Chairman's Blog - March 2014


Behind the hoardings surrounding the site of the Nelson Hospital, a new care centre is being built. It is due to open in 2015 and will house two GP practices, the one in Cannon Hill Lane, and the one in Church Lane, Merton Park. The move is part of NHS South West London’s Better Healthcare Closer to Home Initiative. 

It is being party funded by the sale of the former car park, which was next door to the Nelson, to McCarthy and Stone, who are building a three story retirement home for 51 residents. 


Residents whose gardens back onto the Grand Drive Sports Ground, which is owned by the All England Lawn Tennis Club, will remember that a public exhibition was held last December in the Pavilion to discuss the Club’s plans. These are to build three open tennis courts, and three enclosed ones to house their tennis initiative for junior players. The Club has now made a formal planning application. They say that they have taken account of points raised by local residents about boundary landscaping and screening. The proposals remain essentially as they were shown at the exhibition, but now have full assessment reports on transport, lighting, noise and flood risk.     

RIDE LONDON - 10 August 2014 

Residents will remember the chaos caused last August when the whole of West Wimbledon was closed for the whole day by this cycling event. This is set to become an annual event.  It meant the closure of Coombe Lane and Copse Hill, right up to Wimbledon Common, from very early morning till early evening, and no vehicles were allowed to cross the cycle route. Pedestrians could only cross with difficulty. People were imprisoned in the area, and could not come in or out, except for dire emergencies. This meant that families could not visit each other, and elderly people were not guaranteed care.  

Following protests by us and other residents’ associations, last year’s event has been reviewed, and some significant changes have been planned for this year. There will be established locations for vehicles to cross the route, and there will be a taxi service to enable people to exit, and presumably enter, the area. It is intended that better information will be distributed to residents in good time. 


There is due to be further consultation about parking in the centre of Raynes Park, about which we have been complaining for some years. The Council, having dragged its heels on this issue, now wants responses within a very time frame. Everyone affected has protested at the short time given. 


The Raynes Park Association, which is an umbrella group whose members come from all the local residents’ association, as well as local businesses, have a long term plan to create a landscaped open market space, near the Rock Restaurant in Kingston Road. This would involve turning the stretch of dual carriageway there, which is unnecessary and serves no purpose, back into a single carriageway. The hope is that it can then be used as a farmers’ market. 

The suggestion is being put forward as  part of the Raynes Park Enhancement Plan, but the money to do so would have to come from the proposed development of the Rainbow Estate, where, as we have reported, there is a planning application to build 250 new flats. 

Writing personally, I like the idea in principle, since it would bring the vibrant shopping scene on the other side of the railway arch to the Kingston Road side, on certain days of the week.  However, a similar scheme was proposed in Morden in Aberconway Road some years back, and had difficulties in keeping established.   It would require a lot of effort to get such a scheme going. 


Last year I was lucky enough to travel with 9 of the Arctic Convoy veterans on a memorable trip through Arctic waters to Murmansk and Archangel. They were all, of course, in their eighties, but could remember vividly how terrible the conditions were and the awful loss of life. There was a moving service off North Cape in Norway in which a wreath was laid on the sea. The Russian navy conducted a memorial service in Murmansk. What really upset the veterans was that the British government had never reflected their sacrifices by granting them a medal and had actually prevented the Russians from doing so, as the Russians had long wanted. Fortunately wiser counsels have now prevailed, and they have got the official recognition they deserve. 

John Elvidge, Chairman

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