Chairman's Blog - Nov 2019


The Government’s housing minister is to issue next month a national standard for Council planners to adhere to, which will give them more power to reject unattractive developments.  He said that he wants new homes to be in harmony with the local area and rooted in communities. New housing must enhance its surroundings, have a distinctive identity that will delight occupants, have a walkable form with “recognisable streets”, prioritise nature, and have tree lined public spaces. 

Developments should include a mix of housing types.  They should inspire a “sense of delight” and “lift our spirits”. This is in an effort to boost house building and overcome local opposition. There will be “ten characteristics of beautiful places” that it expects planners to follow. Ministers accept that more homes must not come “at the expense of beauty, quality and design”. 

The Redrow proposals for Burlington Road and the Tesco extra car park site are so massive and ugly that they have already attracted almost universal local opposition.  It will be interesting to see if Merton’s planners give full weight to the new official guidance and reject the schemes. 

It is unlikely that the applications will come before Merton’s planning committee any time soon. 


The heavy rainfall over the past few weeks has again highlighted the fact that this area has always suffered from drainage problems and flooding.  This was why the Residents’ Association was originally formed back in 1928. 

There is a particular problem with the water that falls on Cannon Hill Common, when the natural aquifer is saturated, so that flooding arises above ground level.  We believe that the ditches on the Common were originally constructed to take water away towards Prince George’s Playing Fields and Bushey Road, and that these are no longer maintained properly. 

The result is that some of the ground water runs down the natural slope towards Parkway and Elm Walk, streaming under some of the houses, and then pools onto the All England Club ground that is bounded by Cannon Hill Lane, Grand Drive, Southway, and Elm Walk.  The ground, at the time of writing, is currently covered with water.

The All England Club is now constructing a number of new tennis courts on their ground, and they are building a land-drain network in accordance with the planning consent. Residents can see the extensive number of pipes that have been brought onto the site.  There will be perimeter drains for each of the hard courts and buildings.  These will all drain into a large “retention basin” to be excavated to the rear of the gardens of the houses at the junction of Elm Walk and Southway.  As and when the flow from this basin gets too high, there are also two underground buffer tanks to store the excessive water from storm surges, before gradually releasing it into the surface water sewer under Grand Drive, near the entrance to the site. If this design works, there should be no runoff from the AELTC ground onto neighbouring property, as happened in the past. 

This does not solve the problem of the ground water that runs off the Common under Parkway and Elm Walk and onto the AELTC ground, since the Common is higher. That is why we have asked the Council, which owns the Common, to maintain their ditches, as they have a responsibility to do. 


We have taken the opportunity over the summer break to refurbish the kitchen facilities at the Pavilion in Grand Drive.  We think that this will improve its usefulness for hirers. 

The Pavilion is available for hire to residents and groups, at very reasonable rates.  The details of how to enquire about hiring the Pavilion are here. 

John Elvidge


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