Thursday, 29 November 2012

Christmas Late Night

Worcester Park's Christmas Late Night takes place tomorrow (Friday) evening from 6pm to 8pm in Central Road.

Local traders will be opening late for you to grab some early Christmas bargains and Central Road will be packed with stalls, food and drinks and festive entertainment from local school choirs.

Worcester Park's own Christmas pop-up boutique store has also now opened for business at 'You Are Here' - 44 Central Road.

Wrap up warm and enjoy the evening!

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Christmas Fair

The 4th Worcester Park Scouts will be holding their annual Christmas Fair today (Saturday 24th of November) from Midday to 3pm at Group HQ in Braemar Road, WorcesterPark, KT4 8SW.

This year’s theme is ‘The Joy of Giving’ - the group would like to encourage children (especially their Scouts) to embrace ‘The Joy of Giving’ by giving them the chance to buy or win affordable gifts for their family and friends.

All are welcome - there will be 20 stalls and you can meet Father Christmas and have your photo taken with him!

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Public Meeting To Decide Mosque Fate

The fate of Worcester Park's mosque planning application will be decided a public meeting to be held on Monday 3rd December at Cheam High School. 

The meeting of Sutton Council's Development Control Committee will start at 7.30pm, and will be open to the public.

Sutton Council's planning officers will give a brief presentation of the proposal and Sutton residents may request the right to speak at the meeting and voice objection to the proposal, however under the Council's strict rules only one objector will be allowed to speak and for a maximum 4 minutes. 

A Ward Councillor will then be able to speak, followed by the Applicant - all of whom will also be limited to 4 minutes each. 

The Chair of the Committee will then be allowed to ask the objector or applicant to clarify any points of detail, following which the application for the mosque will be decided on a show of hands from the Committee.

The Development Control Committee, who will decide the application, will consist of:

Councillor John Leach (chair)
Monica Coleman (vice chair)
Eric Allen
Sheila Andrews
Janet Lowne
Mary Burstow
Moira Butt
Anisha Callaghan
Richard Clifton
Margaret Court
Stephen Fenwick
Peter Geiringer
Bruce Glithero
Lester Holloway
Edward Joyce
Wendy Mathys
Hamish Pollock
Roger Roberts
Tony Shields
Stan Theed
Graham Witham

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Christmas Late Night Rides Again!

Worcester Park's Christmas Late Night will be held this year on Friday 30th November betwen 6pm and 8pm in Central Road.

The future of the annual event was in doubt after the event's organiser Terry Dobbs, Chairman of the Worcester Park Traders' Association, closed his One Stop Party Shop shortly after last year's event.

The organisation of the Christmas Late Night has now been taken on by Sutton Council (using money from the Mayor Of  London's Outer London fund) in partnership with the Traders' Association.

Shoppers will be able to get a head start on their Christmas shopping in participating shops, whilst sampling traditional Christmas treats like roast chestnuts and mulled wine from a variety of market stalls.

Festive entertainment will include live carol performances from local pupils of Cuddington Community and Green Lane Primary Schools. Craft activities for children will be held in the pop-up-shop - You Are Here - at 44 Central Road.

Worcester Park will also get new Christmas lights on the streetlight columns as well as 10 trees along Central Road being lit up.

With under a fortnight to go until the big day, however, there is concern that the event will fail to benefit local traders, with many still unaware that the event is taking place.

Friday, 16 November 2012

Farewell Oscar

Worcester Park's beloved furry friend Oscar the cat has died at the age of eighteen and a half.

The much loved moggy who could regularly be found outside his home at Pets Place, or taking shelter in Superdrug next door, passed away earlier this week.

Oscar, who celebrated his birthday in April this year, has been away from Central Road for some months due to ill health and old age.

RIP oscar.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

One weekend in Worcester Park

Photographs of last weekend's French Market and Remembrance Sunday service and parade in Worcester Park.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Worcester Park Mosque - Revised Plans Submitted

The public consultation on plans to convert Bank Chambers in Green Lane into a mosque has been reopened after the applicants submitted a additional information and answers to questions raised by their planning application to Sutton Council.

The applicants claim that Sutton Council planning officers "confirmed that, in their initial view, there are 

no objections in principle to the proposed change of use subject to providing satisfactory additional information" to a series of concerns and questions raised by the Council.

The supplementary information is available on Sutton Council's planning portal. Residents now have until 29th November 2012 to comment on the proposed mosque.

Below is a summary of key answers submitted in response to questions raised by Sutton Council planning officers. For full responses to these questions and for other supporting information, visit the planning portal.

A full timetable for prayers explaining the type of prayers and how long it will take to perform each prayer on a daily basis; 

Islamic prayer times are traditionally set according to the movement of the sun, not by the clock. The "times" (according to the clock) for these prayers change from day to day and are dependent on location. On average, to perform a prayer (from concregation to dispersal) takes about 20-40 minutes.

Information about Friday prayers and festivals and how this would impact on visitors to the site and hours of use.  For instance, when is it likely that the mosque will be at full capacity;

It is likely that the mosque will only accommodate its full capacity at Friday afternoon prayers, at 2 festival prayers and on the first five nights and the 26th night of Ramadan.  A Management Strategy each year will be in place and performing these prayers would not have any adverse impact either on the surrounding properties or passers by.

Information about whether the proposed mosque would provide educational facilities, training and other community events in the premises; 

It is proposed that the building will not only be used as a mosque but it will also be used  for religious educational purposes. The proposals would provide community facilities  for Muslims who currently live and work  locally. School visits to the mosque may also be permitted three times in a year. These visits are useful as they help teach children about other religions.

Information about the type of branch of Islam (i.e. Sunni, Shiya) the worshipers of   the proposed mosque will follow.  How this compares to the four other mosques in the area and whether this would have implications on the proposed catchment area; For instance, would worshippers come from outside the catchment area and possible other mosques due to the branch of Islam.   

All four local mosques (Morden, Sutton, Epsom & Ewell and Kingston) follow the ‘Ahle Sunnat Wal Jama'at’ branch of Islam, and the proposed mosque will follow the same branch.  It is considered that the catchment area for the proposed mosque would be approximately 2.0 km, which approximately corresponds with half the distance to the closest mosque in each direction.

A Management Strategy is required to  demonstrate how the applicant intends to manage visitors to and from the site.  For instance, how will people disperse from the site to avoid people unnecessarily congregating /waiting on the highway; 

A caretaker employed at the site will be tasked with the managerial role of overseeing the operation of the mosque at prayer times. His role will involve assisting people into the mosque quickly and without disruption before prayers and helping to ensure the site is vacated reasonably promptly after prayers have finished.  It is expected that only 10-15 people will attend at any one prayer on a daily basis; therefore one caretaker would be adequate. All worshippers will not vacate the building at one time, because the time, taken to perform the prayer will vary from person to person.  

The mosque committee will employ two people who will aid the caretaker during Friday noon prayer and for festival prayers when attendances are expected to be higher. The extra two people will be based outside the mosque, on the forcourt, to ensure people disperse from the site and avoid unnecessary congregation/waiting on the highway.

Explanation as to how the proposal would ensure that local residents are not unacceptably impacted by increased noise or disturbance.  

Muslim prayers are performed quietly and so there is very little external noise impact. Generally, concerns about possible external noise arise from the possibility of the call to prayer (called ‘Athan’) being externally broadcast by loudspeakers.  This scheme does not include any such plan and  there will be no externally broadcasting loudspeakers. 

The low attendance on a daily basis also means that noise disturbance from worshippers congregating and dispersing is likely to be low as well.  The mosque committee will instruct a caretaker to ensure that prayers are performed quietly. In addition, the mosque will adopt a ‘no children under 6 years old’  policy, which will help keep noise to a minimum (such an age restriction in common in mosques).

An additional transport report is required including the car parking survey at Waitrose Car Park on a Friday to demonstrate that the proposed change of use will not affect town centre parking spaces on Fridays;

A car parking survey was carried out on Friday 31st August between 11:30 and 14:30 at both the town centre car park at Waitrose and the railway station car park.  Based on the level of parking available within those local car parks, as well as the further capacity available within the surrounding local highway network, the statement concludes that there would be adequate parking available for any vehicle use associated with the proposed mosque during a typical weekday and that adequate spare parking capacity would remain demonstrating that In a bid to counter criticism that the development will bring additional traffic to the already-congested area, the applicants are proposing to supply additional cycling racking on Green Lane, for storage of up to 16 bicycles.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

On A Bender

Residents are calling for action after yet another crash on the bend at the top of Central Road outside the Vin Bin wine shop.

A construction vehicle mounted the pavement this week narrowly missing shopfronts before ploughing through front garden walls. Nobody was injured in the incident.

The stretch of road is fast becoming an accident blackspot with at least four incidents here in recent months. One resident told the Worcester Park Blog:

"It's a miracle no pedestrians have been injured in all these incidents. I will think twice about walking past there - it has to be the most dangerous stretch of road in Worcester Park."

Pictured below: a crash in the same location in June this year.

Remembrance Sunday

Remembrance Sunday will be marked in Worcester Park with the annual special service of remembrance at Christchurch with St Philip featuring members of the local Royal British Legion, Cadets, Guiding and Scouting groups. 

The service will begin at 10am on Sunday morning.

This will be followed by a brief service at Worcester Park's war memorial in St. Philip’s Churchyard (at the top of Central Road) which will include the two minutes' silence at 11.00am and the laying of wreaths.

Marching bands will then lead the procession down Central Road to Worcester Park's Royal British Legion club which will be opening its doors to the public and serving food and refreshments.

Friday, 9 November 2012

Bienvenue dans le Parc de Worcester!

Worcester Park has gone all Gallic today, with the start of the two-day French Market, which is open today and tomorrow from 10am to 3pm.

The genuinely French stallholders are setting up along Central Road ready to sell their genuinely French food, crafts and delicacies - everything, we are promised, from garlic, patisserie, crepes and tartiflette to Provencal soaps, wooden flowers and scarves.
Let's hope that this is one invasion of foreigners that pleases the conservative folk of Worcester Park - and seeing as they are here for two days only, that should be too little time for somebody to start a petition.

Whatever you might had said in the past about Sutton Council neglecting Worcester Park as its 'forgotten borough', it's good to see them innovating and using money from the Outer London Fund to put on events such as this in little old KT4.

Meanwhile, for those craving the more genteel and traditionally British activity of detonating explosives and burning Catholic effigies at the stake the 4th Worcester Park Scouts will be holding their annual community fireworks display on Saturday (10th November) at 8pm at the HQ in Braemar Road, Worcester Park.