Friday, 30 August 2013

Can I Borrow Some Coffee?

The Friends of Worcester Park Library are trying to raise money towards their Garden Plan. As part of this they are holding a coffee morning next Saturday (7th September) at the library to help raise more funds and gather ideas and resources to help make the plan a reality.

The friends won £5,000 towards this from Sutton Council in May’s Participatory Budgeting event. Jackie, who chairs the group told the blog that they have since applied for a £20,000 grant from the Mayor's Office and should hear next month if they have been successful or not. The manager at Waitrose has also apparently been great and will happily donate to the project once it gets going and if everything is legally put in place.

However, the group still needs help and have decided to put the idea out to the public and see who would like to get involved in this community project, whether it is by giving their time, ideas, materials and even donations.

In the meanwhile you can just support them by going along and having a coffee. It all begins at 10:30am and Jackie and the other friends would be delighted to see you!

Thursday, 29 August 2013

The Invisible Workmen

For about three days now a set of three way traffic lights has been impeding traffic flow at the corner of Central Road and Balmoral Road while the two month old crossing is dug up to replace the ‘laid by amateurs’ stone with new stone (like the other one done recently). However it would seem these people (hopefully professionals this time) are in fact invisible. For three days I have both driven and walked past this work site and not seen a single soul actually working there.

Now perhaps they are taking an extra long tea break, perhaps I happened to have passed each time when they had all gone simultaneously for lunch. Perhaps they have a lookout watching for me who shouts “Hide” every time I come within 50 metres. But whatever it is there doesn’t seem to be anyone around and not a lot of work going on in the intervening time. Once again Worcester Parkers are treated to having to stop and wait while nothing actually gets done to shorten the amount of time this goes on for.

The top picture was taken yesterday (29th Aug) the one on the right was taken the day before. It is perhaps worth mentioning that this is also the site of the recent car accident which wrecked all the street furniture here.

Free Skating In The Hamptons

If you have ever wanted to try skateboarding a ramp, bowl etc. Sutton Ramp Events are setting up their skate ramps in the Hamptons tomorrow for anyone who wants to join in.

The event is free and open to anyone who turns up in the carpark of Maple Lodge in the Hamptons. (That’s the while building with the clock on the top) from around 3pm.

Sutton Ramp Events who have set up events before in the area, is a project of Urban Youth Action, which specialises in facilitating free skate events in and around Sutton borough. They provide everything needed for such events, including mobile ramps, skateboards/scooters, safety equipment and helmets, and public liability insurance. Events Charity Coordinator, Dave Durbin and his collegues teach skateboarding, and are fully CRB-/DBS-checked and First Aid trained.

So now’s your chance to go and show that other generation a thing or two…

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Last of The Summer Fun

This Saturday celebrate the last day of summer (well of August anyway) with The Worcester Park Traders Association Summer Fun Day!

From 11am until 3pm you will be able to enjoy stalls, art, magic and all manner of fun things in Central Road.

For more information about the Worcester Park Traders Association you can visit their website here.

Other than that, come along on Saturday for probably the last big bash before Christmas. Supported by Boris Johnson don’t you know…

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Police Appeal

Police are appealing for information after two girls fought back against a thief who tried to steal the cash they were withdrawing from an ATM in Central Road.

The girls, aged 25 and 27, were taking money out of the Barclays cash machine at the corner of Central Road and Lynwood Drive, watched by a man on a bicycle immediately behind them. As the notes appeared from the machine, the cyclist lunged forward to grab the cash. But he hadn’t reckoned on the girls fighting him off and pushing him away. He then spat at one of the girls, who reacted by pulling him off his bike.

As the girls went up the street to join their mother who was waiting for them, the cyclist rode up and told the mother: “If I was going to rob them I would have taken the money.” He added: “Your kids need to learn some manners!”

The incident happened on Sunday 9th June at 19.15hrs.

The suspect (pictured above) is described as white, 5ft 8in tall. He was wearing a distinctive blue and white, knitted Alpine hat with strings hanging down from its earpieces. He was also wearing a black jacket. He was riding a red and black bicycle.

If you know the identity of the cyclist in these images please contact Sutton Police station on 101 quoting ref no: 4005406/13. Alternatively, you can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

The whole episode was caught on camera. The 12 pictures below show the robbery happening 'storyboard style'. Well done girls for fighting back!

This sort of criminal attitude really makes me angry. It’s bad enough to try to steal something from someone. It’s another thing to try and taunt them and make them feel bad. I really hope the police catch this *person*. And that he languishes in prison being taught some manners the hard way. Please help if you can.

Update (28th August)

This story has made it to the Dail Mail!

Empty Tavern

It looks as if the Squatters have gone from the old Worcester Park Tavern.

Several readers have asked me what’s happening there recently so over the last couple of days I have gone to see if I can find out. Several clues have all united to suggest that they are indeed gone:
  • Clue #1: Sofas and a mattress piles up outside in the street (as pictured above). 
  • Clue #2: Broken beds and furniture littering the yard.
  • Clue #3: No noise coming from inside. While they were there, you could usually hear the television, music or voices coming from inside.
  • Clue #4: Kitchen area cleared of mess. This can be seen through a hole in the kitchen door at the back.
  • Clue #5: What looks like a shiny new lock in the kitchen door.
  • Clue #6: No one answers when I knock. I knocked quite loudly in the afternoon and then came back in the evening and did it again.  
  • Clue #7: This one was the clincher. A legal Interim Possession Order notice pinned up next to the main entrance. According to this notice, the occupiers needed to be out by the 8:30pm on Saturday 17th August or else they could be imprisoned or fined.

So I feel it is a reasonably reliable conclusion that Del and his friends have indeed vacated the old Worcester Park Tavern.

Strangely though, the lights have all been left on inside. Whoever owns it doesn’t seem to care a great deal about their electricity bill.

The squatters do have the right to apply to the court to set aside this interim possession notice and may also attend court to put their case when the final possession order is made on Tuesday 10th September.

I must confess to having mixed feeling about this. I have always considered squatting to be a form of theft but having met and spent time filming them and then editing the video, I can see it from their point of view as well. That said, I have been in the situation myself without money or work but have always managed to find some work, even if just an unskilled casual job, at least to pay to rent a room and buy food and then from there I have eventually found proper employment again. It wasn’t glamorous but it was necessary. Either way I wish them well and hope they find proper jobs and accommodation.

Local Winner

A local woman has returned from the World Transplant Games with two Bronze medals.

Lisa Muscutt, from Stoneleigh, competed as part of the Great Britain and Northern Ireland team in the ten-pin bowling and badminton. The Games, held in Durban, South Africa from 28th July until 4th August attracted more than 1,000 transplant athletes from 55 different countries competing in 13 different sporting events.

Lisa, age 40 and has worked part time as a witness care officer at Sutton Police Station since 1992, was born with cystic fibrosis and struggled with ill health until she had a double lung transplant at Harefield Hospital, Middlesex, six years ago.

Since then she has been on a road to steady recovery, putting behind her the years of struggling for breath, having to use a wheelchair and spending time bedridden. Her weight was just five stone and her lung capacity had dropped to 15%, leading doctors to predict that she may not recover.

However Lisa now weighs more than eight stone, plays sports, enjoys nights out with friends and raises money for Harefield Hospital.

At the World Transplant Games, the Great Britain and Northern Ireland team took home 243 medals and were presented with the Best Team Award. Lynne Holt, team manager and trustee at Transplant Sport, said: “The World Transplant Games is a fantastic opportunity for athletes such as Lisa to share their story and inspire people to sign up to the NHS Organ Donor Register.”

Lisa commented: “Being able to compete in the World Games was like a dream come true and this would not have been possible if it was not for my donor who gave me this incredible second chance of life.”

Her success at the World Transplant Games followed her medal winning achievements at the British Transplant Games in Medway, Kent, in 2012 and Belfast in 2011. At these Games, which are open to anyone in the UK who has had any kind of transplant operation, Lisa has won a total of seven medals for ten-pin bowling, badminton, ball throw, soft ball and volleyball.

Three of the 10,000 people in the UK waiting for a transplant die each day. Only 31% of the UK population are registered as organ donors.

To register on the NHS Organ Donor register, telephone 0300 123 23 23, text SAVE to 84118 or go to to register online. Those registering are encouraged to discuss their wishes with their family and friends.

Monday, 26 August 2013

Pole Position

The street light illuminating the ‘safety zone’ crossing opposite Balmoral Road had to double as a stop sign last night as someone clearly driving too fast (or too drunk – or both) ploughed straight into it.

The mangled wreck of the pole looks like a broken straw with bits of the lighting system strewn across the road (most having been moved to the pavement now.) The keep left sign, designed to flex at the bottom when hit was ripped entirely out of the ground and now lies on the pavement 30 or so metres down the road. I’m not sure where it first landed but I wouldn’t have though anyone moving it off the road onto the pavement would deliberately carry it further down the road.

This little stretch of road has seen too many accidents and this clearly illustrates the effectiveness of the so called safety zone here. This would be a very sombre post indeed if someone had actually been standing there when this happened.

The blog understands that this occurred sometime last night. I would be interested if anyone knows any more about what happened. They would have had to be going at quite a speed in order to have done that much damage. Was the car wrecked as much as the pole? Did the vehicle actually drive straight over and keep going? Hopefully no one was hurt but I do hope someone is going to be taking responsibility.

Update (same evening)

The broken pieces have now been cleared away. Thanks to blog reader N. Smith for the comment below filling in a few extra details.

Status report: Green Lane Mosque

The question “What’s happening with the Mosque?” often gets asked and so here is a quick update on the current situation.

Readers will recall that there are currently two live applications. One is an appeal against last year’s decision to reject the planning application to turn the old Bank Chambers into a Mosque. The other is a new application, very similar to the previous one but for (an initial) 4 years and claiming it will be a ‘green’ mosque with a lower capacity and that no one will be allowed to drive their car to it.

So firstly - The appeal:

The deadline for comments on the appeal is today (26th August). You can still comment on this appeal electronically via this link:

I have sent in my comments based around the fact that the people running the mosque cannot control the number of people who turn up, or by what means they arrive and so are not in a position to guarantee there will be no impact on traffic and parking.

You can read the appellant’s arguments against the decision on the blog post here.

I have heard a rumour that the appeal is scheduled to be heard on the 13th of November at the Strawberry Lodge Conference Centre in Carshalton (SM5 2NQ). Update: It has been confirmed that the appeal will be heard on the 26th of November at 10am at Strawberry Lodge in Carshalton.

Secondly – The latest application:

The deadline for comments on this application passed on the 21st of June and this has been under consideration by the London Borough of Sutton’s planning department since. The decision is scheduled to be made by the full Development Control Committee (DCC) on the 25th of September 2013 at the Civic Offices in St Nicholas Way, Sutton. The DCC will consisting of eight councillors, roughly in the same proportion by party to the number of overall members on the Council. So because Sutton Council consists of 42 Liberal Democrats, 1 Labour and 11 Conservative councillors, the DCC normally consists of 8 Liberal Democrats and 2 Conservatives. We hope that they all take a sensible view and not just a minority. (*cough* Incinerator *cough*)

I will keep you updated as more information comes to hand.

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Interactive Advertising

Large poster sites are usually fairly mundane places. They catch our eye, their messages somehow sinking into our subconscious and we move on to be guided in our buying habits by a poster we hardly even remember seeing. However the posters on the corner of Caldbeck Avenue and Central Road today became a little more animated as they fell to the ground, making a bit more of an impact with their surroundings.

The thick wad of posters had obviously become so waterlogged with the deluges over the last day or so that the glue on the one at the back couldn’t hold the weight any more and the whole lot came down.

Local resident and contractor Keith Ford was called out by Primesite who own the site to fix the problem ASAP and got to work immediately pulling down, tearing up and removing the offending paper mache carpet.  According to Keith the posters are put up over the top of each other but there should not be any more than six thick before they should be removed for the new poster to go on the blank hoarding.

Friday, 23 August 2013

All Played Out

If on Wednesday (21st August) you found you passage to Waitrose blocked at Hampton Road there was a legitimate reason for this.

The residents of Hampton Road held ‘Playing Out’ afternoon which meant closing the road to traffic from 3 to 6pm so residents and children could enjoy some car free playing in the street time.

Sutton Council delivered 3 road closed signs so that one could go at the junction of Windsor and
Hampton, one in the middle of Hampton Road as this was the end of the restriction and also one at the end where it meets Balmoral to stop people coming down and realising that they couldn't go any further. People were also stationed at each end to explain the situation to some of the more enthusiastic drivers who were keen to plough on regardless.

The 20 or so children played in the street on their scooters and bikes; they played with a swing ball, had races up and down, played a sort of piggy in the middle game and generally enjoyed the space as children do. When they got tired or hot the adults suggested other ways of entertaining themselves but the kids ultimately decided themselves what they wanted to do. The adults stood by and supervised (making sure they didn't overshoot down the hill into Windsor Road!) The older neighbours enjoyed a cuppa and a slice of cake on the side and one or two of the newer residents came out to say hello.

The ‘Playing Out’scheme started in Bristol in 2009 and the idea is to give children the freedom to ‘reclaim’ the streets.  It doesn’t necessarily need to be an organised event like with a street party. The Scheme only runs from June to September and you need to apply to the council six weeks in advance in order to close your road from a maximum of 3 hours.

Veronica who organised the event (and sent in the pictures) told the blog:
“In order to apply you need to seek out neighbours opinions, which I did with a letter through each door (all 70+ of them). I had already spoken to 3-4 of my neighbours who had offered to help. So we got a date that suited us and advised the other neighbours that this was the date we were looking to apply for, they then had two weeks to consider and raise any questions/concerns and the first point of call was me.  I did not get any negative responses from any neighbours, they were all keen and enthusiastic. 
The application was then sent off to Sutton Council telling them if there were any objections that I knew of - which there weren't. 
Once permission was granted, Sutton Council provided me with an email notice that had to be put up at the end of the road two weeks prior to the event.  I also put up my own notices on Monday along the part of the road (I only cut off half of Hampton) for people I thought would park who were not residents, hoping that they might consider parking elsewhere so as not to have to drive out later. 
We chose the summer holidays because we thought it would have less impact on traffic. It went down really well with the neighbours, young and old in our road, not so well with the cut through drivers however three hours isn't a life time and I am sure they will get over it. Hampton Road is a particularly busy "cut through" when Central Road is clogged up with traffic however we didn't think it too much to ask if the cars could go down another road temporarily. 
There was a great atmosphere, the kids had a ball and some of the more mature neighbours enjoyed sharing some time chatting (drinking tea) and getting together which they might not otherwise get a chance to.  I think the sunshine helped a lot. 
Highly recommend applying to Sutton Council under the playing out scheme. It brings back a certain nostalgia of the good old days when kids could kick a ball about in the street without fear of being run over by an 80 mph rat runner. 
All in all a success ... We are definitely planning more next year!”
Apparently Councils (including Sutton) are rather keen on the idea particularly after last year’s successful street parties. Guidance notes from Sutton for holding a playing out event can be found here.  The blog understands that at least two other roads have been closed off in Sutton this year for similar things.

What do Worcester Parkers think of this idea? Is it a great way to get to know your neighbours and give local kids somewhere to play? Or is it a misuse of a public highway in an already congested area? Comment now...

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Time Toy Open A New Shop

A new toy shop will be opening its doors in Windsor Road this Saturday (24th August). The Toy Shed which has taken over the shop where Zahra’s restaurant used to be will open at 9:30am on Saturday.

Lots of promotional events are planned for the day including a large friendly dog character roaming the high street giving away free raffle tickets. Anyone presenting one of these tickets at the store will win a prize.

The Toy Shed Worcester Park is one of three Toy Sheds owned by Faye Bobillier. She opened her first shop in Aldershot over 12 years ago specializing in kitting out dolls houses and as the credit crunch came, she expanded into toys in general. She then opened a shop in Alton which is her largest shop and acts as a warehouse and she also has one in Whitton (near Twickenham). She has wanted to open a shop in Worcester Park for a while and has been looking for appropriate premises for over a year. This shop will replace the one in Aldershot which she decided to close recently when the lease ran out.

The Toy Shed sells drinks and old style sweets as well as a wide variety of toys and I for one am very pleased to see a new independent shop opening in Worcester Park.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Vandals Wreck Nursery Garden

Last night a group of youths broke into the Kidsunlimited nursery in North Cheam. They smashed garden benches up and graffitied the walls and toys and windows as well as urinating in the sand pit, large planters, and in sheds which contained their cushions, soft furnishings, wellys and outdoor rain clothing, alongside the toys. They also stole balls and a trike from the garden. The garden was very badly vandalized and much of the children's lovely work was destroyed.

The police were called to the scene at 10:30pm but the youths had gone by the time they arrived. According to the police they had managed to unlock a gate to the garden area from the inside.

The damage was only seen by the manager this morning who opened up and couldn’t believe what had happened. The graffiti contained some of the most vile language and luckily had only been written in the chalk, crayons and the washable pens that were there for the children. This meant it could be and was removed by hand fairly promptly.

The vandals also tried to break into the building itself but were fortunately unable to and so concentrated on destroying the garden area as much as they could instead.

Police and forensics have been on site to gather evidence and the group have been caught on CCTV. It was a group of white teenagers.

There have been offers of help from local people including local parliamentary candidate Paul Scully who offered to bring together some local businesses to help. However the nursery has released the following statement:
“We are most grateful for the expressions of concern and offers of help from our neighbours but we have already taken steps to replace anything that was damaged and the nursery garden is now back safe for the children to enjoy”
If anyone has any information which could help, please contact the police on 101, or anonymously on 0800 555 111. Always call 999 if a crime is currently happening or if anyone is in danger.

Langley Closed for Collapsed Sewer Repairs

Langley Avenue has been blocked off so that urgent sewer repairs can take place. The work began last night at around 7pm and there were reports of pneumatic drills still going at twenty to ten!

A nearby blocked drain had shown evidence of the broken sewer and a camera was sent up the pipe confirming the problem. The ground underneath the road has been collapsing in on itself so it was just a matter of time before the road itself caved in which could have caused another sinkhole like the one in Malden Road recently.

Unfortunately the men working on the problem did not want me to take a photograph of them or the hole. Usually people are very obliging but I’m not going to impose myself if I’m not wanted. I can report though that the hole was nearly a square metre in size and nearly one and a half metres deep. I was told it should be finished and the road reinstated by tomorrow.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

New For (two month) Old Replacement

Temporary traffic lights (again).
Broken section after only two months
Today the new crossing opposite More Than Lofts is being purged of its bad old (two month old) broken stone to have nice new replacement stone put in. This of course means closing off half of Central Road with temporary lights and possibly more money from the OLF fund to pay for it (No doubt it will be called the contingency fund) unless they are insured against  failing to read the engineer's report properly.

The original had broken in both places where vehicle tyres have been driving over them. The crossing close to Balmoral Road has fared similarly.

So enjoy the additional traffic while this particular issue is fixed.  Let's hope this time is stays fixed.

Monday, 19 August 2013

Fine With You?

Blog reader David, recently felt compelled to email me about the overzealous way the council's contracted parking enforcement team go about their business in Worcester Park.

He writes: 
"In my road there is a pavement parking bay which has no 'end line' at one end of the bay. Consequently, drivers who park there thinking they are parking responsibly (and correctly) are being targeted time after time by the parking enforcement personnel who have logged this space as 'an easy catch'. I challenged one of the men as he was about to issue a ticket to a car in this bay telling him that the bay is incorrectly marked and that he knows he has no right to issue a ticket. 'They can appeal', was his response. Funnily enough, since that chat a few nights ago, no-one to my knowledge has received a penalty notice for parking in that bay. I have contacted the council for clarification on the matter as I think it is grossly unfair that tickets are being issued willy-nilly in the hope that some drivers will pay up thinking they are in the wrong.
These people would do better to issue tickets at 10 o'clock at night to those cars parked outside the British Legion that cause traffic coming down Central Road to drive around the island at the end of Brinkley Road into oncoming traffic just so that they can continue their journey safely."
For those interested, the bay in question is outside number 22 Washington Road.

I noted a similar experience being shared in this week’s local paper (Sutton Guardian) by one R Collins who said he (apologies if ‘R’ is a she) and two others witnessed a traffic warden issuing a parking ticket to a red saloon car at 5:30pm when the pay and display finished at 4:30pm. When he challenged this, the warden asked if the car belonged to him. As the answer was 'no', he completed writing the ticket despite knowing the car was not illegally parked.

While this other incident was in Mulgrave Road and not in Worcester Park I worry about this increasing trend in reports of dishonest practices by those who are supposed to serve the people of the borough. What is going on here?

Thanks David also for the photo.

What's The Hold Up?

An odd sight greeted me at the top of Green Lane this afternoon. A set of temporary lights were stopping cars in each direction alternatively while nothing unusual occurred in between them. No works, no holes being dug, nothing. On asking a nearby gentleman in a high visibility vest why cars were being held up unnecessarily, he first asked me if I was the Worcester Park Blogger! (Word gets around!) He then said they had only been up there for less than half an hour and work would be beginning within the next half an hour. This was at about 3:40pm so I’m guessing we are talking about the hour from around 3:15 until about 4:15 when cars have had to just stop for nothing.

I understand they take time to set up but asked why they were running and not covered up until they were actually needed. This seemed to be news to him, as he had not realised they were currently running. Admittedly (as you can see from the photo) it is not as easy to see the lights from the South end where he was, as it is from the other end. I decided not to embarrass the poor man any more. He was very courteous and probably didn’t relish being the official spokesman trying to explain why cars were being made to wait for no reason.

This is all part of the gas pipe replacement works and I will add here though that from my perspective, the people doing this work have generally been getting things right. Sean and his team have been very pleasant every time I have gone to annoy them. And they have received several compliments about their professionalism, which let’s face it, for a utility company to get actual compliments they have to be doing a pretty good job.

However holding up traffic for no reason is just one of those things that I find particularly irritating. It is the epitome of inefficiency and indifference to the many important things other people have to get done during their day. I hope we will see the level of professionalism with regard to traffic light management raised to the level we have seen in other aspects of this work. Luckily there were no queues at the lights while I was there.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Path Moved

Readers living near Cuddington Park should have received a letter from the council this week about the results of the consultation on the new gravel path to be constructed in the park.

People may remember the original plan was for a path down the eastern side of the park to encourage cyclists and help make it easier for people with push chairs and wheelchairs etc. However due to the comments received the path will now be going next to the ‘meadow area’ so it will not affect the people living in homes which back onto the park as much. The new plan also includes an extra access point from Bridgewood Road.

One reader has emailed me to say she is slightly happier with the new design (with the emphasis on ‘slightly’). Hopefully others are a bit more pleased.

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Slow Leak Finally Fixed

An underground water leak in Inverness Road has been fixed after nine months.

The water which had been dribbling away under the pavement had completely filled the sheath around a gas main and finally started to pour through the pavement, alerting residents to the problem. Contractors from Clancy Docwra arrived yesterday afternoon to dig up the footpath and fix the leak which involved a new water supply pipe for one resident. They are hoping to have the work done and the holes filled in by the end of play today, or else early tomorrow.

According to one of the contractors, the leak started nine months ago when the gas main was replaced. Luckily the clay stopped the water from spreading too far and damaging people’s properties but had instead push its way all the way up the road through a pipe surrounding the gas main. When the contractor reached the leak and exposed this pipe the water rushed out so forcefully it looked like a water main. He has been pumping the waste water out all day.