Chairman's Blog - December 2012

Free Parking at Weekends
The Council has announced that car parking in Council owned car parks is to be free of charge during the weekends leading up to Christmas. This is in a bid to attract shoppers to the town centres, which need a boost. It is estimated to cost the Council (i.e. us) £60,000 which will be taken out of the contingency fund.  There appear to be no plans to waive or reduce the meter charges during the same period, which would be of greater help to the shops outside Wimbledon and Morden, such as those in Raynes Park.
E-book lending from Libraries 
I understand that those who use the excellent libraries in West Barnes and Raynes Park  will soon be able to download e- books into their own computers on the same short term free basis as books have always been lent.  How this works is beyond my technical knowledge, but it is a very exciting development for the many people who now prefer to use portable readers than to lug books around. There should be no reason in principle why e- books could not be downloaded at the railway stations either!   Merton has always had a first class library service, which councils of all political persuasions have protected as best they could against the demand of other local services. The library service was one of the first, for example, to introduce lending of records and CD’s, and to microfiche documents.  This new facility will be widely welcomed.
Travellers on Cannon Hill Common
 The local Councillors organised a public meeting on 13th November to discuss how best to prevent the incursions of travellers and others onto Cannon Hill Common, which has no railings to protect it, unlike almost all other parks. The parks officer addressed the meeting and said that there were really three possible options, which all had cost implications.  The cheapest and easiest was to continue the process of placing large tree logs along the edge of the Common, which was scenically attractive and helped bio-diversity. The second was to have some kind of wooden barriers at intervals. The third was to create a series of ditches, with foot bridges over.  There were some 30 people present, including representatives from the Association and from the Friends of Cannon Hill Common, and they were asked to express their views as to the available options in a secret ballot. These will be taken into account in guiding the Council’s decision.
The meeting was also told that the insurance money, which the Council received from the arson attack which burned down the Pavilion, is still earmarked for use somewhere on the Common.
Street Cleaning 
The frequency of street cleaning has been explained in a meeting with those responsible for the Raynes Park area.  What is supposed to happen is that all streets are cleaned on the day after the rubbish collection, since it was impossible to co-ordinate this on the day itself. The dustmen are supposed to clear up any mess that they create.
4 times a year each street gets a “deep clean“, when weeds are removed, areas sprayed, and any accumulated dirt removed.  In the autumn there is an additional “leaf team”.
One of the main problems in cleaning the street surfaces in Raynes Park is chewing gum. This is time- consuming and costly, and is not deemed to be part of the normal responsibility of cleaners. However, the Council is looking at new ways of removing gum, and so they may be able to get rid of it in future.
Christmas Party
The annual party for members of the Residents’ Association is being held at the Tennis Pavilion off Grand Drive on Tuesday 11th December.  We meet at 8 pm to have an hour’s open discussion of anything that anybody wants to raise, and then go into party mode from 9 for an hour and a half. There will be, as usual, lots to eat and drink, including beer and wine.  Everyone is welcome, and we would be delighted to meet and greet some new people. So do come!
John Elvidge

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