Saturday, 31 January 2015

Halifax Robber Foiled

An attempted robbery at the Halifax bank on Thursday was thwarted by quick thinking staff.

The man wedged open the front door and approached the counter saying he had a gun and making a verbal demand for money just after 4:15pm on Thursday (29th Januray) but the staff reacted as they have been trained to do and he was met with instant security screens and was left with nothing to do but run away.

Branch manager, David proudly told the blog how his staff thwarted the attempted robbery by doing exactly as they had been trained to do. He said it's a difficult thing to deal with when someone tries to rob you with a weapon and they had been offered counselling and that the police were visiting regularly to reassure them.

According to officers the suspect was described as a white man, aged between 50 and 55 and was wearing a beige coat and carrying a light blue rucksack. Police are currently going through CCTV footage and investigating the crime. Anyone with information is being encouraged to call Sutton police on 101 or anonymously using the crime-stoppers number: 0800 555 111. If there is a police emergency always dial 999.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Unwanted Exposure

Police are trying to track down a chap who thought it might be a good idea to get his bits out and show them to an 11-year-old schoolgirl yesterday morning. 

The man decided to expose himself to the young girl just before 8am yesterday (Monday 26th January) morning in the alleyway that runs between Avon Close and The Avenue (just past the Baptist Church). The girl understandably ran off.

He is described as a white man, aged 30, about 5ft 8in tall and of medium build. He has short dark brown hair with a side parting and is clean shaven. He was wearing a short shiny black puffa style coat with two breast pockets, light blue denim jeans and black trainers.

The police have said they are working closely with colleagues from Surrey Police and the victim's school and have taken a statement from the pupil. Officers are due to visit the school again tomorrow (Wednesday) to provide reassurance and advise pupils and their parents to report anyone acting suspiciously to police immediately on 999.

Police have increased their patrols in the area and an alert has been circulated on Sutton Council’s SchoolSafe system to let secondary schools in the borough know and to publicise a description of the suspect. 

If you have any information about this man, please call the Police on 101. Alternatively, you can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

For a bit more detail, please see the Sutton Guardian site here.

Saturday, 24 January 2015

A Good Day To Jumble

The 4th Worcester Park Scout Group’s is today (Saturday 24th January) having one of their well known Jumble Sale. It starts at 2:30 at the Group Headquarters and goes through until 4pm. Admission is only 50p.

Remember the Scouts do a lot of good for our community so please go and support them. None of the leaders and organisers get paid. Everyone is a volunteer and they need our support.

So go on - now I've convinced you - get yourself down to the corner of Balmoral and Braemar Roads for the 2:30 jumble sale.

Dib dib dib...

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Smaked Window

The premises where the new Polish shop recently opened just past the top of Central Road (or at the bottom of Cheam Common Road) has seen it's fair share of smashed shop fronts over the years, usually due to errantly driven vehicles going round the bend too fast. However last Friday (9th January) the shop was victim of a completely different kind of smashed window.

At around 5pm, the staff were shocked as the window was shattered with no warning and seemingly no reason. It wasn't a car hitting it and it wasn't even someone trying to rob the shop (which was still open anyway.)

One of the women who works there told the blog:
"There was no one there. We think someone may have thrown a rock from a car. The Police came down but we haven't heard anything yet."
Luckily the window was double glazed and only the front sheet was broken.

Throwing a rock at someone's window is a pretty low, unpleasant and cowardly thing to do. If it was indeed this that happened I hope the people responsible are caught and suitably dealt with.

Thanks to blog reader Richard for the main photo.

Friday, 16 January 2015

No More Houxsehds

I hope you've all stocked up on Houxsehds. The only know shop selling these rare items has unfortunately closed it's door. Or to be more precise - it would seem someone appearing to have some authority over the premises (but who isn't very good at spelling) has closed it for them.

While it is indeed sad to know the last Houxsehd to be bought in Worcester Park, perhaps the very last Houxsehd to be sold over the counter in all of human history, has been carefully put in its brown paper bag and handed with a smile to the unsuspecting last ever purchaser of such an item, it seems we might be about to welcome back another missed business in it's place.

Rumour has it that Debra, the charity that cares for people with Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB - rare genetic skin conditions - which cause the skin to blister and tear at the slightest touch) is to rejoin the Worcester Park community in it's place.

'Not another charity shop' I hear you moan collectively. And while I wince at the realisation that yet another opportunity for a shop selling musical instruments, old records from the 70's and 80's, science books and equipment and biographies has been missed, I must take into account what several people have said about this and that it is better to have shops occupied by anyone than to be empty. As one person has remarked (who may or may not be connected with a charity shop),
"At least the high street keeps busy; It has become quite a charity shop destination."
Apparently charity shops are having a bit of a hard time in the high street. According to someone who may or may not be the same person:
"Sales are down and prices have to be very low. [They] have a duty to raise money for [their] charities, and [their] profiles, so good luck to them. And please people of Worcester Park be kind to [them], [they] all work hard, many of [them] volunteer, and [they] really appreciate your donations and your patronage."
All sympathy to the owner(s) of the old Houxsehds shop. I'm guessing this was probably the guy who would be in there all day with very little to do. The blog wishes you well.

Thursday, 25 December 2014

Happy Christmas

Wishing all blog readers a happy and peaceful Christmas and a prosperous New Year... 

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Crossrail: Getting The Minister Involved

Transport Minister Claire Perry and Paul Scully at Worcester Park station

The campaign to bringing Crossrail 2 to Worcester Park has taken another step forward. Parliamentary Candidate Paul Scully (Conservative, same as me) invited Transport Minister Claire Perry (pictured above with Paul) down to see the situation for herself and talk to local people about it.

Paul Scully with Worcester Park resident signing Crossrail 2 petitionHe has also shown her the petition with over 1200 signatures that we collected last year for Boris Johnson (good thing we kept a copy). Some readers may have noticed that Paul has also continued to build on this campaign, gathering even more signatures on the petition and handing out cards on a few cold mornings at the station and in Central Road.

Paul told the blog:
"I guess the people in charge of Crossrail 2 have chosen Motspur Park as their preferred stop to allow passengers along the Chessington spur to access the service. That ignores the fact that Worcester Park is absolutely heaving at peak times. When I was handing out 1000 petition leaflets at Worcester Park over a few early mornings residents were amazed that they had been overlooked. 
Transport Minister Claire Perry and Paul Scully at Worcester Park station ticket officeAs the Minister in charge of the project, Claire Perry has now had a chance to speak to station staff, local businesses and residents. She was very open to listening and was left in no doubt of the strength of feeling of people in Worcester Park. It may still be a while before anything happens but I'll carry on pushing all the way for a bit of common sense.
Pushing from both sides

Steve O'Connell, London Assembly member for Croydon and SuttonSteve O'Connell, the London Assembly member for (the London Boroughs of) Croydon and Sutton has also been on the case having officially quizzed the Mayor, Boris Johnson on the situation in July and September (See the actual transcripts here and here). The Mayor has unfortunately not yet committed to the Crossrail 2 trains calling at Worcester Park but he too is well aware of the strength of feeling on this matter.

He did though indicate that contributions from local councils would help, saying:
"If the local authority is keen and is prepared to put a funding package together, then obviously that would make it easier."
Steve replied that he would lobby the relevant council. Hopefully the relevant council, be it Kingston, Epsom & Ewell or Sutton (or some combination thereof) will look favourably on the project in response to Steve and Paul's efforts.

Let There Be Lights For Christmas

There has been much rumbling this year about the Central Road (and Windsor Road) Christmas lights (or lack thereof). The lights which are now working look really good but have been switched on in dribs and drabs and not all of them in time for important occasions like the Worcester Park Christmas Late Night.

Having seen a few 'strongly worded open letters', spoken to more than one local councillor, a few local traders and other interested parties I can report that efforts have been, and are continuing to be made to sort the problem out, but many people feel that it has not been good enough - especially when compared to areas like Stoneleigh or Kingston.

Many readers will remember that last year, numerous trees in Central Road had fairy lights put in them but only about half of these were ever switched on. It transpired that apparently whoever did the work *forgot* that theses needed to be plugged into actual electrical outlets (usually reached via street lighting poles). As a result, no one was able to get all the lights up and running in time and after the season had passed, it dropped down the list of priorities for the then councillors.

It has been suggested that with six new councillors in the area, they hadn't realised the extent of the problem early enough. One local councillor admitted that mistakes had been made but that they were working very hard to rectify these. And indeed they did manage to get most of the main 'lamp post decoration lights' on by the Christmas Late Night. This posting would read rather differently had they not achieved this...

A few nights ago more of these were switched on further down Central Road. However the problem of the rest of the 'tree fairly lights' is still to be addressed. Windsor Road was last night bereft of the little twinkles as many trees still are.

I hear that Sutton's Town Centre Manager has been working very hard to get this sorted out (with much pressure from local councillors) but is finding it like 'banging his head against a brick wall' to get the job done. Perhaps the contractors are not up to the job...

Either way, I have heard that the full set of lights will be on by Christmas. And that next year things will be much better organised.

Here's hoping on both counts.

In the meanwhile here's a shot of Leyfield (off The Manor Drive) which thanks to most of the residents, puts on a great display every year.

Unfortunately this picture doesn't really do it justice but you could always pop down and see for yourself...

Fares Fair

Are you a regular user of the E16 bus? I must admit that I was only vaguely aware of it's existence. Being tucked away in its very own 'other buses' section on the TfL Worcester Park bus routes map and also being grey instead of the expected red, it hadn't really jumped into my consciousness.

However this may all change after the company which operates the service, Quality Line (part of Epsom Coaches - they also do the S3) agreed to a change which I think is very positive for all concerned.

It all started when Cllr Sam Bourne approached me after the last Cheam North and Worcester Park local committee meeting (Monday 11th December) to tell me she had negotiated a new fare structure with the bus company for this route.

The Problem

The problem had been a number of factors which when combined, led to a rather difficult situation for some people.

The first of these is that cheaper fares including the older persons' Freedom Pass can only be used from 9:30am. This bus only comes round every two hours each way - it goes round the route one way one hour and then goes back the other way an hour later - more or less. It just so happens that when this bus arrives in the morning in Central Road, the one that arrives close to 9:30 actually arrives a minute or two before 9:30, meaning that fares like the Freedom Pass cannot be used on this bus, even though the majority of such a journey (pretty much everything after Central Road) would take place after the 9:30 threshold. Because the bus only runs every two hours in each direction people in this situation have to wait until just before 11:30 for a bus they could use with their ticket.

The last part of the problem was that there was no way they could just 'pay the difference'. They had to buy a full ticket just to sit on the bus for that extra 90 odd seconds or else not be able to reach any morning appointment along that bus route.

The solution

What Quality Line (Epsom Coaches) have agreed to however, is that people in this situation can pay the equivalent of a children's fare as a way of 'just paying the difference'. It is a solution which takes all parties into account and has found what I think is a really fair compromise.

This is a bus route which comes under Surrey County Council (SCC) rather than TfL. SCC were not in a position to subsidise these fares further, but have allowed Quality Line to charge the lesser fair to these people before 9:30. Quality Line is happy because they are now earning a small amount in fares before 9:30 that they wouldn't have been earning at all and the local subsidised travelling public is happier as they now have an additional option which opens up their morning travel possibilities.

For me, that's a good solution all round.

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Kingfish To Rise Again

Numerous people have been asking the question "What is happening at the old Kingfish Restaurant?"

Since the demise of the fish and chip restaurant here, many people have noticed and reported the renovations going on within this prime piece of local real estate.

The blog can exclusively reveal that the premises is to become another Fish and Chip Restaurant. Not only that, it too will be called Kingfish!

It is a completely new business. It just so happens that the new owner, a very pleasant chap called Ismail, owns the Kingfish shop in The Triangle in New Malden - not far from Kingston Hospital and Norbiton Station. He told the blog:
"We will be offering a completely new menu which will include grilled and barbecued fish. There will be a takeaway section where the existing entrance is and the restaurant entrance will be through the main doors on the corner."
He is bringing in all new equipment and will be putting up new signage but will probably stick with the red and white theme.

Since a fish and chip business had just failed there, I asked why he thought another one in the same place would succeed. He answered that he was well aware of what happened to the old business and why it had failed - these people in the same industry all know what is going on. He said he will be running the business side of things differently.

The new restaurant/takeaway should be opening towards the end of January. Ismail said it would be opening around the 27th or 28th of January. If he can keep to this strict timetable he will be doing very well...

Update (16th January 2015)

It is worth noting that a licence has been applied for to sell alcohol on the premises. For those particularly interested in the fine details: the application can be found here.