Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Legions Of Local Business

Just a reminder to local businesses (and other interested people) that tonight is Worcester Park's 4th business networking event at the Royal British Legion. The last one (on 13th April - shown here on the right) was quite a successful event.

The idea of this event (organised by Cllr Richard Marston) is an informal get together for local business owners and mangers with councillors and others with some local influence (including myself as chair of the WPRA). It helps local business people get to know each other and hopefully enhance business opportunities for the local area. It is also a great way to learn more about the services that happen to be available in the area.

The (official) event time is 6pm - 8pm however it is drop in session as much as anything else and conversations (and accompanying beverages) are known to continue on past this time...


Saturday, 9 July 2016

Church Help


Two weeks ago, as I'm fairly sure most people are aware, Britain voted to leave the European Union. I never made any secret of the fact that I was keen for this outcome and went as far as setting out my reasons for this prior to the vote and after attending a debate at St Mary's Church.

I am however saddened that a few ungenerous people have taken the result as some sort of indication that being racist and nasty is somehow now acceptable. This hasn't happened amongst the people whom I have spoken to who might fall into the visual category of expectant victims, but there are reports around of knuckleheaded idiots trying to make people's lives unpleasant simply for not being -or looking - British.

Thankfully most people in WP are decent, reasonable and generous and as comments on a previous post have mostly shown, abhor such behaviour as I do. In fact in some cases the community's response to this is particularly heart warming.

In one such case the lovely people at Christ Church with St Philip are today (Saturday 9th July) opening up the church and having a number of 'stations' where people can think, reflect and pray. This is open from 11am 'til 4pm to anyone at all to go in and feel a welcome part of the community. I would like to stress that this also means people of other religions or no religion. Everyone in welcome - this is a time to come together as a community.

Today is also the church's Summer Fair, which normally packs out the large halls there with fun things to do, see and buy. Either way, today is a good day to pop in to Christ Church with St Philip, which is the one near the corner of Cheam Common Road and Ruskin Drive.


Friday, 8 July 2016

Taste The Wine


A couple of weeks ago a new organic wine shop opened towards the top end of Central Road (Number 40 to be precise). As it happens they are offering a free wine tasting this evening as a sort of grand opening event.

I popped in last weekend and met the owners Dimitri and Alex and sampled a couple of items they were offering. I'm certainly no professional wine taster but I like to believe that I've developed a rudimentary palate over time. And from what I tasted I would dispel any idea that organic wine is inferior to it's non-organic cousin.

This looks to be the first and only shop in the UK specialising in organic wines. You can see their website here: organicwineclub.co.uk/. But most importantly you can taste some for yourself between 4pm and 8pm this evening.

Update (Saturday 9th July)

Well I managed to persuade myself to get along and taste a bit more wine at their grand opening last night. There was a constant dribble of people dropping in for the occasion with about 7 customers when I arrived at around 7:20. Most people looked to be enjoying themselves and the offerings enough to hand over a little hard earned cash for some take home varieties as well (self included).

Dimitri and Alex are looking to put on events like this quite often and additionally will usually have a bottle or two of something open for tasting to help them get to know the sort of wines preferred by Worcester Parkers.

I have now managed to add a few photos from last weekend and one from last night too.


Thursday, 23 June 2016

Leave It Out

The Worcester Park blog has decided to come out for... Leave! Okay, probably most of you knew I was on the leave side but hey if the national papers can come out for one side or the other, why shouldn't the blog o' KT4?

As the polls open in very short time I thought I'd jot down a few points to back up my position before the voting gets going. Firstly to refute a few Remain myths:

  • Remain say that leaving the EU will cause untold economic tragedy to the UK. If that is the case how is it that Canada, Japan, Australia and numerous others countries around the world that are not part of the EU are doing just fine? Also Markus Kerber, the head of BDI, or federation of German industries, has said it would be "very, very foolish" to impose tariffs on UK goods if Britain votes to leave the EU. This is the central plank of the Remain argument and it has crumbled under the pragmatic realisation that EU countries value their free trade with the UK.
  • Remain say that Turkey is not about to join the EU. Why then did Turkey's President Erdo─čan say that "David Cameron was our chief supporter" and express shock that Mr Cameron had said on the Andrew Marr show that "There is no prospect of Turkey joining the EU in decades." So who is Mr Cameron telling the truth to? The people of Turkry or the people of the UK? Hint - he refused to say that he'd veto Turkey's accession. It is Government policy to bring Turkey into the EU and the UK is spending money on this very task. If it wasn't the case, these things would stop.When Turkey joins, the area in which any person can come to live and work in the UK will border Iraq and Syria. I don't consider this to be a secure and safe enough situation.
  • Remain say we should stay in the EU and reform it from the inside. (Please note even the remain side accept the EU is in desperate need of reform.) Yesterday however Jean Claude Juncker took the unusual step of saying that: "The British policymakers and British voters have to know that there will be no kind of any renegotiation. We have concluded a deal with the Prime Minister, he got the maximum he could receive and we gave the maximum we could give." So basically there are no more concessions the UK can ever have from the EU. That means by definition that we cannot reform it any further by staying in. The EU needs reforming, but it needs a bigger shock that Britain staying in to do it - and according to Mr Juncker, out means out, and the EU is so determined not to be reformed that even that won't lead to reforming the unedifying monolith of the EU.


Now just a few points about the case for leaving...

  • We get British sovereignty back. This for me is the biggest issue. When you include directives and regulations, over half of British law is dictated to us by the EU. The commissioners handing down these laws are unelected and unaccountable to us - the people affected by those laws. That is not democracy, not British and not acceptable and we must take control of our country again.
  • We get back control of our own borders, meaning that we can turn anyone away if we feel they may be of disadvantage (i.e. want to cause harm) to the UK. The important point being if WE (as in Great Britain) think they may be a disadvantage - not if the EU thinks so or not.
  • We can trade more freely with the rest of the world on terms that are bilaterally advantageous, without having to worry if those terms are good for 27 other countries as well.
  • We can open our country up to the world using an Australian style points system to decide who can come to Britain. This means people can come on merit from anywhere and that just being from one of 27 particular countries doesn't give someone a free pass if they can't get in on merit. There will still be immigration, but we will be in control of it.
  • The 88% of businesses that don't export to the EU won't have to abide by cumbersome (and often ludicrous) EU regulations. They will only need to adhere to British standards and the standards of any countries they may be exporting to.
  • We can continue to work with the countries in the EU on a variety of issues including Security, Science and Research, the Arts and Trade. There is no requirement to sign away our sovereignty to do these things. (We already do them with non-EU countries - proving that it is possible). We can also increase our work with non-EU countries in these areas.
  • We can breath new life into the Commonwealth.


Of course which ever side wins, the other side's predictions of doom will never be fully tested. I sometimes wonder if that is why the people at the top of the remain side are fighting so hard. Because they know their dire predictions are so wrong that they will look like fools if we leave and actually, we do rather well for ourselves.

On past form over the centuries, there is no reason Britain, the 5th largest economy in the world can't do very well without the EU. In fact if the EU were responsible for British economic success, wouldn't surely all EU countries be experiencing it?

If we Leave though, we will still see the rest of the EU continue moving in the wrong direction. There will be more political integration, Turkey will eventually join up and there will be an EU army. We might however have given the other European peoples the impetus to start getting their countries out too. Several other countries are already showing signs that their people want referendums too.

If this happens the EU may be forced to change against its own will or face the prospect of falling apart. If the later then perhaps a far better version can be put in it's place; an actual democratic version, that doesn't try to take countries' individual sovereignty from them. Either way Leaving is the only hope for achieving real change in the EU - and certainly the only hope for Britain.


Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Worcester Park Residents' Association Celebrates 20 Years

June is always a big month for Summer fairs and activities with many happening on the same day as each other. From experience when organising these things it is almost impossible to find a day that ticks every box including the "doesn't clash with any other activities" box.

This Saturday sees the 20th Anniversary celebration of the Worcester Park Resident's Association.

The WPRA was first formed in 1996 to fight the Somerfields supermarket being built where Waitrose now is in Stone Place. Whilst the WPRA didn't manage to get the development stopped, they certainly forced some conditions into the application. These included the building of a new Library (moved from across Windsor Road) with several computers for public use; a public meeting room on the first floor reached by a stair lift; a public toilet; limits on hours of deliveries to the supermarket for the benefit of nearby residents and also the free 2-hour parking which we continue to enjoy for the remaining car parking spaces today.

Many community groups don't last nearly as long as this and ones that do often end up a mere shadow of their former selves. The WPRA has however gone from strength to strength and will be celebrating this astonishing milestone at Worcester Park Library next Saturday 25th June from 2-4pm.

I will be there to help celebrate in my role as Chair of the organisation and I would invite everyone to come along and celebrate both the past and the future of the WPRA with us. There will be food and wine to enjoy (thanks to Waitrose for some sponsorship), a history of Worcester Park display focusing on the last 20 years and lots of good company!


Dorchester Primary and Green Lane School Summer Fairs

It just so happens that Dorchester Primary School (in Dorchester Road) and Green Lane Primary (in... well... Green Lane) are having their Summer Fair on the same day. Sadly I will not be able to attend these amasing events due to the aforementioned one. Watch this space however for more information...


Dorcester Primary School Summer Fair

Busy weekend - Part 2...

As I mentioned in the previous post, Dorchester Primary School (in Dorchester Road) are having their Summer Fair also on this Saturday 25th June.

This year it is promising to be a much more extravagant affair than last year. It is being organised by Tracey, the new chair of the Friends Of Dorchester School (FODS) - who happens to be the Mum of one of WP Junior's class mates. Although she did say:
 "I haven't really done much, it's all down to my amazing committee".
She went on to add that:
"This years Summer Fair is set to be the best yet for Dorchester Primary School, in Worcester Park. With an excited and energised PTA team who have put absolutely everything into making this a fantastic family day out for the local community.

The fair opens at 12pm & is packed full with entertainment from Dorchester School Choir, Stagecoach, Musicians, Martial Arts, Magic, crafting activities, bouncy castles, loads of activities for the kids, refreshments & a raffle with prizes to knock your socks off (although with the forecast set for sunshine you may not be wearing any), with the days events wrapping up at 3pm."
I am sad that I will not be able to attend this event and see the wonderful work that so many have put in, as well as supporting WP Junior's school this time around. And so I would urge - with great urgency, anyone with any connection to the school, anyone nearby or just with any inclination to visit a school fair to go along and support the school and have a great day out into the bargain.

As it happens Green Lane Primary School are also having their Country fair on the same day...


Green Lane Primary Country Fair

Busy Weekend Part 3...

To top off your celebratory Saturday, Green Lane Primary are having their Country Fair this Saturday 25th June. This sounds like a wonderful opportunity to take the kids along and enjoy a country themed event complete with farm animals.

If last year's Green Lane Summer Fair is anything to go by - it should be a great event.

With careful diary adjustments I'm sure you can make it along to this wonderful event as well as the WPRA 20th Anniversary and also the Dorchester Primary School Summer Fair.

It's certainly not going to be a boring Saturday...













Saturday, 18 June 2016

Mark Of A Good Bike


I have recently noticed the police bike marking tent appearing outside the police office with increased frequency. The reason for this, I found out is that they have adopted a new policy of focusing hard on an area for a while before moving onto the next. The advantage of this is someone without their bike seeing them there can be told they'll be there 'next Saturday' rather than getting them to put a date in their diary four months in advance. It seems to be working as the Police there last Saturday told me they'd been very busy.

In case you didn't know, the whole idea is to get your bike marked with a unique registration number that is put into a police database. If your bike is then ever stolen and recovered by the police they can a) get it back to you, and b) prove that it was stolen - making it less attractive for criminals to steal in the first place.

The next bike marking sessions in Central Road will be:

  • 25th June (Next Saturday)
  • 20th July (Wednesday), and
  • 17th September (Saturday).

All sessions will be from 2-5pm.

So just like this local Dad did for his daughter, get along and get your bike marked.


Friday, 17 June 2016

Tomorrow's Events


Tomorrow sees not one but two big outdoor events (hope the rain holds off). The first one is the Hamptons' Midsummer Fiesta (starting at 11am) which I wrote about a few days ago. Starting only an hour later (at midday) is the Cuddington Residents' Association Big Day Out at Shadbolt Park on Salisbury Road

The Big Day Out which seems to have become rather well known for it's Dog Show also boasts Cream Teas, Live Music and a Beer Tent as well as all the other things you'd expect at such a large and long running event (over 70 years apparently).

So weather willing (or not) go along and support your local community at the Hamptons Midsummer Fiesta or Shadbolt Parks' Big Day Out or preferably both!


Big Wet Worcester Park


Unless they were living in a cardboard box under the stairs, it's doubtful anyone will have missed the downpour this evening, just in time for rush hour.

Less than a month after the last great flood which saw a car floating under the railway bridge on the other side of Sutton in Wallington (and when in fact the road under the bridge here was closed for a time), Worcester Park was subject to yet more flooding.

One car did get stuck and a few of us joined in to help push the car up out of the main body of water.

Questions have been raised about why the roads have been able to flood so easily. It has been suggested that drains are not being adequately cleaned however the blog understand that most drains are cleaned regularly. Apparently with sudden large floods like this, all the litter carried away with the sudden surge of water blocks them up, causing the flash floods.

Unfortunately Central Road/Malden Road wasn't the only area effected. Browning Avenue was also flooded between Washington Road and Caldbeck Avenue.

This hadn't just flooded the road but had also flooded homes on the north side of the road. For them this was also the second time in a month they had been flooded.

The fire brigade was there mainly to help people who needed to get out of their homes. They had also cordoned off the road however it had dropped to a point where is was safe enough to drive through and local residents were helping cars get through.

I asked one local girl how deep it was and, being in wellington boots, she promptly waded straight in to show me.

A little later a second fire engine arrived, although this one looked to be more of a supplies truck. By then the water in the road at least, had subsided substantially. I hope the flooded homes were not effected too badly.

I was also interested to see how much the flood plain (flood alleviation scheme) in Green Lane had filled up. This was designed to take any overflow from the Beverley Brook to stop the houses further down from flooding (although there have still been problems reported there since).

The Beverley was in full flow and the flood plain was clearly soaked but not yet flooded - which is really exactly what is supposed to happen - so it's doing its job properly there. Perhaps we need something to help in Browning avenue too.

Update (an hour or so later)

A blog reader has emailed me with the following information:
"Another factor with this flood and the one in Wallington is that when these bridges were put over the roads in the mid 19th century they only had to make the embankment high enough to let a fully loaded haywain under the bridge. Come the early 20th Century and taller vehicles they had to lower the roads under the bridges by about a metre, so naturally they are the point likely to flood. Also the drains in the UK are designed to deal with what was the typical rainfall. In Singapore where I was born and spent my early years, the drain gutters are a metre wide feeding into much larger pipes (or so I was told by my Godfather who was Clerk of Works for the Island), to cope with the 5 o'clock thunderstorm, which makes a British one look like a light shower. But with global warming perhaps all that infrastructure will need uprating."
This all makes sense and brings to mind something Cllr Richard Marston (who was also at the scene) mentioned in that a few decades ago there was far less room under the bridge and only single decker busses and special low double decker ones could get under. The road was lowered to allow the additional taller traffic.

Update (18th June)

I've had an email from Cllr Marston to say he has reported the flooding problems encountered yesterday at the station, Hazelmere Gardens and Browning Avenue.