Chairman's Blog - February 2024



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. 


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. 


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

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