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  • Chairman's Blog - June 2024

    AELTC Community Tennis Centre

    Residents may not be aware that one can register to play at the All England Lawn Tennis Club’s large tennis centre off Grand Drive. It costs adults £4 to register and £2 for juniors under 18. They will then give you a membership card so that you can book to play.

    There are 9 acrylic hard courts and 16 grass courts which can be played after Wimbledon fortnight is over. A café has now opened in the clubhouse.

    Those with long memories will remember that the AELTC tried on two occasions to build housing on the site but withdrew the applications after huge protests from local residents, including this Association. 

    Merton’s New Logo

    At our AGM in April, the question was asked “Why has Merton changed its logo?”.

    Our guest, Cllr Garrod, explained that it was 30 years since the iconic water wheel had been introduced and that the council wished to attract new businesses and workers with a brighter, sharper logo. They had retained (but deepened) the colours, green for the open spaces and purple for the historic lavender fields, and, as the only London Borough beginning with M, had simplified the brand to make it instantly recognizable. 

    Merton, The Best Place in London To Retire to.

    The consumer group “Which?” did a survey last year on the best place to retire to, looking at 9 regions, in England.

    It found that access to healthcare was the most important factor, followed by green spaces and proximity to activities. House prices and low crime rates were also important.

    It found that Merton scored best in the London Region as a place to retire to, with high ratings for healthcare and for access to attractive green spaces such as Wimbledon Park and Morden Hall Park.

    But it was one of the most expensive on the list of regions, with average house prices of £560,000.

    John Elvidge - Chairman

  • LESSA - Meadowview Road - March 2024

    THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT OMBUDSMAN REFUSES OUR LESSA COMPLAINT 

    Since the grant of planning permission to Bellway in September 2022 we have used all the avenues open to the Residents’ Association to appeal the decision. We immediately asked the Secretary of State to use his powers to call in the decision for review. It was not until June 2023 that he replied, declining to do so, but giving no reasons. 

    We then made a formal complaint to Merton stating that there was maladministration in the conduct of that application. The Council did not respond until October 2023, and the reply did not deal with the complaint at all.   

    We then applied to the Local Government Ombudsman in November 2023, asking him to investigate, and sent him all the details of the complex history of the sports ground and the reasoned objections of the residents. 

    We have now received his final decision refusing to investigate the complaint. In summary he finds that there “is not enough evidence of fault in the way the Council dealt with the application. Also, we cannot achieve the outcome the complainant is seeking”.   

    The decision reads: 

    “In 2009, the Planning Inspector gave permission for a developer to build houses and flats on one side of a sports field. [The RA] says that this enabled a larger portion of the land to be retained for junior open field sports. 

    [The RA] says that the land has always been designated in the borough plan for sporting purposes. The plan required that it was for a developer to prove that the land was not ‘deliverable’ for this purpose, and not for a sporting proposer to prove that it was. [The RA] also says that the developer refused to enter any discussions with any organisation that wished to use the land for sports. 

    In June 2022, the Council refused a planning application to build on the sports field. It decided that the proposal was ‘fundamentally contrary to the provisions of the Development Plan and the NPPF and there were not considered to be any solutions to resolve the conflict’. 

    Following this the developer met with the planning officer. There are no minutes from the meeting, and it was not revealed to the public or the planning committee. 

    The developer put in an amended application which was approved in September 2022. 

    [The RA] complains: 

    ·        The planning officers refused to meet with a sporting consortium after the refusal in June 2022. It says that the consortium had proposals, supported by Sport England, to use the land, including by building a sports pavilion.

    ·        Both planning applications were opposed by hundreds of residents.

    ·        No evidence was placed before the September planning committee that the sports consortium plans were not deliverable.

    ·        A leading member of the consortium was not allowed to speak at the committee meeting in September. 

    ASSESSMENT 

    There is no fault in the planning officers meeting with developers to seek to overcome reasons for refusal of a planning application. We would not expect such a meeting to be public. The result of the meeting is the amended application considered and approved by the planning committee in September. 

    If the representative from the sports consortium believes they were refused permission to speak to the planning committee it is for them to complain. This does not cause [the RA] an injustice and it has no permission to complain for this third party. 

    The representations from statutory consultees including Sports England and the objections from residents are summarised in the planning officer’s report. The planning officer lays out the relevant local and national planning policies and explains why the planning officer recommends approval. 

    The Ombudsman cannot require the Council to revoke the planning permission granted in September 2022 and reconsider the application”. 

    This decision is desperately disappointing and depressing. 

    It means that the Residents’ Association has now, after 25 years of fighting to keep the sports field open for junior sports, exhausted all the possibilities open to it to stop the development going ahead.

    John Elvidge - 12 March 2024

  • AGM 24 April 2024 at 7:30 pm

    Our Annual General Meeting

    to be held on Wednesday 24th April 2024 at 7.30pm

    at Raynes Park Library Hall, Aston Road Entrance, SW20 8BE

    Light refreshments provided!

     

    Agenda

    1.Welcome, Announcements, Apologies for Absence

    2. Summary: the work of the Association: John Elvidge

    3. Treasurer’s Report: John Townsend

    4. Election of Officers

    5. GUEST SPEAKER: The Leader of the Council

    6. Residents‘ concerns, ideas,

    7. AOB

     

    Everybody is welcome and we look forward to seeing you!

  • Motspur Park Station - March 2024

    Dick Coleman reports

    Things seem to be taking shape in the programme of improvements at Motspur Park station. The steel framework for the lift shafts looms over the platforms, and we are told that brickwork cladding will be the next task. Inevitably there will be some disturbance, sometimes at unsocial hours, but the target completion date of May 2024 is in sight. Following concerns raised by members at our last Open Meeting, in October, we continue to press the Council for better lighting and security on the roads & paths leading to the station.

     

  • Chairman's Blog - March 2024

     

    PLANNING COMMITTEES

    One of our Road Stewards, John Nicholson,  has pointed out that it is open to Councils to have separate planning committees for different parts of their area.

     The councillors sitting on these are largely drawn from the areas they represent.   We understand  from John Nicholson that Kingston  has such a system. It has the great advantage that the councillors sitting on the committee, while remaining independent of party political considerations as they must, will have a much better idea of the local conditions.   This enables them better to balance the application of developers against the needs of local people for more housing, and the infrastructure needed for new residents, such as schools, GP surgeries and hospitals. 

    Merton does not have such a system, which is a great pity. If it did, the councillors chosen to sit on the committee might have realised on the LESSA application that this area had already been saturated with intensive new development on the TESCO site, on top of those over the past 20 years built up along Grand Drive.  

    AGM

    Our Annual General Meeting is being held this year on Wednesday 24th April at 7.30 pm.  It will be at the meeting hall behind Raynes Park Library. We hope to see as many Members as possible there. 

    There will be some light refreshments and drinks to look forward to as well. 

    John Elvidge

  • Motspur Park Station - February 2024

    Our committee member, Dick Coleman, continues to liaise with Network Rail's team responsible for the accessibility works taking place at the station and can assure our members that some structural erosion noted (which has been flagged by a resident to Merton, via “fix my street”) is being dealt with by the contractors as part of their remit. We are grateful to Dick for keeping his eye on the process and for keeping in touch with Jack Wharton, who has overall responsibility for the project.

  • Local Concerns - February 2023

    These concerns have been recently raised by members:

    1.                Poor lighting in parts of Coombe Lane, safety issues. 

    2.                Inadequate lighting near Motspur Park Station, safety issues. 

    3.                New parking arrangements at the AELTC ground which backs onto Grand Drive. 

    These issues, which have been brought to our attention by concerned residents, will be included for discussion at our next committee meeting. All of these items are serious, but we are particularly concerned about item (3) because, despite assurances made to us by AELTC over 18 months ago, residents in the small strip of “cottages” situated along Grand Drive are having their lives disrupted by dirt, noise and general delay.  We are also puzzled by the new parking arrangements which appear to back directly on to the small back gardens of the cottages.

  • Chairman's Blog - February 2024

    HAPPY NEW YEAR!

    CHRISTMAS THANK-YOU PARTY

    We held our end-of-year party early in December in the Pavilion to thank all our volunteers: our committee and PMG members, all those who help to distribute The Guide,  and others  who support the neighbourhood in countless ways.  We were delighted that some 40 people were able to come and enjoy the excellent refreshments on a chilly Saturday afternoon. We hold these thank-you events twice a year, and they are always very enjoyable occasions. 

    URGENT: A NEW TREASURER REQUIRED 

    We are always keen to hear from more people able to give some time to help the community. If you feel you can assist in any way, please contact Clare, (the secretary) or any committee member. We require a few more people to distribute The Guide and we are also urgently in need of a new treasurer. John Townsend, who has run the Association’s finances so expertly for twelve years is standing down from this role.  

    John steered us through the problems of keeping in touch with residents during the pandemic by setting up a monthly newsletter on his home computer, because the two publishing firms that we previously used had taken on lucrative COVID-related tasks only. He turned the  former black and white Guide into an attractive full colour format, then secured the ever-reliable Prontaprint to photocopy 2,000 copies. 

    John also prioritised keeping the Association solvent when no advertising money was possible, and no Pavilion lettings allowed. As stewards were forbidden  to count money for H&S reasons, he spent countless hours dealing with vast quantities of coins paid in by willing members in hundreds of small envelopes. And thoroughly scrubbing his hands in accordance with pandemic regs afterwards!! 

    John T is not leaving us, because he jointly and efficiently produces The Guide (with Clare), but we require a new treasurer ASAP.  John has set up an easy-to-follow system, so you do NOT need to be a financial whizz to take over! We have a very healthy balance, and the treasurer works in association with helpful committee members such as Dick Coleman, the advertising manager and Otto Hoenig, the distribution manager.

    John would be happy to meet with anyone who feels they may be able to take on this vital role, so please do consider this. You will be well supported by Dick, Otto and by John himself. 

    LESSA  COMPLAINT TO THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT COMMISSIONER (THE OMBUDSMAN) 

    Following the approval by the planning committee in September 2022 of building on the LESSA sports field, the Residents’ Association immediately asked the Secretary of State to call in the decision. We did not receive any answer until June 2023 when he declined to do so. We then made a formal complaint to Merton Council stating that there had been maladministration in the conduct of that application. The Council did not respond to that complaint until 24 October 2023 , and the reply refused to deal with the complaint at all.

    We then applied in November 2023 to the Local Government Commissioner asking him to investigate the conduct of the Council and its officers. We sent him the details of the complex history of the ground and all the reasoned objections of the residents.  

    The latest position is that the Ombudsman is still assessing whether to take the complaint up with the Council, and we will not hear whether this will happen or not until February at the earliest. Meanwhile, and very unfortunately, there is nothing to stop Bellway starting initial works to the ground, and they did so on 8 January.

    Our former President, Garry Hunt, has pointed out that Bellway intend to use the access off Greenway, which is next to an electricity sub- station, for heavy machinery and transport, but there are vulnerable cables under the ground which must not be damaged. He has been active in making sure that the electricity company is fully aware of the proposed actions by the developers and will monitor them carefully to avoid damage. If Bellway cannot use this access, it will have to find an alternative route. We will keep you informed of developments.

    John Elvidge

  • Motspur Park Station - December 2023

    Email from Jack Wharton, Senior Public Affairs Manager, Network Rail Southern 

    Subj: Railway Improvement Works – Access for All Scheme at Motspur Park Station 

    Date: 5 December 2023 

    Dear Stakeholders,

     Further to my last update in September,  I would like to update you on the next phase of our work on the Motspur Park Access for All Scheme.  Thank you for your continued cooperation.   

    As part of the next stage of works, we’ll be excavating for the retaining wall and constructing the footbridge foundations as well as other preparation works. 

    Using specialist equipment designed to minimise the noise we create, some of our equipment and machinery may still cause noise disturbance on Sunday 10 December (daytime) and you’ll notice some increased traffic from delivery vehicles. As well as this, up until February, engineers will be working during the evening throughout Monday- Friday. We do appreciate how impactful this night time working will be during this period and every effort will be made to minimise any excessive noise while this work is carried out. We’re sorry for any inconvenience this may cause you. 

    Work will take place as follows alongside our standard day-time working hours: 

    Date                                       Time                    Work to be carried out 

    Sunday 10/12/2023 to        00:00 – 03:00    Footbridge foundation construction, drainage

    Monday 11/12/2023           (27 hours)          installation, retaining wall excavation – noisy

                                                                       Overnight and Daytime work.

     

    Mid-weeknight working      23:00 – 05:00   Facilitating works (transporting materials to

    (Mon-Fri) until                                         island platforms, removal of waste) for safety

    February 2024                                         reasons, needs to be done when trains are not

                                                                    moving. 

    If you have any questions, please do let me know. 

    Kind regards

    Jack Wharton

    Senior Public Affairs Manager 

    Network Rail Southern

    1 Puddle Dock, London, EC4V 3DS 

    networkrail.co.uk/southern

  • Chairman's Blog - December 2023

    GARRY AND WENDY HUNT

    Garry and Wendy Hunt, are both very long serving members of our Residents’ Association.

    For many years they held the offices between them of Secretary, Editor, Chair and President.  There is a bench on Cannon Hill Common, on the path up from Southway, dedicated in appreciation of their work for the community from 1972 to 2002 

    Garry and Wendy continue regularly to walk over the Common and to send us excellent photos of the birds, butterflies and other wildlife there.

    We are therefore pleased to report that Garry was awarded last month with his OBE, presented to him by Princess Anne. It was awarded to him for his services to science.

    We congratulate them warmly on their achievements.

    COMPLAINT TO THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT COMMISSIONER

    Our strong view is that there was maladministration in the handling by Merton Council of the third application by Bellway Homes to build flats and houses on the former LESSA sports ground, off Grand Drive. This was granted permission in September 2022, despite an almost identical scheme being refused by the same committee that June.  In June 2022, the Planning Applications Committee had previously decided that no development at all was possible.

    Our complaint is that almost immediately following the June meeting, a planning officer had a meeting with the developers which was not minuted, and the existence of which was not disclosed to the September Planning Meeting. It was only disclosed following a Freedom of Information request.

    Further the lead spokesman for the sporting consortium, who had applied to speak at the September  meeting, was wrongly refused permission to do so. We were not able to make a formal complaint to Merton until June this year, after the Secretary of State had declined to call in the planning decision.  We then submitted a detailed complaint which was not answered, despite reminders, until this October.  The issues we raised were not dealt with at all. Merton simply stated that the Secretary of State had reviewed all the information and found no reason to call it in and that: “as the complaints function cannot challenge planning decisions it was felt continuing with this complaint would not produce the outcome you were seeking”.

    We had already pointed out that the issue was a complaint about the planning process, and not the outcome.  We are therefore now complaining to the Local Government Commissioner (the Ombudsman) to compel Merton to answer properly the very serious issues we have raised. These have materially affected the wellbeing of the many residents who opposed the development.

    PARKING METER SCAM

    The large car park behind Morrisons in Wimbledon has two meters that take both cards and cash. I witnessed two elderly women falling subject to a scam by two men working together at the same time. The women were at separate meters and were each falsely told that the meter was not accepting coins and that they had to use cards. They were then “assisted” to use the cards and encouraged to put in their pin numbers, and then the meter mysteriously “swallowed” the cards. The men had, of course, pocketed them. Sadly, there was no police presence around, and the men disappeared. I told the two ladies to contact their card companies at once before they could be used. I understand this to be a common scam, so beware.

    SEASONS GREETINGS

    We wish of all of you a very happy Christmas and a peaceful and healthy New Year.

    Our members are drawn from diverse communities – we enjoyed the Diwali lights in November, and Hannukah begins on 8th December – we wish enjoyable festivities to everyone!

    John Elvidge

  • Raynes Park Stn - Cattle Arch Works

    Bridge Maintenance at Raynes Park Station (North end of “Cattle Arch”) 

    Network Rail is to carry out work at the station entrance and the pedestrian archway known as the "Cattle Arch".  

    The work should hopefully represent some improvement to the current state of the station entrance - something the Raynes Park Association has been campaigning on for years!
     

    This is the message from Network Rail:

    The work will involve high-pressure jet washing, mechanical preparation, and bridge repainting with the use of a mobile elevating work platform (MEWPS), as well as water tankers.
     
    To carry out these works safely and working with the council, a footpath closure with diversion route will be in place at the bridge for the duration of the works although the footpath diversion will only be in place between 10pm till 6am.
     
    Please kindly note that once our team have cleaned the structure, if any structural issues are identified, this work may be extended which would impact the dates provided below. Safety is our priority and we’re sorry in advance for the inconvenience this work may cause the community, but we will let you know if there are any substantive changes to the programme below. We’re incredibly grateful for your cooperation whilst this essential work is carried out.
     
    The work will take place from Monday 16 October to Saturday 25 November 2023.  During this time, every night from 22.00 to 06.00 there will be no pedestrian access to the arch.  The alternative route is via the road bridge to the east.  Additionally there will be work undertaken overnight and all day on Sunday 22 October.  There will be additional work all day and overnight from 00.01 on Sunday 10 December to 06.00 on Monday 11 December - again with no pedestrian access from 22.00 to 06.00.

    If you are using the station during this time, you can, of course, access the London bound platforms via the ‘country’ bound platforms and to go across the bridge (and vice versa).

    ends.

  • Chairman's Blog - October 2023

    PENALTY CHARGES SURVEY

    In April this year, the Sunday Times carried out a review into the parking ticket fines handed out by local authorities. Councils had handed out 3.3 million penalty charges notices (PCNs) costing £265 million in 2022 and the number of notices was 27% higher than in the previous year.  They are given for offences such as failing to buy a parking ticket, parking on a double yellow line or in permit only zones or driving in a bus lane. 

    Part of the increase is due to the use of apps to replace cash at parking machines, which are difficult to use, or the rare cases when the machine is simply faulty. Many people suspect that councils increase the number of penalties to shore up their budgets. 

    Merton Council charged an average of £117.67 per fine with a total value of over £17,000,000. However, among London councils Merton had one of the highest rates of tickets overturned on appeal, at 6.6%.                                                                   

    London councils are now carrying out a parking charge survey, with a deadline for responses of 23rd October: 

    https://www.londoncouncils.gov.uk/LondonParkingChargesConsultation 

    Residents may wish to respond to this by the deadline. The information given with the consultation notes that since 2010 penalty charges in London have been grouped into two bands, Band A and Band B.  Band A charges are higher and are usually in areas with greater parking pressure, such as central London and town centres.  Band B charges are lower and tend to be in outer London areas where there is less pressure on parking. 

    There is a map showing which boroughs apply which bandings. Our eagle- eyed Advertising Manager, Dick Coleman, noticed that Merton, along with Croydon, are the only boroughs in south outer London to levy the higher Band A charges! This may help to explain why Merton makes so much money from their charges. 

    LESSA COMPLAINT

    The Association has made formal complaints to Merton Council over maladministration in its handling of the applications to build on the site of the former LESSA sports ground off Grand Drive. The applications had to be in two stages, Stage One and then Stage Two and both have now been dismissed. 

    The Association is now asking the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman to review these complaints.

    John Elvidge

  • 2023 A-Level and GCSE Successes

     

    Raynes Park High School - Students’ Hard Work Rewarded 

    A” Level Successes 

    Congratulations to the pupils at RPHS for their encouraging A level results.

    The return to pre-pandemic assessments has led to a nation-wide fall in results, so it is a tribute to the work of the pupils, teachers and support staff that, when set alongside to the last comparable assessments, the 2019 results, the pupils achieved more highly in all areas, and a result, students have secured their desired places at universities, colleges, and vocational placements.

     

    Merton’s GCSE Successes 

    Here are some of the highlights from Merton schools:

    • Raynes Park High School – ‘strong’ pass grades at (5-9) in GCSE English and maths are in line with 2019, and the percentage of students achieving the English Baccalaureate (EBacc) has increased.
    • Ricards Lodge High School – the percentage of students achieving ‘strong’ pass grades (5-9) in GCSE English and maths, is significantly above 2019 school outcomes and similar to those in 2022.
    • Rutlish School – the percentage of students achieving ‘strong’ pass grades (5-9) in GCSE English and maths is well above 2019 school outcomes.
    • St Mark’s Academy – the percentage of students achieving the EBacc has increased significantly compared to 2019.
    • The Ursuline High School – the percentage of students achieving ‘strong’ pass grades (5-9) in GCSE English and maths is significantly above provisional national outcomes.
    • Wimbledon College – the percentage of pupils achieving a ‘standard’ pass in GCSE English and maths is 20% higher than the 2023 provisional national outcome.
    • Melbury College, Canterbury Campus – a very significant increase in the percentage of pupils achieving both ‘standard’ and ‘strong’ passes in GCSE English and maths compared with 2022. 

    Congratulations to all the pupils and staff for working so hard to overcome the setbacks encountered during the “Covid Years” – we are proud of you all.

     

  • Motspur Park Stn - Sept 2023

    As can be seen from the photo below, which was taken by Dick Coleman, our Advertising Manager, the accessibility works are progressing apace. 

     It is a difficult time for those living nearby the station, but the end-result should be worth the disruption. 

    However, it is ironic that as we move towards improving the actual station, giving elderly, disabled and other vulnerable residents better access, the threatened closure of ticket offices and planned staff reductions will seriously hamper the effectiveness of this work. Hopefully, the results of the consultation will lead to a re-think.

  • Chairman's Blog - Sept 2023

    RAILWAY TICKET OFFICES

    You will have seen from the Press that rail companies are planning to close ticket offices all over the country. South West Rail is no exception.   They set out details of their proposed changes and closures at Raynes Park and Motspur Park stations, and organised a public consultation, with replies extended to 1 September.

    We sent the following e-mail to: swr.consultation@londontravelwatch.org.uk

    “Our Residents’ Association represents 2000 people living in the areas of Raynes Park and Motspur Park railway stations. Both stations are extremely busy throughout the day and not only in the main commuting hours.

    We wish to comment on and to protest about the proposed plans to close or reduce the manning of ticket offices at these two stations.

    Many of our residents are elderly or disabled and find it difficult or impossible to buy tickets or railcards online, or to operate the ticket machines at the stations. This will prevent their using the railways at all.

    Many journeys from the London suburbs are not simply to the central London stations but to other destinations all over the country.  To many destinations, there are alternative train companies offering differing fares, some usable only at set and limited times, and with tickets which are not usable on their competitors. Ticket machines do not offer these options in a way that people can readily understand, and most people need the advice of an experienced ticket clerk.  

    Even those who are able bodied need advice from time to time about routing and timing of journeys.

    It is clearly not enough to say that there will still be staff on the platforms who can assist. They cannot be expected to make sure that people safely enter and exit from trains at the same time as answering queries, sometimes complicated, on these matters.  If it will be part of their duties to issue tickets, that will detract, perhaps fatally, from their attention in making sure that passengers are safe.

    At both stations, there are wide gaps between the platform edge and the trains, and great care is needed to get on and off, and assistance is needed not only for the elderly and disabled, but for those with luggage or with young children in prams or pushchairs. In the case of Raynes Park this is exacerbated by the pronounced curve which particularly affects platform 1. 

    We would urge you to revise your plans to ensure that there is always a manned ticket office at both stations from early morning until the middle of the evening.”

    ROYAL MAIL POSTBOXES

    John Nicholson, one of our Road Stewards, reports that stickers have appeared on post boxes in Claremont Avenue, Burlington Road/Cavendish Avenue, Seaforth Avenue, and West Barnes Lane next to the GP surgery, and other locations in the KT3 area, revising collection times. These state that “from 4 September the final collection from this post-box will be made no earlier than 9 am Monday to Friday and 7 am on Saturday”. This change is said to be “in order to improve efficiency.” There has been no consultation with users, and, of course, it represents greater inconvenience for customers.  This is yet another instance of organisations reducing services to the public while claiming that they are an improvement!

     John Elvidge

  • Chairman's Blog - August 2023

    SUMMER PARTY

    We held a very enjoyable Summer Party at the Pavilion on Sunday 9th July. This was a thank-you to our volunteers and supporters and we were very pleased to welcome a member, who recently volunteered to be join our team of road stewards. 

    LESSA

    The RPWBRA complaint of maladministration in the handling of the LESSA planning application is to be formally investigated by the Merton Complaints Team. They promise that a full written response will be sent to us within 20 days from the 10thJuly. This will set out whether the complaints are upheld or not, and any action that will be taken as a result of their enquiries. 

    BUSHEY ROAD CROSSING

    We will update you when we receive a response from the Council regarding our request for a pedestrian crossing over this busy dual carriageway. 

    John Elvidge

  • Chairman's Blog - July 2023

    "LESSA", MEADOWVIEW ROAD. LONDON SW20 9AN

    On 22nd September last year the Planning Applications Committee decided by a vote of 6 to 4 to approve the application by Bellway Homes to build 107 flats and houses on the former "LESSA" Sports Ground at Meadowview Road, off Grand Drive. This was despite a fully worked up and costed plan, supported by Sport England, by a consortium of local clubs and a school to use the land intensively for sports, with generous access to the public. 

    The Association, and many other local people, as well as our MP and Sport England, asked the Secretary of State to call it in for his decision, which would have set up a planning enquiry. On 9th June this year we received his letter that he has decided not to call it in. The grounds on which he can do so are, unfortunately, very limited. 

    The Council is now able to put its decision into effect. This will be sad news for the nearby residents, and for all who want to encourage and improve sporting facilities in Merton. Two of the main priorities the Merton Leader Ross Garrod has set out are the development of sport throughout the borough and the protection of green spaces. It is a great shame that his view was apparently not shared by the 6 members who voted for the development, despite the crying need, particularly following Covid, for recreation in open spaces. 

    The Association fully understands the need for housing, and it is our view that there are plenty of brownfield sites in Merton that can and should be built on, and that building should not take place on a sports field.  In addition, as was said at the committee meeting, the Tesco development nearby will provide 456 new homes, of which 143 will be affordable. 

    We have made a formal complaint to the Council as to the process adopted by the Council. We believe that the decision was flawed by gross abuse of process and maladministration. This is a first step to our taking the matter up with the Local Government Commissioner (the Ombudsman). 

    The complaint is detailed and complex and, for further information, click here .

    The Association has fought to protect this land for sports for well over 20 years and was successful in restricting the buildings to those which now constitute Meadowview Road. The Planning Inspector who allowed those buildings did so expressly so that the rest of the land could be maintained for sport. 

    Bellway Homes throughout refused to allow any possibility of this. In June last year their application to build was refused by the PAC. The Council did not discuss with the consortium their plans for sport. Instead within two weeks an officer of the Council held talks with the developers as to how they could get the decision amended. These talks were not minuted. Very shortly after that they made another application which has now been approved, even though it differed little from the one previously refused. 

    The officers’ report to the Committee did not mention the non-minuted meeting which was only revealed following a Freedom of Information request. Further, the leading member of the consortium was refused permission to speak at the meeting, even though he had applied to do so in good time. The Committee was therefore deprived of the chance to hear evidence that the sporting proposals were viable and deliverable, which was the key question that it had to decide on planning grounds. 

    John Elvidge                                                       

     

  • Motspur Park Stn - June 2023

    Access for All’ at Motspur Park Station

    Update from Dick Coleman, RPWBRA

    The extensive improvement programme to provide step-free access has been going for 2 months, but is a long way from completion, in Spring 2024.

    At the time of writing, both entrances are still open. We expect the Station Road access to close very shortly, so if you live on the ‘wrong side of the tracks’ you’ll have to cross the line to use the Claremont Avenue entrance. The ticket office has also closed, in order to facilitate its replacement, although we expect the ticket machine to remain in operation.

    Other preparatory work is in progress. The main visible sign of progress is a scaffolding gantry over the tracks, for wiring looms. However, this is not the location of the new footbridge/lifts, which will ultimately be on a level with West Barnes library.

     

    If you have any questions, residents are invited to contact

    Jack Wharton, Public Affairs Manager, 

    Network Rail Southern

    1 Puddle Dock, London, EC4V 3DS

    Mobile: 07716 095282

    networkrail.co.uk/southern

  • Chairman's Blog - June 2023

    LESSA UPATE 

    We asked Stephen Hammond, our MP, what was happening to the request to the Secretary of State  of the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities to call in the Bellway planning application.   

    The reply to him from one of the junior ministers states that: 

    “The application still under consideration and your views expressed in your letter of 27 September 2022, and those received from your constituents, together with all other relevant information, will be considered before the Secretary of State decides whether to call-in the application for determination.” 

    We can only hope that this long delay means that full consideration is being given to all the points that we local residents have made so strongly.

    Recent Update: Please refer to the latest news: Meadowview Road - June 2023

    BANK BRANCH CLOSURES

    I have criticised before in this blog the closures of branches of the NatWest Banks in Morden and Wimbledon Village, and of the Santander Bank, also in Morden.  Many people, and especially those who are more elderly or not otherwise able, and those unwilling to trust internet banking rely on them for their daily transactions. 

    John Nicholson, one of our Road Stewards, points out that in recent years Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds, Halifax, and Santander have closed their branches in New Malden, and that NatWest has now announced that their branch in New Malden is to close on the High Street on 13th July this year.  He reminds us that despite government talk of the creation of “banking hubs”,progress has been slow, and in any case New Malden would not qualify since the Nationwide Building Society is still in the area.  Ironically, this has now announced that it will be closed on Wednesdays and Thursdays with effect from 19thJune this year to enable staff to deal with on-line and telephone enquiries, and for pre-arranged interviews.  John also points out that while the Post Office continues to operate, Post Office Counters Limited is keen to dispose of the building in the High Street and to contract out their service to a sub-postmaster/mistress. 

    John Elvidge, Chairman

  • Pavilion Open Afternoon

  • Martin Way Allotments and Gardens - 20 May 2023

  • Invitation to the Pavilion Open Afternoon -

    THE RESIDENTS’ PAVILION AT 129 GRAND DRIVE, SW20 9LY

    AN INVITATION TO ALL MEMBERS

     

     

    Here’s a date for your diary – Sunday, 28 May, 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm.

    We invite you to come along to the Open Afternoon at the Residents’ Pavilion. You’ll be able to meet the volunteers who look after the Pavilion and find out about what goes on there. Please do come along and meet us. 

    The Pavilion is used by our Association for many of its meetings throughout the year and is hired privately by members for family get-togethers and children’s parties. Several of our members also meet up to play tennis there. 

    We are also particularly grateful to those of our members who run the regular groups that use the Pavilion: 

    ·            Children’s Story and Rhyme-time Group

    ·            Merton Health and Fitness (Pilates and Exercise Classes)

    ·            The National Childbirth Trust

    ·            The Pavilion Club (for retirees)

    ·            Wimbledon and District Philately Society 

    As we took over the Pavilion and tennis courts in 2013, we’ll also be celebrating our tenth anniversary of providing such a convenient and useful facility for our Association’s members. 

    In order to cover our costs, we charge our members £12 per hour for regular hires and £18 per hour for single private bookings. 

    To find out more, please email Jerry Cuthbert at: 

    pavilionbookings@gmail.com 

    and come along on the afternoon of Sunday, 28 May.

     

  • Notice of AGM - 24 April 2023

    Raynes Park & West Barnes Residents’ Association

    Notice of Annual General Meeting - Monday 24th April 2023 at 7.30pm

    at Raynes Park Library Hall, Aston Road Entrance

     

    Agenda

    1. Welcome, Announcements, Apologies for Absence
    2. Summary: the work of the Association: John Elvidge
    3. Treasurer’s Report: John Townsend
    4. Election of Officers: Jill Truman, Hon President
    5. GUEST SPEAKER: LEONIE COOPER

               London Assembly Member for Merton and Wandsworth

    1. Residents‘ concerns, ideas, queries – please write in or email  rpwbra@outlook.com
    2. AOB followed by LIGHT REFRESHMENTS

     

    We look forward to seeing you!

     

  • Chairman's Blog - April 2023

    COME TO THE AGM

    The Annual General Meeting of the Residents’ Association is being held this year on Monday 24th April at the meeting hall behind Raynes Park Library.  You are all warmly invited.

    It starts at 7.30 pm and our guest speaker is Leonie Cooper, who is the Merton and Wandsworth representative on the London Assembly.  She has the reputation of being well worth hearing, and she will be happy to answer your questions.

    We will also get an update on how to contact the police in various types of emergencies.

    After the formal business of the AGM, which won’t take long, there will be the chance to discuss any other issues that concern you but leaving a good time for the refreshments and drinks!

    Click here for the Agenda.

    We aim to finish by 9.30pm.   Do come. 

    DANGEROUS JUNCTION

    A resident of Elm Walk has contacted the local councillors and us on the dangers of the junction between Cannon Hill Lane and Churston Drive, which is governed by a mini roundabout.  He points out that particularly during the morning and evening rush hours, vehicles coming down Churston Drive do not stop and give way to, as they should, to vehicles coming from their right down Cannon Hill Lane, and do not appear even to notice them.  This is particularly dangerous when there are children on bikes cycling to the three primary schools in the area.

    What needs to happen is an enforceable give way sign and road marking at the end of Churston Drive, since Cannon Hill Lane is the primary road.     

    LESSA

    As we go to press, we have still heard nothing as to  whether the planning committee’s appalling decision to grant permission for the building of multiple flats on the former LESSA sports ground in Meadowview Road is going to be called in for review  by the Secretary of State.  

    The Association made strong representations that this should happen, supported by many local residents, our MP, and Sport England.  We were promised an early decision in January.  Let us hope that no news is good news.   

    UNSUNG HERO

    Throughout the winter months a local resident has been almost daily keeping the footpaths on Cannon Hill Common dry and passable by spreading wood chippings with his wheelbarrow from the pile left for him near the Paddock Allotments.    Now spring has come he has begun planting small bushes and trees by the path leading off the Common towards the coffee stall. This is Edwin, after whom the path has been named Edwin’s Walk.   He has not sought any thanks or recognition for this public service but deserves all our thanks.

    John Elvidge, Chairman

     

     

  • Access for All - Motspur Park Station

    Update - April 2023 

    The ‘Access for All’ upgrade at Motspur Park Station is here! Extensive improvement works to provide step-free access across the station will soon start, making travel easier, not just for those with mobility issues, but for all passengers. 

    Three new lifts, a new enclosed footbridge and a new station building will be built. 

    The work is set to begin in early April 2023, and is due to complete by February 2024. Station Road itself, and the east entrance to the station will be closed for a large part of the programme – access to the platforms will be via the Claremont Road (west) entrance. 

    Inevitably there will be service disruption, inconvenience and noise at times, but we hope the end result will make it worthwhile. More details are available here. 

    Meanwhile, we continue to urge Network Rail to move forward with similar improvements at Raynes Park Station. 

    Dick Coleman

  • Pavilion Open Afternoon - Sunday 28 May 2023

    The Residents’ Pavilion at 129 Grand Drive SW20 9LY 

    This coming May 2023, our Association will have been running the Residents’ Pavilion for ten years. 

    Back in 2013, the Raynes Park Residents’ Lawn Tennis Club moved to its new premises in Meadowview Road and our Association took over the vacated premises at 129 Grand Drive, which is where the Tennis Club first started in 1947. 

    Our Association decided to use some of its accumulated funds, in doing gradual improvements to the pavilion and grounds, making it more suitable for use by its members for parties, meetings, groups and clubs. So, on 1st May 2013, after some initial improvements, the premises at 129 Grand Drive were re-named “The Residents’ Pavilion” and opened for hire by our members. 

    Over the last 10 years, we have made a number of improvements, including new furniture, installing double glazing, improving the heating and renovating the kitchen and toilets. Also, thanks to the National Lottery, we have step-free access and an accessible toilet. 

    All this has been achieved through the efforts of a small group of volunteers, who manage the premises on behalf of our Association. 

    We’re pleased to report that there is something going on at the Pavilion most days, with our regular weekly and monthly groups, covering a wide range of interests and activities. In order to cover our costs, we charge our members £12 per hour for regular hires and £18 per hour for single private bookings. 

    For members wishing to find out more, please follow this link:

    https://www.rpwbresidents.org.uk/pavilion-booking-form

    We’re also planning some 10th Anniversary celebrations for later this year, with an “Open Day” on Sunday 28 May 2023, 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Please come and see us.

  • Our AGM, Monday 24 April 2023

    Members are invited to our Annual General Meeting on 

    Monday, 24 April 2023 at 7:30 pm in Raynes Park Library Hall (Aston Road entrance) 

    Our Guest Speaker will be Leonie Cooper, the Merton and Wandsworth representative on the London Assembly. 

     Have your questions ready! – ULEZ, SPEED LIMITS, GREEN SPACES  etc., or just come along to listen and socialise with neighbours

  • Chairman's Blog - March 2023

    A PLEA FOR MORE VOLUNTEERS 

    As you know, the RPWBRA is run by volunteers, many of whom have been supporting the Association for over 20 years. Their work has been invaluable. Now it is time to ask if more people can step forward, because we welcome new ideas and energy – and we require assistance in various areas. 

    Delivering Guides

    If you have an hour or so to spare each month then please offer to deliver some Guides. Even if you can only deliver a dozen, it will help to ease the load. It is also a great way to meet neighbours! 

    Helping to run outings or other social or sporting events

    We would love to arrange more activities for both children and adults, but we need your input to achieve this. If you could commit to one-off events during the year, please let us know.                        

     Participating in the Committee or Pavilion Management Group

    You may have specific skills or knowledge e.g., in IT, planning, local issues or other areas which you feel would be useful to the Association. If so, please consider becoming involved on a voluntary but regular basis. 

    Above all, please do join us at open events. The next one, a friendly occasion with refreshments will be held as shown below. All members are welcome, and we also invite local Councillors.

    John Elvidge

     

  • February 2023 - Local Events

    In addition to the numerous events organised by places of worship and local schools, we were spoilt for choice during December and January.

    Mark Nicholson’s promotion of classical guitar performances led to an impressive concert at St Saviour’s in December.

    We were also delighted to learn that Chris Jeanes will be presenting the first in a series of Bach concerts, a little further afield on 8th February at St Anne’s Wandsworth.

    With family and friends, we enjoyed an excellent pantomime at the Lantern Arts Centre, a spirited version of Cinderella, full of music and comedy and appreciated by those of all ages. One of our local NHS practitioners, Marlon Molina, who is based at the Lambton Road Medical Practice, took a leading role and we hope to feature him in the next Guide.

    Good News: Raynes Park Vale FC, our local football club, gained the honour “Club of the Year” - congratulations! Their new advertisement in the Guide can be seen here .

    Old Emanuel Rugby Club has agreed to take over the running of the pavilion at Raynes Park Sports Ground. You may have noticed that work has started rejuvenating the grounds and renovating the pavilion.  The Club now wants to show local residents around the redevelopment work that has been going on and explain its exciting plans to support our local community.

    The Club is holding an Open Morning between 10-12 noon next Saturday 4th February to show local residents around the facility works and answer any questions with free tea and coffee. For more information click here.

  • Preventing Theft of Your Car

    A family living in Parkway, who do not wish to be identified, have sent us an account of no fewer than three car thefts (over the past three years) from outside their house, the latest of which occurred recently. 

    Apparently, whilst the police assured the household that they have not been personally targeted, they have reminded us that many criminals return to crime scenes, confident that they can steal replaced items.  So, despite taking all the precautions advised in the past, such as putting the car keys in a Faraday pouch (in a fridge) at the rear of the house, the family were in despair as to how to deal with the situation. 

    Fortunately, in the latest case, and through the vigilance of the met police, the stolen car has been found in Essex in an Ilford Car Park, well known as a “resting place” for stolen cars prior to illegal re-sale. In this case, a happy ending for the owners, but the local police advise car owners to fit a ghost immobiliser, a full steering lock and a tracking device.

     

  • Chairman's Blog - Feb 2023

    I hope that you all had an enjoyable break. Hopefully, as the warmer weather approaches, widespread worries for residents about excessive energy costs should subside a little. 

    The RPWBRA’s last activity in 2022 was an enjoyable, well-attended thank-you event for the volunteers – the committee members, the PMG, the Area Coordinators and the Road Stewards - who keep the Association going. We deliver 2,000 Guides to households and venues, and we are grateful to all the members who pay their annual fee of £3. 

    ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING 

    Meanwhile we have had a busy start to 2023 and we would like to give you early notice of our AGM which will take place on Monday 24th April 2023 at 7.30pm in Raynes Park Library Hall.

    All members will be welcome, so please do note the date. We will print the details in the March edition. 

    LESSA APPLICATION 

    As we go to press, we are still awaiting a decision by the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities about whether he will call in the Council's intended planning approval of the Bellway application. A holding direction has been issued to prevent the Council from issuing a decision until that decision is made. This is to allow sufficient time for him to consider the requests made. Both we and Stephen Hammond MP, as well as other residents, strongly urged him to do so. A decision is promised shortly. 

    The grounds on which the decision can be called in are quite limited. But these include a case where planning issues of more than local importance are involved.  We believe that building over sports grounds is one such matter, and in this we are supported by Sport England. 

    208-212 BURLINGTON ROAD 

    There is a new application (22/P3479) to build 16 flats in a 4-6 storey block on this site, with a commercial unit underneath. This would involve the demolition of the present Auto Repair and MOT facility. 

    The RPWBRA has put in an objection to the whole of this application, which can be read on our website. 

    Our grounds for objection, submitted by Jerry Cuthbert may be read here, are that this site is not suitable for residential development, has poor air quality and noise pollution, is not well served by public transport, and is in a flood plain. 

    It is supposed to be used for employment. It is also out of keeping with the local street scene, which is of 2 and 3 storey buildings.  

    The applicants had withdrawn a previous application (20/P1688) for a 7-storey building with 20 flats. 

    THAMES WATER MANAGEMENT PLAN 

    An important consultation is taking place throughout the Thames Water area. It is the largest UK water and wastewater service company, dealing primarily with the south-east region. 

    The information and online survey (which closes on 21st March 2023) can be accessed at https://thames-wrmp.co.uk/ 

    PREVENTING CAR THEFTS 

    Click here to read the article about a resident’s problems with car thefts and the police advice to keep vehicles safe from theft. 

    Wishing you all a happy 2023

    John Elvidge

     

  • 208-212 Burlington Road, 22/P3479

    January 2023   There is a new planning application, 22/P3479, that has been submitted to build a block of flats on the site of the car service and repair premises in Burlington Road, near Shannon Corner. It is very similar to the previous application made in 2020, albeit this time for 6 storeys high, rather than the previous seven. Our Association has submitted an objection, as follows:

    Application reference number: 22/P3479

    My name: Jerry Cuthbert on behalf of the Raynes Park and West Barnes Residents’ Association (RPWBRA)

    RPWBRA address:  Residents’ Pavilion, 129 Grand Drive, SW20 9LY

    Planning application description: 208 - 212 Burlington Road New Malden KT3 4NP

    Demolition of existing buildings and construction of part four and part six storey building to create 16 new homes with ground floor commercial unit (use class e), together with parking, refuse storage, landscaping and associated works.

    Our comments:

    On behalf of the Committee of Raynes Park and West Barnes Residents Association (RPWBRA), I submit this OBJECTION to the above Planning application. 

    OVERVIEW

    At present, the Application Site is an Auto Repair and MOT facility, set back from the Burlington Road frontage. All the buildings on site would be demolished. 

    The basic scheme is to construct a block of flats, stepping from four up to six storeys in height, with a commercial unit, together with interior car parking and other utility spaces at ground floor level.  The location is described by Merton Council as a “scattered employment site” and is mainly a mix of light industrial and some retail use. Whatever the need for more homes, the application site is not one which could be deemed desirable for residential development. 

    The southern end of Burlington Road is NOT a normal residential area. A new six story building would hardly fit the local scene which is mainly of 2 or 3 storeys. The location is well known to have very poor air quality, with heavy traffic crawling along, often queuing all the way to the level crossing at West Barnes Lane. Also, the site is in a Flood Zone and Shannon Corner nearby suffers from flash flooding. 

    The location is not well served by public transport and the two railway stations are well beyond convenient walking distance. 

    The area is supposed to be an employment location. Whilst the applicant has incorporated commercial space at ground floor level, it is not clear what this might be. We observe that, with the decline of the high street, there are many similar spaces in the Merton that are unoccupied. It is highly likely therefore that current employment numbers would be retained. 

    Additionally, there is a large electricity Sub Station next-door and the A3, with its noise and air pollution is close by. 

    Taking into consideration all the above we object to the proposals based on conflict with the relevant Planning Guidance as quoted.

    Merton Sites and Policies Plan, July 2014 (SPP) and

    Merton LDF Core Planning Strategy July 2011 (CPS) 

    DESIGN

    The building would fail to relate positively and appropriately to the scale, density, proportions and height to development in the nearby area and would fail to protect nearby resident (in particular, in Barnard Gardens) from visual intrusion in conflict with Policies DM D 1 and DM D 2

    SPP and Policy 14 CPS. 

    This is illustrated in the Applicant’s Design and Access Statement, on pages 50 and 51. 

    Additionally, some nearby buildings will suffer significant loss of daylight. In particular, the Applicant’s Daylight Report shows that 214 Burlington Road would suffer average loss of 22% in Vertical Sky Component (VSC) and, similarly, 32 Barnard Gardens a 10% loss. (Applicant’s Daylight Report, page 16) 

    FLOODING RISK

    The application site is within the fluvial flood zone and therefore at risk of flooding. The whole of the area around Shannon Corner is one of the lowest points of West Barnes Ward in terms of height above sea level. Shannon Corner suffered flash flooding as recently as 25 July 2021. 

    As a scheme for residential use, under the Planning Guidance regulations, there is a requirement for the applicant to apply a Sequential Test (to find an alternative site NOT in a flood zone) There is no evidence of this having been done. 

    We submit that the site is clearly unsuitable for housing development and, consequently, is in conflict with Policy CS 16 CPS and Policy DM F   SPP. 

    LOCAL EMPLOYMENT

    In terms of land use designation, the site is classified as a Scattered Employment Location.  The applicant has suggested that the ground floor of the block would be a commercial unit. However, there is no evidence of what type of shop this would be or whether (as seems very probable) employment numbers would be protected let alone increased. 

    We submit that the proposal  would conflict with Policy DM E 3 SPP.  

    PUBLIC TRANSPORT ASPECT

    The site is not well served by the local bus network and is beyond reasonable walking distance of both Raynes Park and Motspur Park Railway Stations. In consequence the site is deemed as having a low Public Transport Accessibility Level (PTAL) rating of between 2 and 3, on a scale from 1 the poorest to 6 b at the best. 

    We submit that the scheme would be in conflict with Policy DM D 2 SPP. 

    CLIMATE CHANGE

    The London Borough of Merton has declared a climate change emergency and has published its Climate Strategy and Action Plan. It is therefore very disappointing to note that the applicant is unable to come up with a carbon neutral design. We note that the applicant proposes 30-year carbon emissions totalling 342 tonnes of CO2. This it seeks to offset by means of a £35,302 payment, in recognition of its failure to achieve a carbon neutral design. 

    ENVIRONMENT

    In the light of earlier applications in the area it has been clearly established that the application site has very poor air quality. This arises from the heavy traffic on the A3, around Shannon Corner and along Burlington Road. We submit that this is not a suitable location for families to live and the proposals conflict with the broad aims of Policy DM D 2 of the Sites and Policies Plan. 

    CORE PLANNING STRATEGY POLICY CS 14

    This policy states that “All development s need to be designed in order to respect, reinforce and enhance the local character of  the area in which it is located. 

    We submit this application fails this test. 

    On behalf of the RP&WBRA for all the reasons outlined above I urge the Planning Applications Committee to REFUSE this application. 

    Jerry Cuthbert, Committee Member,

    On behalf of Raynes Park and West Barnes Residents’ Association

     

     

  • 22/P3021 82-86 Bushey Road

    The RPWBRA is not opposed to this development but feel that there are ways in which it could be substantially improved.  

    At the open meeting, residents raised several issues with us:

    i) It was felt that it would be good to have some residential development on the site.  This would be best placed at the rear, facing onto Bodnant Gardens.  

    ii) Several people felt that the proposal would result in increased congestion on Bushey Road (A298), possibly with tailbacks onto the A3.  

    iii) Residents in Bodnant Gardens will be facing large grey monolithic walls so we  have suggested that they could have varied textures, colours or have green walls.  

    The RPWBRA's Letter to the Merton Planning Officer may be read here.

  • Chairman's Blog - Dec 2022

    A SUCCESSFUL OPEN MEETING 

    On 8th November we held a very enjoyable and instructive Open Meeting, with refreshments, in the West Barnes Library.   

    Councillor Natasha Irons and Council Officer Charlie Baker spoke to us about the consultation regarding street cleaning and waste collection, as the Council has given formal notice to Veolia that their present contract will not be renewed after 2025. 

    John Townsend (Treasurer) then gave a helpful update about the state of the RPWBRA’s finances, with both the Pavilion and the Main accounts in a healthy state. This was followed by confirmation from Dick Coleman (Advertising Manager) that the income from adverts was steadily increasing.

    BELLWAY/LESSA/MEADOWVIEW Planning Application: 22/P2351

    As Chair, I then led discussion about the RPWBRA’s continuing efforts to combat the planning committee’s decision to grant permission to build 107 dwellings on the LESSA site in Meadowview Road off Grand Drive. We have now put in an objection to the Secretary of State, Michael Gove, which you can read here,

    DAVID LLOYD                                    Planning App 22/P3054

    Jerry Cuthbert then addressed the issue of an application by David Lloyd for the erection of an Open Sided Cover for Padel Tennis Courts.

    Details of the RPWBRA concerns may be read on this link: here.

    82-86 BUSHEY ROAD                           Planning App 22/P3021 

    Whilst the RPWBRA is not opposing the development, Mary-Jane Jeanes explained that there were aspects of the plan which could be improved.

    Further details click, 22/P3021 82-86 Bushey Road

    REDROW/TESCO

    Work in Progress, 456 apartments

    Michael Marks spoke about the demolition work in progress at the Tesco site. Since the meeting we have heard that Redrow have sold the site to Barratt London. Barratts state that work on the main site will start next February, with the first of the flats being delivered in June 2024 and completion of the whole 456 expected by June 2025.  They are calling the development Wimbledon Reach.

    Last, but very much not least, we heard from RPWBRA member Toby Ewin, who is Chair of the excellent Friends of West Barnes Library and helped to set up the very welcoming meeting.  He spoke briefly about the WB Library and its forthcoming anniversary, then both he and Clare Townsend spoke about factors affecting both Raynes Park and West Barnes libraries.

    PARTY FOR VOLUNTEERS

    In early December we are holding an afternoon Christmas party for our many RPWBRA volunteers as a thank you to them. It will be held in the Residents’ Pavilion. It is the first time that we have been able to hold it, owing to Covid, for 3 years.

    It cannot be repeated often enough that the Association, now over 90 years old, is entirely dependent on the hard work and good will of a large number of volunteers, who give freely of their time and energy to act as our Area Co-Ordinators and Road Stewards, to run the Pavilion, and to serve as our Committee.

    We wish you all a very Happy Christmas, and hope that 2023 will bring you everything that you wish for.             John Elvidge, Chairman  

     

  • Application 22/P3054 - David Lloyd

    Planning Application 22/P3054E for a new ten metres high canopy at the David Lloyd Centre. 

    At our recent Open Meeting of our Association, which took place on 8 November in West Barnes Library, one of the matters discussed was the planning application for a new canopy to cover outside tennis courts at the David Lloyd centre, overlooking Prince George’s Playing Fields (PGPF). Several concerns were expressed by those present, especially as PGPF are categorised both as Metropolitan Open Land (MOL) and as an area of Site of Importance for Nature (SINC).   

    These concerns included, Visual Impact, Light Pollution and Advertising. 

    Also, there are special planning policies that apply to proposals for developments in proximity to MOL and SINCs, Consequently, it was decided that the Association should submit an objection to this planning application. 

    Our objection may be read here. 

    Jerry Cuthbert – Committee Member

  • Merton's Survey - Street Cleaning & Refuse Collection

    As residents may be aware, the council, alongside its partners in the South London Waste Partnership (SLWP)) comprising Croydon, Kingston, Merton & Sutton, will not be renewing its contract with VEOLIA when the current contract ends. There will be no changes yet, but Councillor Natasha Irons, on behalf of the Council, wishes to involve as many residents as possible in a borough-wide survey. Full details may be found here .

    Also, in person meetings are being arranged in various parts of the borough, details to be confirmed. We are hoping that a representative will be able to attend our Open Meeting, 8/11/22 at West Barnes Library, 7.30pm.

     

  • Cost of Living Concerns

    There is no doubt that many residents will be concerned about the spiralling cost of living.

    Most people have already made plans to “cut down” on heating, on various treats, on expensive outings and so on. However, for many families, already finding it hard to cope financially, the future months are a time of great worry.

    Merton Councilhas listed some organisations who provide advice and assistance:

    Merton Growbaby (forfamilies with children under 5 years old) Help with milk formula, wipes, nappies,

    020 8544 0126 or email mertongrowbaby@gmail.com

    Wimbledon Guild, 30/32 Worple Road, SW19 4EF, Mon-Fri, 9.00am – 5.00pm, one-off emergency grants for gas, electricity, school uniforms etc.,to apply: 020 8946 0735 or welfare@wimbledonguild.co.uk

    Age UK (advice re: benefits) 020 8648 5792 or advice@ageukmerton.org.uk

    Dons Local Action Group, emergency food parcels, 020 3301 4511 or email info@donslocalaction.org

    Merton’s Community Fridge, Morden Baptist Church, Crown Lane, SM4 5BL, Open Weds, 4.30 – 6.00pm & Thurs 1.30 – 3.00pm, email: communityfridge@sustainablemerton.org

    All the organisations listed here rely on our support, so we can either help our close neighbours with advice and practical support or we can donate food, household and other essential items, money and/or our time to the local organisations.

    The Merton Community Hubis a focal point for support and advises residents (or those supporting them) to call 020 8066 4086 for advice re: shopping, finance, loneliness, support to remain independent, physical and mental health. It liaises with various centres to ensure the correct support is offered. 

  • Chairman's Blog - Nov 2022

    LESSA DEVELOPMENT: PLANNING COMMITTEE U-TURN ON LESSA

    On 22 September the Council’s planning committee granted permission to Bellway Homes to build 107 units of accommodation on the LESSA sports ground. Bellway made this third application within 2 weeks of the official refusal by the same committee of their second application to build the same number of houses and flats. They lodged it in early August during the school holidays knowing that this would give very limited time for objections. Even so well over 100 residents did object.

    The decision was passed by a vote of 6 to 4. The earlier decision was refused by 6 votes to 4, with a slightly different membership.

    The only differences between the two applications were a small extra area for hard play, which, of course, had the effect of cramming buildings even more, and a promise of paying the council over 1 million pounds to improve other sports grounds. Sport England objected strongly to both applications.

    We residents argued that the application was an abuse of process and illegal, being in effect the same application and designed to wear down our resilience. Unfortunately, the council officers did not agree.  They also recommended approval of the scheme, despite the very recent committee decision to the contrary. We argued that case law required consistent decisions.

    We have made an application to the Council under the Freedom of Information Act asking for sight of any and all correspondence and discussions that may have been held between the developers and council members and/or officials between the dates of the two meetings.

    Sport England and the England and Wales Cricket Board supported the application by a Consortium of adult and junior cricket clubs, as well as a junior school, to build a pavilion and play sport there, with extensive use for the public at large.  The scheme was accepted by them to be financially viable.

    Under the planning designation for the ground, it was for Bellway to prove that the scheme was notfinancially viable, not for the sporting bodies to prove that it was. The developers completely failed to prove this.

    Despite the previous committee decision, the council did not arrange any meetings with the Consortium from June until just before the 22 September. We have formally asked the Chief Executive why not?  In addition, a representative of the Consortium had applied in time to speak at the meeting, but his application was not properly processed by the council, and he was refused permission to speak. We have strongly complained to the Chief Executive.

    The councillors who voted in favour said expressly that they prioritised the need for extra housing, including affordable housing, over the need for sports on a designated sports field. They took no notice of the permission granted on appeal to Redrow to build 456 flats on the Tesco site, of which 143 are “affordable”.  In our view they ignored the established planning designation for the ground, and dismissed the many objections made on flooding, and the extra pressures on local surgeries, schools, and roads.

    We believe that, as Sport England required, and with the help of Stephen Hammond MP, the decision has been called in by the Secretary of State.  We understand that he can make a final decision himself or refer it back to Merton.  He has embargoed any action on the decision until early December. We are urgently enquiring what process is followed by the Secretary of State, what information he will have, and whether residents need to make representations to him.

    John Elvidge

    Additional Information: Following our Open Meeting on 8 November 2022, our Chairman has now sent an email to the Secretary of State, which may be read here

  • Access for All - Motspur Park Stn

    ‘Access for All’ is Network Rail’s terminology for step-free access at many, if not ultimately all, stations in the rail network. Motspur Park Station was identified some while back as a deserving case, so it’s good to report that some progress is being made. Network Rail has now been granted prior approval by Merton Council to carry out extensive improvement works. 

    The plan is to provide 3 new lifts, a new (enclosed) footbridge and a new station building. You can look in detail at the proposals on the Council’s Planning database at https://tinyurl.com/2hyzd3z8. The schematic below shows the basic design from the Station Road entrance. 

    Currently, the timescale is to complete the work by Spring 2024. At some stage, we believe there may be a public exhibition and consultation on the design. When we have more information on this, we will of course let you know. 

    Dick Coleman

  • Flooding Survey 2023 - Pictures

    Flooding Survey Pictures

  • LBM Flooding Survey

    16 September 2022

    The London Borough of Merton is currently conducting an online Flooding Survey. It asks residents and businesses if they have been affected by flooding recently or in the past. This data will then form part of the data analysis for a “Section 19 Flood Investigation”. 

    The survey consists of an online series of questions, mostly with multiple choice responses. 

    It is focussed on individual residents’ and businesses’ experience of flooding events that have occurred at their homes and/or premises and then asks about the extent of the flood and any resulting damage. 

    Our Association is aware that there have been several local flooding events over the last few years, particularly in the West Barnes and Raynes Park wards. 

    One of the key questions the survey asks is for the exact date of a specific event. 

     

     

    The following dates may trigger your memory. 

    • Monday, 12 July 2021
    • Monday, 24 August 2020
    • Thursday, 23 June 2016 (Brexit Referendum Day)

    The final question seeks any further descriptive information in the form of text up to 2,000 characters. We suggest that respondents may wish to consider and draft their response to this final question first, and then copy and paste it into the final response box. 

    At the end of the survey questionnaire, you are also invited to email photos and videos to future.merton@merton.gov.uk .Presumably, you could also use this address to send in any other points you might wish to submit about flooding in your vicinity, without necessarily completing the whole questionnaire.

    We urge local residents and business owners in affected areas to respond to this survey, which is at: 

    https://consult.merton.gov.uk/kms/dmart.aspx?LoggingIn=tempVar&strTab=PublicDMart&noip=1 

    The whole survey takes about 10 minutes to complete. The closing date is 14 October 2022. 

    The RPWBRA is preparing its own response to this survey and would be pleased to receive members’ comments, photos and/or other information about flooding in our area. Please email rpwbra@rpwbresidents.org.uk 

  • [Cancelled] Members' Open Meeting, Monday, 12 Sept 2022

    *** OPEN MEETING CANCELLED ***

    Following the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II we have cancelled the RPWBRA Open Meeting on 12 September 2022 at West Barnes Library.  We expect to publish a date soon for an Open Meeting later in the year.

     

     

    West Barnes Library, Station Road, KT3 6JF, from 7.30 to 9.30pm

     

    Do join us, everybody welcome, light refreshments provided 

     

    As our membership stretches from Cannon Hill Common to Sir Joseph Hood Memorial Playing Fields, (See Map), we are holding our September Open Meeting at the West Barnes Library and we hope that as many members as possible will join us. 

     

    The topics below have already been submitted for discussion: 

    ·         Continuing Lessa/Meadowview problem,
    ·         ULEZ,
    ·         The future of the RP & WB libraries,
    ·         Members’ use of the RPWBRA Pavilion,
    ·         The continuing work at the AELTC site,
    ·         The Grand Drive surface and traffic problems.   

    Please email our Secretary, at rpwbra@rpwbresidents.org.uk, if you would like a topic included.

     

     

     

  • Chairman's Blog - Sept 2022

    A green space, pledged for sport 

    Bellway Homes has made a third application to build 107 dwellings on the LESSA sports ground in Meadowview Road within weeks of the formal refusal by the Council of their second application. 

    This application was registered on 2nd August, with comments due back by the end of August. Obviously, they hoped in this way to minimise the 250 objections made to the second application.  

    This is another example of the breath-taking cynicism of this company, which has always refused to allow the continued use of the ground for sports, as the Planning Inspector decided in 2009/10 should happen. This was the basis on which Bellway bought the ground, and marketed the 44 homes they built.  

    The new application has the same number of proposed buildings, but squeezes in one extra small pitch, on the flood plain.  It does not address the basis of the Planning Committee’s decision, which was that the whole of the ground should be used for sports, and that there was no time limit for this to be done.  It does not overcome Merton’s planning guidance for the site, which is that it must be used for sport. 

    Bellway is still refusing to deal with the sporting consortium comprising an adult and a junior cricket club, and a junior school, which have made a viable proposal, which is supported by the ECB and Sport England. 

    We believe that this hurried application, which takes no account of the Council’s decision, is an abuse of the planning process. It takes up the time and efforts of the planning officers, and is a clear attempt to wear down the resilience of local residents.  

    We will be urging the Council, in our objections, to decline to determine it, on the basis that it is fundamentally the same application which has just been rejected. 

    The company has the right to appeal to the Planning Inspectorate within 6 months of the decision. They could have taken this option – and still can. 

    John Elvidge 

  • Help with Pensioners' Energy Bills

    Merton's Energy Bill Rebate for Pensioners in Council Tax Bands E to H 

    URGENT - Applications will close on 9 September at 5.00pm. 

    Merton Council have allocated approximately £400,000 to share between state pensioners living in households in council tax bands E to H. 

    The council have no easy way to identify state pensioners. So, if you received a state pension and live in a Band E to H home, you might be able to claim a grant to help with your energy bills. You can do this online at:

    https://www.merton.gov.uk/council-tax-benefits-and-housing/council-tax/energy-bill-rebate/discretionary 

    You’ll need to upload documentary evidence of your state pension. 

    If you are unable to apply online, please call Merton’s revenues team on 020 8274 5706 for help. 

    Applications will close on 9 September at 5.00pm

  • Bushey Road - Proposed 30 mph

    We have been notified that the council intends to change the Bushey Road speed limit (from the Martin Way intersection to the Grand Drive traffic lights) to 30mph. The limit was originally 40mph and this was considered too high. Despite a 2019 proposal to reduce it to 30mph, the limit was lowered to 20mph. 

    However, having consulted residents and other organisations – with the statutory consultation period due to end on 5th August - the council intends to impose a 30mph limit on the stretch, as there are no residential houses lining the road and it will join the rest of the  Bushey Road in having a 30mph limit. 

    There are crossings at either end of the stretch, and some residents in the Apostles area would like to see a further crossing installed midway. Safety issues are paramount, and the council has no intention of altering any other 20mph limits. 

    Michael Marks

  • Step Free Access - Raynes Park Stn?

    Report by Michael Marks (August 2022)

     

    A bid is being made to Network Rail and South Western Railway to secure step free access to platforms 3 & 4 at Raynes Park Station. 

     

    Due to the layout of the existing platforms, it is not easy to have a lift in the south entrance to the station up to the platforms. It is proposed to have a level access down the right of the existing ramp past the gate and have a lift which will have a stop on platform 2 and continue up to a new walkway over the railway and a lift down into the waiting room on platforms 3 & 4. 

     

    This idea is a bit cumbersome but for financial and logistical reasons it is the best solution. In common with the other local residents’ associations, we will be supporting this proposition. We will not hear if it is approved until Spring 2023 and it will not be built until 2029. 

     

    Over the years, many residents have contacted us about the difficult situation at Raynes Park and whilst we were delighted to hear that Motspur Park station had been included in the latest plans for improvement, we have shared these concerns about the steep ramps to platforms 1 & 2,  the dangerous gaps between the trains and platforms at certain points, and the “stairs only“ access to platforms 3 & 4.

     

    Residents, send your views to: 

    Railways For All Team,

    Department for Transport

    Great Minster House

    33 Horseferry Road

    SW1P 4DR

  • RPWBRA - Open Meeting 12 Sept 2022

    Our next Open Meeting will be on 12 September 2022 at: 

    West Barnes Library, Station Road, KT3 6JF, 7.30 – 9.30pm 

    Everyone welcome, Light refreshments provided 

    Dear Members, 

    Have Your Say! 

    We were pleased with the attendance at our last Open Meeting, the AGM held on 24th April, which took place in the Library Hall in Raynes Park. 

    As our membership stretches (roughly) from Cannon Hill Common to Sir Joseph Hood Memorial Playing Fields, we are holding our September Open Meeting at the WB Library and we hope that as many members as possible will join us. 

    After the temporary isolation of the pandemic years, these meetings provide a great opportunity to meet up with one another and to debate matters of local interest. 

    If you have a topic that you would like included, please contact us at rpwbra@rpwbresidents.org.uk

    John Elvidge

     

  • Chairman's Blog - August 2022

    SUMMER SOCIAL

    We were delighted to be able to hold a summer social event at the pavilion and grounds as a thank you to all the volunteers who work together to run the Residents’ Association. 

    Members of the Committee, the pavilion management group, the Area Coordinators and Road Stewards enjoyed a friendly get-together on a sunny Saturday afternoon. 

    The food, catered by Gostofino, was delicious and there was an opportunity for guests to play tennis! 

    It was the first “thank you” gathering we have been able to hold in three years because of the pandemic. 

    Some current and former councillors also attended. 

    Meanwhile, although Jill Truman, honorary President, was unable to join us on this occasion, we were delighted to welcome our honorary Vice-President, George Ferrier. 

    It is therefore, with great sadness, that we have since heard that George died a few weeks later. His funeral will take place on Monday 22nd August at 10.00am in Holy Cross Church. We send George’s family and friends our condolences.

    BELLWAY/MEADOWVIEW ALERT - BELLWAY SUBMIT NEW APPLICATION! 

    Although the Council’s Planning Committee refused the Bellway application to build 107 dwellings on the former LESSA sports ground, the company has the right to appeal to an independent Planning Inspector.   We do not know yet whether it will do so. However, if this happens it will be necessary to put in letters of objection again.  We will keep you informed. 

    Stop Press: Bellway have now submitted a new planning application, which is very similar to the one that was refused. So, we must all resubmit our objections for their new application: 22/P2351. 

    BUSHEY ROAD SPEED LIMIT 

    A speed limit of 20 mph was imposed on the dual carriageway section of Bushey Road, without any extensive public consultation.  This replaced the previous limit of 40 mph, which was probably too high, given that a large number of people cross the road from the Apostles area daily to get into Prince George’s Playing Fields - and children have to cross to reach the local primary schools such as Joseph Hood and St John Fisher. The Council is now trying to decide what the right limit should be, and the likelihood is that it will opt for 30 mph which would seem to be a sensible compromise. 

    Finally, whatever your summer plans, perhaps staying at home or travelling in the UK or abroad, we hope you have a relaxing, happy time!

    John Elvidge

  • RPHS Sports Days - July 2022

    Our Association received the following letter from Raynes Park High School, dated 28th June 2022:

     

    Dear Residents,

     

    Re: Raynes Park High School Sports Day(s) 2022

     

    I am writing to inform you of the upcoming sports days that we will be holding for our different year groups this year. These will be taking place at the Sports Ground on Westway Close. The dates and times for these events are shown below:

     

    Monday 11th July: 9am – 1pm

    Tuesday 12th July: 9am – 1pm

    Friday 15th July: 9am – 1pm

    Tuesday 19th July: 9am – 1pm *

     

    Please be aware that in order to successfully coordinate these events, we will require the use of a PA system during these times. We will ensure that only mandatory announcements are made in order to minimise any noise issues.

     

    These events are a fantastic opportunity for our wonderful students to showcase their hard work, dedication and sporting talents. I would like to take this opportunity to apologise for any disruption that this may cause and to thank you in advance for your understanding and support.

     

    Yours faithfully, 

    Mr J Sanderson

    Head of Physical Education   

    * Please also note that the Association has since been informed that the fourth Sports Day, scheduled for Tuesday, 19 July, has been postponed due to the current heatwave.

  • A Local Street Party - June 2022

    From one of our members ... 

    At the start of the first lockdown, the family who live opposite us made a rainbow and displayed it in their front window. We made a sign in reply, that read “Hey, we love your rainbow! Stay safe!” and were ashamed not to be able to put their names on it. In fact, we only knew the names of those living either side of us - everyone else just had a nickname. 

    Fast forward two years, and I’m pleased to be able to say that I’m on first-name terms with probably half of the 69 properties on the street. To think, it took a pandemic!  

    Our street party (held to celebrate both the Platinum Jubilee and Neighbourhood Watch Week) was attended by nearly 100 enthusiastic residents. I met neighbours I’d never even seen before, in seven years of living here! Many commented on how pleased they were to live on a street where such an event could be a success, and there was a real buzz in the air as people made connections and friendships. 

    I learned how to say hello in Tamil, which kids are learning to cycle without stabilisers, how best to tackle hay fever and aphids, that if you say you need a gazebo you get four, and that if you say you need some tables then a carpenter on your street kindly makes you one that’s 20ft long 

    Community takes effort to build and needs to include everyone. I’m so grateful to the neighbours who: 

    ·         surveyed all residents to get their views about closing the street for a party, 

    ·         arranged an online collection pot to cover necessary expenses (which raised more than £200 in small donations), 

    ·         completed tedious applications and risk assessments, 

    ·         leafleted every property to ensure those not on WhatsApp were included, 

    ·         displayed posters explaining the event, translated into some of the languages spoken on the street, 

    ·         distributed colouring and drawing sheets to all the children, who returned them once complete. Their artwork was then copied and five different designs were distributed to each house in the street. Residents displayed them in their front windows, turning the street into a gallery of artwork for the Jubilee, 

    ·         devised a scavenger hunt for families to do during the party, with things to find, riddles to solve, and questions to ask their neighbours so that we learned a little about each other, 

    ·         brought out their garden furniture, (or even built some specially) put it up and helped clear away, 

    ·         made delicious celebratory dishes from their culture and shared them so generously, 

    ·         uncomplainingly marshalled each end of the street in 45-minute shifts, or longer! 

    We’re going to try to keep the momentum going and neighbours are signing up to take part in the next Merton Garden Streets planting days www.sustainablemerton.org/ gardenstreets 

    Of course, everyone being tipsy on community spirit is the perfect opportunity to encourage neighbours to become members of the Residents’Association! Let’s keep finding ways to make lemonade out of that Pandemic lemon!

  • Raynes Park Water Fountain

    Outside the Coombe Lane entrance to Raynes Park Station, thanks to Thames Water and The Mayor of London one of more than a hundred drinking water fountains has been installed.

    The aim of this is to reduce the number of single-use plastic water bottles used in the capital and provide free access to healthy tap water. Please refill a reusable bottle rather than buying a single-use one.

    The Mayor and Thames Water have covered the cost of the fountains and their installation. They will be owned by Thames Water who will maintain and clean the fountains for at least 25  years. 

    Michael Marks, RPWBRA Secretary

     

     

    .

     

     

     

  • Raynes Park Railway Embankment

    Thanks to the Raynes Park Association, you may have noticed that over the last few years the overpowering advertising hoarding, which was hiding the railway embankment along Coombe Lane, opposite Boots, has been removed. More recently a new railing has now been installed and a lot of the overgrown bank has been cleared. It is their intention to have the terracing repaired and the ground planted with perennial plants, shrubs and spring bulbs, improving the appearance of the area for the enjoyment of the local community.

    Michael Marks, RPWBRA Secretary

     

     

     

     

    Request from Chris Larkman, Chair of the Apostles Residents’ Association 

    CALLING ALL RESIDENTS: WILL YOU HELP US TO IMPROVE THE RAILWAY EMBANKMENT IN RAYNES PARK? 

    We are looking for volunteers to help us create an attractive landscape on the embankment on the north of the railway at Raynes Park – the bit of land opposite Boots.  Network Rail has given permission to the Raynes Park Association to manage this embankment.  So we’re setting up the ‘Friends of Raynes Park’ to help dig over, plant, and look after the embankment.  Our work will make Raynes Park look great!  

  • Bellway application to Build on LESSA Sportsground

    The application by Bellway Homes to build 107 units of accommodation, including flats, on the former LESSA sports ground in Meadowview Road, off Grand Drive, was refused by the Planning Committee on 16th June.

    Previously ...

    Astonishingly, in view of the history of the ground, and all the representations made, the Council’s website states that it will come before the Committee with a recommendation from the Planning Officers that the scheme be approved.

    The vast majority of local residents have been incensed by this application, and will wish to attend the Committee in order to demonstrate to the Committee the need to refuse the application, despite the recommendation.  When the Redrow application to build 456 flats near Tesco’s came before the Committee with a similar recommendation for development, the Committee then was persuaded by the arguments and refused that application.

    We have set out the reasons why this application ought to be refused at length before in The Guide, and in previous leaflets to concerned householders.  In brief Bellway bought the sports ground, and were permitted to build the 44 houses and flats which now make up Meadowview Road, on the clear understanding that the rest of the ground would be used for junior sports. That was in 2009/10. The residents in Meadowview Road bought their properties on this basis.

    Since then, Bellway has cynically refused to entertain any idea of allowing sporting use of the ground, simply fencing it off, and awaiting its opportunity to make more profit from its purchase.

    Merton’s local plan for the site states that: “Sporting or community use of the whole site will have to be demonstrated as undeliverable before any other uses can be considered.”   There is a joint proposal by two local cricket clubs, and a junior school, which are very keen to use the whole ground for sports.  This proposal is fully funded, but has been dismissed out of hand by Bellway.

    Sport England in its comments on 11.3.22 objected to the application in strong terms. It also stated that should the Council be minded to grant planning permission for the development, it had to be referred to the Secretary of State. The England and Wales Cricket Board, and the Rugby Football Union are similarly opposed.

    The comments of Sport England can be read on the Council’s Planning Explorer, under reference number 21/P4063. This also contains the detailed objection to the application put in by our Residents’ Association. Unfortunately, the very many individual letters of objection cannot be viewed on line. Although we have repeatedly asked the Council to arrange for this.

    It is not clear at the moment on what grounds the Planning Officers are recommending approval, given the huge weight of arguments for refusal.  When we know this better, which is not likely to be until just before the date of the meeting, we shall, of course, attempt to let local people know. 

    John Elvidge

  • Pavilion Reserves Policy

    Click here to read the Reserves Policy for the Residents' Pavilion, as at 09/03/2022.

  • Chairman's Blog - April 2022

    THE ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING

    We are holding our AGM on Tuesday 26th April at 7.30pm in the hall at Raynes Park Library. Entry is via the side entrance in Aston Road.

    It is the first one we have been able to hold since 3rd April 2019 owing to COVID 19 restrictions, so please make a special effort to come and hear what the Association has been doing and give us your views and comments.

    There will be a short summary from our police team about their work in our area and then our guest speaker Leonie Cooper, the London Assembly member for Merton and Wandsworth, will be leading discussion on a matter of local interest.

    I am pleased to tell you that Jill Truman, our Honorary President, will be present and will oversee the elections of officers for the coming year.

    We always welcome fresh blood to help run the Association, whether this is by becoming a road steward, an area coordinator, a committee member or a volunteer to help plan events and outings.

    BELLWAY APPLICATION TO BUILD ON THE MEADOWVIEW FIELD

    Many objections have been submitted in opposition to Bellway’s plans to build 107 units of accommodation on the former LESSA sports ground.

    Their previous application (which strangely has yet to be withdrawn or determined) was strongly opposed by Sport England and the present application has been referred to Sport England as a statutory committee. They have yet to comment but we are very hopeful that they will oppose this scheme.

    Merton’s planning committee will not be considering the application until the comment is received, and then the officers have to make a recommendation for approval or rejection. We expect that a large number of residents will want to be present for the planning meeting and we will let you know as soon as we can when this is going to be. The indications are that this will be after the local elections in May.

    WARNINGS FROM THE POLICE AND MERTON’S SAFER NEIGHBOURHOOD BOARD

    The police are reminding everyone to be vigilant about opportunistic thefts arising from the high metal prices caused by the war in Ukraine. These include the theft of catalytic converters from cars and of metal, plant and equipment from buildings and building sites, street furniture and cabling. I would add that there must be an added danger, if petrol and diesel prices keep rising, of siphoning fuel from vehicles.

    John Elvidge

  • AGM - 26 April 2022

    Raynes Park & West Barnes Residents’ Association

    Annual General Meeting

    to be held on Tuesday 26th April 2022 at 7.30pm

    at Raynes Park Library Hall, SW20 8BA (Aston Road Entrance)

    Agenda

    1.     Welcome, Announcements, Apologies for Absence

    2.     Summary: the work of the Association since March 2019: John Elvidge

    3.     Treasurer’s Report: John Townsend

    4.     Election of Officers: Jill Truman, Hon President

    5.     Representatives from the local police force

    6.     GUEST SPEAKER: LEONIE COOPER, London Assembly Member for Merton and Wandsworth                                                  

    7.     Residents‘ concerns, ideas, queries – please email in advance at  rpwbra@outlook.com

    8.     AOB followed by LIGHT REFRESHMENTS

    We look forward to seeing you!

     

  • Raynes Park Community Forum - 2022

    The Raynes Park Community Forum holds open meetings four times a year, usually in Raynes Park Library. Community Forum meetings are for anyone with an interest in the local area. They are chaired by local councillors. Issues raised are referred to the responsible organisation to follow up and report back on how problems are resolved. The next meetings are planned for: 

    Tuesday 22 March 2022 – On Zoom

    Thursday 30 June 2022;

    Tuesday 20 September 2022;

    Wednesday 7 December 2022;

    Tuesday 25 April 2023 

    All meetings start at 7:15 p.m. 

    The agenda and more information are available by clicking here

  • Treasurer's Update; March 2022

    Thanks to our amazing Area Coordinators and Road Stewards we have achieved almost 90% of our expected subscriptions. Given the difficulties which we have all encountered since the beginning of the pandemic, this is very encouraging. 

    As we are now at the end of the financial year 21/22  I will be sending reminders to residents who have been receiving Guides but have not yet paid their annual membership sub of £3. 

    Many thanks to all the members who have paid – and extra thanks to the generous members who have added donations! The accounts will be audited as always by Brian Lewis Lavender and will be printed in the April Guide. 

    John Townsend, Treasurer RPWBRA

  • Grand Drive - Zoom Meeting with Council Officers

    FACT: A recent survey showed that Grand Drive is used by an average of 11,000 vehicles per day. The details can be accessed on: https://tinyurl.com/yckmy6eu. 

    GD residents have to contend with huge lorries illegally using the road as early as 5am.  The vibrations cause cracks in their properties and damage to pavements and the road surface. Over the past few years the volume of traffic has increased and the pollution levels have risen.  There is also an increased safety factor for pedestrians and cyclists. 

    On the last day of January, theRPWBRA held an extra committee Zoom meeting to raise the issue with council officials. RPWBRA Committee Members John Elvidge, John Townsend, Michael Marks, Clare Townsend, Dick Coleman, Jerry Cuthbert & Mary-Jane Jeanes joined with Grand Drive representatives Demetri Anastasiou, James Bushell, Lucy Bushell, Pepi Ferrari and Mark Nicholson, plus Cllr Hina Bokhari, with the intention of finding solutions through discussion with Chris Lee, Director of Environment and Regeneration and Paul McGarry, Head of Future Merton. 

    Representatives from the traffic police and London Lorry Control Scheme (LLCS) offered useful information but were unable to attend. 

    Demetri Anastasiou has written an expert summary of the GD problems (Click here), so it was no surprise that Paul McGarry’s presentation emphasised the difficulties involved in improving matters. 

    The LLCS rules that vehicles over 18 tonnes are not allowed in the zone Mon-Fri: 9.00pm - 7.00am or from 1.00pm on Saturdays to 7.00am on Mondays.  A map of the scheme can be found at https://lcspermits.com/#schememap 

    However, HGV operators are not obeying the LLCS rules and all types of vehicles are often breaking the 20mph limit. Unfortunately, the LLCS has only 5 Inspectors for the whole of London. However, they have been active in the area, issuing 124 penalty notices on GD, 67 on Martin Way and 768 on Bushey Road. 

    Important: a recent police speed check found that many local residents from the  roads surrounding GD were breaking the 20mph speed limit in Grand Drive. 

    The road surface has been inspected by the council and is currently ranked 135th out of 1167 roads in Merton for defectiveness, so they are not saying that it is in good condition, but that there are 134 roads with priority - and as we know, there is not a lot of money available for repairs. Demetri Anastasiou  pointed out that the sheer volume and weight of traffic on GD meant that it would continue to deteriorate more quickly than other roads. Suggestions from the meeting included more speed signs painted on the road and more electronic flashing signs for speeding cars. Currently, LLCS will only put signage up at the boundaries such as this one at Tolworth,

     

     

    but this should be reconsidered as GD is in the middle of a zone. 

    Chris Lee will also be writing to various companies in the borough reminding them of the restrictions. There is also talk of a zebra crossing near the  GD Surgery. 

    Referring to the traffic volume checks, Paul McGarry explained that the council have sensors measuring pollution and number of vehicles in each class using the road. It also counts cyclists and pedestrians. Details can be found at https://tinyurl.com/yckmy6eu.

    If HGV drivers need to make a journey in the controlled zone they are able to obtain a permit. Common users of these permits are supermarkets delivering daily fresh produce. Those of us in neighbouring roads benefit from essential and non-essential deliveries and we are all part of the problems and the solutions. We need to ensure that we ourselves keep to the speed limits, report worrying incidents and work together for the safety and wellbeing of our community.

    Michael Marks, Secretary RPWBRA

     

  • Chairman's Blog, March 2022

    BELLWAY APPLICATION TO BUILD ON THE LESSA SPORTS FIELD 

    The Association has put in a robust and detailed objection to the plans by Bellway Homes to build 107 dwellings on the former LESSA sports ground in Meadowview Road off Grand Drive.  You can see our objection here .

    We delivered 700 leaflets to the households closest to the ground, urging residents to respond by the revised deadline date of 16 February, with a copy to us, and are pleased to note that very many objections have been submitted. 

    Please note: although the deadline has passed, our experience is that the Council will accept and take later comments fully into account, given that it is highly unlikely that the application can be considered before summer at the earliest and that the statutory agencies have yet to be consulted. 

    The application is numbered 21/P4063, and anyone responding must give their name and address for the objection to be considered, although these will not be seen by the public at large.  We would remind Members to state clearly if they are objecting, and then give the reasons. 

    There was a previous application in 2020, which has not been withdrawn, and it is uncertain whether Bellway intends to proceed with this in some way or not. The previous application was for 89 dwellings and so Bellway is trying to maximise its profits even more by cramming in higher buildings.

    We have set out very clearly that any building on the site would be a breach of the decision by the Planning Inspector in 2010 to retain the field for sports, principally for juniors, when he granted permission for the 44 dwellings now built as an “enabling development”. 

    Any fresh building on the site would be a complete departure from official planning guidance.  

    Ever since it bought the land, Bellway has refused, in our view, to take up any offers by schools or sports clubs to use the ground as the Inspector intended.  There is now a fully costed scheme between two cricket clubs and a junior school, all of impeccable standing, which Bellway has turned down.  

    The previous Bellway planning application was objected to by Sport England and we fully expect that they will object also to the present application.   The previous application was also objected to by the Environmental Agency because of the risk of flooding. 

    The risk of flooding remains and we are aware that flash floods are occurring with ever more frequency in our area, and that the water and sewage drainage system is unable to cope. 

    Grand Drive is already saturated with traffic and we report here on the meeting held on 31 January with the relevant council officers and input from other agencies. Any new dwellings will put still more pressure on our schools and on our local GPs and dental practices which are barely able to cope now. And this application is on top of the permission granted last summer, on appeal from the Council’s refusal, to build 456 flats in 7 tower blocks at Tesco’s site. 

    The pandemic has emphasised how important it is to preserve our open spaces for recreation and sport and drainage. 

    It is absolutely vital that this application be refused.

    John Elvidge, Chairman RPWBRA

     

  • Thames Water - Flooding Roadshow

     The Holiday season is over and on the first working day of 2022 the road through Raynes Park was flooded.   

    As you may have seen on Wednesday 12 January, Thames Water parked a van on the forecourt outside Raynes Park Station for the purpose of discussing the flooding problems in the area.  

     

    A few councillors were in attendance together with the council’s communication officer. The council staff who are responsible for the gullies were not available and very few people had been notified of the event.

     

    Most gullies running along the edge of the road against the kerb in Merton are now cleaned by a small vehicle. This is a start, but they need to be cleared more thoroughly.

     

    The council appear to have stopped removing the leaves and dirt which go into the kerb drains. These drains link the road surface to the sewer below which is Thames Water’s responsibility.  

     

    The sewers were started late in the 19th Century and their capacity was not designed for what we route into them. Just keeping the gullies and drains clear will not solve the problem of the under capacity of the sewer pipes.  The infrastructure below ground needs to be brought in line with what is being built above ground.  

     

    IMPORTANT ADVICE: TELEPHONE CALLS ARE EFFECTIVE

     

    If a road or area floods please first call: 

     

     

    Thames Water 0800 316 9800

     

    to report it. A telephone call is much more effective than an email. Also call Merton Council to keep them informed.  

     

    https://tinyurl.com/5bd2w8rm  

    This link to Merton Council’s website has a useful page describing who to contact and their details.  

     

    https://tinyurl.com/5aw84rsw  

    Above is a link to Thames Water Questionnaire if you want to report flooding. There is a greater effect if you telephone Thames Water 0800 316 9800   

    RPWBRA CONCERNS - A Question for Thames Water 

    Why were only a small number of the local residents informed about the TW roadshow? Only a few roads were leafleted and the RPWBRA was not informed. It was only thanks to Chris Larkman from the Apostles Residents’ Association that we heard about the venture, but this was at very short notice and gave us no time to muster attendance.

    As a result, the photographs taken at the event show very few residents, mainly passing shoppers, whereas a properly advertised event with Council support would have seen a large, interested group of concerned residents who have been affected by the flooding issues for years.    

    The idea was a good one but the lack of publicity rendered it largely ineffective.

    Michael Marks - Secretary

  • Chairman's Blog - Feb 2022

    LOOKING FORWARD TO 2022

    As the days lengthen and green shoots appear in the ground, we can only hope that the worst days of the pandemic are over. We have been forced to close our social centre, the Pavilion, for most of the past two years, but gradually the Management Committee has been able to re-open it in a responsible and socially distanced way. 

    THE PAVILION CLUB AND MEMORIES OF ANDREA

    We are pleased that the very successful Pavilion Club founded by our honorary president Jill Truman and the late, much-missed Andrea Hannan for our older residents, has been able to re-start and will, when it is safe to do so, get back to full numbers for its weekly get-together.  Andrea sadly died, too young, a couple of years ago and a rose bush has been planted, in her daughter’s presence, in her memory. There is a plaque to commemorate her along the pathway to the Pavilion. We all miss her cheerful personality. 

    THANK-YOU TO OUR VOLUNTEERS

    It is a source of real pride that we have been able to keep in touch with our members by means of newsletters, Guides, the website and Nextdoor throughout the pandemic.

    The many volunteers who deliver The Guide deserve our thanks for carrying on doing so even through the worst days of semi-lockdown. 

    I particularly want to mention and thank those area co-ordinators and road stewards who have retired or moved away since the start of the pandemic: Zahra Hassan & Chris Quinby (Bushey), Marjorie Reynolds (Claremont), Yvonne Sharp (Elm Walk), Carol Hicks (Heath Drive), and Arthur Holden & Chris Hollingshead (Westway). We hope to see you at our next social function to thank you for your years of service. 

    Fortunately, we still have a large force of excellent volunteers – and we always like to hear from members who are able to take on some of the deliveries. 

    GRAND DRIVE TRAFFIC MEETING

    We are due to hold a meeting on 31 January (by Zoom) with Council officers, ward councillors, and residents in the area to try and work out an achievable scheme to control the various and many problems of traffic using Grand Drive.  There are too many lorries, sometimes overweight, and often using the road out of permitted hours. 

    They disturb sleep and cause vibrations and damage to local houses.  The road is clogged with too many vehicles in both rush hours.   Despite warning signs and the imposition of a 20mph limit, traffic often drives far too fast, without any consistent enforcement.

    We will report more on this matter on this website. 

    HOUSING

    The Mayor of London requires all the London boroughs to provide more housing, and Merton is due to complete its local plan, which will try to assimilate the extra numbers required. 

    It seems to me to be obvious that when many town centres are dying owing to the huge increase in internet shopping and shopping malls, that the emphasis should be on converting unused shops into residential accommodation. That, after all, was how town centres developed over many centuries, with shops next door to houses and flats. 

     It would make for more vibrant centres, cut down on traffic, and help to slow down the need to build ghastly high-rise developments such as that proposed on the Tesco site.

    Wishing all our members a happy and healthy 2022.                      John Elvidge

     

  • New Application 21/P4063 for 107 Dwellings at Meadowview Road

    Update 12 February 2022

    Bellway Homes has submitted a new planning application for the sports field at Meadowview Road:

    Application 21/P4063 is now on Merton's Planning Explorer, along with all the supporting documents. The application is for:

    Redevelopment of part of former LESSA sports ground, involving the erection of 107 dwellings, including affordable housing, associated landscaping, equipped children’s play area, multi-use games area, outdoor gym area and associated infrastructure, including flood mitigation, vehicular access and parking, plus the erection of 2 all-weather tennis courts with floodlighting, storage compound and parking.”

    For more details, search for 21/P4063 at:

    https://planning.merton.gov.uk/Northgate/PlanningExplorerAA/GeneralSearch.aspx

    Input the Application Number: 21/P4063 in the top box and then click "Search" at the bottom of the page.

    Then on the next page, click on the Application Number link 21/P4063 on the left

    Then on the next page click "View Related Documents".

    Comments, objections etc should be submitted to LBM Planning Dept. For your objection to be validate, you must state your name and address.

    Please send your comments in writing to:

    LBM Planning Department, Merton Civic Centre, London Road, Morden, SM4 5DX or by email: planning.representations@merton.gov.uk with the application number,21/P4063, for the attention  the Case Officer, Tim Lipscomb and stating your name and address. The official closing date is now 16 February 2022.

    Request from Michael Marks: please send a copy of your comments or objections to rpwbra@outlook.com or marked for his attention care of: The Residents’ Pavilion, 129 Grand Drive, SW20 9LY as it is helpful to have this information.

    A big “thank you” to all our members and fellow residents who have submitted objections so far, especially those who have copied us in at rpwbra@outlook.com  .

    You can read the Association’s own submission here.

  • Thames Water Flooding Roadshow - 12 Jan 2022

     

    Although at very short notice, we have heard that Thames Water will be having a road-show outside Raynes Park Station on Wednesday 12 January 2022.

    You can read more Here

  • The Pavilion Club Returns

    The much-anticipated re-opening of the Pavilion Social Club for over 55s has taken place and is part of a tentative return to the activities, which were enjoyed before the shock of the pandemic. 

    Good company, refreshments and activities, such as Scrabble, are as popular (and competitive!) as ever. Why not come and join the fun every Thursday at the Residents’ Pavilion, 129 Grand Drive, SW20 9LY, from 2.00pm - 4.00pm? 

    The members would also appreciate help with setting up and clearing away – so if you have a little time to spare, do come along! 

    To enquire about joining the Pavilion Club, email rpwbra@outlook.com

    Once the club is fully up and running again there will be a full programme of invited speakers, outings and events.

    A friendly welcome awaits!

  • Grand Drive Traffic - Meeting Planned

    Following a meeting of the RPWBRA Committee on Tuesday 9th November, and in conjunction with a series of meetings held by the Grand Drive Action Group, the Association will be chairing a private meeting in January 2022 with representatives of the police, local government and other public servants involved with local traffic and roads.

    Using the meticulous research undertaken by Demetri Anastasiou as a basis for discussion, Michael Marks has already invited officials with responsibility for the worrying HGV developments, the speeding and the state of the road. James Bushell has also invited a representative of the Traffic Police. 

     

     

    We regret that it will not be able to run this as an open Meeting but would welcome your views (rpwbra@outlook.com) and will be leafleting Grand Drive and the adjoining roads for your views. 

    John Townsend

     

  • What's Happening to our Libraries?

    As a longstanding Library volunteer, I feel well-placed to question the sudden introduction of Card Access Technology at the four small branch libraries including Raynes Park and West Barnes. 

    Having weathered successfully the financial cutbacks imposed by the government upon local councils, Merton could until recently be seriously proud of its library provision. 

    However, the latest developments have taken many aback. On Monday 15th November I arrived at the Raynes Park library to run my regular story session.  A small notice (A4) had been pinned up explaining that the library can only be accessed between 9.30am and 1.00pm by use of a library card and pin number. On Saturdays and from 1.00pm the current rules apply. 

    Obviously, on this occasion the staff were present outside and were as helpful as ever, but I was surprised that neither I nor any other user had been forewarned of the imminent change. I checked the Merton site afterwards and there was no mention at that point of the new entry system.

    Nor had I received any email notice. 

    It makes sense to require members to have their cards with them, just as we need other cards for buses and tubes. It is free to join the library, so the new entrance system, once firmly in place, should not prove a barrier and will free up staff to deal with other matters within the library. 

    However, the change was brought in abruptly and is tied up with other more questionable cost-cutting issues.  The Head of Library Services, Anthony Hopkins,  explained to me that the intention is to save money by reducing the bill for Security Personnel – and that to compensate there will be more CCTV which can be accessed remotely to keep an eye on things. Help! 

    Let’s get this clear: the security officers at the Raynes Park and West Barnes Libraries are outstanding workers, who undertake willingly a range of tasks for which they are not paid. Also, without their presence there will be times when other staff will be on their own. Lone working? Is this the plan? 

    Following the pandemic (when, quite rightly, we were scarcely allowed in), libraries need to recover and move forward. This should be done safely and in cooperation with the community rather than through plans and schemes drawn up and implemented without our input or any consensus. 

    Clare Townsend 

     

  • Our Secretary's Round-Up, Dec 2021

    Usually at this time of the year we all look back and review the last year.

    I like to look forward and look at how events may or may not proceed. 

    The planning applications re: several sites in the area are still ongoing. The field in MeadowviewRoad is still in question, will it be housing or a sports field? There is no date set for the Planning Application Committee to decide so there must be background discussions taking place. 

    Despite objections, permission has been granted for nine units along the south side of Wyke Road but with conditions. We will have to see if the developer is able to meet the various constraints and regulations. 

    The garages at 38 Crossway were originally to be knocked down and eighteen flats built, but after the developer did a local consultation the plans for the site have been changed to a more suitable seven houses. There is no date set for the council decision and local residents will be aware that the Environment Agency is trying to verify the routes the local rivers take around the location.   

    The plans for a house to be built behind 274-320 Cannon Hill Lane has a recommendation to refuse permission but the planning Application Committee has not been given a date to confirm this. 

    In the Chairman’s Blog in December 2021, John Elvidge reminds us that Redrow have won their appeal for the development to go ahead on the Tesco Car Park but there is a glimmer of hope as there have been several articles in the news saying that Redrow are no longer wanting to build high intensity inner city developments as this is not where people want to live after the pandemic.

    If a reduction in the HGV traffic on Grand Drive is made possible, the next move will be to slow the traffic in Westway, especially the one-way section. 

    As we all try and protect the environment, the way we travel is going to change. We will have to find a way e-scooters can use our roads. Electric cars will need charging so more of our street furniture will have to be adapted. We will also have to allow for a recharging stop on long distance journeys. 

    Our working habits have changed and are still changing, which in turn is going to affect the local area. We are going to want more from our parks and open spaces, local commerce will have to adapt. I am sure that in the future new houses will be built with secure boxes to take deliveries while we are out. 2022 has plenty of opportunity for us all. 

    Happy holidays!

    Michael Marks (RPWBRA Secretary)

    rpwbra@outlook.com

  • Chairman's Blog - Dec 2021

    We all hope that this year, for the first time in two years, we will be able to travel and to enjoy Christmas and New Year with our family and friends.

    We are sorry that we are unable, for the second year running, to host our regular thankyou party for our many volunteers who help to keep the Residents’ Association running. The continued threat of Covid infections makes it unwise to invite large groups of people to celebrate in the Pavilion.

    So, instead, a huge thank you to all our Area Co-Ordinators and Road Stewards for your hard work throughout the year, and, of course, to all our Committee members and to the members of the Pavilion Management Group who do so much behind the scenes.

    We do hope that by the summer the threat of major transmission of the disease will have eased, so that we can have a great celebration.

    HIGHS AND LOWS IN A BUSY YEAR

    TESCO/REDROW DEVELOPMENT

    As you know, this time last year we were gearing up for the planning appeal against the Council’s decision to refuse the application by Redrow Homes to build 456 flats in 7 tower blocks up to 15 stories high in Burlington Road.  This was heard by a Planning Inspector remotely over Zoom, and the Association was a full party. She heard 8 days of evidence before Christmas and another 3 in the new year, and it concluded on 13 January. There was then silence until she finally produced her report at the end of June. We were all devastated that she decided to allow the appeal and let the development go forward.

     The reason she gave in her 34 page report was that the provision of new accommodation, some of which was “affordable” outweighed the major concerns of residents as to visual intrusion, inadequate parking, and the lack of public facilities, such as health and school provision.

    RAYNES PARK VALE FOOTBALL CLUB PUBLIC ALCOHOL LICENCE

    We were successful however in opposing, together with many concerned local residents, the application to have a full alcohol licence at Raynes Park Vale FC on Prince George’s Playing Fields.  This was refused by the Council’s licensing committee, again held over Zoom.  The application was to permit the sale of alcohol to the public from morning until very late at night, and would have meant enormous disturbance to the many houses around the site.

    PRINCE GEORGE’S PLAYING FIELDS

    We were also successful, after a number of reminders to the Council, in getting it to enforce the planning conditions on these playing fields, which restrict the number of commercial activities which can take place during the year.

     GRAND DRIVE TRAFFIC

    We are arranging a meeting early in the New Year to try and control the number of over large vehicles that use Grand Drive, disturb the sleep of the residents, and cause structural damage to surrounding properties.    

    Finally, from all of us at the Association, we wish each and every one of you a peaceful and joyful Christmas and a very happy and healthy New Year.

    Best wishes to you all, John Elvidge

  • Floodlights at RPVFC take a dive

     

     

    For many of us living near the Raynes Park Vale FC ground, its floodlights are an ever-present visual fact of life. We are used to them, the lighting is not intrusive and they have appeared well-maintained. 

    However, an alarming event occurred in the night of 26th/27th September, when one of the lighting towers crashed over, coming to rest amazingly on top of a telephone pole. The subsequent “making safe” was a complicated operation involving a group of firefighters using ropes. It does not require much imagination to realise that this dangerous event could have caused a horrifying accident. We have contacted the Club for an update and will hopefully be able to reassure nearby residents and users of the field of the steps being taken to replace or secure the other floodlights.

  • Events at St Saviour's - November 2021

     

     

    Following the success of the Fun Afternoon, three more events are planned for parishioners and the local community this month. 

    Saturday 13th November

    Christmas Fair

    11.30am - 2.30pm 

    Fun, stalls & activities – plus an early visit from Father Christmas!

     

    Sunday 14th November

    Remembrance Sunday 

    Begins at 10.40am in the church followed by wreath laying at 10.55, then 2 minutes silence. Afterwards, named crosses will be planted in the garden around the memorial.

     

    Saturday 20th November

    100 Years On

    Re-dedication of the War Memorial 

    12 noon: doors open and there is an opportunity to look at various displays around the church. 

    2.00pm: the Service of Re-dedication

    will be followed by refreshments served until 4.00pm.

     

  • Design Panel Reviews LESSA Proposals

     

    20/P3237 Bellway's Application for Former LESSA Sports Ground in Meadowview Road 

     

    At short notice, our committee members, Clare Townsend and Michael Marks, managed to connect to Merton's Design Review Panel’s Zoom meeting, which included a section on Bellway's planning application for the Land at Meadowview Road (Former LESSA Sports Ground). 

     

    This was a meeting to discuss the design and layout of the buildings prior to the planning application being considered by the LBM Planning Committee. The developer’s architect put forward his latest version, which was for over 100 units, an increase on the original plan, as Merton Council said that the space should be more intensely filled. 

     

    The outcome from the Review Panel was a clear “NO”. They wanted a better design and layout of buildings, more communal areas, equal access to open spaces and a single road with less parking. 

     

    There was also some concern that the affordable section was of a gloomy design, out of kilter with the other dwellings. The architect will redesign the plans for this site and represent them. 

     

    An important fact was made clear by David Patterson – the land is clay so water will not soak away, so all plans for flood water must be of storage and positive discharge. 

     

    So, is it back to the drawing board for Bellway?

     

     

  • Chairman's Blog - November 2021

    ELECTORAL WARD CHANGES FOR MAY 2022 

    Changes are due to be made in the Raynes Park and West Barnes wards before the next Merton Council elections in May 2022 and these involve the Dundonald ward as well. 

    The current Dundonald Ward which stretches in a long line to Wimbledon  from Raynes Park  will be divided into two and the streets known as “The Apostles”, which are the 12 streets between Kingston Road and Bushey Road, and have some 1000 residents, are coming into Raynes Park Ward, which is a more natural home for them. 

    Our Association already represents part of Raynes Park, but these streets currently have a thriving Residents’ Association of their own, the Apostles Residents’ Association (ARA) chaired by Chris Larkman and this will continue. We intend to build a close relationship with the ARA. 

    We have many shared interests, including the preservation of Prince’s George’s Playing Fields. We were pleased to welcome Chris Larkman to our October committee meeting and will continue to forge links between the two associations.  

    The remaining part of the Dundonald ward will be amalgamated with the ward currently known as Trinity to form a new ward called Wimbledon Town and Dundonald. 

    The changes have by and large met with local approval. 

    PROPOSED CONSTITUENCY CHANGES 

    More contentious are the proposals for constituency changes before the next general election in the two Parliamentary seats of Wimbledon, and of Mitcham and Morden. The Parliamentary boundaries have not yet been decided. The Boundary Commission is still considering objections. The proposals are very unsatisfactory and both the current MPs, Stephen Hammond and Siobhan McDonough are opposing them.  They would mean that Merton residents would be divided between four different constituencies with differing health authorities.  It would undermine the whole point of dividing London into unitary authorities. Merton currently undertakes the whole range of services, including education, social welfare, planning, highways, and rubbish collection. 

    There is further information on our website here.

     BELLWAY AND THE FORMER LESSA SPORTS GROUND 

    Merton planners sent out a questionnaire to the various sports bodies which want to play junior sports on this ground off Meadowview Road in Grand Drive. 

    Their responses show that they have viable, well considered, and fully financed schemes which should be allowed to go ahead.  

    We await any response from Bellway to show why they should not take up these offers. In the meantime their present development application, first lodged in November last year, and which has seen various amendments since, is not going ahead for consideration by the Planning Committee. 

    John Elvidge

  • St Saviour War Memorial Rededication - 20 Nov

    WW1 MEMORIAL REDEDICATION  - 14.00 SATURDAY 20th NOVEMBER 2021 

    In November 2018 the 13th Wimbledon Scout Group was very involved with the development and launch of the Men of Raynes Park Exhibition. This launched an appeal to raise funds to re-carve the names of the 97 men from the Parish who died as a result of the Great War on the memorial in the church grounds. 

    The restoration was completed in November 2019, when the total cost of £23,500 was raised by community donations and pledges, including the Tesco and Waitrose Community Support Schemes. 

    We had planned to have a service of rededication in May 2020, but this was postponed because of Covid 19 lockdowns. Thankfully we are now able to look forward to this celebration in the continuing life of our Parish Church and the Community of Raynes Park. 

    Our War Memorial will be REDEDICATED ON THE CENTENARY OF THE FIRST DEDICATION 20th NOVEMBER 1921. 

    For the rededication event, an outdoor service will be taken around the memorial at 14.00, with the presence of the incoming Mayor of Merton, Stephen Hammond MP, and Ward Councillors. Representatives will be invited from our three large donors Young’s Brewery, Groundwork UK – Tesco Bags of Help team, and Waitrose. We hope to have Uniformed Groups, relatives of the named men, and the community planting the 97 named crosses in the memorial garden. 

    12.00 St Saviour’s Church will be open to view the original Men of Raynes Park Exhibition

    13.00 ‘The Story of the Raynes Park Memorial Restoration’

    13.30 ‘Wing Commander Frank Brock, Vice Admiral Sir Roger Keys and the Unveiling of the Raynes Park Memorial’

    14.00 Rededication Service outside by the War Memorial

  • Grand Drive Action!

    Report by John Townsend 

    A small group of residents met on 20th September 2021 and were joined by Councillor Bokhari and by chartered civil engineer Demetri Anastasiou,  whose comprehensive explanation of the Grand Drive issues may be read here 

    This local group, is seeking solutions to a range of ever worsening traffic problems in Grand Drive. Many of our members who live in other parts of our area will recognise the issues, but the complexity surrounding the Grand Drive problems is compounded by the mixed areas of responsibility - Merton Council, the Police, London Lorry Control, Transport for London - and neighbouring boroughs. 

    Ironically, whilst there appears to be a nationwide dearth of HGV drivers, for a combination of reasons including Brexit, the Grand Drive stretch appears to be accommodating more and more heavy goods vehicles and speeding delivery vans. 

    I have the greatest of respect for these drivers, who have difficult deadlines and who have kept our lives manageable throughout the pandemic with deliveries, waste disposal, essential maintenance etc., but the road, pavements and houses are suffering serious damage.

    ACTION: Our Association, in conjunction with our local councillors intends to hold a meeting bringing all the strands together and seeking a clear step by step solution from the relevant council officers, representatives of other traffic organisations and police. In order to achieve this turnout we may have to be patient! 

    The date and venue for this meeting will be arranged as soon as possible and we will invite members to send in questions.

    One of our members made a pertinent comment about a fine he received recently in Wimbledon. He inadvertently drove into the newly pedestrianised Russell Road, was caught on camera and received an automatic fine. Yet no one seems to have the money or the will to deal with the illegal use of Grand Drive! 

    Meanwhile, we are planning a discussion involving as many of the relevant authorities as possible for January 2022. It will be held under the joint auspices of our Association and the Grand Drive Action Group.

    John Townsend

     

     

     

  • Chairman's Blog - October '21

    METROPOLITAN OPEN LAND AND PRINCE GEORGE’S PLAYING FIELDS 

    Every few years Merton has to update its local plan.  It’s an important document which guides what can be built and where.  Jerry Cuthbert has made detailed responses on behalf of our residents, of which more may be read  here . 

    One of the most important things we have to protect is our open green spaces. We are lucky to have so many of them, and the highest protection we have against their being built over is the designation of Metropolitan Open Land (MOL). Prince George’s Playing Fields, which was such a godsend for people during the lockdowns, is protected in this way. 

    MOL is the London equivalent of the green belt and can only be developed in very exceptional circumstances.  However, part of the Fields was developed to build what is now the David Lloyd Centre under an exception relating to sporting use, and there were plans at one time to develop the rest of the Fields as a training centre for Wimbledon Football Club. 

    We always have to be vigilant to prevent further such suggestions, or else we will lose the open aspect and the right to public access, which the MOL designation aims to protect. That is why we have supported the Residents’ Associations around Wimbledon Park in their opposition to the plans by the All England Lawn Tennis Club to build a large show court and other buildings on the land they have bought from the Golf Club. This land is also MOL and has the added protection of a covenant against building which the Council imposed when it sold the freehold to the AELTC in 1993. 

    We fear that if the Council lifts this covenant and allows the plans of the AELTC to go ahead, it could do the same with Prince George’s.   It would set a really serious precedent. 

    Prince George’s is also protected by planning conditions imposed by the Council which provides that only 14 sales and 14 other events can be held there each year, and that cars are only permitted to use the Bushey Road and not the Grand Drive entrance.  This is to ensure that residents can use the Fields for general recreation for the large part of the time.

    We were concerned earlier this year that cars were being improperly allowed to use the Grand Drive entrance, causing major traffic chaos, and also that advertising hoarding indicated that the permitted number would be greatly exceeded. 

    We made repeated requests to the Council to enforce the conditions strictly.  Despite having no written response from the Council, it does appear though that Council officers have now spoken to the operators of the land to remind them of their responsibilities, and that they will limit the number of sales and other events they hold this year.  This is encouraging news. 

    We were also successful, with the great help of individual residents, in defeating the application for a public alcohol licence at Raynes Park Vale Football Club, which is also situated on Prince George’s. 

    John Elvidge, Chairman

  • Merton's Draft Local Plan

    In July 2021, the London Borough of Merton published its Draft Local Plan (DLP) for review and comment by the public. The various chapters and appendices of Merton’s DLP can be read or downloaded from Merton’s website at: 

    https://www.merton.gov.uk/planning-and-buildings/planning/local-plan/newlocalplan 

    Once adopted, the Local Plan will form the basis upon which future planning applications will be judged by Merton’s Planning Committee and Department. 

    The RPWBRA committee therefore made its own submission to Merton, comprising various comments, observations and recommendations. 

    A significant part of our area lies in a flood plain, as borne out by the flash flooding during the several heavy rain storms we’ve experience in the last two years, most recently in July 2021.

    In our comments to Merton we therefore stressed  that we expect Merton’s Local Plan to robustly promote and defend the following urban planning principles: 

    • Preservation of green spaces,
    • Use of sustainable urban drainage,
    • Proper maintenance of existing drainage, water courses and infrastructure,
    •  Preventing the loss of porous ground surfaces caused by all forms of development, across the complete spectrum, from minor private works to major developments.
    • Control of storm water run-off,
    • Protection of the natural environment,
    • Encouraging the planting of trees and vegetation,
    • The drive to Net-Zero Carbon. 

    Once Merton has finished preparing and consulting on a local plan, it must be submitted to the Secretary of State who will appoint a Planning Inspector to carry out an independent examination. 

    The Inspector will consider the evidence provided by Merton to support the plan and any representations which have been put forward by local people and other interested parties. Usually, the examination will include hearing sessions which are held in public. 

    At the end of the examination the Inspector will send a report to Merton recommending whether or not they can adopt the plan. In most cases the report will recommend some changes that are necessary to allow the plan to be adopted.. 

    This whole process is expected to be completed by Spring 2020.

    This Association's submission may be read here

     

  • Current Issues - Sept 2021

    38 CROSSWAY 

    The application 21/P2668 has been submitted to Merton Council and is on https://tinyurl.com/4cmtjbx2

    The last date for comments was 19th August but as there was no date for the application to be heard. I am sure that if you submitted a representation it will be read. 

    WESTWAY ONE-WAY SECTION 

    I have received complaints about speeding plus damage to cars and street furniture so have asked the councillors to investigate and find a solution.

     FLOODING

    The Raynes Park Forum (which includes councillors from several wards) has asked Thames Water to attend the next meeting on 16th September 2021 to discuss the local flooding. To attend the meeting, register for meeting alerts or find out more click on here

    PAVEMENT CONCERNS IN WEST BARNES LANE 

    A resident has drawn my attention to possible improvements to pavements in this area which may involve tarmac rather than replacement slabs. There are different expert views regarding the “concrete slabs versus tarmac” debate and I am awaiting a response from Merton Council about their intentions. 

    Please let me know of matters in which you feel the RPWBRA may be able to help and also remember to contact the local councillors. 

    Michael Marks,  RPWBRA Secretary

  • Sir Joseph Hood Mem. Playing Fields - Sept 2021

    Raynes Park Little League

    This popular award winning park suffered a temporary setback when an Australian Rules end of season extravaganza caused damage to the football pitches which had already been affected by the torrential downpours experienced by us all.

    There are three interested groups, the Raynes Park Little League (Saturdays), the Motspur Park Football Club (Sundays) and the out-of-season Australian Hawks. Unfortunately, the maintenance  firm Idverde,  had failed to liaise with the Hawks, and the pitches were unusable in the immediate aftermath.

    Fortunately for the eager youngsters preparing to participate in the forthcoming season, we believe that all will be well by the time the Little League season begins. This will be a huge relief to those fundraisers and volunteers who have worked so hard to establish and maintain the facilities.

    Meanwhile, excitingly, we hear that there are some spaces in the Little League teams, so if your sons and daughters would like to participate, do fill in the registration form here as soon as possible.

    There are opportunities for girls and boys aged 8 -13 in three age categories: 

    Bantams: School Years 3 & 4

    Juniors: School Years 5 & 6

    Seniors: School Years 7 & 8

    So do apply if your children are keen!

  • Chairman's Blog - Sept 2021

    LESSA (Meadowview) SPORTS GROUND 

    Bellway submitted a planning application some months ago to build 89 dwellings on the former LESSA sports ground. The developers had previously built houses and flats on the rest of the ground under a permission granted by a Planning Inspector on appeal in 2009. These now make up Meadowview Road, off Grand Drive.

    The Planning Inspector’s decision made clear that the rest of the ground was to be retained for sporting purposes, principally for junior sport. 

    Accordingly, the Council’s local plan states that residential development will only be permitted where sporting or community use has been demonstrated to be undeliverable.

    Bellway has refused for 10 years since this decision to discuss with the Residents’ Association potential sporting users of the site.

    Their application asserted that a sporting use of the site had been thoroughly explored and is undeliverable.  This was despite various sporting organisations having recently contacted them.

    When we learnt of Bellway’s intentions, we discovered that real expressions of interest and firm offers to use the whole ground for sports had been made by a cricket academy, a cricket club, a rugby club, and an established junior school. They were prepared to work together, to share the ground and build a pavilion, so that the ground could be used all the year, including during school holidays.

    We provided Sport England with this evidence, and they formally objected to the application. Since then there has been silence, and no-one knew what was happening to the application.

    We learnt this August that the Council’s Planning Officer is sending a questionnaire to the various sporting bodies which had contacted Bellway. The questionnaire is designed to “assist planning officers in better understanding the offers which may been made for use of the land”. It asks a number of detailed questions, and the answers have to be given within 21 days.

    We hope that the replies will make it clear that viable and long term use of the ground can be shown to be deliverable, so that the planning application can be rejected at the outset, as not being in accordance with the local plan.

    This is clearly the wish of all the local residents who replied to our leaflets a year ago, expressing outrage at the prospect of building on the rest of this ground, contrary to the decision of the Planning Inspector.  We take the view that Bellway have taken their major profit from their development, and should not be allowed to make a further profit at the expense of local sports interests and local people.

    John Elvidge, Chairman

  • Residents' Comments on 21/P2668

    Email from R & A Williams;    Subject: 38 Crossway Planning Application;     Date:18/08/2021

     

    Dear Merton Planning Team, 

    We welcome the opportunity to comment on the planning application in respect of the garages on Crossway to the rear of our house (9 Kingsway) - Planning Application 21/P2668. 

    Broadly we welcome suitable development on the site, and townhouses (albeit less than seven) would be an appropriate use of the site (subject to our comments below). We have a number of broad comments on the application which we believe should require the developer to give the proposal further thought and return with a corrected application. We then have a number of specific comments (particularly around height, overlooking, access and design) that we hope would be reflected in amendments to the design and/or planning conditions should Officers and the Council’s Planning Committee be minded to grant permission. 

    Given our comments we would welcome being kept updated on the progress of the application and, should the current application reach that stage, being able to speak at the Planning Committee. 

    Broad comments:

    • The Planning Application that has been submitted to the Council is incomplete and defective. This has potentially prevented a meaningful statutory consultation.
      • As noted to Planning Officers, the Energy Strategy Report includes materials which relate to a wholly different application (it is therefore unclear what other documents may contain errors). The Preliminary Contamination Risk Assessment (of particular importance given the age of the garages (asbestos?) and previous usage of the site) and Transport Statement listed in the Planning Statement, as far as we could see on Planning Explorer, have not been provided/made available.
      • The missing documentation would broadly reflect a rushed application which results in an inconsistent application – for example plans show, and the associated commentary argues (eg paragraphs 5.74 and 5.7.5 of the Planning Statement), that overlooking is mitigated by boundary trees when the Tree Survey states trees that provide a large proportion of that mitigation would be removed (eg the mature ash tree T022).
      • This is clearest in relation to the location of the Pyl Brook. The correct location appears to have been identified late in the process as part of the Flood Risk Assessment. Numerous parts of the application appear to have therefore been prepared on the basis of the incorrect location (eg paragraphs 2.3.4, 2.3.6 or 5.6.4 in the Planning Statement). Aside from the drainage and flooding management implications noted separately below, this highlights a number of parts of the application that are likely to need revisiting. These include:
        • The proposals for access to the site (both the road widening and pedestrian access) would involve demolishing what has now been identified as a Culvert Headwall for the Pyl Brook.
        • The plans including planting new trees over the culvert at the western end of the site without consideration for the structure of the culvert.
        • Surveys such as the Tree Survey have been carried out without full information – the culvert is merely noted as ‘undulating land’ despite the inherent root related issues.
      • We note that the planning application includes factually inaccurate and potentially misleading information about the location of neighbouring properties. The extension to our property (15/P2637) is not shown on either the site plans or sections. It would also appear that a number of other extensions for other properties have also not been reflected. This means the distances to neighbouring properties are materially understated and the angles used for assessing overlooking incorrect – the views expressed on potential mitigations are therefore based on flawed analysis.
      • We would note that despite the comment in 5.3.1 of the Planning Statement it would appear that a number of the garages are currently used for employment/commercial purposes (possibly a scaffolding firm?).
    • We are very concerned that the late identification of the true course of the Pyl Brook has both prevented meaningful consideration as part of preparing the planning application and means that no meaningful assessment by either Future Merton or the Environment Agency of the flood risk (and possible mitigations) for the site is possible at this stage. As discussed further below, it also highlights the need for the applicant to likely properly engage with the Environment Agency prior to making a revised application.
      • Current local flood risk assessments and the treatment of the land bordering Meadow Close and Kingsway is based on the previously inaccurate understanding of local drainage flows and water infrastructure. This needs proper consideration.
      • There would appear to be a right of access to the site for the Environment Agency. This is (surprisingly) not referenced on page 12 of the Design & Access Statement but is registered on the Title to the site (the April 1961 Deed in respect of drainage pre-dates statutory Local Government reorganisations which means those responsibilities now sit with the Environment Agency). Consideration of those access rights is clearly material to this application.
      • We would note that following a recommendation by Council Officers a previous application for the site was withdrawn for discussions with the Environment Agency (06/P2791). These discussions do not appear to have taken place and therefore we would suggest that Officers take a similar stance, particularly given the new information about the Pyl Brook. We’d note that the Environment Agency despite both their access rights and responsibility for the neighbouring Pyl Brook have not been consulted.
    • There is some uncertainty about the boundaries of the site and the planning application would appear to take advantage of that uncertainty in a manner which is potentially improper (the Design and Access Statement indicates the boundaries have (surprisingly) not been verified). This is likely to be an issue best resolved before the application is formally considered.
      • The site plans may have ‘pushed out’ the site boundary along a number of the edges – eg it appears the plans may go up to 1 metre further out along our nearest boundary than the Land Registry plan (SGL214496) for the site. This has practical implications in that the garden sizes described in paragraph 5.6.9 of the Planning Statement (already below the acceptable level for Units 6 & 7) are likely to in practice be even smaller than suggested.
      • While the vast majority of the site has a single title (SGL214496) the proposals would include (as part of the access) part of the land owned by London Power Networks (SY26227) – some of that land was previously transferred but the substation and (more importantly for this application) part of the roadway were retained. We are unclear how planning conditions for the development might apply across multiple pieces of land with unrelated owners (particularly where one owner is not a party to the application and would appear not to have been consulted).
      • The Tree Survey states that tree T022 would be removed – this tree is not part of the site and is sited on land owned by others (likely the Environment Agency).

    Specific comments:

    • Height and scale. The houses are materially and inappropriately higher than neighbouring properties and out of character with the local area. As per page 16 of the Design & Access Statement they are in fact closer in height to the previously proposed four storey blocks of flats. While recognising the developer’s preference to maximise head height throughout the second floors of the houses, a reduction in the roofline to match that of surrounding properties would be more appropriate. The poor size of the habitable rooms and usable gardens, together with the overall bulk and massing might be more appropriate if there were only two houses sited on the current three house Type B footprint.
    • Overlooking. The previous consultation by the developers was at pains to note that none of the proposed flats would have windows overlooking neighbouring homes and gardens. It is therefore deeply disappointing that the current proposals withdraw that concession and ignore local feedback. As noted above, the defective site plans and proposals in respect of trees make this problem more pronounced than the application would imply. We would be overlooked into both our house and garden, with direct line of sight at first and second floor levels (we would of course also overlook them). If you are not minded to refuse permission and the applicant is not minded to reconsider their proposals, we’d ask for requirements for smaller windows and much wider use of obscured glazing (at both first and second floor levels) for the Type B houses where they overlook Kingsway, including specific Planning Conditions that the glazing cannot subsequently be replaced with non-obscured glazing without Council consent.
    • Design. Strong red brick work, zinc roofs and floor to ceiling windows throughout does not reflect the character and vernacular of the local area (despite the strange suggestion that the design proposed reflects the previous garage use of the site). We would suggest the applicant be required to rethink how they might better reflect the character of the local area (primarily a mix of duller brick, rendering, smaller windows and tiled roofs).
    • Security. The current gated nature of the site provides a significant element of security to rear gardens which border it. Despite the loss of security we recognise that it would inappropriate for the new houses to be a gated development. We’d ask therefore at a minimum, that in addition to new border fencing, the access off the site to the garages at 11 & 15 Kingsway be required to be gated.
    • Trees. As noted above the tree survey work includes removal of at least one tree that is on land owned by someone else that provides significant screening to the site. We ask for further consideration of how the developer will retain the existing screens of trees around the site and replace any trees removed. We also ask that they be required to undertake additional planting on the boundaries of the site and that this be protected through Planning Conditions and TPOs as required (eg the Type B houses be required to have semi-mature trees transplanted to their rear gardens which then are protected from removal).
    • Site access. As noted above the current access proposals are unworkable in the context of the culvert headwall. It is also noted that the Design & Access statement doesn’t consider access to the site from Crossway (it only considered movement within the site). Vehicles larger than a normal car at present have to stop in the middle of Crossway and be reversed onto the site using a banksman. Those leaving have to nose out across the footway. It is unclear how even with possible widening of the access (noting the culvert point) the site would be accessible to waste, emergency and delivery vehicles. The narrow entrance is currently dangerous and the applicant at present has not offered an appropriate, suitable or safe solution.
    • Drainage management. The SuDS Report notes that the site currently slopes toward Crossway which drains surface water away from neighbouring properties. We’d ask that this slope be retained as a planning condition. The SuDs Report (pages 36 to 39) also notes at length that a significant and material regular maintenance programme would be required to ensure appropriate surface water drainage from the site. It is unclear how this would be ensured if the site passed into fragmented ownership. We would request that undertaking suitable maintenance be a planning condition, together with securing suitable insurances or an indemnity being provided should the maintenance work not be carried out as required. Similarly given the importance of the road surfaces on the site for surface water run off and flood risk we would also ask that permeable paving be a planning condition (which therefore relates to the London Power Networks ownership issue noted above).
    • Lighting. The site has previously had bright lighting which was a nuisance to neighbouring properties. The application does not propose to replace this which is welcome.
    • Design of photo-voltaic cells. The applicant proposes to install PV cells in the roofs of the type B houses facing Kingsway. This is a welcome proposal. However given the significant proportion of the roof area that they will cover their design and look should be subject to neighbour consultation and Officer approval as a planning condition.
    • Contamination. In the absence of the Contamination Risk Assessment it is difficult to offer a view but given the age of the garages (and therefore likely use of materials like asbestos) and previous use of the site there are likely to be issues. We’d ask for significant restrictions around this to protect residents.
    • Construction vehicle access. The Air Quality Assessment (page 31) indicates the possible removal of the width restriction to allow construction vehicle access. This would clearly be unacceptable. Given the difficulties in accessing the site noted above, particularly in the morning and evening peak when traffic is often stationary on Crossway and the footways heavily used by children travelling to school (eg St John Fisher), we’d ask for particularly narrow restrictions on the timings for access to the site.

    We apologise for the lengthy response but we trust it is helpful. As noted above this is a suitable site for development should the broad concerns be surmounted and an appropriate proposal be developed. Please do contact us should you have any questions,

     

  • Flash Floods - July 2021

    Mark Allison, the Leader of Merton Council has written to Thames Water demanding urgent action following the severe flooding which made the centre of Raynes Park impassable on Monday 12th July and also badly affected other roads in the neighbourhood. 

    We were first alerted by a local resident who sent photos taken in Grand Drive during the downpour and then a video revealing a half-submerged vehicle stranded under the railway arch. And this was just the beginning! 

    As our Association was founded in 1928 because of flooding issues, perhaps it is time for developers and planning departments to listen to our concerns about building proposals.

    Our thanks to Margaret Nally for these images.

     

     

    At the Raynes Park Community Forum, held on Zoom on 16 September 2021, we heard from representatives of MERTON COUNCIL, the ENVIRONMENT AGENCY and THAMES WATER about what they intend to do to improve the way in which storm water is handled in and around Raynes Park. It is rather perplexing that the responsibilities for surface water drainage are so confusing. However, they explained some of the actions being taken. These includes more frequent removal of silt from gullies and sewers and changing the way in which some of the local sewage pumping stations operate during storms. 

    It’s fair to say that many present at the meeting felt that “More Action” is required by the authorities, not just “Activity”. Nevertheless, residents were very appreciative that the representatives had taken the time and trouble to attend the Forum and had explained what is being planned to improve things. One important point is that Thames Water and the Environment Agency both now have emergency telephone numbers for reporting floods: 

    Thames Water: 0800 316 9800

    Environment Agency: 0800 807 060

  • Raynes Park Station - Steps to Remain

    In the wake of confirmation that Motspur Park Station is scheduled to have lifts installed (although no timescale has been confirmed as yet) campaigners for a similar facility for platforms 3 & 4 at Raynes Park Station had been hoping for a successful outcome. 

    Unfortunately, we have been informed by NETWORK RAIL that because of the atypical design and layout of Raynes Park Station, any attempt to install lifts would far exceed the budget of £3m-£4m which is set aside for such projects. 

    Therefore, because the station is described by NR as “a complex site”, those fighting for its inclusion in the step-free programme of improvements have to begin campaigning again for consideration in the 5 year plan starting in 2024. 

    A disappointing setback which residents will work to overcome.

  • Chairman's Blog - August 2021

    Residents will have been devastated to learn that the Redrow plans to build 7 tower blocks up to 15 stories high on the Tesco Extra car park site have been approved by the Planning Inspector. She was hearing an appeal by Redrow against the Council’s decision to refuse the application. 

    Our view is that it was open to her to dismiss the appeal, on the wealth of evidence provided by the Council’s excellent witnesses, individual residents, and by our Residents’ Association.  However, she decided, following 11 days of intensive evidence, a site visit, and some 6 months of deliberation, to allow Redrow’s appeal. 

    The reasons she gave in her 34 page judgment were to give priority on balance to the need for further accommodation, since the Council could not show that they had a 5 year supply of

     The Inspector took the view, despite our strenuous objections to the contrary, that the views of the buildings both close up and from a distance had only a “minor adverse impact” and would not be “harmful or out of place”. She also decided that the parking provision on site “would be acceptable”.  We did secure a condition that, if a Controlled Parking Zone had to be imposed on local streets because of the lack of parking for new residents, those residents (at least those who were not disabled) would not be able to apply for a permit in those streets. 

    She held that there was a clear distinction between this part of the Tesco site, which she said was ripe for regeneration, and had been an industrial area, and the 2-storey suburban housing on the other side of Burlington Road.  

    Of course, this will not be the end of the building in this area. We fully expect now that the developers will be back with yet further plans to build on the rest of the Tesco site, which will probably include knocking down the present Tesco store and building more towers blocks over and around it. 

    We regret very much that there is no way to challenge this decision. 

     John Elvidge

  • £3 Annual Subscription 2021

    As many of you will already know, the RPWBRA is a voluntary organisation without affiliations to any party political group. It was founded in 1927 to support the local community and has a thriving membership.

    The Association keeps an eye on local issues and planning applications, supporting residents whenever and wherever possible and appropriate.

    More than 60 volunteers distribute the RPWBRA magazine “The Guide” 11

    times a year and information can also be found on our website and RPWBRA next-door site. We are financed by members’ subscriptions and advertising. 

    The subscription for 2021/22 remains at the astonishingly

    low price of £3 per household per annum – an absolute bargain made possible by the work of all the volunteers, i.e. the Committee, the Pavilion Management Group and the Road Stewards. 

    WAYS TO PAY                                                                                 

    1.Directly to your road steward when s/he calls at your door.

      

    2. £3 by cash or cheque payable to RPWBRA in a clearly marked envelope through your steward’s door.

     

    3. BACS: direct bank payment RPWBRA, sort code 30-99-66, account number: 32070068 using your surname & road as reference.

     

    Please Note: we are phasing out Paypal. If you have already paid this way it is fine, but otherwise please pay using the one of the three methods listed. Thank you for your payments.

    John Townsend, Treasurer

  • Grand Drive Traffic - Report

    Report by  our member, Demetri Anastasiou, Chartered Civil Engineer 

    BACKGROUND

    Grand Drive is a designated “B” road. The official classification states: “B-roads are numbered distributor roads, which have lower traffic densities than main trunk roads or “A” roads. This classification has nothing to do with width or quality of the physical road, and “B” roads can range from dual carriageways to single track roads with passing places.” The definitive list of B roads was published on 1st April 1923, following consultations with local authorities. Government funding towards repairs of these roads was set at 60% for the former and 50% for the latter. This is where the problem originates as this classification has its origins in an Act passed nearly 100 years ago where the volume of traffic, the varying traffic mix and the operation requirements of theses B roads have changed dramatically over the years. 

    1.THE GEOMETRIC CHARACTERISTIC OF THE ROAD

    Grand Drive is approximately 1,800m from the traffic lights at Bushey Road (A298) to the roundabout at Tudor Drive. The road varies considerably in width particularly after the introduction of some traffic calming measures a few years ago.  

    Traffic Calming Measures

    These include the area around St John Fisher School, the mini-roundabout at Westway/ Southway and the traffic lights at Crossway and Cannon Hill  Lane. 

    Inclination of the Road & Speeding

    There is a huge inclination North to South of 8-10 metres up to a high point around 120 GD opposite Blenheim Road, with a significant drop of approximately 8 metres to Meadway Road, just after Elm Walk. 

    These characteristics inhibit drivers but also encourage them to accelerate up the hill towards the crest of the road then roll downhill, often exceeding the speed limit. 

    Going south to north, from the Crossway lights to the Bushey Road is a speeding section.

    Traffic Police have confirmed this behaviour. 

    This driving behaviour can only be corrected by appropriate, frequent warning & advisory traffic signs and random policing which is currently rare or non-existent. 

    2. VOLUME & MIX OF TRAFFIC 

     

    Many years ago, residential car traffic proliferated, peaking at certain times. Then, with the development of the Garth Road Amenities (Merton Refuse Centre, Garth Rd Refuse & Recycling Centre, Suez Recycling & Recovery UK facility) a huge number of 6-axle articulated lorries use the road for waste, recycling, dumping or loading and transporting away from the site. Additionally, the rental of Merton land for the B&T Plant hire LTD and similar operations have changed significantly the traffic mix on GD from cars to HGV lorries. 

    This change has been exacerbated by HGV through traffic from the A298 (Bushey Road) to A24 at Stonecot Hill and through Tudor Drive/ Sutton Common Rd to A217. 

    Also a key contributor to the traffic volume and speeding is the excessive use of the road by delivery vans (Amazon, DHL UPS, PDP, et al) 

    At certain hours of the day there is a continuous flow and abuse of the speed limits by workers’ vans and delivery vans. 

    3.  0PERATIONAL/USE/REQUIREMENTS/CHARACTERISTICS  

    There are restrictions in place from London Lorry Control Scheme which bans HGVs over 18 tonnes from using Grand Drive between 9 pm and 7 am on weekdays and 1 pm on Saturdays until the following Monday at 7 am. However, I can assure you categorically that HGV lorries do not adhere to this ban as Grand Drive has no traffic signs to advise/warn the HGV drivers and the road is not policed.  

    4.  TRAFFIC MANAGEMENT DEFICIENCIES 

    Current traffic management deficiencies and key omissions contributing to HGV unauthorised use and speeding are clearly the lack of any comprehensive traffic management in place other than Merton collecting money from offenders in two yellow box locations driving South to North on Grand Drive. There is serious lack of informative and traffic prohibiting signage for HGV usage exclusions and speed limit. There is a flashing speed limit sign on the ‘uphill’ from North to South which, as I explained before, the geomorphology of the ground and the road makes it difficult for the HGVs to speed contrary to the downhill segment where there are a couple of small 20 mph signs on lamp posts. Therefore, the wrong positioning of the electronic sign and small speed limiting signpost require an overall traffic management re-thinking and definite their repositioning. On two occasions recently the Traffic Police Unit checking traffic in both directions positioned at Heath Drive facing North confirmed that the road is inadequately signposted for speeding restrictions and HGV use.  

    5.  CONDITIONS OF THE ROAD SURFACE 

    Some of you might be aware of the efforts of the residents to persuade Merton to resurface Grand Drive. Eventually this was achieved, was accepted but only for a small segment. The road has not been maintained so it has deteriorated further ever since. The deterioration was exacerbated by the gas works when Conway were the BG contractor to reinstate the road. There was little supervision as it can be seen by the current condition of the road surface cracking and subsiding in many places. Clearly a very inferior and cheap work surprisingly accepted by the Roads & Streets Department of Merton Council!!!  

    6.         RECOMMENDATIONS 

    (i)   Firstly there is a need for an Automatic Traffic Measuring Device to be installed halfway along the 1,800m of Grand Drive. There are two cables on the road that include sensors to pick up the traffic volume and mix for a number of working days, identifying the traffic use.  

    (ii)  Large warning signs for HGV lorries prohibiting use of Grand Drive between 9 pm and 7 am on weekdays and from 1 pm on Saturdays until the following Monday at 7 am. These signs like those at the A3, warning about emission control zones, must be placed just after the A3/A298 flyover at the traffic lights between Bushey Road and Grand Drive on junction and equally approaching on A298 from the East.  Signage like this must be placed on the A24 and A217 junctions both ways with B279 at Stonecot Hill and Oldfield Road junctions.  

    (iii)   Merton Council (and possibly Traffic Police) to notify the main offenders of HGV use after hours and of speeding, which include  Veolia, Garth Road Reuse & Recycling Centre, SUEZ Recycling and Recovery UK facility, B & T Plant Hire Ltd plus other smaller operations in the Garth Road area using HGV lorries and , unidentified skip lorries driving without load cover and the security chains free to sway and make noise hitting the skip container. 

    (iv)     Notify the following offenders (speeding) about the speed restrictions in the area: TfL for Bus route 163, Amazon, DPD, TNT, DHL delivery vans plus all grocery delivery vans.  

    (v)    Efficient and effective speed limit signposting: There is an urgent need to add more 20 mph sigh posts on the lamp posts in both North and South traffic flow directions.  

    (vi) Policing the road. The three days in the last year that a Met Police Road Traffic Unit was in the area significantly reduced the speeding of all traffic. Therefore, frequent spot checks will enhance the awareness of drivers. Again, this needs to be planned as twice the Police carried out the checks during or near peak times where congestion was evidence. The best time is during working mid-day and/or after evening rush hour. 

    (vii)      Improvement to the condition of the road surface of Grand Drive for its full length. It is worth pointing out that 4.3% of all the Tax collected in central Government by all taxpayers, including pensioners, goes for Transport improvements. A significant amount of the Council Tax in Merton should go to road maintenance and improvement. This is not evidenced anywhere in the Borough and with road, street and pavement works unsupervised so the Utilities - Water, Gas, Power Networks and Openreach have had a free hand..   Therefore, going forward, close supervision from the ‘Municipal Engineer’ of Merton Council is needed for all works remedial, improvements or new at Grand Drive. 

    A simplified guide about lorry weights and sizes may be read at https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/211948/simplified-guide-to-lorry-types-and-weights.pdf

     

     

  • Opinions about E-Scooters

    Some of our members are very concerned about the dangers to pedestrians with reduced mobility - also those with buggies or in charge of toddlers - caused by adults and teenagers using the pavements on e-scooters and bikes. This is a serious and frightening issue for some residents and one which we must discuss with the Local Safer Neighbourhood Team. 

    Other residents, both motorists and cyclists, have expressed concerns about e-scooters emerging at speed from side roads or driveways, causing drivers and riders to brake suddenly or swerve. 

    However, other members also make the case for the greening effect of such forms of transportation, highlighting the potential benefits of e-scooters. 

    At present e-scooters are illegal to use, except on private land with permission, unless they are hired from approved rental companies in several trial areas of the country, including London, but NOT including Merton or its neighbouring boroughs. 

    On one hand we want people to stop using cars so much, for the sake of the planet, but on the other hand e-scooters are not deemed safe to use on the pavements and only on the roads as part of a controlled experiment. 

    Perhaps we need to let the advantages of this technology come into our lives? The more people who use them, the fewer will use cars or public transport. 

    Now, without speed limiters they would be a danger to pedestrians, but with speed limiters they could cause problems on the roads.  Should they  share the road with bicycles? Do we need rules, like NO passengers, NO pavement use and helmets should be worn? 

    Hopefully, some sensible rules will enable these scooters to be used legally and safely, leading towards a less-polluted future.

    What are your views?

     

  • Our Green Spaces

    As an association we fight constantly to ensure that residents have access within easy walk to pleasant green spaces. 

    At present we are working to ensure that the Lessa/Meadowview site is retained for sport, that the Prince George’s/Raynes Park Vale FC site is not compromised by “pub” conditions and that the land behind the houses 274 – 318 Cannon Hill Lane remains both a peaceful habitat for wildlife and a visual delight for those nearby. 

    We are all responsible for our surroundings and there are simple ways to contribute to the environment. 

    Litter

    Always take litter home and encourage youngsters to do so. 

    Fly tipping

    NEVER dispose of unwanted items carelessly and NEVER allow unlicensed operatives to remove your rubbish because you do not know where they will leave it. 

    Please email us your photos of our amazing parks and fields, to rpwbra@rpwbresidents.org.uk

    Clare Townsend

  • 21/P2668 - Proposals for 38 Crossway

    Update September 2021

    This proposed development is now the subject of Planning Application 21/P2668.

    Two residents have submitted comments on the application and copied them to our Association, as follows: 

    Email from R & A Williams;    Subject: 38 Crossway Planning Application;     Date:18/08/2021 

    Dear Merton Planning Team, 

    We welcome the opportunity to comment on the planning application in respect of the garages on Crossway to the rear of our house (9 Kingsway) - Planning Application 21/P2668. 

    Broadly we welcome suitable development on the site, and townhouses (albeit less than seven) would be an appropriate use of the site (subject to our comments below). We have a number of broad comments on the application which we believe should require the developer to give the proposal further thought and return with a corrected application. We then have a number of specific comments (particularly around height, overlooking, access and design) that we hope would be reflected in amendments to the design and/or planning conditions should Officers and the Council’s Planning Committee be minded to grant permission. 

    Given our comments we would welcome being kept updated on the progress of the application and, should the current application reach that stage, being able to speak at the Planning Committee. 

    Broad comments:

    • The Planning Application that has been submitted to the Council is incomplete and defective. This has potentially prevented a meaningful statutory consultation.
      • As noted to Planning Officers, the Energy Strategy Report includes materials which relate to a wholly different application (it is therefore unclear what other documents may contain errors). The Preliminary Contamination Risk Assessment (of particular importance given the age of the garages (asbestos?) and previous usage of the site) and Transport Statement listed in the Planning Statement, as far as we could see on Planning Explorer, have not been provided/made available.
      • The missing documentation would broadly reflect a rushed application which results in an inconsistent application – for example plans show, and the associated commentary argues (eg paragraphs 5.74 and 5.7.5 of the Planning Statement), that overlooking is mitigated by boundary trees when the Tree Survey states trees that provide a large proportion of that mitigation would be removed (eg the mature ash tree T022).
      • This is clearest in relation to the location of the Pyl Brook. The correct location appears to have been identified late in the process as part of the Flood Risk Assessment. Numerous parts of the application appear to have therefore been prepared on the basis of the incorrect location (eg paragraphs 2.3.4, 2.3.6 or 5.6.4 in the Planning Statement). Aside from the drainage and flooding management implications noted separately below, this highlights a number of parts of the application that are likely to need revisiting. These include:
        • The proposals for access to the site (both the road widening and pedestrian access) would involve demolishing what has now been identified as a Culvert Headwall for the Pyl Brook.
        • The plans including planting new trees over the culvert at the western end of the site without consideration for the structure of the culvert.
        • Surveys such as the Tree Survey have been carried out without full information – the culvert is merely noted as ‘undulating land’ despite the inherent root related issues.
      • We note that the planning application includes factually inaccurate and potentially misleading information about the location of neighbouring properties. The extension to our property (15/P2637) is not shown on either the site plans or sections. It would also appear that a number of other extensions for other properties have also not been reflected. This means the distances to neighbouring properties are materially understated and the angles used for assessing overlooking incorrect – the views expressed on potential mitigations are therefore based on flawed analysis.
      • We would note that despite the comment in 5.3.1 of the Planning Statement it would appear that a number of the garages are currently used for employment/commercial purposes (possibly a scaffolding firm?).
    • We are very concerned that the late identification of the true course of the Pyl Brook has both prevented meaningful consideration as part of preparing the planning application and means that no meaningful assessment by either Future Merton or the Environment Agency of the flood risk (and possible mitigations) for the site is possible at this stage. As discussed further below, it also highlights the need for the applicant to likely properly engage with the Environment Agency prior to making a revised application.
      • Current local flood risk assessments and the treatment of the land bordering Meadow Close and Kingsway is based on the previously inaccurate understanding of local drainage flows and water infrastructure. This needs proper consideration.
      • There would appear to be a right of access to the site for the Environment Agency. This is (surprisingly) not referenced on page 12 of the Design & Access Statement but is registered on the Title to the site (the April 1961 Deed in respect of drainage pre-dates statutory Local Government reorganisations which means those responsibilities now sit with the Environment Agency). Consideration of those access rights is clearly material to this application.
      • We would note that following a recommendation by Council Officers a previous application for the site was withdrawn for discussions with the Environment Agency (06/P2791). These discussions do not appear to have taken place and therefore we would suggest that Officers take a similar stance, particularly given the new information about the Pyl Brook. We’d note that the Environment Agency despite both their access rights and responsibility for the neighbouring Pyl Brook have not been consulted.
    • There is some uncertainty about the boundaries of the site and the planning application would appear to take advantage of that uncertainty in a manner which is potentially improper (the Design and Access Statement indicates the boundaries have (surprisingly) not been verified). This is likely to be an issue best resolved before the application is formally considered.
      • The site plans may have ‘pushed out’ the site boundary along a number of the edges – eg it appears the plans may go up to 1 metre further out along our nearest boundary than the Land Registry plan (SGL214496) for the site. This has practical implications in that the garden sizes described in paragraph 5.6.9 of the Planning Statement (already below the acceptable level for Units 6 & 7) are likely to in practice be even smaller than suggested.
      • While the vast majority of the site has a single title (SGL214496) the proposals would include (as part of the access) part of the land owned by London Power Networks (SY26227) – some of that land was previously transferred but the substation and (more importantly for this application) part of the roadway were retained. We are unclear how planning conditions for the development might apply across multiple pieces of land with unrelated owners (particularly where one owner is not a party to the application and would appear not to have been consulted).
      • The Tree Survey states that tree T022 would be removed – this tree is not part of the site and is sited on land owned by others (likely the Environment Agency).

    Specific comments:

    • Height and scale. The houses are materially and inappropriately higher than neighbouring properties and out of character with the local area. As per page 16 of the Design & Access Statement they are in fact closer in height to the previously proposed four storey blocks of flats. While recognising the developer’s preference to maximise head height throughout the second floors of the houses, a reduction in the roofline to match that of surrounding properties would be more appropriate. The poor size of the habitable rooms and usable gardens, together with the overall bulk and massing might be more appropriate if there were only two houses sited on the current three house Type B footprint.
    • Overlooking. The previous consultation by the developers was at pains to note that none of the proposed flats would have windows overlooking neighbouring homes and gardens. It is therefore deeply disappointing that the current proposals withdraw that concession and ignore local feedback. As noted above, the defective site plans and proposals in respect of trees make this problem more pronounced than the application would imply. We would be overlooked into both our house and garden, with direct line of sight at first and second floor levels (we would of course also overlook them). If you are not minded to refuse permission and the applicant is not minded to reconsider their proposals, we’d ask for requirements for smaller windows and much wider use of obscured glazing (at both first and second floor levels) for the Type B houses where they overlook Kingsway, including specific Planning Conditions that the glazing cannot subsequently be replaced with non-obscured glazing without Council consent.
    • Design. Strong red brick work, zinc roofs and floor to ceiling windows throughout does not reflect the character and vernacular of the local area (despite the strange suggestion that the design proposed reflects the previous garage use of the site). We would suggest the applicant be required to rethink how they might better reflect the character of the local area (primarily a mix of duller brick, rendering, smaller windows and tiled roofs).
    • Security. The current gated nature of the site provides a significant element of security to rear gardens which border it. Despite the loss of security we recognise that it would inappropriate for the new houses to be a gated development. We’d ask therefore at a minimum, that in addition to new border fencing, the access off the site to the garages at 11 & 15 Kingsway be required to be gated.
    • Trees. As noted above the tree survey work includes removal of at least one tree that is on land owned by someone else that provides significant screening to the site. We ask for further consideration of how the developer will retain the existing screens of trees around the site and replace any trees removed. We also ask that they be required to undertake additional planting on the boundaries of the site and that this be protected through Planning Conditions and TPOs as required (eg the Type B houses be required to have semi-mature trees transplanted to their rear gardens which then are protected from removal).
    • Site access. As noted above the current access proposals are unworkable in the context of the culvert headwall. It is also noted that the Design & Access statement doesn’t consider access to the site from Crossway (it only considered movement within the site). Vehicles larger than a normal car at present have to stop in the middle of Crossway and be reversed onto the site using a banksman. Those leaving have to nose out across the footway. It is unclear how even with possible widening of the access (noting the culvert point) the site would be accessible to waste, emergency and delivery vehicles. The narrow entrance is currently dangerous and the applicant at present has not offered an appropriate, suitable or safe solution.
    • Drainage management. The SuDS Report notes that the site currently slopes toward Crossway which drains surface water away from neighbouring properties. We’d ask that this slope be retained as a planning condition. The SuDs Report (pages 36 to 39) also notes at length that a significant and material regular maintenance programme would be required to ensure appropriate surface water drainage from the site. It is unclear how this would be ensured if the site passed into fragmented ownership. We would request that undertaking suitable maintenance be a planning condition, together with securing suitable insurances or an indemnity being provided should the maintenance work not be carried out as required. Similarly given the importance of the road surfaces on the site for surface water run off and flood risk we would also ask that permeable paving be a planning condition (which therefore relates to the London Power Networks ownership issue noted above).
    • Lighting. The site has previously had bright lighting which was a nuisance to neighbouring properties. The application does not propose to replace this which is welcome.
    • Design of photo-voltaic cells. The applicant proposes to install PV cells in the roofs of the type B houses facing Kingsway. This is a welcome proposal. However given the significant proportion of the roof area that they will cover their design and look should be subject to neighbour consultation and Officer approval as a planning condition.
    • Contamination. In the absence of the Contamination Risk Assessment it is difficult to offer a view but given the age of the garages (and therefore likely use of materials like asbestos) and previous use of the site there are likely to be issues. We’d ask for significant restrictions around this to protect residents.
    • Construction vehicle access. The Air Quality Assessment (page 31) indicates the possible removal of the width restriction to allow construction vehicle access. This would clearly be unacceptable. Given the difficulties in accessing the site noted above, particularly in the morning and evening peak when traffic is often stationary on Crossway and the footways heavily used by children travelling to school (eg St John Fisher), we’d ask for particularly narrow restrictions on the timings for access to the site.

    We apologise for the lengthy response but we trust it is helpful. As noted above this is a suitable site for development should the broad concerns be surmounted and an appropriate proposal be developed. Please do contact us should you have any questions,

     

    Previously ...

    On 9 July 2021, we received the following email and attachment from the planning consultant working on the proposals for 38 Crossway.

     

     The planning application will be submitted on Monday. I’ve attached the site layout plan showing 7 residential houses which would be three storeys in height, with the top storey being within a pitched roof.

     

    I’m under no illusions that everyone who raised objections will consider that this addresses every one of their concerns. However, we consider this a good proposal at the Site, and it is reduced in extent from what was previously shown to neighbours.

    Regards

    Chris Heather, Senior Consultant, Axis

     

  • Chairman's Blog - July 2021

    Merton’s Licensing Committee held a 2 hour hearing on 17th June to determine the application to have a pub alcohol licence at the Raynes Park Vale Football Club. It heard evidence from the applicant, Justin Whitehead, and from a number of residents who strongly opposed the application. These included Mary-Jane Jeanes on behalf of the Friends of Cannon Hill Common and me, on behalf of our RPWBRA members. 

    This Association was pleased to assist in the amazing campaign to oppose the granting of the application for a public alcohol licence which would have disrupted the lives of so many residents living near the Raynes Park Vale Football Club. The club of course already has a perfectly adequate licence for its own events and we wish it well in its sporting endeavours. 

    As Chair of the Residents’ Association (which has no political party affiliations and seeks to support all residents) I was pleased to speak in your support at the council licensing sub-committee meeting on 17th June.

    There were a very large number of residents who wrote to oppose the licence, far more than those who supported it.

    I was impressed by the imaginative campaign conducted by residents and by their appointment of such an accomplished barrister. 

    The Committee was due to give its decision within 5 days.  Our case was that our Association has members in all the roads that will be affected badly by this application The site is totally unsuitable for what would be in effect a public house.  It is in the middle of Prince George’s Playing Fields, which have the protected status of Metropolitan Open Land and where building is only permitted for sporting purposes.

    The Fields are also subject to controls imposed by Merton Council in 2009 restricting the use of commercial activities to 28 occasions in a calendar year, which number is always taken up on the major part of the Fields, with car boot sales, antiques fairs, and a circus, and other events.

    The site is some 300 metres from Grand Drive, which has the only vehicular access, and there is no lighting at all along the track to the Football Clubhouse.  While the Fields are used for recreation in the daytime, they are deserted during the house of darkness. Nor have the pedestrian routes to the site from Whatley Avenue and Meadow Close got any kind of lighting.

    The site has no police patrols. There is limited parking. While the site is isolated geographically, it is on high ground, and noise and light pollution would be audible and visible over a very large area, including in particular in Berrylands, Cannon Close, Grand Drive, Meadow Close and Parkway.

    The Clubhouse has a current alcohol licence which has major and detailed controls to protect local residents from noise pollution and unruly and antisocial behaviour.  Noise must be contained within the clubhouse building, and stewards appointed.   Alcohol can only be served to members and their guests, and not to the public at large.

    The present proposals do not include the building of any new premises.  Instead decking is being built, and tables and chairs provided outside, which would carry noise over a very wide area.  It had been proposed that music of various kinds and films would be shown on the decking during the day and the evening. This was amended at the hearing to limit it to inside the Clubhouse, but even this would be audible for many hundreds of yards. 

    An Artisans Market has grown up on both days at weekends, with a number of market stalls. The number of events being held here is already in excess of the numbers permitted by the Council’s by-law limiting events to 28 days a year. 

    The proposals are the provision of alcohol to the public for very extensive periods of time, from mid-morning to very late at night, and on a 365 days basis.  

    This inevitably will result in huge public disturbances of all kinds, and the noisy coming and going of cars at all hours. Cars used to be prevented from coming onto the site at night and when football was not being played, to prevent antisocial behaviour including the torching of cars. Children play on the Fields, and in the Lycee grounds opposite, and might have been exposed to intoxicated behaviour.

    We urged the Committee to reject the scheme in its entirety.

    The RPWBRA was therefore delighted to receive the recent news that the Licencing Committee refused the application.

    John Elvidge - Chairman

     

  • Vote for a Mural!

     

    At the Raynes Park Community Forum, held on Zoom on 10 June 2021, Chris Larkman of the Raynes Park Association explained that Network Rail has agreed to fund a mural for the south side of the Skew Arch in Raynes Park (the pedestrian/cycle arch under the railway to the east of the road bridge).   

    The project is being managed by local people and they are seeking opinions on the preferred option from the two short-listed designs. 

    As this is Network Rail property, it will have the final say but everyone local is invited to vote for their preferred design by following this link:  https://forms.gle/bGj6uxxb2sJCmbjd6

     

  • Changes to Constituency Boundaries - Update March 2022

    Do you live in Parkway, specifically from No 22 or above that number?

    Or, perhaps in Elm Walk in an odd number from 49 or above?

    Or in Elm Walk, in an even number from 80 or above?

    Or Meadow Close (even numbers 66 and above)? 

    If so, then the Boundary Commission proposes moving you from the “Wimbledon” constituency (MP: Stephen Hammond) to “Mitcham and Morden” (MP: Siobhain McDonagh) .

    The Boundary Commission's proposals are now out for a second stage public consultation. 

    We think these streets have been reallocated simply to even up the numbers between the two constituencies. However, most residents in these streets do, we are sure, logically feel part of the Wimbledon constituency, which encompasses most of the Raynes Park and West Barnes areas, as against being in either Morden and Mitcham, which are both much further away. 

    The proposals are now in their final public consultation stage, with a closing date of 4 April 2022. So there is still time to make a submission. To find out more and how to submit your views, visit https://www.bcereviews.org.uk/

    Jerry Cuthbert, March 2022

  • Sir Joseph Hood Memorial Playing Fields

    The Friends of Sir Joseph Hood Memorial Playing Fields works hand in hand with Merton Council and other organisations to help maintain and enhance our park. Funding has previously been obtained to improve the facilities e.g. tennis courts, exercise equipment, paddling pool, to provide a summer cafe and also to enhance the look and natural feel of the surroundings, such as tree / bulb planting and the meadow sections.

    There is also lesser known activity that takes place within the park boundary. Every month a small group of volunteers from The Friends gather by the Beverley Brook and participate in a significant Citizen Science research project. Riverfly Monitoring is an initiative spearheaded by the Riverfly Partnership which ensures that groups can take action to conserve the river environment by monitoring water quality.

    The South East Rivers Trust is a brilliant conservation organisation and their coordinator Jess has helped to set up Riverfly Monitoring in the Beverley Brook.

    The team working in our park is one of four along the Brook, which flows from Worcester Park into the Thames near Barnes. The process is effectively pond dipping, but in a slightly more scientific way. The waders are donned, we climb into the water and then the riverbed is  gently ‘kicked’ or ‘swept’ to allow the riverflies to rise into the water flow and are captured in a special net.

    Thereafter it is a matter of placing the contents into viewing trays followed by intense spotting and counting of species. Each of the targeted invertebrate types scores points, with the total score providing a good estimate of the river quality at that time. Our monitoring point generally produces dozens of Caseless Caddis and Gammarus (freshwater shrimp).

    We hope one day to find more Cased Caddis, Olives and Mayfly larvae, which would be great indicators of improving water quality in a London river. So, if you happen to see a strange group of people carrying buckets and nets across the park on a Saturday morning then you know that science is about to take place.

    For more information click Friends of Sir Joseph Hood Memorial Playing Field

    Jane Pritchard

     

  • Raynes Park Station - Poor accessibility to Platforms 3 & 4

    We have had an email from one of our members who uses a wheelchair if they have any distance to travel. They are asking for a lift to be installed at Raynes Park to give access to platforms 3 & 4. It is all very well having the ramp to access trains going to London but what about the return journey? To get back to Raynes Park awheelchair user must leave the train at Wimbledon Station, go up to ground floor in the lift and then cross the busy road to get on a bus. Network Rail has been asked about this many times, but no progress has been made. If the stairs at the station are causing you problems, let us know ( rpwbra@rpwbresidents.org.uk ) and we shall see if we can use a petition or some other method to achieve an elevator.

  • £15,000 Available for West Barnes and Raynes Park

    Would you like to have new benches or play equipment in the park? 

    What about planting bulbs on our verges? 

    Merton Council is making £15,000 available for small-scale public space projects in every ward. 

    Projects must meet Government criteria, for example bulb planting; benches, playground equipment or bins for parks; grants to community groups for clean ups or fence painting; footway and street structures (decluttering, renewal, vegetation. 

    All three ward councillors must approve any application to spend the money for each ward, so please send them your ideas as soon as possible. 

    In West Barnes our councillors are:

    Eloise Bailey, eloise.bailey@merton.gov.uk

    Hina Bokhari, hina.bokhari@merton.gov.uk

    Carl Quilliamcarl.quilliam@merton.gov.uk

     

    In Raynes Park, our councillors are:

    Adam Bushadam.bush@merton.gov.uk

    Omar Bushomar.bush@merton.gov.uk 

    Stephen Crowe, stephen.crowe@merton.gov.uk 

    Please let the RPWBRA know your ideas too.   rpwbra@rpwbresidents.org.uk

    The council has to assess all projects and it takes time to get things ordered and delivered. Please don’t delay – send in your ideas now. The money has to be spent by 31st March 2022. 

     

  • Plans to Re-Open the Pavilion

    Following the move to “Step 4” in the government’s road map, some of our regular groups are returning to the Pavilion. We are looking forward, therefore, to welcoming back Najat Stefka, who has been running her Merton Health and Fitness groups at the Pavilion since 2015. 

    At the beginning of this summer term, as the lockdown rules have been eased, Najat re-started both her outside FitClub  and indoor Pilates classes at the Pavilion. 

    We all still need follow the “hands, face, space” guidance, such as special signage, one-way systems, hand sanitizer and correct hygiene procedures.

    Back in March 2020, all our regular hirers and the RPWBRA Premises Management Group jointly decided to close down the Pavilion just ahead of the government announcing the first lockdown. Since then, Najat has successfully been running her Pilates and exercise groups online. Nevertheless, re-opening the Pavilion is an important step, both for Najat and our Association. 

    You can contact Najat Stefka at: https://www.mertonhealthfitness.co.uk/ 

    Jerry Cuthbert (Chair, Premises Management Group)

  • Chairman's Blog - June 2021

    Tesco/Redrow 

    As of 1st June 2021, the Association is still waiting to hear the Inspector’s decision in respect of the above matter. As you know, we are in favour of housing development on the site but TOTALLY OPPOSED to the prospect of high-rise (14/15 storey) blocks.  I gave evidence, assisted by David Freeman and Jerry Cuthbert, in a very intensive appeal hearing spread out over 11 days in December and January and we are all anxious to know the outcome. 

    Update 29 June 2021 - The Planning Inspectorate has upheld Redrow's Appeal and therefore Planning Permission is granted. (Click here for more information.)

     

    Bellway/Lessa 

    All has gone very quiet in respect of plans to build on this sports field in Meadowview Road. The would-be developers have consistently blocked or disregarded plans put forward by sports clubs and schools to use the land for its intended sporting purpose. We continue to press for information from the Planning Department.

    Raynes Park Vale Football Club

    The Association is pleased that a government grant of £10,000 has enabled the club to lay a new pitch, thus furthering their football ambitions. 

    However, we do not support the current application for a change of alcohol licence.

    Follow these links for more information:

    Raynes Park Vales FC re-applies for Late Night Licence

    Objection to RPVFC License Application 

    The club already has a members’ licence which enables it to serve drinks and hold functions, under strict conditions to protect local residents. 

    The new proposed licence, which would include the sale of alcohol to the general public from morning until very late at night, would disturb and cause stress to residents in the roads surrounding the club and would be inappropriate in an area (Prince George’s Playing Fields) where children play freely.

     Our AGM 

    Finally, it has been over a year now since we were able to have a general meeting. We had to cancel our AGM, our socials, our outings, clubs and Open Meetings, so as we move into the Summer, let’s hope we can begin to make plans again! 

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    John Elvidge (Chairman)

  • Objection to RPVFC License Application

    Letter to the Licensing Team at Merton Council from RPWBRA 

    18 May 2021 

    Licensing Application: WK/202103135 

    Dear Sir/Madam, 

    We write to object in the strongest terms to the above application.   

    We are the Raynes Park and West Barnes Residents’ Association, which was founded in 1928, and has some 1800 household members.  Our area includes the whole of Prince George’s Playing Fields, on part of which sits the Raynes Park Vale Football Club (RPVFC), as well as Cannon Hill Common.  

    Many of our members live in the streets nearest to the application site, which are Berrylands, Cannon Close, Heath Drive, Parkway, Cannon Hill Lane, and Grand Drive, as well as all the roads off Grand Drive.  If the application were to be granted, the whole area will be very seriously affected from morning until very late at night on every day of the week throughout the year. 

    Prince George’s Playing Fields is designated as Metropolitan Open Land and as a Site of Importance for Nature Conservation, Grade 2. 

    It is extensively used for public recreation and has been invaluable as such during the lockdowns.  It is used at weekends for football matches.  The whole site is subject to planning controls imposed by the Council in 2009 which restrict the use of the Fields to 14 sales events and 14 other events in the year. Vehicular access to the site for these purposes is off Bushey Road. 

    The Football Club is situated on the south side of the footpath that leads from Grand Drive to Whatley Avenue.  Vehicular access to this is from Grand Drive along the footpath.  This also provides access to the extensive playing fields of the French Lycee, whose grounds and changing rooms are not open to the public.  The Lycee has both female and male pupils of all ages. Their grounds are opposite the clubhouse of RPVFC and are heavily used. 

    The clubhouse of RPVFC is very close to the houses in Berrylands and Grand Drive.  This is currently being extended to allow for groups of 150 people at wedding parties and other gatherings.  The Club is also building an extensive decking area which it intends to use for outdoor entertainment, including music and films.   

    RPVFC has already a club licence to provide alcohol for its Members and their guests from 11 am to 11 pm with music allowed during the same times.  This licence is subject to stringent conditions to prevent the disturbance of local residents.  

    These include that when regulated entertainment is being provided, all doors and windows should be kept shut. At the same time, patrols should take place on an hourly basis at the perimeter of the property to ensure that there is no sound escape. If there is such an escape, action should be taken immediately to reduce the noise to a level that is not audible at the nearest residential property. After 11pm patrols should also address noisy patrons outside their premises. A logbook is to be kept to record such patrols and should be made available for inspection by Council officers. 

    The Club also has to put up clear signs at the exit points stating: “This is a residential area, please leave quietly”. 

    Quite clearly, the provision of decking outside the clubhouse, where people can take food and drinks, and listen to music, and watch films, would be totally inconsistent with the present conditions that are designed to protect residents. The “regulated entertainment” is also intended under the present application to continue to midnight on Fridays and Saturdays, and until 1.30 am on New Year’s Eve.      

    The present application goes very much further than the provision of alcohol for Members and their guests.  The intention is to sell food and alcohol on a commercial basis to the public generally.

    IT WOULD BECOME A PUB.

    The application is being made by a catering company which has run local pubs as licensees for the past 25 years. We understand that a portion of the profits it hopes to make will be shared with the Club.  In their post on the social media site Nextdoor on 17.4.21 the proprietors say that: 

             “The club already has a licence for its members and we just want to open up a bit to the    locals… The vision is to have a nice area for locals to stop off and socialise. The outside area however will only be open till 10pm. May I point out that there will be no amplified music on the decking just nice acoustic individuals and duets. There will be some nice craft beers available as well as a nice wine list and a few simple cocktails (as in Pimms on the deck). There will also be a fresh food offering … Our opening hours will be 12.00 midday till 11 pm Mon to Sun. We have applied for longer licenses to allow some flexibility with our weddings etc”. 

    However, despite these public assurances from the proprietors, this is NOT what has been applied for. The application, were it to be granted, would allow for more latitude, including the holding of noisy outdoor events late into the night. 

    We object under the following four grounds:

     

    A. The prevention of crime and disorder 

    The site is isolated being up a footpath and is in the middle of open land.  At night it is completely dark except for any lighting from the Club. There are no street lights and there is no lighting on the footpath. In the winter it is dark by 4pm. 

    It would be inappropriate to install outdoor lighting leading to and from the Clubhouse because it would disturb local residents.   And have a negative impact on wildlife (foraging bats and owls). Further, all development on Metropolitan Open Land has to be “essential” in support of the permitted use of outdoor sport unless “very special circumstances” can be demonstrated otherwise. Lighting and decking would almost certainly be in conflict with the MOL designation of the whole site. 

     The proposal is to have unregulated drinking by members of the public. It is hard to see how members of RPVFC could easily control excess drinking or disturbances.  There will be times when there are over 150 people on the site. Women would be at particular risk in such a situation.  Licensed public houses are accessible from the public highway. This is not. There are no police patrols in the area. The risk is self- evident, and high.

    B. Public safety. 

    The same points as above apply. 

    C. The prevention of public nuisance 

    The Fields are designated for the quiet enjoyment of open space.  Residents and their families use the Fields for informal games, exercise, dog-walking, and to de-stress (access to green spaces being good for mental and physical health). Having a pub there is totally outside the purpose of the designation of the Fields as Metropolitan Open Land. 

    There is very limited car parking at the site, and most people will come by car.  If the cars are parked on the rest of Prince’s George’s field it will damage the surface and disturb the wildlife.  Cars would be coming in and out of the Grand Drive entrance very late into the night.  There is limited parking also on Grand Drive and the surrounding streets. Residents would be disturbed nightly by car doors slamming, and people talking, often over loudly. There would be the potential for car theft and damage.  There would some likelihood of an increase in drink driving in the area. 

    If people came by taxi or minicab there would be further disturbance. 

    Noise from the decking, and other outdoor drinking will be heard over a very wide area, in a totally residential area. Light pollution would also be seen until very late.

    Many of our residents work long hours and do not wish to be disturbed in their evening hours or their sleep. They wish to enjoy the quiet of their gardens at the weekends or on summer evenings. 

    Many of our residents have families and will not want their children exposed to the noise from a “Pub”, nor have their sleep disturbed. 

    In the past the gates to the access to the Fields off Grand Drive were locked at night to prevent the stealing/dumping and torching of cars. They could no longer be locked during the hours of darkness if this application was approved. 

    In recent months a coffee stall has been placed next to the clubhouse and an Artisans’ Market has grown up at weekends.  The result has been a great increase in littering in the surrounding area and on Cannon Hill Common, which the bins do not fully cater for. This can only increase if food and drink can be served outdoors to the public.   

    D. The protection of children from harm. 

    The decking is opposite the playing fields of the French Lycee.  The children would be in close proximity to people drinking alcohol on the outside decking. 

    Girls and Boys sports teams also practise and play on the main field area of Prince George’s so it is not just a problem for the Lycee. Children also play freely there. 

    They should not be in close proximity to adults who may become intoxicated. The best-regulated football clubs and pubs in the country have problems with alcohol and poor behaviour but do not have young unaccompanied children to worry about. 

    Under age drinking already occurs on the Fields and Cannon Hill Common, with empty cans and bottles and nitrous oxide capsules being found. Having overage drinking there could increase this. 

    WE URGE THE LICENSING SUB-COMMITTEE TO GIVE FULL WEIGHT TO THE VIEWS OF RESIDENTS, AND TO REJECT THE APPLICATION OUTRIGHT. 

    ANY NEW LICENCE SHOULD BE SUBJECT TO THE SAME CONDITIONS AND CONTROLS AS EXIST ON THE PRESENT CLUB LICENCE. ANY LICENCE SHOULD BE FOR INDOORS ONLY AS AT PRESENT. 

    IN PARTICULAR THERE SHOULD BE NO SALE OF ALCOHOL PERMITTED TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC. 

    John Elvidge, Chair of the RPWBRA 

    18 May 2021

     

  • Chairman's Blog - May 2021

    RAYNES PARK VALE FOOTBALL CLUB 

    The Club has operated an airstream van on their premises since last autumn, selling drinks and snacks. This is to generate funds to improve their ground and facilities.  

    This spring it grew into an Artisans’ Market open at weekends, with stalls selling such things as pizza, bread, fish, and honey. This is operated by a local commercial enterprise.

    The Club is currently refurbishing its clubroom to make it “more appealing to small wedding parties and club diners” and building a decked area outside. They say that the outside area will “only be open until 10pm” and that there will be no amplified music, just “nice individuals and duets”.  They plan to make an additional application for a licence to sell alcohol, with very extensive opening hours being proposed, for every day of the week.  Although the club already has a members’ licence, it appears that they intend to sell alcohol to the public as well.

     There is no doubt, judging from the number of people now clutching coffee mugs as they walk over Cannon Hill Common, that the coffee bar has been a welcome innovation. 

    Also, the weekend Artisans’ Market has attracted some 50 people at a time. But many residents will be anxious at the new proposals on what has been a quiet playing field until now, and the possibility of noise, and cars parking late into the night. 

    The Club is on Prince George’s Playing Fields, which is Metropolitan Open Land. Planning Controls are in force restricting the number of boot sales and other commercial events, in order to maintain the open character of the land.  It would appear that the maximum number of permitted uses is being reached, and we will be asking the planning department to enforce the existing controls, which were issued in 2009. 

    While we would encourage the Club to extend its clubroom and provide food and drinks for its own members and their guests, we would want the opening hours to be carefully limited, and we will be opposing any licence to sell alcohol to the general public.

    Update 18 May 2021: The Football Club has now re-applied for a late night licence to sell alcohol on and off the premises, provide refreshment and have live music, seven days a week, until late at night, open to the general public. 

    More information is hereOur Association has submitted an objection to the application, Our objection can be read here 

    The deadline for objections is 26 May 2021. 

    CAR THEFTS

    One of the most prevalent crimes locally for a number of years has been the theft of catalytic converters. These contain valuable minerals worth many hundreds of pounds.  The police tell us that these can be removed within a few minutes but will be not be stolen if the converter has been marked, and a sticker to this effect is visible. The vehicles that have been identified as most at risk are: Toyota Prius (2004-15), Honda Jazz, Toyota Auris (2006-18), Lexus RX, and Honda CRV (except, my garage tells me, for the most recent model).

    REDROW/TESCO APPEAL

    No news yet regarding the Planning Inspector’s report! Please remember to keep checking this website and our Nextdoor Group for latest information.

    John Elvidge

  • Raynes Park Vale FC is refused Licence

    Update 25 June 2021 - Licence Application Refused

    We were pleased to hear that this licence application has been refused. Our Association was delighted to participate in the amazing campaign to oppose the granting of the application for a public alcohol licence which would have disrupted the lives of so many residents living near the Raynes Park Vale Football Club. The club of course already has a perfectly adequate licence for its own events and we wish it well in its sporting endeavours.

    As Chair of the Residents’ Association (which has no political party affiliations and seeks to support all residents) I was pleased to speak in your support at the council licensing sub-committee meeting on 17th June.

     I was impressed by the imaginative campaign and by the residents’ appointment of such an accomplished barrister. 

    John Elvidge, Chairman, RPWBRA

     

    To read our Association's objection to the application for a license click Objection to RPVFC License Application 

     

    Previously ...

    The Raynes Park Vale Football Club has re-applied for a licence to sell alcohol, show films, have live and recorded music and serve Late Night Refreshment, seven days a week and up to midnight on Fridays and Saturdays and to stay open until half-past-midnight on Friday nights/Saturday mornings and Saturday nights/Sunday mornings.

    The full application details may be seen at

    https://www.merton.gov.uk/Documents/current%20licensing%20applications%2029042021.pdf on pages 11 & 12.

    This application is effectively to operate a "pub" open to all. selling alcohol off and on the premises, with extended late-night hours at weekends into the early hours of Saturday and Sunday mornings, with live music and other forms of entertainment. 

    The closing date for representations is 26 May 2021.

    REPRESENTATIONS SHOULD BE MADE IN WRITING TO: 

    Licencing Section, London Borough of Merton, 14th Floor, Civic

    Centre, London Road, Morden, Surrey, SM4 5DX or by email to: 

    licensing@merton.gov.uk

    The Application Reference is WK/202103135

     

  • A letter from our Life President - April 2021

    No-one could have known - least of all me - what was ahead of us fourteen months ago and just how much our lives and perspectives would change. 

    Many people have suffered great sadness and loss and those of us that have been spared the worst of what the pandemic was to bring have learned to appreciate things that perhaps we took for granted. Meeting up with friends and family; enjoying a professional haircut; being able to travel and revisit the seaside, country houses and parks; having a meal out at our favourite restaurant; the reopening of our clubs and societies, retail therapy and simply having fun. 

    Hopefully, in time, we can all look forward to kicking Covid into the long grass and, like smallpox and the bubonic plague, into the annals of history. But this has been a much needed wake up call for us all. We must never forget the lessons we have learned: the importance of friends, the kindness of strangers, and last but not least, to look after our environment and our wonderful planet.

     Jill Truman

  • From Our Secretary - April 2021

    PLANS: CROSSWAY GARAGES

    This month’s Inbox has contained several emails about a letter received by many residents about proposals for garages accessed from Crossway.   

    Axis and Mohsin Cooper Architects are planning to demolish the existing garages and build three blocks of flats four storeys in height, providing 18 residential units. The proposals can be seen at https://tinyurl.com/n34p5pzu  

    if you want to comment on this proposal, email Axis at consultations@axisped.co.uk with the subject ;

    Garages Accessed from Crossway, Raynes Park”. 

    Please copy in our Residents’ Association (here) so that we are aware of your thoughts. 

    RP&WB Residents’ Association have arranged to extend the consultation date to 6pm 12th April.  

    GARTH ROAD HOUSEHOLD REUSE AND RECYCLING CENTRE

    Our inbox has been alive with concerns about the Garth Road facility so, in common with many local organisations and councillors, we have been in touch with Merton Council to find a way forward. The adoption of a booking system during the pandemic was initially unpopular, but as residents became familiar with the process, it appeared to be working quite well.

     Then, in March, the Centre reverted to its open system but, at times, there were alarmingly long queues.Councillor Hina Bokhari kindly forwarded an email to us from Charles Baker, Merton Strategy and Commissioning Officer, who has explained that when the booking system was ended, there was a surge of cars arriving at the facility. 

    We have since heard that the online booking system has now been re-instated.

    Charles Baker is also examining ways of allowing non-vehicular use which would require careful arrangements for safety reasons.

     Michael Marks, RPWBRA Secretary

  • Traffic Problems in Grand Drive

    Please give us your views 

    Several of our members who live in Grand Drive have raised concerns over the excessive traffic speeds in Grand Drive.  HGVs are reported as being a particular problem due to the noise and vibration and the damage this causes to health and property alike. Our Association is keen to hear the views of our members about these problems. 

    We expect that members in other roads may also be suffering similar problems but the situation is made more complicated in Grand Drive than for most other roads because it is part of TfL’s London Distributor Road network. TfL are therefore responsible for traffic lights and other safety features (speed cameras, raised junctions, chicanes and the like) and Merton has to get agreement from TfL to add these sorts of measures. 

    There is also the associated issue of pollution, both due to Nitrogen Oxide (NOX) and also particulate emissions. Merton does monitor NO2 levels at some fixed points along Grand Drive and elsewhere in the borough.

    The sensors in Grand Drive show annual average NO2 levels are in excess of the national objective of

    40 mg m-3. 

    This link takes you to Merton's most recent Air Quality Annual Status Report:

     https://www.merton.gov.uk/Documents/Annual%20Status%20Report%202020.pdf 

    There is also the matter of enforcing the new 20 mph speed limit and the existing London Lorry Control Scheme, which bans HGVs over 18 tonnes from using Grand Drive between 9.00pm and 7.00am on weekdays. At the weekend they are banned from 1.00pm on Saturdays until the following Monday i.e. no HGVs on Saturday afternoon or all day Sunday. 

    Those are the rules, but regrettably they are frequently ignored. 

    Grand Drive residents are seeking solutions! We all understand that delivery drivers must get from A to B and we value their hard work. They have supported the country throughout the pandemic, keeping essential work and maintenance going and delivering food and goods to those locked down or restricted. 

    However, the welfare of residents is being affected by the constant thundering of huge vehicles from 5.30am, and there is danger to the young, the elderly and the infirm from speeding vehicles in general. The stress for the residents, damage to the roads and pavements (and in some cases to houses) and the worrying aspects such as air pollution are all everyday concerns for those in living along Grand Drive and other streets in our area. 

    Please let us know of your concerns, either by email to our Association at here or by posting on our Nextdoor Group, either privately or publically, at nextdoor.co.uk/g/84vfly7fh/

    Clare Townsend

  • Chairman's Blog - April 2021

    REDROW/TESCO ENQUIRY

    The Planning Inspector has, we believe, made her inspection of the site where Redrow plan to build flats in 7 towers blocks up to 15 storeys high. We asked her at the Inquiry to visit a large number of other roads which we named, so that she could see the full impact of the buildings, and she agreed to do so. She also agreed that her visit would take in the evening rush hour, so that she could see the effect of school traffic and the impact of the level crossing at West Barnes Lane.

    We expect the Report in April. We will, of course, summarise her conclusions at once on our website, and on Nextdoor, then cover it fully in The Guide.

    MERTON PARKING FEES

    The local free newspaper reports that Merton Council intends to drive up the costs of permits in controlled parking zones, to what may be the highest fees in the UK.  Charges could go up to as much as £690 a year, to park on the street near your home. It held a public consultation on the increased charges, which showed that only a quarter of respondents believed that the costs should be linked to reducing pollution. It hopes to disincentivise car ownership and encourage lower emission vehicles.

    It argued that 96 % of those who responded were car owners, but only 68% of residents own a vehicle so the increased fees could potentially be reinvested directly into measures to support complementary sustainable transport measures. The Council estimates that the higher charges will add as much as £1 million a year to its coffers.

    Many residents in our area rely upon having a car, since their homes are outside reasonable walking distance of reliable public transport.  Some will have diesel vehicles, which will be charged more than petrol or electric cars, and be unable to afford to change their cars. Many need to park on the streets.

    You have to wonder what is the point of public consultation if Councillors simply ignore the views of these who take the trouble to respond, and instead impose their own ideas.

    MEADOWVIEW PLANS

    Michael Marks is continuing to liaise with residents in Meadowview regarding their experiences of water-logged gardens and related issues and Mary-Jane is scrutinizing the details on the planning website.

    We are pressing the council planners for information about the planning application made by Bellway Homes last November to build on the former LESSA sports ground. Fortunately, Sport England has now formally objected to the proposals, having been informed by the RPWBRA of the high level of interest by sports groups and schools to use the ground for its intended purpose of sport.

     

     I hope you enjoy this picture of blossom in Joseph Hood Recreation Ground.

     

    John Elvidge

  • Proposals for 38 Crossway

     

    Update 18 May 2021.     We have been advised by the developer that the plans for this site have been changed. It now plans to submit a planning application shortly, for seven houses. This information may be read here.

    Previously ...

    Some of our members will already be aware that, Axis, a planning consultancy company, has announced a proposal to redevelop the premises at 38 Crossway to create 18 residential units in 3 blocks of 3 and 4 storeys in height. This site is currently comprised of various garages and workshops.

    This is a speculative planning enquiry, in advance of a full planning application to the Council. Details of the proposal are at https://www.axisped.co.uk/proposals-for-garages-accessed-from-crossway-raynes-park-sw20/

    Apart from access to the site, and potential visual intrusion to adjoining homes in Westway, Kingsway & Meadowsweet Close, Pyl Brook runs in a culvert at this location, so the risk of flooding will also be of concern. Axis has invited residents to submit comments. Following a request from our Residents' Association, the deadline has been extended to Monday 12 April, so we encourage you to examine the proposals and make your views known. Please copy in the Residents’ Association on rpwbra@outlook.com, so that we are aware of your thoughts.

    Our thanks to those members that have already copied in on their responses.

    Members are also reminded that these proposals are still at an early stage, as no planning application has yet been made.  There will still be the opportunity to submit comments to Merton Council, if and when a formal planning application is made.

     

     

     

     

  • Approach Road - 8 March 2021 for 3 weeks

    We have just learnt that Thames Water will be operating a lane closure and contra-flow system in Approach Road, Raynes Park (the south side of Raynes Park Station) from 8th March 2021 for approximately 3 weeks. This is essential work to enable them to make repairs to a sewer pipe.

    DELAYS WILL BE INEVITABLE                        

  • Chairman's Blog - March 2021

    REDROW PLANNING INQUIRY

    We are still awaiting the Inspector’s report on the planning appeal brought by Redrow against the Council’s refusal of its plans to build 456 flats in 7 tower blocks in Burlington Road.

    The delay is being caused by the pandemic, which has so far delayed the Inspector from undertaking her own visit to the site. This is a fundamental part of her decision. However, the Planning Inspectorate is exercising caution with its site visits at the moment..

    We will let you know on our website as soon as we hear anything further.

    (For previous reports, click here.

    BELLWAY PLANNING APPLICATION ON THE LESSA SITE

    Bellway has put a planning application to build a large number of houses and flats on the sports ground at Meadowview Road, off Grand Drive.    Over 200 strong letters of objection have been made, including those by the Residents’ Association.

    The 44 houses which now comprise Meadowview Road were allowed by a planning inspector in 2009 as an enabling development on the clear basis that the whole of the rest of the area should be retained for sporting purposes. We are urging the planning officers not to recommend approval, given the clear need expressed by local sports clubs and a junior school for continued use of the ground for football and cricket.

    You can read more here .

    COVID VACCINATION

    Many members of the Association will already have been given their first dose of vaccine, and all those over 65 should have been offered the jab by the end of March.  

    Locally this has largely taken place at the Nelson and the Wilson Hospitals, as well as at Kingston, St George’s & Epsom and various smaller venues.

    People say how efficiently and carefully the whole process has been organised, with volunteers assisting with guidance, and with no long waiting times.

    It’s an enormous task, and all the staff of the NHS deserve our warmest thanks and congratulations.

    WEATHER

    After the wettest January for many years, we had to endure one of our coldest and snowiest Februarys.  At least the children could escape lockdown for a bit and make snowmen and snowballs.

    Let’s hope that March brings a heatwave!

    Kind regards to all          John Elvidge

  • Email from Sport England to Merton 20/P3237

    Email from Sport England to Tim Lipscomb (Merton Planning Officer)

    Subject:  App Ref: 20/P3237 -  Land South of Meadowview Rd (LESSA) - Sport England Ref: PA/20/L/MR/57140

    Date: 23 February 2021

     

    Dear Tim, 

    Further to my previous response, Sport England has been provided with significant further information regarding sporting demand for this site. I immediately forwarded this to the relevant NGB colleagues and asked them to investigate it, which they have now done and revised their responses accordingly. As such, Sport England wishes to update its response to this planning application. Please consider that this response supersedes any previous responses. 

    Sport England –Statutory Role and Policy 

    It is understood that the proposal prejudices the use, or leads to the loss of use, of land being used as a playing field or has been used as a playing field in the last five years, as defined in The Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedure) (England) Order 2015 (Statutory Instrument 2015 No. 595). The consultation with Sport England is therefore a statutory requirement. 

    Sport England has considered the application in light of the National Planning Policy Framework (in particular Para. 97), and against its own playing fields policy, which states: 

    ‘Sport England will oppose the granting of planning permission for any development which would lead to the loss of, or would prejudice the use of: 

    • all or any part of a playing field, or
    • land which has been used as a playing field and remains undeveloped, or
    • land allocated for use as a playing field 

    unless, in the judgement of Sport England, the development as a whole meets with one or more of five specific exceptions.’ 

    Sport England’s Playing Fields Policy and Guidance document can be viewed via the below link:

    https://www.sportengland.org/how-we-can-help/facilities-and-planning/planning-for-sport#playing_fields_policy 

    The Proposal and Impact on Playing Field 

    The proposal is for 89 dwellings and associated infrastructure, plus 2 tennis courts with associated floodlighting, storage and car parking. This will involve the loss of the entire existing playing field. 

    Assessment against Sport England Policy 

    This application relates to the loss of existing playing fields. I understand that the applicant has suggested it mitigate this loss by contributing towards playing fields in the area in order to significantly increase their use, and that the Merton Playing Pitch Strategy would be supportive of this. It therefore needs to be considered against exception 4 of the above policy, which states: 

    ‘The area of playing field to be lost as a result of the proposed development will be replaced, prior to the commencement of development, by a new area of playing field: 

    • of equivalent or better quality, and
    • of equivalent or greater quantity, and
    • in a suitable location, and
    • subject to equivalent or better accessibility and management arrangements.’ 

    I therefore assessed the existing and proposed playing fields against the above policy to determine whether the proposals meet exception 4. 

    The element of the proposal which includes the tennis courts was assessed against exception 5, as these have the potential to be considered an alternative sports facility of sufficient benefit to the community so as to outweigh the loss of playing field. 

    Assessment of Existing Playing Fields 

    The existing playing field (also known as the LESSA playing field) comprises 2.27 hectares. A quantity of playing field to the north was lost some years ago when a portion of the field was redeveloped for housing. Historic aerial photography shows that in previous years it has been used for both cricket and football. I understand that in recent years the site has been closed and unavailable for sport. 

    Merton has a Playing Pitch Strategy (PPS) which states that this site should be bought back into use (if viable) to meet current sporting needs and future demands. These sites should be subject to thorough investigation by the steering group and the landowners, to understand whether a club or community group would be able to purchase and viably deliver part, or all of the site, for sporting use. This investigation is subject to a time limit of no more than six months from the date this PPS is adopted by the council. Should the site not be delivered for sporting use, a Section 106 financial contribution will need to be agreed as part of any development on the sites, to reinvest in other sport facilities in the Borough. 

    Following Sport England’s previous assessment of this application, it has since been in receipt of a letter dated 11th February from the West Barnes & Raynes Park Residents. This letter contained further information which highlights that there remain parties that are interested in using the site for cricket and have the resources to redevelop it. I understand that these parties attempted to contact the applicant’s agent and the local authority to make them aware of this. While these parties were referenced in the Sports Needs and Viability Report originally submitted as part of the application, this document ultimately concluded that neither of them had ‘viable bids’, however it would appear the situation has moved on since the submission of this report. 

    Following receipt of the above letter, I requested that NGB colleagues investigate this. The ECB and Surrey Cricket Foundation have confirmed to Sport England that they last week undertook meetings with the following two groups this week to explore their interest further and summarise these conversations as follows; 

    Consortium - Willington School, AJ Academy & Wimbledon United CC 

    • The school currently rents Drax Playing Field and would like to secure their own “home” playing field
    • They have previously explored other playing field sites in the borough such as Raynes Park but haven’t been able to secure them for the school’s use.
    • The school aspires to access the site during weekday, daytime hours.
    • The school wrote directly to Merton Council to express their interest in the site
    • The school has stated that it has the resources available to invest in and redevelop the site for cricket activity.
    • AJ Academy also wrote to Bellway and their Agent in August/September 2020 to express interest in their site, which was acknowledged. They also wrote to Merton Planning officers.
    • The Academy would be seeking to utilize the site on evenings/weekends for junior activity, which would complement the school’s requirements in terms of access.
    • Wimbledon United CC plays Sunday friendly fixtures, currently at Cottenham Park and LESSA would be an ideal home for their club.
    • They also wrote to Bellway to express their interest, which was acknowledged, although they’ve had no further response.
    • The consortium would be keen to work collectively to redevelop and access the site, with their intended hours of use lending themselves to a collaborative approach. 

    The Wimbledon Club (parent organization of Wimbledon CC) 

    • As a large cricket club, Wimbledon CC hire a number of pitches across the borough. They are at capacity and have been actively seeking a second site.
    • They have identified LESSA as an ideal opportunity to develop for lower XI cricket and junior academy use.
    • They’d be happy to make the playing field available to other sporting use outside of their access for senior and junior cricket activity, such as junior football.
    • They notified Stephen Hammond MP of their interest in the site. He has contacted Bellway directly on the club’s behalf to express their interest.
    • The club has stated that it has the resources available to invest in and redevelop the site for cricket activity. 

    On receipt of this new information, the ECB would therefore like to amend its position to object to the proposed loss of the playing field, since there is clearly local cricket interest in accessing and redeveloping the site for the benefit of the local community. 

    It also notes that both groups have contacted both Bellway and Merton Council to express their interest. Had the ECB been aware of the continuing interest of these groups, would certainly have objected to the redevelopment of the playing fields in the first instance. 

    The RFU have also confirmed, that, following receipt of the letter highlighting their engagement with Old Emanuel RFC (OERFC) and the rugby club’s potential use of the site, the RFU has conducted further consultation with the club. In addition to its previous comments, the RFU has commented that the site was identified as not historically having been used for Rugby Union and, as such if new cricket demand has been identified, the RFU would support an amended position to object to the disposal of the site. The communication from the West Barnes & Raynes Park Residents Association makes specific reference to the needs of OERFC. It also highlights that the LESSA site would not provide a total solution to the OERFC requirements with the forthcoming vacation of their current base at Blagdon’s. The current priority for OERFC is to identify a site that can ideally accommodate all or the majority of their requirements i.e. Raynes Park, Taunton Avenue. This is a discussion that is underway with the council. The RFU position is that LESSA may provide additional pitch capacity should it be needed, once negotiations are concluded with LB Merton as to the Raynes Park site (and the capacity thereon) and subject to the needs of cricket as a priority. The RFU would also take the opportunity to re-iterate its original request for an holistic approach to understand the opportunities to address the shortfalls identified within the LB Merton PPS. 

    Sport England’s previous position was predicated on full NGB agreement that there was no demand for this playing field. This further information, in particular with regard to cricket, makes it clear that there is in fact demand for this site for sport; furthermore at least one of the above parties state that it has the resources to bring forward the site for sport in a viable manner (as per the PPS requirements and the Viability Report submitted as part of the planning application). This being the case, it is therefore no longer considered that a financial contribution is an acceptable alternative in this instance, as protecting the existing playing field is a priority where there is clear demand. As there now appears to be viable and clear demand for this playing field, this application does not meet Exception 4. Sport England would expect to see the landowner work with these parties in order to ensure that the sites are brought back into use for sport. 

    The tennis court element of the application continues to meet Exception 5 as it provides a new sport facility and I understand the LTA are supportive of this element and the additional funds proposed towards investing in the adjoining tennis club. However, considering that demand for the existing playing field has now been confirmed, this element alone is not considered sufficient to mitigate the loss of the remainder of the playing field. 

    In light of the above, Sport England objects to the application because overall it is not considered to accord with any of the exceptions to Sport England's playing fields policy or with Paragraph 97 of the NPPF. 

    Should your Council be minded to grant planning permission for the development then in accordance with The Town and Country Planning (Consultation) (England) Direction 2009, the application should be referred to the Secretary of State, via the Planning Casework Unit. 

    In addition, the application is also considered to prejudice the use of a playing field of more than 2 hectares of land and is therefore development of 'potential strategic importance' (PSI) as defined by The Town and Country Planning (Mayor of London) Order 2008. As such, a copy of this application must be sent to the Mayor of London for consideration. 

    If this application is to be presented to a Planning Committee, we would like to be notified in advance of the publication of any committee agendas, report(s) and committee date(s). We would be grateful if you would advise us of the outcome of the application by sending us a copy of the decision notice.  

    If you would like any further information or advice please contact the undersigned at the address below. 

    Yours sincerely, Laura Hutson, Planning Manager

  • Wyke Road, Application 20/P0945

     

     

    Residents and members may already be aware that planning approval has recently been granted for two blocks of flats on the narrow strip of land next to the railway embankment, in Wyke Road, opposite Langham Court. This is despite the fact that this area of Wyke Road has designation as a Site of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINC).

    However, Network Rail has a general covenant over all land within 1.5m of the boundary with its railway land. This prevents buildings being erected in this strip and gives Network Rail rights of access over it. 

    There is concern locally that the footprint of the proposed buildings in Wyke Road would breach this covenant. Following some correspondence between various parties concerned over this potential breach, James Sachon of Network Rail emailed Stephen Hammond MP and Councillor Adam Bush, as follows:

     

    Date:      9 February 2021

    Subject: Re: Wyke Road Planning Application 20/P0945             

    Further to my email on Monday, I wanted to provide you with an update on our position. 

    We have today written to the developer to formally refuse their request to amend or release the restrictive covenants. If the developer chooses to build to the existing planning permission, then it will be in breach of the restrictive covenant and they will be exposed to legal remedies. 

    We are still happy to have a meeting tomorrow if you feel appropriate, but our position on this remains very clear that we will not allow the developer to amend the restrictive covenants which the current planning permission breaches. 

    I look forward to hearing from you. 

    Kind regards, 

    James

  • The RPWBRA Nextdoor Group

    Our Committee Member, Dick Coleman, is keen to improve communications, both with and between members, so is encouraging members to join the Association’s official RPWBRA members’ group on Nextdoor,

    In the past few months, we’ve set up a members’ group on Nextdoor, a social networking service for you and your neighbours, as a means of providing up-to-date news on local issues.

    We’ve particularly focused recently on the big planning proposals, such as at Tesco, and the Meadowview Road playing fields, where it’s important to keep abreast of developments. The RPWBRA Group works both ways, and we hope our members will also find it an easier way to give us feedback, raise issues we might be able to help with, and help each other.

    Nextdoor is a free service, all you need to do to join the Group is visit: https://nextdoor.co.uk/g/84vfly7fh/

  • Local Issues - Updates Feb 20021

    Drainage Problems in Motspur Park 

    Reported concerns around the Sir Joseph Hood Memorial Playing fields area with drainage ditches blocked causing flooding to footpaths and gardens appear to be under control. We investigated the situation as did the local West Barnes Councillors. 

    Cottenham Park LTN proposal 

    There is concern around a proposed Low Traffic Neighbourhood scheme affecting access to and from Cottenham Park Road. As always, there is concern that some roads will benefit from traffic reduction but others will suffer as a result. The aim – to reduce pollution – is admirable but all aspects need consideration. 

    Continuing Grand Drive traffic issues 

    Although there has been a meeting of the Scrutiny committee which our committee members followed on the Merton Council You tube, there was no clear way forwards for residents’ concerns. It has been suggested that residents worried about damage from vibrations should get in touch with their Insurance companies.

    Secondly, the speed limit should be enforced and thirdly, air pollution levels MUST be monitored.

  • New Committee Member: Mary-Jane Jeanes

    We are pleased to welcome Mary-Jane Jeanes onto our Committee. Mary-Jane has been a keen member of our Association for many years and has helped considerably on planning matters. Her help has been crucial with the plethora of controversial applications currently in the pipeline. 

    Mary-Jane is also the Chair of the Friends of Cannon Hill Common. She writes, 

    Now that we are again asked to limit ourselves to essential travel only, more local people are visiting, and appreciating Cannon Hill Common.  I am sure our members will want to join me in thanking the many volunteers who help with regular litter-picking. 

    “A number of people have also asked the Friends of Cannon Hill Common about tree identification. The Friends plan to have a “Tree Trail”, with notices identifying different tree species on the Common, during Love Parks Week (12th to 20th July, 2021). 

    “In the meantime, the Friends’ website (https://www.friendsofcannonhillcommon.co.uk/) has a link to Tree Talk https://tinyurl.com/y4dzp6x2 which has maps showing many of the most important trees in London.  The Tree Talk map also identifies street trees and you can create your own “tree walks”.

    The Woodland Trust has a free app, to help identify trees: https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/trees-woods-and-wildlife/british-trees/. 

    “Once the pandemic is over, the Friends will resume regular events, such as Bat Walks, plus butterfly, bird and flower identification events.” 

    Mary-Jane Jeanes

    FriendsofCHCommon@gmail.com

  • Chairman's Blog - Feb 2021

    REDROW PLANNING INQUIRY 

    Residents will recall that Redrow Homes applied for permission to build 456 flats at 265 Burlington Road, in 7 tower blocks up to 15 storeys high.  At the public meeting we held, which over 200 people attended, there was universal opposition to the scheme. Over 500 letters of objection were made, and the Council’s planning committee refused the application in February last year. 

    Redrow then appealed against the Council’s decision to the Planning Inspectorate.

    The Inquiry took place over a mammoth 11 days, with 8 days of evidence heard before Christmas, and another 3 in the new year. It concluded on 13 January.  It was held remotely over Microsoft Teams, owing to the pandemic. 

    Jerry Cuthbert and I represented the Association. You can read Jerry’s report here.

    The Inspector read all the objections previously submitted, and had numerous written proofs of evidence to consider as well as live testimony from witnesses. On behalf of the Association we put in our own written evidence and submissions.  

    Councillor Bokhari spoke against the scheme on behalf of herself and Councillor Bailey. Two other local residents also gave evidence, as did the Deputy Head of Raynes Park High School, and a representative of Champions, the timber merchants. The Inquiry also heard expert evidence on both sides on highways and parking, on urban design, and on planning, flooding, and CO2 reduction.  There was a lot of evidence as to how much further housing was needed, and it is likely that the decision will turn on the weight to be given to this, when set against the clear overdevelopment of the site.

    We do not expect to receive the Inspector’s report for at least another month.  We will publish it straightaway on our website. 

    John Elvidge

  • Report from our Treasurer

    December 2020

    It is almost eight months since we were required to cancel our AGM as a result of the pandemic.

    I hope that you are all keeping well and I look forward to meeting up again when we can safely do so.

    As we are a non-profit making organisation, I had some serious  concerns initially about our ability to afford printing and incidental costs without dipping into the last of our reserves.

    Fortunately, and thanks to our tireless road stewards and brilliant  members, we have over half of our annual subscriptions banked already. This is very encouraging and I would be grateful if those of you who have not yet renewed this year could do so in one of the following Covid-safe ways:

     

    £3 in cash or cheque put in an envelope with your name and address clearly marked. This envelope can then be put through your road steward’s door or mine.

     

    £3 by direct bank payment (BACS) to RPWBRA, Sort Code: 30-99-66, Account no: 32070068, adding your name as reference.

  • Morden Cemetery - Locked Gate

    (North East Surrey Crematorium) 

    We are pleased to learn from one of our tireless road stewards that the pedestrian gate into the cemetery has now been reopened indefinitely, re-establishing this peaceful, accessible route for local people to visit the cemetery and avoid the unnecessary and lengthy journey via the main gate in Garth Road.

    Our Road Steward is grateful for the support she received from the RPWBRA and we, for our part thank her for drawing our attention to this serious issue, which is now, hopefully, resolved.

  • Chairman's Blog, Dec 2020

    2020: A CHALLENGING YEAR

    This year has been, as the Queen memorably described 1992, an “annus horribilis”. For all of us it has meant lockdowns, an inability to meet relatives and friends including those in care homes, to worship, to travel and to go on holiday as we wished. For many people it has been very much worse, with the loss of loved ones through Covid or otherwise and, made worse by attendance at funerals being very limited. Our thoughts are with all those who have been affected. 

    THE WORK OF THE RPWBRA

    Although we were unable to hold the AGM in April, the committee members have continued to liaise by email, Zoom meetings and shared reports. We have also held two socially distanced meetings, an outdoor one held at the Paddock allotments and an indoor one at St. Saviour’s Church. 

    NEWSLETTERS AND THE GUIDE

    The firm that that had previously printed our Guides closed its doors in April, so we had to find another means of communication. We produced Newsletters in May, June, July and August followed by a return to The Guide in September. We now have our Guides printed by Prontaprint which means it is necessary to have them ready for immediate photocopying and printing. The bonus is that we can afford to have full colour copies, a very positive outcome! 

    ROAD STEWARDS

    The RPWBRA worked hard to keep in touch with members but we did not wish to expose our volunteer road stewards to the virus. However, we are very grateful to those stewards who were not shielding and were able to deliver copies to residents in a COVID-safe way

     

    SUMMARY OF PLANNING ISSUES 

    Redrow/Tesco Public Inquiry; Tesco site, 265 Burlington Road.

    The RWBPRA is a full party to the Inquiry. Read more Tesco/Redrow Appeal Update - 10 December2020

     

    208-212 Burlington Road - Planning App:20/1688

    The RPWBRA has already lodged a comprehensive objection to this plan for an inappropriate seven storey development overlooking Barnard Gardens. Read More: 208-212 Burlington Road (20/P1688)

     

    Bellway/Meadowview  Playing Field (Former LESSA) – App:20/P3237

    Bellway homes has now made a planning application to build 89 properties on the sports ground at Meadowview Road. Read More: Bellway Plans to build houses on Meadowview Sports Ground

    The company bought the land knowing that the Planning Inspectorate had decided that a maximum of 44 houses and flats could be built there, on the strict basis that the rest of the land should be retained as a sports ground. All offers from local schools and sports organisations are being dismissed by Bellway, as not viable.

     

    Proposed Wyke Road Development - App:20/PO945

    An unsuitable plan to build dwellings along the length of Wyke Road is of great concern and we are examining the details. Our new Committee Member, Mary-Jane Jeanes, has already submitted a comprehensive formal objection. 

     

    A full set of planning apps to keep us busy! However, looking on the bright side, and in Shelley’s words: 

    “If winter comes, can spring be far behind?” 

    My very best wishes to you all!

    John Elvidge, Chairman

  • Vice-Chairman's Objection to Bellway's Application 20/P3237

    On Behalf of Raynes Park and West Barnes Residents Association I submit this Objection to Application 20/P3237.

    We submit that the P/A is in conflict with Policy DM 01 Open Space of Merton 's Sites and Policies Plan July 2014 and Policy  CS 13 of the Core Strategy  July 2011 and also the Merton Open Space Study of 2010/11, on the grounds that no assessment has been made which shows that the application site is surplus to the sporting provision needs of the Borough of Merton. 

    We submit that the proposals are also in conflict with the requirements of the National Policy Planning Framework and also Policy 7.18 of the GLA adopted London Plan, as well as the proposed site uses set out in LBM 's Consultation Local Plan October 2018 for the Former LESSA Sportsfield Site RP6. 

    We submit that this application cannot be considered only by reference to the proposals submitted on this occasion but needs to take fully into consideration the history and outcome of the previous planning application, P/A 08/P1869 . 

    That application was for 44 Dwelling Units, which was submitted by Doram ( who subsequently sold the land to Bellway ) in Feb 2009 . That was Refused by the Planning Application Committee (PAC) for Merton but the Appeal was Upheld in October 2009. 

    The key point to note is that this application was deemed to be an ' enabling ' application taking 16 % only of the original LESSA site for residential development to enable the remainder of the site ( apart from 5 tennis courts for RPLTC ) to be used for sports’ needs. It was anticipated at the time that the field would be used by a junior school for football, cricket or rugby. This was set out in detail in the Officer’s Report for the PAC meeting held on 15 Jan 2009. The extent of the land expected to be made available was defined in a drawing submitted with the Section 106 Agreement, very late in the day - 3 June 2009. 

    This drawing boldly describes the land as the SPORTS FIELD LAND. 

    It is worth repeating what Anthony Lyman, the Inspector, said in his Decision letter dated 1 October 2009 , in upholding the Appeal. I quote para 15 : 

    " the proposal would provide public open access to and through the site for the first time , substantially upgraded sport and recreation facilities to which an element of community use would be guaranteed and wider use of the landscaped amenity area and the children's playground . I consider that the improved recreational provision with increased public access would satisfy the requirements of PolicyL.7 ( ii ) " 

    The latter was Merton’s'prevailing Policy at the time. 

    It should be noted that the so-called " landscaped amenity area " was sealed off some years ago with a locked gate and there is no longer "public access" to it !  

    Merton Council has a housing target currently set at a perfectly reasonable level for the delivery of new homes each year . The target is set by the GLA, whish has a draft New London Plan. This would impose on Merton an increase in the target of about 200% ! 

    Even the well informed Future Merton team at the Council regard this proposed hike as undeliverable . However, the New London Plan is not  adopted  and the suggested housing targets remain under consideration. The Borough of Merton has been able to ' deliver ' a  little more than the target in recent years without the need to permit building on greenfield sites . 

    Conclusion  

    There are a number of problems with this application, not least the potential for flooding for the residents in the Greenway / Westway corner backing the application site. However the primary issue is, notwithstanding the need for more housing , whether 89 housing units along with the new access roadway should be permitted on the SPORTS FIELD LAND  . 

    We have no doubt that in drafting his Decision Letter, Anthony Lyman not just assumed that the sportsfield would be used for sporting needs by a school or sports club ( without any time frame limit being set) but in a de facto sense , in upholding the appeal , made this CONDITIONAL. 

    Ten years later on it appears that Bellway Homes have , aside from one half-hearted attempt recently, opted to ignore the Inspectors conditional approval. 

    We therefore urge the Planning Applications Committee to treat these proposals with what they deserve - REFUSAL. Thank you for your time. 

    David Freeman  Committee Member RP&WBRA 

  • Chairman's Objection to Bellway's Application 20/P3237

    OBJECTION TO PLANNING APPLICATION 20/P3237

    LAND AT THE FORMER LESSA SPORTS FIELD GROUND, MEADOWVIEW ROAD, RAYNES PARK, SW209EB

    ON BEHALF OF THE RAYNES PARK AND WEST BARNES RESIDENTS’ ASSOCIATION

     

    We are a Residents’ Association with 1800 household members in our area. 

    We make this objection further to the objection submitted by us by e-mail on 29 November 2020.   

    We have fought to keep the LESSA sports ground in use for sport for over 20 years. 

    LESSA closed the sports ground in September 2000.  It contained two full sized cricket pitches, and an overlapping cricket pitch, four tarmac tennis courts, a pavilion, and a children’s play area, with parking for between 70 and 80 cars. 

    In 2002-3 we opposed a plan by Barratt Homes Limited to build 111 apartments in 2,3, and 4 story blocks on this land.  The Council refused the application for outline planning permission on 17 October 2002, and a Planning Inspector refused the appeal entirely on 19 June 2003. We gave evidence to the Inquiry. 

    The land was then sold to a company called Doram Properties Limited. That company applied for planning permission on 4 July 2008 to build 44 units of accommodation. But, importantly, the application was for the retention and re-use of 4.07 hectares of playing fields, providing two rugby/football pitches, a cricket ground and tennis courts for community use, and the erection of two sports pavilions. The Planning Applications Committee refused the application formally on 20 February 2009, and Doram appealed. 

    A different Planning Inspector upheld the appeal and so granted approval on 1 October 2009. It is very important to note the Inspector fully expected that the plan should be completed as a whole, and that the permission to build the housing was dependent on the rest of the ground being made available for community use.  These requirements were set out in a section 106 Unilateral Undertaking. 

    The evidence before the Inspector was that King’s College School wanted to use the ground for their juniors and that it would be made available to other community users for a minimum of 500 hours per annum. A tennis club and pavilion would be provided on part of the land at the owner’s expense.  If KCS did not want to take up this opportunity, the Council could do so itself. It was, in his words, “an enabling development”. He ruled that: “The proposal would provide high quality playing fields, tennis courts and pavilions which, unlike the original facilities, would be available for use by local people”.  

    The Inspector concluded that “the community, sporting and recreational benefits arising from the proposed development significantly outweigh the loss of a relatively small part of this disused and derelict sports ground”. 

    Doram sold the entire site to Bellway on 24 May 2010, on this basis. They build the 44 units of accommodation which is now called Meadowview Road, and provided tennis courts and a pavilion for the Raynes Park Tennis Club.  They also provided a small play area for the children of residents.  

    However, King’s College School decided not to take up the option of a lease of the land, which was secured by the Unilateral Undertaking, and the Council did not take up its option under the same Undertaking to do so either. 

    When the properties were bought privately, the new owners, we have been told, received assurances from Bellway that the large balance of the land would be retained for sport. 

    Since that time, Bellway has done nothing more than maintain the hedges, and mow the grass. Latterly, the play area has been left unkempt and unusable.  

    As an Association we have since asked Bellway on a number of occasions to meet sporting bodies and schools who wanted to use the land for sport. 

    As early as 16 May 2014 Bellway’s Chief Executive wrote to Stephen Hammond MP that: 

    “There are no further planning obligations on Bellway as owner to enter into arrangements with other organisations for the use of the Sports Fields. I can confirm that Bellway has fulfilled the obligations set down in the Planning Approval and Unilateral Undertaking and that the London Borough of Merton chose not to take up the Option of taking a lease for the Sports Fields. In the circumstances I have asked the Regional Managing Director to contact the Headmaster of a particular school to discuss the situation”. 

    On 12 December 2016 the Regional Director of Bellway Homes Ltd (South London Division) wrote to us that: “we are under no further obligation to bring forward land for use as a sports field. We are fully aware of the interest in the sports field from other organisations who are willing to take over the management of the sports field. However, our intention is to seek a further release of the Sports Field Allocation for enabling development, in order to provide delivery of a high quality recreational/community use for the benefit of the local community.  It is recognised that the Raynes Park and West Barnes Residents Association is a key stakeholder to any development of the site and will be contacted directly in early 2017 to ensure that the ideas of the Residents Association can be discussed and included in any early proposals for the site”. 

    We heard nothing from Bellway after that, and the Association was only made aware of their current proposals in August through a member of the Tennis Club. 

    They have totally failed to consult us. They did not inform us of either of the marketing schemes they held this year, at the Council’s behest.   They submitted to the Council that “there is no interest in the site being used solely as sports fields” which was palpably untrue, as we shall show. 

    We are pleased that the local plan for the site RP6 states that “Sporting or community use of the whole site will have to be demonstrated as undeliverable before any other uses can be considered”. And under “Opportunities” states that: “The site may have opportunities for whole site sports use. Use of the site for sports use or other uses compatible with the designated open space should be actively demonstrated prior to any alternatives being taken forward”. 

    In the short period since early August we have identified a number of sporting associations and schools which are keen to use the ground, some of which to our knowledge have contacted Bellway already. They are all local to Merton.  Had Bellway consulted us earlier, as they promised to do, and, we assume, deliberately decided not to do, we could have identified sporting partners much earlier.  

    A Cricket Academy has offered to take a lease for at least 10 years at £20,000 per annum, and to build a pavilion. It coaches 180 boys and girls each year. The offer was made to Haslams Surveyors LLP by letter dated 14 September 2020, following a letter of interest dated 7 September 2020. The Academy stated that Paragraph 113 of Bellway’s Sports Needs and Viability Report, October 2002, is untrue in its claim that: “They have therefore been contacted” since to assess the viability of the scheme.  No such contact was made. 

    Also, a Cricket Club made a detailed offer, setting out that they would finance the pavilion and re-lay the cricket pitch utilising lottery funding and providing the 50% balance of the costs from their own finances and sponsors.   Paragraph 114 of the same report dismisses this offer off hand as not “a compliant viable bid” when it has not been discussed with them. 

    These two cricket clubs may probably ground share. 

    A junior school in Wimbledon has expressed an interest in buying the ground, for junior sports in the week, and has instructed a surveyor, and would ground share with the Cricket Academy and the Cricket Club at weekends and in the school holidays.  The School first registered an interest with the surveyors on 16 September 2020. 

    Paragraph 122 of the same report is also inaccurate in stating that “There were no viable, compliant bids from commercial operators, clubs, schools or other bodies to purchase, develop and operate the site as a whole”. The footnote to that paragraph is also wrong in stating that Haslams had receive no reply as at 4.10.20 of any kind from these organisations. 

    We note that Haslams decided not to place a marketing (for sale/to let) board at the site (paragraph 10.9 of their report) which would immediately have resulted in many expressions and much earlier expressions of interest. 

    All these approaches need to be explored fully by Bellway and found to be “undeliverable” before they can properly lodge a planning application. 

    Bellway has lodged with the application a report which claims that the offers made were either out of time, or not “viable”. Both of these claims are palpably untrue. 

    Bellway should not have been allowed to lodge this application until they had shown clearly that no viable sporting offers had been received. This they have failed to do. 

    THE PLANNING APPLICATIONS COMMITTEE SHOULD TURN THIS APPLICATION DOWN SINCE BELLWAY HAS NOT PROVED THAT SPORT CANNOT CONTINUE TO BE PLAYED THERE, AS THE PLANNING INSPECTOR INTENDED.    

    The plan now proposes that a small part of the sports ground is used for tennis, on site play, an outdoor gym, a trim trail and jogging and walking routes. Given that Bellway similarly promised to maintain a play area for the children of residents, which has not been maintained or is open, we doubt their commitment to maintain these facilities, when they have made their further profit from the site and left. 

     

    We also doubt their commitment to provide suitable flood prevention measures at the site. The existing provisions provided by them are clearly not sufficient, as surface water from the existing development leads to flooding in heavy rain pouring down the footpath from Meadowview Road to Westway and Greenway. Building on the major portion of the rest of the ground will clearly exacerbate the problem. 

    The size of the proposed private maisonettes is less than the Government’s technical housing standards. Bellway are obviously trying to cram too much housing on the site to maximise their profits. 

    As residents we are outraged that having bought the ground under a clear planning decision that only 44 units of housing were permitted, and on the clear basis that the rest of the ground should be used for sports,  Bellway has since refused to contemplate any sporting user for the ground, but waited 10 years until they thought that the need for more housing would result in a planning decision in their favour. 

    While the community does need more housing, it also requires the continued provision of sports grounds, and housing should not be built on such grounds.   The clear need for these has been demonstrated during this pandemic. 

    The Planning Applications Committee should refuse this application. 

    John Elvidge

     

    Chairman of the Raynes Park and West Barnes Residents’ Association

    30 November 2020

  • 208-212 Burlington Road (20/P1688) - Withdrawn

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     Update - 26 January 2021

    We are pleased to report that this inappropriate application has been withdrawn. In mid-January 2021, we noticed that this application had mysteriously disappeared from Merton's online Planning Explorer. After making enquiries with the Planning Department, we have now been told that this application has been withdrawn. Why this application was removed from Planning Explorer rather than having its status recorded as "Withdrawn", we do not know.

    Previously ...

    A planning application (20/P1688) has been submitted to build a 7 storey block of flats at 208-212 Burlington Road. This location is currently occupied by Shannon Corner car service centre, opposite Krispy Kreme doughnuts. Local residents are rightly very concerned about the plans for this far too large and inappropriate development, The RPWBRA has submitted an objection to this planning application, which may be read here .

  • Tesco/Redrow Appeal Upheld - 29 June 2021

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Update August 2021 - Planning Permission Granted

     

    Redrow Wins Its Planning Appeal for 456 Flats in Tesco’s Car Park 

    It is with much disappointment that, on the 29 June, we received the decision from the Planning Inspectorate. The Inspectorate has decided in favour of Redrow’s Planning Appeal. 

    This decision reverses Merton’s original Planning Committee decision to refuse planning and now means that Redrow has been granted planning permission to build 456 flats in Tesco’s carpark, in blocks up to 15 storeys high. 

    We understand that Redrow does not intend to carry out the development itself but plans to sell the site on to another party but, of course the planning permission, which has now been granted, will pass on to the new owner. 

    The London Borough of Merton, our Association and many local people and organisations went to a huge effort to prevent this development going ahead but sadly we’ll all now have to live with the adverse consequences for our community.

    We would like to thank the 500+ local people who submitted letters of objection and especially Councillors Eloise Bailey and Hina Bokhari, the directors of Champion’s Timber, Andrew Hogarth who is the Deputy Head of Raynes Park High School and local residents, Nick West and Matt Wingrove, all of whom went the extra mile by speaking at the public inquiry.

     

    The Planning Inspector's decision may be read here. 

    Previously in January 2021

    The online public inquiry was concluded on Wednesday, 13th January. Members will probably be aware that Redrow launched an appeal against Merton’s decision to refuse planning permission for its proposed development in Tesco’s car park to build 456 flats in towers up to 15 storeys high. 

    Our Association was a “Rule 6 Party” at the inquiry, which meant our team was present throughout and able to participate in the proceedings.The public inquiry was organised by the Planning Inspectorate and took place online, running for a total of 11 days, starting on 8 December 2020 and concluding on 13 January 2021, with a break over the Christmas and New Year holiday period. 

    John Elvidge, our Chairman, took on the role as our advocate, putting his legal experience to good use, with Jerry Cuthbert looking after all the day-to-day administration and documentation that being a Rule 6 Party entails. They were ably supported by David Freeman who has a wealth of experience in planning matters. The Planning Inspector has yet to make her site visit, write her report and make her decision; so it’s still a case of “watch this space”. 

    It’s been a very intense experience for those involved and has consumed large amounts of their time. Fortunately, as we’ve been through several periods of lockdown since the appeal started, our team has had the free time available! 

    Throughout the planning process for this development, your Association has worked hard in representing the views of its members and giving its support to local residents, schools and businesses in our joint endeavours to achieve what is best for our community. 

    During the inquiry we have reminded the Inspector that we’re not against new homes being built in Tesco’s car park but that any development should be architecturally integrated with the local townscape, contribute positively to the public realm and should include public facilities, such as a health centre, for example. Let us hope for a positive outcome from the inquiry and that the appeal is refused.

    The sessions were live streamed on YouTube and recorded by the Planning Inspectorate.

    All the inquiry documents are available on Merton's website at https://www.merton.gov.uk/planning-and-buildings/planning/planning-permission/burlington-road-public-inquiry

    As our Association is a "Rule 6" party to the inquiry, you may read our Proof of Evidence here .

     

    Daily Reports on the Inquiry (8 December 2020 - 13 January 2021)

    On the first day (8 December 2020), we had the opening statements from representatives for Redrow and London Borough of Merton, with John Elvidge speaking for our Association.  Also Councillor Hina Bokhari, Steve Lister (Champion’s Chairman), Andrew Hogarth (Deputy-Head RPHS), Matt Wingrove (resident) and Nick West (resident) all spoke eloquently urging refusal.

    On Day 2 (9 December 2020), we heard the highways evidence submitted by Merton’s expert witness. This centred around an assessment of the degree to which the site is served by public transport, the accessibility of Motspur Park Station, whether 220 car parking spaces would be adequate for 456 flats and the possibility of increased street parking in the vicinity.

    Day 3 (10 December 2020). Today, we heard further from Redrow's expert witness on transport. Much of his evidence today concerned his methodology for predicting the likely level of car ownership within the proposed development. Our members are obviously concerned over the possibility of overspill car parking into the residential streets of West Barnes. If this did happen, the solution being mooted would be the imposition of a new CPZ on residents in West Barnes.

    So there is the possibility that residents near to the Tesco site might have to bear all the costs and inconvenience of a CPZ in their streets, so that Redrow only have to provide 48% parking capacity per dwelling for the new residents.

    Day 4 (11 December 2020). The first session was to allow third parties to raise any matters that might be added to the Planning Conditions. These Conditions are to be agreed in principle between Merton and LBM in advance, on the basis that, IF the appeal were to be granted, they would be already agreed.

    After this, our chairman, John Elvidge, then cross-examined Redrow's expert transport witness about the evidence he gave the day before.

    In the afternoon, we started the "Character and Appearance" debate, with LBM's expert witness presenting his evidence.

    Later, the Inspector chaired the concluding discussion on Conditions and the S106 Agreement.

    Day 5 (15 December 2020) Today, Merton's expert witness for urban design and townscape matters, explained the reasons behind the Planning Committee's reasons for refusal. He was then cross-examined by Redrow's counsel. Later in the day, Redrow's expert witness presented the reasons why Redrow is appealing against Merton's refusal on these matters.

    The balance between the pros and cons of Redrow's proposed architectural and urban designs and their impact on Merton's townscape and the local area are likely to be a key issues in the Inspector making her decision. 

    Day 6 (16 December). The day started with Redrow's expert witness being cross-examination by Merton's advocate. Despite Merton's policy paper that says that tall buildings are "Inappropriate" at this location, much of the debate centred around whether breaching this policy is justified in order to meet housing need. There were also questions raised over the quality of the architectural design, including the criticisms raised by Merton's Design Review Panel at the pre-application stage.

    In the afternoon, the witness was further cross-examined by John Elvidge, particularly about why the Design Review Panel had not been asked to reconsider Redrow's revised design, after its first "Red" assessment.

    Day 7 (17 December) started with Redrow's expert witness completing his evidence. This was followed by a round-table discussion on flooding and carbon footprint. Both these concerns had been specifically raised by the Association. The rest of the day was taken up with Merton's expert witness explaining how the council developed its housing policy and planning within the framework of national and London policies and guidance.

    Day 8 (18 December). The debate over the planning of homes in the borough, continued with Redrow's expert witness. The question of how Merton's plans and targets mesh in with those set for it by the GLA was considered in detail. He reviewed the timings of when various GLA plans are revised, updated, approved and reissued and considered how and when Merton's own planning should be updated to incorporate the changes that GLA's revisions cause.

    Day 9 (11 January 2021). The Inquiry recommenced, after the break over the holiday period, with a review of the evidence of Merton's plan for the delivery of new homes for the next 10 years or so. The GLA's target for Merton has been to deliver 411 new homes each year. However, this is expected to be raised to a new average of 918 new homes each year, as and when the new London Plan is formally issued in 2021. Currently this revised plan is expected to be approved by the government in the next few months. Accordingly, Merton will need to ramp up its delivery at some point. The day's arguments centred around the reviewing the future "pipeline" of forthcoming developments, in order to gauge the effectiveness of Merton's plans to continue to provide new homes in the borough to meet GLA targets. It seems that whether or not Merton is deemed to have a robust plan for the future provision of new homes is likely to be an important aspect in the outcome of this inquiry.

    Day 10 (12 January 2021). The day commenced with a round table discussion on when and how Merton will develop a revised plan to increase the supply of new homes, to meet the new GLA targets when they are approved and finalised. Merton's revised plan will need to mesh in with the GLA's new targets. The legal positions on whether all these various plans may be considered as still valid or "out of date" seem to be contested matters. At the moment, the GLA targets are in transition, as the new targets are not yet official but nevertheless anticipated soon. This is all to be judged with reference to the guidance set out in the National Planning Policy Framework

    Later, the expert witnesses on town planning matters for Redrow and Merton presented their evidence and were cross-examined by the parties' advocates, including John Elvidge representing our Association. The appearance, height and massing of the proposed development were reviewed, including the concerns expressed by local people.

    Day 11 (13 January 2021) This was the last day of the inquiry, with the advocates presenting their final submissions:

    • John Elvidge, our Chairman for RPWBRA. His Closing Submission may be read here.
    • Annabel Graham Paul, representing the London Borough of Merton
    • Paul Tucker QC and Constanze Bell, representing Redrow (the Appellant)

    The Planning Inspector has yet to make her site inspection and, of course, prepare her conclusions and decision.

    We do not yet know when this will all be concluded.

     

    Previously on 7 November ...

    We have now been advised by the Planning Inspectorate that the public inquiry for Redrow’s appeal against refusal of its planning application (Original Ref: 19/P2387) to build 456 flats in tower blocks up to 15 storeys high in Tesco’s car park at 265 Burlington Road will be a “virtual” inquiry to be held on-line. It is planned to start on, Tuesday, 8 December 2020 and take between 4 and 6 working days. 

    If you were one of the 500+ people and organisations that made written representations to Merton Council at the time of the original planning application, which was refused by Merton’s Planning Committee, back in February 2020, then your representations will have already copied by Merton and issued to the Inspector, who be making the final decision for the appeal inquiry. 

    As our Association is a "Rule 6" party to the inquiry our Proof of Evidence is here .

     

    Previous Articles about this site and the proposed development:

    265 Burlington Rd - Date Set for Public Inquiry Sept 20

    20/P1253 - 265 Burlington Road

    19/P2387 - 265 Burlington Road April 2020

    Tesco Site - 265 Burlington Road April 2020

    Tesco Site Development - Public Meeting

     

     

  • Chairman's Blog - Nov 2020

    PLANNING MATTERS

    We are dealing with no fewer than 4 major planned developments at the moment. We are or will be objecting to all of them strenuously. 

    1. REDROW/TESCO plans to build 5 blocks of flats on Burlington Road.

    The public inquiry is still fixed for 4-6 days starting on 8 December.  It is unclear where or how it will be held. It is also uncertain whether it will go ahead on this date, since the pre-hearing case conference has twice been postponed, and is now due to take place by Zoom on 5th November. The Association is a full party to the inquiry, and will be submitting detailed evidence in support of the Council’s decision to refuse the application. 

    2. 202-208 BURLINGTON ROAD

    There is a new planning application on the opposite side of Burlington Road from Tesco’s.  This is 20/P1688.  The plan is to demolish the auto repair shop and build a 7 storey block of 20 flats.

    The building would be next to Shannon Corner and directly opposite the Krispy Crème outlet and Champions. This area is prone to flooding. It would severely overlook and impact several properties in Barnard Gardens, and the upstairs flat above the shop at 214 Burlington Road. They would suffer severe loss of light. Only 9 parking spaces would be provided, which would inevitably result in further parking in Barnard Gardens which is in the Cavendish parking zone. 

    3. BELLWAY PLANS TO BUILD ON THE FIELD AT MEADOWVIEW ROAD

    With regard to the proposed BELLWAY plans to build 90 houses and flats on the sports ground at Meadowview Road, off Grand Drive, a number of clubs and schools have written to their agents informing them of their wish to take a long term lease of the land for sporting purposes. This is what two planning inspectors have recommended and is the current planning designation. The planning officers have been informed. We await to see what Bellway now intend to do and will challenge any attempt to ignore the wishes of the local residents. 

    4. WYKE ROAD / LANGHAM COURT

    There is a planning application 20/P2583 for the land between

    Pepys Road and 284 Worple Road, but this is actually a fire route for the residents of Langham Court. 

    Established trees would have to be cut down and residents’ safety would be put at risk.

    There is also a proposal to add an entire floor to the entire block at Langham Court. Worrying times for the residents of this fine old establishment.

     

    SEASONAL WALKS

    Once again I would like to share a photo taken on my daily walk on the beautiful Cannon Hill Common.

     

    COMMITTEE CHANGES 

    For over ten years Andrew Barwick has overseen membership of the RA and has also been responsible for the  distribution of The Guide.

    Additionally, Andrew has coordinated the Bushey Road Area and both he and Mette have distributed The Guide to various households in Grand Drive and the adjoining roads. 

    However he would now like to stand down from his various roles and I would like to pay tribute to his hard work over the years. He will retain his position as the Company Secretary and Chairman for the Pavilion holding company. 

    Meanwhile Andrew and Mette will continue to distribute The Guide to their “patch” and when the time comes that we can socialize again he and Mette will be pleased to attend RA functions. 

    Kind Regards, John Elvidge

  • Chairman's Blog - Sept 2020

    I hope that you are all well. I am delighted to report that the first edition of our new all-colour Guide was distributed to all our members in September 2020. The lockdown in March meant the abrupt closure of most services and shops. Sadly, our April Guide was thus full of cancelled events and activities. For the last four months we as a community have relied on our amazing NHS and care workers, our diligent postal workers, waste management teams, transport sector employees plus essential shop and distribution staff who remained at work throughout the pandemic. We are grateful to them all. 

    There are also countless stories of residents supporting others by helping vulnerable neighbours with shopping or obtaining medical supplies, by contributing to food banks and providing PPE, all on a voluntary basis. We thank everyone who offered and gave support to others. 

    Keeping in touch with our members

    We have relied for years on our hardworking Area Coordinators and Road Stewards to distribute The Guide and this is a brilliant system overseen by Andrew Barwick. However, the downside is that without an email contact system it was exceptionally hard to keep in touch with our members during the lockdown. The REDROW and BELLWAY issues (see further on) highlighted the problem. David Freeman is, as ever, scrutinising and monitoring the planning developments. Fortunately, Clare and John Townsend, Dick Coleman and Michael Marks worked together (by email!) to produce newsletters which were then uploaded by Charles Briscoe-Smith to our website. Jerry Cuthbert continued to update the website with important updates as required. Gradually, more and more stewards participated in delivery (coordinated temporarily by Clare and John), with the result that by August we were able to get back in touch with all our members. 

    To ensure that we can contact our members in future emergencies, we would be grateful if members would allow us to build up a bank of email contact details for RPWBRA use only. Michael Marks will be overseeing this. Meanwhile, Dick Coleman has been developing links through the Nextdoor Social Network. 

    REDROW PLANNING APPEAL

    The Public Inquiry is scheduled to start on Tuesday 8t h December at 10.00am and run for 4 days.

     265 Burlington Rd - Date Set for Public Inquiry

    The venue for the Redrow public inquiry into the appeal in respect of their application to build 456 homes in 5 tower block near Tesco's on Burlington Road has still to be decided. Although it is to be hoped that it will be held physically, this will be subject to the government rules and the Inspectorate's own guidance as to Covid-19 at that time. 

    It may be necessary to hold the proceedings remotely over the internet or by telephone link for those who wish to participate.We will update you through The Guide, this website, via emails and through the RPWBRA Association User Group app on Nextdoor. 

    Plans to build on the former LESSA ground in Meadowview Road, off Grand Drive 

    Bellway Plans to build houses on Meadowview Sports Ground

    The RPWBRA and local residents have fought hard over the past 20 years to retain open land in Meadowview Road. The land, which until September 2000 was a sports field boasting 2 full-sized football pitches, an overlapping cricket pitch, 4 tarmac tennis courts, a children's play area and a pavilion, was acquired by Barratts who attempted to build 111 flats on the site in 2002. Merton council refused the application and Barratt's appeal, in an inquiry held over 3 days was dismissed. The Inspector stated in a detailed judgement that the land should remain available as a sports field. Barratts then sold the land to Doram which submitted its own planning application for housing in July 2008 and this was turned down in 2009. Doram appealed and signed a section 106 agreement guaranteeing to provide some sporting facilities at the ground. On this occasion, in October 2009, the appeal was successful and was allowed as a single scheme which permitted the development of homes on open space if it funded sports facilities. 

    Doram then sold the entire site to Bellway in May 2010 as a result of which the present 44 homes on the site were built, starting in October 2010. The remainder of the sports field was fenced off and a small area of play facilities for younger children of residents on the site was installed. Five tennis courts and a pavilion were provided for and leased to the Raynes Park Residents Lawn Tennis Club in 2013, enabling it to move from its former home at 129 Grand Drive. This was in line with the section 106 agreement. The decision letter from the Inspectorate approves the continued use of the field for sports, making reference to the laying out of pitches and a pavilion. However, these provisions were not made part of a requirement under the section 106 agreement. 

    The inspectorate appears to have been swayed by a proposal from Kings College School that they wished to use the sports field for its junior pupils, but in the event KCS did not take up the option of a lease being granted to them. BelIway simply had to maintain the ground by cutting the grass and clipping the hedges BUT the land had to be made available to any other school or sports club. The RPWBRA suggested to Bellway on several occasions that another junior school, as well as a sports club, might be interested in taking up a lease but nothing resulted from our approaches. 

    We believe that notwithstanding the passage of time and in the light of clear views from the Inspectorate it will be for Bellway to demonstrate WHY the field should not be used for sports purposes rather than for additional housing. 

    John Elvidge

  • Bellway's Plans to build houses on Meadowview Sports Ground

    Updated 5 March 2021

    Planning Application 20/P3237 to build 89 homes on the former LESSA Sports Ground in Meadowview Road.

    The application was formally registered 16th November 2020. Before the 9th December 2020 deadline, our Residents Association, together with 203 residents filed 200 objections to the Planning Department; only 3 representations were in favour.  The Residents’ Association explained why the field should be kept for sport; 83% of residents agreed.  The other main concerns are increased traffic congestion (74%) and flooding (72%). 

    Both the Environment Agency and the borough’s Flood Risk Officer have objected because of flooding concerns, although Thames Water has not. 

    As well as objections to the development, there have also been several clubs showing interest in using the field for its original sporting purpose. Bellway Homes have not made it easy for clubs to rent this land and it has only been the planning application which has drawn attention to the site.

    We are now awaiting a Planning Application Committee date to see if permission will be refused or granted. 

    As an association, we are continuing to press for all the relevant and latest information concerning this major planning proposal which will affect so many residents. We will update you via our website and the Nextdoor app.   Michael Marks

    Previously on 23 February 2021 - Sport England decides to Object to Bellway's Planning Application

    This Association has now received a copy of an email from Sport England sent to Merton's Planning Dept, setting out its reasons for making a formal objection to this planning application (ref: 20/P3237). We sincerely hope this is this first step towards securing a new future for this playing field. Sport England's email may be read by clicking on this link  Email from Sport England to Merton 20/P3237

    Previously on 12 February 2021 - Application 20/P3237 - Sport England

    Bellway has now submitted its planning application, Ref 20/P3237, which can be seen on Merton's Planning Explorer.

    We have been very concerned recently because Merton Council has stopped publishing on its Planning Explorer most letters of objection to applications submitted by members of the public. However, we have now obtained copies of all the objections (formally called "Representations").

    Our new committee member, Mary-Jane Jeanes, has been reading them all and discovered that Sport England, a statutory consultee for this application, had raised no objection to the loss of this sports field. 

    We  therefore wrote to Sport England reminding them of all the details. Our letter may be read here. We urged Sport England to reconsider its position. As reported above, Sport England has now submitted a formal objection to this planning application. 

     

    Previously: November 2020

    Both our Chairman, John Elvidge, and Vice-Chairman, David Freeman have submitted letters of objection, which may be read by following these links:

    Chairman's Objection to Bellway's Application 20/P3237

    Vice-Chairman's Objection to Bellway's Application 20/P3237

    Our MP, Stephen Hammond has also submitted an objection.

     

    We urge our members to also submit objections to Merton's Planning Department, which can be done by email. The deadline is 9 December 2020

     

     

    Previously ...( 24 August 2020)

    We have just learned that Bellway Homes have indicated that they intend to deliver a letter to local residents on Tuesday 25th August setting out their intention to build some 90 units of accommodation on the Sports Ground in Meadowview Road, Grand Drive (Formerly the "LESSA" Sports Ground).

    More details of Bellway's plans can be seen here and here . 

    Nowhere in their letter do they explain that they have owned this land since 2010, having bought it following a public inquiry, in which the Planning Inspector held that there should be permission only to build the 44 homes now on the site, and on the clear basis that the rest of the land should be retained for sporting use. Five tennis courts were also provided for the Raynes Park Tennis Club.

    Nowhere in the letter do Bellway set out the Council’s planning policy for the site. The proposed policy is that “Sporting or community use of the whole site will have to be demonstrated as undeliverable before any other use can be considered”.  It is designated as Open Space. It is officially noted that “the site may have opportunities for whole site sports use. Use of the site for sports use or other uses compatible with the designated open space should be actively demonstrated prior to any alternatives being taken forward”.  

    The decision letter from the Inspectorate approved the continued use of the sports field for football and rugby. The decision also makes reference to the laying out of pitches and a pavilion. The Inspector appears to have swayed by a proposal by King’s College School that they wished to use the sports field for its junior pupils.  In the event, KCS did not take up this option.

    However, the decision stated that, in that case, the ground had to be made available to any other School or a Sports Club. The Residents’ Association suggested to Bellway on a number of occasions another junior school which would be interested in taking up a lease, as well as a sports club, but nothing resulted from our approaches. 

    So far as we are aware, they have not attempted in any way in the past ten years to bring the ground to the attention of other schools or sports clubs.  They ought to demonstrate this very clearly before planning permission for housing should even be considered.

    We would normally have called a public meeting to discuss these proposals, but, sadly, Covid 19 prevents this.

    We hope that if residents are contacted by Bellway, they will say to them firmly that the site should be used for sports, and particularly for junior sports.  It is so important that this message gets through to Merton’s planners now. 

    If a planning application is made, then we would urge individual residents to oppose it in the strongest terms, and hold Bellway to the conditions on which they bought the land.

    And, if anyone reading this knows of a School or sporting club which needs a good sports ground of 2.8 hectares, do, please, get in touch with us urgently at rpwbra@rpwbresidents.org.uk

    John Elvidge, Chairman, 24th August 2020

  • Bonfires and Smoke Nuisance

    There are now so many restrictions on the way we used to live our lives and one of these is that it’s much more complicated to take rubbish to the Garth Road Recycling Centre. This has resulted in some residents having bonfires in their back gardens. This can be very unneighbourly, particularly when many of us are stuck at home  and want to enjoy the summer weather in our own gardens, without breathing in the smells, fumes and smoke from bonfires. We remind residents that there are regulations concerning bonfires, which that may be read here. This link also covers how to report a nuisance.

  • "Replacement" Card Fraud

    Your “bank” unexpectedly phones to tell you that your new credit/debit cards will be delivered to your home later today but, in reality, it is a fraudster trying to steal your bank or credit cards, and also your PIN. 

    Later, a courier turns up on your doorstep ready to give you your “new cards” but then also asks you to hand over your old cards. He may even ask you to tell him the PINs. This is a “con trick” to get access to your cards. Even without the PIN, the fraudsters can still use your cards to spend £45 each time they swipe it in a shop, garage, etc, before you realise you’ve been the victim of fraud. 

    If you receive a phone call like this, it’s not from the bank, it’s a fraudster. Just hang up!

  • 265 Burlington Rd - Date Set for Public Inquiry

    1st September 2020 - Update

       

     

    Back in 2019, Redrow Homes Limited submitted a planning application (Merton ref: 19/P2387) to build 456 new flats (in blocks between 7 and 15 stories high) on the Tesco car park site at 265 Burlington Road. 

    On 13 February 2020, Merton’s Planning Applications Committee (PAC) resolved to refuse the application. The Council Chamber was packed with many residents who came to show their disapproval of the scheme on the grounds of density, height, and lack of amenities to cater for such a high influx of people. 

    Our Association had already organised a public meeting last autumn, attended by over 200 local residents at which there was universal opposition to the scheme. 

    As reported previously on this website, many of our members will already be aware that Redrow has now launched an appeal for its planning application. This appeal will be handled by the Planning Inspectorate and will be heard as a Public Inquiry.

    The Inquiry is now scheduled to start on Tuesday, 8 December 2020, and take four days.

    Our Association plans to participate in the Inquiry and has been granted "Rule 6 Status". This means we are involved in the preparations and can submit our grounds and reasoning,  urging that the appeal be refused.

    For more information, click here .

    Jerry Cuthbert

  • Grand Drive - Road Closure

    We have recently been forwarded a copy of the following email, received at 15:40 on Monday 4 May 2020 from SGN. This concerns

    a planned road closure along the northern end of Grand Drive, between Bushey Road and Raynes Park Station.

    It is planned to start on Monday 11 May and run for two weeks. 

     

    The most important road diversion for us all, is that northbound traffic on Grand Drive will only be able to turn left at the traffic lights onto Bushey Road in a westbound direction towards Shannon Corner and the A3. Therefore, traffic on Grand Drive wishing to access Raynes Park Station and town centre, West Wimbledon, the Apostles, Wimbledon Chase, etc should divert along Cannon Hill Lane and Martin Way.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Good afternoon,

    We know that during the coronavirus outbreak, our communities will rely on us now more than ever to keep them safe and warm.

    The safety of our communities and our employees will remain our number one priority in the weeks and months ahead. 

    We need to carry out safety-critical work to upgrade the gas network in your area. This needs to go ahead now,

    rather than wait until the pandemic passes, to ensure your local community continues to receive a safe and reliable gas supply. 

    We shouldn’t need to interrupt gas supplies to homes or businesses, and our engineers won’t be calling at residents’ home. 

    We will start work in Grand Drive Raynes Park on 11 May 2020. 

    In close consultation with Merton Council, we have agreed to complete the following work, which includes

    traffic management in place to ensure the safety of everyone around the site: 

    ·                  On 11 May 2020 for approximately 2 weeks, we will be working on Grand Drive near the junction with Bushey Road (A298)

    ·                 To ensure safe flow of traffic around site, we will be implementing a lane closure on Grand Drive at the junction.  Vehicles will not be able to turn north into Grand Drive from Bushey Road.

    Ve              A diversion Westbound will be in place via Beverley Way, Kingston Bypass (A3), Coombe Lane, Lambton Road, Worple Road and Pepys Road

    ·                  A diversion Eastbound will be in place via Kingston Road

    ·                  Pedestrian access will be maintained throughout 

    We’re working closely with UK Government and public health bodies to make sure we work safely and in line with expert advice during the coronavirus outbreak. We have extra safety precautions in place to protect our colleagues and our customers from catching or spreading the virus as we carry out our safety-critical project. 

    There’s more information about our coronavirus preparations on our website: sgn.co.uk/coronavirus 

    Thank you for your understanding and support during these challenging times.  

    To be clear, the lane closure is on Grand Drive towards Raynes Park Railway Station only. 

    Kind regards, 

    Nicole

     

     

        

     

  • The Residents' Pavilion

    In line with the Government's lifting of Covid restrictions in England, things at the Pavilion are beginning to return to normal.

    We're pleased that, since last year, many of our regular groups have returned to the Pavilion for 2022. Nevertheless, we still require organisers and visitors to continue to exercise caution with regard to the potential for Covid-19 transmission, whilst at the Pavilion.

    Taking into consideration the public health implications for our volunteers, we are not yet open for individual bookings.

  • 20/P1253 - 265 Burlington Road

    NEW PLANNING APPLICATION FROM TESCO 

    APPLICATION TO DETERMINE WHETHER PRIOR APPROVAL IS REQUIRED FOR THE PROPOSED CHANGE OF USE OF OFFICE SPACE (USE CLASS B1a) TO RESIDENTIAL (USE CLASS C3), CREATING 38 x NEW RESIDENTIAL UNITS 

    On 22nd April 2020, agents acting on behalf of Tesco submitted a new planning application for redevelopment of the redundant two storey office block at 265 Burlington Road, KT3 4NE. This application is a proposal, under the “Prior Approval” regulations, to covert the existing building into 38 flats. It would also incorporate the part of the existing car park currently used for “Click and Collect”, so that 100 car parking spaces would be for use by the occupants. 

    “Prior Approval” is a procedure whereby owners of office buildings may convert them to residential use without the requirement to obtain full planning approval. Nevertheless, under “Prior Approval” there are still three matters that do need to be submitted to the Planning Authority. These are: 

    ·          Design and external appearance;

    ·         The transport impacts of the development;

    ·         Flooding information. 

    More information can be found on the Merton Planning Explorer. 

    The closing date for representations is 13 May 2020.

  • Chairman's Blog - April 2020

    AGM and Subscription Collection both Postponed! 

    Please note that we have had to POSTPONE the Annual General Meeting of the Residents’ Association as a result the government restrictions of meetings during the outbreak of Coronavirus.  It was due to be held on Tuesday 14th April. 

    This is a pity because we were due to hear from Leonie Cooper, the Merton and Wandsworth London Assembly Member, and also from the local police. 

    We are postponing the AGM until a date in October, when we hope that the pandemic will be well and truly over.  We will let our members know of the new date and the venue when it is finalised, through the Guide and on our website.  

    In the meantime, we can confirm that the annual subscription for the Association will continue to be held at £3 for the year 2020/2021. However, the usual collection of members’ subscriptions by our Road Stewards at this time of year is also postponed. 

    Planning Brief Needed for the Tesco Site. 

    Redrow put in their planning application to build 456 flats on the Tesco Extra car park and Burlington Road after extensive discussions with Merton’s planning officers. We, as the local community, were not included! 

    Despite huge local opposition to the scheme, Merton’s planning officers recommended it for approval. Fortunately, the Planning Applications Committee (PAC) refused the application for the good reasons put forward by residents. 

    At the time of writing, we are still waiting to hear whether the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, will override Merton’s PAC and - notwithstanding the enormous local opposition to the scheme - decide to allow the development to go ahead. 

    The Residents’ Association believes that this is entirely the wrong way to deal with such massive development proposals, and that it should be for the Council, through its Councillors, who by listening to their voters, decide what should happen to any site that needs redevelopment.  Each Council draws up its own local plan and this should be what determines what interested developers can build, thus ensuring that no major changes can be go ahead by default. 

    It is obvious that the area in Burlington Road needs to be redeveloped. There can be no objection to some housing on the site, providing it is relatively low rise, and includes some play facilities, and greenery. We would suggest that the housing should be a mixture of 1, 2, and 3-bedroom flats with the emphasis on the latter, given the need for family accommodation.  The number of new residents should be such that the local schools and GP services can cope. Ideally there should be a medical practice included in the plans. 

    Under the current Merton Plan, the whole of the Tesco site could be redeveloped, with flats built over a new Tesco store, like those above Waitrose store in Raynes Park. 

    These are our thoughts, but what are YOURS? Please let us know what YOU would like to see included on the “Tesco site”, by contacting either the Residents’ Association at rpwbra@rpwbresidents.org.uk  or to any of our three West Barnes Ward Councillors: 

    Cllr Eloise Bailey           eloise.bailey@merton.gov.uk

    Cllr Hina Bokhari            hina.bokhari@merton.gov.uk 

    Cllr Carl Quilliam            carl.quilliam@merton.gov.uk 

    Local Hospital Provision 

    The NHS has set out its preferred option for future hospital provision in this area. The aim is to bring together specialist services for seriously ill patients in a new hospital, to be built in Sutton - next to the Marsden - including A & E services and critical surgery.   This would also be the maternity hospital and have overnight services for children. 

    The intention is to remove these facilities from both St Helier and Epsom hospitals, but to retain 24-hour urgent Treatment Centres there.  There is, naturally, concern over whether this will mean delays in ambulances getting to a single more central site.   However, these proposals mean that 85% of the services we all use would remain at St Helier, and the promise is to spend at least £80 million on improving the buildings at both St. Helier and in Epsom Hospitals. 

    John Elvidge, Chairman

  • AELTC - Grand Drive - Drop In

    AELTC received planning permission (Council Ref: 18/P1024) from the London Borough of Merton in October 2018 for the further development of the grounds, which included approval for a new Clubhouse.  They are holding a public consultation to present the design for the Clubhouse and to provide an update on the construction activity taking place at the grounds.  

    This Drop-In Session will take place on Wednesday 18 March 2019, 4.00pm-7.00pm, here at the Community Sports Ground, 216 Grand Drive, at which our team will be available to answer any questions about the forthcoming construction works and the plans for the approved Clubhouse. 

    For security reasons, if you would like to attend the Drop-In session we would be grateful if you could email; 

    consultation@rolfe-judd.co.uk with your name and address. 

  • Townswomen's Guild - March 2020

      Raynes Park (Afternoon)Townswomen’s Guild. 

    At our January meeting, Beryl Smith from the Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance gave a most interesting talk about their work, and details of the new Air Ambulance which can be transformed into an operating theatre. She illustrated her talk with informative slides. 

    At the time of writing, we are busy preparing for our February meeting, which will be our AGM. Annual subscriptions will be paid, and the new officers and committee for the coming year will be elected by the members. This will be followed by a Bring and Buy Sale and a Dutch Auction of unsold items - to boost our funds. 

    Our programme of speakers will resume in March, when Mike Grimshaw will be giving a talk entitled “Shetland”. Some of you may recognise his name as he was booked to give us this talk in October but had to cancel at the last minute for personal reasons. He has assured us that nothing will prevent him this time. 

    The meeting will take place in St. Saviour’s Church Hall on Thursday 19th March at 1.30 pm.  As usual, all are welcome to come along to the meeting.

  • Notice of AGM - 14/04/2020

    NOTICE OF MEETING THE ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING 

    of the Raynes Park & West Barnes Residents’ Association 

    will be held at 

    Raynes Park Library Meeting Rooms (via side entrance, in Aston Road, SW20 8BE) 

    On Tuesday, 14th April at 7.30 p.m.

     

    AGENDA 

    1,    Apologies for Absence

    2.    Chairman’s Report on the Work of the Association during 2019/20

    3.    Treasurer’s Report

    4.    Election of Officers and Committee

     

    Break for Refreshments

     

    5.    Guest Speakers

    6.    Updates on current Planning Matters

    7.    Residents’ Forum and Any Other Business

     

    Please bring a copy of ‘The Guide’ with you to verify membership 

    The association invites any member who wishes to join the committee or nominate another member(s) as a candidate for consideration, to contact our Hons Secretary, Clare Townsend, by email to rpwbra@rpwbresidents.org.uk by 31st March 2020.

  • Chairman's Blog - March 2020

    REFUSAL OF REDROW PLANNING APPLICATION 

    We are delighted to tell you that the application by Redrow to build 456 flats in tower blocks up to 15 stories high was REFUSED by Merton Planning Committee on 13th February. 

    The proposal was to build these on the Tesco Extra Car Park site, and at 265 Burlington Road. The refusal was despite the recommendation of the Planning Officer that the scheme should be approved. The decision was by a majority vote of the Committee and after a debate of 90 minutes. 

    The Council Chamber was packed with some 150 residents who all opposed the scheme. The Residents’ Association had urgently hand delivered notice of the meeting to 600 of the nearest properties.  

    Three individual objectors spoke in opposition for 3 minutes each, as did three of our Councillors, two from the West Barnes Ward, and one from the Raynes Park Ward. The representative from Redrow was allowed 9 minutes to reply. 

    The Residents’ Association had also e-mailed all the members of the Committee our extensive and detailed planning objections, -as set out in the February edition of The Guide - in advance of the meeting.  These were picked up by the various speakers in opposition. 

    Grounds of Refusal

    The grounds of the refusal were on strict planning criteria and cited the various sections of Merton’s design policies, principally the excessive massing and an imbalance in the housing mix. The proposed accommodation was mainly in one and two- bedroom apartments, whereas Merton’s housing needs were for up to a third of three- bedroom units for families in new developments. 

    Much of the debate centred on concerns that the proposed development was too high, being in tower blocks 7 to 15 stories tall, and that this was totally out of keeping with the suburban housing around it. Such tall buildings should only be placed in town centres. 

    The Design Review Panel

    This Panel, (which is an independent body mostly composed of architects and town planners who provide advice and comments on planning  applications to the Council} rejected the design at the pre-application stage, on grounds of height, design, and density. The design would create wind tunnels, and there was a lack of play space and greenery. .We understand some changes to the design were made but that the full application (as presented to the Planning Applications Committee) was NOT referred back to the Panel . We wonder why particularly in view of the adverse comments made by the Panel about the Pre- application proposals! 

    Public transport from the area was inadequate, and only 220 car parking spaces were provided. Burlington Road was already at a standstill for much of the day, given the proximity of the West Barnes level crossing. This volume of new cars would have meant the introduction of CPZ’s in the surrounding streets. The proposals should have included the widening of West Barnes Lane for pedestrians and traffic. 

    The money provided for schools, and medical services, was totally inadequate for the number of new residents proposed, particularly given that 40% of the flats were designated as “affordable” accommodation. 

    The proposals were contrary to the recently adopted climate change policy of the Council. We calculated that the offset needed to make them carbon neutral would have meant planting a million new trees! 

    There was much relief on the night at the decision, but it is still open to Redrow to appeal it to the Planning Inspectorate. If they do, then, of course, we will oppose it vigorously. 

    We have always stated that we are not opposed to housing on this site, given the housing needs of Merton.  We are not opposed to smaller flatted developments there up to 4 or 5 stories in a better design. 

    We told Redrow 18 months ago that this is what they should be proposing, and it is a great pity that they did not listen then. We hope that they will not waste further time in appealing, but instead talk to the local residents, and discuss what is acceptable on this site. 

    Ideally, we would hope that the site, including the Tesco store, should be developed, with a new store being incorporated into the housing design. This should include greenery and play facilities, and more provision for local schools as well facilities for say a new GP Surgery. 

    John Elvidge

  • Wimbledon Chase - High-Rise Development Proposed

    Another application for a ‘high rise’ block in a residential area.  This time it’s Wimbledon Chase.station. 

    Plans to build a seven-storey block of flats at Wimbledon Chase Station and remodel the entrance have been lodged. 

    Just before Christmas The Newbridge Group - the company behind the proposal - held an exhibition which detailed its plans for the site. 

    These include 62 new homes divided between two buildings, shops on the ground floor and a "rejuvenated station entrance." but something it doesn't include is step-free access. 

    Proposed scheme

    This has annoyed Dundonald Ward councillor Anthony Fairclough who met with representatives from the developers and their agents on January 16th. 

    Following the meeting, Cllr Fairclough said: "I can't see how this development can go ahead without doing everything possible to also make the station accessible for everyone. 

    "I'm shocked that the developers aren't planning to make the station entrance 'step free' – it affects so many people's lives."   "Step-free is simply a 'must have' in 2020."  

    Wimbledon MP Stephen Hammond agrees. 

    Existing station entrance 

    Stephen Hammond met with developers this week and said the key issues are accessibility and the height of the proposed building.  "The developer has asserted that the cost of a Network Rail compliant scheme could make the development unviable and Network Rail has stated there is not the demand," he said.  "I believe this would be a huge missed opportunity not to make Wimbledon Chase step free and I will be pursuing this. "A number of residents have also told me that they approve development on this site in principle, but that they are opposed to the design, height and look of this scheme." 

    There will be a further consultation in mid-February, with a planning application expected to be submitted at the end of that month. 

    If that gets approved, then construction would begin during the summer of 2020 with an expected completion three years later. 

    Cllr Fairclough added that he will be meeting with Network Rail and Merton Council to come up with a "workable plan." 

    "The developers say they want to create a 'landmark' building for the area," he said. 

    "Residents tell me that the imposition of a bock of flats, nine storeys high – four higher than anything nearby – will certainly create a 'landmark'; but for all the wrong reasons. 

    "We need new housing that is sympathetic to the area – so hopefully the developers will respond positively to the feedback they're getting.

    "Otherwise there will strong objections from the public when this matter comes to the Planning Applications Committee."

    No parking spaces will be built as part of the development, apart from a few spaces for the disabled. 

  • A Big Thank You to all our Volunteers

     

    Throughout the year our committee members, pavilion management group, area coordinators and road stewards work together to:

     

    • Listen to residents' views,
    • Act upon local concerns, (e.g. The Tesco/Redrow development)
    • Keep residents informed about local activities and organisations
    • Publish and distribute the Guide throughout the year
    • Run and take care of the Residents' Pavilion on a daily basis
    • Run this website

     

    All this unpaid work enables us to keep the Residents’ Association subscription fees to an astonishingly low £3 per year! 

    Our Chairman, John Elvidge, thanked volunteers and their families at an enjoyable Christmas Social held at the Pavilion on Saturday 7th December. During the afternoon he presented Linda Fitch (who is standing down from her role within the pavilion management group) with a beautiful plant.

     

     AFTER THE PARTY - Andrew Barwick and David Freeman wield the vacuum cleaner!

  • Townswomen's Guild - Feb 2020

    Our Christmas celebrations in December now seem but a memory. 

    At the beginning of the month, 20 members enjoyed a two-course Christmas Lunch at Morden Brook, where we were joined by our National Chairman – Penny Ryan. For those who always have work to do at our meetings, it was a pleasure to be able to sit and chat over the meal which had been prepared and served by others.

    Our Christmas Party was held in the hall a couple of weeks later – a fun afternoon with a couple of light-hearted Christmas Quizzes, a Christmas tea prepared and served by the committee, and a bumper raffle in which everybody went home with a prize.

    At the time of writing, we are all looking forward to our January meeting, when a lady from the Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance will be coming to tell us about their work. We understand that her talk will be illustrated with slides. 

    January 31st sees the end of the Townswomen’s Guild year, so our February meeting will be our AGM, at which the members elect new officers and committee members for the coming year. There is also an opportunity to discuss ideas and other points that may be raised. Once the formal business has concluded, we have a Bring and Buy Sale – and possibly a Dutch Auction of unsold items - to boost our funds.

    Our AGM will take place in St. Saviour’s Church Hall on Thursday 16th February at 1.30 pm.  As usual, all are welcome to come along to the meeting.

  • Chairman's Blog - Feb 2020

    MRS JILL TRUMAN 

    We are delighted to report that Mrs Jill Truman, who is the current Editor of The Guide, and our Joint Secretary, has been awarded the British Empire Medal in the New Year’s Honours. 

    This has been granted to her “in recognition of her services to the community in Merton”. 

    Jill has been working for the Raynes Park and West Barnes Residents’ Association ever since 1968 and has held every office over the years(except Treasurer  {she says money burns a hole in her pocket) including that of Chairman and Advertising Manager. and Secretary.  She has been tireless in her efforts to improve the well-being of residents. 

    In March 2014 she co-founded, and continues to run, the highly successful Pavilion Social Club. This organises weekly get -togethers for men and women in The Pavilion in Grand Drive and other programmes of activities.

    Jill also served for many years as a Councillor for the London Borough of Merton and was its Deputy Mayor.    

    We offer her our many congratulations on this well - deserved award. 

    RECENT RAINFALL

    In the weeks leading up to Christmas we suffered by far the heaviest rainfall ever recorded in these parts. The lower part of Prince George’s Playing Field was under water for weeks.

    On the All England Playing Field off Grand Drive a huge lake built up behind the houses in Elm Walk and Southway. This had to be buttressed by earth works piled up around. You can see the size of the lake from the attached photo.   

    Fortunately, this lake should become a thing of the past, as the current works include the construction of huge underground holding tanks, which will allow any future floods to drain away gradually into the sewers. 

     John Elvidge

  • Good News for St Helier

     

    The Government’s recent announcement  (www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-49867376)  of further capital investment in the NHS has provided good news for Epsom & St. Helier NHS Trust which will be one of the beneficiaries. Chief Executive Daniel Elkeles says “I am delighted to say that our Trust is named and means that the hundreds of millions of pounds of funding we need to both improve St Helier and Epsom hospitals, and build a new major acute hospital will be made available.

    This multi-million-pound investment will transform patient care for the 500,000 people who use the Trust’s services, greatly improve the experience of the 6,000 committed staff working in the hospitals and secure a long term and sustainable future for hospital services in our area. It will allow us to create a state-of-the-art hospital facilities for the sickest patients, invest in and refurbish the older parts of all our hospital buildings (which are currently not fit for modern healthcare), and support the medical workforce to improve staffing levels and patient care”.

     

     

  • Tennis Club News - Dec 2019

    I am very pleased to be able to report that our club continues to thrive and grow. New members continue to be very welcome, and we have reached a new height of 150 senior members, 144 juniors and 24 parent/guardian members who love to get out on court with their juniors. Over the summer we were delighted to host 20 teenagers from the Wimbledon Junior Tennis Initiative, who normally receive coaching at the Community Ground on Grand Drive, to see why a tennis club offers so much more than just some courts and tuition. Our adult and student members also enjoy ongoing singles box leagues, biannual doubles knockout tournaments, and of course our regular turn-up & play club social sessions. 

    The coaching programme continues to expand under our fabulous Head Coach, José. If you watched any of the ATP Finals at the O2, then the ball boys and girls there were once again trained by José. In addition to beginners and intermediate adult group sessions, Coach Frances has just started a new cardio tennis session from 10-11am on a Sunday morning, a fun way to get fit and improve your tennis at the same time! There are still a few places available so do get in touch with her at frances@rprltc.co.uk if you would like to join in, non-members welcome. 

    Despite the cold weather, tennis continues throughout the winter and we have two upcoming events in December. First on 7th December at 1:30pm, José will be leading the club social, getting us warmed up with some fun mini games before pairing people up for a few sets of convivial doubles. On the weekend after Christmas we will be running what is known as an “American” tournament, a fun and friendly competition for all playing standards. Please check our website: 

    https://www.rprltc.co.uk, for exact date and start time. 

    Nathan Dimmock

  • Townswomen's Guild - Dec 2019

     

    In December, our thoughts turn to Christmas. On December 5th, most of our members will be coming to our Christmas Lunch. As we had to find a venue which is fairly local and easily accessible by public transport, we have booked to have it at Morden Brook this year. On this occasion we will be joined by our National Chairman, Penny Ryan. She is no stranger to us as she came to our 85th Birthday Party in June 2018 – but at that time she was the National Treasurer. 

    Our December meeting, on Thursday 19th December, will be a Christmas Party - another annual celebration! 

    Although December is the last month of the year, the Townswomen’s Guild year starts in February – which will be our AGM. 

    So the final meeting of our year will be in January, when (subject to confirmation after Christmas) someone from the Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance will be coming to tell us about their work.  This will be on Thursday 16th January 2020, 1.30 for 1.45 pm, in St. Saviour’s Church Hall.  As usual, all are welcome to come along to the meeting. 

    All that remains is to wish you a very Happy Christmas from the Raynes Park Townswomen’s Guild – and every good wish for 2020.

  • Chairmans Blog Dec 2019

    REDROW PLANNING APPLICATION 

    The latest information we have is that it’s Merton Council’s intention to decide the planning application for the massive Redrow development at Burlington Road and on the Tesco extra site on Thursday 16 January 2020.  But we have real doubts that the planners will be able to keep to this date, given that we understand that the Greater London Authority and Transport for London still have issues that they want to be satisfied about; and there will be little working time to sort these out owing to the extended holiday period. 

    If the application does go ahead on this date, we will try and let as many local residents know as possible, given the intense opposition to the proposals, as witnessed by the 250 or so people who came to the public meeting that we organised, and the fact that over 350 individual objections were sent in. 

    We believe many residents will want to attend at the public meeting in the Civic Chamber to see what the planning committee decide.

    If the planning officers recommend acceptance of the scheme in any form, the rules provide that objectors can speak in opposition but only for a TOTAL of 6 minutes in all, with the developers allowed a similar time to respond.   In that event, we will have to sort out speakers who can make their points shortly but very clearly.   The names of the speakers must be notified in advance. 

    SHOPPING AT WATERLOO? 

    By April 2021 developers hope to transform the three levels under the four platforms of the former Eurostar terminal at Waterloo into an upmarket shopping and restaurant mall, equivalent to those at the major airports.  The platforms were built in 1994 but have been largely unused since 2007 when the terminal was moved to St Pancras International.  There will be also be a new pedestrian street to be called the Waterloo Curve.  This would certainly enhance the South Bank Centre, which is packed with millions of visitors each year. 

    Meantime, let us hope that the high street retail stores can fight back against the closures forced on them by the advent of home delivery services.  One of the tasks of the new government must be relieve these stores of the excessive burdens of rents and business rates, in some way and to recoup the money in taxation from firms which sell here but have moved their taxation regime overseas. 

    John Elvidge

     

     

  • Correspondence with Tesco

    The following Letters are reproduced with the permission of Dr. Garry Hunt, past Chairman

     

    To:       Mr. Dave Lewis, Group CEO, Tesco plc

    From:    Dr. Garry Hunt

    Date:    7th October 2019

     

    Development on the site of Tesco Extra, New Malden KT3 4PJ

    Failure of Tesco to Interact with local residents 

    The attached letter was sent to you on the 16 September 2019 by post and by email and expressed the many concerns of local residents with regard to possible activities on the site of Tesco Extra, New Malden KT3 4PJ. On behalf of the many thousand of residents who are also your customers, I expressed the need for a meeting between appropriate senior Tesco staff and the local community for mutual benefit, which the Raynes Park and West Barnes Residents’ Association (RPWBRA) will convene. The report of the recent public meeting organised by the Association ( see October Guide, www.rpwbresidents.org.uk) already shows the concerns of residents to possible activities on Tesco’s site. 

    After four weeks I have not received any response from you or any member of Tesco’s staff, beyond the automatic email acknowledgement given below. This is very disappointing. You should be aware that my letter has already been published in the October edition of the Guide; the monthly community magazine of RPWBRA so many thousands of people, your customers, are aware of this correspondence. Many are asking for details of your reply.  

    I am again sending this letter to you by both mail and email to make sure it is received.  This letter will be published in the RPWBRA Guide so it will be read by local residents, people in neighbouring communities and past members now living in other parts of the country. I hope this time I will receive a reply. When received it will be passed immediately to the RPWBRA for their action. 

    The Association has interacted vigorously with countless companies and organisations for the benefit of the local community during the past ninety years. As a past Chairman, I have considerable first hand experience of such activities over several decades. Never before have we been ignored.  

    I have once more copied this letter widely to local Councillors, MP and Chairman of the RPWBRA and also the Chairman,Tesco plc. In addition, the letter has been sent to the editor of the RPBWRA Guide. 

    cc Cllrs Hina Bokhari, Eloise Bailey, Carl Quilliam, Cllrs David Dean, Daniel Holden, Nick McLean, Stephen Hammond MP, John Elvidge (Chairman RPWBRA), John Allan, Chairman, Tesco plc

     

    The Reply:

     

    To:       Dr. G. Hunt

    From:    Lesley Anne Logan, Customer Service Specialist, On behalf of the Executive’s Office. Tel: 0800 072 6685

     

    Date:    7th October, 2019

     

    Case Reference: 3631249 

     

    Thank you for your letter addressed to Dave Lewis, our Chief Executive. As work commitments are currently keeping Dave away from the office, I am writing on his behalf. Please be assured he is kept informed of all contact received into this office.  

    I was sorry to hear that some buildings we own have fallen into disrepair. I appreciate your concern about this and that you have taken the time to get in touch with us about this matter.  

     

    I have reached out to Mark, our Property Manager who is in charge of this area. He has advised that we try to keep on top of external maintenance and undertake regular inspections of these buildings. Despite the security we have in place, sadly these buildings have attracted unwanted visitors.  

    We are trying to come up with a permanent solution to ensure this area is more astatically pleasing and as soon as we can provide more information we will do so to the local community.  

     

    I have asked for Tom, our local Community and Communications Manager who covers your area to get in touch with you so that he can arrange a meeting with you about this area.  

    I hope that this is resolved quickly for yourself and our other local residents.  

     

    If I can be of any further help please do not hesitate to get back in touch with us via post, email (ceo.customerservice@tesco.com) or call (0800 072 6685 – Monday-Friday 8am-8pm, Saturday 8am-6pm).  

  • A Visit to AELTC Grand Drive

    A visit to the ALL ENGLAND CLUB COMMUNITY SPORTS CENTRE

     On one of the glorious days of mid- September, I was invited along to the AELTC Community Sports Ground in Grand Drive to see for myself the progress that has been made on this amazing All England Club venture.

     From the moment I walked through the main entrance gates I was impressed at the amount thought that has gone into - not only the sports facilities themselves - but the whole ambience of the place, which is delightful.  The immediate feel is one of familiarity - a special extension of the All England Club itself – but with the specific purpose of working with young people, local schools and clubs, and with able and disabled alike.  There are significant landscaped areas planted out with a profusion of flowers - hydrangeas everywhere - and on the land bordering the properties in Cannon Hill Lane an amazing wildflower garden.  

     I was met by Catherine Edser, Duty Manager, Andrew Ambrose, and Ruth Edwards who after entertaining me to an excellent cup of coffee in the temporary club facilities took me around the site.

     Although only about halfway through the project, some of the facilities are already in use and the porous acrylic outdoor courts - all painted in the Wimbledon colours of purple and green - are being used by local schools, for special coaching. and I believe even Raynes Park Tennis Club members have been taking advantage of the first of two ‘bubbles’ - the huge inflatable air-conditioned, and beautifully lit structures – in which the indoor courts will be housed.

     Health & Safety is of paramount importance to Careys the Civil Engineering firm that is contracted to undertake all the groundworks and so we all had to don boots, hard hats, high viz jackets and special gloves before we could examine the ongoing and very extensive groundworks.

     The current focus is on completing the preparations for the second indoor facility; and excavating and then building the grass courts which will cover a significant proportion of the site.   Once finally prepared and seeded, these won’t be ready for use until the season of 2022, as it takes about two years for them to mature.  

     High in priority is good on-site drainage and the excavation of a sustainable drainage basin is currently underway. 

    No doubt residents living around the grounds have suffered from the hustle, bustle  and inconvenience of  the development, but once finished, the benefits of overlooking a green and tranquil world class sports facility will be a reward in itself.

    Jill Truman

    Find out more, follow: https://communitytennis.aeltc.com/About

  • Babylon NHS GP Practice

    New Free digital-first NHS GP Practice opens in Lambton Road 

    Babylon GP at Hand - London’s digital-first NHS GP practice - opened a dedicated face-to-face clinic in Raynes Park on 1st October. 

    The new clinic is located on the top floor of the Raynes Park Medical Centre on Lambton road. It will mean that Babylon GP at Hand patients can see a GP or nurse face-to-face usually within one working day. This is in addition to having access to a GP via video call within minutes, 24/7.

     

    Seeing a GP through a video call means Babylon GP at Hand patients can speak to a doctor at any time and place convenient for them. 90% of all our appointments can be taken care of over a video consultation. And every session is free, no matter how long it lasts. 

     

    What is Babylon GP at Hand?

    Babylon GP at Hand is an NHS GP practice like any other. However, patients registered with Babylon GP at Hand can also: 

    ·       Video call a GP in minutes, 24/7

    ·       See a GP face-to-face in Raynes       Park within 24h, or choose from 5 other clinics across London

    ·       Have prescriptions delivered to any local pharmacy

    ·       Use Babylon’s instant AI symptom checker

    ·       Book and manage appointments through the Babylon app

    ·       Access notes and replay video appointments 


    Download the Babylon app, or visit 
    www.gpathand.nhs.uk to register with Babylon.

  • Townswomen's Guild - Nov 2019

    Raynes Park Afternoon TWG

    In September we resumed our regular meetings, with an interesting talk by Jane Muddle about “Bags and Hats from Madagascar”. She arrived with a large number of hats and bags, which made an attractive display on the table and some were used as ‘visual aids’, passed round during her talk. Jane transported us to Madagascar, a large island in the Indian Ocean, off the coast of Mozambique, and took us on a round tour as she introduced us to the bags and hats which were all ethically sourced – made from raffia, and hand dyed using the roots of plants found in Madagascar. The baskets were doubled skinned, with drawstring lining – able to carry considerable weight if required - and the wide brimmed hats could be squashed in a suitcase yet come out looking ‘good as new’. At the end of the talk, she asked for a couple of members to act as models – although only one volunteer was forthcoming. 

    On 1st October, the Luncheon Club arranged to meet at The Watchman in New Malden. Around a dozen members went along, enjoying the opportunity to chat with friends over a leisurely lunch.  At the time of writing, our October meeting is almost upon us: a talk by Mike Grimshaw about an island much nearer home - ‘Shetland.’ 

    At our monthly meeting in November, we look forward to a return visit from the Handbell ringers – which will no doubt include much ‘audience participation’.  This will be on Thursday 21st November, 1.30 for 1.45 pm, in St. Saviour’s Church Hall*. 

    As usual, all are welcome to come along to the meeting. 

    (* That is – providing we don’t have a snap election’ called for that day. As the hall is used as a polling station, it would be unavailable so our meeting would have to be cancelled.) 

  • St Saviour's War Memorial - Update Nov 2020

    I thought Association members might like an update on where we are at with respect to the Raynes Park War Memorial restoration.  I know many of them attended either our Men of Raynes Park 1914-18 Exhibition or last year’s Remembrance Day at St Saviour’s, or both, and we were grateful for their support. 

    We had hoped to be well on the way to re-carving the names by now.  However, the whole process has been dogged by delays.  

    We had originally hoped to have final approval and a grant from the War Memorials Trust early in 2019.  However, they suspended consideration of applications submitted for the December 2018 deadline until the end of March 2019, and then finally made a grant offer at the end of May.  Unfortunately, the offer included several conditions and exclusions, which affected the validity of the contractor's quotation that we had accepted, and would almost certainly have driven up the price.  Moreover, the exclusions raised doubts that we could achieve clear name inscriptions that would remain legible for the next 100 years. 

    To avoid any more delays, and with Listed Building Consent, we have decided to proceed on the original basis and forgo the War Memorials Trust grant (which we reckon would have been taken up with the additional work they would require anyway).  On that basis, we have decided to proceed with the restoration though it is very unlikely it will be completed by the forthcoming Remembrance Sunday.  

    The good news is that we have been reasonably successful at raising funds, both at the time of the launch and subsequently.  Our target is £23,000 and, so far, we have either received contributions or pledges for around £19,900.  Without the War Memorials Trust grant, though, it does mean we are still looking to raise just over another £3,000. 

    It seems extraordinary now that we originally thought we might have all the work completed by last year’s Remembrance Day, but have learnt the lesson that, in this field, however much time you think a project will take, multiply it by at least three! 

    Although we are not in a position to invite RPWBRA Members to the unveiling of the restored memorial this Remembrance Sunday, it would still be very nice to see them there. The Scouts and Guides will again be in attendance and do their best to remember those who died in the Great War, and subsequently, in protection of our freedoms.

    With very best regards 

    Peter Hutton

    Memorial Research and Exhibition Co-ordinator 

     

    UPDATE NOVEMBER 2020

    The Rev’d Peter Kelley tells our members that there were originally thought to be 97 names on the war memorial, but during the careful re-engraving by the Master Letter Cutter, the name of Cecil was discovered (but with no discernible other name), in between the family names of Thomas and Wilfred. 

    William Roy Penfold (possibly from a travelling family) was also added, out of alphabetical sequence. 

     

    From what would have been a small population in 1914-18, the number killed in this tragic war must have had a shocking impact on the community. It is thanks to the amazing work by St Saviour’s Church  leaders and parishioners that the memorial is harboured in such a peaceful, tended  place in which to contemplate the brave actions of an earlier generation.

     

  • Chairman's Blog - Nov 2019

    NEW DESIGN GUIDE FOR HOUSING 

    The Government’s housing minister is to issue next month a national standard for Council planners to adhere to, which will give them more power to reject unattractive developments.  He said that he wants new homes to be in harmony with the local area and rooted in communities. New housing must enhance its surroundings, have a distinctive identity that will delight occupants, have a walkable form with “recognisable streets”, prioritise nature, and have tree lined public spaces. 

    Developments should include a mix of housing types.  They should inspire a “sense of delight” and “lift our spirits”. This is in an effort to boost house building and overcome local opposition. There will be “ten characteristics of beautiful places” that it expects planners to follow. Ministers accept that more homes must not come “at the expense of beauty, quality and design”. 

    The Redrow proposals for Burlington Road and the Tesco extra car park site are so massive and ugly that they have already attracted almost universal local opposition.  It will be interesting to see if Merton’s planners give full weight to the new official guidance and reject the schemes. 

    It is unlikely that the applications will come before Merton’s planning committee any time soon. 

    DRAINAGE PROBLEMS 

    The heavy rainfall over the past few weeks has again highlighted the fact that this area has always suffered from drainage problems and flooding.  This was why the Residents’ Association was originally formed back in 1928. 

    There is a particular problem with the water that falls on Cannon Hill Common, when the natural aquifer is saturated, so that flooding arises above ground level.  We believe that the ditches on the Common were originally constructed to take water away towards Prince George’s Playing Fields and Bushey Road, and that these are no longer maintained properly. 

    The result is that some of the ground water runs down the natural slope towards Parkway and Elm Walk, streaming under some of the houses, and then pools onto the All England Club ground that is bounded by Cannon Hill Lane, Grand Drive, Southway, and Elm Walk.  The ground, at the time of writing, is currently covered with water.

    The All England Club is now constructing a number of new tennis courts on their ground, and they are building a land-drain network in accordance with the planning consent. Residents can see the extensive number of pipes that have been brought onto the site.  There will be perimeter drains for each of the hard courts and buildings.  These will all drain into a large “retention basin” to be excavated to the rear of the gardens of the houses at the junction of Elm Walk and Southway.  As and when the flow from this basin gets too high, there are also two underground buffer tanks to store the excessive water from storm surges, before gradually releasing it into the surface water sewer under Grand Drive, near the entrance to the site. If this design works, there should be no runoff from the AELTC ground onto neighbouring property, as happened in the past. 

    This does not solve the problem of the ground water that runs off the Common under Parkway and Elm Walk and onto the AELTC ground, since the Common is higher. That is why we have asked the Council, which owns the Common, to maintain their ditches, as they have a responsibility to do. 

    NEW KITCHEN AT THE RESIDENTS’ PAVILION

    We have taken the opportunity over the summer break to refurbish the kitchen facilities at the Pavilion in Grand Drive.  We think that this will improve its usefulness for hirers. 

    The Pavilion is available for hire to residents and groups, at very reasonable rates.  The details of how to enquire about hiring the Pavilion are here. 

    John Elvidge

     

  • The Raynes Park Association - Blog, October 2019