Chairman's Blog - October 2014


At our Open Meeting in September we were very pleased to hear from Merton’s Head of Library and Heritage Services about the Council’s proposals for rebuilding West Barnes Library. Mr. Anthony Hopkins has been with Merton Libraries for many years and was instrumental in the successful redesign of Raynes Park Library.  

The plans are ambitious and include a larger library space, a community hall, and toilets open to the public.  They have been progressed following initial positive feedback from local residents, and have now gone out to further consultation until 24th October.  Residents can give their feedback on the council website or by filling out a questionnaire available at any local library. To find out more, visit www.  The results of the consultation will be available in November/December. 

Mr. Hopkins said that the hoped for time scale would be to approach potential developers by the autumn of 2015, and the development would then take 12-18 months.  The library would re-open in the autumn of 2017. 

A shop in Motspur Park would be used as a temporary library while the development was going on. 

The funding for the project would largely come from allowing the developer to build housing over the library premises, as was done at Raynes Park.  40% of this would be affordable.  Money could also come from community levies on development elsewhere. 

We reminded him that, if at all possible, a lift should be included in the design, so as to enable easier access for disabled people to Motspur Park station. This would be all the more important when the station is used for the proposed Crossrail services. 

It is well worth remembering that it was only a few years ago that the Council was proposing to close West Barnes Library altogether as a cost cutting exercise.  It was only saved through local residents volunteering to run the Library themselves, and through the setting up of the very successful Friends of West Barnes Library. We carry in the Guide each month the very many activities now taking place in the Library. Many congratulations to all those involved. 


We were also delighted to hear at our Open Meeting from Miss Jane Alexander who is the Recycling Encouragement Manager for Merton. As is well known, all councils face financial penalties for the waste which goes to landfill, and it is imperative to increase the amount of refuse that households recycle. 

It should be possible to recycle almost everything we use, but, as in most areas, we are only recycling some 39% of our waste at present. 

To help galvanise everyone to improve this figure, the council has leafleted every home with information on recycling, has competitions to encourage this, and goes out to schools to pass on the message.  


Transport for London is looking into plans to extend the Tramlink from Wimbledon to Sutton, via Morden and St. Helier Hospital. Merton and Sutton Councils were asked to gauge public opinion, and 84 % of the high response rate were in favour. 

The proposal is also strongly supported on all sides by Councillors, London assembly members, and the MP’s for both boroughs, since it would bring major economic and social benefits. It is thought that some 10,000 permanent jobs would be created as well as the temporary work during the construction. It would reduce car usage, and provide much easier access to the hospital, and to education facilities, shops and leisure activities in our area. 

Writing personally, I hope that the scheme does progress. The success of the Tramlink from Wimbledon to Croydon and beyond has been astonishing, when one considers that the previous track had a 2 carriage train which hardly anyone used. 



Our "Get well" wishes go to Grace McCormack - road steward for Berrylands (off Heath Drive), who is recovering from a broken hip and thanks to Anne-Marie Geraghty who has volunteered to deliver Grace's round until she is back on her feet. 


John Elvidge

Join us on:


Share this page: