Thursday, 30 July 2009

For Sale Signs

Being a homeowner in Worcester Park used to be such a joy.

Yes, there were the dreaded monthly mortgage payments swallowing up a huge chunk of your monthly earnings but there was also the comforting thought that as you worked hard to keep your home, your home that was returning the favour by earning even more than you were on a monthly basis.

Then the bubble burst.

According to the Nationwide House Price Index, if you bought a house for £250,000 in Worcester Park in the autumn of 2006, you would have made a healthy £50k by Christmas 2007.

As the market stands now, according to the figures, all profits would have been wiped out and you would actually have made a small loss on the purchase.

All very sobering stuff and when the housing bubble burst it was no wonder that estate agents were very soon amongst the first high street casualties in Worcester Park. Mann Countrywide, Andrews, Samuel James, Knightwood Estates and Grand Estates - one by one they succumbed to the collapsing market and closed down in 2008.

Perhaps there is finally good news on the property front. Prices have crept up for three successive months and anecdotally things do seem to be moving faster than before.

Then there is the rebirth of Andrews estate agents on Central Road.

The Deputy Mayor Of Sutton will be in Worcester Park on Monday (3rd August) from 6.30pm to join manager James Ankers (pictured) for the re-opening of the branch just nine months after it closed its doors - a move which, the company says, signifies their belief that the 'tide has turned' in the property market.

Will other estate agents in Worcester Park follow suit and rise phoenix-like from the ashes? Only time will tell.

I wouldn't hold your breath for the return of Dury & Cole, though.

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Appeal For Information



An elderly Worcester Park resident is appealing for information after his car was written off in a hit and run incident outside his home in Worcester Park.

The Peugeot 107 was parked in Sandringham Road when it was struck around 4am on Saturday 18th July.

The car was hit from the front with such force that it was pushed about 20 yards along the road into a tree.



The owner has been left devastated at losing his car, having owned it for just 5 months and is angered that more than a week after the incident nobody has come forward to admit fault.

If anybody can provide information concerning this incident, they are urged to contact Sutton Police.

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Not For Profit?

You wouldn't have thought it judging by their proliferation on Central Road, but charity shops have taken quite a knock in recent years as people increasingly turn to eBay to make money out of their unwanted goods rather than dropping them off at their local charity shop.

The rise of eBay is widely seen as a significant factor in charity shops' turnover falling by a third over the last couple of years.

Blog reader Jenny, however, reckons the tables can be turned as there is money to be made from buying goods from charity shops to sell on eBay:

"Here in Worcester Park, I picked up a couple of books for £2-£3 each from the Heart Foundation and sold them on Amazon for £25-£30 each.

More recently, I picked up something stylish for £15 in the Geranium Shop and sold it in an auction for £100, a few days later.

Currently, there's a book for a couple of quid on the shelves in the Fara Charity Shop, which is worth £30+ on Amazon, but it wasn't until later that I realised it.

If somebody else recognises and manages to pick it up before I next take a walk along the high street, next Saturday, good luck to them!"

So who knows - perhaps I am missing a trick in ignoring the hidden treasures in Worcester Park's charity shops.

Now, I must go and check out those books at Fara....

Monday, 27 July 2009

The Comeback Kitten

One week after going missing Billy the kitten, you will be pleased to hear, strolled back into his home in Brinkley Road last night as if nothing had happened.

Expect a furious bidding war betwen myself and The Brinkster for exclusive rights to the inside story of Billy's disappearance and miraculous return.

I'll open the bidding at two cans of Whiskas and a catnip mouse?

Have you noticed?



Friday, 24 July 2009

Fair Weather

It looks like we are in for a decent weekend, weather wise. So don't forget the The Hamptons Residents Association are holding a family fun day as part of 'Love Parks Week'.

The fun commences at 2pm on Saturday 25th July in Mayflower Park (at the centre of The Hamptons development) and is open to all.

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Restau-want?

'A Very Anonymous Local Individual' writes:

"I am somebody very familiar with the Worcester Park area and may have an opportunity to take on a restaurant in the area.

My question is this -I appreciate the amount of eateries locally, however what kind of restaurant would make people locally and far and wide come out to eat and drink?

What does Worcester Park need??

I feel really passionate about creating local jobs and offering a community feel and would like this thought about also.

You are local people. What would be a welcome addition to the area?"

It's hard to think what else there might be a need for in Worcester Park (other than a direct replacement for Silks!). Perhaps something Spanish, Greek or French for a change?

Your ideas on what might be missing from the culinary map of KT4 would be welcomed below.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Ploughing On Regardless

One of my blog readers commented at the weekend that events in Worcester Park (like the free bike checks/repairs as part of 'Walk Cycle Reward') need to be promoted more widely.

I can only agree.

I do my best to plug worthy events on the blog and in the case of last year's Christmas Late Night event teamed up with The Brinkster to produce promotional posters which appeared n shop windows on Central Road and in local schools which I hope, in some small way, helped to spread the word about the event.

So it does make me mad when Worcester Park constantly gets overlooked or ignored. Witness my vain attempts to get decent advanced publicity for the Christmas Late Night event in the local paper.

On the subject of 'Walk, Cycle, Reward', I simply refer to you to Sutton Guardian's coverage of this promotion which is entirely centred on Rosehill.

To make matters worse, the article alludes to the fact that a similar scheme would be launched in Worcester Park 'in coming weeks', ignorant of the fact that the it had already been up and running in Worcester Park and other areas a whole fortnight before this misinformed article went to press.

Perhaps I can be forgiven then for getting irate about this - a 'news article' about The Harvester in Plough Green, Worcester Park seeking a food tasting panel for its restaurant.

Remarkably similar, you might think, to this 'news article' about a chicken taster being sought by the same restaurant back in May.

The more astute of you will have spotted that these are not local news items, simply lazy regurgitation of press releases that The Harvester sent out to [insert name of local paper] seeking free publicity for their restaurant in [insert location of local branch].

But wait, the Sutton Guardian has undertaken extensive investigative journalism and has clearly spoken at length to the manager of the Worcester Park branch of the Harvester who told them:

“We are always looking for feedback on our menus and we feel that by creating a food panel, we will have the perfect forum in which to discuss how we should be changing what we offer to guests.”

Meanwhile the Penarth Times in Wales (also owned by the Newsquest groups) has published an equally hard hitting piece about their local Harvester looking for a tasting panel, quoting the manager of the Penarth branch as saying:

“We are always looking for feedback on our menus and we feel that by creating a food panel, we will have the perfect forum in which to discuss how we should be changing our offer to guests."

Well, what a coincidence.

Yes, I am well aware that local newspapers are commercial enterprises and their bottom line will always be more important than journalistic endeavour.

But it does make me fume when column inches that could be given over to supporting local traders and local events in Worcester Park are instead given instead to regurgitated press releases from national chains masquerading as local news stories.

Not Another Charity Shop

Breaking news - another charity shop has not opened in Worcester Park.

However, the former 'Cameo Office Supplies' shop at the top of Central Road is now a showcase for second hand furniture being sold by St Raphael's Hospice (which has a storage immediately unit behind the premises).

This is just a temporary arrangement approved by the landlord whilst a paying tenant is found for the shop unit but blog sources say that several items of furniture were sold in the first few days so there are clearly plenty of people with an eye for a G-Plan bargain.

As regular blog readers will know I'm not the biggest fan of charity shops (at least not in that numbers that exist on Central Road) but this is better than having a shop unit empty.

In fact, if you'll excuse me being unusually nice about charity shops it's a shame that more vacant units in Worcester Park can't be put to an charitable use like this, until such time as there are paying tenants to occupy them.

Monday, 20 July 2009

Gone For A Berties


Popular Worcester Park cafe 'Berties' has been forced to close down after falling behind with the rent on its Central Road premises.

The Worcester Park Blog understands that despite the cafe's owners falling only a matter of days behind on their quarterly rental payment, the landlord instructed Sutton-based Dawkins Certificated Bailiffs to reposess the unit.

The owner of Berties does have another business elsewhere in London, so all is not lost for him - but it leaves Worcester Park with yet another vacant shop unit and worse still leaves me with nowhere to go for a decent full English breakfast.

Saturday, 18 July 2009

On Yer Bike!

As part of the 'Walk Cycle Reward' promotion, 'Mr Bike' will be offering free bicycle checks and repairs outside 'One Stop Party Shop' on Central Road today (Saturday) from 10am.

For those with achy feet there are free foot massages on offer as well.

Don't forget that over 20 local retailers are offering 10% discount when you walk or cycle there - check out the full list and don't worry if you didn't receive your 10% discount card as you can pick one up from any of the participating shops in Worcester Park.

Thursday, 16 July 2009

MP Urges Flood Protection for Worcester Park

With apposite timing given the current bad weather, local MP Paul Burstow has presented a petition to Parliament calling on the Government to fund improved flood protection for Worcester Park.

He spoke to the House last night recalling the torrential rain of 20th July 2007 which caused Beverly Brook to burst its banks, flooding houses in Green Lane, Pembury Avenue and nearby areas.

Mr Burstow presented to the House a petition signed by local residents calling for the implementation of the £1.5 million flood protection scheme, as recommended by the Environment Agency.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Vauxhall This About?



Much bemusement this morning after Cheam Common Road was partly obstructed by a seemingly abandoned vehicle.

As two PCSOs stood helplessly by, rush hour traffic queued to get past the the Vauxhall Astra which had been left at an angle in the road facing the oncoming traffic.

If a dog poos in a forest...

Taking a stroll through the woodland in between Green Lane and Sir Joesph Hood Memorial Park the other day, I spied this eloquently-written notice pinned to a tree:

Nobody may be watching
but it is still disgusting.
Could you please
pick up after your dog

All of which begs the ancient philiosphical question: if a dog poos in the forest but there is no one to see it, is it still disgusting?

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Worcester Park Loves Parks

After my criticism/disappointment at the lack of Worcester Park activities for 'Take Part Take Pride', it's good to see that The Hamptons Residents association is leading the way by holding another 'Love Parks Week' event this year.

The celebration is being held on Saturday 25 July in Mayflower Park (at the heart of The Hamptons development) from 2-5pm.

The event is free and is open to the whole of the local community (not just Hamptons residents). Activities on offer this year will include face painting, bouncy castle, rides, cake stand and a family fun run, as well as plenty of drinks and refreshments.

Teriffic Jam

Dreadful traffic in Worcester Park today due to temporary traffic lights on the A2043 Malden Road (between Worcester Park and New Malden).

Good luck to those of you who have to make that journey this morning!

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Couldn't Organise A Clear Up In A Cemetery

I felt a surge of community-mindedness this morning so I donned my best wellies and gardening gloves (very fetching I looked too) and headed over to help with the Graveyard Bash clear-up of St Philips Churchyard - the only Worcester Park event being held as part of Sutton's 'Take Part Take Pride' community festival.

Having wandered around for quarter of an hour waiting in vain for someone else to turn up and for the event to get underway, I eventually gave up and went home.

There was nothing on Sutton Council's website to say that this event had been cancelled, but it appears that this year Worcester Park hasn't managed a single contribution to this community festival.

Hopefully the town can put on a bit of a better show next year.

Friday, 10 July 2009

Buy Gone

David e-mailed the blog to say:

"Having lived in WP for over 4 decades I have seen many Central Road shops come and go. I soon forget what was there when a new business opens.

Does anyone have a record of shops in ‘days gone by’? I am particuarly interested in the 1970s and early 1980s. It would be great to build up a record of premises and who occupied them for as many shops as possible.

I think I vaguely remember Mac Fisheries (previously a cinema), then it became International supermarket, then Somerfield and now Pizza Express."

So it's over to you, blog readers, to share your memories of shops gone by in Worcester Park....

It's The Taking Part That Counts

Sutton's "Take Part Take Pride" festival draws to a close this Sunday. You could be forgiven, though, for missing this week-long celebration of our local communities given Worcester Park's dismal representation.

Of all the concerts, events, talks, sports, family activities, food fairs and other events detailed in Sutton Council's glossy 32-page guide, there is only one activity taking part in Worcester Park - a clear-up of St Philips graveyard this Sunday.

Hats off (and gloves on) to those who are prepared to give up a few hours of their spare time to help out this Sunday, but surely Worcester Park has a lot more to offer than just this?

Other areas are holding similar tidy-ups, but alongside other events showcasing local community groups, charities, musicians and so forth.

For whatever reason, Worcester Park is little more than a post-script in Sutton Council's week long celebration of all things 'local'. Here's hoping that we can must something a bit more inspiring for next year, otherwise that 'forgotten outpost of the Borough' argument might just have to be resurrected.

The Graveyard Bash clear up takes place in two sessions on Sunday 12th July (10.30am - 12.30pm & 1.30pm to 3.30pm) at St Philips churchyard, Worcester Park.

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Stretching The Point

There are fresh concerns today that not everybody is taking the walk/cycle to your local shops campaign seriously...

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Sign Here

The more observant of you will have noticed a week or so back that the first three letters of the CAZBAR sign took an unscheduled summer holiday:



Luckily the words 'BAR' remained, thus avoiding mass confusion throughout the town and the sign has since been restored to its former glory.

However this set my puerile and utterly childish mind wondering what terrible rudeness would descend on Worcester Park if other shops lost parts of their signage....






Your suggestions welcomed below - the sillier the better.

(P.S. I did something with Mann Countrywide, but for obvious reasons I can't publish it here)

Saturday, 4 July 2009

Walk, Cycle, Reward - Launch Day

Today is the launch of the Walk Cycle Reward promosion, supported by TFL.

Visit the TFL stall outside One Stop Party Shop today for free balloons and free foot massages (for those who didn't drive to Central Road).

Coming up on 18th July "Mr Bike" will be in Central Road, checking and repairing bikes free of charge (along with more free foot massages).

Thousands of households in Worcester Park will receive a Walk Cycly Reward leaflet and discount card through their door shortly - simply present the discount card at any of the participating shops (when you walk or cycle to Worcester Park) and receive 10% off your purchase.

Retailers taking part in the scheme are:

Prestige Dry Cleaners
Amor Beauty
Flower Parade
Party Express
Mr Ink
Central Locksmiths
Checkers
Ross Fruiterers
Hendy’s Jewellery
Graham Lee Carpets
The Conservatory Florist
Cycle Power
Stitch Right
Sole 2 Sole
Chinese Medicine Plus
D&A Optician
John James Gardening Ltd
Kingfish
One Stop Party Shop
Acacia Hair & Beauty

Every time you use your discount card, the retailer will stamp your card. Simply collect three stamps and claim a free foldaway shopping bag.

Friday, 3 July 2009

Nonsuch By-Election Result: Liberal Democrat victory

Liberal Democrat candidate Gerry Jerome has been elected Councillor for Nonsuch Ward in yesterdays by-election, increasing the party's majority on Sutton Council.

Mr Gerome secured a majority of 336 votes to take the seat from the Conservative Party, whilst British National Party candidate Peter North received more than double the votes of the Labour Party candidate.

Nonsuch ByElection Result:

Gerry Jerome, Liberal Democrats: 1,665 votes (50% share)
Georg Braun, Conservative Party: 1,329 votes (40% share)
Peter North, British National Party: 211 votes (6% share)
Marcus Papadopoulos, Labour Party: 88 votes (3% share)

3298 ballots issued (41% turnout)

Thursday, 2 July 2009

ABOUT THE BLOG

The Worcester Park Blog was started in November 2005, and quietly forgotten about few months' later - only to be reborn and revitalised October 2007 with a bold ambition to write about everything that happens in what is easily the most exciting town anywhere between Old Malden and North Cheam.


Following a brief but unsuccessful period during which production of the blog was outsourced to Mumbai, the potentially-award-winning Worcester Park Blog is now produced entirely in the KT4 area using 100% recycled words.

The Worcester Park Blogger was born in the local area and educated. Briefly. He is married to his job and is a keen supporter and fundraiser for the town's many takeaways.




Wednesday, 1 July 2009