Sunday, 31 October 2010

Tricky Business

Halloween -  one night of the year when strangers can give sweets to kids and not have to answer awkward questions. Or sign registers.

So far it has been a busy night at Worcester Park towers - hopefully there won't be too many more visitors as the stocks of Haribo are rapidly depleting.

Meanwhile, if you are after some ghostly Worcester Park tales, why not revisit this blog post.

Happy halloween!

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Please Choose From The Following Tree Options



Europaea Pallida

Quercus Palustris

So, Kingston Council has rummaged down the back of the sofa and has all of sudden found funding to replace the trees it chopped down on Malden Green last week and is asking you to vote for your choice of replacement.

Is this Kingston proving its green credentials, or a belated attempt to make up for its maladroit handling and failure to consult with local residents in the run up to the tree felling?

I'll let you decide that one. In the meantime you can visit a special page on Kingston Council's website to find out more information and to vote for the species of tree you would like planted along Malden Green (they should have called it the Oaks Factor... fnarr fnarr).

The two finalists are Europaea Pallida (from the lime family) and Quercus Palustris (from the oak family)

Now, the problem  is I like Europaea Pallida but then again I also like Quercus Palustris. But which is best?


There's only one way to find out........

Friday, 29 October 2010

Free Bags Full

The sudden cold snap of the past week has, much earlier than expected, brought memories flooding back of the frozen days of last winter's Big Freeze and the quite pathetic disruption it caused to the whole of the UK.

For me it brought back memories of my temporary role as pavement gritter for Worcester Park. During one snowy spell at the start of January, I made my way across the ice-rink pavements of Worcester Park to check on stocks of rock salt in the yellow them - fully expecting every bin to have been completely emptied.

Instead I found several bins almost full to the brim with rock salt and so I set about gritting the pavements of my road. It took me a good hour and a half of traipsing back and forth to the salt bins, filling up containers and spreading the grit by hand but I managed to de-ice a considerable stretch of pavement.

There was no shortage of help and appreciation - from the young chap who helped shovel grit into buckets for me and the woman who me carry a particularly heavy load to the man who helped me haul some containers into the boot of may car and the neighbours who opened their front doors and thanked me for my efforts.

Yet as I toiled away, the radio phone-ins where filled with callers adamantly insisting that they would not be clearing or de-icing any stretch pavements outside their homes as that is what they paid the Council to do.
Others insisted that they would only do their bit if they got a rebate on their Council Tax. I'm not precisely sure that I understand the logic of that argument. I cut my hand last year and applied a dressing to it - can I get a rebate from the NHS because I treated myself?

Of course not everyone was is a position to scrape ice from their pavement or haul buckets of grit around. I was never suggesting that the octogenarians of Worcester Park strap snow chains to their mobility scooters and carry on regardless.

What surprised me back then was the number of perfectly fit and able people who seemed to have lost the ability or simply the will to help themselves and others.

Any residents who are inclined to be a bit more community-minded and who live in the Sutton Council part of Worcester Park can get ahead of the game this year by collecting a free 10kg allowance of grit for use on footpaths, pavements or roads at the front of their homes.

You will need to bring your own bag or sack to collect the grit. Your garden waste sack or blue bin would be ideal, or a large plastic container.

Collection of the free grit is available from 10am to 5pm on 30 & 31 October 2010, and 6 & 7 November 2010

You can collect the grit from:

• Woodcote Green Garden Centre, Woodmansterne Lane, Wallington (collection from the Express Drive Thru only) (provided already bagged) 10am – 5pm on Saturday 10.30am – 4.30pm on Sundays
• Sutton Hospital (car park off Chiltern Road)
• Clockhouse (the central green at The Mount)
• Council offices (car park, Denmark Road, Carshalton)
• Kimpton Park Way Reuse and Recycle Centre – until 2pm on Sundays. (please check the webcam to avoid busy times – www.sutton.gov.uk/kimptonwebcam)

You can also collect grit on behalf of elderly friends or neighbours or residents who don't have cars.

Check out Sutton Council's website at http://www.sutton.gov.uk/index.aspx?articleid=8639 for more information and details of proof of identity/residence that you will need to provide.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

The Tactless Chainsaw Massacre?

As the felling of Worcester Park's poplar trees continues along Malden Green, so the debate rages over whether Kingston Council is guilty of overkill (literally) in cutting down too many of them.

Hot on the heels of Coffee Man's earlier pictures of the felled pieces of badly rotted trunks, Jeff has sent me pictures of what look to the untrained eye (of which I have two) to be perfectly healthy, solid trunks:



Jeff writes: "The majority of stumps show solid healthy heartwood right through to the centre with no disease. I took photos of TEN healthy tree stumps - one of them even has fungii at the base, which according to the Council's tree expert indicated the tree should be hollow, but it's solid wood to the core (see the photo). This is why some of us wanted a second opinion from an independent qualified tree surgeon.

The decision to cut down trees should have be taken on a tree by tree basis with rotten trees removed and healthy ones protected. I mean, you don't axe all the trees in a park just because a number are diseased.

The Council's tree expert clearly adopted the attitude "While we're cutting some down we might as well (near enough) get rid of the lot". This is why they didn't want to discuss the matter and when they did agree a meeting didn't have the courtesy to turn up."


Whatever the rights and wrongs of Kingston Council's actions, it's hard to see this as anything other than a PR disaster for them, with a lack of consultation, lack of explanation to the residents and still no clear answer to whether anything will be replanted in their place. 

It looks like they underestimated just how attached Worcester Park was to its greenery. 

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Rotten Borough



Kingston Council's works to fell many of the iconic poplar trees along Malden Green is continuing - and has generated a healthy debate here on the blog. 

'Coffee Man' has e-mailed me this picture of one of the felled trees and it you don't have to be a brain (or tree) surgeon to see that the tree was not in the best of condition, which appears to support Kingston Council's decision to take down the tree on safety grounds. 

That said, other blog readers have reported spotting felled trees that looked to be in a healthy state.

Keep the photographic evidence coming!

Monday, 25 October 2010

Un-Poplar Decision

Barring a last minute reprieve, the felling of up to 21 of Worcester Park's iconic lombardy poplar trees will commence this morning.

Kingston Council claims that the trees, which line Malden Green on the approach to Worcester Park, are showing signs of fungal brackets around their bases which 'could' indicate that the internal structure of the trees has been compromised thus making them potentially unstable.

Councillor David Fraser has led calls for Kingston Council to halt the felling of the trees pending further investigations, whilst Sutton Conservatives have raised fears that removal of the trees could affect the water table, exacerbating ongoing flood problems from Beverly Brook which runs alongside Malden Green.

There are no plans to replace any of the trees which are scheduled to be cut down.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

New Crawl-den

Huge disruption to traffic going northbound through Worcester Park this morning (well huger than normal anyway) due to a fire in New Malden which has shut New Malden High Street at the junction of Kings Avenue.

If you are trying to make the journey there by road this morning you have my sympathy!

Monday, 18 October 2010

Desperately Seeking Sylvie


Can you help in the search for missing scaredy‐cat Sylvie? She is a very timid house cat who has disappeared from her house in Buckland Way. She was last seen Saturday 13th October 2010. 

Her owner has asked that you please check sheds and garages for her – she has a tendency to hide when scared (and is scared of everything including cars, dogs, people, other cats etc).

She is 16 years old and has never gone missing before – if you have seen her please call 020 8337 4961 or 07939 571 828.

Saturday, 16 October 2010

An Open & Shut & Open & Shut Case

Andrews estate agents in Worcester Park has closed down. Again. 

The estate agency shut its doors during the dark days of the property downturn in the summer of 2008, only to emerge phoenix-like from the ashes in the summer of 2009, with the Deputy Mayor of Sutton on hand to cut the ribbon and quaff champagne.

Now, just over a year on from its rebirth, the doors have been shut once again. 

All of which adds to my theory that Worcester Park retail is something of a zero sum game - as soon as one new shop opens another closes (or vice versa if you want to be a bit more optimistic about things).

Either way, the welcome openings of new retail units over the past year seems to have been matched with an equal number of unwelcome closures. 

Welcome, though, to the new computer/mobile phone/techy-stuff shop (which also, according to the sign, repairs misspelled televeisons) which has opened next to Acacia hair and beauty.


I see there's a nail bar opening soon in the old 'Party Express' unit. Let's hope nothing closes to compensate for it. 

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Pooch On Hooch?

If you missed the story in The Sun today about the Worcester Park dog that got drunk after eating fermenting apples in its owner's garden, then click on the image below to see a scanned copy of it.

Mind you, is this really news? I see dogs staggering around Worcester Park in a drunken stupor most Friday and Saturday nights - many of them also blonde.

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Yackety Yack

Blog reader Axlrocky asked yesterday whether the current feverish exchange of views on my recent post about Royal Mail's services in Worcester Park made it the most commented about blog article.

Well, it certainly way down the list - here, for your enjoyment, are the Top Ten most commented blog posts:

Worcester Park Mosque Plans Denied: 146 comments
Come Friendly Bombs: 82 comments
Nice To Eat You: 81 comments
Buy Gone: 75 comments
Restau-want?: 65 comments
Post Haste: 60 comments
8 Blog Posts Or Fewer: 56 comments
In Tolerance: 42 comments
Describe Worcester Park: 42 comments
Adventures In Food: 41 comments

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Cazbargains

Just when I thought I'd never get a chance to write another shockingly awful Cazbar pun, the late lamented institution has come to my rescue by arranging a Cazbar 'garage sale' this Saturday, 9th October.

Up for grabs will be glasses, garden furniture, bar sundries, promotion packs, pool cues, advertising frames and stands and much much more.

Grab yourself a Cazbargain this Saturday from 9am to 3pm at 169 Central Road.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Getting Into Rubble


A driver and passenger escaped unscathed after their car mounted the pavement and demolished a brick wall and iron railings outside Brookview Lodge retirement flats in Green Lane last night.

The incident happened just after 23:30 on Tuesday evening at the junction of Green Lane and Hazlemere Avenue. Eyewitnesses reported that both of the vehicle's airbags had deployed and the road was closed as police, ambulance and fire brigade dealt with the crash and fuel spillage.

The vehicle has been removed from the scene and police investigations are continuing.

Blog reader FatherOfChops told the blog:

"I heard it happen last night and went out to investigate. The damage was huge, they had missed the corner completely and slid along the wall of Brookview Lodge car park (on the pavement) before colliding with the end wall, at which point they were still travelling fast enough for the airbags to be deployed. 


There were 3 police cars, an ambulance and a fire crew to get rid of the spilt oil and fuel. they were very very lucky not to have been seriously injured. More to the point it was 100% luck that no one else was involved. 


It is very doubtful that any pedestrians, cyclists or motorcyclists would have survived had they been on that corner. I would be very surprised if he was doing less than 50mph at the moment he lost control. Green Lanes is a residential road with a school, a retirement home and a sports ground... its just unbelievable that people think they can drive that fast down there!!"

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Key Message

I make no apology for writing yet again about the recent surge in break-ins and car thefts in the Worcester Park area - indeed I would ask you to help spread the word even further around Worcester Park by telling your friends, neighbours, work colleagues and anyone you know in the area about this problem and how they can avoid falling victim to it. 

The latest information I have is that two cars were stolen in Worcester Park over the weekend. On both occasions the car keys were taken from a shelf inside the property near the front door. Police believe the thieves 'fished' for the keys via the letterbox.

In each incident, a vehicle was stolen from the driveway - a Mazda was taken from an address in Farm Way and a Ford Mondeo from Courtenay Road. 

In Kingsmead Avenue, thieves had managed to retrieve car keys from a table by the front door but they abandoned the BMW 5 series car at the property after damaging the vehicle.

You can avoid being a victim of these thieves by ensuring you car keys (and any other keys) well away from your front door - i.e. NOT on a shelf, table, or hooks near the front door. 

Police are also urging residents with uPVC doors to lock them with a key from the inside after they have lifted up the handle - to prevent the handle being pulled down through a letterbox or catflap.

Please do heed this simple advice and please please spread the word across Worcester Park before more locals fall victim to this crimewave.

Saturday, 2 October 2010

More Burglary Warnings

There's more worrying news on the spate of burglaries in and around the Worcester Park area with a blog reader e-mailing me with reports of further crimes in Kingsmead Avenue:

"Last night, my house in Kingsmead Avenue was the victim of an attempted break in.

When I came downstairs this morning at 8:15, I discovered the front door wide open with only the chain on. The bottom lock was completely unlocked and the top lock had been opened from the outside, but was still locked on the inside.

There was a set of house keys on a shelf near the front door, and they had disappeared - obviously they were used to open the door from the outside.

We haven't found the keys, but we have contacted the police. They came round a short time later and as it turns out, there had been another 3 similar incidents in Kingsmead Avenue at the same sort of time last night.

All of the incidents appear to be related to trying to steal car keys - we're assuming they hooked our house keys through the letter box thinking they were car keys and when they discovered they weren't, decided to try their luck at getting in the house.

Thankfully only the keys were stolen as they couldn't get in [to the house].

One of the other houses which was also the victim of an attempted break in, happens to have CCTV which records the front of their house.

The CCTV caught the people on camera - 3 men were involved. All white men - 2 commiting the break ins and the one in a car obviously to drive them away. They were in hoodies and were wearing gloves, so the police haven't been able to identify who it was. 

Another of the houses in Kingsmead Avenue did get their keys stolen. The burglars got into the car and tried to drive it off the driveway, only for them to discover the gap between to get the car out was too small as it was inbetween a wall and another car. From what I understand, both cars and the wall got damaged but they didn't manage to steal the car."

This comes as Sutton Police reveal that there has been a small but noticeable increase in the number of night-time burglaries in the borough. The thieves, as in the case of the incidents reported in Kingsmead Aveue, are looking to steal the keys of the car parked on the driveway and subsequently the vehicle itself. Entry to the house is quite often achieved by forcing or slipping the single Yale lock on the front door.

Sutton Police say they are committing plain clothes resources to catching these criminals, but in the meantime are urging all residents to ensure that they fully secure their homes and do not leave car keys in an obvious and easily accessible location.

Sky News

There was drama in the skies over Worcester Park this morning as a low flying 747 thundered over the rooftops of KT4 as it prepared for an emergency landing at Heathrow Airport.

Blog reader Janis writes:

"I came out of my front door this morning to see a VERY low flying BA jet passing over Trent Way - just seen on the news that it had to make an emergency landing after just 10 minutes.

 Never seen one that low even though we're used to the Chinooks etc. Glad it landed okay, and at the airport!"

More details on The Telegraph website.

Apparently a warning light came on indicating that one of the doors wasn't shut properly (I supposed they can't do like you do in a car and just lean over and open the door and pull it shut tightly).