Chairman's Blog - October 2016


In the July edition of the Guide I criticised the proposals of Merton Council to reduce the collection of rubbish from every week to every fortnight. The Council also proposes to introduce wheelie bins to contain all the extra rubbish that would inevitably be built up, at a huge initial cost.

At the same time, the Council proposes to reduce the frequency of collection of rubbish that can be re-cycled from weekly to every other week. Paper and card will have to be put in one wheelie bin to be collected one week, and plastic, glass, and cans in an open container to be collected the following week. All Councils have to meet targets for the proportion of rubbish re-cycled, or pay financial penalties: these are imposed so as to reduce landfill as much as possible. Merton falls short of meeting these targets at the moment, and reducing the frequency of collecting re-cyclable rubbish will mean that the targets become even harder to reach.

As we said previously, wheelie bins are not suitable for many smaller houses and flats which have nowhere to store them. They will be left on the streets to become eyesores, will overflow, and will attract foxes and rats.

Elderly and disabled people will find it difficult, and impossible in many cases, to manoeuvre them through the house and out the front door.

We find it difficult to understand the thinking behind these proposals. It is

unlikely to provide any cost saving. The present system works well enough, and the Council has provided no good reason to change it.  If enough residents write in to protest, maybe the Council will change its mind. 


An example of a change in rubbish collection that has not worked is the decision to remove almost all the dog waste bins, and to require dog waste instead to be put into the ordinary waste bins in our streets and parks. This can only work if the bins are emptied on a very regular basis and before they become full to overflowing. All too often this does not happen. When bins overflow, the results are inevitably disgusting. 

Removing waste should be the number one priority of any Council, since, while ratepayers may not have children to educate or elderly relatives to care for, we all produce waste. The Council must ensure that enough resources are provided to keep the Borough free of overflowing filth. 


Like everybody else, I am plagued by nuisance telephone calls almost every day. When you try to find out who has phoned, the call is not traceable. Many of these calls originate abroad, but some are from the UK. The call companies now use smooth sounding staff to allay your initial suspicion. Often they claim merely to be conducting a survey in your area. What is particularly disturbing is when the caller asks for you by name and knows the area you live in. More elderly and confused people can be very upset by such unwanted calls. Even more disturbing, in a sense, are the silent calls when the phone rings, and no-one is there when you answer it. 

It should be made a criminal offence, punishable with unlimited fines, to make any single such call. It should be made a criminal offence to make a call from a number that cannot be traced. We should not have to pay for a call barring system on our phones, which in any case does not screen out all of these persistent rogues. 


These much valued shops in the town centre of Wimbledon were pushed out of their sites on Wimbledon Bridge by the new Metro Bank now being built.  Residents will have been pleased to see that both are now due to come back, 

Waterstones to the Broadway, and W.H.Smiths to Centre Court. 


For weeks past, it has taken a good half an hour to move from the traffic lights at Grand Drive, or from the slip road leading from the southbound A3, to get past the gas and road works at Shannon Corner. The traffic crawls along Bushey Road, and, more dangerously, is stationary on the A3 out of London. 

There is no explanation of what is happening, or as to how long the work will take. Often no work seems to be going on. I thought that utility companies were now contractually committed to get on with such work once it started, and to continue till it finished. This needs to be enforced more rigorously.  

John Elvidge 

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