Wednesday, 5 December 2007

The Hamptons - planning permission refused

So, common sense prevailed at the planning decision meeting on Monday evening in respect of St James' application to slap another 184 dwellings on the site of The Hamptons development in Worcester Park (with wind turbines) taking the site 30% over the capacity for which original permission was given.

The common sense was, mind you, coming solely from local residents and traders - unlike Sutton Council's 'Development Control Committee' (DCC) which originally recommended permission be granted for this further expansion.

A massive 300 objections to the development were received, the main objections being

  • The effect on road traffic and parking

  • Noise pollution from the wind turbines

  • Further strain on local services (schools, doctors' surgeries etc).
In the end, the application was refused on on all three of the above points.

But what a close shave we had. The DCC's original recommendation poo-pooed all of these conerns. What all a load of silly worry worts we must all have been as they orignally reassured us that:

'The proposed parking and access arrangements and other initiatives to promote sustainable transport would not result in an increase in parking pressure or congestion for the surrounding road network.'

Hmm... well parking pressure may not be an issue but the 'initiatives to promote sustainable transport' issue had me convulsing in laughter (or was I just choking on the exhaust fumes?). This, presumably, refers to their vain hope that a few woolly 'go green' messages, bike racks and signposted foopaths will tempt us out of our cars and back onto public transport.

It strikes me that they're missing the whole point - Worcester Park traffic is already so diabolical that most people for whom public/alternative transport is a practical option are already using it.

In the 15 minutes it takes us Worcester Parkers to crawl one-eighth of a mile down one of the 'feeder roads' onto Central Road in the morning, our fellow commuters are already aways past Clapham Junction on their train journey.

Then there's the 'access arrangements' - the majority of traffic from The Hamptons will continue to be funnelled out of Green Lane (the only access point currently) and snarl itself up in the traffic queues of Green Lane, Longfellow Road, Caverleigh Way and others. And then there will be a secondary access point for use by traffic from 100 or so of the homes in the proposed Pase 5c development which will be able to escape via Boscombe Road but then have to navigate onto the same streets to empty onto Central Road.

It seems that people power prevailed in Worcester Park. No doubt there will be an appeal pending - having bought up such a vast area of land, there's no way that St James will let this go without a fight.

Ding ding, Round 2....

40 COMMENTS (Add Yours Now!):

Danny Vandal said...

Most people I know in Worcester Park think building the original lot was insane nd people are extremely suspicious that planning permission was granted in the first place.

Anonymous said...

So where is this "green" public access to public transport?

The Hamptons is effectively a 30-acre gated development.

Half is supposed to be a public park... Public access is limited and there is no parking provision for "outsiders" who want to use the park.

All this from a Lib Dem authority (Sutton Council).

Anonymous said...

Great news indeed. i was one of the 300 who wrote objections to the council. Let us hope that the next application and all further ones are also rejected ... somehow I think they will eventually get them built not in one large chunk but smaller ones.

How planning permission was ever granted in the first place without bribes is beyond me.

Anonymous said...

"there is no parking provision for "outsiders" who want to use the park."

who ever said this is stupid, us people who live in the hamptons, dont want to be seeing you "outsiders" crawling your way in to OUR YES, OUR development that we all pay a bloody good service charge for, in my view the public are not welcome!

Anonymous said...

I live in the hamptons and I cannot even have my family come to visit me due to the parking restrictions, its beyond a joke.

Anonymous said...

just being of assistance to the previous message posted by "anonymous", if you see the new temp site manager you will be able to get visitor permits for parking on the roads etc etc okay!

Anonymous said...

It is absolutely ridiculous that you have to get a visitor permit to visit your friends any day of the week (even Sunday). It seems very mean spirited to provide NO parking. I would suggest to the residents committee that they don't bother with the parking fees/fines/officers & just get on with it. Its NOT CENTRAL LONDON!!!I was fined to visit my friend there recently.

Jeff said...

The Wetland Parklands at the Hamptons is supposed to be accessible to everyone living in WP. That was the original sales pitch of the developers when they were getting council permission to build.

Now that the development has been largely completed, the promise of 'access to all' has been very effectively blocked by severe parking restrictions designed to prevent non-residents of the Hamptons enjoying the Wetlands Parkland.

Whoever in the Hamptons who introduced these parking restrictions is guilty of bad neighbour conduct, a lack of community spirit and anti social behaviour. Just wait until they need some support from the rest of the WP community!

Juergen said...

The wetlands are open to all WP residents. If everyone finds WP traffic so diabolical, then why don't they quit moaning about the lack of parking and just Walk or Cycle down there. Its a lovely spot.

Gordo's Neighbour said...

Jeff - re bad neighbour [sic] conduct, a lack of community spirit and anti-social behaviour - you're having a laugh.

As Jeurgen says, you're welcome to walk or cycle to the wetlands anytime. They're open and very easily accessible (even to prams/wheelchairs).

As for the parking restrictions on the Hamptons, the residents have the right to impose parking (and speed) restrictions as they are private roads. Mayflower Park, the wetlands and the surrounding roads are not 'public property' - they're paid for by St James and the residents - and the residents are well within their rights (socially and legally) to control vehicular access so as to limit the amount of traffic passing through.

The majority of residents in the Hamptons (like mine) have young families and we enjoy the fact that our children and cycle/scooter and toddle about on the streets in the development without much fear of passing traffic - a nice community is developing through this street interaction, just like in the good old days.

I live by the park, and have often noticed visiting traffic with no respect for the 10mph speed limit etc. and the children around. I'm certainly not convinced that it would be a good idea to encourage traffic into the development.

And don't get me started on the dog walkers that let their dogs run around without a leash...

Geoff said...

I well remember visiting the marketing suite when the Hamptons was nothing more than a building site, I think it was in spring 2003. One of the things I certainly remember being told was that a "key feature" of the "lifestyle" I could be buying (not a house or apartment then), was that no on street parking would be allowed. So I don't understand why today some residents are complaining, as it was always the case. Were they not told?

Anyway, I occasionally take a trip up to the Hamptons to see how it's progressing. It's always very pleasant and interesting, and I think what helps is the lack of cars on the roads. It means I can drive round it a lot faster.

But I have a question. As the roads on the Hamptons are private, who actually enforces the fines that are given out?

Anonymous said...

These Hampton' s residents certainly don't like sharing do they? As part of the development it was agreed that the "public" would have access, if you don' t like that then don' t bloody move there!! Maybe they would like to build their own shops & keep out of " our" High Street!

Jeff said...

Juergen and Gordo's Neighbour know very well that the Mayflower Park is effectively inaccessible to most Worcester Park residents unless they can drive there and park.

That's why they've introduced restrictions on outsiders' cars - to keep us away.

Thanks for the patronising advice about walking or riding a bike but who living in Worcester Park south-east of Central Road is going to push a disabled person in a wheelchair (or a couple of kids in a pushchair) for a 2-mile round journey to visit the Mayfair Park?

Likewise who in Worcester Park north-west of the railway line is going to walk the 3 miles there and back? Why should we have to become cyclists to visit the Mayflower Park? Cars are here to stay you know.

These two Hamptons residents know this very well - restrict access to those on foot or bicycles and they won't be 'bothered' by 'outsiders'.

I think Gorod's Neighbour is the one "having a laugh" - at everyone else who lives in Worcester Park. This confirms the view of many that the Hamptons has more than its fair share of snooty residents more concerned with maintaining exclusivity than mixing in with the rest of the community.

Gordo's Neighbour said...

Geoff - you're right. And we often share our drives when our neighbours have visitors - it's a nice community.

Jeff (Mayflower Park inaccessible) - you're bonkers. We often walk to the High Street and the train station, pushing a pram - as do many residents of the Hamptons. Loads of kids here attend Cheam Common and you can see 4-5 yr olds walking up Browning/Brinkley every morning with mum's pushing prams.

And if you really must have parking close to the park, there's ample parking in front of Green Lane primary school just by the stables, particularly on a weekend. Parking there, you'll be closer to the wetlands than me from my drive...

Your claim that Mayflower Park is inaccessible is just bitter twisted moaning, without foundation. I don't see why I should pay (from my annual maintenance charges) to have you park any closer or clog up the roads in front of my house.

In fact, Jeff, you're not welcome. Unlike the rest of Worcester Park - you's all can come along. Watch this blog for the next Mayflower Park open day event....

Gordo's Neighbour said...

Anonymous (re sharing) - I've just 'shared' with you where you can park, pretty close by. Sharing's not the issue - we do it from our pockets. Ok, you can say those were the terms we signed up to when we bought the place, but we're standing up to our obligations.

So sharing's not the issue here. The issue is we ARE sharing, but people are taking the piss when asking for more...

As for OUR High Street, do you really want to be excluding the Hamptons residents?! What do you think it'll look like? My neighbour for one - Poundland will miss her greatly!

Jeff said...

Be warned WP residents - Gordo's Neighbour now has the power to stop anyone he dislikes from visiting the Mayflower Park on the aptly named HAMPTONS - any cockneys in WP will know exactly what I mean!

For my part, Gordo's Neighbour is still most welcome in any of the other parks in Worcester Park where he may park his car freely on the same terms as all other WP residents. In fact at Manor Park, Cuddington Park and Nonsuch Park he will find special no-charge car parks for visitors like him.

The 'You're Not Welcome' message from Gordo's Neighbour is another example of the snobbish 'exclusivity' attitude of some of these WP newcomers. Yet another is the way they've blocked the road through the Hamptons from Green Lane to Boscombe Drive.

This was going to be a new shortcut for the residents in the Pembury Road/Kingshill Avenue/Green Lane area heading towards Morden or Sutton. It could save up to 20 minutes driving time in the rush hour - and ease congestion for everyone on Central Road.

Gordo's Neighbour and Co have managed to block that one - when I last tried to use the Hamptons as a rat run I came up against a blank wall blocking the exit to Boscombe Drive. This is absolutely disgraceful conduct regarding something that would benefit the rest of the community - and is something I intend to raise and persue vigorously at the next council meeting.

The Hamptons? I reckon the old sewage works had more class.

Anonymous said...

Reply to your "sharing" above. Thanks for pointing out the parking, it was most helpful, but of no interest to me. When I go to the park I walk or go on my bike (I am actually on your side & don't particularly want to see the Hamptons turned into a car park for lazy gits!!) My point mainly came from some of the more selfish posts - Refer back to 27/03 post where some delightful Hamptons resident quoted they didn't want "outsiders crawling into their development" Sounds like a nice guy!!

Gordo's Neighbour said...

Re the post of 27/3, I can only surmise that there are two extreme views - some of the Hampton residents who feel we need to exclude outsiders and some people who feel that the Hamptons and Mayflower Park are 'public property' (I guess, like Jeff).

One feeds off the other, I suppose. Hampton residents get fed up when people misuse the area, or disrespect the neighbourhood when using the area. Houses along the access points to the park have had incidences of vandalism, noise issues (even late at night), cars speeding around, big fierce dogs running around unleashed, dog poo on door steps... Irony of course is that some of the miscreants actually live in the Hamptons, but it's easy to blame outsiders (especially in face of provocation like Jeff's).

Wanting to use the Hamptons as a rat run is also guaranteed to evoke a strong reaction (although there are residents who would want and benefit from a pass through to Boscombe), mainly because the no one wants increased traffic on their front doors but also because the roads are private roads and the council doesn't pay for the maintenance and gritting of the roads, the residents do. Legal liability issues alone means its sensible that traffic on the roads be regulated / minimised by the owners.

As for the anti-Hamptons view, I can only think it is for less rational and more emotive reasons (or a continuing fruitful seam of wind-up material). There has rightfully been concern about the strain on local infrastructure caused by the new residents. But logically, the extra payments the council solicited from St James, the added council tax from 400+ new homes and the economic stimulus to the area should have given the local authorities the wherewithal to deal with the added demand - how has/is that money spent?

Hence, my feeling that the anti-Hampton sentiment is more base than logical. Of course there is the 'reaction of opposites', people bandy about tasty adjectives before 'outsider' and 'newcomers', in mutual provocation. But why else? Someone will have to explain it to me - Jeff has yet to make a reasonable argument about what else the Hamptons residents should do to be more welcoming and good neighbours. Equally, I'd also like to know what he thinks makes him a 'good neighbour' to the Hamptons or the rest of WP!

Many residents of the Hamptons moved in more than 7 years ago. WP is very much a part of us, and vice versa. We've got to live with it and make it work. I remember the atmosphere up the Mayflower Park hill the last time there was a snow dump around Christmas - it was a nice little picture of the WP community. And no one was asking for residents' permits for the sleds... (that's meant to be tongue in cheek lest anyone sees this as bait).

Marge said...

Hi all,

I'm most intrigued as to why there is such friction between the residents of The Hamptons and the locals.

I contemplated buying a house at the hamptons a while back but didn't really like the development, felt it had no character and didn't really fancy paying an extortionate amount of money for a what seemed like a wooden house. Having read many of the posts around The Hamptons it seems I made the right choice.

Anonymous said...

Mayflower Park is a PUBLIC place. It seems there are a small proportion of Hamptons residents who believe paying service charges should entitle them to jump up and down and dictate to others - and due to such ridiculously high fees they are entitled to create their own perfect little world. More fool them. The only good thing about the park was the view and that has been replaced by a building site.

Anonymous said...

I thought that Sutton Council actually list Mayflower Park as a Sutton park in their literature? If so then perhaps they need to take a bit more responsibility for the park and replace the life saving rings around the water.I do appreciate the residents of the Hamptons wanting to keep the area in good order, which as responsible adults, we should all want to do.But they should also realise the hassle , mess, traffic from lorries etc that the rest of this part of Worcester Park has had to put up with for years because of all the building work on their Hamptons!
And another thing- all those little sweet children turn into teenagers..... then what???

Jeff the Unwelcome said...

In reply to Gordo's Neighbour, what would be nice is for a square of tarmac with 6 free parking spaces to be provided for anyone wishing to visit the Mayflower Park.

According to the original agreement, the Park has to be open to the general public. But, be fair, if it can only to be reached from the rest of Worcester Park after a long hike this effectively makes it inaccessible to most WP residents who are not long range ramblers.

Of course, all this should have been sorted out when the early phases were being developed and the wetland area created, not now when Hampton residents will inevitable see this as an unwelcome intrusion.

So nothing will change, although in theory anyone can visit it, the Mayflower Park will continue to be enjoyed almost exclusively by Hampton residents only.

The Hamptons development is in fact an exciting themed concept that carries on a tradition started in the 1920s by the Aldwick Bay Estate near Bognor Regis with later pre-War examples on Kingston Hill and elsewhere.

Gordo's Neighbour said...

To address the private/public issue, the freehold to Mayflower Park and the surrounding roads/communal areas belong to St James, who have leased it to a private company. The land is not owned by the Crown, HM Government, any public body or Trust. Freehold of the land houses are built on belong to the purchasers.

Maintenance of the are is borne by the company, which in turn charges it to the residents. In relation to the park/wetlands, it is managed by the London Wetlands Trust and landscape contractors hired by the residents - it extends beyond 'wanting to keep the area in good order' - it is a legal obligation that the homeowners signed up to. Presently, the costs to the residents are close to £100,000 p.a. Purchasers are specifically told, when buying, that "the Estate is private and is therefore not the responsibility of the Local Authorities to maintain but that of the residents who reside on it". We don't get gritters or pothole repairs from the council.

The planning consents specified that there is a right of public access to the open spaces. I still can't see why this isn't the case. If the contention is parking, I've already pointed out parking near the Green Lane school. There is an access gate which leads directly on to the wetlands and playground area - closer that some of the residents' homes. Besides, Mayflower Park is not big. It takes 5 mins from the car park to walk to the wetlands and another 5 mins to reach the furthest end of the park. Any car park within the development will only take up more open space (hence less park).

This point is obviously subjective, but you can't seriously say that just because you live on the other side of Central Road, it is not accessible to you? Nonsuch Park is equally a long hike away, and even if you park in the car park there, the furthest point of the park is more than 10 mins walk away. I know of WP residents from the Avenue, Kingsmead, even Old Malden, who regularly enjoy Mayflower Park, it is obviously accessible to them... the reality is that the park is being used by many non-residents at the moment.

The obligations above and plan to have no public road access were made clear to all buyers. It hits us hard in the pockets (especially in current times), but at the very least I'm proud to say that this is a positive contribution we're making to the WP community (even if not everyone cares to/can fully enjoy it).

As for the inconvenience from the construction - I don't see your point? Residents of the Hamptons also live through it. I can't see a logical reason to 'blame' the homeowners. Every house got built at some point. Loft extension going on for a house in Green Lane, skips and contractors trucks causing obstruction. Nuisance yes, reason for me to 'hate' the homeowner? No.

Mayflower Park has some rules "for the quite enjoyment of the park for all". These are not unusual even on public land. When the land is private, it's the responsibility of the owner to determine what the rules are - you can't accuse someone of 'abusing' the rules if there are none (common sense sadly doesn't suffice).

Have a close look at other public parks, most parks have rules (Kew Gardens, Regents P, Hyde P, Nonsuch P, Manor P, Wandle, Richmond...), designed to balance the various interests of users as well as the residents surrounding the area. Sure, not everyone likes them (dogs running around without a lead is one particularly contentious one) but they're sadly necessary because there isn't a universality of respect and neighbourly consideration in today's community.

Now, if the toddlers in the Hamptons grow up to be teenagers without learning this respect and neighbourly consideration - then WP will genuinely have cause to complain ;-)

Anonymous said...

In reply to Jeff - what a lot of nonsense. We don't live in the Hamptons but use MF park most weekends. We (incl. our kids) love it there.

What do you mean a long hike??? Drive to Green Lane and park there. I don't understand you people. I have met a few residents from the Hamptons and they were lovely and normal. maybe you are not!! And pls do not drag in the rest of the WP population. There is a lot of families outside the Hamptons who use the park and also appreciate the fact that it is being maintained by the residents. The council does not pay a penny towards it (I did some research)and that is the reason why the park is so clean because the local council is not involved.

Gordo's neighbour -great post. People like Jeff I am sure can find other parks with lots of tarmac and parking spaces to visit!!

Anonymous said...

Well, the good news is that Mayflower Park is now open to everyone (access from the north end). Fortunately we have a very good MP.

The arguments for its closure have been a scam from day one (it is still a construction site) and merely an attempt to stop people from the housing estate from using a public park (Metropolitan Open Land).

In the meantime, parents swapped primary schools because of the great barrier (wall). The journey to Green Lane primary for the housing association residents is now a five-minute walk.

NB, if a public right-of-way is closed (the construction argument), alternative, safe provision has to be made. It wasn't. One argument put forward by St James's Homes when I queried them about making Pigs Alley usable was that they did not want to clear it up because they did not want to attract people to this alley...

As for the curfew for the housing association residents, it has no force in law. If Thames Valley Housing/St James’s Homes were to take the residents to court then any judge would rule the curfew unlawful on the grounds of prejudice.

The private residents have tennis courts. Why? There are already tennis courts nearby: Green Lane, for example. I spoke to one boy on the housing estate: he said he wasn’t allowed to play tennis with a boy on the private side because he was from the housing estate. I have never seen the tennis courts in use.

Yes, I’m sure people on the housing estate misbehave but people do everywhere. The people I have sympathy with are those who bought houses before the Hamptons. Living close to a disused sewage works is arguably better: no traffic.

Those who bought houses on the Hamptons (private side) should have been full in the knowledge that they were funding a public park and living close to a large housing estate.

There are a lot of bitter people who'd have paid £800,000 for their homes, now worth less. And think of the stamp duty: about £40,000. You could buy a terrace for that in some towns.

Anyway, there has been progress. Parents no longer have to use a grotty, previously disused, unlit back alley (unsuitable for pushchairs) to get their children to school. At one point the developers installed a padlocked gate down this public footpath in order to prevent access to the park. They said this was in collaboration with the police. The police cannot close a public right of way. Even in the event of a crime scene, they’d have to make alternative provision.

Sutton council recently instructed St James’s Homes to do some repair work at another boundary point. They gave them a start date (May 2oth)but not a completion date. So far a small hole has been dug! The work will never get done.

I believe a similar development has been built in Kew – fancy facilities but only for the private residents.

You don't have to be a leftie to be appalled by the divide. I recently overheard some mothers by the pond area talking about the "white trash" on the estate and how they wouldn't speak to them like that if they knew the lifestyle they led.

Finally, people do walk from the station/shops to the north end via Mayflower Park and do push pushchairs up the hill (Sherbrooke something) to Boscombe Road. Wheelchair provision has to be made, full stop. Basic planning legislation.

There should not be a private sign on the road on the Hamptons estate that leads to the footpaths to Washington Road and Buckland Way. This is a public right of way and should be signed so that people don't get lost. Yes, some clever clog will tell me to get lost.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting the commment and please thank our MP - anon again.

When I approached Sutton council, St James's Homes et al about the lack of access to the park, the response was along the lines of "why does it bother you? It doesn't bother anyone else".

It clearly has annoyed other people - so complain as well (though you probably have done). It seems all the campaign work regarding access has been done by our MP, certainly not our councillors. Please write to him to say thank you.

Yes, there are terrible people around - some dog shit is on my private land this morning (a front garden), not public/private, etc. I'm seething. But the culprit could be anyone.

No doubt I'll have to ignore it and hope it doesn't happen again. Any suggestions?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous,

I would suggest you just keep banging away at your MP, local councillors. Arrange a mass trespass, with news reporters in attendence, I think there is even an organisation that defends rights of way. It could be St James have asked for an easement, but they will still have to provide a suitable alternative path from the starting point to the finish.

Gordo's Neighbour said...

To address the public/private point, the freehold to MF Park and the open areas (roads/sidewalks etc) belongs to St James, who have leased it to a Hamptons Estate (a private company). It is not owned by the council, government or any local body. It is therefore not a public park - but a private park which is accessible to the public. The park is maintained by the London Wetlands Trust and private contractors - paid for by the residents.

Buyers are made aware that the council does not bear any responsibilities (and the cost) of maintaining the area, when purchasing homes in the Hamptons. No council gritters, for example. They won't repair potholes, or damaged trees, playground equipment etc (unlike on public roads or council-owned parkland).

So you see, this goes beyond 'wanting to keep the area in good order'. It is a legal obligation, and along with it are attached certain rights. Owners of private land are allowed to impose certain restrictions on their use (even the council does, on public land), so long as they are consistent with the law and planning consents. Take a closer look at other parks, eg, from Malden Road, you can clearly see two large signboards on Motspur Park with restrictions on what you can/can't do in the Park. Same with the Royal Parks, Nonsuch, etc etc

Residents are also made aware that planning permissions for the development require that the Parklands (and wetlands) be made accessible to the public.

Accessibility is clearly subjective, but MF is such a small park (it takes less than 5 mins to walk from one end to the other) that it would be ludicrous to provide parking right next to the park. As I've pointed out, there are more than 6 parking spaces in front of the Green Lane primary school and an access point that leads onto the wetlands and playground area. From there, you are much closer to the park then some of the Hampton's residents! Setting aside parking within the development would only mean using up more open space, ie, less park.

I do have friends/acquaintances living near North Cheam, Stoneleigh and Old Malden who visit MF - it's a great stopping off point for a hike to the Joseph Hood gardens, or even to Merton Park. I can't accept that it's being used exclusively by residents in practice.

As for the access points, there is presently some doubt as to whether it is a public right of way, or a permissive path. To be a public right of way (in England), it has to be designated as such. I'm not sure, but I don't think designation has been made / will be made.

Two years ago, we had an issue with vandalism on Heatherlea Grove from teenagers coming into the park through the Browning Ave access point. In some cases, teenagers were coming through and getting drunk on the far side of the hill, then leaving a trail of damage on their way back. The issue of closing off the access point was discussed and the local MP (the same), council and police were sympathetic - ultimately it was vetoed by the police as they didn't want to create a blind alley (where eg, someone could be chased down and beaten up). They responded instead with increased policing, which I'm delighted to say, seems to have worked. Certainly there was no objection to closing it off based on the 'right of way' issue.

Jeff the Unwanted said...

Thanks for filling us in on access to the Mayflower Park, Anonymous. Regarding dog crap on the other Anonymous's front lawn, I have to shovel it off my BACK lawn most mornings, it's not dogs, it's foxes. Maybe it's foxes in your case, they're marking out their terretory.

Anonymous said...

Anon again - It's reassuring that other readers are aware of planning legislation. I'm not "talking" to uneducated people - nor for that matter our ignorant local authority (planning) and councillors.

I can understand the Browning Avenue situation and am glad the police have responded - but we're in an era where measures have to be taken by the authorites to encourage people to walk/cycle. The planners have to take this into account. If people use this footpath (responsibly) to reach the shops then that is a good thing. Our roads are clogged enough with cars as it is. Hopefully children now walk with their parens to Dorchester Road school via Buckland Way.

Pigs Alley is a huge blind alley.

Yes, St James's Homes had a legal obligation to provide an alternative route (whether right of way or permissive path) to the park from the north end when the wall was erected. They said Pigs Alley was their alternative route, yet at the same time said they wouldn't improve it because they did not want people down there.

I asked the St James's man (he visited my house) whether he would let his children use the alley. The reply: "certainly not".

Access should have been created around the construction site, as is the case now. When Sutton digs up a pavement, for example, it has to provide access around the work. It can't just block off rights of way, therefore preventing people from getting to work/going about their daily lives.

The local press aren't interested because highlighting the social divide, etc might impact on any future advertising from St James's Homes.

What is enforceable in a court of law is what St James's Homes signed up when they gained planning permission from Sutton.

If anyone has the time/energy ('fraid I'm knackered on the Hamptons front after all my correspondence with our excellent MP) then I suggest they see the original terms and conditions (available from Sutton).

I suspect the following: visitors parking (for Mayflower Park) was part of the terms and conditions. I suspect this parking is being used by residents with more than one car. Land Registry will have the title deeds, which may even be obtainable online.

I suspect proper, hard-surfaced access should have been made from Green Lane to Garth Road, therefore making it easier for people on the Hamptons to use the 293 bus to Morden underground station.

The housing association residents were supposed (I know this one) to be provided with public transport to the station. However, I do appreciate that re-directing the S3 down Boscombe Road would be difficult/impossible due to the sheer amount of parked/dumped cars along the road.

The kids on the Hamptons housing estate now have use of a park. But they don't have that much of a fantastic deal: 20 minutes walk to a newsagent, a trek to the bus stops and the "them and us" approach that many take towards them.

Hopefully measures will be taken to make Mayflower Park - and every park in the UK - a dog-free zone. There is a need for clean playing space, as recognised by the fact we have dog-free areas in Nonsuch Park.

We're also in an era where we're told we should be washing our hands every two minutes, etc. Yet we have to contend with dog shit and foxes.

Hopefully the shit on my land was fox's and that no-one is walking their dog on my property. But it looked like it had come from a well-fed animal...

Nichu said...

I go to Mayflower Park loads, and don't live in the Hamptons. I go for walks and runs, and like to think I'm contributing to the picture that St James would like to paint of the area, with people out and about. Mostly though it just seems to be dog walkers (dogs not on leads) and people driving badly (indicators?) I don't think there should be more parking, it would just be abused. There are loads of parks in Worcester Park, you shouldn't have to drive to get your fix of green space. I'm happy to walk the 2ish miles to Nonsuch Park; if I'm feeling lazy then I just wander up to the Hamptons. The people who I have seen there have been friendly, and they often run events that are open to non-residents. I prefer older properties, but I think that the overall estate is well-designed and not just loads of boxy new houses squished in a small space.

Jeff the Unwanted said...

Gordo's Neighbour - Thanks for having the patience to fully explain the situation at the Hamptons re: the Mayflower Park etc. I didn't know it was a private park with public access, I thought it was a public park maintained by the council. I accept the points that you make.

The Hamptons are a private estate on private land and you say residents maintain the roads, park and surroundings at their own expense so they clearly do have the right to control cars entering their land.

As for the traffic congestion caused to Green Lane and adjacent roads leading to Central Road, Worcester Park, that isn't the residents fault - it should have been sorted by the council right at the start.

An easy and obvious solution would be to turn the wide track that runs from Green Lane School to Lower Morden roundabout into a road allowing residents of both the Hamptons and PemburyRoad/Kingshill Avenue an exit that avoids central Worcester Park all together. After all that's what that track was earmarked for 70 years ago so it should be practical.

I have also learned that the Mayfloer Park on the Hamptons is served by the S2 bus that runs from Malden Manor - Worcester Park Station - Green Lane - Longfellow Road and through the back streets to Sainsburys at North Cheam then on to Sutton (though not on Sundays).

The opening up of the Green Lane to Lower Morden track wouldn't involve any extra traffic using the Hamptons. However, not much chance of central government going to the expense of that while we all have to back the trillions caused by the greed of the gangster bankers.

Gordo's Neighbour said...

Cheers Jeff - and you can drop the 'unwanted' moniker.

Your point about Green Lane is particularly gracious. We were one of the earlier movers into the Hamptons and have suffered the congestion too. In fact, not many will be aware but the Hamptons Residents Association and many residents individually lodged objections to the plans for Phase 4 (which is the subject of this blog posting) - one of the major issues being the councils failure to use the funds raised from St James (and added council tax) to upgrade the infrastructure. The 2 biggest issues for us were traffic and provision of GPs.

Finally, another clarification which will hopefully increase 'access' for you - it's actually the S3 that services the park. It doesn't come in, but stops at Green Lane/Longfellow Rd, about 50yards from the main entrance, and then again at the junction of Browning Ave/Brinkley Rd, where there is a footpath into the estate, about 75 yards from the park.

There's going to be an Arts & Crafts Fair on Sunday, 26 June at Maple Lodge, between 1 and 4pm. That's the building with the clock tower at the main entrance of the estate - the Fair will be in the room behind the St James' sales office. Please feel free to spread the word - access to all. I'm not going to apologise for the lack of parking and I do note the lack of S3 service on Sundays, but I'll remind you again there's parking in front of Green Lane primary.

Anonymous said...

Anon again - there was supposed to be a bus service to the housing association part of the Hamptons (not the south, already served by the S3) as part of the terms and conditions.

People on the housing estate have to walk to Dorchester Road in order to get the bus to the train station, though can now use the shortcut through Heatherlea whatever to the old-style housing estate (Washington Road area) in order to get the S3. This morning, I saw a man cycling from the shops (bike laden with bags) through this shortcut. Good. One less car on the road and responsible usage.

Finally, look up the definition of Metropolitan Open Land. It doesn't matter who Mayflower Park belongs to - it is public land (access and usage) and the council are under no obligation to maintain it. It is a cheap way for local authorities to claim they've created green space.

The private residents - if upset about this - only have themselves to blame for not researching the situation. You've got to pay for it, I'm afraid.

It's fairly obvious what will happen: in time, the land will be owned by Sutton. The residents' fund will run dry (residents likely also have to pay hefty insurance in case a member of the public trips in the park).

To anyone with the energy: please write to Sutton and Merton about hard access to Garth Road from Mayflower Park. This should be beneficial to house prices: easy access to the 293 and northern line for the City slickers on the Hamptons who don't want to wade through muddy puddles.

If decent access were part of the developers' terms and conditions then the taxpayer won't be paying; St James's Homes will.

Good luck with the fair on the 26th.

Gordo's Neighbour said...

Anon - MF Park is indeed a designated 'Metropolitan Open Land/Space', but that doesn't make it public land (access and usage). The significance of that designation is that development will be restricted, "on the basis of their significance for openness, leisure, recreation, sport, landscape, nature conservation or heritage."

As I've mentioned, the obligations to pay for the maintenance of the park and allow public access were made clear to buyers at conveyancing stage, prior to completion (IIRC, it was even in the sales literature). I agree that it would be churlish for anyone to be moaning about this after having bought - TBH, I don't know of any of my neighbours who are.

What does upset us is people who come into the park through the residential area and fail to respect the park and the surrounding homes (that's putting it politely - think not just dog poo and noise, but also arson and petty vandalism).

And on the issue of respect, it would be nice if our financial contributions to the upkeep of the park was respected (maybe even appreciated) by other WP residents as a positive contribution to the community and a sign of good neighbourliness (we did undertake them knowingly and willingly), instead of vitriol. As I've said earlier, much of the reaction by residents result from frustration arising from the disrespect from some of the users and the vitriol.

Comments like "You've got to pay for it, I'm afraid," contain an ignorant conceit which truly annoys me. Don't be so smug, Anon - if as you say the future really is that Sutton council will have to buy the land and bear the costs of maintaining it, that money will have to come from rates and council tax.

Anonymous said...

Yes, the money will have to come from council tax. I'm merely someone who gets from a to b by foot - a lowly pedestrian (who pays council tax).

It does all get very confusing. As we know, the "rules" on paper (restrictive covenants about satellite dishes, etc) often have no bearing in practice and developers/insurers are generally slimeballs. The curfew, for example, is a nonsense in practice.

I'm afraid I don't know how it all works off the top of my head. But bear in mind that Sutton probably leases the majority, if not all, of its parks from private landowners/the Crown (freeholders) and, as leaseholder, acts as owner with all the responsibilities. It doesn't technically own the land and probably pays the freeholder a very small amount per year (token fee).

Do the private residents on the Hamptons want to be leaseholders?

But who owns what at the end of the day? In the meantime, let's hope people will behave in the park.

If the residents have the powers, perhaps they could attempt to create dog-free areas - though, yes, the practice of enforcing these will be fraught with difficulties.

Dog muck is not related to status - people of all classes/income groups let their dogs poo on common land. There are plenty of tweed-clad, Volvo drivers who think their dogs should be allowed to roam freely with the obvious consequences.

Gordo's Neighbour said...

There are two very distinct types of lease - a short-term lease is what we normally associate with rental, eg, renting a shop for a year. Usually, the rights under the lease purely relate to occupancy, eg, they often contain restrictions on transferability and subletting.

A long-term lease often gives the leaseholder more expansive rights. Depending on the terms of the lease, this could include many of the rights associated with ownership. And they're often transferable. You'll find that many property owners don't actually own the freehold to the property, but instead have bought a 'long-term lease'.

The token rental leases you are thinking of (also known as 'peppercorn leases' as sometimes the token rental consists of a peppercorn) are usually a result of a charitable gift. As a council taxpayer in Sutton, I wouldn't bank on the council being assigned the long-term lease or freehold without valuable consideration as the land still has latent value despite current planning restrictions.

As for the 'curfew', I assume you are referring to case of the Thames Housing Valley Assoc (THVA) tenant which received alot of press a few years ago? To be absolutely clear: no curfew has ever been put in place by Hamptons residents or St James in relation to the development, MF or the surrounding areas (apart from curfews on kids and spouses).

In respect of the TVHA related incident, this is what I understand - some of the affordable housing on the estate is owned by TVHA, which in turn 'rents' it to tenants. The tenants sign leases, as is generally the case with most rental tenancies. Apparently, TVHA sometimes include a clause in their tenancy agreements that tenants may be subjected to a curfew if they have been misbehaving (eg, a nuisance to their neighbours) - this clause appears in TVHA agreements for properties other than the Hamptons also.

What happened was that TVHA invoked that clause in relation to some kids living in a TVHA-owned property on the Hamptons. Now, I have no first-hand knowledge of what the kids were alleged to have done so I won't comment on whether the curfew order was fairly applied. But I do not have any objections to TVHA having powers to reign in disorderly or anti-social tenants - ultimately, they have the right to evict them. In theory, it is a much more progressive way of dealing with problem tenants than eviction (eg, final warning etc).

But I stress, I do not know what the kids on the Hamptons were alleged to have done and I am not commenting on the fairness of TVHA's actions (curfew) in that case. I'm merely making the point that it was a private matter between landlord-tenant - it was not the business of the Hamptons residents and there was nothing we could legally do about it in any event.

Finally, agree with you about the dog muck. Not much chance of a dog-free zone I'm afraid. Some of the dogowners letting their dogs run around unleashed are residents themselves - it's a constant issue. However, at present, it's less easy to police the park for this, than parking for instance. God forbid a serious incident should occur...

Anonymous said...

Thanks for explaining all that.

Yes, there's the issue that St James's Homes still have a presence on the development as freeholders of Mayflower Park. If St James's Homes plan to build more houses, let's hope that people have the balls to challenge any application.

Are the private residents tied to leasehold status of Mayflower Park? Shouldn't St James's Homes do all the cleaning, etc, as freeholders with a financial presence on the estate (they can build more homes with permission from the council)? I suggest someone takes up this angle with a relevant government department.

Property owners with a long-term lease still own their house, as you know. They therefore have a financial interest? What is the financial interest for the leaseholders of Mayflower Park? None, as far as I can see. St James's have a financial interest as freeholders. Sutton have a financial interest in Mayflower Park because they are claiming Mayflower Park as green land while not contributing a penny towards it.

From the TVLA angle, I was trying to make the point that if TVLA evicted tenants because they broke the 9pm curfew then the tenants would win if they took TVLA to court, on the basis that the curfew was unfair: kids unable to play with their neighbours just doors away.

Dog poo seems to have become the new fag end. Fag ends (stubs) are now a rare sight on pavements; dog poo is everywhere. Perhaps dog ownership will go out of fashion (has smoking?), or people will find they are too expensive to keep.

Now that pedestrians who want to get from a to b (as opposed to wander) have no need to use Pigs Alley, perhaps that'll become more of a hang-out for the dog owners. If it does (I'll never use that alley again) then suggest that Sutton council provide dog poo bins there. That path belongs to Sutton council, with St James's Homes responsible for the wall between it and Mayflower Park.

I too have noticed (another comment I read) that drivers rarely indicate on the Hamptons - on all sides of the development. Is this some kind of cowboy town mentality? "Gee, folks, you know where I'm going". I don't know where the drivers are going when I want to cross a side street on my a to b hike to the shops/station/public transport.

I hope all the residents behave themselves and that St James's Homes don't build any more homes.

Many people just want to use the park as a short-cut. They were told they'd have that short-cut years ago by St James's Homes and Sutton council. Without the short-cut, it is quite a hike to the station from the Thames Valley/Hamptons housing estate.

In the event of a serious incident, are the emergency services aware of the lack of thoroughfare for vehicles? Are they aware of how they'd access Pigs Alley. I suggest the residents take up this matter with them.

Gordo's Neighbour said...

I'm not quite sure why the presence of St James as the freehold owner is an 'issue'. The land does belong to them.

The designation of MF as Metropolitan Open Space restricts any further development by St James. The planning application which is the subject of the blog relates to Phase 4/5 of the development, which is not MOS.

As an aside, there's been a recent spate of serious vandalism recently. Most notably, a house facing the Browning Ave access pathway and a car belonging to a neighbour were defaced with spray paint. Ironically, it happened the same week the residents were voting on where to locate the new playground equipment which we'd commissioned.

On Saturday, I was walking up that same alleyway with my 6-yr old, followed by two young shirtless men, obviously enjoying the hot weather and swigs from a bottle of Famous Grouse (they were pretty sloshed). We came upon a few neighbours with their children riding bicycles around the circle, so we stopped for a chat and for the children to play. 30 minutes later, as we headed on to the park, we came across the remains of a bottle of Famous Grouse, smashed onto the middle of the road, broken glass everywhere. I'm convinced it was the same bottle I'd seen earlier, and it bothers me as well that the same two blokes had seen all those kids running/cycling/riding their scooters on the streets...

Again, to repeat my earlier explanation above, it's incidents like these which provoke the antagonism of residents to outsiders. Indeed, I admit to using the term 'white trash' when describing the incident to my wife that night.

Gordo's Neighbour said...

A swan and a signet were recently stolen from the Wetlands... sigh.

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