Sunday, 30 March 2014

Taking The Biscuit

Having decided this morning to go on a family trip to Wisley Gardens for a Mothers Day outing, we popped into Waitrose briefly for a few supplies. Mrs WP went in do the business while I sat in the car with WP Junior and after about two songs from the radio she re-emerged with shopping bags in hand. So far so normal.

As we moved off again she decided to have closer look at the receipt, it having occurred to her that £21.40 was a bit much for a few groceries. It seemed the three biscuits she had bought for us has somehow been charged as 32 biscuits and while they were doing a wonderful deal on these biscuits (which they insist for some reason on calling 'cookies') whereby the knock 9p off each one bought as a set of three, 32 of of them was still a bit over the top.

Luckily we hadn't quite reached Lynwood Drive yet so I did a quick drive round the block and she went back in to sort out the issue.

To their credit the staff there sorted it out immediately, organised a refund which was of the face value of the biscuits before the discounts were applied so she ended up getting a couple of pounds extra back too (Hooray).

No discredit to the person who made the mistake to start with; they probably just hit the 2 by mistake after pressing the 3 and neither they nor Mrs WP spotted it at the time - an easy mistake to make. However it was good to know the staff were ready to correct the problem without question afterwards. And the biscuits weren't too bad either...


Friday, 28 March 2014

Ross At A Loss

A local shopkeeper was mortified that his photo has appeared on a Lib Dem political leaflet without his knowledge or approval. Ross Nelson who has run Ross Fruiterers on Central Road for over 24 years appeared with the three Liberal Democrat council candidates (although Stephen Fenwick is now no longer standing as a Lib Dem) on the party's February leaflet.

A section from the Lib Dem leaflet
A rather exasperated Ross told the blog that
everyone had been winding him up about it. He continued:
"Three people came in and asked for a photo with me. I didn't know who they were so I just said ok. They didn't tell me they were Liberal Democrats, or that the photo was going to be used on one of their leaflets."
Not a fan

Last year Ross was obliged to shorten his pavement display to one metre after complaints that the 1.5 metres he had been using for over two decades was making it difficult for pedestrians to pass.

Ross commented:
"It cost me £500 per week to lose that extra display area but I understand that everyone needs to use the pavement. What upset me though was the way they treated me.
It was only [Conservative] Cllr Stuart Gordon Bullock who told me there was a scheduled meeting at the council to discuss my license and that I should receive a letter inviting me to go and put my position across. No such letter ever arrived. The letter that did arrive was the one telling me my license had been reduced from 1.5 meters to 1 meter. 
It was only afterwards I found out the first letter was sent to the wrong address. How does the council expect me to put my case across if they send the letter to the wrong address? They clearly know the address of my shop."

A section from one of the letters sent to Ross is reproduced here on the right. You can clearly see it has been sent (by hand) to 511 London Road, North Cheam. This is the address of a Chinese Restaurant. You can also see that they didn't manage to work out which name was Ross's Surname.

Ross went on to say:

"I'm sick of this council in Sutton. I would have done anything for this town but not now. I've had enough. This thing with the Lib Dem leaflet was the last straw."

The blog must point out that the author, Simon Densley is standing for the Conservatives in Worcester Park in May's council election against Labour, the Lib Dems, Greens and other parties. It might be worth pointing out also that Ross did give his consent to this being posted.


The Butcher, The Baker, The Tapas Maker

There's a fairly good range of stuff you can get in Waitrose normally, however tomorrow (Saturday 29th March) the range will be extended slightly by the arrival of Cooking You Spanish doing a free tapa demonstration in the store.

The local Iberian team will be nestled at the back between the butcher's and the bakery (hence the title...) offering free tapas along with information about their 'Learn Spanish while your cook and eat tapas' courses.

Cooking Your Spanish will soon be starting up a new set of courses in North Cheam too. They will be working with Scola and are having an open day (that mean more free tapas!) at their London Road centre (same car park as 'Goals 5 a side' but just before there on the left) on Thursday 1st May from 6:45 - 8:45pm (so just after work).

However this doesn't mean they are leaving Worcester Park. On the contrary they will holding on open day event at their 'headquarters' in Fitzroy House (Suite 12) which can be found in Lynwood Drive, KT4 7AT (basically on the corner of Central Road opposite Barclays) on Wednesday 9th April. You can pop in any time from 2pm to 8pm.


Tuesday, 25 March 2014

The Domino Effect


I have heard a rumour that on the grape vine, according to a little bird, the old Debra charity shop might be about to become a... *looks around nervously and takes a deep breath before whispering* ...Dominos Pizza shop.

Planning permission was granted by Sutton Council on the 12th March  for:
"Change of use of premises for purposes falling within Use Class A5 (Hot Food Takeaway) erection of a single storey rear extension following removal of existing store installation of extract duct, a/c units and air compressor at rear and new shopfront."
However it seems nowhere in the public planning application did it specify Dominos (you can have a look yourself here) so perhaps they had wanted to keep it quiet. It's a good thing the eyes and ears of Worcester Park are open...

Whether or not we want to see another take away/delivery food shop in Central Road is a point I will leave for discussion.

Remember though, you heard it here first folks...

Update (4th April)

And there we have it... Planning application No A2014/69192 is for the "Display of internally illuminated fascia and projecting box sign" being applied for by Domino's Pizza UK & Ireland Ltd.


Mosque Appeal Hearing


The Appeal against the Council decision to turn down the application for 2-4 Green Lane (seen above with a freshly painted white door) to become a Mosque is now only two weeks away. The inquiry which is expected to take up to two days begins at 10:00am on Tuesday 8th of April and is being held at the Sutton Salvation Army Church & Community Centre which can be found on Benhill Avenue (near the corner of Throwley Way), Sutton SM1 4DD.

This will be a more formal event than the public Development Control Committee meetings which turned down the application.

There are three kinds of appeal. The Written Representations Procedure which is considered the quickest and most straightforward type of appeal. This is best suited to small scale developments like houses. Then there is the Hearing Procedure which is suited to more complicated cases which require detailed discussion about the merits of a proposal. At such a hearing the Inspector will lead a discussion on the matters already presented in the written statements and supporting documents. This was originally going to be the procedure used for this appeal.

The third kind of appeal, which this one now is, is the most formal of the procedures: The Inquiry Procedure. This procedure involves barristers and each witness can be cross examined.

As this is going to be such a formal affair, members of the public who wish to attend must notify the council beforehand of their intention to do so. At the time of writing around 50 people have indicated that they will be there. Anyone else who wishes to attend should email developmentcontrol@sutton.gov.uk to book a place. This also means that comments yelled out by members of the public will not be tolerated in the way they were at the Council planning meeting. Everyone there will have to bite their tongues, even if they feel that someone has opened a large box of porkies and is spreading them knee deep throughout the inquiry. The alternative is that the entire public gallery may be asked to leave.

Now we just need to convince the Inspector why the Council's decision was a sound one...


Monday, 24 March 2014

KFC: Klosed For Constructions



Blog readers (particularly those feeling like some fried chicken last week) will have spotted the darkened chicken shop (I'll not call it a restaurant as they don't do table service) on Central Road. Their friendly window posters explained what was happening (sort of) although it was perhaps worth visiting just to enjoy the innovative grammar on the original notice (left).

They had managed to iron out the more interesting grammatical variations by Wednesday and also had a better idea of when they would be reopening.

In the meanwhile, the residents of Caldbeck Avenue hopefully managed to enjoy a short respite from the red and white decorative boxes that they so often find adorning their driveways and hedges in the morning...


Thursday, 20 March 2014

Ismailis Not Going Ahead With Tavern Development

The Ismaili Community have this week decided not to continue with their proposal to develop the Old Worcester Park Tavern as an Ismaili Community Centre. After careful consideration of all the factors regarding the development and the area, they have chosen to look for an alternative site instead.

They have released the following update which explains their decision in more detail. Some blog readers may receive a copy of this through their letter box as well.



There have been mixed views in the community about this plan. John Clare, who lives quite close to the site and would have been directly affected by any change in the traffic flow started a petition against the proposal. His original intention was to gather at least 500 signatures would would have resulted in the proposal having to be heard by a full planning committee at Kingston Council. He did not have an electronic version of the petition (hence there was no link to it on the blog) and he was only gathering signatures through door-knocking (with help from local Conservatives Cllr David Fraser, Kevin Davis and Mary Clark). He however still managed to gather around 1,700 signatures.

Cllr David Fraser told the blog:
"I am pleased to hear that the Worcester Park Tavern will not be changed to an Islamic centre as this would have caused extra traffic on the Worcester Park High Street and affecting the Malden Road along to the fountain. I believe the decision not to proceed may have resulted from the 1,700 people who signed the petition, and mainly due to the hard work and long hours that John Clare put in on behalf of the majority of residents and with my input along with my colleagues Kevin Davis and Mary Clark. Local residents already experience a heavy volume of traffic without more being added; I consider this a good outcome."
John Clare who started the petition told the blog that it should be noted that he started the petition because of the location and traffic that the proposal would have produced. Now that that proposal is not going ahead, John has said he will shred the petition as it contains the personal data of many people. It has done its job.

I personally felt the Ismailis were a very reasonable about the whole thing. It is worth pointing out again they they are a completely different group to the ones (still) trying to convert the Old Bank Chambers in Green Lane into Mosque. Unlike the Green Lane Group who hid their intentions for years and have not listened to the wishes of the community, the Ismailis were up front from the beginning. They chose to hold a thorough consultation with the community and let everyone know what they wanted to do before they even considered the planning application for the council. Now, having decided to pull out, they have demonstrated to us all that they have indeed listened to the community, and therefore that they had always intended to do so. I wish them well in their endeavour to find more suitable premises.

As I wrote in my initial thoughts after their consultation, the ismailis have a reputation for being moderate, professional, educated and generous. I have seen nothing since then to suggest otherwise. There was some dispute about the specifics of the plans presented to the community, particularly in comments here on the blog. There was much concern about the impact of a development like this on the local infrastructure and many people just wanted to see the site used for something else.

It remains to be seen now what will become of the old building. I still like to idea of the site becoming a hotel. With the X26 bus coming straight from Heathrow and the station opposite (hopefully including Crossrail 2) this would make an excellent site for people to stay in a pleasant area not too close to the city but with unsurpassed transport links directly to the centre. Hotel guests would boost the local economy while adding few cars to the local roads. We shall see...


Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Sell Your Stuff For St Raphael’s

Have you thought about doing a car boot sale but don't want the early start hassle? Well on Sunday the 6th April St Raphael’s will be holding a table-top sale at St Bede’s Conference Centre so you can sell your old unwanteds without waking up at 4am to pack the car and drive to a crowded field halfway towards Guildford.

As many blog readers will already know, St Bede’s Conference Centre is tucked in behind St Raphael’s which even more blog readers will already know is on the left as you enter St Anthony's hospital off London Road.

Kerry Thomas, one of the dedicated St Raphael’s community fundraisers wanted to say to potential stallholders that this is:
"a great way of having a spring clean out, raising money for the hospice and also making a bit of cash for yourself!"
Stallholder's can keep all the proceeds from their stall. The money going to St Raphael’s is the £10 fee for having a stall there. So you can de-clutter your home, make some money for yourself and raise money for St Raphael’s all at the same time. Now if that isn't a win-win-win situation I don't know what is!

It all kicks off at 10am on Sunday 6th April and is finishing at 1pm, so it's only three hours out of your busy schedule.

You will need to book your table by 20th March. That's Thursday (in two days time) so you'll need to get onto it quickly. You can book by contacting Teresa Fulker on 0208 715 5005 or 07505 563 758 or at teresafulker@hotmail.co.uk.


Monday, 17 March 2014

Signs Of Things To Come?


Boris's Outer London Fund (OLF) money is still being spent in Central Road as a few local businesses take up the offer to have their shop fronts enhanced a bit. Here's a bit of a picture record of the progress of some, for those interested.

The feeling from some shopkeepers is that the work has taken a great deal longer than if they had organised it themselves (several weeks against a few days) and that even though they were paying nothing or very little towards the work, the money being spent overall on each job was much more than they would have paid had they been buying the work themselves. (Between two and four times as much were some of the figures suggested to me.)

Obviously for a shop, going without its signage for many weeks is not going to have any sort of positive impact on business.

I have heard a similar story regarding the cost of the works (quoted) from some businesses in North Cheam too where these works are just starting up now.

On the bright side the new signage and awnings (still coming - at least one on Sole II Sole is anyway) should hopefully add a bit of a boost to the high street.

There is still more to do. The Chinese herbal medicine shop had just been started and apparently Nefis is going to have some work done as well (They'll need to wear sunglasses for that one.)

Broadway Bargains got a new coat of paint too.

A couple of other shops have taken it upon themselves to upgrade their own signage a bit also. Moonlight Hair Salon has been putting the finishing touches on a new front and in case you missed it on Friday, H&T pawnbrokers looked like they were getting their signage done too.

Except that they weren't. They were just fixing their security shutter and had to remove the front sign to do it.


Are You Free For Breakfast?


Christ Church with St Philip are offering a free community breakfast every Wednesday to encourage school children to eat a proper morning meal before going to school.

Parents, carers and children can eat and chat together each Wednesday morning between 7:30 and 8:30 at the community centre attached to the church on the corner of Ruskin Drive and Cheam Common Road. Cereal, toast and fruit juice are all available free of charge as well as tea and coffee for the grown ups.

Elizabeth Andrews, the Centre Manager told the blog:
"We have had anecdotal evidence that some children are going to school in the morning without breakfast as their parents/carers cannot afford to feed them.  If this is the case we would like to try and help and this is our admittedly small start to try and address this."
There is an opportunity to make a donation towards the breakfast for those who can do so. But nobody will be checked to see who does and who doesn't or how much people put in. This is about making sure all local children have a chance to go to school on a good breakfast.



Sunday, 16 March 2014

Marsden Marchers


If you live in one of the bits of Worcester Park close to London Road you may have noticed a) queueing traffic on one side on London Road but not the other, and b) lots of people walking down the road.

This was the Marsden March - where 5,000 people walk 14 miles from the Royal Marsden hospital in Chelsea down to the Royal Marsden hospital in Sutton. To attract an many people as possible they promise that the route will include Worcester Park, which is the undoubted highlight of the trip (even though in reality they only manage to catch a glimpse of the great suburb from their lesser route through North Cheam.) Our humble area does however mark the ten mile point of the walk - perhaps useful info for the next pub quiz...

The reason for the queueing traffic is that the designated London Road crossing point is the zebra crossing just near Langley Avenue. This means a 5,000 strong semi-permanent stream of people having right of way over traffic in London Road, leading to tailbacks up from Stonecot Hill on one side and down past Cheam Common Road on the other. Is also means the road is nice and clear if you happen to be travelling away from that particular crossing.

The March is limited to 5,000 people because apparently that is the maximum number of people who can march in something like this without police requiring road closures and taking other measures.

This is apparently the fourth such Marsden March and it has been becoming more popular each year. They are aiming to raise £1.25 million this year but the blog understands that they often do better than the official aim and they are hoping for they might even reach £1.5 million!

Good luck and well done to everyone taking part!


Friday, 14 March 2014

Spring Farmers Market

It's time to dust of the wellingtons, grab you favourite piece of straw to suck on and put on your best west country accent as the North Cheam Farmers' Market rolls into town once more.

You can go grab your freshly grown produce (and a few other bits 'n' pieces) up at the North Cheam shopping area at the corner of London Road and Cheam Common Road (and Malden Road if your coming from the 'other side') tomorrow (Saturday 15th March) from 9:30am onwards (or at least until after lunch).

The spring has sprung so why not head down and support the farmers...

Ooh Arr


Update (4th April)

Well it may have been a Spring farmers market but unfortunately there wasn't much spring in it's step. The blog spoke to a few traders and all said it was disappointing. The poor bread woman had shelves full of bread that she was going to have to throw away as it had to be sold the same day.

Ben Rafferty from Ecolocal who was managing the market also told the blog that he thought it was a bit dissapointing. However apparently the Farmers Market this month (April) will incorporate some special Easter celebrations as well plus some of the local North Cheam shops getting involved too. So fingers crossed it will be a worthwhile event!


Thursday, 13 March 2014

Please Stop It!


Regular uses of the S3 bus will know that it is no longer stopping outside Kingfish or the Old bank Chambers in Green Lane to let off passengers. This is particularly frustrating for people who need to catch a train in the morning when the bus is stuck in Green Lane traffic and they can't get off to run for the train instead.

One reader contacted the blog to say:
"This obviously has an impact on those who get it in the mornings in the hope of catching a train as they are stuck in traffic waiting for it to get around the corner as drivers will only pull up at the bus stop opposite the station now. Same problem in the evening as it no longer stops around the corner from the station as it is double yellow lines there. Not sure they have publicised this change much although apparently there is a notice on the bus, I wouldn't know as I haven't managed to catch it since this change as I was standing where it refused to stop."
Another similar gripe can be seen here.

One of the bus drivers told the blog that a Sutton parking inspector had warned a bus driver that had stopped in Green Lane that from now on bus drivers would be fined if they stopped on the double yellow lines there (or anywhere else.) With the Sutton smart camera car about and especially as the bus drivers have to pay these fines themselves, they have been told by Quality Line (the company the operates the S3) not to stop there any more. The last place they now stop in Green Lane is just before the buildouts (the narrow bit) just after Brookside Cresent (opposite the athletics club more or less) pictured here.

No actual reason for this

The only problem is, according to Government information, buses can actually drop off passengers on double yellow lines! According to the Government's own published advice (available here in pdf format), yellow lines mean 'No Waiting' however in the very first paragraph on page one of this document it states that "Drivers may stop to pick up or set down passengers" in these areas.

The only difference between a single yellow line and double yellow lines is that with a single yellow line, the restrictions are only at certain times of the day or on certain days of the week (shown on a sign nearby), while double yellow lines means the restrictions are in force 24 hours a day, seven days a week. I even wrote a post about all this back in August. (I'm sure you all found it a riveting read...)

To spell it out, unless I have somehow misinterpreted that rather simple sentence, vehicles (including buses) are entitled to drop off passengers on double yellow lines.

So the problem here seems to be that Sutton Council (perhaps in their yearning to rake in more money in traffic fines) have decided that they should be fining buses for letting off passengers in places where they are fully entitled to do so, inconveniencing all those passengers in the meanwhile.

Update (31st March)

Having now spoken to a representative of Quality Line (the company the operates the S3), the blog can confirm that a bus driver was warned by a member of the police (not a parking inspector or traffic warden) that they would be fined for stopping on the double yellow lines. Apparently no S3 bus drivers have been fined for stopping on double yellow lines in Green Lane and that Quality Line would certainly fight any unwarranted fine on their drivers' behalf. The S3 is a TfL bus and Quality Line is under contract from TfL to run the service. Quality Line are waiting for clarification from TfL before allowing their drivers to stop there again.

I have also been in contact with TfL who told the blog that they "are aware of the situation and are actively working on a resolution". They also mentioned that "With regards to buses stopping on double yellow lines, it depends on the local traffic regulation.  Some double lines allow buses to stop, others do not."


Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Worcester Park Councillor Resigns From Lib Dems

Worcester Park Councillor Stephen Fenwick has resigned from the Liberal Democrats after pleading guilty to racially aggravated assault on Monday (10th March).

The incident occurred at the Bonapartes pub in Charing Cross station on the 4th January. Cllr Fenwick had been drinking heavily when he arrived at the bar (apparently already swaying according to some reports) and was involved in an altercation with a barman, calling him a migrant and telling him to go back to his own country.

Sutton's Liberal Democrat leader, Councillor Ruth Dombey accepted Cllr Fenwick's resignation from the party saying: "Any form of racial intolerance or abuse is unacceptable and will not be tolerated."

It is not yet known if Councillor Fenwick will resign from Sutton Council entirely but in the interim period he remains representing Worcester Park ward as an independent councillor. This leaves Worcester Park ward with one Conservative councillor and one Liberal Democrat (Stuart Gordon Bullock and Roger Roberts respectively) as well as the now independent Councillor Fenwick. If Councillor Fenwick also steps down as a councillor it would leave the ward with only two instead of three councillors until the council election in May. A by-election would be called if he were to have resigned as a councillor more that six months before an election but as the council elections are only two and a half months away, there will not be a by-election even if he does stand down.

The blog must point out that the author, Simon Densley has been asked to stand in these council elections in Worcester Park ward by the Conservatives, which means that he will be standing against the Lib Dems as well as Labour and others. This would have included Stephen Fenwick were he to still be standing as a Lib Dem. Readers who consider that this post might therefore be biased against Cllr Fenwick or the Lib Dems might wish to be redirected to the Sutton Guardian report on the story or an independent bloger's take on this instead. Or you can read Nigel Farage's pop at him, as well as the (lack of) press reaction here (thanks to another blogger for spotting that).

Wards of Worcester Park

Mapping image produced from the Ordnance Survey
electionmap service © Crown copyright and database
right 2013 (Click to enlarge)
As many readers know, Worcester Park is right on the border of three Boroughs and four wards. On the eastern side of the railway line is (mostly) the London Borough of Sutton of which Worcester Park ward is north of Central Road and Nonsuch ward is south. Then on the western side of the railway line, Cuddington ward (The Avenue and South of that) is part of the borough of Epsom and Ewell while Old Malden ward, which includes Highdown and north of there, is part of the Royal Borough of Kingston. There is also section of Kingston's Old Malden ward on the eastern side of the railway line, between the railway line and Caverleigh Way (which runs parallel with Green lane on the other side of the stream.) In fact to be really picky, Caverleigh Way is split between both boroughs with Kingston having most of the actual Road and Sutton having the eastern pavement and the homes on that side.

The ward represented by Cllr Fenwick is Worcester Park ward, the one taking up most of the right hand side of the map above. You can click on the map to enlarge it.


Young Woman Dies After being Taken Ill

A young aspiring journalist died in hospital on Sunday after being taken ill at a house in Worcester Park on Saturday evening. 20 year old Tayla Woodard, from Cornwall was a Bournemouth University student in her final year studying multimedia journalism.

Police were called by London Ambulance Service at approximately 5:50am on Sunday to reports of a woman taken ill at a residential address in a small cul-de-sac in the Old Malden part of Worcester Park. A post-mortem examination took place on Monday. No cause of death was given and police are awaiting the results of further tests. Police say the death is being treated as unexplained at this stage.

Tayla leaves behind her parents, Julia and Russell, brother Sam and sister Jodie. Friends, including colleagues at Bounemouth University have been paying tribute to Miss Woodard.

The blog offers its sympathy to Miss Woodard's family and her friends.


Local Thief Sent Down

A local criminal was was sentenced to 12 weeks in prison after pleading guilty to three counts of theft from motor vehicles in Worcester Park. 20 year old Lucas George Errol O'Neil, who lived in Creston Way was sentenced along with 19 year old James Watson from Mitcham at Croydon Magistrates court yesterday (Tuesday, 11th March). They were given 12 weeks each.

The pair were caught red handed in Longfellow Road in the early hours of Monday 10th March (that would be late on Sunday night to you and me) hiding amongst foliage in a back garden next to a shed.

The police received a call from a local resident just after 2:30am after seeing two men trying to open door handles in Beaumont Drive on the Hamptons before heading into Portland Close. Officers arrived on the scene and closed in when O'Neil and Watson activated a security light behind Sherbrooke Way. Officers found a BMW with its interior light on and the glovebox open with the contents spread over the passenger seat.

O'Neil and Watson could then be heard by officers climbing over fence panels in gardens along Portland Close and Beaumont Drive. The Dog Unit called to the scene found O'Neil's Blackberry mobile phone in one of the gardens. The dog tracked them to Longfellow Road where O'Neil and Watson were arrested for theft from a motor vehicle.

Watson was wearing a rucksack when arrested. One victim found that his Nike rucksack which contained a white towel was missing. The rucksack that was in Watson's possession contained a white towel.


Tuesday, 11 March 2014

The Hole At The Bottom Of The High Street

(or Power To The People)


Blog readers (and others) may have wondered what was the purpose of the big hole in the pavement in front of Nefis at the bottom of Central Road today.

The blog can report that this is all to do with the electricity problems from a few days ago. The gentlemen digging the hole told the blog that one of the two high voltage power cables has failed. This is apparently the cable that serves the entire Worcester Park area. There are two under there, side by side, in case one fails then the other carries the load.

So what has happened is that one did fail and so if the other one fails for any reason, Worcester Park loses all its power for a long time, and so it needs to be fixed.

They started digging last night and the digging phase of the operation should be finished before tomorrow morning. The sparkies should be in tomorrow to do the actual fixing of the cable and then the hole should be back filled in again by around the end of the week.

Update (17th March)

Blog reader Andy has sent in some video showing (as he has already described in a comment below):
"They were pumping water this Friday and forcing pedestrians into the road. Mothers with prams. Even the keep left traffic sign is placed on the wrong side of the road. Not good. Not good at all..."
video



Stolen Pink Scooter

A little girl has had her scooter stolen from near the duck ponds in the Hamptons. Her mother, Minka, contacted the blog and said:
"My daughter's scooter was stolen last Wednesday around 3.30pm next to the duck ponds in the Hamptons.  
It's a maxi micro scooter with an extendable t-bar handle, raspberry pink board, black handle grips. It had a pink bell, lots of rubber bands at the bottom and a sticker with my daughter's name: Zofia Bonnage. 
I'm still hopeful we'll get it back - it was her birthday present and used daily to get to school! If you find it please let me know, many thanks, Minka 07905 116 731"
If you are aware of the whereabouts of this little girls scooter, please do the right thing and either contact the police or her mother on the phone number given.


Councillor Convicted of Racist Assault

Councillor Stephen Fenwick, a Liberal Democrat councillor representing Worcester Park ward was yesterday convicted of racially aggravated assault. Cllr Fenwick pleaded guilty to a single count in front of Westminster magistrates and has received one year's conditional discharge meaning he will not face any punishment unless he commits another crime in the next 12 months. He was also ordered to pay costs and fines totalling £200.

The attack occurred at Bonapartes pub in Charing Cross station on the 4th January this year. Apparently Cllr Fenwick had an altercation with a barmen and racially abused him. When the barman answered back in kind, Cllr Fenwick assaulted him.

Another Sutton Lib Dem councillor, Lester Holloway who was News Editor at The Voice and writes extensively on BME issues, has apparently commented on the story in the Sutton Guardian saying:
"It is essential that Cllr Fenwick give a full and unconditional apology which demonstrates a clear understanding of why it is so wrong to hurl racial abuse and commit assault. Only if he does this satisfactorily will he have my support as a fellow Lib Dem."
The blog understands that Sutton Lib Dems will be making a statement this afternoon.

Close to home

It is important that in reporting this story, I declare an interest. As many blog readers already know, I have been selected to stand for Worcester Park in May's council elections for the Conservatives. This means I will be standing against Cllr Fenwick and his other Lib Dems.

I am of course shocked and saddened that an elected councillor and also someone I know has behaved in this way. There have been calls for Cllr Fenwick to stand down in May. Whilst this will mean the Lib Dems will quickly have to find a substitute for Cllr Fenwick (they're possibly already looking), I don't see how he could continue in the role after this conviction.

Update (five minutes after posting)

Sutton's Lib Dems appear to have airbrushed Cllr Fenwick out of their history. Their website now states that the only Liberal Democrat councillor in Worcester Park is Roger Roberts. I guess this gives a fairly good indication of what this afternoon's Lib Dems statement is going to say...


A Sing Song At The HG Wells

Well I finally did it. Having hardly picked up a guitar for years I decided to go along to the Open Mic night at the HG Wells a couple of Thursday's ago and see if I could still squeeze out a few tunes. This is the Open Mic night which was started up back in May last year by Ben and Tixia Henderson (of Steampunk Convivial fame) who have been doing these for years. It can now be found on the last Thursday of every month at the HG Wells on Cheam Common Road (what was previously The Drill).

The evening was very pleasant. Having run a small music studio and played in a few bands in my younger days, chatting with some of the other people there was a bit like finding an old part of myself. Everyone was very supportive and there were some very talented people to listen to and a enjoy a beer with.

Ben very kindly lent me his guitar (to use mine would have required a separate microphone) and then joined in on accordion while another talented bod, Eugene added some saxophone. It was just like old days!

Afterwards Stewart (@mackay_wp) who had popped along with me and I ended up chatting with Ben and Tixia about a very interesting possible project for Worcester Park - more on that later...

In the meanwhile though, if you are (even just a little) musically inclined, pop down to the HG Wells on the last Thursday of each month and let your inner musician out! The next one is Thursday 27th March. I highly recommend it!


Monday, 10 March 2014

Tim's Stag Do


On Friday, at the corner of Balmoral Road and the top of Central Road (in fact I believe it may have just about become Cheam Common Road at that point), was a large hand made advertisement for Tim's Stag Do, inviting passers by to tweet support.

The gentleman concerned, one Timmy Hurren, does follow the blog on twitter so I can only guess he is reasonably local. If you take a look his own twitter feed there seem to have been numerous such adverts hung on various pieces of civil architecture.

Now I'm probably a bit late posting this - I'm guessing Tim's stag do has come and gone, but hey, just in case why don't you do like the sign says and tweet him some support (@timmyhurren)! Apparently he needs it...


A Good Sign?


The improvements to the shops at the top of the high street have continued with some rather nice new signage. Blog readers will remember that the scaffolding came down a few weeks ago after the painting was mostly finished but leaving a few more things to do. The new standardized but bespoke projection signs have certainly (in my view) added a visual enhancement to this row of shops.

I spotted a good photo of the shops (right) taken with a wide angle lens (which I do not possess) prior to these signs going up but after the painting was done. The architectural firm Jan Kattein Architects have kindly given me permission to use it here. You can enlarge it by clicking on it.

Some have commented that instead of painting this area blue and white, it could have just been given a clean, leaving the original art-deco fa├žade as originally designed, requiring less maintenance and less outlay. I tend to agree that this may have given better value for money and that perhaps future improvements along Central Road should consider this as a way to brighten up the area without spend millions of pounds. However I also think this group of shops does look quite good, and as the money has already been spent, we might as well make the best of it and enjoy it! Hopefully it will have the desired effect and help draw more people to shop in Worcester Park (provided they don't clog up the local streets with cars at busy times). We shall see...


Thursday, 6 March 2014

Have Some Cake

A few weeks ago, while writing about one of the Ragdolls Play events, I mentioned they were teaming up with Cakes by Caroline, a new cake decorating business in the area.

Carol is looking to take the idea one step further and is looking for people who may be willing to accept free cake and childrens entertainment - in return for some feedback...

Carol told the blog:
"I am a local Mum who has just been made redundant from my day job and I have set up my own cake business.  I want to be able to offer cupcake decorating parties for children and need some help with testing out my ideas…
I am looking for a local family with a child (or children) aged between 8 and 13 years who would be willing to host a cupcake party.  I would need 6-8 children to attend, the party would be free - I would bring all the equipment, cakes etc and would tidy up afterwards.  All you would need to provide is a large table and washing up facilities.  The children would get to keep their creations afterwards.  I would need the children (and the parents) to provide me with feedback."
Carol has got a lot of ideas worked up, but no one to test them out on as her 2 children are too young and she only really know Mums with children under 4.

If you and your children would like to help Carol by decorating and eating cake and then telling her about the experience, please get in touch through her Facebook page www.facebook.com/cakecaroline or by email to carolinestirling80@gmail.com.