Friday, 31 January 2014

Hello Worcester Park

Yesterday I went to visit a new group that has been set up in Worcester Park recently and meets every Thursday morning at Christ Church with St. Philip on Ruskin Drive. The group was originally started by Sutton Vision (which used to be known as the Sutton Association for the Blind) as a social gathering for people with any visual impairment. 

Click to enlarge
Around Christmas 2012, wanting to start such a group, Sutton Vision contacted all churches in the area and asked if they could host a weekly social event. Christ Church with St. Philip said they could and the group was born. Over the following year, Scill became involved too and the group has evolved to include anyone who is vulnerable, a bit lonely or would just like to turn up and enjoy some time spent with friendly people.

The advantage of this setup is that the needs of people with visual impairment or other vulnerabilities are catered for, allowing them to just enjoy the morning without the normal hassles that would usually get in the way of such things. For instance they were playing scrabble with extra large letters that included non intrusive braille on them. There are people from Sutton Vision and Scill who are there enjoying the fun but are available should anyone have a problem and need advice or practical support either there or dealing with another issue.

A similar group was set up in Sutton South in the Spring of last year called 'Sutton South Hello' which was designed in a similar way to cater for elderly and more vulnerable people. It was thought that the existing group in Worcester Park might benefit from coming under that same umbrella and so the group was rebranded as the  'Worcester Park Hello Club'. This was launched with a reasonable level of fanfare last November with visiting dignitaries including Sutton's Mayor.

If you feel you might want to come along and join in the activities (or know someone who might), just turn up at  Christ Church with St. Philip on Ruskin Road from 10am until 12 noon on a Thursday. There is no need to book or phone ahead but if you would like to talk to someone first, phone Sutton Vision on 0208 409 7166.

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Ministerial Visit

On Monday (27th January) Worcester Park received a distinguished visit from Theresa Villiers MP (The Rt Hon, Cabinet Minister and Secretary of State for Northern Ireland). I had a chance to ask her a few questions but perhaps the most interesting part of the morning was the discussion between her, Tracy from Cycle Power (Chair of the Worcester Park Traders Association), Brendan from Pets Place (previous Chair of the Worcester Park Traders Association) and Paul Scully (local Conservative Parliamentary candidate). They chatted away inside Cycle Power and I managed to get most of it on video.

I have edited this together with a few of my questions in there but for the most part I have just let the conversation roll on. I have not tried to make this a documentary or focus on sound bites. Rather, I mainly wanted to let people in on an interesting conversation about Worcester Park with a Cabinet Minister.

I'm sorry in advance that the sound quality is a bit rubbish in places (in front of Waitrose mainly). I hope you enjoy it nevertheless.

I started by asking why she had come to Worcester Park...

You can also read more about the Minister's visit in the Sutton Guardian here.

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Big Bear For Valentine's Day

Worcester Park's serial fundraising bank is at it again, raising funds for The Children's Trust, Tadworth - this time with a raffle for a giant teddy bear. Santander in Central Road are playing host to 'Tadworth' whom they have managed to squeeze into a charity t-shirt and are asking for donations of £2 or over for a ticket.

They will be drawing the winner on the 14th February which conveniently falls on Valentine's Day so if your intended valentine might enjoy such a gift it might be worth seeing if you can end up with the winning ticket. 'Tadworth' could end up being a big inexpensive present for someone.

Branch manager Darren (seen here with Adele and the bear) told the blog that the group of branches in the local area raised nearly £30,000 last year. This was increased to nearly £60,000 after the bank matched the funds raised. The draw has been organised by local resident (and blog contributer) Richard who has worked on fundraising ideas with Santander before.

To enter the raffle, just pop into Santander on Central Road. Or, for your added convenience a Just Giving page has been set up here. Anyone who donates on this page and leaves their contact details will be entered into the draw along with everyone who donates in the branch.

Update (Thursday 13th February)

Only one more day to go! 'Tadworth' has so far managed to raise over £30. This means that the odds of winning are still very good if you want to get down to Santander in Central Road and enter the raffle, which will be drawn tomorrow (Valentine's Day). You can still entered the draw by making a donation here too!

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Pavements, Benches And Automobiles...

Regular blog reader and contributor Richard spotted this badly parked car earlier in Windsor Road and wonders if it's just one more symptom of a badly thought out plan. He writes:
"Residents and traders will be familiar with the ludicrous one-way system that blights car park access and results in funnelling extra traffic and HGVs into Windsor Road. Added to that, the road has been raised to the level of the pavement, resulting in a poor segregation between pavement and roadway. 
One bizarre Sutton OLF solution to this unclear segregation of its own creation has been to position (back to front) benches on the edge of the now dramatically more busy Windsor Road – including one very exposed bench on the corner of Windsor and Central Road. It seems Sutton Council is attempting to deter vehicles from mounting the newly ‘curbless’ pavements by using residents as a human shield!
Human Shield Bench
However, having walked along Windsor Road’s indistinct pavement on Saturday and passing the toy shop, I found myself actually dodging a car intent on parking on the public pavement! It seems some self-styled ‘Starsky and Hutch’ drivers are simply utilising the newly extended pavement as a car park overflow. Given that the next shop along, in front of this car is a toy shop, it’s pretty clear how dangerous this poorly conceived Sutton OLF ‘venture’ is.
Given the now extreme width of the pavement in Windsor Road, along this parade of shops, it seems to me that reducing the huge width by reintroducing car parking spaces along its length (and a curb!) might actually be dramatically more safe and efficient answer to these Sutton OLF-induced problems."
Update (1st February)

They seem to be multiplying...

Thursday, 23 January 2014

The Convivial Steampunk

In around about a month's time (Saturday the 22nd and Sunday 23rd February), the third annual Surrey Steampunk Convivial will be celebrating it's actualization with a full weekend of Steampunkery at the not too far away (although it is on the other side of the A3) Royal Oak Function halls in New Malden, KT3 4RD, Great Britain (where else?).

Steampunk convivials of yore have rather appropriately incorporated Worcester Park seeing as this is where HG Wells, one of the icons of the Steampunk movement lived when he wrote “The Time Machine.” This time the direct connection with Worcester Park is a little more tenuous but does still exist (more on that later), however I digress... (not to self: more gressing please) ...

So what is Steampunk all about? In the very words of one of the organisers, Ben Henderson:
"Steampunk is a movement based loosely around science fiction of the Victorian period, influenced by the writings of authors such as Jules Verne and HG Wells. The style may be seen in such movies as 'The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen', 'The Three Musketeers' and the new Sherlock Holmes movies. 
Steampunk style of dress is adopted by many, with corsets, top hats, waistcoats and goggles. Steampunk is a movement for all ages, with enthusiasts ranging in age from 6 to 60, so no matter how old or young you are, Steampunk has something for you."
The event is organised by The Nonsuch Steampunk Guild, based in Worcester Park's Epsom quadrant. The weekend will include afternoon events at The Royal Oak, and Christchurch in New Malden, with a Steampunk makers market full of handmade clothing, jewellery and other items for sale, a shadow puppet workshop, Hula hoop lessons, a miniature battle of Waterloo, tea-duelling (a traditional steampunk sport), several "Genius Judges" Steampunk World Record attempts, a Victorian strong man act, cut throat barber, Penny Farthings, a Dalek, and snail racing (snails permitting). There will also be an art and sculpture exhibition, miniature zeppelins, talks, book readings and workshops.

A selection of original music with be provided  throughout the weekend for your aural pleasure (stop sniggering at the back) including steampunk artists Tom Slatter and Moth, Metropolis, Birthrite, Marianna Harlotta, and Choro Bandido, Catherine Paver, Richard Stickney and the Loopist. DJing from DJ Sludge Van Diesel with black and white projections by Prof. Kit Krakenspine will round up what will be a wonderfully whacky weekend, and a fantastic opportunity to find out more about the increasingly poplar Steampunk movement.

For more information, visit the event website at: or their facebook page here.

Ben and Tixia
Photo by Jillian Edelstein
Tickets for the event are
£10 Sat 22nd
£10 Sun 23rd
or £17 for both days.

Interestingly the main organisers, Ben and Tixia Henderson also organise our local open mic night at (you guessed it) the HG Wells pub in Cheam Common Road. The next one of these will be next Thursday (30th of January). (See I told you there was a tenuous link...) I'm trying to decide whether to pitch up here with my guitar or not... (damn I've digressed again...)

So go along to the Steampunk Convivial. I can't think of a more convivial thing to do...

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Re: Surfacing

For those who wondered, the car park behind Maple Lodge in the Hamptons is being resurfaced. It is receiving a new coat of resin bonded aggregate (that's 'small stones glued to the ground' to you and me) which should last many years for your parking pleasure. These stones have been selected for their sharp edges meaning that there will be more grip on this particular surface too.

The work began yesterday and the resin has been hardening overnight ready to be swept and finished off today. It should be ready to park on around dinner time tonight.

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Big Garden Birdwatch

For two hours next Saturday (25th January) morning (reasonably early) Worcester Park's ornithological contingent will be down at Cuddington Rec taking part in what is apparently the biggest bird count in the world.

The Big Garden Birdwatch, which is run by the The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) is encouraging people to take part in this event to help keep an eye on the levels of the wildlife in our local area and the country as a whole.

According to the RSPB:
"Bird populations are a great indicator of the health of the countryside. That's why it's so important to take part in surveys like the Big Garden Birdwatch to keep an eye on the ups and downs of the wildlife where we live." 
The Big Garden Birdwatch has been going since 1979 and last year 590,000 people took part and counted 8.2 million birds!

To take part you just need to register and then spend an hour over next weekend counting birds in your own garden or a nearby green space and then submit the results.

The Sutton Ecology Centre, which is part of Sutton Council's Biodiversity Team has arranged a 'bird count' in Cuddington Rec from 7:45am until 9:45am (as per this poster - which oddly calls Sandringham Road 'North Cheam' but I'm sure it's Worcester Park) so if you would like to join some other people counting the local wildlife why not email them as suggested on or telephone them on 0783 734 6943.

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Keys Found In Hill Crescent

A set of keys was found earlier today in Hill Crescent. If you think they might be yours, please email the blog at and I will put you in touch with the person who found them.

Friday, 17 January 2014

Cooking Up A Spanish Party

Blog readers may remember hearing the faint rumblings of a first anniversary party being hosted at The Brook by the Cooking Your Spanish team.

Well the big event is now less than a week away (Thursday 23rd January) and the CYS team are giving away 50 vouchers for a free drink at the event which will begin at 7:00pm. To get yours, email  or call them on 07503 727 320.

David Sánchez from Cooking Your Spanish told the blog:
"CYS is one year old and we are going to celebrate with our first anniversary party. This party is open to all the Worcester Park community interested in knowing what we do at Cooking your Spanish. They can meet our students, practice  Spanish with Spanish speaking native and learn about exciting plans we are working on, such us: cultural-gastronomic trips to Spain, affordable stays by the Mediterranean sea to practice what they learn at the class room and our activities for 2014 in Worcester Park. 
And of course we will provide some delicatessen that we brought from our last trip to Spain and the first drink will be on us as well. Ah, ...and for the most brave we will have our 'porrón'."
It all sounds pretty good to me. In fact what I really like is that two local businesses are working together for their mutual benefit which in turn benefits all of us in Worcester Park. Great stuff all round! Hope to see you there!

Update (31st January)

Ana and David have sent me a few photos taken at the anniversary party at The Brook. Apparently it was a brilliant night!

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Mayor Petitioned about Crossrail 2 For Worcester Park

Steve O'Connell handed our local petition to Boris Johnson yesterday with a total of 1220 signatures.

Steve said:
“Currently the plans show that Crossrail 2 will travel past Worcester Park but will not stop, which is a real waste. If this stop is included it will connect with the proposed Sutton Tram creating a vital transport link for South London and help strengthen this area as a transport hub. The petition has had overwhelming support, and the Mayor cannot ignore this many Londoners, especially when the proposal makes good sense for South London.”
Thanks to everyone who took the time to sign the petition, whether it was online or one of the more traditional paper versions. Several shops in Central Road had copies of it, a few of which attracted around 100 signatures each. We were also asking people to sign under the bridge near the station last Monday and even added some by knocking on a few doors around the place. Overall getting this many signatures for an issue concerning a single railway station that won't affect us for several years is quite amazing and shows how much Worcester Parkers really care about their area.

You can also read the Sutton Guardian coverage here.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

New Path Sections Washed Away

Those who live near Cuddington Rec are probably well aware of the new path which goes from near the playground off Sandringham Road up to the Sparrow Farm Road end. Some readers may even remember that it's route was changed after complaints from residents about it running too close to properties backing onto the park.

Your local blogger has been keeping an eye on developments and I have included some 'work in progress photos' down the left here to show how this has developed and come to fruition. However unfortunately the nice new path has been relatively short lived.

The recent heavy rain and flooding has washed a striped section of the new path away (as shown in the main picture).

Cuddington Rec is more or less where the Beverly Brook begins it's existence. It makes its way down from the top of the hill between the trees down through the park and then into a culvert where heads underground to make it's next appearance above the surface on the other side of Central Road next to Green Lane, having passed under the Brook pub which took it's name from this interesting piece of aquatic trivia.

It's clear from the debris around the area (right) that the entrance to this culvert overflowed rather spectacularly during the heavy flooding a couple of weeks ago, pouring water down the grass slope and washing this section of path away in the process.

Interestingly the culvert itself was almost overflowing today. This picture on the right was taken this afternoon, there having only been light rain over the last couple of days (compared with a couple of weeks ago).

I haven't spent much time in the park in the rain but I suspect that this overflowing at this point is a fairly regular occurrence and I wonder if some pipes could have been lain under the path at this point to allow this overflowing water somewhere to go without causing this damage. Or perhaps the path could have been routed further away from this spot. In the map here it looks to have been specifically deviated towards this point. Mind you it's also near the new poplar trees so it may have been designed to visit this 'point of interest'.

Either way hopefully the path will be fixed soon - with or without the inclusion of a water diverting initiative.

Update (Saturday 18th January)

Thanks very much to the blog reader who has kindly sent me some photos he took yesterday morning showing the impact of the rain from the night before...

Overflowing culvert
The other 'Beverly Brook' - to perhaps be renamed the 'Beverly-Cuddington Overland River'
 'Cuddington Swamp'

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Last Chance To Sign

The petition to persuade Boris Johnson to support Crossrail 2 coming to Worcester Park is finishing this evening. I will be handing the signed sheets to Steve O'Connell (London Assembly Member) who will be officially submitting them to Boris Johnson, the London Mayor tomorrow.

I have now picked up most of the paper copies that many Central Road businesses have been kindly hosting for the last couple of months and all those added together plus the people who signed on the internet gives us a total of 1,129 signatures! However we can still use a few more. You still have a short time to add yours to the total by signing the electronic version here.

If you haven't yet signed this is your last chance - do it now before something else takes your attention! Lets get Crossrail 2 stopping at Worcester Park!

Sunday, 12 January 2014

A Good Service

Most of us have probably been frustrated by trying to get a car repaired, particularly when we don't really know what needs to be done but suspect it might not be what we are being told...

Blog reader Jason sent me this story yesterday which I thought was worth sharing:
"I recently hit a pothole in my car and since it has been pulling to the left and getting worse.
I took it into a local garage who said the steering rack was bent and needed replacing at a cost of £350. I said I would think about it and took the car to a different local garage who told me the suspension was damaged and would cost between £200 and £300 to repair. 
Confused that there were two separate diagnoses I took it to a third local mechanic for confirmation of one or the other.  These guys told me that there was a problem with the shock absorbers and coil springs and it'd cost around £250 for a repair. Finally took it to have the tracking looked at by Kwik Fit who charged me £44.95 and didnt fix the problem (nor did they even change the tracking according to the graph they provided). 
However, I appear to finally found a garage that was actually honest!
Turns out that the pothole had split my front left tyre which was now badly deformed. Replacing the tyre for £68 has completely resolved the problem. I cannot recommend Sunray Motors at 17 Cheam Common Road, Worcester Park on 0208 337 7741 highly enough! 
Why are the majority of local mechanics and garages allowed to misdiagnose problems and replace parts that do not need replacing and rip off local residents? Is there no regulation? It's just appalling! I would always recommend getting a second opinion on car repairs when there are so many cowboys out there."
It's good to hear a really positive story about a local business.

I would hope none of our fine Worcester Park repair establishments would be implicated in any way in such misdiagnosis and unnecessary repair work. No doubt readers will be quick to correct me if their experiences have been different to this...

Friday, 10 January 2014

Who Took Notice?

While waiting at the corner of Green Lane today I spotted what looked like a new notice board on the corner. The trouble with things like this is that once you see what you think might be a new one you can't remember whether it has always been there or whether it is actually new. The fact that is was empty of notices suggests it might have just been put in. I can't remember ever seeing any notice board with all the old notices removed from it - ever - no mater how old some of them are. And I know this is the boroughs new notice board style (at a cost of around £1900) each.

However I don't remember whether it was there yesterday or last week or last month (which would technically be last year).

Pictured left is documented evidence that it wasn't there around the middle of 2012. And I'm pretty certain that this cream one was the one I saw within the last week or so but I just can't be sure. Can any readers shed light on when this new one went in?

Missing Milo

It's been a while since I've done a missing cat post. Lost animal stories are difficult. I want people to be reunited with their lost animals but they don't make for very interesting reading and I know many readers aren't keen on lots of missing animal posts. It can be very distressing to lose an animal though.

With this in mind I am posting a message I received yesterday regarding a lost cat. The cats owner, Ann wrote:
"Our young (8 month old) cat has gone missing, and we would really be grateful for your help in finding him. 
He is all black, long haired, medium sized and has a red collar (although you can't really see the collar because his fur covers it). 
We live above one of the shops on the "Solaris to Surrey Door Centre" section of the high street, and Milo often wanders off into the gardens of the houses along Caldbeck Ave and Washington Road, so we would be grateful if the residents of the houses on those streets could in particular could check under bushes/in sheds, etc. 
If you find him, please call either Ann on 07801 057 821 or Allan on 07515 890 238."

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Can You Help Trace Robbers' Van?

I've had an email this afternoon from Surrey Police looking to locate a white van used in a robbery at a petrol station on Kiln Lane, Epsom this morning.

Apparently two men wearing balaclavas entered the back of a delivery van which was being unloaded at the Sainsbury's garage and stole a large quantity of cigarettes. Officers were called to the scene at around 7.40 and are now looking to trace the van which the suspects left the scene in. This was a white van - possibly a Citroen - with the registration number YE03 ZZA.

Senior Investigating Officer Detective Inspector Antony Archibald, said:
"I would appeal to anyone who saw this vehicle either prior to the offence occurring or after it left the scene to share this information with us. It is possible the offender will now have dumped this vehicle somewhere and I would appeal to anyone who knows its whereabouts to contact us as a matter of urgency. This was a terrifying ordeal for the delivery workers and we will do all we can to find those responsible."
If you have any information on this incident, you are urged to contact Surrey Police on 101 (999 in an emergency) quoting reference P14007724. If you would prefer to remain anonymous, you can call the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Packed Charity Shop

Helen from the Marie Curie Cancer Care shop in Central Road has contacted me today and wanted to pass on the news that they have a full and packed shop at the moment including many new items. I wouldn't normally just promote a shop in the high street unless they were doing something particularly special however as the proceeds are going to charity to help give cancer sufferers a better quality of life I'll make an exception.

Helen wanted to say that:
"We have been donated some fabulous clothes! Brand new girl clothes all from Monsoon, Gap and Next, aged 10 - 12 years. They are selling very very fast! Also we have been donated loads of one off designer scarfs. I know it's hard to come in to Worcester Park because of the traffic, children going back to school, going to work and of course the cold windy rain! But once you're in my shop you will be in another world full of wonderful surprises! So spread the word and repost this to all your friends and tell all your friends and family if you go down to Worcester Park Marie Curie you'll sure be in for a big surprise! Opening times are Monday - Saturday 9 - 4.30 and Sunday 10 - 4 and Remember to visit all the Charity shops in Worcester Park!"

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Express Renovations

Anyone who's been past Pizza Express in the last day or so may have noticed a lack of normal pizza eating activity there. This is is because they are currently undergoing some renovations. In fact I think they might be holding the 'Renovations Olympics' there as they plan to have everything done and be open again within a week.

They started work yesterday (Monday 6th January) and plan to hand the premises back over to the restaurant next Monday at 3pm. They may then choose to open Monday night or possibly next instead Tuesday.

They have even stripped off the name and logo from the front which you may remember used to look like this (above left). I gather there has been a little re-branding going on at pizza express central (including what appear to faux brick column façades) and so we might instead see something a bit like this (above right) replacing it or possibly with a coloured stripe à la the 'Opening Soon' poster above.

Monday, 6 January 2014

Sign Here For The Train

Steve O'Connell AM getting a signature
If you were accosted early this morning under the bridge or outside Worcester Park station, that was us... When I say us, I mean Gino Marotta, Steve O'Connell and me gathering petition signatures to persuade Boris Johnson (you know that guy who's Mayor of London) to support having the planned Crossrail 2 trains call at Worcester Park rather than the current plan, which is for trains to run from Motspur Park directly through to Epsom without stopping here. And judging by the number of pages of signatures we ended up with, most people agree with us that this is just a daft idea and that the trains should call at Worcester Park on their way through.

Many blog readers will recall we have been campaigning for a while to get Worcester Park put on the Crossrail 2 map, in fact pretty much since
Gino Marotta with a lady signing
Boris Johnson launched the Crossrail 2 consultation in May last year; and this part of the campaign is now drawing towards it's close.

Steve O'Connell, who is Sutton's (and Croydon's) London Assembly member (basicaly one of 25 people who hold the London Mayor to account) will be presenting the petition to Boris Johnson next Wednesday (15th January) so we only have another week for people to sign.

If you are one of those who had to rush past because the train was coming, worry ye not; there is an electronic version of the petition you can sign here. You can also sign it at the kiosk at Worcester Park station when you buy a paper and while you wait for a coffee, and many shops in Central Road have a copy of it which you can sign. You can see the full list at the bottom of this page.

Sunday, 5 January 2014

What Do You Think?

Sutton Council are asking people to fill out a survey giving their thoughts on the recent changes to the Central Road area in Worcester Park. You may have had one of these (shown right) through your door. There is also an electronic version which can be found here. However more than one person has contacted me to say they feel the survey itself is a bit biased. One person used the phrase:
“…don't get me started there on how biased that survey is.”
So I thought it was worth having a closer look…

Answer Options

I note the four possible answers for the questions are: ‘agree’, ‘agree somewhat’, ‘disagree’ and ‘not sure’. Does something appear to be missing?

Imagine an agreement scale with five positions, with Agree at one end and Disagree at the other end (just ignore the ‘not sure’ option for the moment).

Agree Disagree

If the scale is unbiased then the central position should be the neutral point, let’s call it ‘neither agree nor disagree’.

Agree Neither agree nor disagree  Disagree

‘Agree somewhat’ should then slot into place between 'Agree' and the neutral point:

Agree Agree somewhat Neither agree nor disagree  Disagree

Leaving the fourth spot for ‘Disagree somewhat’

Agree Agree somewhat Neither agree nor disagree      Disagree somewhat      Disagree

That would be a balanced unbiased survey that allows the full range of options for what people want to say.

In a three option unbiased survey (again ignoring ‘not sure’) then these options should be:

Agree  Neither agree nor disagree  Disagree

What looks to have happened here is that a five option survey has been cut down to a different three option survey by having a different two options removed leaving this:

Agree Agree somewhat Disagree

This means that anyone who wants to take a neutral position will have to choose ‘Agree somewhat’ as the closest available option.

Reporting the results

Now when these survey results are collated and published, what will they say?

One way statistics are often reported is to lump groups together so if equal numbers had ticked each box on the full five category survey question (shown above), you could say that 2 out of 5 (40%) of people ‘agree or agree somewhat’ with the statement. That is 1 in 5 or 20% who chose ‘agree’ added to the 1 in 5 (or 20%) who chose ‘agree somewhat’ making 40% in total. And in the same way 40% ‘disagreed or disagreed somewhat’ with it. You can then change the language a bit and say that 40% of people generally agreed with whatever is being asked.

However with this survey, if an equal amount of people tick each of the three boxes, it could be reported, quite honestly, using the same technique that two thirds (one third choosing 'Agree' plus another third choosing 'Agree somewhat') of people generally agreed that all these changes have ‘improved Worcester Park’ (perhaps rounded to 67%). Even though many of those who ‘generally agreed’ may have actually wanted to indicate a more neutral position that would have been better described as ‘Neither agree nor disagree’. Even those who might otherwise be inclined to ‘Disagree somewhat’ may choose the ‘Agree somewhat’ option rather than the ‘Disagree’ option, feeling that the ‘middle option’ better reflects that they don’t hold a particularly strong opinion even though it would fall on the disagreeing side.

So in fact we may end up with all the ‘neutral’ and some slightly negative responses being added to the ‘positive’ responses when the results are announced.

This begs the question, “Do they want to know what people actually think or are they looking to get a specific result for some reason?”

Choice Of Questions

Also I can’t help but feel that most of their questions focus only on the likely positive aspects of the works without asking about aspects that may not be so popular. Additionally the works are called improvements all the way through the survey – so if you so happen to think these changes have made the area worse – well you’re just wrong aren’t you! That’s not to say that they have made it worse or that the changes can’t be considered improvements, just that an impartial survey shouldn’t make value judgements up front about the very things it is asking people to comment on.

In order to rebalance what some have considered an inherent bias in the official council survey, I have devised my own survey. I have merely added the two missing response options and the questions which I think should have been on the official one but have been missed off for some reason. I have not included the questions from the main survey, only the missed out ones so you can do this one in conjunction with the official one.

Please let me know if you would like other questions added to this as I can still add some!

The missing questions:

Sort Your Bike Out

Simon Densley getting his bike marked and registered by police at Worcester Park
Simon Densley Getting his bike marked in
Central Road last January.
Did you or anyone you know get a bicycle for Christmas? Do you know someone with a bike which isn't registered with the police?

PCSO Nadine Campbell of our local Safer Neighbourhood team has organised this year's first cycle marking event in Worcester Park to take place outside the Police Office in Central Road this coming Saturday 11th Jan from 11am until 3pm.

Last year's January event saw 47 bicycles marked and registered (including mine). There must be more than 47 bikes in the area that haven't been marked so lets see if we can beat this number.

Having your bike marked and registered enables the police to know it's yours and return it to you should it be stolen and recovered. A unique code is etched into the cycle frame and kept on a database together with the owner’s details. It's very quick and makes your bike less attractive to thieves as they can't claim, 'Honest, it's my bike Guv...', when the etched code on the bike says otherwise.

A great many stolen bikes are actually recovered but unless yours is marked, the police will have no way of knowing it's yours and it would most likely end up going for auction along with all the other unregistered bikes.

So the solution is to get on yer bike, this coming Saturday and head down to the Police Office (just near the pedestrian lights) in Central Road and get is sorted...

Update (Monday 3rd March)

The bike marking back in January went very well according to Sergeant Andy De'Voreaux. A total of 47 bikes were registered in front of the Police Office in Central Road. By comparison, apparently only 17 bikes were registered when a similar event was recently held in Sutton High Street. We are obviously the bike marking Kings here in Worcester Park!

Saturday, 4 January 2014

Winter Information

Just for your information, there is now a council webpage where you can find out all about winter related stuff. The webpage, being dubbed the "The Winter Information Centre" has links to the various transport websites and one to 'opencheck' for whether schools are open or not as well as health advice, the Met Office for local weather reports and information about gritting. There is also information about rubbish collection including how to recycle your Christmas tree.

To access all this info, visit the new webpage here:

Ruth Dombey, leader of Sutton Council said:
"By providing regular updates through the Winter Information Centre and social media we can help our residents to make informed decisions about what action to take to cope with cold weather disruption."
Graham Whitham, Sutton's Conservative opposition Group Leader told the blog:
"When harsh winter weather strikes it is already difficult enough coping with snow and ice without trying to find out the local services situation. We wanted to see a ‘one stop’ facility where residents can find the important information about services in their local area, when they need to."
It is possibly worth noting that the link to the Met Office brings up the forecast for Croydon (there isn't a Sutton one) however over here in Worcester Park the forecast for Kingston might be that slight bit more relevant.

The council is also urging people to check on their neighbours and let them know if they are concerned about the welfare of anybody.

Also this is the time of year when rough sleepers are particularly vulnerable. Streetlink is a charity/website which enables the public to alert local authorities in England about rough sleepers in their area. The service is funded by the Government as part of their pledge to end rough sleeping and means that you can report someone sleeping rough, the details of which will be sent to whichever local council covers the area so they can provide them with the local services they need. For more information or to report a rough sleeper (or if you happen to be sleeping rough) see their website: You can also phone Streetlink on 0300 500 0914. Not that we have many rough sleepers in Worcester Park but it's worth knowing just in case...

Column Of Smoke

The lamp post on the corner of Malden Road and Station Approach has started to smoke and the area has been cordoned off by police and the fire brigade.

I am posting this short piece of video as it's hard to see the smoke in a still photo.

The fire brigade was called to the area at around 1pm today, for the second time in less than 24 hours. The firemen told the blog that it is almost certainly an electrical problem and that it will be heating up enclosed space under the ground. This causes the gas to expand and force its way out as the smoke here has been doing. The area has been cordoned off because the build up of pressure can cause an explosion so there is a fire engine on hand parked at the station and a number of firemen in the cordoned area with a fire extinguisher ready to deal with whatever happenes.

They are waiting for the electricity company to come down and dig up the footpath (carefully) to reach and hopefully fix the problem before anything too dramatic actually occurs. So we can look forward to some disruption on the footpath there but at least it's for a good cause.

Update (5th January)

The hold has been dug and and it doesn't look nearly as dramatic as it could have been...