Sunday, 27 September 2009

Roar Chicken


Blog reader 'Longperson' has e-mailed me to report an unusual noise nuisance in Worcester Park:

"I live in Longfellow Road and since the middle of last week I've been puzzled by a constant sound in the background - a roaring sound, like an huge air conditioning unit or a massive hairdryer.

This weekend I could stand it no more so traced the source of it.

It turns out the noise nuisance is coming from our good friend KFC - apparently from their extract system. I've no idea what they did to it last week but it was never that noisy.

Goodness knows what the noise must be like for people living nearer to it in Caldbeck Avenue. My back garden used to be so peaceful, but now it's like living with a constant hairdryer noise in the background".

Are you being plagued by the roar of KFC? Post your comments below.

Saturday, 26 September 2009

Smelling Mistake...


...at the Household & Toy Warehouse on Central Road.
It brought a smell to my face, anyway.

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Major Disaster Averted

Being an astute and erudite resident of Worcester Park (I'm afraid if you don't know what those two words mean then that automatically disqualifies you from being one) you will of course already know that former Prime Minister John Major was a one-time resident of Worcester Park.

What you might not know, however, is that we were nearly robbed of (or should that be spared?) our future Prime Minister when a V1 fell on Worcester Park in 1944.

I have already related the tale of the V1 strike on Caldbeck Avenue in this earlier blog post. The bomb fell near the junction of Browning Avenue, just behind the Major-Ball's home in Longfellow Road.

On the evening that it fell, the young John Major-Ball had been asleep in his cot in the front room of the family home, but just moments before the V1 fell, his mother lifted him from the cot and carried him into the hall.

As the bomb struck in Caldbeck Avenue, the windows of the Major-Ball's front room were shattered by the force of the blast, and the young John Major's empty cot was speared by shards of glass.

The rest, of course, is history.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Raising The Bar


A Worcester Park sporting triumph to report - the mighty CAZBAR FC have finally won their first league match.
After going the whole of the 2008/2009 season without a win they started the new campaign on Sunday against AFC Redlands from Leatherhead. With a mighty travelling support CAZBAR FC were able to secure a 6-0 victory.
A hat-trick form Lee Overy on his league debut, and goals from Shannon Townsend, James Davis and Daniel Deal sealed an historic win.
The management and players would like to thank the loyal following support who turned out and look forward to many more wins - if any Worcester Park Blog fans want to show their support for then they are playing at home next Sunday (27th September) at Manor Park ("the new home of football") at 10:30am (and in the Cazbar afterwards for victory drinks)!

Monday, 21 September 2009

A Steep Improvement



Earlier this month I reported on the the Worcester Park Station Volunteer Group who are giving their time and energy to clear up and plant out the area around Worcester Park Station.

They were hard at work again yesterday with 9 enthusiastic volunteers turning up to continue the clear-up work. The group has now expanded with 15 volunteers signed up to work on the site and has received numerous offers of free plants and shrubs from people in the Worcester Park community.

The group even managed to raise £50 from approving passers by at the station on Sunday - money which is being put towards the various materials the group will need to complete the job!



The group is currently in the process of setting up as a charity and will be a featured charity in the Waitrose collection for October, so please show your support by putting your green tokens in their bin!

Now that all the heavy clearing work is done, the group are deciding how to plan the planting of the site. The site is on a slope, so if there is a landscape gardener who would be interested in advising the group they'd be delighted to hear from you.

If you can help the group or would like to volunteer, please contact nick@adconnection.co.uk

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Close The Gate

It was a heart-stopping moment.

I wandered in to Ryan Gate this afternoon - the shawarma grill had stopped revolving and the chiller cabinets were empty of meat. The bread had gone, as had the Lebanese sweets and vegetables.

The butchers counter had been stripped bare, the freezers lay empty and tears welled in my eyes as I wandered deeper into the shop past bare shelves stripped of their usual delights.

Yes, dear reader, Ryan Gate is closing tomorrow.

But not forever, as the Worcester Park legend is set to return after a few weeks of refurbishment and reinvention.

Who knows what it will be like when it does return? We are talking about a store that has reinvented itself more times than I care to remember.

Let's just hope that it does re-open as I would be lost without my shawarma.

Friday, 18 September 2009

The Lost World of Worcester Park House

(click photo to enlarge)


Blog reader and keen local historian Jeff has sent me this rarely-seen aerial photograph of Worcester Park taken in the summer of 1937. It was captured by Charles Brown, who took the photograph because the newly-formed Cuddington Residents Association were fighting a plan to develop the site.

Local history buffs amongst you will of course recognise the property as 'Worcester Park House'. Constructed in 1795, the imposing Worcester Park House was inhabited from 1875 by about 8 unmarried brothers and sisters who lived there in some style.

Jeff has investigated the history of the house and has pieced together the story of its final occupants. His research has uncovered that by 1937 there were only two occupants left and in July 1937 when this photo was taken one of them, Nina Wheeler, died.

The last remaining occupant, Laura, laid off the 8 servants and had moved out by 1938 leaving the 30 room House empty. The photo by Charles Brown is believed to be the last ever picture of Worcester Park House in its full glory.

After Laura moved out, the house was never again inhabited. One of the wings was hit by a bomb in the war and in 1948 the whole place burnt down. The ornamental lake dried up, the ornate balustraded bridge collapsed and nature reclaimed her own.

Much of the area today is almost impenetrable wilderness. There have been some incursions: the Hogsmill Tavern in the 1950s and in the 1970s two housing developments and two special needs schools but about the majority of the estate remains as wilderness.

The area is owned by Epsom and Ewell Council who have distant plans to develop the area with 'social housing and amenities'.

Jeff told the Worcester Park Blog:

'There will be a hell of a fight if they try as it is the 'lungs' of this end of Worcester Park helping to counteract pollution from the Kingston and Ewell bypasses.

When the time comes we will probably find an endangered species of newts in the area to prevent development, even if we have to introduce the newts ourselves!"

Today, only a few discernable remnants of Worcester Park House can be found:

"If you've ever driven down Church Road/Old Malden Lane you will have noticed the ruined house on the right before the hauliers yard, that's Worcester Park Lodge which was the stables of Worcester Park House and stands opposite what was the main entrance to the grounds of Worcester Park House.

I've made two incursion in there from the Grafton Road side but the area where the house, ponds and bridge were couldn't be reached due to a boggy ditch and impenetrable brambles so next time I shall enter it by the opening next to the Hogsmill Tavern."

The area once occupied by Worcester Park House became a popular destination for generations of adventurous school kid explorers particularly in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s.

Perhaps readers of the Worcester Park Blog have their own childhood recollections of the Lost World of Worcester Park House (and grounds)?

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Worcester Park's £1 Million Property


Before you whoop with excitement about property prices soaring back to their preposterously unaffordable highs of recent years and prepare to dash over to the Job Centre Plus to spread the good news to Worcester Park's estate agents, let me point out that we are talking about a block of five properties here.

However if you do have a bit of spare change burning a hole in your pocket then the entire block of new-build flats on the corner of Colborne Way can be yours for a cool £1 million. Agents project a rental return of £60,000 per year.

Or, if you're feeling very ambitious then it turns out that the scrubby piece of overground land between the library and Waitrose (next to the bottle bank) is actually an 'exciting investment opportunity' and is up for a sale for £750,000, complete with outline planning permission for eight residential flats.

I suspect that buying the land and building the flats will be the easy bit. The hardest part will be finding somebody who is prepared to part with their hard-earned cash for the privelege of owning a flat in a Waitrose car park.

Monday, 14 September 2009

Beauty Spotted

Every now and then I dream of an escape to the country. Then I realise the cost is prohibitive and so just console myself by watching Escape To The Country for an hour until the urge subsides.

Who needs countryside, though, when Worcester Park has so much to offer?

Blog reader Jeremy e-mailed me this snap of one local soaking up the sun and enjoying the serenity of a much under-rated Worcester Park beauty spot; namely the patch of grass opposite the station.



Jeremy writes:

"It made me think - how many more tranquil beauty spots are there in Worcester Park? Perhaps your readers could assist."

Over to you.

Sunday, 13 September 2009

In The Mood

I spent a fabulous evening at the 4th Worcester Park Scouts HQ in Worcester Park last night, enjoying the open air concert by the Dave Marrion Big Band.

As darkness fell on a mild late-summer's evening at the tree-lined grounds in Braemar Road, hundreds turned up to eat, drink, dance and enjoy the great entertainment from the band.


Hopefully another concert will be organised for next year. It certainly beat an evening at home in front of the telly!

Saturday, 12 September 2009

Friesche Luchtvaart Documentatie

Historians in the Netherlands are appealing to Worcester Park Blog readers to help with their search for information on an RAF bomber pilot killed when his plane was shot down over the Dutch village of Rottevalle during World War Two.

Dutch research group “Friesche Luchtvaart Documentatie 1939-1945”, has spent over thirty years researching the history of the air war over the Northern part of the Netherlands during World War II.

Over the years, their research has brought them in contact with many former airmen, pilot-helpers and other researchers all over the world. In some cases they have been able to discover up the fate of pilots who were reported missing in action and on occasion the researchers have succeeded in returning recovered personal items to families of airmen.

The air war over the northern Netherlands was a major element of the conflict between Britain and Germany during World War II. More than five hundred crashes were recorded in Friesland alone, and as many as six thousand in the whole of the Netherlands.

On the evening of 14th January 1942, the Whitley bomber from No. 51 Squadron Royal Air Force took off from RAF Dishforth for an operational flight to Emden, Germany. The pilot was Sergeant Eric John Richards, whose last know address was St Philips Avenue, Worcester Park.

At 3.30am on the 15th January, the bomber was intercepted by a German night fighter, flown by Kurt Zipperlein.

The aircraft was shot down, and crashed near the village of Rottevalle in Friesland killing three crew members, including Sergeant Richards. Three other crew members succeeded in bailing out. They were captured and spent the remainder of the war in a Prisoner Of War Camp.

To help them build their archive of information about the air war over the Netherlands, the reasearchers want to find out more about Eric John Richards. His last known home address was St Philips Avenue, where it was believed he lived with his father.

If you knew Sergeant Richards, his family or know of any living relatives please contact Douwe S. Drijver at the Verzetsmuseum Friesland - d.drijver@friesmuseum.nl

Friday, 11 September 2009

Cone You Believe It?

Blog reader Kathie is puzzled at why Moreton Road was closed this morning without warning or explanation:

"Yesterday, random road cones appeared in the gutter of Moreton Road with no explanation. This morning, workmen closed the entire road and started digging across the middle section – again no written notices given.

It seems that a hole has appeared in the road and no-one is looking into it.

Such is the excitement of living in suburbia! – it reminds me of the great fly-tipping incident of 2006 in Windsor Road."

Perhaps the notice was going through Sutton Council's rigorous spell-checking process. Heaven forbid they put another one up with a spelling mistake...

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Road Movie

For those of you who have never been on a bus to or from Worcester Park, or just find that you don't have the time in your busy schedule to travel by bus, you can now experience the joy of this mode of transport courtesy of a clip I came across on YouTube.

Indulge yourself with 3 minutes 13 seconds of footage filmed on an S3 bus on route from Sutton Common to Worcester Park Station.

For the bus spotters amongst you, it's an SD41 (PL05 PLV) Myllenium Esteem Dart. For the non bus-spotters amongst you, it's just a single-decker bus.

Don't worry, the whole thing doesn't just consist of the back view of some bloke's head! Of course it doesn't - that would be ridiculously boring.

So keep an eye out for the change in camera position at 2 mins 10 seconds, after which you can see what the inside of a bus looks like from a different seat!

To complete the effect, you may wish to ask someone close by to play music really loud through their mobile phone, pour Pepsi over the floor and kick the back of you chair whilst you are watching the clip.

Enjoy.

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

School Of Thought

The three words 'back to school' have always filled me with dread - eliciting that sinking feeling in the pit of the stomach when the realisation dawned that the summer holidays weren't forever and the reality of Maths and P.E. beckoned.

For many parents in Worcester Park, though, the 'back to school' dread begins a long time ahead of September with the battle to get their offspring into their chosen local school - not helped by the lack of local secondary schools.

As blog reader WhiteVanLady writes:

"Secondary schools in Worcester Park? Oh yes, there aren't any. Seems that Sutton Council forgot to build one.

This means that if you live south of about half-way down Washington Road you have to play Worcester Park Schools Poker when it comes to exercising your "parental choice", also known as "guess the catchment areas".

All secondary schools west of Sutton town centre are oversubscribed, and Worcester Park is sometimes in their catchment area but is usually not, especially Worcester Park South. When you choose a place on the list of preferences, you don't really know if you are in a catchment area as it changes each year.

Church membership flourishes in this borough among people with young children because having fallen outside the catchment areas, the faith schools in the borough may be a good option for children not likely to get places in the selective schools. One family I know live very, very near to a faith school, and felt it important to "find god", or have their kids make a long commute across the borough each day.


One family in the borough were apparently denied a place at a faith school as the parents were not married.

The other "choice" you can exercise is to find a school outside the borough. If you try to get a school place in Epsom, then the stakes get higher, as some schools there operate a first preference system (keep up at the back please).

I know more than one child's parents who placed one of the high schools in Epsom as their first choice last year as they would otherwise not have been offered a place there. They then discovered that their child had in fact passed the entry for a grammar school, but were not entitled to a place as they had given first choice to a high school in Epsom.

Heaven help families who can't cope with this labyrinthine mess through lack of English, stress, illness or whatever.

Come and see Central Road at 7.30 during school term time. You will find a flock of kids in a multitude of different coloured blazers as they make their long way to grammar school, faith school or schools outside London."


Do share you experiences of battling the primary or secondary school catchment area/selection game below!

Monday, 7 September 2009

Putting The Pub Into Publicity

OK, so it's actually a bar, not a pub. And the publicity is being put into the pub bar and not the other way round.

But it was the best pun I could think of to announce CAZBAR's benevolent offer to fellow Worcester Park businesses in these tough economic times.
  
 
CAZBAR proprietor Carey Preece told the Worcester Park Blog: 
"I would like to offer FREE advertising to businesses in Worcester Park (or those that live in Worcester Park and run a business).

There's no catch, I just want to help Worcester Park grow into a better community high street and I believe that can only be done if we help each other."



The free adverts will be placed on a 10 inch digital screen behind the bar and a 32 inch screen in the window facing onto Central Road. The window screen will be on during morning 'rush hours' as well as during CAZBAR opening hours.
Any business interested in taking up the offer should send a reasonably-size JPG file to barzltd@googlemail.com.

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Direct Inaction

In the kitchen of my former workplace a few years back somebody had pinned up a sign which read;

"When all is said and done, more will be said than done..."

It was probably put up there by the same person who had the 'You don't have to be mad to work here...but it helps' mug, but the more I go through life the more I realise the wisdom behind that one line witticism.

It's a familiar scene played out across workplaces, neighbourhoods, charity and volunteer groups up and down the country - when it comes to having an opinion on what needs to be done, there's no shortage of people willing to say their piece. Yet those willing to expend a little effort turning thoughts in actions are usually very few and far between.

A few months ago I popped along to a meeting of the Worcester Park Residents Association. Amongst those who turned out there was no shortage of people willing to proffer their opinion on the issues of the day, yet when it came to finding volunteers for the Committee those gathered were suddenly too busy sitting on their hands to raise one in offer of support - and thus the same reliable dependable few shuffled positions on the Committee in order to keep the association going.

That is not, of course, a scene unique to Worcester Park. I am also aware that I too was sitting on my hands (if only metaphorically) during the meeting, consoling myself that by covering issues on the Blog I was making my little contribution to KT4.

Earlier this week I reported on the Worcester Park Station Volunteer group who turned out on a Bank Holiday weekend to clear up the mess around the station. The volunteers numbered just four.

When it comes to the decision to approve the expansion of The Hamptons development, there is great strength of local feeling, but sadly it is all too late.

As one anonymous commenter on the blog very eloquently writes:

"Whilst there will undoubtedly be many residents who will be scathing about this news, the question they actually need to consider is what THEY physically contributed to prevent this development, whilst they had the chance?

Generally, it seems most people expected somebody else to do something and now it's anybody else's fault. I believe there are something like 10,000 residents in Worcester Park, but my guess is that the number who can honestly claim to have actively tried to do something to prevent this Hamptons extension is probably more like 10! [Okay, maybe 20, but you get my drift].

It’s easy to blame Denham, but his decision is essentially based on weighing up the positives and negatives across the country, choosing the paths of least resistance. What will be the negative impact of this development?

“Well Secretary Of State, locals will naturally moan, there will be more anti-social behaviour from the additional social housing residents, the streets will be even more clogged than before. People will be going even further to find a GP, and the risk of flooding will undoubtedly increase. You might be accused of pursuing wealth at expense of residents’ health. But, crucially, when push actually comes to shove, nobody will actually do anything! In conclusion, approve it!” …

Let’s be realistic, if you had the job of having to approve new builds somewhere, you would approve the ones where there was the least controversy and the smallest amount of superficial, local resistance.

It would have been great if Denham had been advised “Secretary Of State, do you realise 10,000 people are up in arms over this Worcester Park development?

It’s across the local press, with people sending the local MP sack loads of angry mail every day. Locals are treating this development as though we’re threatening military occupation!

We’ve even had some blog fellow stand as a local by-election candidate on this sole issue – and he got more votes than Labour! Even National TV is taking an interest! For goodness sake, say NO!” … But this was never going to happen – I know from experience.

Some years ago, I got involved in the attempt to stop new, expensive houses being built on Nonsuch Park. Despite the numerous, vocal protests and the weight of feeling, only a small fraction of residents actively got involved. Whilst almost every resident was determinedly against, and some even wanted to lead the campaign against it (as long as they could lead from the rear, from their armchair), almost nobody did anything! This token resistance was blatantly obvious to the developers and local Councils alike, who were clearly testing the water - the lack of residents' interest told them what they wanted to know.

The approval was a foregone conclusion and the houses were subsequently built. I personally found this lack of active support more infuriating than watching the bulldozers and builders move in. This was particularly so, when I heard the voices of those who had done nothing, subsequently complaining that more could and should have been done to stop the development – naturally, not by themselves, but by their neighbours, councillors, local businesses - anyone and everyone else.

Our soon to be former fellow resident in the Hamptons has the practical answer – move away before the foregone conclusion becomes a reality and stop moaning that it’s somebody else’s fault that someone else should have done more when there was an opportunity."

Friday, 4 September 2009

Go 4th and enjoy...

There's a great evening of entertainment promised on Saturday 12 September with an Open Air Concert from The Dave Marrion Big Band (as featured at Nonsuch Big Band in the Park).

It's all happening at the 4th Worcester Park Scout Group’s two acre, secluded and tree-lined HQ in Braemar Road, Worcester Park.

The Dave Marrion Big Band will play the music of Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey and other favourites from the Big Band era.

Gates open at 6.30pm, and the band plays from 7.30 to 10.00pm (with an interval). A licensed cash bar will be available.

Tickets: Adults £10.00, children £2.50, Under 5s free (children must be accompanied by an adult at all times).

For tickets please contact: band@4wp.org.uk or buy on the gate.

Take your own chair and feel free to bring a picnic - suggested parking is at the Stone Place public car park (by Waitrose).

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Man Found Collapsed In Driveway



A man has been taken to hospital after he was discovered collapsed in a driveway of a house in Lynwood Drive, Worcester Park earlier this evening.

Passers-by dialled 999 shortly before 9pm, when they found the man unconscious and bleeding from a small head wound. He was reported to have been seen in the area looking confused and disoriented shortly beforehand.

He was attended to by London Ambulance paramdedics and a Rapid Response team before being taken to hospital.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

EXCLUSIVE: Hamptons Planning Permission Granted


The Worcester Park Blog can exclusively reveal that developers St James Homes have won their appeal over the controversial expansion of 'The Hamptons' development.

John Denham, Secretary Of State for Communities & Local Government, has rejected all of the arguments put forward at the Public Enquiry by those opposed to the construction of 184 further dwellings on the site of the former sewage works in Green Lane.




Those who opposed the further expansion (including Sutton Council, local MP Paul Burstow, and the Worcester Park Residents Association) argued that the problem of traffic congestion which already blights Worcester Park would be exacerbated if The Hamptons expands further.

On this key argument, the Secretary Of State has said he is 'not convinced' that the proposal would make traffic to Worcester Park significantly worse.

A new access road will be built linking the Hamptons to Boscome Road, however this will only give access to 9 of the new dwellings. Traffic to and from 175 new dwellings will therefore be forced to use what is currently the site's only access road (onto Green Lane).

Denham also writes that there was no compelling evidence put forward at the enquiry that the expansion would substantially add to the risk of accidents or otherwise impair road safety.

Campaigners also argued that Worcester Park's local services (in particular schools and GP surgeries) were already overstretched and the additional population would place an impossible further strain on resources.

Only last month, a survey by Paul Burstow MP found that 60% of existing residents on the Hamptons have to travel up to 3 miles to see a GP - with some residents having to travel to Motspur Park, Merton Park and New Malden to see a Doctor.

However Denham rejects this argument, ruling that the new development "would make appropriate contributions in respect of local education and healthcare services" (developers St James Homes having commited to making increased financial contributions to local services).

Campaigners' concerns over the adverse affect on local air quality and fears that the development would exacerbate the risk of flooding were also rejected. The Secretary Of State was satisfied that local concern about flooding could appropriately be addressed by a planning condition requiring a drainage scheme to be approved.

Permission has therefore been granted for developers to build 184 new dwellings (including 63 affordable units) to be called Providence Place. The dwellings will comprise:

  • Twenty nine 1 bedroom apartments
  • Fifty nine 2 bedroom apartments
  • Six 3 bedroom semi-detached houses
  • Twenty six 3 bedroom terraced houses
  • Four detached 4 bedroom houses
  • Twenty semi-detached 4 bedroom houses
  • Thirty six terraced 4 bedroom houses
  • Four 5 bedroom detached houses
  • Sixty two ground source heat pumps
You comments and reaction are welcome below!

The Hamptons- Public Enquiry Result

Below is the full text of the decision following the Public Enquiry into the expansion of The Hamptons development in Worcester Park:


TOWN AND COUNTRY PLANNING ACT 1990 – SECTION 78
APPEAL BY ST JAMES HOMES
AT PHASE 4B/5C, THE HAMPTONS, GREEN LANE, WORCESTER PARK, KT4 8PL
APPLICATION: REF A2008/59974/FUL


1. I am directed by the Secretary of State to say that consideration has been given to the report of the Inspector, John Woolcock BNatRes (Hons) MURP DipLaw MPIA MRTPI, who held a public local inquiry between 17 March and 19 May 2009 into your client's appeal against a decision of the London Borough of Sutton Council (LBS) to refuse planning permission for construction of 184 new dwellings, including 59 affordable units, roads and landscaping comprising: twenty nine 1 bedroom apartments, fifty nine 2 bedroom apartments, six 3 bedroom semi-detached houses, twenty six 3 bedroom terraced properties, four detached 4 bedroom houses, twenty semi-detached 4 bedroom houses, thirty six terraced 4 bedroom houses, and four 5 bedroom detached houses, together with garages, surface and basement car parking, cycle and refuse facilities and the installation of 62 ground source heat pumps at phase 4b/5c, The Hamptons, Green Lane, Worcester Park, KT4 8PL in accordance with application number 2008/59974/FUL, dated 30 June 2008.


2. On 4 November 2008 the appeal was recovered for the Secretary of State's determination, in pursuance of section 79 of, and paragraph 3 to Schedule 6 to, the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. The reason for this direction is that the appeal involves proposals for residential development of over 150 units, which would significantly impact on the Government’s objective to secure a better balance between housing demand and supply and create high quality, sustainable, mixed and inclusive communities.
Inspector’s recommendation and summary of the decision


3. The Inspector recommended that the appeal be allowed and that planning permission be granted, subject to conditions. For the reasons given below, the Secretary of State agrees with the Inspector’s conclusions, and agrees with his recommendation. A copy of the Inspector’s report (IR) is enclosed. All references to paragraph numbers, unless otherwise stated, are to that report.

Procedural Matters

4. In reaching this position the Secretary of State has taken into account the Environmental Statement which was submitted under the Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) (England and Wales) Regulations 1999. The Secretary of State is content that the Environmental Statement complies with the above regulations and that sufficient information has been provided for him to assess the environmental impact of the application (IR3, IR74).

5. The Secretary of State has also had regard to the fact that at the inquiry the appellant proposed to amend the appeal scheme to increase the number of affordable units from 59 to 63 (IR4, IR75). He agrees with the Inspector (IR75) that no prejudice has been caused to any party by this course of action and has determined the appeal on the basis of the amended scheme providing 63 affordable units.
 
6. An application for costs was made by the appellant against the LBS. The Secretary of State's decision on that application is the subject of a separate letter.
Matters arising after the close of the inquiry

7. Following the close of the Inquiry, written representations were received by the Secretary of State from Councillor Stuart Gordon-Bullock (letters dated 25 May and 2 August). The Secretary of State also received a representation from Brendan Creane (letter dated 19 March). He has taken account of these representations in his determination of these appeals but, as they did not raise any new matters not considered at the Inquiry, he has not considered it necessary to circulate them to all parties. Copies of this correspondence can be made available upon written request to the address at the foot of the first page of this letter.
Policy considerations

8. In deciding the application, the Secretary of State has had regard to section 38(6) of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 which requires that proposals be determined in accordance with the development plan unless material considerations indicate otherwise.
9. In this case, the development plan comprises the London Plan (Consolidated with Alterations since 2004), published February 2008, and saved policies of the London Borough of Sutton Unitary Development Plan (UDP), adopted 2003. The Secretary of State considers that the development plan policies most relevant to the appeal are those listed by the Inspector at IR9 - 10.

10. Other material considerations which the Secretary of State has taken into account include Planning Policy Statement (PPS) 1: Delivering Sustainable Development; PPS: Planning and Climate Change (supplement to PPS1); PPS3: Housing; Planning Policy Guidance (PPG) note 13: Transport; Circular 11/95: The Use of Conditions in Planning Permission; Circular 05/05: Planning Obligations and LBS Supplementary Planning Document: Affordable Housing.
Main issues

11. The Secretary of State considers that the main issues in this case are those set out by the Inspector at IR73.
Highway Safety and Transport Infrastructure

12. The Secretary of State has had regard to the fact that the appeal site lies within a suburban area where the local road network is subject to congestion at times but considers that there is no evidence that the area has a poor accident record (IR76). For the reasons given by the Inspector at IR78 – 81, he shares the Inspector’s view that the combination of SCOOT and the Travel Plan potential for improvement would provide substantial mitigation of any increased traffic attributable to the appeal scheme (IR81). Like the Inspector, having given substantial weight to local evidence about traffic congestion and its effects on the community, the Secretary of State is not convinced that the appeal proposal, given the proposed mitigation measures, would make the situation here significantly worse (IR82). He also agrees with the Inspector that there is no compelling evidence that it would substantially add to the risk of accidents or impair highway safety (IR82). For the reasons given by the Inspector at IR83 – 85, the Secretary of State shares the Inspector’s view that the VISSIM model, although it might not be perfect, adds confidence to his judgement about the traffic impact of the proposed development (IR86).
 
13. Like the Inspector, the Secretary of State does not consider that the proposed development would have an unacceptable adverse effect on highway safety or transport infrastructure (IR87). He finds no conflict with London Plan Policy 3C.2 concerning transport capacity and considers that the proposal would not be contrary to the provisions or underlying objectives of UDP policies G/TR5 or TR18 regarding the transport impact of new development (IR87).
Other Matters

14. The Secretary of State fully agrees with the Inspector’s assessment of the energy strategy agreed between the main parties (IR88). For the reasons given at IR89 – 90, he is satisfied that the proposal would make appropriate contributions in respect of local education and healthcare services and, for those reasons given at IR91, he finds no basis for rejecting the appeal scheme because of its likely impact on air quality (IR91). The Secretary of State agrees with the Inspector’s conclusions with regard to land contamination and remediation matters (IR92). Like the Inspector (IR93), the Secretary of State considers that scope exists within the scheme to provide suitable open space, recreation and play provision for the proposed development. He further agrees that the scheme has been designed to reflect the high standards of the previous phases of The Hamptons and that local concern about flooding could appropriately be addressed by a planning condition requiring a drainage scheme to be approved (IR94). Like the Inspector, the Secretary of State finds that the Environmental Statement and Inquiry were properly publicised (IR95).

Conditions and Obligation

15. The Secretary of State has considered the proposed conditions and the Inspector’s comments on these at IR66-69 and IR96 as well as national policy as set out in Circular 11/95. He considers that the proposed conditions are reasonable and necessary and meet the tests of Circular 11/95. He has also considered the provisions of the executed S106 Agreement and the Inspector’s comments on these at IR70 and IR97, as well as national policy as set out in Circular 05/2005. He considers that the obligations contained in that Agreement are relevant to the proposed development and meet the policy tests of Circular 05/2005.

Overall Conclusions

16. Like the Inspector, the Secretary of State is satisfied that the proposal would make efficient use of previously-developed urban land in accordance with the guidance in PPS3 Housing, without an unacceptable impact on local infrastructure (IR98). He also considers that the proposed development would not have an unacceptable adverse effect on highway safety or transport infrastructure. The Secretary of State concludes that the proposal would accord with the development plan, and that there are no other material considerations which would indicate that the appeal should be determined other than in accordance with the development plan.
Formal Decision

17. Accordingly, for the reasons given above, the Secretary of State agrees with the Inspector’s recommendation. He hereby allows your client's appeal and grants planning permission for construction of 184 new dwellings, including 63 affordable units, roads and landscaping comprising: twenty nine 1 bedroom apartments, fifty nine 2 bedroom apartments, six 3 bedroom semi-detached houses, twenty six 3 bedroom terraced houses, four detached 4 bedroom houses, twenty semi-detached 4 bedroom houses, thirty six terraced 4 bedroom houses, and four 5 bedroom detached houses, together with garages, surface and basement car parking, cycle and refuse facilities and the installation of 62 ground source heat pumps at phase 4b/5c, The Hamptons, Green Lane, Worcester Park, KT4 8PL in accordance with application number 2008/59974/FUL, dated 30 June 2008, subject to the conditions set out at Annex A to this letter.

18. An applicant for any consent, agreement or approval required by a condition of this permission for agreement of reserved matters has a statutory right of appeal to the Secretary of State if consent, agreement or approval is refused or granted conditionally or if the Local Planning Authority fail to give notice of their decision within the prescribed period.

19. This letter does not convey any approval or consent which may be required under any enactment, bye-law, order or regulation other than section 57 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.

20. This letter serves as the Secretary of State's statement under regulation 21(2) of the Town and Country (Environmental Impact Assessment) (England and Wales) Regulations 1999.
Right to challenge the decision

21. A separate note is attached setting out the circumstances in which the validity of the Secretary of State’s decision may be challenged by making an application to the High Court within six weeks from the date of this letter.

22. A copy of this letter has been sent to the Council and all parties who requested a copy of the decision.
 
 
ANNEX A – SCHEDULE OF CONDITIONS
Conditions
1) The development hereby permitted shall begin not later than three years from the date of this decision.

2) Development shall not begin until details of a scheme of landscaping, as indicated in plan nos. 53 P.01B, 53 P.02B and 53 P.03B, has been submitted to and approved in writing by the local planning authority. This scheme shall include; a method statement for ground protection during construction and preparation prior to importing or replacing top soil; details of maintenance during the establishment period; along with a timetable of works. The development shall be carried out in accordance with the approved details.

3) All planting, seeding and turfing as approved pursuant to condition 2 shall be carried out in accordance with the approved timetable of works and shall thereafter be maintained in accordance with the approved scheme. Any trees or plants which within a period of five years from the completion of the development die, or otherwise fail to thrive, shall be replaced in the next planting season to the approved specification unless otherwise approved in writing by the local planning authority.

4) Details of the type and treatment of the materials to be used on the exterior of each building shall be submitted to and approved in writing by the local planning authority prior to the commencement of construction of that building. The development shall be carried out in accordance with the approved materials, which should thereafter be retained.

5) Prior to the commencement of construction of each building, details of the type of the means of enclosure for that building shall be submitted to and approved in writing with the local planning authority. The development shall be carried out in accordance with the approved details for each building, completed prior to the first occupation of that building, and shall thereafter be retained.

6) Prior to the commencement of construction of each building, a scheme designed to safeguard against crime shall be submitted to and approved in writing by the local planning authority. Such details shall include methods of natural surveillance, lighting, fencing, gates, doors and windows etc. The development shall be carried out in accordance with the approved details prior to the occupation of that building and such measures shall thereafter be retained.

7) Development shall not begin until details of a scheme for visibility splays and a timetable of works has been submitted to and approved in writing by the local planning authority. The visibility splays shall be provided in accordance with the approved details and timetable, and shall thereafter be maintained free of obstruction over 600mm high.

8) No dwelling shall be occupied until the secure cycle storage relating to that dwelling has been provided in accordance with the approved details shown on drawings numbers 1699-A-1005T, 1699-A-3360B, 1699-A-3305B and as described at paragraph 4.16 of the accompanying Planning Statement dated June 2008. The secure cycle storage shall thereafter be retained.

9) No dwelling shall be occupied until the refuse storage facilities relating to that dwelling have been provided in accordance with the approved details shown on drawings numbers 1699-A-1005T, 1699-A-3360B, and 1699-A-3305B. The refuse storage facilities shall thereafter be retained.
 
10) Except for the 9 units in Block L (identified as plot Nos.19 to 27) on drawing number A-1005T, the means of vehicular access to the development for the remaining 175 units shall be from Green Lane only.

11) The means of vehicular access to the development for the 9 units in Block L identified as plot Nos.19 to 27 on drawing number A-1005T shall be from Boscombe Road only.

12) The development shall not be occupied until a permanent physical barrier has been installed in accordance with details previously submitted to and approved in writing by the local planning authority to prevent all vehicular access (except for emergency vehicles) through the site between Green Lane, via Park Road, and Boscombe Road. The barrier shall thereafter be retained.

13) No dwelling shall be occupied until vehicle parking space for that dwelling has been provided in accordance with the approved details shown on drawing number 1699-A-1005T. Vehicle parking spaces shall thereafter be retained and kept available at all times for the parking of vehicles.

14) Unallocated car parking spaces shall be provided in accordance with the Parking Diagram included within the Planning Statement dated June 2008 and shall thereafter be retained for general public use.

15) Throughout the construction period, all building operations in connection with the construction of external walls, roof, and foundations; site excavation or other external site works; works involving the use of plant or machinery; the erection of scaffolding; the delivery of materials; the removal of materials and spoil from the site, and the playing of amplified music or speech shall only take place between the hours of 8.00am and 6.00pm Monday to Friday, and between 8.00am and 1.00pm on Saturdays and not at all on Sundays and Public Holidays unless prior approval has first been obtained in writing from the local planning authority.

16) Development shall not begin until a Construction Method Statement, to include details of;
(a) parking for vehicles of site personnel, operatives and visitors,
(b) loading and unloading of plant and materials,
(c ) storage of plant and materials,
(d) programme of works (including measures for traffic management),
(e) construction traffic routing,
(f) means to control dust,
(g) means to control noise,
(h) means to prevent deposition of mud on the highway,
has been submitted to and approved in writing by the local planning authority. Thereafter all construction activities shall be carried out in accordance with the approved Construction Method Statement.

17) Development shall not begin until details of a scheme for solar panels, including a timetable of works, has been submitted to and approved in writing by the local planning authority prior to the commencement of work on each building. Such details shall include elevational and sectional drawings of the relevant parts of each building. The solar panels shall be installed in accordance with the approved details and shall thereafter be retained unless otherwise approved in writing by the local planning authority.

18) Development shall not begin until a scheme for the ground source heat pumps, including a timetable of works, has been submitted to and approved in writing by the local planning authority. The scheme shall include details of the location and depth of boreholes and measures designed to protect groundwater resources, and shall be in accordance with the description set out within paragraph 6.18 of the Environmental Statement and drawing reference A-1011A. The ground source heat pumps shall be installed in accordance with the approved details and shall thereafter be retained unless otherwise approved in writing by the local planning authority.

19) Development shall not begin until a preliminary stage Code for Sustainable Homes Assessment that achieves a Level 3 rating has been submitted to and approved in writing by the local planning authority. The development shall be constructed in accordance with the approved details. Prior to the first occupation of a dwelling a certified Code for Sustainable Homes Post Construction Assessment, or other verification process approved in writing by the local planning authority, shall be provided for that dwelling, confirming that the approved standards set out in the approved pre-construction assessment have been met.

20) Surface water drainage works shall be carried out in accordance with the scheme detailed in the submitted FRA by Glanville Consultants (June 2008) prior to the first occupation of the development hereby permitted and shall thereafter be retained.

21) Notwithstanding the provisions of the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995 (or any Order amending or revoking and re-enacting that Order), planning permission shall be required in respect of development falling within Classes A, B, C, D and E to Schedule 2, Part 1 to that Order.

22) Prior to the first occupation of the development hereby permitted, a scheme for children’s play provision shall be submitted to and approved in writing by the local planning authority. The scheme shall include details of;
(a) the location of the proposed play area(s);
(b) the number and type of play equipment to be provided;
(c) the means of enclosure and the surfacing within the play area(s); and
(d) future maintenance.
The play area shall have a minimum area of 410 m2 and shall be provided in accordance with the approved scheme no later than the occupation of the 100th dwelling and shall thereafter be retained.

23) Prior to first occupation of the development hereby permitted, a scheme for the provision of additional play equipment to be provided within the existing play areas shall be submitted to and approved in writing by the local planning authority. The scheme shall include details of;
(a) the location of the proposed play equipment;
(b) the type of play equipment to be provided, to be limited to no less than 3 pieces of equipment; and
(c) future maintenance.
The play equipment shall be provided in accordance with the approved scheme no later than the occupation of the 100th dwelling and shall thereafter be retained.

24) Development shall not begin until details of finished floor levels for all buildings and finished land contours for the site relative to adjoining land levels have been submitted to and approved in writing by the local planning authority. Development shall be carried out in accordance with the approved details.
 
25) Unless otherwise approved in writing by the local planning authority, development other than that required to be carried out as part of an approved scheme of remediation must not commence until Conditions 26 to 29 have been complied with. If unexpected contamination is found after development has begun, development must be halted on that part of the site affected by the unexpected contamination to the extent specified by the local planning authority in writing until condition 29 has been complied with in relation to that contamination.

26) An investigation and risk assessment, in addition to any assessment provided with the planning application, must be completed in accordance with a scheme to assess the nature and extent of any contamination on the site, whether or not it originates on the site. The contents of the scheme are subject to the approval in writing of the local planning authority. The investigation and risk assessment must be undertaken by competent persons and a written report of the findings must be produced. The written report is subject to the approval in writing of the local planning authority. The report of the findings must include:
(i) a survey of the extent, scale and nature of contamination;
(ii) an assessment of the potential risks to;
(a) human health,
(b) property (existing or proposed) including buildings, crops, livestock, pets, woodland and service lines and pipes,
(c) adjoining land,
(d) ground and surface waters;
(iii) an appraisal of remedial options, and proposal of the preferred option(s).
This must be conducted in accordance with DEFRA and the Environment Agency's Model Procedures for the Management of Land Contamination, CLR 11.

27) A detailed remediation scheme to bring the site to a condition suitable for the intended use by removing unacceptable risks to human health, buildings and other property must be prepared, and is subject to the approval in writing of the local planning authority. The scheme must include all works to be undertaken, proposed remediation objectives and remediation criteria, timetable of works and site management procedures. The scheme must ensure that the site will not qualify as contaminated land under Part 2A of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 in relation to the intended use of the land after remediation.

28) The approved remediation scheme must be carried out in accordance with its terms prior to the commencement of development other than that required to carry out remediation, unless otherwise agreed in writing by the local planning authority. The local planning authority must be given two weeks written notification of commencement of the remediation scheme works. Following completion of measures identified in the approved remediation scheme, a verification report (referred to in PPS23 as a validation report) that demonstrates the effectiveness of the remediation carried out must be produced, and is subject to the approval in writing of the local planning authority.

29) In the event that contamination is found at any time when carrying out the approved development that was not previously identified it must be reported in writing immediately to the local planning authority. An investigation and risk assessment must be undertaken in accordance with the requirements of Condition 26, and where remediation is necessary a remediation scheme must be prepared in accordance with the requirements of Condition 27, which is subject to the approval in writing of the local planning authority. Following completion of measures identified in the approved remediation scheme a verification report must be prepared, which is subject to the approval in writing of the local planning authority in accordance with Condition 28.

30) A monitoring and maintenance scheme to include monitoring the long-term effectiveness of the proposed remediation and the provision of reports on the same must be prepared, both of which are subject to the approval in writing of the local planning authority. Following completion of the measures identified in that scheme and when the remediation objectives have been achieved, reports that demonstrate the effectiveness of the monitoring and maintenance carried out must be produced, and submitted to the local planning authority. This must be conducted in accordance with DEFRA and the Environment Agency's Model Procedures for the Management of Land Contamination, CLR 11

The Hamptons - Planning Inspector's Report

Below is the full text of the report to the Secretary of State for Communities and
Local Government by the Planning Inspector (John Woolcock BNatRes(Hons) MURP DipLaw MPIA MRTPI):



Report APP/P5870/A/08/20887O2
File Ref: APP/P5870/A/08/2088702

Phase 4b/5c, The Hamptons, Green Lane, Worcester Park KT4 8PL
・ The appeal is made under section 78 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 against
a refusal to grant planning permission.
・ The appeal is made by St James Homes against the decision of the Council of the London
Borough of Sutton.
・ The application Ref:A2008/59974/FUL, dated 30 June 2008, was refused by notice dated
13 October 2008.
・ The development proposed is construction of 184 new dwellings, including 59 affordable
units, roads and landscaping comprising; twenty nine 1 bedroom apartments, fifty nine 2
bedroom apartments, six 3 bedroom semi-detached houses, twenty six 3 bedroom
terraced properties, four detached 4 bedroom houses, twenty semi-detached 4 bedroom
houses, thirty six terraced 4 bedroom houses, and four 5 bedroom detached houses,
together with garages, surface and basement car parking, cycle and refuse facilities and
the installation of 62 ground source heat pumps.
Summary of Recommendation: The appeal be allowed, and planning
permission granted subject to conditions.

Action Stations!

Those of you who make your daily commute via Worcester Park station will hopefully have noticed the area around the station looking tidier today than it did at the end of last week (in particular the land by the steps between the London-bound platform and Central Road) .

It's all thanks to a small but dedicated team called the Worcester Park Station Volunteer Group (pictured above) who gave up their free time on Sunday to begin the clear-up of the area around the station.

Coordinator Nick Baum told The Worcester Park Blog about the group's inaugural meeting:

"After decades of neglect the team removed a huge amount of rubble and other bizarre items from the ground in preparation for ultimately planting the site with shrubs and attractive plants.

Fuelled by delicious home-made brownies supplied by Jenna and Penguins from Jane Louise the team worked hard to take the first steps to improving the environment around the station."

There's a lot more work to be done around the station and that's where YOU come in. To continue its good works, the group needs:


  • Volunteers who can give up a few hours to assist with the tidying up and planting out
  • Local businesses who may wish to make a financial donation (you will be mentioned in any further local publicity the group gets)
  • Donations of plants suitable for planting in the site - thanks to John James Gardening have offered £100 worth of plants (they'll be taking you up on the kind offer soon!)
  • Drivers who wouldn’t mind taking waste items to the dump whilst the team clear certain areas

If you can help the volunteers to continue their great work contact nick@adconnection.co.uk

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Apostrophe Catastrophe

Regular blog readers will have read my furious reaction when the Sutton Guardian saw fit to pick upon a well-meaning road surfacing contractor for misspellings in his hastily-written sign.

I am slightly more forgiving of their report about the bungled road sign which appeared in 'Assembley Walk' (sic) Carshalton - not least because of the money that must have been wasted in having to correct this schoolboy error.

It seems that the issue of spelling and grammar in road signs is something of a nationwide problem (according, at least, to the Daily Telegraph). It reports how councils across the country are issuing their hapless staff with idiot's guides to the use of apostrophes and other punctuation marks.

The article cites John Ever of St Philip's Avenue, Worcester Park who told them:

"Here in Liberal Democrat-controlled Sutton the council tries to please everyone. Of the four road signs for our road, two are with an apostrophe and two are without."

On this occasion, I sympathise with those who rage against the absence or misappropriation of apostrophes and other examples of sloppy grammar from official bodies who should, and must, do better.

For many, proper punctuation and grammar is now seen as an irrelevance. To my mind, it is about upholding standards and basic professionalism.

I probably shan't go the the lengths of Stefan Gatward, featured in the Telegraph article, who roamed his home town painting in missing apostrophes on road signs.

I shall, however, continue to expect Sutton Council and anyone else who should know better to lead the way in grammatical correctness.

Am I being too middle-class again?