Sunday, 28 February 2010

A Right Mess

I've just stumbled across this short video of the North Cheam Carpet Right fire.

Posters on the hoardings that now cover the burned-out remains of the shop somewhat understatedly announce that the branch is undergoing 'refurbishment'.


Saturday, 27 February 2010

Election Nearing

Whilst passing Ryan Gate over the weekend I spotted a 'Support our Worcester Park Shops' poster in their window.

It's a laudable message - the call to support your local traders is one I have made many times on this blog as they are the lifeblood of Worcester Park and as regular blog readers know I make a point of buying all my fruit, veg, household items and lofts locally.

A closer look at the small print on the poster, however, revealed that it was merely a bit of pre-election publicity from the Sutton & Cheam Conservatives. They have a one-page supporting website with couple of vague paragraphs about how local Conservative MPs and Councillors would champion our local shopkeepers.

Top marks go to 'The 'Seasonal Shop' which has displayed the poster in their window but has stuck two fingers up at the electioneering by strategically folding back the bottom of the poster to hide the Conservative party blurb.

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Prints Charming

I see that Jason J Hunter, would-be Liberal Democrat Councillor for Worcester Park, has been eulogizing about More Than Lofts on his own blog.

(Incidentally, I have no idea what the 'J' stands for. Mind you, he's a Liberal Democrat so quite probably even the 'J' isn't exactly clear what it stands for).

The jist of the blog post is that More Than Lofts came swiftly to the rescue to help get a big printer into Paul Burstow MP's campaign office - no doubt a brand new printer that will be churning out plenty of pre-election campaign literature.

So next time a Lib Dem leaflet plops through your door you know who to thank.

More Than Lofts also do conservatories. As well as Liberal Democrats. Fnarr, fnarr, fnar.

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Water Relief

The water supply is now back on in Worcester Park, so the mini-crisis has been averted.

Oh, does anyone want to buy 14 bottles of mineral water from me?

Thames Water - Supply Problems

Homes and businesses in and around Worcester Park are suffering from low water pressure or complete loss of water supply due to a faulty valve in the 12 inch mains water supply to the area. The problem began just after midday today.

As yet Thames Water are not able to give a resolution time - so expect a rush on supplies of bottled water in Waitrose and Iceland!

The telephone number for updates on water supply problems or loss of water in the KT4 or KT3 area: 0845 9200 800

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Carpet Burns



The 'Carpet Right' shop in North Cheam (in the old Woolworths unit on London Road) has been destroyed by fire.

The blaze broke out in the early hours of Saturday morning.



Continental Breakfast?

When asked last year what type of eatery you wanted to see in Worcester Park, the responses flooded in with suggestions for virtually everything except 'another Italian restaurant', which is what we ended up with.

Those with an appetite for something a little different will be pleased to know that the old Berties cafe is being transformed into 'La Continental', offering mezze, tapas and bistro style food.

The  proof of the pudding (and the other courses) will be in the eating but the prospect of informal, affordable Mediterranean-style food is something I'm certainly looking forward to.

Of course this does nothing to help in my search for a decent full English breakfast in Worcester Park - unless, that is, La Continental is going to be offering this distinctly un-continental option.

Friday, 19 February 2010

The Spirit Of Churchill

Following my blog post last week about the OFSTED inspection at Doris Venner Pre-school in Worcester Park, the school's manager Maria Churchill has been in touch with me to thank those who have supported her in her fight and to voice her scathing criticism of the OFSTED inspection process:

"It's been a difficult time for the pre school but we have learnt a lot about the OFSTED process! 

More organisations, schools and parents need to be aware not ALL OFSTED inspections are correct. 

During ours we hardly saw the Inspector - she spent most of the two sessions she was there in our office! OFSTED deal with complaints against them, there is no independent review. 

I have found they lie, don't pass information on and their investigation process is biased. The OFSTED inspector was given our letter of complaint to read prior to her interview, she didn't keep her handwritten notes despite the fact I logged my complaint initially by phone the day after our inspection. 

If you read the evidence we have received it is all very biased. We will continue to fight - all we want is a re-inspection and for this one to be void.

Thanks to everyone talking time to write."


Thursday, 18 February 2010

The Party's Over

I see that Party Express (on the corner of Washington Road) has suddenly closed down, meaning yet another empty shop unit on Central Road.

Fortunately we still have One Stop Party Shop for all party needs in Worcester Park, but it's a stark reminder that the recession is far from over.

Blog sources tell me that lease on the Party Express unit has been bought with a view to turning it into a cafe.

Watch this space!

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

These Green & Pleasant Lanes

I fear any blog post which opens 'Sutton Council has launched a public consultation' may force you to slump over your keyboard, emitting a huge groan of boredom.

However, those still awake may be interested to know about the consultation is looking at improving the streets in and around the Green Lane area of Worcester Park.

As this is a joint project with the neighbouring Borough of Kingston, both councils will be consulting on their respective areas, looking at a range of options for improving the streets (from paving and crossings to lighting, signage, trees and traffic management).

What confuses me most is how (and why) they have chosen this particular area for the project. Kingston's area is within the grey boundary on the map below, with Sutton Council's area within the red boundary.


I can understand Worcester Park station and Central Road being priority areas, but the bulk of the area consists of residential roads. 

Unless I have missed something these roads are no more nor less worthy of attention than any others in Worcester Park, so quite why they have been singled out for special treatment (and what that special treatment is going to be) remains to be seen. 

Moreover would public money not be better spent on improvements that the whole of Worcester Park can benefit from and not just a randomly selected few?

You can read more about Sutton Council's plans here and, if you are so inclined, complete their online questionnaire about your priorities and concerns. 

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Going Clubbing

I joined a local stamp collecting club once, but it did absolutely nothing for me. It was my fault, really - as everyone knows, philately gets you nowhere.

Anyway, Worcester Park Life, our local monthly community magazine, is collecting information about local clubs and events to include in their monthly magazines which are distributed free of charge to homes around the Worcester Park area as well as being available to pick up in the library and a number of local shops.

If you are involved with a local club or organisation or are organising an event in or around Worcester Park, simply e-mail the details to Jenny@Maldenmedia.co.uk for inclusion in the magazine!

Friday, 12 February 2010

In The Fruit Garden

I've been meaning to ask if anyone knows what 'Clive's Fruit Garden' is all about?

It's been puzzling me every time I drive past the sign, which is on the side of the building on  Malden Road right outside Worcester Park station.

If you haven't spotted the sign yet, have a look next time you are passing by -  it's just above the 'Backcare Clinic' sign (which seems at any given time to have at least two random missing letters).

It almost sounds more like a euphemism than a company name ('It's been a long time since I played around in Clive's fruit garden - know what I mean?! Nudge, nudge, wink, wink') but my internet searches on the name have so far proved, erm, fruitless.

Perhaps you can shed some light on exactly who they are and what they do?

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Get Behind Bars

What's your favourite bar/pub in the borough of Sutton?

Hopefully it's one in Worcester Park - but whichever is your boozer of choice you can vote for it as part of the 'Best Bar None' scheme at http://www.suttonbestbarnone.co.uk/poll.htm

The Worcester Park venues to choose between are:
  • Midas Touch
  • CAZBAR
  • Rumours
  • North End Tavern
  • The Drill
'The Worcester Park' pub is, of course, in Kingston borough so isn't allowed to play this game and has to sit on its own in the corner with its arms folded. That'll learn it.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Inconclusive Proof

Local MPs Edward Davey & Susan Kramer have published extracts from documents that they claim confirm what they've been saying about the threat to close Kingston Hospital's Maternity and A&E departments.

You can read the documents on their campaign website - www.savekingstonhospital.org.uk

The scanned pages do indeed confirm that a number of SW London hospital departments are under review - but then I don't think anyone really doubted that that was the case.

You can read the documents for yourself, but from what I can see they are merely setting out number of possible scenarios for the future of healthcare delivery in the area; the closure of the two departments at Kingston Hospital being just one of a number of possible permutations.

Depending on your interpretation, there is the potential to launch a plethora of 'Save [Insert Name] Hospital' campaigns.

Which, one might cynically suspect, is what more politicians will be doing as the general election draws inexorably closer.

Venner-ation

A Worcester Park mum has contacted the blog to voice her support for the Doris Venner Pre-School after its early-year provision was branded 'inadequate' and requiring 'immediate improvement' in a recent OFSTED inspection report.

Sue Watkins, whose daughter attends the pre-school in Manor Drive, says she doesn't recognise the inspectors' findings:

"Looking at the recent OFSTED report, you wouldn't think you were reading about the same pre-school.

The report, the 'ridiculous' findings and its total inaccuracies have led to the Manager embarking on a lengthy, substantial and extremely stressful complaint procedure. 

The whole Doris Venner team should be commended on how they run the pre-school, the way they co-ordinate their vast curriculum and more importantly how they ensure the happiness, safety and well being of all our children. 

I know for a fact, irrespective of OFSTED, that it surpasses any of the other local pre-school settings. The children are more sociable, educated and happier than all my friends' children and I am so lucky to have been offered a place for my child. 

I've already had my 2nd child’s name down since he was just 2 months old...and there it stays!

To Maria and the team: keep up the good work, you are doing a fantastic job, and we the parents are here to help you fight!"

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Everyone Loves A Bargain

Until yesterday I'd never had occasion to step inside Broadway Bargains.

For years I have done no more than wander past Worcester Park's old curiosity shop and gaze with puzzlement and slight suspicion at the knitted baby clothes, doilies, combs and other assorted items in the window display.

I would pause to read the hand-written note on the door, scribbled on a piece of old cardboard declaring that the shop was too small to accommodate prams before shuffling off down the hill, wondering if anyone actually shopped there (how many combs and doilies could one person need?).

Today I completed what was a long-overdue Worcester Park rite of passage stepped into the world of Broadway Bargains.

I have fallen in love with the place.

Anywhere where you can buy things for just 5p has to be a good place. Who cares if you may never need that spare zip fastener - at only 5p you can afford to be prepared.

They also sell those awful gaudy old-fashioned birthday cards given out by great-Aunts who smell of wee. Now I know where they get them from. Come to think of it I've never seen anywhere else that sells them - perhaps Broadway Bargains have cornered this lucrative market.

I didn't actually need that ballpoint pen, but it was only 10p. No harm done. I can keep it in the same drawer as the spare zip fastener.

Then, having resisted the temptation to buy a shuttlecock, I found myself in a queue. It was rush-hour in Broadway Bargains. One of the women behind the checkout was called Brenda. I'm hoping the other one was called Doris.

I absolutely love Broadway Bargains - pocket money toys, fabric and ribbons, shuttlecocks, zip fasteners, gaudy birthday cards, cobwebs, Brenda and Doris and all. If you've never stepped inside you don't know what you're missing.

It must be given protected status in Worcester Park so that the shop and Brenda and Doris can be preserved forever and then all will be good in the world, and we will never ever run out of doilies.

Saturday, 6 February 2010

I Have Run Out Of Loft Puns

After the recent blog kerfuffle over More Than Lofts, Stacy Owens one of the owners of the business has been in touch with me to introduce the business and give his side of the story.

"I will try and give you a brief history of More Than Lofts so that maybe you will have a clearer idea of what we are about.

I live in Worcester Park and saw that the premises where we now occupy were up for let. We made enquiries with the agent and was told that the shop was due for immediate letting or it was going to be sold.

So I paid a deposit with a grand plan of turning the shop/office into a place where potential customers could come and see what we are about. If anyone had seen the premises when Ember Travel were here you might appreciate the work that was involved in getting it ready to open!

One of the major setbacks was that we had to wait sixteen weeks for the L.E.B to move our supply from the flat upstairs into our premises.We were also inundated with work which meant that I did not have the available manpower to finish the place as quick as I would have wanted.

It would have been rather foolish of me to employ another company to finish the works that we had started.
I employ a large work force that also are from the local area with 6 of them residing in Worcester Park. 

We have not stopped working for the past two years and we have jobs booked in that will see us have work over the next 6 months. We have done all of this without the need of borrowing money or with the help of a business overdraft which as a small company is no mean feat. 

We have carried out many jobs in the local area but we also carry out a large amount of work in London. All of our previous clients have been delighted with the work that we have carried out and we grow daily on our
reputation as a company that offers good value and a honest service.

Next time that you may want to write a comment please remember that you may be damaging our reputation needlessly if you do not have the full facts.

I welcome anyone to come in and visit us and perhaps they may be surprized by what we can offer.

P.S: Lastly I would just like to say that the flooring is not laminate but a highly sought after hard wearing floor."

You can find more details of their services at http://www.MoreThanLofts.co.uk

Sadly there's no word from Stacy on my ideas for an opening concert but I shan't let that deter me from planning my extravaganza.

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Not So Smooth Criminals

Last week I brought you news, as it happened, of a police incident at Santander (Abbey) bank on Central Road.

It turns out it was an unlucky night for would-be thieves who were targeting a cash-in-transit van outside Santander (not the first time that such vans have been targeted in Worcester Park).

Four robbers leapt onto the roof of the van and set about trying to break into it with hammers just as a Police van loaded with officers was driving down Central Road.

The robbers (three men and a 17 year old all of whom are unemployed and from outside Sutton Borough) attempted a getaway but all were promptly captured by Police.

The four appeared at Camberwell Green Magistrate's Court last Friday charged with attempted robbery and were all remanded in custody. One was also charged with assaulting a police officer, whilst resisting arrest.

Talk To Frank

I'm pleased to report that the 'More Than Lofts' grand opening concert is gathering pace.

In a surreal twist, James 'Sinatra' Morgan took the article a little too seriously (he probably thinks irony is something you use to get the creasy out of your shirty) and has e-mailed me offering his services as a Sinatra impersonator.

Which is great, but the slight flaw in the plan is that he is based in Florida, USA. Being outside Zone 4 that would require extensive travel.

Unless the Ember Travel people left a few stray airline tickets behind the radiators when they moved out I don't think we'll be able to fund his journey here, but the offer is greatly appreciated.

Mr Morgan, however, invited me to look at his website - http://www.morgansingssinatra.com/

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Police Don't Make Me Laugh

Last week I brought you the story (and pictures) of the farcical goings in Old Malden when the Metropolitan Police's (im)mobile police office found itself stuck in the mud of Plough Green. 

The blog posting caught the attention of the Surrey Comet who have run the story on page 6 of this week's edition (and because they asked nicely, I let them use one of the photos as well).

Kingston Police were, I understand, not best pleased with me for exposing these goings on - but then I wasn't best pleased with them pouring valuable police resources to spend almost two hours dragging a van out of the mud. 

The icing on the cake has to be the statement given to the Surrey Comet by a police source (as opposed to a police horse - although it might as well have been a police horse given the steaming pile of crap that was emitted).

When asked why police resources were tied up trying to pull the vehicle from the mud rather than using a civilian recovery service, the police source/police horse told the Comet that:

"...their vehicles had to be repaired or assisted using their own contractors, because external service providers such as the AA would not have the technical expertise to fix their specialist vehicles.."

Really?

Well then in that case thank goodness they could call on their own contractors (police officers) with the necessary technical expertise (ropes) that were needed to pull a specialist vehicle (a white van) out of the mud in an instant (two hours).


Tuesday, 2 February 2010

And more, much More Than Lofts

Since my surprisingly controversial post on Sunday about More Than Lofts, the idea of some kind of musical celebration of Worcester Park's newest shop has gathered pace.

Early suggestions are  that Bryan Ferry be brought in to do a special version of Roxy Music's (slightly reworded) 'More Than Lofts' or to sing (in the shower in the corner of the shop) 'Come on, come on lofts get together..."

Mr Ferry's agent is yet to confirm if he's free to do the gig - so in the meantime I'm compiling a list of possible artistes or songs for the grand opening of More Than Lofts:

- Roofers Wainwright
- The Attic Monkeys
- Sister Sledge -  'Loft In Music'
- Robson & Jerome -  'Up On The Roof'
- Harry Connick Jr - 'It Ladder Be You'

In the event that any of the above are too busy or too dead to make it, I have lined up a Frank Sinatra impersonator who will entertain us from the shower with some classic lines  like 'Velux be a lady tonight'; 'And more, much more than lofts, I did it my way' etc.

Can you help with some more suggestions of possible artistes/songs?

Monday, 1 February 2010

Grand Designs?




The Worcester Park Station Volunteers were out working their magic the weekend before last. Thanks to the ten volunteers who turned out to help, the steep bank has now been planted out - special thanks to to Rupert, local Worcester Park professional Gardener and Garden Designer (rupertsgardens@yahoo.co.uk)

Not only did Rupert design the garden, but he also arranged purchase of the plants and spent several hours organising the planting on the day. Thanks also to John James Gardening for their kind donation of compost and fertilizer.

Now the group is looking for ideas from the Worcester Park public. Kingston Council is potentially soon going to donate £1,000 to the group as part of a community fund. 

The group is looking for ideas from local residents and station users as what they think would improve the station. Current suggestions include:

- Mural by local school children under the bridge
- Tubs and planters on the platforms
- Creation flower beds
- Creating a book sharing library for commuters in the station

If you have any good suggestions for use of these funds then add your comments below.