Chairman's Blog - June 2018

Local Elections

Our Association is strictly non-party political, and we look forward to working with all the new councillors elected for our local wards, which are West Barnes, Cannon Hill, and Raynes Park.  When we hold our Open meetings and committee meetings we invite a councillor from each of the wards to help us in our decisions.

At the AGM we paid tribute to the hard work of Mary-Jane Jeanes who was not standing for re-election.  We would also like to pay tribute to the dedication of Gilli Lewis-Lavender, a former Mayor, and Brian Lewis-Lavender. 

All three former councillors have been assiduous in bringing issues to our notice, in getting council officers to act, and in representing the people they were elected to serve. We wish them well.

Chaos in Grand Drive

Residents will be well aware of the traffic chaos caused by the closure of the bottom part of Grand Drive for four weeks while gas mains were repaired. We were not consulted about these works, and so could not advise the gas network and the highways authorities of the warning notices that were necessary to avoid some of the worse effects of the jams.  What was required was notices put in place a long distance away, particularly on the A3, in Tudor Drive and further up Grand Drive, and in Kingston Road so that drivers could find alternative routes earlier. Some warnings were belatedly put up, but not enough.  Even with the notices, a steady stream of motorists came past the road closed notice, and then had to do a U-turn, to the anger and irritation of those living there.

Worse to Come?

Two exhibitions are being held about the even worse closures of half of Grand Drive planned to start on 23rd July which will last until December.   Grand Drive will be made one way southbound for the duration of the work. A signed diversion is being proposed for northbound traffic.  Further information is available here. These closures will be worse, as there will literally be nowhere else that traffic can easily be diverted to.  We fear that Cannon Hill Lane and Martin Way will be clogged solid for much of the day. 

The gas network company, SGN, state that the old metal gas mains are being replaced with new plastic pipe, with a minimum life of 80 years, to ensure a continued safe and reliable supply into the future. This will cost £973,000. 

Motspur Park Post Office

The recently relocated post office counter, currently situated in Ecklee International Grocery, is to close. This leaves residents in Motspur Park with nowhere at hand to collect their pensions or for the other myriad things they need to do. The nearest post offices are either in New Malden High Street or Raynes Park, both of which are difficult to get to without a car, and with heavy parking charges for those who drive. We understand that Sima Brothers newsagents, nextdoor to Ecklee, has applied to take over the agency, but that the PO is being rather slow to process the application.

Open Meeting

We are having an Open Meeting for residents in Blossom House School, Motspur Park, on Wednesday 13th June, starting at 7.30 pm, with some light refreshments afterwards. Do come and discuss this issue, and any others of concern to you. You will be made very welcome. 

John Elvidge 

Chairman's Blog - December 2017

ALL ENGLAND CLUB SPORTS GROUND IN GRAND DRIVE

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.

WIMBLEDON POLICE STATION

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.    

WHY CHANGE THE CLOCKS?

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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