Monday, 30 June 2014

Burning Your Bridges


The Bridge is dead. Long live the Bridge!

It seems that as one bridge closes another one truly opens. At least at Worcester Park station anyway where the new all singing, all dancing bridge complete with hot and cold running lifts has finally had the ribbon cut and is in full swing doing what bridges do best. I even walked across it just to make sure.
(I've not actually included a picture of it open here - seeing as this image will become rather familiar to most readers from here on. That and the fact that I had too many other pictures to squeeze in...)

Sadly however, at the other end of the platform, there is only a void where the once loved footbridge use to be. You can still see what it looked like here if the need takes you.

A couple of weeks ago short cables were embedded into the ground to to help secure the old bridge while they were removing it. The electrical cables were in the process of being isolated, cut and removed at the same time. The bridge was finally taken down over the weekend and can now be viewed in the station car park, discarded like so much scrap.

I'm sorry to have seen the old bridge go. I still haven't heard a decent explanation for why they couldn't have two bridges coexisting at the station. I don't see that having a choice of where to cross over to the opposite platform can really be that bad of a thing.


Graffiti

Readers will probably also remember the colourful graffiti that infected the new bridge almost as soon as it was put up (shown here). Blog reader Robert had been quick off the mark to contact the Director of Customer Services at South West Trains to draw his attention to the generally poor state of a number of stations in this area, and specifically to the graffiti on the new bridge here. On a positive note he received a speedy reply, some of which is quoted here:
"I have asked the local management team to arrange for the graffiti to be cleaned, which will be done just before the new footbridge is officially opened. They will also review the cleaning schedule at this location to ensure it is improved.
As for the general condition of the painting and station building. We also have a team that will within the next month or so touch up some of the painted areas. However Worcester Park station is on a national review list and could be subject to a complete new station building. This should be decided and act upon within the next 12 months."
It is good to see that as promised the graffiti has been removed. Nice to know we can also look forward to a bit repainting around the place in the next month or so.

What do readers think of the "complete new station building" idea? My initial thought is that the current one is quite adequate and rebuilding such a structure will cost a lot of money that we as fare payers and tax payers are eventually going to be footing the bill for. Plus it will mean a lot of disruption. I'd be interested to hear what you dear reader think though...

Update (10th August)

The lift which was out of order within a month of being first installed is now working again. I know because I have had a ride in both of them to make sure...


Open Affair


Back in April this blog reported the imminent opening of Cafe Affair next to the Post Office in North Cheam. While 'imminent' turned out to be a bit wishful, the doors were finally opened last Monday (23rd June) and Cafe Affair greeted the people of North Cheam (and Worcester Park who like a walk) with aplomb.

The cafe is run by Paul (pictured) and his wife Margaritta (not in this shot) and is the public front for a vast catering empire! Well ok perhaps not an empire, however Paul and Margaritta's main business is Tasty Affair, a catering business which is also run out of the premises here. They were based in Wimbledon but have moved to North Cheam.

Given that several similar businesses have opened recently in the area - particularly in Central Road and closed again quite soon after, I asked Paul how this would be any different. He told the blog:
"We are very confident we can deliver something to the area that is currently lacking."
He also believes they can keep the doors open here no mater what because it is being supported by the catering side of the business. That said, he is quite pleased with the amount of custom that has come through the door since they opened last week. They are just getting things ticking over at the moment and are looking to have a proper grand opening in a few weeks time.

I have to say I do rather like the vintage 1920s d├ęcor. There is a comfortable feel about the place and I was impressed with the cake (I had the chocolate) which was much better than most in places like this and much larger than I could eat in one go (and that is saying something.) The cakes are apparently hand made by a local chap. The cappuccino was not startlingly great was but was no worse than Costa or any of those other coffee chains. (Having an Italian Mrs WP and also having grown up in Australia my cappuccino expectations are admittedly unreasonable high and not often met in this country.)

As well as numerous drinks and snacks the current menu boasts salads, breakfasts, paninis and hot lunches. Paul who rather likes the continental style of eating is looking at applying for a licence to sell beer and wine so people can enjoy a glass or two with their meal as they eat out at the pavement tables. He is also looking to introduce a tapas style bistro in the evenings but that won't happen for a bit.

I am always enthusiastic about new businesses starting locally and am keen to see them do well, however in addition to my hopeful good wishes, I feel that Cafe Affair has the ingredients for a sustainable business that can hopefully serve the local community for many years. I would certainly recommend giving them a try.

Friday, 27 June 2014

Big Day Out At Shadbolt Park


The Cuddington Residents's Association has organised a Big Day Out in Shadbolt Park on Salisbury Road tomorrow from midday until 4:30pm.

This promises to be a grand affair and includes music and dancing as well as a dog show(!) and all the usual fun of such an event.

If you want to get involved with the Cuddington Residents's Association or would like to lend a hand for the event, please contact Wendy Leveridge, the Membership Secretary at wleveridge@outlook.com or just contact the Association at Cuddingtonra@gmail.com. They are always looking for a bit of help and more members...


S3 Green Lane Hail And Ride Reinstated


The S3 is allowed to stop at the end of Green Lane again. After a campaign led by Steve O'Connell (Sutton's London Assembly member), yours truly and with help from blog reader Michelle, we managed to get confirmation from the police that buses would not receive tickets for stopping on the double yellow lines to drop off and pick up passengers.

Bus drivers have been given their freedom again to stop along Green Lane where it is safe to do so. It has been emphasised that sometimes it isn't safe to stop too close to the junction with Central Road but this is now being left to drivers' discretion.

Steve O’Connell met with Transport for London and the the police to resolve outstanding traffic issues and to identify suitable locations to institute hail and ride. Two location on Green Lane have been identified where it was most suitable for the S3 to stop on a Hail and Ride basis. The operator confirmed they would encourage drivers to stop at these locations to minimise traffic conflict in the area. These are:
  • Towards New Malden – on the approach to the traffic lights just past the last residential property on the road
  • Towards Sutton -  just before the start of the parking section by the junction of Beverley Gardens
Huw Barrington, commercial director at Epsom Coaches who run the S3 service was very pleased with the outcome. He told the blog,
"Thanks to your campaigning we managed to get the issue moved up the agenda."
Mr Barrington also said he would prefer to see actual bus stops replace the Hail and Ride sections where possible. It was originally a hail and ride section because the S3 bus was not well used in the area but it's popularity has increased steadily since then. Transport for London has now undertaken to work with the London Borough of Sutton towards introducing additional bus stops along the route.

Steve O’Connell made the comment:
“I am delighted at the successful resolution of this issue. The decision to listen to the lobbying of myself and others will reap real benefits for local residents who use this important route. I will be keeping a watchful eye on this particular route to ensure that Transport for London follow through on their commitments to improve the S3 service.”
The story was also reported by the Sutton Guardian: http://www.suttonguardian.co.uk/news/11288394.Campaigners_hail_Worcester_Park_bus_victory/

This should have been such a simple thing to resolve. Michelle got confirmation from Sergeant Colin Buchan of Sutton's Safer Transport Team back in April that buses could legally stop on yellow lines (single or double). It's a shame it has taken so long and has had to resort to questions from me at full council and Steve O'Connell getting involved. In the end it is local residents who have paid the price.

Perhaps it might be time to look again at running the S3 on a Sunday. What do readers think of that idea?



Friday, 20 June 2014

Getcha Car Boots Here...

If your're in the market for a car boot or a table top then look no further than Meadow Primary School this Sunday (22nd June) from 10am 'til 1pm.

Last year this event unfortunately coincided with a very wet day but they still managed a reasonable turnout. Luckily this year there is sunshine predicted for day so it should be positively bustling!

There are still some table spots left. You can prebook one of these by emailing pta@meadow.surrey.sch.uk. However Kerry Dews who is organising the day told the blog that people could also turn up on the day and possibly get a spot if there are any left but it would be first come, first served.

This is a great way to go along, get a bargain or get rid of your unwanteds, and help support your a local school at the same time.

And anyway who doesn't have three boots in their car these days anyway? Sheesh - get with the times...


Cheam Common Schools' Summer Fair


As we continue the roll call of Summer fairs, Cheam Common Schools are having their's this Saturday (21st June). This one comes with Crocodiles! ...and a train ride! ...and Pimms...

They have kindly supplied two posters so I have put them both up here so you can take your pick!


Thursday, 19 June 2014

Cuddington Community Primary School Fair

The annual Cuddington Community Primary School fair is being held this Sunday (22nd June) at the school in Salisbury Road, KT4 7DD. This year the organising committee are going all out to make it the best year yet!

The central arena has a full programme of events on offer which will provide entertainment throughout the day. The central arena aims to showcase local talent but the headline act of the day will be the Metropolitan Police dog demonstration which is sure to prove captivating entertainment for all.

Also this year will be the international food court which will include Indian and Korean cuisine to tantalise your taste buds. There will also be a BBQ, teas and cakes and the beer tent.

The fair will also host a mini market where local businesses will tempt you with their wares.
For the little ones there will be a soft play area and a small bouncy castle. For the bigger kids there will be a multitude of activities on offer including the traditional games you would expect but also pony rides, a bowling alley and fun fair rides.

All in all it looks to be an action packed, fun filled event.
The event is organised by the Cuddington PSA (Reg charity 802605) and all funds raised will be used for the benefit of pupils at the school.

Yes that's right - a beer tent...


Trafalgar Fire


A couple whose house was on fire in Trafalgar Avenue had a lucky escape when two gentlemen cutting the grass across the road ran across to knock on their door to tell them. The couple told the blog they were not even aware the house was on fire which started just before midday, although there are reports that neighbours had smelt something burning as early as 10am. One of the owners had been enjoying a bite in the conservatory when they heard the knock on the front door. The fire was so hot they couldn't even get to the front of the house and managed to escape down the side of the house so luckily no one was hurt.

The fire service arrived very quickly after and the road was closed off while they put out the fire within 40 minutes. The front of the property has been damaged and the cover of a utility truck which was parked in the driveway was melted as well as the side of their neighbour's car. The fire also did a little damaged to the next door property.

The gentlemen who had alerted them were working for Burleys who have a contract with the council cutting grass. Dean and Darren (pictured 3rd and 4th here) were the ones who went and knocked on the door at considerable risk to themselves.
Dean told the blog:
"Having just arrived back at the truck after a round of cutting at roughly 11.50 Darren noticed that a fire had started at at the top end of trafalgar avenue so Darren and I ran over to the house and began knocking and banging on the front door. Darren then went and knocked on the neighbour's door. At this point the people from house affected came to the door unaware that there house was now on fire. We managed to get the two people and there dog out of the house and help remove the two cars from the front garden and it was at this point at which the police and fire brigade arrived. Luckily everyone was okay; just damage to the house and two cars."
Dean also took a couple of the pictures here including the one shown at the top as well as getting some video footage of the fire before the fire engine arrived, which is shown below (many thanks for allowing me to use it):

video



Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Our Changing High Street

There have been quite a few changes to our high street over the last few weeks and months with new shops opening and others closing down. There seems to have been a peak of activity lately so it's probably a good time to give a bit of a run down of the recent changes. In no particular order...

Hair Boutique had taken over from what was Acacia Hair and Beauty at the lower end of Central Road. Emma Anderson who used to be one of the stylists in Acacia took over the business at the beginning of the month (June). She has dropped the beautician side of things (apart from the spray tanning) and is concentrating on what she does best - hair styling. The business already has an up and running website here and are offering £25 cut & blow-dry every Monday and 20% off colour every Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday. The phone number is 0208 330 4164. Emma told the blog that they are busy already!


A little further down the road Prospects Recruitment have closed their office and have moved to Chessington. I wonder whether they have taken their doorbell with them?
Even further down the road the old flower shop has transformed over a period of around 6 months into London & Surrey Gas Services. The winner of the narrowest shop award (or should that be shallowest shop?) looks to be specialising in Worcester Bosch water heaters. All they need to do is to call the little park behind these shops Bosch Park and the circle would be complete.

Further towards the station still (it doesn't get much further than this), the old Acquire Estate Agents is being transformed into "Mac Repairs in London". The gentleman inside the shop told the blog they would specialising in fixing computers, laptops and mobile phones. He also said they would be opening on Monday (just gone).



Meanwhile at the top of Central Road a new computer repairs and services shop Computer Surgery has just opened. Nick who has been running his computer repairs business from home in Lynwood Drive for years said it was time to expand the business a little and decided on this retail unit on the corner of St Philips Avenue.



Heading back down the hill again the 'Perfect Property Maintenance Company' has moved in next door into where Look '@' me used to be. This leaves the old Model Railway and Hobby Shop empty again!




And finally, moving across to the other side of the road, it looks as if the old FARA charity shop is about to reopen as charity furniture shop.





Update (19th June)

Mac Repairs appears to be open now:



Saturday, 14 June 2014

Family Day At Plough Green Pre-School

In addition to Dorchester Primary School's Summer Fair today, Plough Green pre school are having their equivalent, a family day today from 11 until 2pm.

They can be found at St. John’s Hall, 411 Malden Road, Worcester Park, KT4 7NY.

There will be BBQ and bar, cakes and refreshments, games, toy stall, amazing raffle prizes (including a photo shoot worth £100) and silent auction with fabulous prizes from a pony ride to an oven clean! Plenty of activities for children including facepainting, nail painting, lucky dip, hook a duck, find the treasure, biscuit decorating and lots more.

There may even be some surprise guests! Lots happening for the children and the adults!


Dorchester Fair


As the summer fairs continue, today is Dorchester Primary School's turn. Last year's was quite a big event however many people are possibly still getting past the death of Head teacher Louise Austin in February. Either way go along and support this worthy school. WP Junior starts there in September so I'd really appreciate you all going along and contributing to the school funds by buying lots of stuff at the various stalls. Thanks very much.



Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Special Fatberg?


For those who have missed our beloved set of temporary traffic lights, they are back on the scene again and stopping traffic on Cheam Common Road. The job they are there to help facilitate is the clearing of a blocked drain.

Apparently this is one stubborn blockage. There have poked it and rodded it (same thing I think) and sent a camera up and all to no avail. They are now going to have to dig up the road and find out if it's a particularly special fatberg or even a drain collapse. This is only the exploration phase so once fixing is included in the equation is could be like this for a week. Welcome back to the Worcester Park of old...


Thursday, 5 June 2014

First In, Fair Scout

The summer fair season rolls on and in addition to the Green Lane carnival this Saturday, the 1st Old Malden Scouts are having their annual Summer Fair on the same day (Saturday 7th June) on Plough Green (you know - Malden Road opposite the shops - where the Plough pub is. Yes that's right - pub).

This year they have a new Splat the Rat game, and Scouts in the Stocks. (You can throw a water balloon at them!)

They also have all the usual fun like Hook a Duck, Face Painting, and a bouncy castle, not to mention stalls like the popular plant stall, BBQ, Scalextric Racing, the Book Stall and Bric a Brac. They also have arena events this year including local children performing.

They are trying to raise money for a new mini bus. The group is growing fast, and they need to be able to take the boys and girls to activities and camps. Their old mini bus can’t enter low emission zones, so its use is limited and besides it’s become rather decrepit. 

The poster this year is an amalgamation of drawings by competition winners Sam Utting and Thomas Ghafur so well done to them!

Hoping lots of people will go along and have fun!



Ruskin Break In

I have just received an email from a concerned blog reader about recent break ins in Ruskin Drive. He said:
"The police advised us to be extra vigilant and keep all windows and doors locked. They sound like opportunistic break ins, but happen in broad daylight with no witnesses coming forward."
He also added, which I heartily agree with:
"Let's keep an eye out for each other."


Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Green Lane Carnival

School fair season has begun (it now being officially Summer - at least by one reckoning) and kicking off the festivities is Green Lane Primary and Nursery School.

Their Summer Fair is on this coming Saturday (7th June) from 11:00am until 2:00pm.

The school is looking to celebrate the World Cup in Brazil this year as part of the Summer Fair theme and the theme for this event is 'Carnival'.

So why not go along and take part in free Samba Drumming sessions with the London School of Samba and dig out your feathered head dresses for the Fancy Dress competition?

There will also be all the favourite Summer Fair attractions including a tasty BBQ, ice creams, candy floss, face painting and the traditional fair games. For the little ones there is the Jiggle and Jam play area and for the older ones, a bigger, better inflatable assault course.

Go along and soak up the carnival atmosphere!


FARA's Last Day


Regular uses of the Central Road Charity shop FARA will be sad to know that today is their last day of trading. Blog reader Jeannette contacted the blog a few days ago to break the news and said:
"Apparently the landlord has sold the shop to another charity and it is going to be their furniture shop. Staff lovely and Alex the shop manager has been with Fara for quite a few years. They were only told last Friday."
The FARA charity which was set up to provide for Romania's most neglected and abandoned children still has around 50 FARA charity shops around Central and South West London so there are still ways you can support this important Charity.

It would be nice to see something other than another charity shop in Central Road. Perhaps a charity furniture shop might be considered as some sort of compromise (trying to look on the bright side...). It will be interesting to see what happens.

In the meanwhile, you have only today to get into FARA and grab a final bargain...


Sunday, 1 June 2014

Adjourned Again

The inquiry into the refused Mosque planning application at 2-4 Green Lane was adjourned again after two more days of hearing evidence on Thursday and Friday (29th and 30th May respectively). As more and more people come forward to speak and to then be cross examined the conclusion to this inquiry is getting further and further away.

The Friday had been planned as a site visit for the inspector to see what it is like around lunchtime on a Friday which is supposed to be the weekly time when the Mosque would be at it's busiest. This had been the only time when all parties were available for a site visit but after it was pointed out that this was during half term and that the traffic would not be typical of normal Friday traffic it was decided that the inspector would visit the site at another time and the day would instead be used to hear further evidence.

The hearing will now recommence on Tuesday 14th October as apparently the counsel for both parties and the inspector all have other commitments over the next few months. Yes that's right - October.

Of the six newly elected Lib Dem councillors in the area (Worcester Park and Nonsuch wards), only one (Arthur Hookway) was in attendance at the hearing while two of the unsuccessful candidates were there (Richard Edmonds and myself). I hope these elected representative start to show an interest in the important issues in the area soon...


Key To The High Street


Wandering around Worcester Park High Street recently you may have noticed these key symbols around the place and perhaps even wondered what they were all about. You may have seen the explanation in the Sutton Guardian but in case you didn't - they are part of the new Worcester Park Key initiative designed to tempt local people into actually using our local shops.

Each home in the local area will soon receive an A5 booklet and a blue 'key card' which will entitle people to discounts at over 30 local shops. 8,000 of these booklets and cards will be distributed from next Friday (6th June) in two tranches with a further 2,000 being available at local participating shops.

The booklet lists the many shops available in Worcester Park High Street and details the ones offering a special deal or discount upon presentation of the Worcester Park Key card. As it says in the preface:
"The Worcester Park High Street has many interesting and unique independent businesses offering an excellent range of products and services catered around your needs."
The Worcester Park Traders Association has been trying to find ways to encourage people to use the many local shops available and has had a few good ideas. This particular scheme was the brainchild of Raj Jain who has run Preview Menswear in Central Road for 20 years. Many local traders put money into the pot to produce the booklet and card and Raj has put a great deal of time and effort into making it happen, with help from the Traders' Association.

It is fairly well known that there has been a marked drop in customer footfall over the years in Worcester Park and it is good to see the traders working together to do something about it. Another idea was the OWP - Our Worcester Park Traders' Club re branding. This plan is going to include several other aspects but more on that at another time.