Monday, 21 June 2010

Chaos In The Pipeline

You may have noticed the plethora of spray painted annotations on the road and pavement at the Green Lane/Central Road junction.

It's all in preparation for major gas mains replacement works which are set to bring traffic chaos to Worcester Park over the August Bank Holiday weekend.

Blog sources tell me that Central Road will be completely closed to traffic from the Friday evening, with works planned to be completed on the Bank Holiday Monday.

Quite how Worcester Park will cope with being cut off from civilisation for three whole days remains to be seen.

Anyone want to give me a hand building a raft to set sail on the Hogsmill?

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

News Malden

It's all been kicking off down the road in New Malden today - check out the Surrey Comet/Kingston Guardian's reports of the police exclusion zone, chemical incident, controlled explosion and men in biohazard suits.

It makes life in Worcester Park look very tame by comparison!

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Green Or Brown Bin?

I've just received a leaflet from Sutton Council bearing the title "Sutton's Door Step Recycling Services - including Community Toilet Scheme details".

Is there some cost-saving link between the two here? Have the two initiatives been merged?

Until this is resolved, I will be treading very carefully over my door step and will definitely NOT be wearing flip flops.

Monday, 14 June 2010

Pond Update

A quick update for you on work to restore the pond in Shadbolt Park, off Salisbury Road in Worcester Park.

If you have been in the park recently you will have seen that the "pond" is just a grassed-in concrete bowl, the water having completely drained away yet again, despite heavy rainfall early this year. 

On 28 February when the group had their first volunteer day clearing vegetation around the area, it was pouring with rain and the pond was overflowing.

Spawn was laid in all this lovely water in March, showing that there are many amphibians out there waiting for opportunities to breed, but it is not likely anything survived as the old liner leaked spectacularly again. This really needs to get this sorted because many of our amphibian and insect species are in decline through pond loss, so small bodies of water in parks and gardens are really important.

The group has been spending most of this year trying to raise the money needed to do this work as cheaply as possible with volunteer labour and has done very well, securing a grant from the SCC and receiving several donations from generous individuals and groups in the neighbourhood. 

To raise further funds, they are are having a stall at the Cuddington Fair (Fun Day) on the Paddock in Shadbolt Park on Saturday 26 June.

Entry is free, so do go along and buy a raffle ticket or drop some small change in their collecting 'bucket'. It will also be an opportunity to talk to the group about their plans for the pond area and get your name on the list so that they can contact you when a date is set for the next working party.

Pond restoration is targeted to start in September. A team from the Lower Mole Countryside Management Project will lead and guide the team, carrying out the preliminary work with machinery before the main volunteer day.

It will be too expensive to repair the concrete liner or to break it up and start again, so the new pond will be smaller, within the existing pond area, using a flexible butyl liner and partial 'fill' of the area to provide a gentle 'bowl' profile. 

The finished shape will be roughly oblong with rounded ends and sloping banks so that wildlife can enter and leave it safely. It will be rain fed and filled and so reliant, as all natural ponds are, on the weather, which may mean the level will be very low in the Summer but given decent rainfall during the Winter and Spring, gradual drying out in hot weather later in the year should not have serious effects on wildlife populations. 

Unlike the existing pond, the water will not leak away and we should only be dealing with evaporation. Some tree removal will be necessary, because heavy shade has detrimental effects on pond ecology.

If you are interested in helping with this labour of love, please keep an eye out for the group's publicity or get in touch (details at the end of this blog post). You don't need to know anything about ponds; experts from the Lower Mole Project will be there to direct and advise, and all tools will be provided by them.

Contact: 0208 337 3722 or email

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Size Matters

Work is well underway to transform the site of the failed Caffe Piccolo Italian restaurant into 'Avventura' a new....erm...Italian restaurant, with a cafe/bar attached.

Aside from my disappointment about the monotony of Italian eateries in Worcester Park, one has to ask why this venture will succeed where Caffe Piccolo failed?

There was, from my few visits there, fundamentally nothing wrong with Caffe Piccolo - decently priced, family friendly, decent food.

No doubt the people behing 'Avventura' are full of optimism and hope that good food and good service will set see them through, but will they too soon be forced to face the reality that the place is simply far too big to be viable in anything other than rosy economic conditions?

Then there is the discounting might of Pizza Express, just across the road, to contend with.

Perhaps Avventura will succeed where Piccolo failed. Perhaps they have found the formula that eluded their predecessors.

Or perhaps they too will soon be learning the hard way that size really does matter. Either way, I wish them luck.

Monday, 7 June 2010

Bad Experience

I finally made it to 'La Continental' for my English breakfast today.

Gone is the cheery warm interior and happy staff of 'Berties', to be replaced by dull and soulless plain walls and polite but perfunctory staff. 

I'm afraid the place just didn't do it for me - the pile of out of date newspapers on offer, the absence of sauces on the table, the music on too loud, the watery tinned tomato and an egg fried to the consistency of rubber all made for a very unappealing cafe experience.

If the vibrant and busy Berties couldn't make it work financially, then I worry greatly for the future of  La Continental. 

A few blog readers have commented favourably on the place, so hopefully I just caught them on an off day. 


Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Sunday Swap Shop

Hands up who remembers the heyday of sticker swapping?  

It was, I recall, of many pointless but harmless playground crazes of childhood (I was pretty good at Top Trumps and had quite a good collection of Garbage Pail Kids too).

Those of you wanting to re-kindle sticker swapping memories (or discover the joy of this hobby for the first time), head over to CAZBAR on Central Road this Sunday from Midday to 2pm to swap World Cup Panini sticker and fill your album faster.

Kids of all sizes are welcome!

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Worcester Park Residents Association

Worcester Park Residents Association are holding their AGM tomorrow (Wednesday 2nd June) from 7.30 PM at Christ Church with St Philip's hall.

Do go along if you want to help shape this important local institution, as well as catch up on the burning local issues affecting Worcester Park.