Chairman's Blog - November 2012

I was too optimistic in my comments last month when I hoped that placing some large logs along Cannon Hill Lane would prevent Travellers from returning there with their cars and caravans. As residents will know, they did come back twice, and again had to be removed.  It is a pity that the responsible Council officers did not do what many residents and Councillors asked them to do in the first place, which was to block off all possible means of vehicular access by putting logs right along the edge of the Common where it fronts Cannon Hill Lane.
It is very possible that the Travellers might in future seek also to gain access from Parkway. This may have to be prevented by placing some kind of discrete small wooden barriers here too. This would be a great pity visually, but would be better than the alternative.  Residents should be fully consulted on this, before any are installed.
Protection is also needed in the Joseph Hood Recreation Ground, where there is direct access by road from Martin Way.
The Evening Standard reported that London’s best performing high street is Raynes Park, where less than two per cent of the shops are currently unoccupied.   This is 10 per cent up on last year according to a survey that involved researchers visiting more than 500 smaller town high streets across Britain. This has bucked the trend for on line shopping and the low levels of consumer spending, which has decimated some local retail centres.
This success has not happened by accident, but is the result of a great deal of hard work, not least by members of this Association.  There have been a large number of meetings between members of local residents’ associations, and Councillors to work out with the Council a sensitive plan for the whole area. This needed to take into account how best to provide shops, cafes, and business premises that people really want and need.  A large part of the success story is due to the efforts made to remove the advertising hoardings, tidy up the railway embankment, and to provide better pedestrian access around the station.
What remains to be done is to improve the visual appearance of the Approach Road/Grand Drive side of the railway, and a key element of this will be to provide a viable stopping point for cars setting down and picking up rail passengers.  This is not physically possible on the Coombe Lane side.
Further improvements can be made by adjusting the parking controls, so that residents can park for up to 2 hours to use the shops and restaurants, while keeping out commuter traffic.  The Association has recently submitted our proposals to emphasise this, as part of the Council’s overall parking review.
I mentioned last week that Stephen Hammond MP has been appointed as a Minister in the Transport Department.  He is now responsible, among other things, for Road Safety. It may be of some general interest to note that two members of the Cabinet started off their political careers as members of Merton Council, representing areas in Wimbledon. Theresa May, who has been Home Secretary since the start of the coalition government, was formerly deputy leader of Merton, and Chris Grayling, the new Justice Secretary, was a Councillor in Dundonald Ward for some years.
John Elvidge

Join us on:


Share this page: