Muhammad, Steve and I have had lots of casework to keep us busy this autumn. Here is an update on some of what your ward councillors have been up to and some items we think you might find of interest:
Redevelopment of Lidl Store in Beddington Gardens
Lidl have alerted residents informally of their plans to redevelop their Wallington store. We had been advised that their aims were to improve the look of the store, improve the customer experience, and expand the parking facilities. To do this they propose underground parking with access moved to the right hand side of the store, and it would necessitate the demolition of the existing building. The new building would also incorporate some flats on top to provide much needed residential accommodation for the borough. We saw that a planning application went in in December, but has now been withdrawn. We understand that new management at Lidl have changed the plans for the store and so the application is being redrafted to take account of that. We will keep you informed.
Not only does flyposting look untidy, it can cause problems with sightlines for motorists at junctions such as here in Ross Parade. We have been reporting any flyposting we come across to get it removed and so the council can advise the culprits that it is an offence to flypost. I am on a mission removing out of date planning notifications from lampposts as they look so scrappy.
Faulty traffic lights
We noticed that the green light at the Sainsburys junction on Stafford Road with Woodcote Road had not been working for some time. We reported this to Transport for London who have responsibility for traffic lights and it has now been repaired.
There were panels missing from the bus shelter in Woodcote Road which meant it was useless at sheltering waiting bus passengers from the elements. We contacted Transport for London asking for panels to be reinstated, which they have now done. Tom Brake your MP has also asked for benches to be put in and we hope to see this implemented soon.
Parking issues and enforcement requests
Obstructive parking is one of the most regular complaints we hear about as your ward councillors. In the past few months we have been asked for additional parking enforcement patrols in Beddington Gardens due to parents blocking access in the vicinity of Bandon Hill Primary School; in Ross Road in connection with the Nursery there; and in the area around Wallington Girls School. We are currently liaising with residents and the nursery in Ross Road to see if solutions can be found, and as part of a bigger strategic approach the council will be doing work over the next four years looking at how the parking pressures the borough faces might be alleviated, possibly through controlled parking zones. Any proposals will be worked up and consulted on with residents, and have a range of options that can be tailored to fit the problem.
Fixing bollards and other obstructions
We were alerted to and secured repair/replacement of the bollards at Bridge Road off Clarendon Road, and at the Shotfield entrance to the library. We also continue to report any wobbly kerbstones, overgrown hedges and flytipping we come across.
Local Flooding Issues
We advised you of local flooding issues as a result of the June downpours. As a result the council has secured some funding to look into ways to reduce the flooding issues at the railway bridge in Demesne Road.
We have been monitoring and assisting residents with a number of planning applications including opposing backgarden development at 109 Boundary Road, rear of 13-23 Boundary Road and in Woodcote Avenue; advising on residential conversions in Holmwood Gardens and Woodcote Avenue; providing information on the St Bernadett’s application and advising Wallington Girls’ School on their application to improve their library.
Please note that Muhammad does not get involved in ward planning applications as he is a member of the Planning Committee at the council. This ensures that he fulfils his obligations to view each application brought to the committee with an open mind and without pre-determination.
Road safety measures
We have assisted local residents in petitioning for speed reduction measures in Clyde Road and yellow lines at the junctions with Carew Road and Ross Road. The petition will be formally presented by residents to the Beddington & Wallington Local Committee on 10th January when we hope that the committee will agree to look into these matters.
We also previously secured funding from the same committee to make safety improvements in Elgin Road and we have been working with residents to decide what measures would be best within the limited budget. We have also arranged for improved signage in respect of the one-way stretch of Boundary Road, and yellow lining at pinch points in Woodcote Road. Residents have called for a one-way scheme to be implemented in Tharp Road and we are supporting residents in the surrounding area in calling for a study of the consequential traffic impacts before any scheme is agreed.
Working with the Wallington Community
We are very lucky in Wallington to have such community-minded businesses and residents with lots of bright ideas for bringing people together. We have therefore been very pleased to assist in the Festive Lights Switch-on and the Spirit of Wallington Awards delivered by the Wallington Facebook Group. Both events were well attended and well received. There are more plans for the new year including a repeat of the fantastic music festival, and hopefully something sports-related. Watch this space! We have also continued to support the Wallington Community Group which provides information on the wide programme of activities and groups in Wallington available for the over 50s. We also attended the Wallington and Council Remembrance Day services in November.
We would like to take this opportunity to wish all our residents a very Merry Christmas, a restful holiday period and a Happy New Year
Steve Cook, Jayne McCoy, Muhammad Sadiq
Liberal Democrat Councillors for Wallington South
London Borough of Sutton
An application has been submitted for the old BP garage site on Stafford Road. The plans are for a four-storey block at the front of the site and a three storey block to the rear comprising 29 residential units and two retail units. There will be 20 residential parking spaces provided and 8 commercial parking facilities with the access from Stafford Road.
The good news is that the developers are applying for A1 or A2 use for the retail units which is for shops or services, NOT hot food takeaways.
You can view the plans and comment online on the council website. The reference is D2015/73381.
I am pleased to announce that the Liberal Democrat candidate Steve Cook was elected to be the new councillor in Wallington South.
The results were as follows:
Liberal Democrats 1251
Total votes 2834 Turnout 35.4%
A huge thank you to the residents who voted for Steve, and for all the help we had in the by-election from Liberal Democrats across the country.
But if Steve thought getting elected was hard work, wait until he sees what we expect of him as a Sutton Councillor!
When political candidates put out dishonest information in their literature when seeking office, how can they be trusted to show honesty and integrity should they be elected?
Sadly the Wallington South residents have been subjected to the unpleasant tactics of vague and unsubstantiated insinuations as well as outright fabrications from opposition candidates in the by-election.
The Independent candidate has suddenly invented a second incinerator, UKIP have nothing but smears and allegations to peddle, and the Conservative messages contain yet more fabrications deliberately to plant doubt in people’s minds – the same tactic they used in their General Election campaign to ruthlessly eliminate the Liberal Democrats.
To address just a few of the worst claims:
The Wallington town centre improvement scheme was only completed in 2011 – why would we plan to do any further works, especially as the current scheme was so well received by local people?
As the custodians of public money councils are subject to very high levels of scrutiny – often viewed as excess bureaucracy. Yes council assets could be sold off to the highest bidder, however as Liberal Democrats we listen to the views of our residents. Our residents told us that they would prefer our heritable properties to continue in community use so when voluntary sector organisations like Ecolocal and SCVS offer to take on the costs and provide a service to the community from the buildings we think that is a good deal saving the council money but retaining the buildings.
Lib Dem, Conservative and Labour run boroughs of Kingston, Croydon, Merton and Sutton jointly agreed to enter into a contract with Viridor to cease the use of the landfill site in Sutton and have their waste treated instead in an Energy Recovery Facility. But only the Lib Dems in Sutton have been honest enough to stand by that decision and try to explain to its residents how incineration techniques have become the modern and safe way to deal with waste across Europe, and how having the facility in Sutton will improve air quality, save taxpayers money, and mean funding for improvements to the Beddington area.
The decision about whether to sell the Wallington public hall site or have the council develop it itself has not yet been made. There has been no developer interest in the site so talk of mosques and tall buildings are pure myths. Also a bit hypocritical of the Conservative candidate to have raised this spectre given Rosemount was built when the Tories had control of the council, and now they have taken power in Kingston they are being criticised by residents there for approving new tower blocks.
As for Lib Dems not listening to residents, when local people were loud and clear about their opposition to the McDonalds drive-through proposed for Stafford Road the Conservatives were tweeting that they ‘didn’t see a problem with it.’ Fortunately the Lib Dems did champion their residents and together we stopped McDonalds.
There is a reason that Sutton residents have trusted the Liberal Democrats to run the council for the last 29 years, and that is because we are honest and we listen to our residents. We cannot always deliver everything our residents ask for, but they know that we do what it is in our power to do. Basic things like keeping the streets clean and well maintained, our parks and open spaces of a high standard for everyone to enjoy, and supporting and encouraging businesses to thrive and grow. Residents told us they want to be ‘green’ and protect the environment, and so Sutton has been at the forefront on issues of sustainability with its BedZed development, One Planet Borough accreditation and Sustainable Suburb initiative.
And, as for any individual or organisation, it is impossible to get everything 100% right. But when things do go wrong residents have seen the council be transparent and most importantly, learn lessons and make changes to improve.
So after 29 years of Lib Dem control we have seen Sutton voted one of the best places to bring up a family, our schools and green spaces winning awards, the fastest house sales, and one of the highest levels of resident satisfaction with its borough in the country.
I have heard these election smear campaigns dismissed as just to be expected in politics. I disagree. Politics and politicians have a bad name because of such tactics. Just because you are a politician it does not mean that this is the way you have to behave. Yes it is harder to be an honest politician, and to tell people the truth rather than what they want to hear. To make difficult decisions and try to explain why they are necessary, rather than taking a populist stance that sounds good but makes no actual contribution to solving the problem.
I know what kind of politician I try to be, and the kind of politician I want representing me, which is why I am a Liberal Democrat. Not perfect, but honest, prepared to stand up for all members of society, and most of all, principled. The Liberal Democrat Party is made up of people like Steve Cook, whose drive is purely to do his best for his fellow residents. Steve saw how the Lib Dems work with people locally, and decided that was the way to do things, the way he could give something back to his community. I hope he gets the chance to.
The official Mayor-Making took place at Civic Offices on 18th May and I was very proud to be Muhammad’s official proposer. This gave me the opportunity to talk about Muhammad’s work and commitment to the residents of the borough, but also the chance to crack a few jokes at his expense. Cllr Joyce Melican, Chair of the Beddington & Wallington Local Committee seconded Muhammad’s nomination, and was then asked to support him as his Deputy Mayor, a role Joyce has undertaken previously.
Muhammad’s Mayoress will be his wife Aasia, and he will be assisted by his son and daughter. I know that his family were very proud to see Muhammad duly elected as mayor.
The Wallington South monthly Ward Councillors Surgery is held on the third Saturday of the month and is usually in the Wallington Sainsburys near the lifts to Wallington Square. As this December’s surgery falls on Saturday 21st December the store needs the space for its Christmas displays so we will be holding our surgery in Wallington library in the small meeting room on the first floor.
As usual no appointment is necessary. Of course if you can’t get to our surgeries you are welcome to contact us by telephone or email. We will be having a break like everyone else over Christmas & New Year.
From all of your Wallington South Liberal Democrat Team: myself, Colin, Monica & Muhammad, we wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Enjoy the festivities!