Chairman's Blog - April 2019


Beware of scam calls and messages.

The number of scam phones calls I get has increased no end. In addition, I am now getting scam texts on my mobile phone and very doubtful e-mails. There doesn’t seem to be any way to stop them.  

The phone calls typically say that your broadband has been “compromised” and you need to dial a number to speak to a technician. Or that you need to speak to someone about your gas bill.

A recent text message stated that my (named) bank account had been suspended for security reasons, and I should visit a web link to restore access. Another purported to come from DVLA and said that they had “identified that you still have an outstanding vehicle tax refund from an overpayment” and that I should follow the process to get it on another web page. 

It is often difficult to distinguish a genuine message from a false one, which is why they so often succeed.  When in any doubt do not open an attachment to an e-mail, and never answer a call, or try a suggested website.


 Some time ago I deplored in these comments that the NatWest bank had closed its branches in Morden and Wimbledon Village, leaving customers who needed personal service to join the every lengthening queue at the branch in central Wimbledon, where they typically have only two members of staff manning the desks. 

Now the Santander branch in Morden is closing on 9 May, leaving customers to get to the Wimbledon or Sutton branches, or use the Post Office.  They are cutting a fifth of their high street network. Which?, the consumer group, calculates that nearly two thirds of the UK’s branch network has been lost in the past 30 years, the numbers of branches having fallen from over 20,583 in 1988 to 7,586.     

While I fully understand that many people now prefer to do their banking online or through mobiles, there are still a large number of people, many of them elderly, who cannot access these systems or prefer not to for security reasons.  I also understand that banks are commercial organisations, which are set up to make a profit.  

However, what particularly riles me is that these closures are dressed up as improvements to the service, when they are nothing of the kind. 


The public consultation as to the future flight paths into and out of Heathrow has closed. We have, along with all other local replies, stressed that the flight paths should not come over this area, which has been largely free of noise to date.  However, we fear that if the proposed third runway is built, some increase in noise will be inevitable, given the huge increase of 250,000 extra flights being planned, up to 740,000 flights a year from the current 475,000. The noise maps reveal that some areas that are currently free of noise will suffer 47 flights an hour overhead. The noise levels from inbound planes, flying at 5,000 feet and below, will be up to 65 decibels.  

5 councils, including Wandsworth, are seeking a judicial review of the Heathrow expansion. 

What is really needed is for MP’s to look again at the necessity for a third runway at Heathrow, at a cost of £14 billion. It is surrounded by dense housing, and building would mean major alterations to the road structure. 

The Airports Commission report, which led to the Government’s adoption of the scheme, was largely based on the need to maintain Heathrow as a global “hub” airport, where passengers would wait to be connected to a smaller plane. The Times business commentary pointed out the concept of a “hub” airport was in real doubt, given that the Airbus A380, which contained anywhere between 544 and 853 passengers, was now being replaced by smaller and cheaper aircraft which went direct to the final destinations.  

The build up in flights is in part due to the increase in holiday traffic. The sensible policy must be to allow more local airports to expand, building in time a second runway at Gatwick and Stansted, and with more flights from regional airports. 

John Elvidge

Join us on:


Share this page: