Chairman's Blog - March 2019


The Times reports that a new 1,250 seat concert hall is being proposed for the car park behind Morrisons supermarket in central Wimbledon.  Early designs have been prepared by the world famous architect, Frank Gehry, who designed the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao and the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. 

To go ahead, the project requires a massive £100 million, made up of £65 million for the building with the balance needed to provide an endowment for running costs. This would have to come from private funding.  This is now being sought.

While Merton Council owns the land, it would not provide any public funding, but might lease the site on a long term basis. 

 The Council is currently consulting on a plan for the future of the area.  It has been earmarked for many years as a site for a replacement for the Civic Hall, which was demolished in 1987 to make way for the Centre Court shopping centre.    


The Council has obtained orders in the High Court to prevent trespassing on parkland, including Cannon Hill Common. These are addressed, as they must, to Persons Unknown, but contain a power of arrest. The hope is that these further powers will prevent the incursions that have taken place in recent years and make removal quicker and easier if they do occur. 

The Home Secretary is also proposing further measures, which would make the setting up of unauthorised camps a criminal offence, given the difficulty of enforcing aggravated trespass notices. These would give police new powers of eviction. 


There is also a notice on Cannon Hill Common asking people not to leave out pieces of chicken. These will decay and can cause poisoning to dogs, and other animals.   We understand that these notices were made necessary since some cases of poisoning did occur. 


The Council’s Sustainable Communities Overview and Scrutiny Panel will be meeting at the end of February to discuss waste, recycling, and street cleaning under the new contract. We have put forward some suggestions for improvements to the present system. 

One of the major problems, in my view, is that the recycling boxes for plastic and bottles are collected only every fortnight, and often have lots of small items in them.  They have no lids and tend to be left out overnight.  The result is that whenever it is windy, the streets and gardens around are full of blown rubbish. Also, on a very windy day, the boxes themselves can be blown into the street. 


Paul Electrical has been a fixture among the shops in Grand Drive for the past 60 years. Very sadly, it has now closed.  

The shop contained a vast array of electrical goods and supplies of all kinds, at prices which more than matched those of the High Street retailers. But we have lost the expertise of the staff, their friendliness, and their willingness to give expert and unbiased advice; you could buy the product one day, have it delivered and fitted within a day, and have the old item taken away, all without fuss.

It’s a great shame that in this internet age, this kind of personal service is disappearing. 

John Elvidge

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