Chairman's Blog - July 2019


Notices are up in Lloyds Bank in Raynes Park stating that the branch is due to close on 22 August.  This will mean that there will be no longer any bank branches in Raynes Park. This must impact on the continued improvement of Raynes Park as a local shopping and business centre. 

We have asked Stephen Hammond MP to do what he can to change their minds, but it seems that all the clearing banks are determined to cut their costs in this way. 

We have said before that many people, and particularly the more elderly, do want to see someone in person to discuss their financial needs. Many people, rightly in my view (as one who has been defrauded by an incompetent bank) still distrust on- line banking. 

This closure follows that of the branch of Barclays in Raynes Park, the closure of the branches of NatWest in Morden and Wimbledon Village, and of Santander in Morden.    NatWest has been left with the main branch in Wimbledon Town Centre, which always has a long queue of people waiting to see the tellers, because of the inadequate number provided of these.  The need for branches is still there, but the banks are not responding to the wishes of their customers. 


In October last year the Council granted planning permission for the demolition of the Manuplastics site at 579-589 Kingston Road, and for the building of 99 flats.   Now the owners want to add to their number in a new application. These will be studio flats, and one and two bedroom units, but none of three bedrooms. All of them will be flats for rental only, and there will be no “affordable” units.  The proposals are to tier the flats in 2 to 7 storeys. It remains to be seen whether such a large development on a relatively limited site will be granted permission. 


We reported in the February Guide on the proposal by Redrow to build a massive 446 flats at 265 Burlington Road, taking in part of the Tesco car park.  The flats were to be built in 7 blocks, with the tallest of them rising to 14 storeys, another of 13, and another of 10, all facing the Tesco store, and reducing to 7 fronting Burlington Road.   The intention of the developers at that time was to proceed with a formal planning application as soon as possible. 

Since then it has gone deathly quiet, and it may be that the developers are having second thoughts about whether to proceed.    We will keep you informed and will hold a public meeting if a planning application is made, as there are bound to be major concerns as to the height and size of the development, and its effect on community provision for health and schools. 


The Boundary Commission and Merton Council are considering proposals to reduce the number of Councillors on Merton Council from 60 to 57, which would, of course, reduce the cost of council services to some degree.   This would bring the number of Councillors back to its previous level. The aim is to have this in place in time for the next council elections. 

This would entail some changes to the existing ward boundaries, and perhaps some wards having two Councillors rather than three. 

An initial analysis seems to show that the wards which this Residents’ Association represents, of West Barnes, Raynes Park, Cannon Hill, and Lower Morden, are unlikely to be greatly affected, since the number of residents here has overall increased, rather than lessened. 

John Elvidge

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