Chairman's Blog - February 2016


Merton Bowling Club is a Council owned bowling green situated in the Joseph Hood recreation ground off Cannon Hill Lane. 

The bowling lawn has always been maintained by the Council to the highest standards, and the Club is greatly valued as a local sporting facility. It has suitable premises, changing rooms and a bar.  A large number of local residents, particularly of the older generation, use it for 5 months every summer. Matches are played against other Clubs both home and away. 

It is an affiliated social activity of the Residents’ Association, and the details of its honorary secretary can be found here and in The Guide

In 2001 the Council’s Open Spaces Strategy undertook to maintain the facilities until 2026, recognising the social pleasure and recreation it offered.  

Unfortunately the members have been told that the Council will not maintain the green after the end of this financial year in April.  This is to save the relatively small amount this costs. The amount, however, is more than the members can undertake to meet from their own resources. 

They have circulated a petition protesting at this decision, and hope to get 1,000 signatures. This is to emphasise to the Council majority members that this is a valuable resource, largely used by more elderly people. It is stupid to take away this facility when our population is aging, and all the emphasis is on keeping people alert and fit as they grow older. 

We urge everyone to write to the Council, asking for an urgent re-think of this regressive policy. 


The promoters of CrossRail2 held a series of public meetings in December to consult on the impact of the building work necessary to implement the new proposed cross London railway. These included two days in the Piazza in the town centre of Wimbledon. 

We have to say that the meetings were not well publicised, and were obviously held at the wrong time of the year, when everyone was focused on Christmas.  Further, the responses had to be received by the very early date after Christmas of 8th January. 

A small group of the committee of the Residents’ Association worked hard to give in our official response by 8th January, and we are very grateful for their expertise and efforts. This may be read here and in The Guide, so that residents can fully understand the major impact this may well have on ourlocal community. 

If the suggested proposals go ahead, it is likely that the town centre of Wimbledon will be blighted as a shopping centre foryears tocome. The proposals include the demolition of the Prince of Wales pub; the grade II listed fire station from 1904, and the deconsecrated church next door. Part of Centre Court will go. 

This is on top of the unconnected closure this January of Waterstones and W.H. Smith’s.  There appear to be no plans to re-locate these valuable stores elsewhere in Wimbledon. Waterstones announces in its window that the nearest shops will be in Putney and Wandsworth, while Smith’s give no indications whatever of any new location.  We understand that their moves are the result of a new large bank, the Metrobank, taking over the premises. 

The proposals do not yet cover the centres of Raynes Park and Motspur Park but we can expect similar disruption here for years to come. 

The scheme at present would also worsen road access via the West Barnes and Motspur Park level crossings, given the number of extra trains on the lines.  That would mean gridlock on the whole local road system. There have been vague suggestions as to bridges at these points. Local tunnels at these points would not appear to be practical. 

The suggestion was made at one of the public meetings that to alleviate the wholesale destruction of our local centres, and the problems of crossing the railway, that there should be a much larger tunnel built starting from the Berrylands area, as was done on the new high speed line from Ebbsfleet in Kent to St Pancras.  


The traffic coming from Raynes Park station to the Bushey Road traffic lights is held up for much of the day as the junction is too narrow to allow for cars going ahead, as well as for lorries and buses wanting to turn right. 

We wonder whether a right hand filter should be installed at the end of the green sequence for traffic coming from the station up Grand Drive.  While there would be some loss of movement for traffic coming down Grand Drive, the overall flow of the traffic would be improved. Let us know what you think. 


John Elvidge 

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