Local Issues

 

On this page we provide additional information on several important local issues:

Wheelie Bins . . . . Morden Regeneration . . . . John Innes Path . . . . Crossrail 2 . . . . Future of Epsom & St Helier Hospitals Trust . . . . Boundary Changes. . . Property Company for Merton . . . .  Keeping an eye on our NHS . . . . Nelson Health Centre . . . . Harris Academy. . . . Merton's Budget 2017. . . . Wandle Vally Forum. . . . National Park City. . . . Japanese Knotweed. . . .Tramlink Proposals. . . .Supporting a Low Carbon Future . . . . School Places. . . .Development in Merton . . . Croydon Merton & Sutton Credit Union . . . .Merton Priory. . . . Local Guardian Newspaper

If you have comments on these or other local issues, please email us

 

Waste Collection Proposed Changes

Merton is planning to introduce wheelie bins for all waste collections in October 2018 as part of a multi-borough scheme.  The South London Waste Partnership (SLWP) covers Merton, Sutton, Croydon and Kingston Councils.  Veolia has been chosen as the recommended preferred bidder to handle waste collection and street cleaning services across the four boroughs.

As MPWRA wrote in August 2016:


"Despite our best efforts, wheelie bins are to be forced onto Merton's households in a reduced service which will discourage recycling and increase clutter in our front gardens.  Merton's plans to change our waste collections were approved by the Cabinet in July.  Under the scheme, Merton and three other councils will outsource their household waste collection to Veolia who 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 collected fortnightly from a 55 litre box on alternate weeks to paper and card
• Food waste collected weekly as now
• Garden Waste collected fortnightly as now for an annual fee

At a council "Call-in" in early August the Cabinet decision was upheld, paving the way for the contractor to take over in early 2017 and the scheme itself to start in 2018. 

In an alert in summer 2016 we lamented the lack of detail available to our Independent Councillors in scrutiny to assess whether the proposed scheme was the right one for Merton.  It is clearly right for the contractor.  The wheelie bin argument had been that open boxes and black sacks degraded recycling of paper and card and caused rubbish in the streets.  We were told that going to a more expensive service was a price worth paying.  But if wheelie bins are essential (in many cases they aren't) 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, it promotes recycling in one container.

But it seems that councils emerged out of the protracted negotiations with the contractor accepting (on your behalf) that it would be better if: 1. you sorted recycling into separate containers; 2, you make room for wheelie bins and boxes on your property; and 3, we should no longer use the successful comingling technology which encourages recycling. 
It is a scheme that suits the contractor but provides a poorer service to residents.

When a pilot scheme was conducted in 2015 in some Mitcham roads, it trialled using simply two wheelie bins with weekly collections.  Not a consultation but an unrepresentative location testing an unrepresentative scheme.  It's striking that Merton conduct consultations on many issues (there are six in progress currently, including one that seeks your views on the flooring for a new library) yet unaccountably there was no time in the past several years to ask you about wheelie bins."

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. 

 

What our residents had said:  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.

What our councillors did: They managed to establish through the scrutiny process that, well before the system is introduced, 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 met cabinet and council officers to show them the problems wheelie bins pose to many households in our ward, specifically in the north and south ends of Merton Park.  We hope that, even though the scheme is set to go ahead, the council will honour their commitment and make an honest appraisal of the problems the proposals will pose for many people.  We hope that they will make the service as flexible as possible so that households with difficulties will not have to suffer.

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 saw that the planned collection process could be quite flexible.  For example, residents requiring extra help could get it with the right planning.  It would be quite possible to throw black sacks into the new vehicles where this was a sensible option.

But the prospect of large, unsightly wheelie bins in crowded streetscapes remains.

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.

A public consultation was held in the weeks leading up to November 2015.  This link  takes you to background information about the plans.  A group of us, comprising MPWRA members, including Committee members, have convened specifically to follow the outlook and implications of the plans.  Our detailed submission to the consultation can be read here.

Learn more by clicking on the Morden Regeneration tab to the left of the screen.

John Innes Path

Following a consultation in the light of police recommendations to improve security, Merton Council’s cabinet agreed on 15 August 2016 to close the footpath between John Innes Park and John Innes Recreation Ground from 8am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, in term time from September 2016.

Several residents are affected by the restricted access to the footpath, as it provides a direct route to John Innes Park tennis courts, the bowling green and croquet lawn.  Cabinet agreed an alternative path for residents should be provided as soon as possible.  They promised that it would provide a route mainly through the existing park which will be fully accessible.

Due to the legal agreements required, this would take "a few months" to be completed but we were told that by February 2017 there would be a new ‘footpath’ linking  the  park  to  the  recreation  ground.   In fact, the works finally received planning permission in March 2017 and then work was delayed until July after the exam period.  The planner's report can be viewed here.

In  reality, the alternative path will exit the Park alongside the Rutlish gates on Watery Lane, use the footway in front of the school and enter the Recreation Ground as soon as practicable at the western end of the school frontage. 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 will be jointly fund by the council and school.

The cabinet decision is designed to ensure the school completes other recommended work to improve site security as well as closing the path.  This accords with a submission by Merton Park Independent councillors.

Initially, closure of the existing path it  did  not  go  well.  Many  residents  were 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.  Our Independent Councillors are still pressing for the procedure for the closure of the Path during school hours to be properly administered.

In the 2016 consultation on the future of the John Innes path 59% of  respondents  supported  closure  of  the path  during  the  school  day  (8am  to 5pm).  This  was 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.

Rutlish School has two main sites, situated either side of the footpath, which links John Innes Park to John Innes Recreation Ground, and provides a direct pedestrian and cycle route from one to the other.

You can read  the report on the consultation It ran from 10 June until 25 July 2016 and attracted a massive response – 1,117 survey forms returned, of which 909 were from local residents, 498 from park users and 261 from parents of pupils at Rutlish (many respondents fitted more than one classification).  Overall 59% supported closure of the path during the school day – this is a reversal of the outcome to the 2010 consultation, when 60% opposed closure.

Predictably in 2016, parents of Rutlish pupils were more likely to favour closure (84%) as were staff and governors (91%).  But local residents favoured closure by a slim margin (52%).  Only park users were opposed to closure (59%).

Those aware of its history will know the John Innes Foundation gifted the land to Merton and Morden UDC (predecessor to Merton LB) in 1949, subject to a restrictive covenant protecting the right of the public to walk between the park and the recreation ground.  The covenant will not be set aside; rather it was proposed for the Foundation to enter into a tripartite licence agreement with the school and the council to close the path during school hours for 190 days a year.

 

 

   Crossrail 2

Plans for Crossrail2 are under development to bring a new line from North East of London emerging at Wimbledon and travelling on to Epsom, Chessington, Hampton Court and Shepperton.   The scheme could transform the centre of Wimbledon.  It could also turn the centre into a building site for many years.  Here is a detailed presentation describing the plans as they stood at November 2015.

The Crossrail2 consultation ran until Friday 8 January 2016Our Independent Ward Councillors contributed to Merton's cross-party response to the consultation which can be viewed here.


Crossrail2 published their initial response to many of the issues raised during the consultation in July 2016. This is available to view on their website.

They are still working on several issues that attracted feedback in the consultation and in light of some of the recommendations made by the National Infrastructure Commission and the Government’s response.

There are specific comments on Wimbledon, Raynes Park and Motspur Park (starting on page 56 of Crossrail's response) as well as other locations -  Balham, Tooting Broadway, King’s Road Chelsea and the New Southgate Branch.  They say "more work needs to be done to work through the issues that have been raised. Plans for these areas will be published ahead of further public consultation in the autumn."

 

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 2018.

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.

 

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: http://www.wimbledontowncentre.com/.

 

For Merton a key step will the preparation of the Wimbledon Masterplan .  Originally planned to be created during 2016, the timetable has slipped into 2017. Workshop meetings involving residents were held in early 2017.  Many MPWRA members and our independent councillors attended.  The interactive sessions enabled residents to discuss and record the opportunities and issues facing Wimbledon and the future direction the town centre should take.  A full consultation report of the workshops will be published soon and will be accessible on this website, along with the next steps in the masterplan process.

The "Friends of Wimbledon Town Centre" is a non- political group keeping a watching eye on Crossrail2 developments.  You can access their website here.   

Further details are available at www.crossrail2.co.uk, including several factsheets and an interactive map of the proposals.

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We also undserstand:

  • Until the formal Act of Parliament is passed, no one can say Crossrail2 will definitely happen but there have been some important developments which all suggest that it will go ahead
  • The National Infrastructure Commission was asked to review the strategic case for Crossrail 2. It concluded in March 2016 that Crossrail 2 should be taken forward as a priority and that funding should be made available now to develop the scheme fully with the aim of submitting a hybrid bill by autumn 2019. This would enable Crossrail 2 to open in 2033.
  • In response, a week later the Government and Transport for London announced they will provide £160m to develop Crossrail 2 further with the aim of tabling a hybrid bill before the next General Election in 2020.
  • Crossrail 2 reports into Transport for London and the Mayor of London. The Mayor Sadiq Khan has previously made clear his support for Crossrail 2 in principle but that he is mindful of the concerns about the disruption in Wimbledon.
  • Sadiq Khan has appointed two key transport advisers. Lord Andrew Adonis will be Chair of the Crossrail 2 Board. He is also chair of the National Infrastructure Commission mentioned above. In addition, Val Shawcross has been appointed Deputy Mayor for Transport and Deputy Chair of Transport for London. She has served as a London Assembly member for 16 years, including eight years as chair and deputy chair of the London Assembly transport committee.

 
We have been told that all the alternative options will still mean significant disruption to Wimbledon Town Centre.  
Before the general election was called, Crossrail had been working to the timetable set by the Government and TfL leading to a Hybrid Bill to be tabled in Parliament in 2019.


Michelle Dix, Managing Director of Crossrail 2, gave an interview to the Wimbledon Guardian in mid-2016 making clear there is "no easy solution for Wimbledon town centre".

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At a Meeting held in June 2017 in Dundonald Ward, two speakers provided some useful infprmation and ideas:

Stephen Colebourne, a local rail commentator and expert gave details about the Crossrail 2 project, from its origins and objectives to how it might pan out for Wimbledon, Raynes Park and Motspur Park.  "As London’s population grows and people take more journeys, public transport capacity needs expanding across the Capital." Crossrail 2 aims to solve overcrowding across south-west and north-east London, including on the Northern Line and at Euston, which will receive substantially higher passenger volumes once HS 2 arrives in 2026. Crossrail 2 is a high capacity network that will reduce travel times to parts of London and to the south. All political parties in London back the project, although there is no guarantee that Crossrail 2 will go ahead.

It was worth noting that Crossrail 1, now The Elizabeth Line, will open soon and cost about £15 billion and is seemingly seen as a success, even before it starts running! The budget for Crossrail 2 is approximately £30 billion and is a bigger project than The Elizabeth Line. Crossrail 2, if it goes ahead, will have 56 stations and if the current plans come to fruition, will be built between about 2020 and 2033 requiring modification at Wimbledon, Raynes Park and Motspur Park train stations.

The idea is for up to 30 Crossrail 2 trains per hour in each way, which when compared to the current South West Trains service of eighteen trains per hour, is significantly more. This means Crossrail 2 will fundamentally affect the stations that it serves. Because some Crossrail 2 trains will terminate at Wimbledon, the station requires four platforms and two additional tracks from Wimbledon to Raynes Park.  Ten trains will terminate at Wimbledon and twenty will go to Raynes Park and beyond.

Crossrail 2’s initial strategy was to build their platforms just to the south of the current station in Wimbledon, which would require substantial demolition of buildings in the town centre, including Centre Court, buildings along Queens Road, the Prince of Wales pub and those towards the Odeon cinema. There are nine plots of land that are safeguarded for Crossrail 2 currently.

Residents and local politicians criticised this plan for obvious reasons, not least the disruption, destruction and loss of the majority of the retail outlets in the town. There were wide-ranging and overwhelming objections to the plan.

Because of the sheer number of objections, Crossrail 2 have reconsidered the current plan and have come forward with three additional options. Their new options including having an underground station at Wimbledon, significantly reducing the number of buildings that would be demolished. Another option puts a tunnel below ground for fast trains that go through but do not stop at Wimbledon. The last option is building the Crossrail 2 station on the north side requiring demolition of buildings that might include Waitrose, the Magistrates court and some houses.

Stephen Colebourne has written an excellent blog, http://ukrail.blogspot.co.uk/ , which explains in full detail all the options proposed by the Crossrail 2 team.

At the June 2017 meeting, residents had many questions.  Key concerns included the demolition of well-loved buildings, people losing their own homes, the town centre retail being decimated, decade-long destruction, lack of a positive plan to re-build Wimbledon and no plan on how to make traffic flow better.

Some of the solutions put forward included:

1. Stephen Colebourne’s idea of putting the non-stopping fast trains underground freeing up two platforms at Wimbledon station, meaning dramatically less demolition in the town centre.
2. Pushing back the station, creating a large pedestrian area.
3. Putting a bus station on top of the train station, which would improve connectivity and gives more space for public transport.
4. Two new road bridges across the railway track to keep vehicles away from pedestrians and improve traffic flow.
5. More public and green space to cope with the tripling of pedestrians in the town centre.

John Mays Chairman of The Wimbledon Society, the second speaker, presented the Society's view of what should be considered for the Town Centre Plan. The opinion was that the so-called Wimbledon Master Plan does not give clear guidelines on the overall map of how Wimbledon will look.  There is no overall coherent strategy for the town. Developers are creating their own plans without noting the demands and wishes of the residents and the Council. This could lead to much demolition, a decade-long loss of the vibrancy of the area and no additional public space once Wimbledon is re-built. The concern is that people, retail and businesses might drift away and Wimbledon become a ghost town, especially in the evenings. In fact, Developers, after all, are already formulating plan to radically change the town centre, even if Crossrail 2 does not happen. The view was that the Master Plan should be progressed, in line with resident thinking now, even before a decision is taken on Crossrail 2. The plan must include more public space, more greenery and hopefully the long-planned concert hall that has substantial, private financial backing. Above all the area covered by the Broadway and the Wimbledon Station forecourt should be pedestrianised – to create a user-friendly safe and unpolluted centre. This will require two additional bridges to take the traffic. It was highly productive for the Council and the community in terms of tax revenue; it was mandatory to ensure it remained attractive to residents and visitors alike.

 

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.  The Trust have 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.

 

Boundary Changes

The Boundary Commission published its proposed revised changes to constituencies in mid- October in response to comments from the public.  As we reported in our Autumn 2016 FORUM, the previous proposals would have profoundly altered the allocation of Merton wards between parliamentary constituencies.


Merton Park is included in Wimbledon constituency as before.  Village and Wimbledon Park wards return to the constituency, while Ravensbury, Cricket Green and Lavender Fields move from Wimbledon to the newly-named Mitcham and Norbury constituency, compared with the Commission’s 2016 proposals.  Wimbledon also absorbs the ward of Roehampton and Putney Heath.


Lower Morden and St Helier move into Sutton and Cheam as before and Graveney still joins Tooting.  Longthornton, Figges Marsh and Pollards Hill wards will be part of Mitcham and Norbury as before.
 

There will now be a final consultation until 11 December 2017 so there is a further opportunity to look at the proposals and give your views.  You can respond to the consultation by clicking on the link on the front page of our website, www.mertonpark.org.uk or writing to Boundary Commission for England, 35 Great Smith Street, London, SW1P 3BQ.

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)

 

Keeping an eye on our NHS

 

At one of our recent meetings we heard about plans for Merton Healthwatch . This has been established as the formal channel where patients and the public can engage with the NHS. You could say it’s the way that we will hold the NHS to account. We also heard from a new group, Merton Residents' Healthcare Forum , who see that a huge number of residents are completely unaware of their right to be consulted in the way their local NHS is run.

To see the presentation on the NHS and Merton Healthwatch click here .

To learn more and read the latest Newsletter from Merton Healthwatch click here.

To contact Merton Residents' Healthcare Forum email here .

 

New Nelson Health Centre Opened April 1, 2015

To mark the opening of the new Nelson Health Centre, Dr Martyn Wake addressed the MPWRA at their April 2015 meeting attended by 105 people.

Dr Sion Gibby from NHS Merton Care Commissioning Group also talked us in February 2015 about the Health Centre.  Here again is the five-minute video we publicised in our last FORUM newsletter which “walks through” the new Nelson:

http://www.mertonccg.nhs.uk/Local-Services/the-nelson/Pages/A-short-film-about-the-Nelson.aspx

Here is a newsletter produced by the GP surgeries which contains a Q & A section covering some of the queries raised on February 3.

The dedicated NHS webpage contains further useful information on the new Health Centre.

NHS Merton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) appointed St George’s Healthcare NHS Trust to provide specialist consultation and diagnostic services at the Health Centre.  These will include out-patient appointments, therapy services, and minor surgery, x-ray, ultrasound and community mental health services.

      

Harris Academy

In March Harris Federation ran a statutory consultation on the opening of Harris Wimbledon School from September 2018. You can view the explanatory booklet about the school here.   Page 6 outlines the proposed admissions policy for consultation.

The new secondary school is to open in September 2018 with 120 year 7 places before moving to its permanent admission number of 180 in 2019.  For the first two years, the academy will operate from the former adult education building in Whatley Avenue SW20 before the new build school on High Path SW19 is ready in September 2020.

Merton's Budget 2017

At our March meeting, Caroline Holland, Merton's Director of Corporate Services, talked us through the budget for 2017/18.  A copy of the slides can be viewed here.

 

Wandle Valley Forum

Wandle Fortnight:.  Wandle Valley Forum organised dozens of events in September to celebrate the rich cultural, environmental and historical legacy of the Wandle Valley.  See the full programme at WVF .

At our AGM in July we voted unanimously to join over 80 other community groups, voluntary organisations and businesses who back the Wandle Valley Forum.

Wandle Valley Forum was established in 2005.  It brings together people and organisations that care for the River Wandle and its diverse network of open spaces and communities.  It provides both a communications network and an independent voice for the different communities and organisations that make up the Wandle Valley Regional Park.

If that all sounds a little high-flown and wordy, take a look at their website and see the very practical steps they are taking.  As Tony Burton, Chair of WVF, explained to us in July, in the short term the Wandle faces several challenges from overbearing development along part of its banks; they are aiming to complete the Wandle Trail; there will be many events in September in their Wandle Valley Fortnight and they are also awarding grants to local groups to  celebrate the river.

 

National Park City

MPWRA members voted to support proposals for London to be designated as a National Park City.   The scheme seeks to extend the aims of the UK's traditional National Parks to  "conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the area" and "promote opportunities for the understanding and enjoyment of the special qualities of the park by the public".  It wants these applied to the whole of London.

A Greater London National Park City would not seek to appropriate any formal planning powers and would not add new layers of bureaucracy.  It is a privately funded charitable foundation. 

There are further details at www.nationalparkcity.london where you can also access a map of London's great outdoors, including all of the capital’s 3,000 parks plus woodlands, playing fields, nature reserves, city farms, rivers, canals and all the spaces that contribute to London’s landscape.  Featured on BBC Countryfile’s special Cities episode, the map is your guide to exploring the capital. Some of the best walks through and around London are drawn, such as the London Loop and Capital Ring, along with symbols marking places to swim outdoors, climb hills, pitch a tent or go kayaking. It even shows front and back gardens, but not any buildings!

 

Japanese Knotweed

Last summer a small area of Japanese Knotweed was discovered in the ward.  (We are aware of other instances elsewhere in Merton in the past.)  Merton Council responded to our request to take action.  We thought residents would value this short newspaper comment on just how serious it is to have the plant on your property.

Sutton Tramlink Proposals

A consultation was held from mid-July to mid-August 2014  to seek the views of Merton residents on outline plans to extend Tramlink From Wimbledon to Sutton via Morden.   Under the scheme, Tramlink would extend from Morden Road along a new track passing Morden and going to Sutton via St Helier Avenue. 

There could be significant benefits but also considerable local implications from any such scheme, notably in its impact on local traffic flows which were a matter of concern to many residents when we were canvassing for the local elections earlier this year.

MPWRA made a formal response.  You can read it if you click here

We were pleased to see that MPWRA views on the scheme were reflected in the report on the consultation - click here for the summary    -        click here for the full report

 

School Places

Primary school places in Merton were discussed at the September 2010 meeting of the MPWRA and Secondary School places were the topic in March 2014. To see the background slides presented by Tom Proctor, LBM Service Manager for Schools Organisation, click here .

Sites and Polices Development Plan

This document contains detailed planning policies to help assess planning applications in Merton. It also allocates sites for redevelopment between 2013 and 2023. Related documents update town centre boundaries, areas of open space and nature conservation, shopping frontages, industrial areas and show sites allocated for specific developments.

Its impact will be far-reaching. It was the subject of consultation in 2012 and 2013.  MPWRA commented on the plans to Merton Council.  To view the documents, click here .

Borough Character Studies

Character Studies are a component of Merton's Development Plan.  To see the studies in detail click here and go to 'Introduction to Borough Character Studies'

 

Background item: Development in Merton - how does it work?

Frankly, development in Merton is an enormous topic. But it is guided by four key documents:

Merton's Core Planning Strategy 2011 - this sets the overall framework for regeneration and development.

The South London Waste Plan 2012 - this is a joint Development Plan Document drawn up by Merton and the three neighbouring boroughs of Kingston, Croydon and Sutton. It is due to be adopted in early 2012 and contains detailed planning policies to guide planning applications for waste facilities and identifies specific areas as suitable for new waste facilities. (You can read more about SWLP on their website .)

The Mayor of London's Plan 2011 - guides all London boroughs on issues for the benefit of the whole of London such as the number of new homes to be built in London, the size of town cnntres and transport issues.

Merton's Unitary Development Plan (UDP) 2003 and adopted Proposals Map 2003 - these contain detailed planning policies and allocate sites for specific uses. Some UDP policies have been superseded by the three other documents listed here.

 

 

Supporting a Low Carbon Future and Green Ideas 

We all agree we should work towards a future where we use less energy and cause less pollution.  That future starts now.  There are many steps we can all take.  We are collecting links to opportunities, organisations and  ideas to help turn all the talk into reality.   To learn more, click on the Energy Saving tab on the left of your screen - and send us your own links and suggestions.

 

The Care Act 2014

At our meeting on October 6 2015 Dan Short, Interim Head of Redesign at LBM described the key features of The Care Act 2014 .    Here are the slides he presented and an information note

 

Croydon Merton & Sutton Credit Union

Last September our Independent Ward Councillors voted with the rest of the Council to support the CMS Credit Union.   It is a savings and loans co-operative. It aims to help members save up money and provide loans at affordable rates. After meeting essential running costs, the profits are given back to the membership through a dividend payment.

You may recall the Archbishop of Canterbury recently advocating credit unions as a way of "putting the payday loan companies out of business".

To learn more, click here

Merton Priory

After our AGM in July 2015, John Hawkes gave us a talk on Merton Priory. The visitor centre opens on the Abbey site in 2016.  To learn more about this exciting development click here .

Local Guardian Newspaper

The newspaper is delivered each week.  You may not always receive your copy or you may want to search previous editions.  To read the Wimbledon Guardian click here .  For the Mitcham & Morden edition, click here .