Friday, 30 September 2016

End Of An Era

The last two Edwardian Villa's from the set which used to dominate the South Western side of central Road have now, as of two weeks ago become a pile of rubble.

The semi-detached pair which housed Vivash Hunt solicitors until late 2015 has been set for demolition for a while. Plans to build a modern block of flats completely out of keeping with the local character were opposed by local residents after a campaign by local resident Richard Johnson (yes that's a whole lot of local) to keep the villas intact, and perhaps use them for a well needed doctor's surgery in the area - which the building was used for prior to being a solicitors' office.

Despite the objections, the council planning committee back in March approved the redevelopment by 5 votes to 4. You can see details of the planning meeting here. The blog is sorry to note that one of the 5 councillors who voted for the application is one of our local councillors - who's area of responsibility actually contains the demolished villas and many of the local residents nearby. I would have hoped our local councillors at least would share a stronger sense of local character and the importance of connections to local history.

We can now look forward to "four storey building comprising seven 2-bedroomed self-contained flats and one retail unit" that will look like this. As Mrs WP said a moment ago when she saw the picture - "Yuk!".

Thursday, 29 September 2016

Spark Extinguished

There's always something a little unsettling when a shop that's been open for a while closes down. And there have certainly been a few in and around Central Road recently. However there is one which is a little sadder than most.

Worcester Spark, which has been an electrical store for decades will be closing it's doors for the last time at the end of the month - which is tomorrow.

I have been well and professionally served by Worcester Spark every time I have been there and was genuinely shocked to see the closing down signs a few weeks ago.

Sadly the business has not been able to sustain itself with Martin, who has owned the business for many years after working there since he was a teenager, having to subsidise the shop through his separate work as an electrician for too long. It perhaps would have only taken another few people each day to shop there to keep it running but sadly not enough people have been supporting this local business and now we we are losing it.

Martin will continue his work as a local electrician but sadly Graham, the friendly face behind the counter will now, as he put it, be having to sign on.

Worcester Park will not only be losing an electrical shop. As many people know, Martin was one of the main people contributing to the Christmas Late Night each year. As well as helping Tracy from Cycle Power and Brendan from Pets Place organise things he helped with stalls - particularly in Windsor Road near his shop. His contributions to the traders association as well as local community events will be missed just as much as his shop will.

In an effort to empty the premises, all stock is now discounted to 50% off (not the 25% off which it was when I took the picture above) however they are only accepting cash.

The blog would like to wish both Martin and Graham good luck in the future and if anyone needs a friendly and conscientious chap to work behind the counter - there might be someone available quite soon...

Friday, 16 September 2016

Kiddies Shop

And now for a little good news... A new children's clothing shop is opening tomorrow in the old Sue Ryder premises. The shop 'Piku' is being opened by Mercedes who once co-owned the Cache shop (now Mia Strada) just up from Lynwood Drive.

Mercedes and her friend/assistant Katy were busy in there this morning unwrapping all the new clothes and setting up the boutique. Piku are having their grand opening tomorrow (Saturday 17th September) from 9:30am and there will be a few gastronomic treats for those who manage to pop in.

Mercedes told the blog they will be opening from 9:00 'til 5:00 during the week but 9:30 'til 5:30 every Saturday. She also showed me a few samples of the kiddies' wear available which included clothing from Portugal, British organic clothing and a range of what seemed like very reasonably priced general ware. (Mind you I'm one of the least qualified people to talk about clothing and fashion... - until recently I thought a cat-walk was what a cat did when it wanted to go somewhere...)

The Strada Less Travelled

Back in March 2015 Mercedes took the step of opening the ladies clothing shop Cache with her friend and business partner Mireya. After a successful year Mercedes felt she wanted to open her own shop and they both realised they now had the experience to go it alone. So Mercedes offered to sell her share of Cache to Mireya who bought it and changed the shop to Mia Strada, still specialising in affordable quality women's clothing, accessories, hand made jewellery and gifts.

They wanted to complete the deal before the end of the financial year (to keep the financial things a little simpler) and Mercedes began to work on her dream shop, finally choosing the old Sue Ryder shop after it closed in June last year to open Piku.

Mercedes and Mireya are still friends (I saw them both this morning) and were communicating this morning about the new shop opening.

Hopefully like Cache/Mia Strada, Piku will become a part of the Central Road Furniture and be a very successful local independent business!

Saturday, 10 September 2016

St Mary's Heritage Open Day

St Mary’s Church, Cuddington, (at the top of The Avenue in the Epsom and Ewell bit of WP) is having an open day today (Saturday 10th September), from 11am to 5pm.

As well as giving you a chance to look round the building, this year’s event will feature displays marking the 150th anniversary (a few weeks early) of the opening of the Iron Church that preceded St Mary’s, and telling the 150-year story of The Avenue, St Mary’s Road and Cleveland Road. There will be a photograph or drawing of nearly every pre-1910 house that existed in these roads (like the one on the right here), plus stories of some of the people who have lived here, above or below stairs.

This old photo shows Millfield or no. 33 The Avenue, one of the 1860s yellow-brick villas, which was replaced in the 1970s by the flats of the same name.

Monday, 5 September 2016

Vent Yer Treen

Train services from Worcester Park station. I think we can take it as read that they are rarely particularly impressive. Sometimes a whole day goes by with nearly every service running to schedule with no cancellations, but not very often...

If you would like to vent your railway related spleen, an opportunity is however on offer. Paul Scully, the new(ish) local MP has organised a public rail meeting for this Thursday (8th September) at the Royal British Legion.

Paul has persuaded the Chief Executive of South West Trains, representatives from Transport for London, the Department for Transport and Network Rail as well as his parliamentary colleague from the western side of the bridge, James Berry MP to attend the meeting and also Chris Grayling MP who is not only the local MP for a reasonable portion of Worcester Park (the Epsom and Ewell bit), but happens to be the country's transport secretary as well - so effectively the most qualified person in existence to discuss local transport issues.
The meeting will be a chance to hear from all of these guests, and to ask any questions about things that might be concerning you, such as overcrowding, rolling stock, and what Crossrail 2 means for the station and the surrounding area - all in the comfortable surroundings of the local Royal British Legion in Central Road.

Paul (who was out this morning and last week in Central Road promoting this) would like as many people as possible to attend this important event so if you have anything at all to contribute to the issue of local transport, this is your opportunity to say/do something about it.

The meeting starts at 7:30pm. Please register (for free) to help give some idea of numbers likely to attend.

Saturday, 27 August 2016

Wandgas Fun

The August bank holiday usually brings out a few fun things to do as we more or less celebrate the fact that Summer has not entirly ceased to exist for yet another year... This Monday sees the Wandgas family Fun day down at Wandgas sports ground off Cromwell Road KT4 7JW (down in the Epsom and Ewell quadrant....)

The poster here on the left details many of the fun goings on for the day - I was rather drawn to the bit about the 'fully licenced bar' and the energetic elbow bends that one might need to put in.

It might be the last opportunity to get and do stuff in the sum while it attempts to shine on WP - at least for another year of so.

So come 10am on Monday, pop down to the Wandgas sports ground for some sporty themed fun...

Saturday, 13 August 2016

Local Patchwork

For anyone who's ever wandered around the Hamptons (it is open to the public), it is full of beautiful and interesting landscape and scenery.

Local poet, author and photographer Rob E. Smith (of Longfellow Road) has compiled a book on the area called Patchwork.

The book is a celebration in poetry, prose and pictures of the Hamptons Wetlands and other local wildlife sanctuaries. 

There is a book launch and signing today (Saturday 13th August) at Maple Lodge in the Hamtons between 10am and 5pm.

There is also an exhibition of wildlife photographs from the Wetlands, a bird and animal quiz with prizes and, of course, the book signing.

Everybody is welcome to pop in. Get in before midday to get your copy signed. 

Sunday, 31 July 2016

Walk for the Legion Today

Each year for the last three years the Royal British Legion has organised a five mile walk around Worcester Park and North Cheam in order to raise money towards their cause of looking after ex-servicemen.

Today (31st July) is this year's walk (having brought it forward to the Summer).

According to Tom Clark, the RBL's events manager, (on the left in this picture) the walk is:
"Five miles from and back to the club followed by a buffet and LIVE music where you can sing with the band. £5 to sign up which gives you a sponsor pack and t-shirt. Non members are welcome to get involved."
It starts at 11am so just turn up at the Royal British Legion in Central Road around 10:30. If you're not sure who to speak to, ask at the bar and they'll set you on the right course.

If you can't make the walk but want to show your support, this year they have set us a virgin money giving page so if anyone wants to make a donation towards all the walkers just visit the link:

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.