Chairman's Blog - Jan 2018


As we reported in the December edition of The Guide, the All England Club is proposing to provide additional tennis facilities at their ground off Grand Drive. 

These include an additional air dome over three acrylic courts, which will be situated behind the present air dome, i.e. on the opposite side from the houses in Cannon Hill Lane. They also want to build 16 new international standard grass courts which will be used by the players competing in the Wimbledon Championship.  In keeping with their wish to work with the local community, these grass courts will be available to use by local people, after registration and booking, for a nominal sum after the end of the Tournament and until the end of September. There is an all-year-round Community Tennis Programme on the acrylic courts. A new clubhouse is also being built. 

The Club hosted two consultation meetings and sent out invitations to the 300 surrounding residents in Cannon Hill Lane, Elm Walk, Southway, and Grand Drive.  I attended one of these, and there was a steady flow of residents in attendance. 

As part of their proposals they intend to deal with the remaining flooding issues at the ground that have caused major problems over the years to some of the surrounding properties. These include the blockages that often occur to the Meadowsweet Ditch which prevents storm water running off.  The residents were particularly interested in these. 

The Ground is the home of the Wimbledon Junior Tennis Initiative and over 350 children from local schools now visit the site for coaching every weekend. The Club’s coaching team visits 69 schools in Merton and Wandsworth, giving taster sessions and selecting pupils to receive coaching at the Ground.

It also is the training base for the Wimbledon ball boys and ball girls, all of whom are drawn from local schools.   

A sports pitch will be retained for community use on the eastern section of the site. 

One suggested proposal which may cause controversy is for maintenance vehicles to be able to access the ground off Cannon Hill Lane. Given the outcry this caused when this was proposed as a main access for residential use, we hope that this will not be proceeded with in the formal application.  

The Club intends to lodge this by the end of January, and, of course, anyone affected by the proposals can object at that stage.  In the meantime, comments can be sent via e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by post to: Raynes Park Phase 2 Proposals, c/o Rolfe Judd Planning, Old Church Court, Claylands Road, London, SW18 1NZ. 


The Royal Bank of Scotland has announced that it intends to close 197 NatWest branches by June 2018. These include the branch in Morden and that in Wimbledon Village. Of course, the branch In Raynes Park was closed some years ago. That will only leave the branch in the town centre of Wimbledon open for local customers. 

The Bank, which is still largely owned by the taxpayer, justifies this on the grounds that the number of customers using branches has fallen by 40% in recent years in favour of customers using online and mobile transactions.  That still leaves 60% of customers who want to access a branch. 

I have to say that this is a totally retrograde decision.  People have many reasons why they to want to talk to a cashier in person. There are often queues of people at the Morden branch. As a customer of NatWest, I regularly use the branches that are to close in preference to that in the Town Centre, since every time I go there, there is a long queue of people waiting to see the cashiers. The queue is made worse since in each branch there are now only two over worked cashiers available to see people. 

I suppose that it is useless to protest, but it is a woeful example of a state run organisation putting its own wish to maximise profits against the wishes and needs of the people it is supposed to serve. 


This year we will achieve 90 years of existence as a Residents’ Association, a major achievement.  We will be letting you know how we are proposing to celebrate this anniversary year. 

Meanwhile, a Happy New Year to all our Members and readers. 


John Elvidge 

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