Chairman's Blog - August 2016


Crossrail2 is to be the new line, which the government has committed to fund, and which will probably be routed from several places in Surrey, including Chessington and Epsom to north London. Building this line, part of which will be in tunnels, will be a huge feat of engineering, and will cause major disruption to the whole of our area for ten years or more. There will then be additional trains running through Motspur Park, Raynes Park and Wimbledon into central London and beyond. 

There was a preliminary public consultation over the Christmas holidays which the promoters are now considering.  You can read an account of their conclusions on the consultation in the our article Crossrail 2 - July 2016. 

What seems to be clear is that both the level crossings at Motspur Park and West Barnes would probably have to be closed. Whether either or both would be replaced by a tunnel or bridge has been hardly considered. Nor have the traffic flow implications. The stations at Motspur Park and Raynes Park might have to be altered or re-located. There would be major works needed in the centre of Wimbledon to accommodate new tracks, and the commercial centre would be decimated for the period of the works. 

We will ensure that there will be the fullest public consultation for local residents before major and irreparable decisions are taken, including public meetings if required.  The next stage for consultations is likely to be later in the autumn. 


Since the last edition of The Guide, there have been further deluges of rain and consequent flooding.  It was pointed out to me that one of the reasons that the flood water could not escape was that the Council has not maintained the regular clearance of the road gullies. Also I mentioned in the last edition that the grass verges had not been cut for weeks, and were very high.  Ironically, they were finally cut the day before one of these rain storms, but the grass was left to blow into the gutters which further blocked the flow of water.  The grass should have been picked up and bagged as it was cut. 

Another contributing factor is that the building control inspectors no longer seem to ensure when houses are converted to provide extra space by way of back or loft extensions, that the guttering connects to therain water sewers or to a dedicated soak away tank, rather than to the foul sewer system. The result is when there is flooding, sewage comes back into neighbouring houses. 

The Association has a complete record of the rivers and streams in this area, as well as the whereabouts of the Thames Water and sewage pipes. This was collected over many years by our expert, Jan Bailey, who sadly died earlier this year. Many times she had to point out to Merton officers, and even to the Environment Agency, that a proposed development would impact on a water or sewer pipe, since the Council did not have the information on record. We intend to keep this invaluable information for the sake of future generations, but to give a copy to the Council for their records. 

The Times weather correspondent pointed out that London is especially vulnerable to flash flooding as it is so heavily built up. Heavy rains run off roofs, roads and other hard services, quickly setting off floods. He notes that in the past ten years the number of front gardens that are paved over across the UK has risen from 28 to 48 per cent, and that a study in Leeds has shown that the paving of gardens over a period of 33 years has led to an increase of 12% in run off.  It is a pity that as street parking becomes more difficult and paid for parking zones become more extensive, more front gardens are disappearing under concrete. 


Residents will have noticed Merton’s yellow billboards proclaiming that cameras are being installed that will automatically record bus lanes, box junctions, and banned turns. There’ll be a penalty notice of £130 for offenders, reduced to £65 if the fine is paid within 14 days.  While the principle of trying to keep traffic moving can be applauded, I hope that the Council will be sensible in its enforcement policy. Many motorists, from time to time end up in a bus lane, or find that their exit from a hatched area is unexpectedly blocked by other traffic.  I also hope that no penalty will be enforced if the signage is not absolutely clear. 


Residents may not be aware that our new Prime Minister, Theresa May, began her political career as a Councillor in Merton, becoming its Deputy Leader and its Chairman of Education. Party Politics aside, we should mark it as a great personal achievement. 

 John Elvidge

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