Merton Park Ward Residents' Association

Welcome to the website of the Merton Park Ward Residents' Association (MPWRA). Here's where to get updates on local events and issues, read information behind the stories and give your opinions on things that matter to you by emailing us.  


***Mayor of London Plans to Close Wimbledon Police Station***

The Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) is consulting on proposals to close police stations across London as part of cost saving measures designed to save £400m by 2020.  Wimbledon Police Station would close and policing operations would  transfer to the Mitcham Station;  the Wimbledon Station would be sold for redevelopment.

The MOPAC consultation on these proposals runs until Friday 6th October and can be accessed here.

Stephen Hammond, our MP, is campaigning against the proposed closure of Wimbledon Police Station, citing its key role close to a major transport hub and at the heart of Wimbledon's night time economy.  Wimbledon's front counter records 2.6 crime reports per day on average, against just 0.7 for Mitcham.  He has set up an on-line petition, which you can sign here .

***Next Meeting, email alerts and joining MPWRA***

Our next meeting is on Wednesday 6 September at 8pm in Merton Park Primary School when we shall be hearing about recent developments in Morden Hall Park and the outlook for its future.

Please note that from now on our meetings will be held on Wednesdays.  Everyone is welcome. 

Many thanks to all those residents who display our posters to inform their neighbours.

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.

***Morden Regeneration***

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 edition of FORUM.

We devoted our June 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.  2017 is expected to be a critical year.  A developer will be appointed and a public consultation will be planned.  We also understand that there will be opportunities for residents to get involved in the process.

Here is the latest update from Merton Council on Morden Town Centre Development (see Morden Newsletter January 2017).

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.


***Future of Epsom & St Helier Hospitals***

At our AGM on 5 July we heard an update from Daniel Elkeles, Chief Executive of Epsom and St Helier Hospitals NHSTrust and Charlotte Hall, Chief Nurse at the Trust.  Here are the slides they presented.  As they told us, the Trust have now launched a 'Big Conversation' to discuss Epsom and St Helier 2020 -2030.

There is a video on their website where you can also download an in-depth booklet, explaining the background to the project.   In the back of this booklet is a response form that you can fill in.

They put forward six scenarios:

1. Both hospitals continue as they are and receive enough funding to bring each site up to ‘functional levels’;

2. A new specialist acute facility is based at Epsom;

3. A new specialist acute facility is based at St Helier;

4. A new specialist acute facility is based at Sutton Hospital;

5. A new specialist acute facility is based at a combined site of Sutton Hospital and the Royal Marsden Hospital;

6. The Trust receives no capital investment and acute services are withdrawn, and no specialist cancer care is provided at a combined site at Sutton Hospital and the Royal Marsden.

The Trust are clear that they want to “make sure that this (last scenario) does not happen”.

The Trust are are asking the public several questions:

"1) Do you agree with our aim to provide as much care as possible from our existing hospital sites at St Helier and Epsom and do this by working more closely with the other local health and care providers?
2) Do you think we have made the case that we will improve patient care by bringing together our services for our sickest or most at-risk patients on a new specialist acute facility on one site?
3) We have set out several scenarios on how we can do this. Do you think we should consider any other scenarios?
4) How would you like to be involved in these discussions in the future?
5) Is there anything else you would like to tell us?"

There is also a summary leaflet to download on their website.   They are seeking local support and asking the public to add their names to show support for investment and the development of a new acute facility on one of their hospital sites.

***Crossrail 2***

In 2016 Crossrail promised that there would be a new public consultation before the end of that year.  We then learned that there would be no consultation until after the business case is settled. This effectively postponed it until Q2 2017 and following the General Election the consultation is not expected until much later this year at the earliest.

We had been looking forward to examining and commenting on four options.  These are:

1: The 2015 proposal in greater detail, with some  boundary  adjustments  & phasing  of  the engineering work to reduce disruption
2: Place Crossrail 2 in a deep tunnel.
3: Place non-stopping trains in a deep tunnel.  This work would need to be carried out first, so could cause a delay to the overall scheme.
4: Shift the scheme north towards Alexandra Road. Crossrail 2 platforms would be where the tram platforms  are  currently  and  all  existing  lines  would move northwards.

Option 4 could save some buildings in the town centre but would have an impact on Alexandra Road (Magistrates' Court and Waitrose).

All  the  options  involve  the  demolition  of  residential properties, something Crossrail has been reluctant to do so far.  A recent meeting at St Andrews Church was well attended by local residents’ associations. Strong feelings were  expressed  not  least  by  home-owners  who  had received letters warning them that their properties would be needed for the scheme. This seems ominous before the new consultation has even started.

Before the consultation Crossrail  2  are  expected  to state their preferred option and to give reasons why any options are ruled out. They will organise drop-in events for you to ask questions in Wimbledon Town Centre,  Weir Road and Raynes Park.  In  view  of  the  destruction  in  the  Town  Centre involved  in  the  original  proposal,  it  will  be  vital that the public makes its views known to Crossrail 2 and to Merton Council. We will do our best to keep you informed when consultation starts. The issue is not just of the loss of buildings but also the loss of businesses and jobs.

The Friends of Wimbledon Town Centre conducted their own survey in the summer of 2016.  Here are the results.  Learn more about the Friends on  their  website:

For further background 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".



***Waste Collection Proposed Changes***


Merton  is  going  ahead  with  plans  to  introduce  wheelie bins  for  all  waste  collections  as  it  joins  a  multi-borough scheme: South London Waste Partnership (SLWP) covers Merton,  Sutton,  Croydon  and  Kingston  Councils.  SLWP has  chosen  Veolia  to  handle  waste  collection  and  street cleaning services across the four boroughs.  Veolia took over the service in early 2017 and the scheme itself will start in 2018. They will collect:

•  Non-recyclable  rubbish  fortnightly from  a  240  litre wheelie bin
•  Paper  and  card  from  another  240  litre  wheelie  bin fortnightly
•  Plastic, glass and tin fortnightlyfrom a 55 litre box on alternate weeksto paper and card
•  Food waste collected weekly as now
•  Garden Waste fortnightly as now for an annual fee

In an earlier survey of Merton Park residents 75% were against wheelie bins and our councillors have consistently argued  against  the  scheme  finally  selected.   They lamented the lack of detail available in scrutiny to assess whether  the  proposed  scheme  was  the  right  one  for Merton.  The  councils  emerged  from their  protracted negotiations  with  the  contractor  (so-called  ‘soft-market testing’) accepting that it would be better if (1) you make
room  for  wheelie  bins  and  boxes on  your  property;  (2) you  sorted  recycling  into  separate  containers;  and  (3) Merton  should no  longer  benefit  from successful comingling  technology  which  encourages recycling.   It is a scheme that suits the contractor but provides a poorer service to residents.

The argument for wheelie bins had been that paper and card  in  open  boxes  degrade  if  they  get  wet  and  foxes attack black sacks creating rubbish in the streets.  But if we accept that argument we still cannot understand why all recycling cannot go into a single bin. It keeps the rain out,  it  maintains  the  value  of  the  recyclables  and  it promotes recycling in one container.

When  a pilot  scheme  was  conducted  in  2015  in  some Mitcham  roads,  it  simply tested a scheme using two  wheelie bins per household with weekly collections for both refuse and recycling.  It wasn’t a consultation but a trial in an unrepresentative location testing a scheme that is nothing like the one being introduced.

Our  independent councillors extracted a council promise that, over  the next few months, Merton will determine how many households would  find  storage  and  presentation  of  wheelie  bins difficult, so they can see what special arrangements are
necessary.  Our  councillors  have  also  met  cabinet  and council officers to show them the problems wheelie bins pose to many households in our ward and to discuss how to address them.

The council  has the  power to introduce a scheme of their own choosing. We hope that they will honour their commitments. We also hope that they will make the service as flexible as possible. In that  regard,  we  have  pointed  out  that  waste  collection vehicles  can  accept  both  wheelie  bins  and  black  sacks. There is plenty of flexibility to tailor waste collections to the needs of residents, not sacrifice residents to  fit in with contractors.

In June 2017 Cllr John Sargeant visited the London Borough of Kingston to observe their waste collections.  Their system will be introduced in Merton in October 2018.  He noted ways in which flexibilty can be incorporated in the collection process which could help those residents requiring extra help.


***Diesel Surcharge and MP2***


We reported in December that the council are introducing a hefty surcharge on annual CPZ fees for owners of diesel vehicles.  We had argued for a delay in its introduction to give residents time to review what kind of cars they should buy or drive until 2018/19 at the earliest.

MP2 Proposed CPZ: The (qualified) good news is that Merton seems to have heard some of our arguments in scrutiny and announced that CPZs recently consulted upon but not yet implemented will not immediately be charged the levy as residents were not made aware of the levy during the consultation process. When MP2 CPZ does come into operation residents with diesel cars would not face the new surcharge until 2018/19.  

To be crystal clear, we believe air-quality in general and diesel-related pollution in particular are major concerns for Merton.  But a well-publicised plan to levy a diesel surcharge in the foreseeable future would in itself have sent a strong signal to car owners and given them time to plan their car ownership.  Instead the measure looks like a purely revenue-raising measure penalising captive residents.



***MP2 CPZ (vicinity of Nelson Health Centre)*** 


The MP2 scheme was due to be introduced in July.  Letters to explain all the implementation details should have been delivered in June but the council failed to circulate them.  The implementation has been postponed in order that all residents are properly informed of the arrangements.  The start date for the scheme itself has also been delayed, to around the end of August, so residents will have more time to apply for a permit.

The Revised Leaflet to be circulated explains what will happen and will be delivered to all households in the MP2 area.

 Background: An initial consultation was undertaken in September-October 2016 on the potential introduction of a CPZ to address the parking problems near the Nelson Health Centre.  Following a positive result in several of the roads a formal consultation was held on a CPZ, MP2, in Bakers End, Cannon Hill Lane (from Kingston Road to railway bridge), Cleveland Avenue and Manor Road.  Residents in Leafield Road were formally consulted on whether they wished to join the MP1 CPZ.  Manor Gardens, Watery Lane and Aylward Road will not be part of the further consultation.  The consultation ran until 10 March. 

To see the results of the informal consultation and decision Click here .


***Property Company for Merton***

Like other local authorities, Merton council owns many sites around the borough; some are shops, offices and commercial premises (particularly in Morden) while others are undeveloped land.  Council policy has been to sell surplus sites to developers through a competitive bidding process. Although this generates a one-off capital receipt, the council does not benefit financially from the site once developed and capital receipts cannot be used to meet revenue needs, such as adult social care.

As the demand for property to rent is growing strongly, Merton has formed a Local Authority Property Company (LAPC) with the aim of developing its own housing for private rent.  Merton’s LAPC will start on a modest scale, developing 77 units across four small sites.  As well as having sites available to develop, the council can finance their development by borrowing at preferential rates from the Public Work Loans Board (PWLB) and lending on to the LAPC at more commercial rates.

From an investment of £25m into the LAPC for the initial scheme, the council can anticipate revenues of £17m over 30 years and will have an asset worth £50m on maturity.  This compares with a capital receipt of £8.2m if the four sites are sold now.  Of course, property development is not risk free.  But by building to rent rather than to buy, the council is tapping into the sector of the housing market that is showing the strongest growth in Merton.

In the longer run the LAPC could play a key role in the regeneration of Morden town centre, where at least 1,000 flats are planned.  Because the LAPC keeps control through build to rent, this ensures the flats will be lived in, not bought and left empty by overseas investors.  More than half of Morden town centre is in our ward, so as councillors we want to see thriving communities being created, not ghost towns.  The Morden development will include 26% affordable housing units, but these will be sold to a registered provider to manage, as the council no longer has any social housing stock of its own.

While the LAPC gives the council more control than simply selling the sites to a developer, it will also require careful management to balance the financial risk and to build housing that will be an asset to Morden in the future.

Learn more from this links to the proposal approved by council on 12 April:

Wholly Owned Local Authority Property Company (LAPC)



***Closure of John Innes Path***

In the 2016 consultation on the future of the John Innes path  (connecting  the  park  with  the recreation ground) 59% of  respondents  supported  closure  of  the path  during  the  school  day  (8am  to 5pm).  This  is  a  reversal  of  the  2010 consultation  when  60%  voted  to  keep  the path  open.  A police  report  highlighting weaknesses in the security of the school site made  a  significant  difference.   Your councillors  could not oppose closure given the results but insisted  that  if the path was closed Cabinet  should recognise  the  inconvenience  and  risks associated  with  closure,  including  safety  risks  in using Watery Lane as an alternative route and the lack of alternative  escape  routes  for  park  users  who  feel threatened.   They  also  demanded  that  Rutlish  School addresses all the other security weaknesses identified in the police report.

Cabinet held a special meeting on 15 August to approve closure  before  the  start  of  the  2016/17 school  year  on  3 September (see press release).  Initially  it  did  not  go  well.  Many  residents  have  been  in  touch with their concerns, especially those who walk through the  park  only  to  discover  the  gates  locked, others who noticed entrance gates left open while the path was locked.   Following residents’ emails to the school and councillors, the procedure seemed to improve.

We were told that by February 2017 there would be a new ‘footpath’ linking  the  park  to  the  recreation  ground.   In  reality, works  will  be  largely  to  create  two  access  points  to  link the park to Watery Lane and the Lane to the recreation ground. Rutlish School will provide some land to the left of  the  gate to  enable  level  access  from Watery Lane for buggies and wheelchairs. The works finally received planning permission in March but work was delayed until July after the exam period.  The planner's report can be viewed here.

Further details on our Local Issues page.



***New Community Scooter Park***


Poplar Primary School have created a Community Scooter Park - believed to be thew first in the UK.  Their Crowd fundraising Campaign  successfully raised £20,000 just before its self-imposed end-April deadline.  You can watch the scooter park in action and learn more about the scheme in this video .

We are thrilled that the school is bringing back derelict land for use by not only the school but the whole community.  MPWRA members organised a collection and donated a bench for the planned natural area which will be planted with bluebells, snowdrops and spring bulbs.


***FORUM - Spring Edition***

The Spring edition of FORUM will be delivered to every household in Merton Park Ward in mid-May by our wonderful volunteers.  You can read it now.  Click Here.


***Our Health, Our NHS***

At our September 2016 meeting senior managers from Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust talked about the challenges (there's that word again) facing the Trust.

For more details of the Trust's Estates Review click here and to learn more about the Trust itself click here .

And Healthwatch Merton News -  click here


***Morden Leisure Centre and Morden Park Playing Fields***


Plans for Morden Leisure Centre have been approved by Merton's Planning Applications Committee.  Merton's latest information (June 2017) on the Centre is here .

Read previous updates on the scheme to build a replacement Leisure Centre in Morden Park.  (Chris Parsloe, Merton's Leisure and Cultural Development Manager, talked to us about the new Centre in November 2016.)

There are also plans to build an inclusive outdoor sports facility under the auspices of the Morden Park Playing Fields Community Trust.  These plans were delayed so that they could proceed in step with the new Leisure Centre.  The plans can be viewed here

Together these two projects promise to transform a large part of Morden Park.


***Meetings, News & Membership***

You can download details and a poster for our next meeting normally two weeks before the meeting (held on the first Wednesday of the month) by clicking here.  If you can, please print and display the poster to let your neighbours know what's in store.

(We hold an open meeting every month (except January and August) with specialist speakers, always leaving time to question our Independent Ward Councillors.) 

 You can also  sign up to receive email alerts on important and urgent issues.  Just put "alerts" in the title and your address in the body of the email.

Without financial support we cannot exist.  If you would like to join us to help us to support you and your neighbours and keep you informed of all important issues (and keep Merton Park Independent), please click here to download and print off and return the 2016 membership form.



Our newsletter, FORUM, is compiled, edited and distrubuted by our volunteers.  We hope you enjoy it and 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.


***Other News***


Smart Water:

Learn more about this property tracking system here


This website contains:  

Notice Board
See what's happening around your area - social events, advice, support, etc, submitted by you.
Local Issues
News of relevance to our Ward; issues of interest to our residents.   For example:
     Morden Town Centre Development     
     Nelson Hospital     
About Us
Learn more about MPWRA, including our history, organization, objectives and meetings.  
Find out how to contact  or join us.
The Ward
See a map of the ward, information about your local services, policing, health and some familiar sights.
Our Councillors
Merton Park Ward's Independent Councillors, including their contact details.

Useful Links

          Police, schools, council services, and more.