Monday, 30 June 2008

Mirror Mirror on the ball....

At last a more informed report on The Hamptons curfew - courtesy of the Daily Mirror. Finally someone has cottoned on to the fact that this is really about good old fashioned snobbery and class divisions:

"It's like a prison and it's not fair. I can't even play with my friends on the field behind our house. It's so frustrating, especially when we see posh kids out playing." sniffed one of the poor kids.

For a slightly more predicatable right-wing demolition of the curfew story, check out the podcast of this morning's breakfast show from Nick Ferrari on LBC 97.3 here.

Sunday, 29 June 2008

Hamptons Caught

The BBC News Channel have filmed a report on The Hamptons curfew - if you don't mind sitting through 20 minutes of Konnie Huq's moronic squealing then you can watch the news item about Worcester Park here.

If you do mind sitting through 20 minutes of Konnie Huq's moronic squealing then fast forward 9 minutes 30 seconds into the programme, which is when the piece on The Hamptons starts.

Friday, 27 June 2008

Trading Places?

Being informed, educated and erudite in all matters, I'm sure you are aware that Worcester Park straddles the London boroughs of Sutton and Kingston, the railway bridge by the station being the boundary line between the two.

All of which goes to explain the problem of litter and pigeon mess building up underneath said bridge. Instead of picking up the litter, Sutton Council workers simply sweep it two metres further west so it becomes Kingston Council's problem. Sutton Council workers have also been spotted running under the bridge in the dead of night and flapping wildly, causing the startled pigeons to flap over to Kingston Council's side of the bridge and defecate out of fright.

Actually, I made that up. But it does feel sometimes that Worcester Park is the town that Sutton Council would rather forget and would quite happily sweep a few hundred yards to the west and out of the Borough altogether.

Which (but for the higher council tax in Kingston) might actually be a good thing - at least for the traders of Worcester Park who get a fat lot of support from Sutton Council.

A few weeks ago I was quite critical of the Worcester Park Traders' Association for doing, well, very little to speak up for the traders of Worcester Park as they battle tirelessly against increasing rents, crippling traffic and the unstoppable scourge of empty retail units and charity shops along Central Road.

Terry Dobbs Chairman of the Worcester Park Traders Association (pictured) got in touch recently to give his right of reply:

"We are as active as funds and councils allow us to be.

Until last year I represented the traders on the Worcester Park Forum - then the Council in their wisdom decided that the Traders were not important enough to be there, deciding that friends of parks and a local playground were more deserving."


Despite efforts from the other members and 2 Councillors, this remains the case."

Yes, you did read that correctly - the Worcester Park traders are no longer represented on the Worcester Park Forum (Sutton Council's local area committee and a forum for discussion of all issues relevant to the area). The residents are included. So are representatives of local churches and other community groups - and quite rightly so, as they are all important pieces in the jigsaw of our local community.

But under what lunacy did they take it upon themselves to exclude the voice the traders of Worcester Park - the lifeblood of our local area?

In the meantime, I'm quite sure you'll be do your bit to support the traders of Worcester Park even if Sutton Council doesn't.

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Sofa so bad

In these tough economic times, I'm sure we are all on the lookout for a bargain. So how about a free three-piece suite?

One Worcester Park resident is offering a wonderful sofa free of charge to a good home on eBay- and boy do they give it their best sales pitch:

"The suite itself was brought by a family member who ran a pub in the 60's - she had the Beatles coming in for lunch when they played at the Wimbledon Appollo and brought the suite for that.

It has since stayed in the family and has been recovered four times. It's in great condition and is very high quality. "

Sadly it all falls apart (the sales pitch and, quite possibly, the sofa) when you scroll down to the picture of this masterpiece:



If that's a recovered sofa, I'd be curious to know exactly what is was recovering from. Still, if the fancy still takes you and you'd like a free sofa then you'll find the eBay listing here.

Failing that, I reckon it would make the perfect addition to the abandoned Drury & Cole shop/museum on Central Road:



Anyone want to give me a hand carrying it there?

Monday, 23 June 2008

Ceasefire!



As most of the 78 comments in the increasingly heated argument over The Hamptons are anonymous it's difficult to tell whether it's a mass argument raging across Worcester Park or simply two blog readers with plenty of time on their hands trading tit-for-tat insults.

Thank goodness though for 'Captain America' who has provided the much-needed voice of reason here:

"As fun as this has been, all good things must come to an end therefore I would like to propose a truce amongst the residents of Worcester Park?

This may require some of you to accept that Hamptons residents are not personally the sole reason for increased congestion, etc (thank council planning for that), so I expect many childish comments in return, but I thought it would be worth a try."

Aye aye Captain.

So may I be the first (well, second) to propose a truce here? Let residents across Worcester Park unite in a group hug on Malden Green (opposite the station) as we learn to love one another in the true spirit of community.

Or if that would offend your masculinity, a good tight manly hug combined with a blokey slap on the back just in case anyone looking should mistake it for a sign of affection.

Either way, ladies and gentlemen, can we call a ceasefire!!!!??

Friday, 20 June 2008

Media Frenzy?

The Sutton Guardian's piece on the curfew imposed on social housing tenants in The Hamptons has made the national media - and so I found myself on the phone to a researcher from BBC Radio 5 Live this morning after a hurried e-mail asking for somebody to appear on the Midday News and talk about the furore.

Sadly (I am burning my licence fee right now in protest) they didn't put me on the programme in the end - but there is an interview with a representative from Thames Valley Housing Association. You can listen to the interview here (it's about 20 mins in).

Thursday, 19 June 2008

Anti-social housing?

With no sign of an end to the mud-slinging (57 heated comments and counting) I fear that fuel has been added to the fire by the front page of today's Sutton Guardian which reports on the 9pm curfew imposed on the residents of The Hamptons social housing.

Ironic, when you consider that the debate raging on this blog really boils down to class-warfare and snobbery at the residents of this new development. But it's OK, apparently, so long as the less well-off kids are safely indoors by 21:00.

Ironically, when the Sutton Guardian contacted me about this earlier in the week I replied that I hadn't heard of such a curfew order and doubted it would exist, as The Hamptons is hardly a hot-spot of local crime. Just goes to show that I don't quite know everything that goes on in KT4 (scary, I know).

If you read the article carefully you will note that the curfew is now quite a curfew - it's not legally binding but is just a 'statement of intent' to set the ground rules for acceptable behaviour.

Now I could write more about the ethics of this or the sheer class and age discrimination that this agreement smacks of - but fortunately Adrian Short has already done this in an excellently argued blog posting which he's e-mailed me to tell me about. You can it read it here (I urge you to do so).

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

A Rubbish Argument

I just don't get it. This whole debacle over Sutton Council's recently-introduced £35 per bag per year fee for collecting garden waste. I just don't get it!

The reasoning behind Sutton Council's imposition of the fee is simple - to cut down the number of gas-guzzling lorries trundling around the borough picking up garden waste that could quite easily be composted at home (in a compost bin available free of charge from the Council).

I seem to be alone in my confusion over why this has become such an issue - the Sutton Guardian has led with front-page condemnation of these new charges and their readers have been just as vociferous in their condemnation of the charges:

"What are [old ladies] supposed to do with their garden waste if they can't afford the outrageous £35 per bag per year charge? They can't walk that to the dump" rants one reader on the newspaper's forum.

As one who has contendly composted all of my garden waste for the past four years and never once had recourse to the council's garden waste bags, the wrath and rage of local residents is a mystery to me.

If you have a garden, you can have a compost bin. If you are fit enough to do cut the grass and rake up leaves then you are fit enough to put them into said compost bin.

Granted, I only have a small garden and so generate only a small amount of garden waste. But then if my garden was double the size then I'd have plenty of space for the extra compost bin. Clever, huh?

As militant Sutton residents leave their garden waste at the kerbside in 'open defiance' of the new scheme or clog the roads around the local refuse centre, I am left bewildered.

If you can't be bothered to compost your own waste and want the luxury of kerbside collections then that's your perogative - but it's only fair that you alone should foot the bill for this service.

Meantime, neither myself nor my compost bin can understand what the fuss is all about.

Perhaps you can explain?

Friday, 13 June 2008

May or May Not?

As a heated debate rumbles along elsewhere in this blog about 'The Hamptons -v- Everyone else in Worcester Park', those who are not afraid to let their children mingle with their New England-style neighbours may wish to head along to for a Fun Day this coming Sunday (15th June).

Weather permitting we are promised free children's activities, free refreshments and plenty of fun things to do (all as part of 'Love Parks Week', apparently).

It all takes place in Mayflower Park in The Hamptons development from 2pm to 5pm. No passports or visas or innoculations are required for entry to The Hamptons.

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

This is not a blog post

I've decided you've had things a little too easy of late when it comes to getting your fix of The Worcester Park Blog.

So I'm not putting my latest article online for your enjoyment - instead you will have to venture into Worcester Park and grab your free copy of 'Worcester Park Life' - the brand new magazine dedicated to all things KT4.

You'll find the first monthly column from the Worcester Park Blog and plenty more besides in the inaugral edition of the magazine which you can pick up from:
  • CAZBAR

  • Worcester Park Library

  • Police Office

  • John James

  • Mr Ink

  • One Stop Party Shop

Oh, and there's money-off vouchers for Worcester Park shops in there as well, which can't be bad.

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Central Rude?

There is much speculation on this blog and elsewhere that a branch of the adult shop 'Pillow Talk' is looking to open in Worcester Park selling lingerie, adult toys and all manner of naughtiness. In KT4? Surely not.

Rumours have it that it is looking to open in place of the defunct 'TV & Video Clinic' - but is smut and titillation really about to arrive in Central Road?

Crucially, Pillow Talk are licensed premises (the kind that would make Ann Summers blush with embarassment). A search with Sutton Council has revealed no current licence applications from Pillow Talk - nor are there any postings of licence application outside the proposed premises or in the local press (as required by law).

Furthermore, a 'Shop To Let' notice went up recently in the window of the former TV Clinic, so it looks as if no taker has been found for that outlet - besides with most of their existing shops in larger towns, Worcester Park would seem a strange choice of location to sustain a shop like Pillow Talk.

However, what did make me chuckle during my online research into 'Pillow Talk' was this letter of objection to the licence renewal of one of their existing stores. You can feel the fear of 'Outraged of Reigate' as he writes:

"My Family and I object to its re-licensing on the grounds:-

1 This kind of sex shop could encourage a Soho type “Red Light District” where prostitution and drugs could end up, London is trying hard to move its bad Soho image into Redhill town, and so bring crime to this area.

2. Redhill could be “downgraded” to a cheap dirty smutty area which could encourage wrong types as in 1, to move in “gradually and without thought” to other peoples wishes.

3. The sex shop gives the impression that it offers a service but this should be kept to mail order catalogues in the privacy of ones home. What the shop actually does is, it degrades Redhill, as a Town. It also degrades women younger women and these young girls who may think that they are simply sex objects as portrayed in some Soho nightclubs.

6. I have a daughter who is now married. This type of shop actually is offensive to the women. Is this the type of environment we want our younger daughters to live in? What would they be thinking about such shops? How would they view themselves as girls, young ladies/women?

7. Redhill’s future is bright and is improving. Let Redhill compete with such places as Crawley mall where their shop types are very good and it is all under cover (by the way there are too many mobile phone shops in Redhill Belfry) let’s see something else apart from mobile phone shops and Pillow Talk Sex Shop. UPGRADE REDHILL, Redhill must change for the better or it will go on a decline and end up like London Soho. It’s RedHILL not RedLIGHT District.



So, that's that. I for one shall be writing an immediate pre-emptive letter of objection to Sutton Council as I for one wouldn't want the wrong types moving in to Worcester Park moving in gradually and without thought to others' wishes.


It's time we all took a stand before Worcester Park, like Redhill, becomes over-run with prostitution, drugs and mobile phone shops.

Sunday, 8 June 2008

For the flower man

With an irony that I like to hope would have made him smile, some flowers have been left outside Eves Florist (next to Cuppaholic) in memory of Joe Bright, who passed away last weekend.

I and thousands of other commuters would hurry past him each morning as we dashed to begin the daily grind of city life, and would pass him again as we struggled home wearily in the late afternoon.


There was always, I thought, something enviably peaceful and simple about his life in this tiny corner (literally) of Worcester Park - a fixture on the local scene for 40 years.


One of the bunches of flowers left outside the door to his shop sums up the sentiments of many, I am sure. The card inside is addressed simply to Joe 'The Flower Man' and signed 'from a Worcester Park Resident'.

Saturday, 7 June 2008

Charity Begins At Once

As Worcester Park emits a collective groan of despondency at the inevitable arrival of Yet Another Bloody Charity Shop, this e-mail from Grant did make me chuckle:

"I had to let you know that as I was coming home from work tonight I passed the British Heart Foundation Charity Shop.

The place hasn’t finished being refurbished yet, let alone been opened but someone had left a carrier bag of clothes outside it.

This place makes me laugh. Carry on Worcester Park!!!!!!"

Ahh, the people of KT4. They're just all heart....

Friday, 6 June 2008

Virgin on the ridiculous

I and thousands of others in Worcester Park, New Malden, Sutton and Morden have just emerged from electronic oblivion thanks to a 27-hour outage on Virgin Media.

No digital TV and Internet for over a day? It's a miracle any of us survived intact. I for one shall be on the phone to the Bearded One's minions to ask for a day's credit. And I might mention why, as a former Telewest customer of 4 years' standing, I get punished for my loyalty by paying 50% more than brand new customers.

I might also ask that next time they come up with a better excuse than a builder digging through a cable.

Rant over.

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Stroperty Ladder

OK, OK, blog readers. I get the message- you don't like estate agents.

Judging by recent comments you have posted here it is clear that there is little love lost between the people of Worcester Park and their friendly local estate agencies.

There is a fine line between fair comment and libel, so I'm afraid I had to remove half a dozen of your choicer comments - and until I can afford decent lawyers will continue to do so.

Meanwhile, if I may change the tone somewhat The Brinkster has posted some sad news today about the sudden death of a popular Worcester Park trader who will be greatly missed. Great shame.

How Now, Brown Owl?

The 4th Worcester Park & Old Malden Brownie Pack are celebrating their 60th Birthday this year.

They are holding a party in July to celebrate and are looking for as many old Brownies as possible who attended the pack over the years.

Sue Grout is their current Brown Owl, a role that she has held for about 30 years.

If you have been a member of 4th Worcester Park & Old Malden Brownie Pack any time in the past 60 years then they would be delighted to hear from you and welcome you to their celebrations in July. E-mail Rachel - squirrel.4thworcesterpark@yahoo.co.uk

Sunday, 1 June 2008

Home James?

In what I suspect is a sign of the economic times to come (either that or a new concept in minimalism) 'Samuel James', the estate agency on Central Road is now just an empty shell but for a few desks and a couple of PCs. Their website has also disappeared without trace, and their main phone number is now dead.

So offered with vacant possession is this compact but desirable mid-terrace property with easy access to shops and amenities and stunning views of Barclays Bank...