There are extensive plans to regenerate Morden. This is a truly massive project which will potentially completely transform the look, shape and size of Morden. The latest news on redevelopment was covered in our Autumn 2017 edition of FORUM.
We devoted our June 2017 Meeting to Morden Regeneration. Paul McGarry, Head of Future Merton, updated us on the project. Click here to view the slides presented at our meeting.The slides demonstrate that the project has not reached the stage of putting forward specific plans.
Nevertheless, work on the regeneration is picking up the pace. We are entering a critical period. A developer will be appointed in the coming months.
Here is the September 2017 update from Merton Council, including comments on the timetable and financing.
There will be further updates in our email alerts (sign up here if you wish to receive them) and we will add to our dedicated Local Issues page on Morden Regeneration as more information becomes available.
***Next Meeting, email alerts and joining MPWRA***
Our next meeting is on Tuesday 6 February at 8pm in Poplar Primary School. Please note the change in day and venue. The special topic is Future Merton, with particular emphasis on the extensive plans for Morden Town Centre. Everyone is welcome.
Many thanks to all those residents who display our posters to inform their neighbours. You can download a poster for the meeting here a couple of weeks before the meeting.
You can sign up to receive our email alerts on important and urgent issues. Just put "alerts" in the title and your address in the body of your email to us.
We hope that you will feel that you would like to join MPWRA to help support our efforts to look after our ward, including FORUM circulation. It's easy to join. Just click here.
In the November '17 Budget Crossrail 2 received little comment. The Local Government Association commented: "The government will continue to work with Transport for London on developing fair and affordable plans for Crossrail 2, including through an independent review of funding and financing."
During the year, there has been plenty of discussion about Crossrail 2 (CR2) in recent months, with various statements from the Government and London’s Mayor. Here are the key points:
In March 2017 TfL submitted an updated business case and funding plan for CR2 to the Department for Transport. In mid-summer a government minister stated: ". . . a thorough analysis is being carried out by my department to ensure it is a robust scheme . . . The next steps, including when the next stage of public consultation will take place, will be decided as part of this analysis."
In July the Secretary of State for Transport, Chris Grayling, and Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, both stressed the need for CR2 although the Mayor said the current plans for Wimbledon need revision. CR2 have stated that Wimbledon is ‘unique’ because of its impact on the Town Centre.
Chris Grayling asked City Hall to see if London can fund half of CR2’s up-front construction costs before he will consider whether to approve the scheme. He wants to see ‘a funding package which works for both London and the rest of the country and recognises other priorities. . . an affordable scheme that is fair to the UK taxpayer.’
The Mayor added: ‘Crossrail 2 is essential for the future prosperity of London and the South East, so I’m pleased that the Transport Secretary and I have reached an agreement to take this vital project forward. We will continue to work together to ensure the project is value for money and provides the maximum benefits for jobs and growth in the region over the coming decades.’
TfL are under pressure to improve the affordability of CR2 and increase its share of construction costs. The next public consultation on CR2 should come in 2018 but only once the Government approves TfL’s revised business case and financing is agreed. The consultation proposals will present a preferred option for Wimbledon, plus three other options, with an analysis which demonstrates why these are not preferred. It is not impossible that one of the non-preferred options could be selected following the consultation exercise.
Potentially the Parliamentary Bill might be introduced in 2019 and passed in 2021/22 (currently scheduled to be an election year). Construction might run from 2023 to 2033. However, we have learned that CR2 would not be completed until the 2040s under one option being explored by TfL, as they consider how to fund the project. Business groups say it would be ‘extremely disappointing’ if the project’s timetable were to be pushed back.
For further background and ideas on Crossrail 2 go to our Local Issues Page .
Michelle Dix, Managing Director of Crossrail 2, recently gave an interview to the Wimbledon Guardian making clear there is "no easy solution for Wimbledon town centre".
***Future of Epsom & St Helier Hospitals***
Epsom and St Helier NHS Trust has been consulting on how its services should be provided in the years ahead, defined as 2020-2030. It is generally accepted that the hospital estate is no longer fit for purpose and £16 million has already been spent on urgent repairs at St Helier to stop the rain coming through onto the wards. But for the longer term the Trust is consulting to make the case for £300-400m funding to build a new, acute hospital.
Daniel Elkeles, Chief Executive and Charlotte Hall, Head Nurse presented plausible arguments to MPWRA at our meetings in July and October for concentrating acute facilities in one hospital to deliver A&E, inpatient beds for children and maternity. 85% of patients would continue to receive care at the same hospitals as they do now but care for the sickest and most at-risk patients would be improved by having specialist facilities and consultants on one site, rather than spread across two as at present.
If the argument for one acute hospital is accepted in principle, the critical question then is where it should be sited. The consultation puts forward three options – St Helier, Epsom, and a co-location of Sutton and Royal Marsden hospitals. From the viewpoint of Merton residents, there can be no doubt that St Helier would be their preferred choice, and councillors are united cross-party in pushing for this. There are strong demographic arguments as well; the catchment area for St Helier has the greatest health needs and the most economic deprivation of the three options. The gap in life expectancy is actually increasing between the east and the west of Merton, so re-siting acute facilities away from St Helier into Epsom or Sutton can only exacerbate these inequalities.
Even if Epsom and St Helier NHS Trust is successful in its bid for funding (and this is the fifth set of proposals in 18 years), plans are still subject to statutory consultation which must involve Merton’s Health and Wellbeing Board. The Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) will determine the future of health provision for South West London i.e. Merton/Wandsworth, Kingston/Richmond, Sutton and Croydon. A revised strategy is promised in November – the discussion has some way to run yet before a decision is made.
Learn more about their strategy and the outrcome of their consultation on our Local Issues page.
|***Voice Your Concerns***
Merton Park Safer Neighbourhood Team (SNT) have a new website to let you tell your local police about the issues the matter to you. The count restarts every month to reflect current issues. Go to this link to take part. You can follow our SNT on Twitter @MPSMertonPark and "Merton Park Police" on Facebook.
***Morden Depot Expansion Cancelled***
We reported in our Spring 2017 FORUM that TfL were planning to expand the capacity of their Morden Depot to enable a significant increase in the volume of journeys along the line. An additional 17 trains were to be bought so the Northern Line could run 30 trains per hour at peak times. We have discussed the plans with TfL since then, so were surprised to be told in early October that the plans, due to be rolled out at the end of this year, have been ‘paused’.
In further discussions with TfL we were told that they will be able to increase the frequency of their existing trains without the immediate need to purchase new trains. The reasons given were changed timetabling and the impact of capacity increases coming our way from the Elizabeth Line (Crossrail 1). One can hear the faint sound of TfL ‘whistling to keep its spirits up’: timetabling may help a bit but CR1 is an East-West line which will give little relief to the Northern Line. The news will come as a blow to TfL’s suppliers who had expected these plans to proceed until very recently.
New timetables will be introduced early in 2018 so we will see if there is an improvement. Of course, the ‘pause’ will mean no disruption from the planned expansion of Morden Depot, although some necessary upgrade to electrical supplies will still be needed. The greater concern is that this effective cancellation, at such an advanced stage, signals a lack of funds for TfL to carry out its many programmes.
The previously planned works are outlined in this presentation.