Tuesday, 30 December 2008

A Year In Worcester Park

So there we have it. 2008 is almost at an end and what a year it has been - those bits that I can remember anyway.

Thanks you all for your support, comments, e-mails and occasional tirades of abuse during the past year. I wish you all the very best for 2009!

A lot has hapened in Worcester Park in 2008 - fortunately you can browse through the blog archive for all the gory details. But for those of you with a short attention span, 2008 went something like this....

We learned that the Golden Chef is a lovely place really. Worcester Park was bombed in 1944 and Central Road rats can be suicidal. We found out that Sutton Council wants to intensify, moving to Worcester Park is a good thing to do, the 'landslide' was actually a mutant sheep and old people fall over in Waitrose quite a lot.

I predicted the sewing machine shop would not last, Worcester Park was split in two by the LEZ as Nefis dished out free drinks to blog readers (meanwhile Betty Boop wanted to turn herself into a Persian restaurant)

I wondered why anyone would go to Cafe Experience for Mother's Day. Waitrose in smashed-window scandal. Sutton Council health and safetifies graves. TV repair shop in smashed-window scandal. Huntsman home to fighting (again) and Papa John moves to KT4.

Chavs at the station, bikes on the line. Snow fell in April and I waited ages for strange-sounding Sri Lankan food. The Drill claimed allegiance to Cheam but the people of Worcester Park prevailed. Praise be - blue bins for recycling glass!

Votes are in! I upset Browning Avenue, Knightwood Estates upset loads of people, and Worcester Park finds its voice.

We finally got to use our blue bins. Everbody hated estate agents, and another blood charity shop opened. The flowe man died, sex didn't quite come to KT4, but a fun day did come to The Hamptons. Worcester Parkers kicked up a stink about composting and the Worcester Park Blog hit the headlines over The Hamptons curfew.

I had a haircut and went to KFC by mistake. Worcester Park was on the box, and yellow boxes appeared on Central Road. Trees disappeared. Bad viagra pun opportunity arose.

I spoke to the Daily Mail and regretted it. Chavs on the line! Lots of spotting of vintage bus spotters. We all said something nice about Worcester Park. Well, some of us.

Betty Boop to close (again). More shops close down.

A fox feeding furore erupts, Hamptons planning permission is refused again and the blog celebrates its first birthday (kind of). KFC closes for a refit. Quelle domage!

Betty Boop closes (again). Betty Boop reopens (again). I meet The Brinkster and dress as Santa and everyone enjoys the Christmas Late Night. KFC reopens.

We worship Chris, Woolies bites the dust as do some blogs. Then there was Christmas.

Happy New Year everyone!

Monday, 29 December 2008

Five Things

1. Sutton Council are hopeless when it comes to telling us when our bins are being emptied over Christmas/New Year. Other roads had stickers stuck to their bins giving details of collection days, but we didn't get any. Sutton Council's website has the info, but the refuse operatives still turn up at random days and refuse [get it?] to touch the bin if it's over 6 inches from the kerbside.

2. Mr Ink on Central Road sends the store's contact details by Bluetooth to my mobile every time I walk past. Which is getting a tad irritating now. I would cross the road, but it means walking past The Hunstman. I'd rather Bluetooth than no-teeth.

3. The roads are so clear now that I got to work half an hour quicker this morning. Which is great, until you realise it makes your working day half an hour longer.

4. Ryan Gate was about the only place open on Christmas Day for those who had run out of bread. It's just a shame they don't sell bread.

5. Tomorrow is the final day at Woolworths in North Cheam. If it's anything like the Woolies in New Malden on its final day, expect a queue of grave-robbers snaking right around the store and a scrum to grab the the very last of the pic'n'mix.

New Malden Fatality?

I've just checked the blog stats - lots of people have found the blog today after searching for 'New Malden station fatality'.

Info, anyone?

Saturday, 27 December 2008

Takeaway the Pain

Whilst most of us were stuffing turkeys, stuffing ourselves with the aforementioned turkey and generally suffering the company of unwanted relatives on Christmas Day, a select few sought sanctuary on the Internet.

A quick check on Google Analytic's statistics for the Worcester Park Blog provides an interesting window on the nation's festive online activity.

Evidently some were suffering the effects of the big day - especially those who found the blog whilst searching for 'nearest open pharmacy Worcester Park' or asking 'which chemist shop is open in Surbiton on Christmas Day'?

For others, turkey and sprouts were clearly not on the menu - including the visitor searching for 'restaurants open Xmas Day in Worcester Park' and more worringly 'KFC opening times Worcester Park'.

One blog visitor was clearly not feeling peace and goodwill to all men, searching for 'Sutton Council idiots'.

However the prize for the most unusual search of Christmas Day goes to one blog visitor for whom the thought of how to pay off the credit card bills was clearly too much. They searched for 'massage parlour work - immediate start'.

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Merry Christmas!

Whatever you are doing and whoever you are with, may all blog readers and all in Worcester Park have a very Merry Christmas and a peaceful, healthy and prosperous 2009.


Worcester Park Baptist Church:
Christmas Day:
Family Service 9.30am - 10.15am

St Matthias Roman Catholic Church:
Christmas Eve:
Children's Mass 4.00pm
Mass 7.00pm (carols)
Midnight Mass 10.00pm

Christmas Day:
Quiet Mass 7.30am
Mass 9.30am (carols)
Mass 11.15am (carols)

Christ Church with St Philip:
Christmas Eve:
Blessing Of The Crib for Children 4.00pm & 5.30pm
Carols By Candlelight 8.00pm
Midnight Communion 11.30pm

Christmas Day:
Holy Communion 8.00am
Family Sercice with Holy Communion 10.00am

St Mary The Virgin, Cuddington:
Christmas Eve:
Christingle Service 3.00pm
Christingle Service 5.00pm
Midnight Communion 11.30pm

Christmas Day:
Family Service, Holy Communion 10.00am

St John The Baptist Church, Old Malden:
Christmas Eve:
Christmas Crib Service 3.30pm
Midnight Eucharist 11.30pm

Christmas Day:
Christmas Said Eucharist 8.00am
Christmas Sung Eucharist 9.45am

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

And then there were two....

Where once there was feast when it came to an online presence, we are fast approaching a Worcester Park famine.

First The Parkerilla chose to end his brief flirtation with local blogging and now esteemed local resident Noble Savage is having a break from the Internet to deal with real life fripperies such as raising a family and to start interacting with people face-to-face rather than online. Madness, I tell you - it'll never catch on!

Elsewhere local blogger Adrian Short has not posted for quite a while, and as for The Hamptons Blog, they have been looking for George for so long that I'm thinking of forming a search party.

So I guess it's just myself and The Brinkster to represent Worcester Park.

Unless any other local bloggers which to take up the gauntlet?

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Emergency Appeal

This is an Emergency Appeal on behalf of the people of nearby Banstead who last Friday were visited by an unimaginable calamity - their branch of Waitrose burned down.

The disaster has left hundreds of villagers without access to the sparkling mineral water that you and I take for granted. Starving locals must now make the agonising 10 minute drive to find food for their families.

In a harrowing interview with a local paper, Banstead resident Lionel Blair revealed that he used to shop in that branch of Waitrose when he first moved to the area - before adding that he has launched a new online game ‘Lionel Blair; Dancing On Thin Ice’, in which the star can be seen tap dancing on an icy lake.

Meanwhile conditions in Banstead have deteriorated so rapidly that some residents have even resorted to Tesco.

The villagers are in urgent need of:

  • Couscous
  • Quails eggs
  • Foie Gras (although any terrine will suffice)
  • Wild-caught extra large Canadian prawns

Just £40 can feed a family of four for a whole day (£48.99 including wine). Please give generously.

Thank You

Friday, 12 December 2008

Well Worthless

I went to pay my last respects to Woolworths today as, judging by the jostling crowds within, did half the population of Sutton.

Suddenly the tat that nobody wanted for years had become irresistible when heavily discounted. Who could resist a half-price pocket sewing kit, or 10% off a set of four wooden egg cups?

As frenzied bargain-hunters shovelled loot indiscriminately into their baskets, a conversation overheard between two harassed Woolworths employees neatly summed up the sorry affair:

Employee 1: I wish I had a buggy I could barge into people with.
Employee 2: I wish I had a gun.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

In Chris We Trust

This time last year I was at a Christmas fair at a primary school which shall remain nameless, mainly because I can't actually remember the name of it. Suffice to say it wasn't anywhere near Worcester Park.

The youngsters had done their bit to decorate the school hall in an appropriately festive way, but the teachers had clearly pitched in with some of the larger and more complicated decorations - one of which was a huge banner of cut-out letters strung up over the stage in the school hall proclaimimg:


Either there was a serious spelling problem at the school or I had got the wrong end of the stick and the whole event really had been organised to celebrate the birth of Chris. I suspect the former.

Apparently one side-effect of the credit crunch/recession is that more people than ever before are heading off to church on a Sunday morning to reflect on the simpler things in life (or possibly to grab a handful of loose change from the collection plate as it goes round).

Whether you are of a religious persuasion or not, few are immune to the magic of a good old Christmas Carol - and for those of you keen for an opportunity to sing your hearts out, you can wrap up warm and join in the United Carol Singing organised by churches in Worcester Park at The Hamptons on Wednesday 17th December from 7.00pm to 8.30pm.

No doubt there will be at least one person who gets carried away during "Ding Dong! Merrily" and runs out of breath during a prolonged 'Glooooooooooooooooooooria!".

Hopefully it won't be me.

Saturday, 6 December 2008

Holy Spirit

If you were out and about today in Worcester Park you may have heard (beneath the roar of Central Road traffic) the gentle sound of carol singing courtesy of the Generation church.

They meet every Sunday in The Worcester Park Tavern for, according to a flyer they handed to me, 'Quiz, Coffee, Pastries, Prayer, Healing and Miracles'.

Now that has to be better than most churches - although the last one I went to did offer a sip of wine at half-time. And a free biscuit. But no quiz.

I must admit I've never seen a miracle performed before in a pub - although with the number of people who go into pubs perfectly healthy and having blessed themselves with a rather different type of spirit leave unable to walk or talk properly it would be nice to witness this done in reverse.

So if you are in need of a miracle (or just a coffee) they meet at The Worcester Park Tavern tomorrow (and the first Sunday of every month) from 10.30am.

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Reading The Riot Act

Local libraries. They are normally such peaceful places - but not for Angry Adam who has e-mailed the Worcester Park Blog with his tale of anarchy in the aisles:

"Earlier I was in the library at Worcester Park, I was busy updating my CV as well as sending a few emails to some of my good friends.

Next thing I noticed a nasty stench next to me. It wasn't body odour but the smell of greasy fried chicken and chips from KFC!

A man in his thirties decided to open up his greasy stain-filled bag and proceeded to open his big gob to munch on his foul smelling chicken.

Then he added salt and ketchup to his chips and then the idiot spilt his large cola all over my CV.

He promptly got up and left, leaving all his KFC all over the place. I followed him and confronted him telling him that he had ruined my CV and he told me in no uncertain terms to 'f off' and that the computers are only used for games and chatting and that there were no signs stating that he could not eat his fast food in the library.

He was a foulmouthed, arrogant and a very violent individual. The ladies at the library said these things happen all the time and not to take it personally. Fat chance.

Welcome back KFC - it looks like that Worcester Park is in for a rough ride once again!"

There goes the neighbourhood.

Saturday, 29 November 2008

In A Right Piccolo

They called it Cafe Piccolo, but actually it was a restaurant. With a deli attached. So it wasn't a cafe at all. But then they had the genius idea of turning Cafe Piccolo's deli area into a cafe. With me so far?

There is certainly no shortage of cafes in Worcester Park - Cuppaholic, Ryan Gate, Checkers, Costa, Berties, Mumas'n'Cuppas and now Cafe Piccolo are in on the act, so the competition is certainly tough.

In the interests of research, I stepped in from the cold and rain of Central Road to find the new cafe clean, bright and well fitted out - perhaps a little too contrived for those who like their cafes to have a touch of character, but inviting nonetheless.

Then it all started to go slightly awry. I started placing the order but then was told to wait a moment and when I did finally proceed, the staff appeared somewhat taxed by the demands of a taking an order for a drink and a pastry.

I took a seat. The waitress came over and apologised if things were going wrong because sometimes it happens when they are very busy (two other people in the cafe).

She asked if I wanted sugar with my coffee. I asked for two sugars, which she heard as 'No sugar'. I corrected her. 'Two sugars'.

Moments later, my coffee arrived. 'Coffee, no sugars'. 'Two sugars?' I asked 'Yes, two sugars' she declared.

The two elderly ladies on the table next to me (by elderly I mean late seventies, perhaps early eighties) got up from their table to be handed their plates of cake over the counter. I, though, was served mine at my table - along with an apology from the waitress. Not sure what she was apologising for this time as I hadn't actually told her that the pastry she gave me wasn't the one that I had ordered.

The manager arrived from the restaurant and quietly bertated the unhappy looking waitress, leaving her looking even unhappier.

I ate my pastry and drank my no sugar/two sugars coffee and went to leave. The waitress thanked me, and apologised again.
It has potential.

Traders Association Christmas Late Night

So what did you make of this year's Christmas Late Night in Worcester Park? Post your comments below!

Friday, 28 November 2008

KFC You Tomorrow!

How's that for timing? The finishing touches are being made to KFC, which is reopening tomorrow morning.
Even KFC sceptics will have to admit the facelift has done wonders for our favourite fast food outlet!

Santa Captured

On camera anyway... slightly blurred but the Christmas parade stops for no man. A Highland Piper piping Santa past KFC? Only in Worcester Park!

Jingle bells!

So the rain has held off, the free drinks are flowing and the parade starts at seven. Come and john the fun!

Arresting Development....?

Rumours that Father Christmas has been arrested are grossly exaggerated... Evening all!

Let The Live Blogging Begin...

Off I go to Central Road for LIVE blogging from the Christmas Traders' Late Night...

Live updates to follow....

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Fair, Trade & Fairtrade

Christmas comes to Worcester Park tomorrow night - from 6pm Central Road will come alive to the sights, sounds and smells of Christmas stalls, rides, bands and more plus plenty of traders will be open late, so make sure some of your Christmas shopping budget goes the way of your hard-working local traders.

Full details of the entertainment can be found here.

Also, CAZBAR will be have a Fairtrade wine tasting table right outside their venue. Currently towns across Britain are making Fairtrade part of their communities, so perhaps this could be the shape of things to come in KT4.

Monday, 24 November 2008

Wood you help me?

This blog is not just read by the good folk of KT4 - it is enjoyed by readers in far flung places, such as New Malden and Canada.

Cynthia has e-mailed from Canada in the hope that blog readers can help her with her genealogical research:

"I accidentally came across your blog and thought perhaps you folks could assist me in my search for family members of a dear friend of mine.

A family by the name of Wood resided at 59 Longfellow Road, Worcester Park many years ago.

They were James Albert (Bert) Wood and Lilian Mary Wood (nee Carey) and their children:

Ivy Winifred Wood, born May 9 1916
Arthur John Wood, born April 24 1914
Stanley Albert Wood, born November 12 1912

The family lived on Longfellow Road between 1912 - 1923 (and perhaps longer).

Any assistance would be greatly appreciated. I would love to give my friend a special Christmas gift of family history/genealogy)."

If you can help Cynthia e-mail the blog, and we'll pass your e-mail on

Saturday, 22 November 2008

A Central Road Christmas

Christmas on Central Road (Photo from The Brinkster)

The fun starts at 6pm on Friday (28th November) a it looks set to be a great evening out for the family with entertainment including:
  • A funfair at the car park of the old M&S (next to The Huntsmans Hall)

  • Rides and various stalls up and down the High St, including three bouncy castles

  • Music from the Green Lane choir

  • Mr Trickey will be walking up and down, making balloon animals for the kids

  • Trad Jazz and Acoustic band

  • A fully kilted Highland Piper

  • Stalls with food, teas and coffees and of course the parade

Plenty of Worcester Park shops will be open late - many offering special festive discounts, promotions and festive drinks and nibbles to add that special sparkle to your Christmas shopping:

  • One Stop Party Shop: special discounts and balloons

  • Dawson Aerials: seasonal foods

  • Casuals: Deals on footware, and some festive nibbles

  • Hendys: Mince pies and drinks

  • Cycle Power: special offers

  • Central Plumbing: Champagne and the works

  • Graham Lee Carpets: Discounts and free mats

  • Kingfish: Special secret surprise!

  • Mr Ink: Kids Balloons

  • The Seasonal Shops: Face painting/nibbles and a magician

  • Party Express: Goodie bags

  • Woodward Bros: festive nibbles

Friday, 21 November 2008

Joint Operation

What is it with KT4 and drugs? The Sutton Guardian today reports that properties in Worcester Park were amongst several in the local area raided yesterday in a bid to break up a multi-million pound cannabis operation.

If anyone knows whereabouts the raided house(s) in WP are then do let me know.

This follows raids in Inverness Road earlier in the year so it's good to know that the boys in blue are doing their bit to get to grips with the scourge of drugs in the area.

Mind you, they have some way to go to live down the embarassment of 2005, as reported in the national media...

"Warmest congratulations, finally, to police in Sutton's Worcester Park area, who after a four-month surveillance operation have at last amassed sufficient evidence to shut down a notorious local crack house. The property is located directly above Worcester Park police station, but splendid work for all that."

Sunday, 16 November 2008

A Token Gesture

For those uninitiated in the ways of Waitrose in Worcester Park, when you complete your purchase at the checkout, you are handed a small green plastic token.

The checkout person will then chant the familiar mantra: "Are you familiar with our charity token system, Sir?"

I am, of course, but occasionally I will feign ignorance and watch the fixed smile fade slightly from the face of the assistant as they explain for the thirty-fourth time that day that:

"You place the token in the box of of your chosen charity, then at the end of the month Waitrose will make a donation to the charities on your behalf"

All well and good. Except that today I ran off with one of my green charity token. It was only when I got to my front door and reached into my pocket to retrieve the house keys that I realised the heinous act that I had perpetrated against charity.

Now I know what it must feel like to snatch food from the mouth of starving orphan, drag a gasping whale further up the beach or pee in the only water supply for an African village. Such was the extent of my crime against charity.

Oh the guilt, the guilt. Of course I will be returning it on my next trip to Waitrose, but it got me thinking about the odd sport of 'charity choosing' at Waitrose.

There is something strangely compelling about this monthly beauty pageant of charities. This month the Surrey Air Ambulance is whipping the pants off the Worcester Park Brownies (only metaphorically, thank goodness) and Victim Support Merton aren't doing very well either.

Presumably this is because the middle-class folk of Worcester Park care little about having their shoes shined and wouldn't even dream of going to Merton, let alone being mugged there.

The three charities change every month, and so begins another fascinating window into which causes the middle classes of Worcester Park hold dear.

Now, remind me to return that token next time I go. If the air ambulance runs out of fuel then I wouldn't want that on my conscience.

Thursday, 13 November 2008

So this is Christmas!

Being observant erudite blog readers, you have no doubt already spotted posters appearing in shop windows up and down Central Road promoting the Worcester Park Trader's Association 'Christmas Late Night' which takes place on Friday 28th November from 6pm.

And as you all have such a keen eye for detail, you no doubt spottted The Brinkley Road Blog and The Worcester Park Blog logos at the bottom of these posters? Yes, of course you did.

It's all because in the true spirit of the festive season myself and The Brinkster are setting aside our online blogging rivalry to bring you one simple and unified message: support your local retailers this Christmas.

In the weeks running up to Christmas, we'll be bringing you a flavour of what Worcester Park retailers can help ease the stress of your Christmas shopping.

In the meantime, put Friday 28th November in your diairies. From 6pm, Central Road will be lined with festive stalls, funfair rides and awash with bands and entertainment for all the family. Many shops in Central Road will be opening late into the evening to allow you to do a spot of late-night shopping Worcester Park style.

Father Christmas himself will be there to kick off the proceedings. Hope to see you there!

Monday, 10 November 2008

Same Old Sale Old

So 'Treasure Trove', the Central Road shop famous for selling furniture, incense and Betty Boop memorabilia has closed it's doors forever.

The good news is that a brand new retail opportunity has taken its place - a warm Worcester Park welcome to 'Fab Collections, a brand new shop selling, Betty Boop memorabilia, incense and.. furniture!

With not a hint of irony, the shops famous for it's never-ending 'closing down' sales is now celebrating it's not-so-dramatic re-incarnation with an 'opening sale'.

You couldn't make it up.

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Blitz Spirit

In a blog post at the end of last year and in my column in this month's edition of Worcester Park Life magazine, I recounted the devstating events of 16th June 1944 when a V1 Doodlebug fell on Caldebeck Avenue, Worcester Park.

I am grateful to blog readers Janet and Mike who e-mailed with poignant stories of their own very personal connection with that fateful day in Worcester Park:

Janet writes:

"My brother and I were born shortly after the war and as we were growing up we noticed a black and white photo on top of our very old upright piano. The photo was of three young children - two boys and a girl.

When we were old enough our mum told us they were our brothers and sister who were killed on that fateful June day in 1944.

The story as my Mum told it was that she had just bathed the children - the bathroom in those houses was outside the back door! The children were dressed after their bath and my Mum was cleaning the bath when the Doodlebug hit.

The house was demolished and the children killed but Mum survived because the empty bath turned up over her whilst the rest of the house fell on top of it - thank goodness for those old-fashioned baths which withstood the weight of the debris.

Needless to say our parents were devestated at their loss - my father was a fireman during the war and people who knew our brothers and sister told the story of the three little white coffins being born along the main road to their final resting place.

My Mother passed away in 1996, but this year would have been my her 100 birthday - what a brave woman she was - I am so very proud of her and my Dad."

Mike writes:

"I was surfing the internet last week, whilst doing some family history research and came across your blog. I was extremely interested in the story of the bombing on the 16th of June 1944.

The reason for my interest being that my Mother (along with her sister and a visiting friend) were survivors of that tragic happening. Sadly her Mother (my Grandmother) was not.

At the time, my Mother was 13 years old and her sister was 9. They lived at the bottom end of Caldbeck Avenue.

She tells me that on the evening of the 16th June, they were looking out of the front window of their house, when they saw what they thought were fireworks exploding in the sky. They then realised that they were mistaken and what they were actually seeing were ack ack explosions.

They then heard the sound of a V1 rocket or Doodlebug. (It was not a V2 as was mentioned in the blog, as they did not become operational until 8th September of that year).

She says that she didn't hear the engine cut out, but heard the noise that they make as they are coming down. Her mother told them all to get under the table as fast as they could.

The Doodlebug then struck and she says that the funny thing was that she remembers there being no sound. After the dust had settled she realised that she was buried underneath the rubble of the home.

She then heard her Mother calling her and asking if she was alright. As she was confused she did not answer her. That was the last time that she was to hear her Mother's voice.

After what seemed like an eternity she heard the sounds of people digging in the rubble. At the time the rescuers didn't know where she was, so as they were moving the bricks and piling them on top of her, the rubble above her was getting heavier and heavier.

She then called out and eventually was dug free. Her sister and friend were also rescued. But sadly her Mother was dead.

When my Mother and her sister were discharged from hospital they were evacuated to Wiltshire where they remained for the rest of the war.

When the houses were rebuilt, my grandfather moved back and lived there until he died in 2001."

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Three Song Long

Not having suffered any recent familial bereavement and having endured a childhood tragically free of illness and trauma I was cruelly precluded from entering this year's 'X Factor' contest.

However those in Worcester Park with musical talent (self-profressed or otherwise) have a new outlet for their genius courtesy of CAZBAR's 'Acoustic Heaven' nights.

Each Acoustic Heaven night has four 3-song slots that can be booked in advance - or you can turn up on an open mic basis (2 songs each) and wow your audience of Worcester Parkers.

The first Acoustic Heaven night is this Sunday (9th November) at CAZBAR on Central Road. Details here.

Monday, 3 November 2008

For Fawke's Sake

So Guy Fawke's night is upon us and 'tis the season to celebrate ye olde war on terror by publicly burning the effigy of a Roman Catholic.

Or for those more divorced from the history of the event, it's Bonfire Night. Hoorah!

Fireworks in Worcester Park come courtesy of Green Lane School on Friday (7th November)gates open at 5pm, with time to enjoy the BBQ before the display begins at 6pm.

Tickets are £6 for adults, £3 for children 3-16 (under 3s free) and £15 for a family of 4.

Further afield there is the Kingston Community Fireworks Display & Funfair this Friday evening from 8pm at the Kingsmeadow Stadium the Epsom Fireworks Display & Funfair this Saturday (8th November) at 7:30pm

Alternatively, if you have recommendations for a good local fireworks display, let the rest of Worcester Park know using the 'comments' link below!

Saturday, 1 November 2008

The Drury's out?

Had I not seen it with my own eyes this afternoon, I would never have believed it. Movement - nay human beings - stirring inside Dury & Cole.

That said I couldn't work out precisely what they were doing inside Worcester Park's favourite dust-museum, but it seemed to moving piles of 1970s crockery around, with a sponge and can of cleaning spray lingering enticingly in the background.

Could this finally be the beginning of the end for Drury & Cole? Watch this space.

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Ghost Town

Mann Countrywide estate agents in Worcester Park has disappeared quietly into the cold October air - yet another victim of the dramatic end to the property dream.

They join Andrews, Samuel James, Knightwood Estates and Grand Estates in the growing list of Worcester Park estate agents who have bitten the dust in recent months.

I suppose these things are cyclical and when the next property boom comes around they will rise phoenix-like from the ashes and the streets of KT4 will once again be choked with estate agents driving around in their irritating company-liveried Mini Coopers.

In the meantime, there's yet another empty shop unit in Worcester Park.

Welcome to Halloween. And welcome to our ghost town.

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Chattering Classes

Adrian Short, local resident and blog author has launched 'Sutton Chat' - a local discussion forum for local people.

He explains: "My aim is to create a place where everyone can discuss local issues and get to know other local people. The forum is politically and commercially independent but will be biased in favour of civilised and intelligent debates."

Kind of like the Worcester Park Blog. Except we don't often do civilised or intelligent debates and will gang up on and kick the electronic shins of anyone that starts talking about Wallington, Belmont or other ludicrously far flung corners of the Borough.

If you'd like to join in (or start) the debate then log on to http://www.suttonchat.co.uk/

Thursday, 23 October 2008

One Way Traffic

My chuckle of the day comes courtesy of blog reader John who commented:

"I have lived in WP for over 10 years now...and I can tell you that in my time living here, that the traffic has just gone down hill on an annual basis."

I dunno - it was crawling in both directions last time I looked....

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

KFC You Later

A culinary crisis has hit Worcester Park, with KFC closed for many weeks for a major refit that will see it transformed from a tired purveyor of unhealthy greasy battery chicken bits into a swanky new purveyor of unhealthy greasy battery chicken bits.

Can't wait.

In the meantime, what effect will the absence of the venerably Colonel have on the KT4 scene? Will Papa John's pizza be the new hang-out of choice? Or will the residents of Worcester Park fall under the spell of fish-lipped national saviour Jamie Oliver and eschew the bargain bucket forever in favour of home cooked coq au vin?

Only time will tell.

Monday, 20 October 2008

That was the year that was!

Ignoring the little false start back in 2005, The Worcester Park Blog is officially 1 year old today!

Happy birthday to me, happy birthday to me... happy birthday dear blogger, happy birthday to me!

What a year it has been - from landslides to The Hamptons, power cuts to KFC.

Here, courtesy of some mind boggling number crunching from Google Analytics, are the Top 10 topics on the Worcester Park Blog in the last year.

  1. 'The Hamptons' planning debate

  2. Worcester Park restaurants, takeaways and cafes

  3. The Worcester Park landslide

  4. On moving to Worcester Park

  5. Good service in Worcester Park shops

  6. Come Friendly Bombs

  7. Worcester Park's pubs & bars

  8. Knightwood Estates

  9. For the flower man

  10. Local mysteries

Thanks to all readers and commenters who have made the WP Blog such a lively place in the last 12 months.

Here's to the next year of blogging!

Saturday, 18 October 2008

Hamptons Planning Permission Refused - Again!

In a further blow to progress of 'The Hamptons' development, Sutton Council have again refused planning permission for further expansion of the controversial New England-style development.

The planning application (a revised version of the application that was refused at a planning meeting in December 2007) was turned down as it failed to demonstrate that futher development of The Hamptons would not have an unduly adverse effect on the already choked roads of Worcester Park.

Having removed the controversial 'wind turbine' aspect of last year's proposal the developers, St James' Homes, again tripped up on their own green credentials, failing to convince Sutton Council that they had given due consideration to mitigating the environmental impact.

In a further embarrassment to the developers, Sutton Council called into question the very calculations behind their plans for CO2 saving 'ground source heat pumps'.

So, planning permission for The Hamptons has again been refused.

Is this the end of the story? Quite probably not.

If you recall, St James' homes said they would withdraw their call for a public enquiry if this planning application went through. The application has been refused, so it looks like even more interesting times ahead with a Public Enquiry due.

The drive to expand The Hamptons was, of course, born in slightly rosier economic times. Quite how the the gathering clouds of recession and the tumbling property prices will affect their expansionist plans remain to be seen.

Ding ding, round 3!

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

A Streetcar named desire?

I’m quite glad that Worcester Park doesn’t have any petrol stations. They depress me too much. With the price of fuel creeping ever skyward each foray onto the forecourt sees me leaving £60 lighter and so miserable that no amount of their overpriced ‘woops-I-forgot-the-wife’s-birthday-again’ flowers could cheer me up.

It’s not just the price of fuel that hits motorists hard these days - add up the cost of road tax, depreciation, insurance, MOT, repairs and servicing and the average cost for maintaining a car and using it for just two journeys a week stands (according to the AA) at an eye-watering £2,700 per year.

It’s small wonder, then, that car clubs are proving an increasingly popular and cheap alternative to car ownership for those who only need use of a vehicle once or twice a week. The concept is simple - sign up to a car club and as a member you can pay by can book a car near you for as little as an hour at a time.

The car club phenomenon has now arrived in Worcester Park courtesy of the UK’s largest car club company ‘Streetcar’. They have three cars in the local area - one in Caldbeck Avenue (near KFC) and the two in Beaumount Avenue in The Hamptons.

As a car club member you simply book the car online (or over the phone) find the car in its allocated parking bay, swipe your smartcard against the windscreen to unlock the vehicle and off you go!

Membership of the club costs just under £50, with cars available to hire from just £4 per hour. More details at http://www.streetcar.co.uk/

Thursday, 9 October 2008

For Fox Sake

UPDATE: The Worcester Park Blog is setting the news agenda once again with The Sutton Guardian running a half-page story on the fox issue and the debate raging on this fair blog. See page 9 of this week's Sutton Guardian - and do continue to add your comments to the original article below!

I'm fed up with it - the screaming at night, bins being tipped over, turds left on the lawn. With locals behaving like that, it's a wonder the foxes haven't upped and left Worcester Park.

But our four-legged furry fiends are in plentiful supply. So surely nobody would feed and encourage these vermin?

Well, Sutton Council is more than happy for you to do so, according to the fox Q&A page on their website:

"Should I feed the foxes?

If you want to, yes; there is absolutely no reason why you should not feed them, and many people derive a great deal of pleasure from feeding the foxes in their garden. But do not feel that you have to feed them because otherwise they will be short of food. This is not true."

Proof according to the anonymous e-mailer who sent me this anonymous tip off (not terribly anonymously because her name shows in the 'From' field of the e-mail) that Sutton Council is "made up of total loonies, who appear to give more rights to smelly foxes than humans".

Not sure I would go that far, but I certainly wouldn't feed the foxes.

Would you?

Monday, 6 October 2008

Free Tea & Cake

Sutton Council has launched a project to explore the impact on Sutton of the last London Olympic Games in 1948 (they're still trying to work out if it was a good idea or not, apparently).

They are appealing for photos, memorabilia or any other items linked to the sporting showcase or simply to life in Sutton 60 years ago. Two special events will be staged in the Borough’s libraries this month inviting residents to bring their items along or talk about their memories.

The first is at Worcester Park Library on Saturday 11 October between 2 and 4pm, and will be followed by another at Cheam Library on Wednesday 22 October, also from 2 to 4pm.

Tempted? Thought not. But wait, free tea and cake will be available.

Hang on..... I'll pitch that to you slightly differently......

Sutton Council will be giving everyone free tea and cake at Worcester Park Library this Saturday from 2pm to 4pm. There will also be some Olympic-related stuff on display, apparently.

The project will culminate in an exhibition at Sutton Central Library in June 2009. All objects displayed will be returned to their owners, so if you can help then have a word with them at the library (and can you find out whether they will be doing battenburg or chocolate muffins and let me know)?

Sunday, 5 October 2008

Holdall the traffic up

There's a little bit more on the 'suspect package' at Worcester Park last week on the Sutton Guardian's website.

Such drama.

Saturday, 4 October 2008

Fallen off the property ladder?

The For Sale signs outside houses in Worcester Park have grown roots, and three estate agents in Central Road have already gone to the wall. The housing market appears to have ground to a halt.

Are you stuck on the property ladder - unable to sell your home/flat in Worcester Park?

Or perhaps you want to move to Worcester Park but can't sell your old property or can't get a the mortgage you need to move here?

E-mail your stories to: contribute@worcesterparkblog.org.uk

Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Worcester Park Station Evacuated

Apparently Worcester Park Station and car park was evacuated at 18:50 today due to a suspect package left at the bus stop.

Info, anyone?

Monday, 29 September 2008

Guardian Angle

The Worcester Park Blog has achieved another small notch on the bedpost of media attention courtesy of The Guardian (the big left-wing national one, not the local freebie).

Not the most inspiring or in-depth offering from Guardian.co.uk, but you can find it here if you so wish.

Sunday, 28 September 2008

Flaming Traffic

OK, hardly breaking news but I've had a very busy week, so when I tell you about something happening in Worcester Park on Saturday, just pretend that it was yesterday Saturday (and not last weekend Saturday).

Deal? Good. Because blog reader David has e-mailed me an eyewitness account (and photo) of some excitement on Central Road on, erm, Saturday:

"Another exciting afternoon in Worcester Park as the driver of this Peugeot experienced a feature not highlighted in the manual; spontaneous combustion!

As he pulled over outside Megabytes in Central Road, flames were seen coming from under the bonnet before a loud bang woke up the over 70s doing their afternoon shopping as the offside front tyre exploded.

Locals rushed to the scene with fire extinguishers borrowed from nearby shops while the fire brigade made their way to the scene. After hosing the car down they were unable to push the car away from the junction and even with the offer of a tow rope from a passing motorist in his van they decided to leave the car where it was, taped off, in a decidedly dodgy position.

It was a number of hours before it was eventually taken away."

The Worcester Park Blog. First for breaking news. Eventually.

Thursday, 18 September 2008

An Unsafe Bet

With the economic doom and gloom continuing, I fear more retail failures in Worcester Park in the months to come. The most recent casualty is 'Loving Thoughts' (the card shop next to Clarks) which has shut up shop due to lack of trade.

The good news is that we won't be faced with yet another empty retail unit on Central Road. The bad news is that a betting shop will be moving in to its place - not quite what Central Road has been crying out for, but arguably better than yet another charity shop.

Of course the future of Worcester Park's retailers is very much in your hands. As the clouds of economic uncertainty gather, there's no better time to show your support for local traders.

Monday, 15 September 2008

U-Turn If You Want To

When is a u-turn not a u-turn? When you're the Liberal Democrats.

They are today trumpeting the return of free garden waste collection with a leaflet plopping through the doors of Worcester Parkers.

Good old Liberal Democrats - giving the residents what they really want, unlike the nasty, erm, Liberal Democrats who introduced chargeable collections in the first place.

Well I suppose you can't blame them for trying to save a little face as the peasants of Sutton triumph over the evil council that tried to make them act responsibly with their garden refuse.

The Liberal Democrats. Listening. Responding. Capitulating.

Sunday, 7 September 2008

Memories To Treasure

Some time ago I reported on plans to convert 'Treasure Trove' (a.k.a. the Betty Boop shop) on Central Road into a Persian restaurant.

The planning application was duly turned down by Sutton Council - mainly due to the excessive number of covers that the restaurant would contain and fears over disturbance to local residents.

Now it seems that Betty Boop may be about to bow out of Worcester Park completely, as 'Closing Down Sale' signs are plastered all over Treasure Trove.

It may, however, be a little too soon to write the obituary of this uniquely bizarre outlet - if my memory serves me correctly, Treasure Trove has been 'closing down' on at least one occasion in the past.

Could Betty Boop really be packing her bags and leaving town? Only time will tell.

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Map Attack

Our esteemed London Mayor, Mr Boris 'Whiff-Whaff' Johnson has today launched a 'crime map' of London, so you can see how your local ward performs in the burglary, robbery and vehicle crime stakes.

You can check out your part of Worcester Park at http://maps.met.police.uk/

Surpsingly the map shows a crime differential at the heart of Worcester Park, with the roads on the KFC side of Central Road having a higher crime rate than those Waitrose side.

Which, actually, isn't all that surprising really, when you think of it in those terms.

Monday, 1 September 2008

Worcester Park Library Opening Times

Worcester Park Library Opening Hours:

Updated (31st January 2014)

Tue     9.30- 19.00
Wed    9.30- 17.00
Thur    9.30- 17.00
Fri       9.30- 18.00
Sat      9.30- 17.00
Sunday & Monday : closed

Stone Place, Windsor Road, Worcester Park, Surrey, KT4 8ES

Telephone (020) 8337 1609, Fax (020) 8401 0835

(Was previously:
Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday: 9.00 - 20.00
Thursday & Saturday: 9.00 - 17.00
Monday and Sunday: closed)

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Just kids being kids

Whenever I mention chavs I invariably get criciticised for being too middle class, or occupying the moral high ground.

So may I say how delighted I was to see a gang of around 20 young citizens exercising their freedom of expression with a mass display of verbal and physical exuberance around Waitrose and Iceland.

From what I can gather someone had grassed someone up, and someone else was going to get their head kicked in. Oh, and someone else was a p*ick.

Then the police arrived to sort it all out, innit.

Monday, 25 August 2008

Terrific Warden?

I'm still undecided whether Westminster Council's charm offensive to make their traffic wardens more charming and less offensive is laudable or laughable.

I've certainly never had a run-in with a traffic warden in Worcester Park - indeed the chap that patrols around Waitrose and the surrounding roads looks friendly enough, and can often be seen whiling away his break times by broadening his horizons at the local library. Educate yourself, my son, and one day you'll be....you'll be... well, something other than a traffic warden.

Unless, of course, those aren't his break times, in which case he is in deep trouble for skyving when he should be out tormenting motorists.

Worcester Park resident Brian has e-mailed me to let me know there is a new ticketing menace in KT4:

'It appears we have a new traffic warden in Worcester Park. I observed him in Brinkley Road, sticking a parking ticket on a car which was parked with two wheels on the pavement (which has been allowed at the main road end of the street for about the last eight years) yet he ignored the car (also parked legally) behind him.

He also totally ignored the car he was standing net to which had no front number plate or tax disc which has been parked there for the last two months.

Should this div really get paid from the money we pay into the council tax?"

Friday, 22 August 2008

On Target

Martin e-mailed me late last night to let me know about his local website http://www.toe-the-oche.co.uk/ . Unfortunately in my haste this morning I misread it as toothache.co.uk, so was most disappointed to find nothing on his site by way of a cure for my dreadfully aching premolar.
In the end though it turned out the site was all about darts (I supposed you could use a really sharp one to relieve toothache). Actually it's a shame that darts isn't in the Olympics, as that would definitely be one more sport at which Team GB could excel (in addition to all the splashing, running, leaping about and paddling that we've suddenly become unexpectedly good at).

I've never played the sport myself (I don't have the figure for it) so my own experience of darts is limited to fond Sunday tea-times shared with Jim Bowen, Tony Green and their contestants - invariably northern men called Dave, with the occasional female contestant sporting a BHS dress and obligatory perm.

Anyway, back to Worcester Park and Martin (whose real name is probably Dave) tells me that that darts is alive and well in KT4 and the Royal British Legion club on Central Road is the place to be:

"The Surrey Darts Ladies A team has moved from the Epsom British Legion to the new home venue of Worcester Park British Legion

This coincides with Surrey just having been promoted into the national Premier Division from Division 1 as Champions. Hostilities commence on the weekend of 13/14 September away at darting unbeatables Yorkshire.

Before that though, a friendly has been arranged at WPBL on Sunday 24th August between a Surrey squad and what is termed as the 'Worcester Park Elite'. I know some of the guys representing Worcester Park and it looks like it will be a right laugh."

I'm not quite sure why it will be a right laugh - perhaps the Worcester Park team are comedically bad and we're in a for an evening of slapstick misaps and hilariously misjudged darts throwing. I guess you'll have to be there to find out.

Tantalisingly we are told to watch out for Worcester Park Elite Squad's 'secret weapon'.

Is it a bendy bully?

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Gold Muddle

Good old Sutton Council - they never miss an opportunity for a self-congratulatory press release. Witness this shamelessly opportunistic example of basking in the reflected glory of Carshalton-born Olympic gold medallist Rebbeca Romero:

"Cllr Ruth Dombey, Deputy Leader of Sutton Council said:

“Through Smarter Travel Sutton, the council and TfL are encouraging more people to cycle than ever before, with increased parking, cycle routes and maps available.

“I hope Rebecca’s superb victory inspires people of all ages to get in the saddle, either to compete or simply for every day journeys.”

Team GB & Sutton Council - together we're going for gold.

Friday, 15 August 2008

Trouble Glazing

There was a knock on the door from a couple of likely lads this evening. I didn't have the energy to explain why I couldn't trust a cold-calling scruffy 14-year old in an England rugby top enough to commission his unnamed company to install UPVC windows here at Worcester Park towers.

Instead I politely declined his professional services and bade him goodnight.

Sounds like I had a lucky escape - according to this BBC News report one Worcester Park couple had a good deal more difficulty getting rid of their salesman.

You have been warned!

Sunday, 10 August 2008

Classic Bus Spotter Day

Today was Classic Bus Spotter Day - a chance for members of the public young and old to catch a glimpse of some rarely seen bus spotters on the streets of Worcester Park - many of whom only get brought in public once or twice a year.

The weather was good, the public were out in force and there was plenty to see - my favourite being this 1952 bus spotter with trademark brown satchel.

They just don't make them like that any more.

Oh, and there were some old buses trundling around the streets of Worcester Park as well.

Would you like to see some pictures of those?

Saturday, 9 August 2008

Bus To The Past, Bike To The Future

Tomorrow is Worcester Park Classic Bus Running Day, offering free rides on a wide variety of old buses and coaches dating from 1929 to the mid 60s.

So as not to cause too much of culture shock compared to the modern day '213 bus' experience, I'm told some 1940s teenagers in period costume will be hanging out on the top deck and playing their gramophones at high volume.

The network of routes covers Worcester Park, New Malden, Raynes Park, Kingston, North Cheam, Morden, Wimbledon, Sutton and Epsom.

Full information including timetables at www.red-rf.com/rf-504 , along with loads of vintage local pictures. For those who prefer not to do any advance planning, just look in at WP Station between 11.00 and 16.45 or find your way to North Cheam (wherever that is) where there will also be classic coach tours.

Meanwhile there is good news for all those who have been waiting with a sense of inevitable dread find out which charity shop is moving into the empty half of the old 'Choices Video' unit - a bike shop will shortly be joining the hallowed ranks of Worcester Park traders.

Friday, 8 August 2008

Chav you seen anything as stupid?

Every second counts when you're a Worcester Park chav.

With so much spitting, swearing and Strongbow swilling to cram into an average non-working day you've no time to waste faffing around with silly footbridges.

Need to get to the opposite platform at Worcester Park station? Simple. Just hop straight over the live rails.

Fourtunately this not very goodie hoodie made it over the live rails in one piece - let's face it, had he fallen onto the live rail it would probably have been the first (and last) ever time that electrical activity had been recorded in his brain.

Sunday, 3 August 2008

Blog Spotting!

The Worcester Park Blog has been variously quoted, mentioned, plagiarised, linked to or laughed at by the following erstwhile media outlets:

The Daily Mail (quoted on 'The Hamptons' social housing)
Surrey Comet (on the Low Emissions Zone in Worcester Park)
Guardian.co.uk (on local traders in the credit crunch)
The Sutton Guardian (on 'feeding the foxes' furore)
ITV London (on local bloggers)
BBC Southern Counties (featured local blogs)

If you spot any mentions of the Worcester Park Blog, do let me know!

Saturday, 2 August 2008

Outrage on every page

A couple of weeks ago I was contacted by a journalist from The Daily Mail who was writing a piece on The Hamptons social housing and the furore sparked off by the whole curfew issue. Despite the fact that he writes for The Mail (free outrage with every issue) I gave him 20 minutes of my time on the phone to talk through the issues surrounding The Hamptons debate.

The article has now appeared (pages 42-43) in today's paper and contains a healthy amount of the more vitriolic reader comments that were posted here on The Worcester Park Blog.

I have two issues with The Daily Mail article. The first being the fact that no credit was given to the Worcester Park Blog for all the comments lifted straight into the finished newspaper article. But hey, my ego can live with that.

The second issue is that most of the comments lifted from The Worcester Park Blog were posted on here anonymously - and many were distinctly tongue in cheek. As I said to the journalist on the phone, I myself am not sure whether the deluge of comments on this blog came from a real cross-section of Hamptons and non-Hamptons residents or just two passionate blog readers exchanging regular electronic insults.

Either way, considerable fuel has been poured on the flames of The Hamptons and Worcester Park has now been painted as a utterly snobbish and intolerant place, which I don't believe it is at all. All the Daily Mail article will ultimately achieve is to provoke the very disharmony that it purports exists on The Hamptons.

You can read the article here. Just don't forget to wash your hands afterwards.

Friday, 1 August 2008

Can't get you out of my head

So July's uninformative and unscientific monthly poll has now drawn to a close. Throughout July blog readers have been polled on the reason why they live in Worcester Park.

Topping the poll with 39% was 'I live in Worcester Park because... voices in my head told me to' proving nothing (except that blog readers take the whole thing even less seriously than I do).

I certainly experienced weird voices constantly urging me to move to Worcester Park, however those were just the trio of local estate agents (named Darren, Darren and Darren as I recall) that I had registered my house-hunting details with.

Although it could be that we have uncovered some strange phenomenon here - perhaps the voices are relly there and Worcester Park is the setting of a bizarre Truman Show type experiment. Come to think of it, that would explain what The Hamptons are doing here. suddenly it all makes sense.

Surprisingly, only 22% of residents were lured here by the offer of a free compost bin from Sutton Council - I expect that once more people discover the joys of decomposing your kitchen and garden waste that this number will rise exponentially.

Only 14% were honest enough to admit moving here because they couldn't afford Cheam. Mind you with house prices in free fall you'll soon be able to afford a house practically anywhere (so long as you don't need to heat it or buy food to put in the fridge that you can't even afford to switch on).

Anyway, must go now. Voices in my head are telling me to stop.

Thursday, 31 July 2008

Viagra Falls

It's silly season, so little going on of Worcester Park note in the headlines at the moment - save for this snippet of news about a suspended Worcester Park chemist who has been fined for illegal possession and sale of Viagra.

Clearly a hardened criminal.

[Do excuse me... it's the heat]

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Lights, camera, action!

There are a few videos of Worcester Park on YouTube, mostly 10 second pixellated mobile phone clips of of chavs making moron faces at the camera.

Now, at least, there is something Worcester Park-related that is worth your while watching - and it comes courtesy of aspiring local film maker James Webber.

The interiors of his short film 'Tentboy' were all filmed at Briarwood Court flats opposite the station and the park scenes were shot just 10 mins from good old WP!

The short story is described as 'an urban fairy tale about a young man who inexplicably decides to imprison himself in a tent...in the park' (possibly because he couldn't afford the cost of housing in KT4). Three friends band together to free him. Will they succeed? Watch it and find out...

Saturday, 26 July 2008

She stumped by tree stump

Fiona is worried about trees - well, one ex-tree in particular:

"I was wondering if you can shed any light on the tree that has disappeared along The Manor Drive. I walk this way down to Malden Manor station every morning and to my surprise one day this week what appeared to be a healthy tree had been chopped down.............the next morning the stump had been ground out all together.

Is this the subtle action in advance of extending the S3 bus along this road, I wonder, in the hope no one will notice, or is there something more sinister going on in our midst? "

Well, I can't answer that one myself - although perhaps it's a cynical ploy to take all the trees and put'em in a tree museum (and charge all the people 25 bucks just to see'em).

If anyone can solve the riddle of the disappearing tree of Manor Drive then do let me know.

Summer is here so it is the season of badly-done D.I.Y. It seems that Worcester Park is not immune from the curse of slap-dashery - witness this local example of how not to decorate...

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

The heat is on

Oh! We're having a heatwave, a tropical heatwave. The temperature's rising, it isn't surprising.

Actually it is surprising, considering the washout that last year's summer amounted to and the monsoons we enjoyed a week or two back.

If the heat is all too much for you and has reduced you to a sweating moaning mound of misery then the good news is that CAZBAR on Central Road is now fully air conditioned so you can chill out there (literally) this summer.

Worcester Park's second biggest secret (I can't tell you what the first one is, as it's secret) is that they have a patio area at the back, which will soon be pressed into action as the main bar is closing from for a from 3rd - 8th August.

Meanwhile you have just over a week to vote on July's Monthly Poll, where we ask the real reason why you moved to Worcester Park.

Saturday, 19 July 2008

Wine Bar Rumours...

In May's monthly poll you voted it the landmark that you would most like to see wiped off the face of Worcester Park forever, but it may be all change for The Huntsman's Hall public house.

Sources tell the Worcester Park Blog that The Huntsman is due for a makeover in a few months time in a bid to take it more upmarket (well, it could hardly go further downmarket) and turn it from a pub of dubious repute into a trendy wine bar (with, erm, a children's playground at the back).

Watch this space!

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Rubbish Communication

Perhaps I'm expecting too much, but it would have been nice of Sutton Council to give us advanced warning of the Local Authority strike.

Being a 21st century citizen, I checked their website last night to see whether they were one of the councils affected by the decision by hundreds of workers up and down the country to have a few days off in the sunshine.

Nothing was on the website to suggest that services would be disrupted so I happily wheeled the bins to the kerbside last night and curled up on the sofa to chuckle at the news item on TV about Swansea University students who are having to have their graduation ceremony in a tent because of the strike.

As those of you who were due to have waste collected today will have noticed, the bin men never did come - and those due collections tomorrow will also miss out.

In a fit of bin-rage I hatched an ingenious plan to drive my uncollected refuse to the heart of Sutton officialdom and unceremoniously tip the contents onto the floor of the Town Hall shouting 'This is what I think of your waste collection!'.

But that will never happen. So instead I'll content myself with the advice posted belatedly on Sutton Council's website.

It's just a shame that Sutton Council didn't have the courtesy to give residents a bit of advanced notice. Ah well. Next time, eh?

Saturday, 12 July 2008

I hope you like jamming too?

It was the 'Take Part Take Pride' Worcester Park guided walk this morning - a decent turnout of local residents made the most of the break in the recent monsoon rains to stretch their legs and learn more about the history of Worcester Park. Accompanied by a first aider in uniform - you can never be too healthy or too safe, I guess.

It appears that those on foot are about the only ones in Worcester Park that are actually getting anywhere fast.

Last weekend I was somewhat scpetical (most unlike me) that the new yellow box junctions that have been slapped on certain parts of Central Road would make any difference to the problems of traffic gridlock.

If the experience of the past five days is anything to go by, they certainly have. Traffic is a lot worse.

I thought perhaps it was all in my imagination, but as I commute home along the Malden Road (from North Cheam into Worcester Park) the traffic queuing to crawl down Central Road has definitely lengthened.

Blog reader 'Amskar' has noticed a recent change too:

"This last week it seems to have become much worse than usual. Even on Sunday afternoon there were huge queues. It really has become unacceptable and unnecessary. "

Whilst I'm sticking with the 'yellow box' argument, Amskar thinks our old friends the traffic lights may be to blame:

"I suspect that Kingston Council have changed the timing on the lights at Worcester Park Station because I counted that it only stays green for about 10 seconds (enough time for just 5 vehicles to pass through) before stopping to allow one or two vehicles out of the Avenue.

It seems ludicrous that 200 or more vehicles (including buses) are held up for a handful of cars exiting The Avenue. It seems that nobody is prepared to tackle this problem, simply by changing the timing on these lights and giving at least one minute for the main road thereby allowing more than a few vehicles through.

If this continues I can see buses being rerouted away from Worcester Park to avoid this madness."

The good news it that TFL have allocated resources to change the traffic light phasing in Worcester Park.

The various sets of traffic lights in the Central Road/Malden Road area section will all be linked which, TFL promise, will smooth the flow of traffic through Worcester Park.

Oh, and we only have to wait until January 2009 for this to be done.

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

UFO, no?

The local Guardian have reported this as well, but a couple of blog readers have e-mailed me with their first-hand sighting of these strange lights that appeared in the sky over Worcester Park on Sunday night, including this from Anne:

"I wonder if you or any of your readers saw the strange lights bouncing around in the sky above Worcester Park, from about midnight to 1am Sunday night.

It would be wonderful if they were UFOs - that would really help put Worcester Park on the map - but I'm sure there's a much more mundane explanation.

There were three balls of light, quite ghostly looking, high in the clouds, each circulating in its own orbit, but coming together every so often to bounce off each other. It was quite intriguing to watch."

Did you anything? Eye witness accounts (and photos, of course) all welcome!
We wondered if it was a laser show, though there were no visible upward beams visible linking them to the ground.

Someone else said perhaps it was ball lightening, but the movement seemed a bit too regular.

Anyway, if anyone can cast any light on these lights, so to speak, I'd be grateful, I'm curious to know what or who caused them.

Sunday, 6 July 2008

Your KT4..

July's edition of Worcester Park Life magazine is out now with even more content than before (and more local advertisers coming on board, which is great to see).

Those of you who don't receive a copy through your letterbox can pick one up at Waitrose, CAZBAR, Mr Ink, John James One Stop Party Shop and other distribution points in Worcester Park.

And of course you'll be turning to page 40 for the monthly musings from the Worcester Park Blogger - so a warm welcome to Worcester Park Life readers finding this blog for the first time.

Why not add your comments to the talking points in July's edition of the magazine:

Saturday, 5 July 2008

Boxing Clever?

If you've ventured onto Central Road this weekend you'll no doubt have noticed these box junctions that have appeared by some of the feeder roads.

If early indications are anything to go by, this latest answer to the gridlock is going to be roundly ignored.

As I observed for a few minutes yesterday at the double-box junction conundrum that has appeared opposite Iceland and the Halifax, most drivers seemed oblivious to the new yellow markings and carried on obstructing them as normal.

The occasional driver seemed to heed then, whilst others took advantage of the central gap between the two boxes and drew to a halt in the middle of the road instead.

Looks like Monday's rush hour is going to be interesting.

I, for one, understand the basics of box junctions (don't enter until your exit is clear, unless you are waiting to turn right and are prevented from doing so by oncoming traffic) but quite how these are going to work is beyond me.

Are they meant to help traffic get off the feeder roads and onto Central Road? Or are they meant to prevent traffic coming off the feeder roads from blocking Central Road when making a right turn?

I am most confused.

Thursday, 3 July 2008


Sign the Worcester Park Blog's Guestbook. Leave some pithy comment or general platitude. Better still, tell everyone how wonderful the blog is.

I thank you.


I was so desperately hoping to move this blog away from The Hamptons - we managed it briefly with a run of meat-related jokes and brief excitement over a brothel in Worcester Park, but matters must now return to our New England friends as a 'Public Enquiry' has been announced into the issue of further expansion of The Hamptons.

Back in December last year, St James Homes (developers of The Hamptons) had their planning permission for the final phase of The Hamptons rejected.

The reasons for refusal were:
  • The effect on road traffic and parking

  • Noise pollution from the wind turbines

  • Further strain on local services (schools, doctors' surgeries etc).

As expected, St James have now lodged an appeal against the rejection of their planning application. The fight is on - it is up to the people of Worcester Park once again to voice their opinions and ensure that the eminently sensible decision of the local planners is not allowed to be overturned.

By way of reminder, what we are fighting against here is the building of:

  • Thirty two 3-bedroomed and twenty six 4-bedroomed terraced houses

  • Eight 3-bedroomed and twenty 4-bedroomed semi-detached houses

  • Eight 4-bedroomed and two 5-bedroomed detached houses

  • Twenty nine 1-bedroomed, fifty seven 2-bedroomed and two 2/3-bedroomed flat

  • Garages, surface and basement car parking, cycle and refuse facilities

Or, in other words, 184 more dwellings.

As fun as the jibes about The Hamptons residents have been, and as much as we have all enjoyed the war of words between the two camps this is about a very serious threat to the infrastructure and local services of Worcester Park.

If you think we can handle yet more traffic on Central Road then by all means allow this to go through unnopposed.

If you are happy that the local schools and doctors surgeries can cope with 184 more dwellings then you can put your feet up and relax.

To all those who share my horror at the prospect of yet more development in the area, I propose that 'Round 2' against St James has now well and truly begun!

Are you ready for the fight? Click on the scanned letter at the top of this blog posting for more details on how you can add your voice to the appeal.

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Location Location Location

Whilst millions of us were watching Nadal make Murray mince out of England's favourite Scotsman on Centre Court, only a handful were watching Location Location Location on Channel 4.

Thankfully one of that handful has been in touch to point out that this was the episode featuring Worcester Park - filmed back in the good old days when our houses were earning more than we were.

Kirsty described WP as having "Good train links, good schools and a fantastic high street" whilst Phil said "As an area it's quite exciting".

Quite exciting? Quite?? It's terribly exciting. He clearly doesn't read this blog.

Those of you who missed it have 7 days (and counting) to catch it here. But be warned, it does contain a brief shot of The Huntsmans Hall and footage of New Malden which some viewers may find distressing.

In the meantime a once serious posting of mine has degenerated into an exchange of terrible meat/butcher related jokes - such as:

"I went into the butchers and asked if he kept dripping. He said yes it's really embarrassing!!"

Feel free to add your own meat jokes here.

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Scissor Sisters

I did quite well on my ongoing 'shop local' mission over the weekend.

I popped in to Kim's, the new(ish) barbers in Central Road. The whole thing happened so fast I had to check my reflection in the window on the way out just to make sure that I had actually had my hair cut. Super fast scissorship, Kim.

Then to accompany an impromptu BBQ I called in for some tabbouleh (Lebanese salad to you and me) and other assorted oddments from Ryan Gate. The normally fail safe tactics of pointing to the menu never quite seems to work there and communication invetiably breaks down resulting in me leaving confused and clutching some random items from the menu at a equally unfathomable prices. Perhaps I was supposed to haggle? Still, all part of the lucky dip of shopping Ryan Gate style.

Then it all went horribly wrong on Sunday. I did something that I am deeply ashamed of. I know I shouldn't have, but the temptation was there and in a moment of weakness I succumbed. I now feel dirty, used and thoroughly disgusted with myself.

Yes, I went into KFC. But I didn't inhale. I stood patiently in the queue, dodging the screaming toddlers running amok. The stench of dripping fat was overwhelming - and that was just from the obese woman in front of me.

After two minutes in the queue, as the disfunctional family unit ahead of me waddled off clutching their Bargain Buckets and another serving of brown greasy battery-chicken-remains was dredged from the depths of the deep fat frier I came to my senses and legged it back into the fresh air of Worcester Park.

Am I forgiven?