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

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

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?

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