Friday, 30 January 2009

Watching Me Watching You

I can't help feeling there are Friday-night trouble spots in the Sutton area more deserving of the presence of the borough's 'Mobile CCTV' unit.
However if things do kick of tonight outside The Sue Ryder Charity Shop on Central Road then it will all be captured on film.

Smile and wave, Worcester Parkers!

Thursday, 29 January 2009

Nothing Happened

I have received unconfirmed reports today that nothing has happened in Worcester Park. Blog sources alerted by a massive silence describe the scene as 'absolutely non-existent'.

Details are somewhat unclear, but it is believed that nothing has happened for the past two weeks. If nothing continues to happen I shall, of course, keep you informed.

Monday, 26 January 2009

It's The Stupid Economy

From the 'no sh*t Shirlock' economic foundation came confirmation last week that we officially in recession.

A quick stroll along Central Road will tell you more in 10 minutes than Robert Peston could depress you with over the course of a whole hour. The estate agents were the first casualties, but few shed tears for them as they left behind empty shop units galore.

Then Silks shut its doors at the start of this year, beaten by the economic downturn which is driving us away from restaurants and back into our own kitchens.

There will, I am sure, be more casualties to come. Of course boom and bust are all cyclical and I know that before too long we will be lauding the green shoots of economic recovery. Yet many of the Worcester Park businesses under threat of extinction are 'one-off's' remain open more by virtue of inertia than their good business models.

All of which means that the type of businesses that may disappear over the course of 2009 will likely never return to Worcester Park.

The only certainty in this whole sorry situation is that Central Road will be a very different place by the end of this year.

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

In Tents Competition

Last summer I brought you news of 'Tent Boy', a short film shot in the Worcester Park area by aspiring local film maker James Webber from 'Fingercuff Productions'.

Congratulations are now in order as 'Tent Boy' has scooped the award for Best Comedy at the Surrey Film Festival. Their film 'Commitment' (also shot in the local area) also won the coveted Best Film award.

Congratulations to James and all involved for their well-deserved awards and for bringing a slice of KT4 to the silver screen.

So break out the popcorn and head over to their YouTube channel to enjoy the fruits of their labour.

Meanwhile the Worcester Park Blog has made its way onto BBC Southern Counties list of local blogs. Check out the list for some interesting and varied Surrey-based blog offerings.

Friday, 16 January 2009

Right Up My Alley

Blog sources have passed to me an official response from Merton Council in relation to the Alley Gaters story I posted a few days ago.

There is little, it would appear, that can be done to stop the alley gating from going ahead - as I wrote originally, this is private land so the residents are quite within their rights to prevent public access.

Full credit, though, to Merton Council for giving a full and detailed response, with bonus points for including the phrase 'lewd and libidinous'. I think if I was going to be lewd and libidinous I would find a better location than a Garth Road alleyway, but I digress.

Herewith Merton Council's response:

"The land being used as a public footpath, is private land owned by the residents who back onto it and was never intended for public use.

Numerous accounts of anti social behaviour have taken place in this private alleyway for a number of years. This is extremely distressing for the residents who live here and witness the events.

The problems consist of dog fouling left behind by dog owners, trespassers loitering, drinking, littering, taking drugs, using the alley [as] a public toilet and lewd and libidinous acts.

On 4 January 2005 a member of the public had an accident at the steps on Sutton’s border, while using this private alleyway as a shortcut to Garth Road, Morden. This person is in the process of making a claim against one of the involved Garth Road property owners. This claim and the above mentioned anti social behaviour, has lead the landowners to take steps to secure their land.

The London Borough of Merton has introduced the Alleygate Scheme to help its residents secure their property. Residents who decide to gate their privately owned alleyways, can do so without permission from the council.

However, if they wish to receive grant fund from the London Borough of Merton, they must follow the strict guidelines, laid out in the London Borough of Merton “Guide to Alleygating” booklet. You can find this booklet at the following website address:

The decision to gate and fence this area was taken by the involved Garth Road residents. The public notice was placed in the alleyway and in the Merton Guardian by the London Borough of Merton Alleygate Co-ordinator on Thursday 18 December 2008 because the Lynton Alleygate Scheme Committee have applied for grant funding towards the cost of the gate and fencing.

The Lower Morden Safer Neighbourhoods Team have had some involvement in this alleygate scheme and have spoken to some of the residents about the incidents of anti social behaviour.

A map [of the area] obtained via the London Borough of Sutton Website shows any Public Right of Way in red and the Sutton Borough boundary in dark blue. The map shows that there is no Public Right of Way through the alleyway in question.

The Public Right of Way signpost at the top of the steps at the Sutton border, is pointing to and relates to the path that is to the left of the alley, if you are approaching the area from the Trafalgar Avenue end.

[To view the map click here and search for 37 Trafalgar Avenue]. Click on the Service window in the top right hand corner of the screen and scroll down to Public Right of Way. This will highlight any Public Right of Way in red.

Whilst I understand the inconvenience that securing this private alleyway will cause to Sutton residents and persons who park their vehicles in Trafalgar Avenue, Worcester Park, to access their place of work in Garth Road, Morden it is without setting precedence [sic] that the London Borough of Merton is considering releasing funds towards the Lynton Alleygate Scheme.

The involved residents have met the criteria needed in order to apply for a grant towards their Alleygate Scheme and their application must be considered.

The land in question is privately owned and the property owners are well within their rights to gate and fence their alleyway. The alleyway is not owned, or maintained by the London Borough of Merton. Therefore the residents of 101 – 115 Garth Road can secure their land without any authorisation or funding from the London Borough of Merton."

Thursday, 15 January 2009

Breeding Matter

It is with considerable parental joy that I bring you news you of the birth this week of not one but two bouncing baby blogs.

First born is The Worcester Park Phantom who lives off Manor Drive in the Royal bit of Worcester Park - although as far as I'm concerned if you shop at Waitrose, are confused by Ryan Gate and worship at the revolving kebab grill of Nefis then you are a Worcester Parker through and through.

Second born is Teenage Worcester Park (they grow up so quickly these days don't they) who is promising to give us an insight into Worcester Park from a young person's perspective.

Teenage Worcester Park explained to me the motivation behind starting the blog:

"I just wanted it to been known that not all the teenagers living in Worcester Park are drug crazed Hoodies. I started the blog because after my house was burgled I grew very angry."

I'm sure you will join me in welcoming them to the blogosphere. I just hope I don't get chased for maintenance payments...

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Worcester Park Plumber

See the links above for a plumber in Worcester Park
Emergency plumber, Drain clearance, plumber to fix water leak etc.

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Alley Gaters

I like alleyways. Albeit not after the hours of darkness. There is something strangely liberating about scurrying through these little pedestrian short-cuts away from the thundering (or grinding) traffic.

Yet increasingly we are seeing alleyways closed off. The problem is that many of these passages are not, as is commonly assumed, public footpaths but are privately owned pieces of land belonging to the surrounding residential properties to which they provide rear or side access.

The increasingly common practice of 'alley gating' is touted as an effective measure to prevent fly-tipping and reduce burglaries and incidents of anti-social behaviour and as such is supported (and in many cases subsidised) by local councils.

If planning permission is granted by Merton Council the alleyway which runs between Trafalgar Avenue and Garth Road in Worcester Park (a popular short cut especially for those accessing the 293 bus stop) will shortly be gated off.

I would be quite surprised if there is a particular problem with anti-social behaviour here. The passageway is right at the end of 'Pigs Alley'- a secluded public footpath running from Trafalgar Avenue, past The Hamptons development and through to Green Lane - which is surely much more of a magnet for potential anti-social behaviour than this innocuous looking alleyway.

Yet as we are dealing with privately-owned lane, there is little that can be done to prevent such alleys from being gated off. Which is good news for those who share ownership of this little strip of land but bad news for those who prefer two legs to four wheels.

Bring on the alley gaters!

Monday, 12 January 2009

Box Away

Just six months ago, yellow boxes appeared overnight at the junctions of Longfellow Road/Stone Place and Central Road.

The yellow boxes met with little approval from blog readers at the time:

"This has to be the most ridiculous road painting LBS has ever come up with. The half size box junction opposite Iceland is about as much use as a choc fireguard." wrote one blog reader.

Now, in a spectacular lesson in money-wasting, the yellow boxes have been scrubbed from the road under cover of darkness.

Blog reader 'Coffee Man', who alerted me to their sudden disappearance, is one motorist who is going to miss them:

"How on earth are we to get in or out of the car park now? Apart from a bit of colour on the road to brighten up a dismal road they did serve a useful purpose."

The box junction at the end of Washington Road remains, but how much did this little exercise cost us all?

Sunday, 11 January 2009

Worcester Source

I must say a quick hello to blog readers from the city of Worcester in the West Midlands.

My website statistics show that a fair few of you have found this blog in recent days after Googling 'When does KFC in Worcester open?'

I'm afraid I cannot enlighten you as to when the the Colonel will be arriving in Worcester, as my omniscience only extends to the KT4 area.

However, this is clearly an exciting time foryour city's development. Given your evident keenness for a bargain bucket, perhaps we can arrange a for a coach party to come to Worcester Park to see our KFC?

Saturday, 10 January 2009

UPDATE: The Hamptons - Public Inquiry

Those of you who have been following the ongoing saga of The Hamptons will recall that the developers, St James Homes, have twice had their planning application (for provision of 184 extra dwellings) rejected by Sutton Council.

The planning request has now gone to a Public Enquiry - the date of which has just been announced.

The Public Enquiry will be held from Tuesday 17th March to Friday 20th March 2009 at The Orchard Suite in The Holiday Inn, Sutton.

If you wish to speak at the Public Enquiry, you must be there when the enquiry opens on the first day at 10am.

Let battle commence!

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

An Open & Shut Case

I was in The Hunstmans Hall back in November with The Brinkster. Well, we figured that if either blogger was beaten up the other could at least write an eye-witness account of it.
As it turned out, we were the only ones in the pub that night. The kitchen was closed, Sky TV had been disconnected, the bar was barely stocked with drinks and was not so much being staffed as kept on life support by the bloke who lived above the pub.

As the new year begins the cloud of uncertainty hanging over The Hunstmans shows no sign of lifting. It is pot luck these days as to whether the pub will even be open.

The word on the street is that new tenants were lined up to take over the running of the pub at the end of last year but the deal hit something of a stumbling block. Those living in the pub's accommodation have been asked to move out and Worcester Park's oldest drinking establishment continues to struggle by.

Just when it had seemed that The Hunstmans was beginning to shake off its troubled past and reinvent itself, things appear to be going horribly wrong.

For the sake of Worcester Park, I hope that the town's oldest boozer emerges intact eventually.

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Tree-mendous Idea

Blog reader 'Bear' has e-mailed me to let me know about The Woodland Trust's Christmas card recycling appeal.

Those of you who have yet to get rid of your old Christmas cards can take them to WH Smith in Worcester Park.

The more cards you recycle, the more new trees can be planted in the UK.

More details here.

Monday, 5 January 2009

Question Time

I have been hit by a blizzard of comments on the Worcester Park Blog, including several very angry ones from someone I have clearly annoyed, and others from someone who insists on calling me Roy.

One of the comments consisted of a list of questions - which I am more than happy to answer:

Why are you always so sarcastic in your comments? (It's really annoying!)

I do it to annoy you. I'm so glad it's working.

What do you do for a living..? Is this it? You have nothing better to do?

I do other things, but that is no interest of yours. Anway, why are you writing long comments with dubious word ordering. You have nothing better to do?

Is this your life? DO YOU HAVE A SOCIAL LIFE?

I have 239 Facebook friends, some of whom I have even met in real life.

Why do you care so much about other people's business? ( can't you just mind your own? )

Why do you care enough to comment on this blog? Do you mind if I answer a question with a question?

Do you think you're funny and interesting?

Thousands read this blog every week. Let them be the judge.

Do you really think Worcester Park needs someone like you?

Dunno. I haven't asked it. It could do with a decent fishmonger though, and fewer charity shops. Perhaps I should diversify.

How do you know so much about other people's business? Are you a spy?

Yes, but please don't tell anyone, or I would have to kill you. I also have a network of secret contacts in and around Worcester Park who give me my information. But please don't tell anyone, or I'd have to kill them too.

Are you allowed to take pictures of other people's businesses and post them on your blog without permission.

I like to live life on the edge. I drove at 32 mph in an urban area the other day. Not Central Road, of course. That would never happen.

Thursday, 1 January 2009

Silk Finish

One only has to peer in at the empty tables at many restaurants to know just how bad things are becoming - a 'ghost town' was how one restaurant owner described Worcester Park to me a few weeks ago.

Sadly the economic downturn has claimed its first victim in Worcester Park - Silks restaurant has closed its doors. Regular blog readers will know that I have become a huge fan of Silks and its closure will leave the Worcester Park restaurant scene a lot poorer.

The only slight positive is that the family owners of the business are planning to re-open the venue under a different guise at some point in the future so at least we will be spared yet another empty unit or charity shop.

James, the proprietor of Silks is waving goodbye to Worcester Park to move on to new ventures. I'm sure you'll join me in wishing him well for the future.

Ice Weather For Ducks

Happy New Year one and all!

I started 2009 with a bracing walk around Worcester Park to refresh myself after the excesses of the night before.

Passing through Longfellow Road, I see that The Acorn Project (about whom I blogged way back in November 2007) have made good on their promise to refurbish the second part of the Rosa Smith Playground which is now equipped with a brand new basketball court.

The Hamptons had clearly been the subject of much merriment and celebration at the stroke of Midnight. The viewpoint at the top of the hill in Mayflower Park was apparently very busy with revellers gathering to get a glimpse of the spectacular fireworks display in Central London (10 miles away, as the crow flies). Even the police were there to keep order. Evening all!

Perhaps you were at The Hamptons last night and can tell me whether it's worth going there to view the London fireworks?

As usual, those celebrating were much more proficient and making a mess than they were at clearing it up afterwards, so it was left to some community-minded residents to clear up the party debris.

Meanwhile for the ducks the frozen ponds provided a confusing (but comical) start to 2009.

From The Hamptons it was off through the fields behind Green Lane Primary School and into the Sir Joseph Hood Memorial Playing Fields.

Technically, the playing fields and parks are in Motspur Park, in the shadow of the gasometers - for those of you who have never ventured there, they are well worth a visit being probably one of the best-equipped and maintained local parks in the area with tennis/basketball courts, children’s playground and football pitches.

Never a dull moment in Worcester Park!