Sunday, 12 February 2012

Worcester Park Ward By-election: Simon Densley - Conservative Party

Ahead of the Worcester Park Ward council by-election on Thursday 16th February, the Worcester Park Blog profiles the candidates and their views and policies on key issues affecting the local area.

The Conservative Party - Simon Densley                                           

Simon says he sees himself primarily as someone interested in working to improve his local area, rather than as part of a political party’s machine.

Simon has already spent a number of years helping in the community including being a school governor, leading one of the biggest tree-planting exercises in South London and chairing various local community groups including a Police ward panel.

When his grandfather passed away in St Raphael’s Hospice, near Worcester Park, it was a key moment in Simon's life, prompting him to be a more active member of the community. His father was a local Sutton GP in his working years and impressed on Simon the benefit of local community ties.

Simon lives a few minutes bike ride away from the edge of the ward and cycles through Worcester Park each day as part his daily commute. Raising a young family in the area, he says he shares many of the concerns of local residents about roads, schools and healthcare.

Supporting local shops & businesses:

Many established traders are finding life difficult and our smaller independent shops need our support. The Worcester Park Blog does a great job in letting residents know about new businesses and changes on Central Road but it is also saddening to see the times that the blog has to report another local business closing or suffering.

Local shops are vital to many residents unable to face the long haul to New Malden or Sutton which is why I am backing the Conservative Support our Small Shops campaign. It has taken the Conservative London Mayor’s Outer London Fund to help our area whilst the Liberal Democrat Council wasted money on Sutton Town Centre. Boris has not unreasonably asked Sutton Council to match his concern about the area and put their hand in their pocket, matching the £1.8m that he is investing in North Cheam and Worcester Park.

Crime & Policing:

I am pleased to see that Boris [Johnson] has increased visible policing around Sutton with 2,577 more patrols each year. However, I want to make sure that Worcester Park gets its fair share of resources. Although Sutton is a safer borough than most in London, I know that we can do more to reduce crime and antisocial behaviour in the ward.

I am not interested in political posturing but in making sure that our police force is deployed in the most effective way possible. They should be on the beat doing the job that they want to do rather than keeping sergeants behind a desk.

I am sorry that the Lib Dem candidate voted to scrap our much-valued and effective Parks Police. Fairlands Park has been the scene of a number of crimes over the last few years. We need to make sure that residents feel safe no matter where in the ward and the Borough they are.


I was surprised to read about Sutton Council’s Chief Executive pushing for a change in Government policy to increase class sizes above thirty. As a parent with a child who will shortly be going to a local school, I am deeply concerned that this potentially damaging idea is being promoted without anyone, especially schools and parents, being consulted.

Dorchester Road Primary School has already taken an extra class and Cheam Common is earmarked for expansion too. These plans bring their own problems including additional congestion but class sizes are limited by law. I am worried that there could be deals done behind closed doors which might result in the reduction of standards of our children’s education.

There is also a severe shortage of secondary school places in the whole of Sutton, particularly on the Worcester Park side. One woman I spoke to has been forced to home educate her 14 year old son since early last year because of this unacceptable situation.

I will work with local schools, parents, the council and other bodies to ensure that the demand for extra school places is met locally.


Traffic in Worcester Park is a nightmare. Whether its trying to get out of Green Lane in the morning, crawling past seemingly permanent road works in Central Road in the afternoon or struggling against five-a-side footballers parking in Glyn Road in the evening there is just not the local infrastructure to cope.

Worcester Park’s layout attracts drivers looking to avoid the congestion, into its narrow residential roads. In response, all the council has done is carpet the ward with speed humps. Having one of the area's main primary schools in the middle of the rat-run does not make a good combination. Heavy traffic and young school children do not mix.

Many new parking spaces are needed in Central Road and traffic flow needs to be seriously addressed. Altering the traffic light cycles is only the first step needed. Boris Johnson’s ‘pay as you dig’ scheme will help reduce the time that Central Road is dug up by utility companies. The council must not mess up the opportunity afforded by Boris’ £2m investment in the area. Their track record on projects such as Sutton High Street means that they will need to be watched like a hawk.

Local health services:

Worcester Park has seen a massive expansion of new housing, especially with the new Hamptons development. The necessary corresponding increase in local infrastructure has been completely ignored leading to a shortage of necessary healthcare services. And we have more vets in the ward than GP surgeries!

I will continue to work with Stuart Gordon Bullock the current Conservative councillor for the ward to achieve local healthcare for local people. Stuart was the first local representative to identify and highlight this as an issue and we both want to see the same standard of healthcare as the rest of the borough enjoys.

Council tax & service cuts:

I have experienced what it is like to worry about the insecurity of job loss and paying bills for a young family. Council tax is one of the biggest bills that lands on our doormat each year. Boris Johnson is cutting his part of the Council Tax after freezing it for three years, showing what careful budgeting can do.

Conservatives in Government have created the climate for councils to be able to freeze council tax. My Lib Dem opponent [Roger Roberts] voted for 23 increases in 23 successive years. He supported a revaluation of council tax bands which would have added even more to our bills.

It is not enough to just freeze council tax when facing an election or being told to do so. We all know that over-spending does not work for household budgets. It doesn’t work for the Council either. I will fight the Lib Dem habit of only keeping council tax down when it suits their purposes, ensuring that every penny is spent wisely so as much of your money can stay in your own pocket to be spent as you choose.