Chairman's Blog - May 2013
RESIDENTS’ COMMUNITY CENTRE
At the Annual General Meeting in March there was strong support for our proposal to turn the tennis club pavilion off 129 Grand Drive, which is due to be vacated by the Lawn Tennis Club by early May, into a community centre that can be used for the benefit of all local residents. At our subsequent Committee meeting we approved the work that needed to be done, which will be started as soon as the Club vacates the premises at the beginning of May. We hope that this can be concluded within a month so that we can be open by early June.
We wrote to all the residents who back onto the site asking for their views on our proposals. We confirmed that we would have no late night parties or rowdy meetings, or permit the sale of alcohol. So far we have had only comments that are very supportive of our ideas. We anticipate that the major use will be for mother/toddler groups for children up to the age of 4, for which there is an unmet need in the borough, given the high birth rate.
But we expect that there will be a demand from people and groups of all ages. We continue to ask for expressions of interest from local groups who wish to hire the hall for meetings, functions, parties, and so on. We do not expect to make a profit, but we will need to charge a modest rate for the hire to cover the cost of insurance, heating, lighting, and cleaning. We also need to have new volunteers to help take the bookings, and to be key holders who can open and close the building as necessary.
Please let any of the Committee members know if you might be interested in hiring the building, or if you are willing to help us run it. We are very excited by the potential prospects that the building will provide for social events of all kinds and for all ages.
It’s that time of year again, when our hard working road stewards, who are all unpaid volunteers, will knock at your door and ask you to pay a subscription for the coming year to continue to be a member of the Association. We remain the largest residents’ association in Merton and have some 2000 members. There is strength in such numbers, and the Council officers take us very seriously as an Association. We have been going since 1928, so please continue your subscription for the coming year.
This year the AGM decided to increase the membership fee from £2.50 to £3 a year, which must still be the best value in London. For that, you not only get membership of a very active organisation, which has secured major planning gains over the years, but also the monthly Guide.
RAYNES PARK HEALTH CENTRE
I went to the formal opening of the new health centre in Raynes Park, along with other members of the Association and local Councillors. We have all been very supportive of the concept. It’s an impressive building, designed by a firm of architects in New Malden. It combines two GP’s practices, has a pharmacy, and also has out-patient facilities for both the NHS Kingston Hospital and the private St Anthony’s Hospital. The speeches were given by the Mayor, and Stephen Hammond MP, but principally by the driving force behind the scheme Dr Howard Freeman. It is clearly a model for the future, and we are lucky to have such a range of modern health facilities in our area.
We are already in May, though it still seems, when I write this in mid April, like winter. I thought that you’d like to know that our efforts to get a decorated Christmas tree in Raynes Park have at last proved fruitful. We learn that Waitrose is going to sponsor one by the station. Hurrah!