneration. The aim is for residents themselves to shape how their areas could be improved and intensified to make better use of space and provide improved communities and housing. It is noted that decisions to proceed with regeneration can only be made when the viability of proposals incorporating the needs and desires of residents has been assessed and shown to be feasible.

Annual Review of the Council Tax Reduction Scheme No changes proposed whilst new income band scheme beds in as it was only introduced from April 2017.

Discretionary Hardship Relief scheme for businesses re rate review Task & Finish Group set up to propose a scheme. This has met and a consultation has been undertaken recommending relief for small businesses (< £200,000 rateable value) facing increases greater than 12.5% of 100% in first year, 50% relief in second year , with businesses in CR4 getting 100% in both years to reflect the disproportionate increase in rateable value in that area. Final decision will be made in light of the results of the consultation at the 26th September Housing, Economy & Business Committee Meeting.

Ongoing business since last HEB meeting

Local Plan The Independent Examination-in-Public is to be held on 12-15th September 2017.

SDEN The agreement has now been signed with Barratts. Contractors have been procured to commence work delivering the pipes and installing them.

Tramlink Transport for London have allocated funding of £70m from the Mayor’s Growth Fund for the Sutton Tramlink, but this still leaves a significant funding gap. However it very much feels like it is back on the table with TfL keen to find ways to plug the gap either by saving costs or finding alternative funding mechanisms.

Sutton Economic Support Taskgroup (SEST) Quarterly meeting with Council post-14 Education Services, local colleges and training providers, JobCentre plus, and business representatives to discuss employment and training in the borough. Agreed to refresh aims for coming year and focus on engagement with businesses.

Meeting arranged with Children, Families and Education Directorate staff in August to discuss joined-up working across SEST & the Post 14 Progression and Employability Board.

Sutton Town Centre Masterplan Delivery Oversight and work with ward councillors continues in respect of delivery of the STC Masterplan. Includes North Sutton Gateway Scheme and estate regeneration work.

Jayne gave a presentation in July to open an Investor Tour event for investors and businesses expressing an interest in Sutton. Officers also gave presentations on the opportunities and sites in the town centre and at the London Cancer Hub and took them to visit the actual sites.

Open for Business Board Chaired by Cllr Wales this board is under the remit of Opportunity Sutton seeking to support local businesses. Last meeting looked at future of the Pop-up Sutton programme and will be seeking ways to build on its success.

Beddington Programme Consultation now out on various transport improvements along Beddington Lane in respect of the £7m awarded by TfL as a Major Scheme. https://www.opportunitysutton.org/beddington-gets-moving/

Sutton Housing Partnership Since the HEB agreement to continue with SHP as its ALMO in improved form Jayne has continued to meet with officers and SFTRA reps. Recent discussions focussed on governance improvements and oversight of the changes to sheltered housing support.

Business Improvement Districts (BIDS) Jayne was invited to provide an update on the Town Centre Masterplan at an event to celebrate the successful Sutton Town Centre BID renewal vote.

Work is also ongoing with traders to establish a BID in Worcester Park.

Sutton Living Ltd New plans are being drafted for the first of the company’s developments on the site of the old Wallington Public Hall.

Grenfell Tower fire local implications Jayne has been attending regular Fire Safety Briefings with Sutton Housing Partnership and Sutton Council senior officers and the local London Fire Service team to ensure that all council-owned residential properties in the borough have adequate fire safety measures in place and to respond to the latest advice and information following the Grenfell Tower fire.

Council Housing new build Work has commenced on the first council house new build, previously the Ludlow Lodge site. HEB members and ward councillors attended a ceremonial ground-breaking event at the Ludlow Lodge site and met with the building contractors Kind & Co a smaller construction company who impressed us with their commitment to award-winning build quality and consideration for neighbours.

August 18, 2017 Posted by | Committee Meeting, Information | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Things are happening in Sutton Town Centre

Exciting things are happening on Sutton High Street as some of the council’s projects and work to promote the town centre come to fruition.

Look up at Market Place Sutton to admire the improved frontages

Check out the new pubs

Our green wall looking succulent

Planters brighten up Trinity Square

Times Square renamed and refurbishment almost complete

TKMaxx reopening 15th June

Painting the Carshalton College ‘Live Art’ mural

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The award-winning entrepreneurs market

The Empire Cinema is also undergoing refurbishment and a big brand retail outlet is planning to move into Sutton.

With the additional development bringing housing, a new hotel, and new retail units around the station, and the new Sainsburys, flats and restaurants at the north end, Sutton certainly feels like it is booming.

May 29, 2017 Posted by | Information | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Support your local small businesses on Saturday 5th December

unnamed

Small Business Saturday is an initiative that supports small local businesses by encouraging their communities to ‘shop local’. It is an opportunity for small businesses to showcase themselves and to grow by demonstrating the quality and value that it can give to its customers and how it differentiates itself from its larger competitors.

This year to support Small Business Saturday Sutton Council is offering free parking in locations throughout the Borough to encourage shoppers to shop locally and support their local high streets including Gibson Road, Wallington Library, Carshalton High Street, Kingsway Road Carpark Cheam.

There are 7,400 SMEs in Sutton and they rely on your support. Show them some love on Saturday 5th December.

And if you are a small business looking for help and advice the Sutton Chamber of Commerce run 121 Business Clinics offering just that. See their website for more details. Or check out the Council’s Opportunity Sutton website for details of its Business Rate Relief scheme for small businesses and other support and information.

November 27, 2015 Posted by | Information | , , , , | Leave a comment

New serviced office space and meeting rooms available in central Sutton

I wCitySkylineas very pleased to be shown around the new serviced offices in the St Nicholas Business Centre, Sutton by James Hale, the Managing Director of City Skyline.

City Skyline are a boutique operator of high quality fully serviced office centres with established suites in Epsom and New Malden. They have now refurbished 9,000 sq ft of Chancery House to provide high quality contemporary office suites  in a prime Sutton town centre location.chancery house 2

This not only represents a positive new business venture for Sutton, but provides a great offer for new or established businesses looking for a professional and hassle-free environment.

November 8, 2015 Posted by | Information | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sutton employer? Find out more about apprenticeships

Apprenticeship network

July 6, 2015 Posted by | Information | , , , , , | Leave a comment

New events venue opens in Sutton town centre

grand hall 2

On Saturday I attended the official opening of a new large events space in central Sutton: SM1 The Grand Hall.

The Grand Hall is the conversion of the old Snooker Halls at 1A Throwley Way and now offers three large event spaces over three floors suitable for weddings, banquets, parties, meetings and formal events.

The opening was a grand affair with our Sutton MP Paul Burstow performing the official ribbon cutting and welcoming this new enterprise to Sutton town centre.

Guests were served with food and refreshments whilst being treated to a variety of music and performances.

The businessman behind this new venture is Anton Arulnesan who managed to bring his idea to fruition with the help of family and friends.

Sutton has great need of large event space so this venue is a very welcome addition to the town centre offer, especially with its central location. I wish Mr Arulnesan every success for the future.

Grand Hall 1

February 10, 2015 Posted by | Information | , , , | Leave a comment

%d bloggers like this: