Chairman's Blog - Feb 2018

Our Milkman

The milkman whose round has covered the whole of the West Barnes area every week for almost 50 years is retiring at the end of February.   He is John Braden MBE who is a familiar figure to very many of our Members. We wish him and his family all the best for a long and well-deserved retirement.

John began working or United Dairies in August 1968 (now Milk & More) and has had to start 5 or 6 days a week, winter and summer and in all weathers, by 3.30 am, for a round that is not completed until the afternoon.

John’s round covers such roads as Cannon Hill Lane, Parkway, Elm Walk, Southway, Westway, Oakway, Linkway, Grand Drive, and all the roads off.

One of our Members has rightly described him as a “very reliable, conscientious, and kind-hearted man, who is thoughtful, cheerful, sociable, and has made a huge contribution to his neighbourhood and its sense of community”. 

John was awarded the MBE for his actions in noticing that an elderly lady in Southway had not collected her milk from the previous day, and saw through the letter box that she had fallen in the hall.  This saved her life. Her neighbours in Southway asked for his public-spirited action and his general community service to be rewarded, and he was presented with the MBE.

If you would like to mark your appreciation of John’s service, we are making a collection to present to him. Contributions can be sent or taken to John Townsend, our Treasurer at 128 Grand Drive, and clearly marked “Donation – John Braden”, or given to the person nominated to collect for your road.  

Wimbledon Police Station

We reported previously that the Mayor of London is to close and sell off Wimbledon Police Station, among many others, claiming that the savings are needed to protect the jobs of front line staff. The Times reported before Christmas that the university lecturer who lives in Wimbledon and who suffered horrific injuries during a raid by four thugs on his family home hopes to prevent this closure by bringing a judicial review in the High Court. He believes that his life was only saved because officers from the police station arrived within 8 minutes of receiving the 999 call from his daughter who was hiding upstairs.

The Consultation Institute, a not for profit organisation, has stated that the formal public consultation “falls significantly short in best practice standards”.  He hopes to raise £5,000 to pursue the legal challenge.   We can only wish him all the best.

Thames Water Leak

As I write there is a major water leak in Firstway which was first reported before Christmas, but which has got steadily worse since. Nothing was done to repair it till 9pm on 12 January when emergency work had to begin, since the road surface was breaking up and a pothole appeared, deep enough to damage vehicles, 12” x 12” x 3”.  The sudden increase in the leak meant that the residents in Firstway had no notice of their water being cut off. We are indebted to our Road Steward Chris Quinby for keeping us up to date with information. 

Plans had been made to repair the water main over a two-week period which would have necessitated one way working up Grand Drive and major traffic disruption over the whole area. Fortunately, the repairs were eventually carried out quite quickly and without the anticipated traffic disruption  .

London’s Polluted Air

The Mayor of London is consulting on plans to help tackle London’s toxic air pollution, which contributes to thousands of early deaths each year. These include proposals to extend tighter emission standards for diesel vehicles to the whole of London for lorries, buses, and other heavy goods vehicles in 2020, and for all vehicles within the North and South Circular roads in 2021.

If you want to comment, visit  or write to FREEPOST, TFL CONSULTATIONS by 28th February. 

John Elvidge




Chairman's Blog - December 2017


We have received late notice of a public consultation at the end of November and in early December about the proposed expansion of the All England Lawn Tennis Club in Grand Drive. This is the sports ground bounded by Southway, Elm Walk, and Cannon Hill Lane.

It has a large indoor tennis court, changing rooms, as well as many outdoor courts.  Members of the Committee were invited to see the facilities in the summer, and they have been built to the highest possible standards. The grounds are used by the Club for the tennis and fitness training of local children, as part of their community outreach programme, and all local schools are invited to send pupils. On the Saturday we were there, it was full of children of all ages, with enthusiastic coaches.

The Club now wants to expand the facilities, which may include building a further indoor court, and will probably need planning permission to do so.  There were objections from residents to the present indoor court. We hope that the Club will hold a further public consultation in the New Year, but this time with an extended notice period.


The Mayor of London’s policing and crime office announced on November 1st that Wimbledon Police Station, on Queen’s Road, is to close.   This is despite the representations made by all local politicians that the station is needed, particularly because of the high profile of the Wimbledon fortnight and the night time economy, which brings anti-social problems, in the town centre. The 24/7 front counter will instead be Mitcham police station.

Sadiq Khan confirmed that more than half of London’s 73 remaining police stations are to close, with many of the buildings sold off to help raise £165 million.  The sale of the station in Wimbledon could raise up to £10 million and save a further £500,000 in running costs.  This may take two years to happen.

The Merton Police Borough Commander has promised to keep residents informed about proposals also to merge police teams in the boroughs of Merton, Wandworth, Richmond, and Kingston into one large south west borough commander unit. The intention is to increase the number of neighbourhood police based at ward level “hubs”.  There will be more focus on reporting crimes over the phone and online.    


Once again the clocks have gone back an hour, and it is dark by mid-afternoon.  Why is it that Parliament, which seems, at the moment, to have little to do in legislative terms, can’t do what the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents has wanted for years, and see the clocks moved permanently forward during the winter. It is accepted that more people are killed and injured on the roads during the dark evenings than would be in the dark mornings. There would also be considerable savings in energy costs. It would make the most of the shorter daylight hours.

The reason for not legislating is always said to be that the Scots would not support it. But they now have their own Parliament and could easily opt out if they wanted to.

Season’s greetings and a happy Christmas to one and all.


John Elvidge

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