Chairman's Blog - Aug 2018


We reported a few months ago that Nat West intended to close their branches in Wimbledon Village and in Morden.  They have now gone through with this, and the buildings are firmly shuttered.  Their branch in Raynes Park closed many years ago.  What an appalling disregard they have shown for the convenience of their customers. 

These branches were heavily used.   Customers will now have to go to the only remaining local branch in Wimbledon Town Centre, which always has long queues of people waiting to be served, and limited numbers of staff.  They try to make you use machines for depositing funds, but these are so difficult to understand that one member of staff, instead of acting as a cashier, has to be on hand. 

The bank will argue that much banking is now done on-line, but many customers, like me, who have been the subject of bank fraud, refuse to transact financial details on the internet which can be readily hacked. Some people cannot afford the internet or do not know how to use it.   

What is particularly galling is the pretence that this is somehow improving the service it gives to customers. When will large companies realise that many people prefer to transact their business with real people? When will they understand that putting the needs of customers before increasing profits actually increases their profits by increasing their customer share? 

We see the same stupid trend in supermarkets when you have to scan your own purchases, and there remain only a token number of check out tills. 


On a lighter note, I was invited by the Raynes Park Townwomen’s Guild to their lovely 85th birthday buffet luncheon at St Saviour’s Church Hall. You will have seen their articles which we publish in The Guide each month.   The Mayor was the guest of honour, and we had a delightful cabaret performed by a group of hand bell ringers. We were told that the Guild grew out of the movement for women’s rights started by the suffragettes.  I was made very welcome despite being the only man present, apart from the Mayor’s attendant.

We congratulate them for keeping going for so long, including through the war years. 

Our Association is celebrating its 90th anniversary this year, and we intend to publish an Anniversary issue of The Guide in the autumn. We also hope to hold a dinner at Merton College. Details of this will follow as soon as the arrangements are finalised. 


Cross Rail 2 is the proposal for a new rail system that is intended to run from surrey and south west London through a tunnel north of Wimbledon up to north London. This is intended to cope with the vast increase in the number of rail passengers.  It will, obviously, be an enormous expensive project, and so the Government has set up an “Independent Affordabilty  Review”  to advise on whether it is actually financially  feasible.  The scheme is not planned to come into operation until at least 2028 in any event.  The team running this will be conducting another public consultation in due course. 


We are very pleased that the All England Lawn Tennis Club has provided us with new posts and nets for the tennis courts at our Pavilion in Grand Drive. We have set up two courts for members to use and we have kept the third for short tennis and other ball games. 

The Club has provided these free of charge as part of its Community Outreach Programme, and we are very grateful to them for the time and effort they have given to us. Any member can use these courts, for a very small hourly charge, on application by e-mail to:  

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

John Elvidge

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