Saturday, 30 May 2009

Unseasonal Greeting

From the fish counter at Waitrose today.

They are either celebrating very very early, or very very late. I can't decide which.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

The Boscombe Tea Party?

When TV adverts tell us to communicate and reach out to the people around us what they are really telling us to do is to join a particular mobile phone network. When they extol the virtues of gathering the whole family together for a Sunday roast the only real message is that we should buy their brand of gravy granules.

So in this cynical world it is nice to find to come across an advert which (so far as I can tell) genuinely is about getting people up and down the country to do something neighbourly and community-spirited in the form of 'The Big Lunch'.

Organised by 'The Eden Project' (the people with the oversized tellytubby greenhouses in Cornwall) The Big Lunch is all about encouraging us all to get together with those strangers around us that we loosely describe as 'neighbours' to hold a street party on Big Lunch day (19th July).

Their vision is simple - to bring neighbourhoods together, to reignite the spirit of community as we get to know the people who live around us.

According to the Big Lunch website there aren't any Big Lunches planned for Worcester Park yet. Blog reader Amy, contacted the Worcester Park Blog after seeing the TV advert:

"I thought to myself how lovely it would be if we had a Big Lunch in our road (Boscombe Road) but I don’t know if anyone would come or how well it would be received.

I wondered if you had any ideas on whether a Worcester Park wide Big Lunch would work?"

If you are interested in organising a Big Lunch check out their website and of course get in touch so we can follow your progress.

Oh, and don't forget to invite me round for pudding.

Sunday, 24 May 2009

Can't Face The Books

I have something of a phobia of libraries.

I think I can trace it back to the labels they used to stick the inside cover of every book - underneath the date stamps and the addresses of your local library branches was the dire warning that you MUST notify the library if the book had been exposed to any notifiable disease.

As if libraries weren't a scary enough place for a child to be, I was traumatised by the fear of catching leprosy from a copy of 'James and the Giant Peach'.

If, however, you are a bit more of a fan of your local library than I am, you may like to know that you can show your love for Worcester Park Library via Facebook, as they have set up their very own page.

Alas, so far the library only has two fans. But who knows, with your help perhaps we can get it up to, erm, three...

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

All Things Nice

Blog reader Jacey is fed up with all the negativity:

"Am I one of the few who thinks WP is okay?

There are far worse places to live than WP, and not too far away either. I've been here since 1993 and although the High Street has changed, what hasn't?

We still have good shops here, good transport links and its a fairly quiet place. We could be overrun with "big school" kids, could have McDonalds or a nightclub etc etc - be grateful its a pretty good place with fantastic eateries and take-aways.

Let's be grateful and try to be a bit more positive eh?"

A perfect opportunity, then, to revisit an unusual outburst of positive comments from blog readers last year.

Click on the comments link below and write something nice about Worcester Park!

Saturday, 16 May 2009

Further Highlights

I refer my honourable readers to earlier posts reporting the recent opening of Worcester Park's tenth, followed closely by its eleventh hairdresser.

Well clearly the choice has been too limiting so I am delighted to be able to report the opening of Worcester Park's twelfth hair salon in The Bronze Studio on Central Road.

Meanwhile, there's good news for those of you who, like myself, love a good salad (preferably one surrounded by a half-pound of burger and cheese) served with fresh vegetables (preferably of the chipped potato variety).

'De Niros' takeaway has been replaced by much smarter looking 'Chubbys', offering kebabs and more. I fear my unfailing duty to Worcester Park means I will have to venture there at some point to sample their fayre. It's a tough life.

Meanwhile, if you have been to Chubbys or for that matter any Worcester Park eatery recently, feel free to add your review here.

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Homes Sweet Homes

The inquiry into the proposed final phase of The Hamptons development ends next week, the local Guardian tells us, before the matter is passed to Communities Secretary Hazel Blears for a decision.

Or perhaps that should be 'embattled Communities Secretary' Hazel Blears, as the ginger ninja is facing the prospect of having to pay back £13,000 in expenses claimed on her second home.

I am hoping that she will be so angry and enraged at recent chain of events that she will be unable to bear the thought of a second home being built, let alone the 146 others that St James wants to build alongside it.

Fingers crossed.

Monday, 11 May 2009

A Worrying Development

Several small retailers in Worcester Park face an uncertain future under plans to redevelop part of the town centre's shopping area.

If planning consent is granted, a number of businesses could be forced out to make way for the part-demolition and extension of the site at the junction of Central Road and Windsor Road, with other retailers and residents in the block facing months of disruption as works are underway around them.

As well as redevelopment of the retail units, the plans would see the building rise to three storeys high, providing five new two-bedroomed flats and seven new one-bedroomed flats.

The ownership structure of the existing site means that 'Camera Continental' and 'Worcester Park Motor Spares' would remain in place on Central Road.

However, the plans would mean that most of the existing Windsor Road shops including 'Mike's Music', 'Ginger & Garlic' and 'Worcester Sparks' (formerly Powerhouse and now under new management) would be demolished to make way for two larger shopping units.

The proposals have left many of those affected feeling angry about the lack of consultation, with most only learning of the plans when the Sutton Council planning application notices were posted through their doors.

Plans for redevelopment of this site have been turned down in the past, but with a 6-month break clause in the Windsor Road shopkeepers' leases the retailers face uncertainty until the issue of planning permission is decided.

Whilst developers are promoting their proposals as an opportunity to enhance the local shopping scene and improve a 'run down' site in the town centre, one must question the wisdom of forcing out small independent retailers to make way for larger units (with more expensive rents) when the number of empty shop units in the area is already at an all-time high.

Full details of the plans can be viewed on Sutton Council's online planing portal. Consultation on the redevelopment ends this Friday (15th May).

Sunday, 10 May 2009

Scare Craft

Was anyone else startled by the jet that flew low over Worcester Park on Saturday night, around 9.50pm?

Alerted by the sudden roar of its engines I rushed to the back door in time to glimpse what looked like a small passenger jet shooting over Worcester Park in a northerly direction.

Blog reader Victor was similarly spooked:

"A pinpoint of very bright light appeared in the sky which grew in size and flew north-east right over Central road at tremendous speed and with a deafening unusual roar.

I was with my partner and we both saw this so we couldn't both of imagined it. It was the most unusual thing we've ever seen!"

Very strange indeed.

Friday, 8 May 2009

Opportunity Not

I suppose the with the job market so gloomy at the moment, you can be refreshingly honest when it comes to promoting your job vacancies.

Thanks to the Seasonal Shop on Central Road for this weekend smile!

Bowl Movement

Eighty-eight years of bowls may have come to an end last week at Green Lane, but the sport is alive and well at nearby Auriol Park, off Salisbury Road.

Auriol Bowling Club will be holding an Open Day this Sunday (10th May) from 11.00 am and 4.00 pm. So if you fancy giving it a go, just turn up wearing flat-soled shoes or trainers - all equipment and coaching will all be provided free of charge.

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Sutton To Read

Is anyone else in Worcester Park not receiving their weekly dose of the Sutton Guardian? I haven't received a copy through the doors of Worcester Park Towers for over six months now.

Mind you, as so many Worcester Park stories start off here on the blog and end up in the Sutton Guardian a week later, it's not the greatest of losses.

Also the Sutton Guardian is available to read in its online format, which is great for those who still want their fix but proves absolutely useless for lining cat baskets and wrapping breakables in. Shame.

What I do miss, though, are confusingly bizarre gems like this one on the latest letters page, from F Leimil of Worcester Park:

"...In January 2008 I noticed broken glass on the corner of my road. As I have a dog I went and swept it up myself. Five months later my dog died of old age.

Concentrate on the essentials. Let's concentrate on the vandals.

On a different subject, remember chocolate is toxic to dogs."

Answers on a postcard, please.

Sunday, 3 May 2009

Slip Sliding Away

A couple of local disappearances have been angering blog readers this week.

Firstly, the big slide at Mayflower Park in The Hamptons has vanished because of apparent safety concerns.

Meanwhile blog reader Ben is vexed at the sudden disappearance of a piece of Worcester Park 'street furniture':

"Do you have any idea where the bus shelter [on Malden Road] outside Worcester Park Station has gone, or if there are plans for them to remove the one on the other side of the road?

As well as protecting me from the elements in the winter it also had a useful but inaccurate Countdown display".

I think there is a great opportunity here - put the slide that has been taken away from The Hamptons outside Worcester Park station, where the bus shelter once was and give commuters something to smile about whilst they wait for the 213 to Sutton.

I think I'll write to my local councillor straight away.