Saturday, 31 October 2009

Trick Or Sweet

This year I have readied myself for the arrival of 'trick or treaters' - the annual American-imported legitimisation of vandalism and anti-social behaviour.

Having decided against my elaborate trip-wire/razor blade/flour bomb deterrent (purely on the grounds of cost) I decided instead to enter into the spirit (if you'll pardon the pun) of the occasion and have stocked up on cheap sweets from Iceland to dish out should there be a knock on the door tonight.

Of course having prepared myself so well, Murphy's law is bound to apply, meaning no trick or treaters arrive at WP towers.

In which case, I can have a quiet night in AND a bag of sweets to myself.

Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Eye Spy

Sutton Council has risked falling foul of the law by failing to give notification that a residential area of Worcester Park is now under CCTV surveillance.

A CCTV camera has been installed on Brinkley Road at the junction with Browning Avenue, following a request from the Metropolitan Police's Safer Neighbourhood Team.

The request follows ongoing problems with anti-social behaviour centred around the pedestrian alleyway between Browning Avenue and Heatherlea Grove (part of 'The Hamptons' development).

The Worcester Park Blog understands that the camera, installed just over a week ago, is regarded as 'temporary' and so may only be there for a few months and that footage from the camera is not being monitored live.

The installation of the camera, however, raises issues over Sutton Council's failure to comply with national guidelines on the use of CCTV surveillance.

The Information Commissioner's Code Of Practice has been written to help CCTV operators comply with the requirements of the Data Protection Act.

The guidance states clearly that operators "must let people know that they are in an area where CCTV surveillance is being carried out. The most effective way of doing this is by using prominently placed signs at the entrance to the CCTV zone and reinforcing this with further signs inside the area."

The Code Of Practice also states that:

"Clear and prominent signs are particularly important where the cameras themselves are very discreet, or in locations where people might not expect to be under surveillance.

As a general rule, signs should be more prominent and frequent where it would otherwise be less obvious to people that they are on CCTV....

...Systems in public spaces and shopping centres should have signs giving the name and contact details of the company, organisation or authority responsible. "

Despite this clear guidance, no signs warning have been put up to advise that the area is under surveillance from the CCTV camera which has been sited unobtrusively atop a tall camera pole, nor is there any signage in place to identify who is responsible for the camera.

Issues of legality aside, surely the whole point of CCTV is to act as a deterrent to those intent on committing crimes or behaving anti-socially, rather than hoping to catch the perpretators once the offences have been committed.

In which case how much of a deterrent will this camera be if those in the area are not being warned of its presence?

Sunday, 25 October 2009

No Names Policy

A new furniture store opens tomorrow in the old Gosletts unit on Central Road. I've no idea what the store is going to be called - nor, it would appear, do the owners as the shop as yet has no name.

Perhaps it should be enigmatically called 'The furniture store formerly known as Gosletts'. Or perhaps the slightly more mysterious 'Shop With No Name'.

Or perhaps it will forever be the shop that dare not speak its name.

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Ruby Hurry

Like an unfaithful fool I flirted with North Cheam last night in the form of 'Namaste' curry house, which I have heard good things about from various sources.

I'd like to say it was worth the one and a half hours we waited for delivery, but with higher than average prices and smaller than average portions I shall be sticking to Bombay Masala or Meghna in future.

That'll learn me!

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Going Swimmingly

There are quite a few skills I learned in school that I have never actually used in my adult life.

Not once have I had the need (or opportunity) to ask a Frenchman for directions to the Gare Du Nord, and even if I did I doubt the conversation would survive long enough for me to explain that I live very close to London, have two sisters and a dog and hobbies which include listening to music and reading books.

Likewise, not once in my adult life have I been called on to jump into a swimming pool, whilst wearing pyjamas, and fetch housebricks from the deep end.

However in the process I did at least learn to swim - a vital and potentially lifesaving skill.

'Get Swimming' is offering swimming classes in Worcester Park, from Beginners to Intermediate and Advanced/Stroke Improver lessons.

The 30 minute classes are held between 3-5pm on Saturdays, with the term running from 7th November to 12th December.

All of the teachers are ASA Level 2 qualified with 15 years+ experience and there will be a maximum of 6 children per group.

The classes are being held at the indoor purpose-built heated 15 metre pool at Linden Bridge School in Grafton Road, Worcester Park. The cost for course is just £45.

For further details e-mail or call Sarah on 020 8330 7910.

Oh, and if any blog readers are still struggling to get bricks out of the bottom of their pools, just give me a shout and I'll be round with my pyjamas to show you how it's done.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Wait Rises

I'm not sure if I'm convinced by the much-vaunted 'Essential Waitrose' range. I think they've missed a trick for the middle classes.

Instead, I would like to see them bring out a 'Non-essential Waitrose' range of ostentatiously overpriced and unnecessary luxuries for those who wouldn't be seen dead carrying anything from a value range. It would go down a storm with Mrs WP.

However I digress - it is just over 10 months since I reported on the terrible events in Banstead when their branch of Waitrose burned to the ground. Fortunately there were no injuries, and the store were able to relocate some of the staff to the Worcester Park branch.

Within two months, a temporary Waitrose opened in the vacant Woolworths unit in Banstead High Street.

Now, the wait is nearly over with the brand spanking newly-built Waitrose due to open by the end of November. It's all happened with very unBritish speed and efficiency - it's almost unnverving.
In the meantime, Mrs WP continues to develop her well-honed contingency plan for survival should anything ever happen to Waitrose in Worcester Park.

Friday, 16 October 2009

Sofa So Good

Earlier this week I reported the posisble re-birth of 'Gosletts' furniture store.

Blog sources now tell me that the furniture store will indeed be re-opening shortly.

It won't be trading under the Goslett's name, but apart from that it will pretty much be business as usual which is excellent news for Worcester Park's shopping scene.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

In Praise Of Suburbia

I see that Worcester Park has notched up a reference in The Daily Telegraph today in an eulogy/defence of suburbia:

"The air is sunnier for couples with young children living in Longfellow Road today, with a garden to play in, a grammar school within reach and a church in walking distance. All this, 27 minutes from Waterloo or 33 minutes to bosky Boxhill. In its online satellite picture Worcester Park is like one big garden cut by asphalt drives."

I'll leave you to reader and ponder the article in full here. Suffice to say I agree wholeheartedly with the sentiment - for me there is nothing better than returning from a day in the big smoke or a city break abroad to the comforting, reassuring orderliness and politeness of suburban Worcester Park.

I woudn't change it for the world. Would you?

Midweek Musings

Blog reader David has alerted me to a possible resurrection of Goslett's furniture store:

"Walking past the recently-closed Gosletts furniture shop in Central Road today I noticed a Gosletts van, parked outside, being unloaded into the shop.

In the right-hand window was some furniture with price labels stating Opening Offer. Has there been a management buyout or reprieve for our one and only home furnishings store I wonder? "

If it is about to come to life again that will certainly be good news for Central Road's shopping scene, as the chances of finding anyone else willing to take on such a huge retail space in this climate would be few and far between.

Meanwhile, I see that CAZBAR are now offering their venue free of charge for parties - worth considering if you are planning a Christmas shindig or any forthcoming celebration. Full details available here.

Finally, blog reader Jeremy has alerted me to the 'Brian Watson Photography' where you can view some fantastic panoramic pictures of some of this country's most beautiful and magestic locations including Hadrian's Wall, the Angel Of The North, the Lake Distric and, erm.... Worcester Park station??

Check it out - I think you'll find it unsurpassed in it's natural glory.

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Notice Bored

You may by now have noticed the new addition to Worcester Park's 'street furniture' the form of the Worcester Park Notice Board, which has been plonked along the side wall of Pizza Express.

It has been there for a month and has yet to be populated with any notices. Perhaps this is because there is officially nothing going on in Worcester Park?

Blog reader Rick sent the above photo of the blank board, along with his thoughts on the new arrival:

"It’s a finely carved piece, with brass hinges and glazed doors and a personalised title above, all of which must have cost (us) at least a small fortune.

It’s clearly built to last, but all the same, being made of glass and flammable wood, I wonder if it’s survival will last much beyond closing time at our local bars.

I would have thought that Worcester Park library, in the centre of both the high street and the community, could have had some of its internal wall space utilised as the ideal location for “Worcester Park Notice Board”, at little cost beyond the notices and some blue tac.

I wondered if blog readers might be able to guess what important, informative noticesmight appear? Perhaps something about conserving paper and wood?

Alternatively, perhaps advice about paperless communication, by utilising the free Internet 30 yards away in Worcester Park library?"

Only time will tell what notices actually go up on this board. I'm sure you'll have your own suggestions.

Friday, 9 October 2009

Cut From A Different Cloth

A few blog readers have speculated that new Italian restaurant 'Bellini' is actually just the old management of Silks re-opening their restaurant under a new name.

Well, I can assure you that this is definitely not the case.

The owners of Silks recently sold the lease on the shop unit to the manager of Bellini, so I can confirm that Bellini is completely unrelated to the old Silks restaurant.

Consider yourselves well and truly corrected!

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Bin Made Redundant

Some householders in Worcester Park will have received leaflets from Sutton Council proclaiming the exciting news that glass can now be placed with the rest of the recycling in the green bins.

This means that the lovely blue bins which we were given last year are now effectively redundant.

Blog reader Nicola has posed the question:

"I wonder what Sutton Council will be doing with the now redundant (fairly new!) blue bins. Will they recycle them......? Another waste of our council tax money....."

The start of a new feature, perhaps. 101 Uses For A Sutton Council Blue Bin.

I'm sure you can think of a few....

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Amore More More...

No sooner had I blogged about possible changes afoot in the old Silks shop unit than a banner has gone up proclaiming the imminent arrival of 'Bellini' - bar, cafe, restaurant.

A few months back I asked you what type of restaurant you would like to see join the illustrious list of local eateries. The responses flooded in - Greek, Spanish, Mexican, Thai, Korean and British restaurants were amongst your suggestions.

As it turns out we have ended up with a third Italian restaurant (the fourth if you count Pizza Express, which I don't).

I suppose that in a small suburban town in the middle of an economic downturn it pays to play it safe and go for a tried and tested cuisine, but do we really have the appetite for yet another Italian?

Time will tell. In the meantime, I am officially disappointed.

Monday, 5 October 2009

Fantasy Central Road?

It's all very quiet on the South Western front recently. I'm sure More Than Lofts are a very credible and reputable firm, but I just hope they don't take as long on their jobs as they have done to fit out and open their new Central Road premises.

Ryan Gate has closed for 'refurbishment' - I've yet to see any sign of anything going on in there, so I keep my fingers crossed that it hasn't closed for good otherwise I shall be too disappointed for words.

My blog sources are also buzzing with rumours that the emtpy 'Silks' shop unit is about to spring back into life. I shall keep you posted when/if I hear more on that one.

Meanwhile, as lovely as the real thing is I thought it's about time we set about building a 'fantasy Central Road'.

So, if you could bring back your favourite shops from the past or fill Central Road with any other stores that you think Worcester Park is crying out for, what would it look like?

Get creating below...

Friday, 2 October 2009

Happy Christmas!

Apologies for the lack of blog posts this week, but as Christmas is but a matter of months away I have understandably been very busy with yuletide preparations.

The Seasonal Shop has now opened its Christmas store - always a festive highlight in Worcester Park (even if you do find the sight of polar bears, penguins and dancing Santas a bit too much to stomach at the end of September/beginning of October).

Also the chap who sells those Christmas opening-hours posters that appear in the windows of Worcester Park shops has been doing the rounds of Central Road.

How long, I wonder, before some hideously premature Christmas decorations appear on Worcester Park houses?

Keep'em peeled and let me know. Ho ho ho!