Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Blue Bird

I've had emails from two people today saying they've found a blue budgie and would like to know who the owner might be. If you live in the area and have lost such a budgie, please get in contact so you may be reunited with said bird...

Vic House Consultation

Tomorrow (Wednesday) and Saturday the is a chance to go along and have your say about the latest plans for the replacement to the eyesore that is Victoria House up at the Cheam crossroads.

Have a look at the new plans and make your feeling known...

Monday, 25 May 2015

Alley Fit For A Pig

Regular local walkers and cyclists will be aware of the recent improvements to the path leading from the top of Green Lane near the stables, past the Hamptons and down to Trafalgar Avenue. The path, known locally by various names with a common theme as 'Pig Alley', 'Pigs Alley', 'Pig Farm Alley' (which may contain some clues about some local nearby history) or 'Dog Sh*t Alley' (which may contain some clues as to what might be found there), was closed off to the public back in November last year so that a proper footpath could be constructed.

For anyone who knows this area, the finished product is orders of magnitude better than what was there before. I have been wanting to see this path improved for quite some time and I'm so glad this has finally happened.

The path is intended to be part of a new cycle route which should run from the top of Green Lane where the stables are, right the way through to Sutton. This particular set of works runs from Trafalgar Avenue through to the the path at the other end of Boscombe Road where the Hamptons begins (Picture on the left).

Hopefully the next section will be between Boscombe Road and the stables and started before the end of the year.

While the official notices saying this would take approximately a month were a bit of a master class in wishful thinking, I would say the wait has been worthwhile.

For those who are interested, here is a bit of a photographic record of the process...

Path closed to the public. Early November 2014
Fence is up and work has started. Mid November
Mid November
Back to normal. Early January

Path taking shape. Early - Mid February
Tarmac mostly complete. Early - Mid March
Tarmac done. Mid March
Bollards going in. Late - Mid March

All ready to go - Mid April
Rubbish removed and path open again - Early May
It was around mid April that some local scrag thought it would be a good idea to graffiti the central bollard (blurred out in this shots above).

It has been argued that there might be a fine line between art and graffiti. And only a short walk up this alley are some examples of graffiti that rather show up the lack of any talent held by the scrawler of this particular crayon worthy bollard drawing. While all graffiti is generally criminal damage, creating something that is at least impressive to look at is far removed from the infantile practice of writing one's name everywhere. I was glad to see that the offending blot was removed soon after the path opened.

Graffiti free bollard
As well as the nice new path, a new fence was put in as well which should keep the local back fences a little cleaner.

Overall a very good job!

Sunday, 24 May 2015

The Hole Lot

After a recent lapse in blogging, it is time to look back over the last few months in Worcester Park. As I have mentioned in a previous recent post, there have been numerous things going on which I just haven't had the time to write about.

I start this process here with brief overview of local holes in the ground... I know, I know - please try to contain your excitement. I will try to be brief...

The Holes...

Just prior to the Ides Of March (that's the 15th for those without Wikipedia) a large hole was dug in the pavement outside the Dentist's in Windsor Road.

This was for 'essential electricity works in the area'.

Good thing it was near the Dentist's because afterwards it needed 'a-filling'... (yeah I'm ROFL too...)

*      *      *      *      *

Not long after that, a hole appeared in the pavement outside the newly taken over and refurbished Kingfish fish and chip restaurant.

This hole refused to go away for a very long time and was finally closed up again nearly a month later.  This hole was due to a water leak which was getting into the basement rooms of the new restaurant and took quite a while to fix.

*      *       *       *       *

Around the time the Kingfish hole was being finalised (about halfway through April) these holes appeared in the pavement outside Superdrug.
Something else to do with electricity I guess...

*       *        *        *        *

On Tuesday 21st April workmen turn up briefly at around 6:30pm to close half of Central Road opposite Brinkley Road in order to replace a man hole cover.

While this was certainly not the best time to choose for such an operation they were mercifully swift and finished in within about an hour.

*        *         *         *        *

Then in the final week of campaigning a large hole appeared at the bottom on Longfellow Road outside the Halifax. I was rather busy this week and every time I went past I thought to myself 'I must get a picture of that'. They were quite aesthetically pleasing as far as roadworks go (should I seek help after making such a statement?) and regret that the morning I managed to wander over to take 'the shot' they had gone - to be replaced with only a darkened oblong of bitumen and a nice new manhole cover. 

What I can report is that they were to replace electrical infrastructure and power had to be switched off to some local residences and businesses over that weekend.

*        *         *         *        *

Now into the post-election period, a hole has been dug in Clarkes Avenue to accommodate some gasworks.

This is still a 'live hole' although looks to be nearing completion. Hopefully it will not take as long as some to finalise...

It is rather a shame that the gas pipes that needed fixing were not a little further down the road as we could have got this rather broken up section of Clarkes Avenue fixed at the same time for no extra cost!

*         *          *          *         *

And finally, since last Thursday we have been treated to major hold ups in Central Road so that the old John James premises can have some more water pipes installed. I believe that an extra residence has been created there which is why a new connection to the mains has been required. Read more about this here...

Glad to be able to bring you the hole picture...

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Water Traffic Jam

Oh dear, Central Road eternal super traffic jams have sprung to life again over the last couple of days...

This time it is all down to bringing water to the old John James establishment which has been undergoing internal renovations for quite a long time.

The works began on Thursday and should hopefully be finished this afternoon. The main works have now been completed and they are only waiting for the tarmac to be relaid on the road again so fingers crossed.

In the meanwhile give the area a wide berth if at all possible if using motorised transport...

Update (24th May)

The road should have been opened up again yesterday afternoon after the tarmac was reinstated in the road section. There seems absolutely no reason why the temporary traffic lights should still be there as the roadway is now repaired and able to take vehicles along its full width. Even if the bricks have not yet been re-laid in the parking section.

According to a chap from a shop nearby, the workmen simply left after filling in the tarmac. When he asked if they will take down the temporary traffic lights as the road was re-instated they simply said it was not up to them.

What utter ineptitude from Thames Water causing local people this completely unnecessary inconvenience.


Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Mosque Appeal Allowed

It is with a sombre heart that I must report to those who have not yet heard the news that our efforts have not been successful in opposing the Mosque application at 2-4 Green Lane.

The planning inspectorate's decision to allow the 4 year trial application has been emailed out to many people this morning. The original application for 140 people (not 4 year trail) was rejected but the second appeal was allowed.

Many people will be reading the news in disbelief, wondering what in reality we can really do next. I know people who have said that this will be the final straw as far as traffic and parking in the area is concerned. Indeed, problems with Parking and traffic in the area is the very reason Andrew, who ran the blog up until March 2013 when I took it over, left Worcester Park.

In part of his conclusion the planning inspector wrote:
"Whilst the smaller scheme for 95 worshippers would also have an adverse effect, I do not consider that that effect would be severe. On balance the benefits of proposal B [4-year trial limited to 95 worshippers] would outweigh the harm, and temporary permission for a period of four years would enable the effect of the use on traffic movement and highway safety to be fully assessed."
You can read the actual decision documentation here.

While it is undoubtedly clutching at straws, it is the four year trial and so there are some fairly stringent conditions that have been placed on the application. My position is that we must hold the view that if those conditions are breached, then the trial has failed and the applicants will have to move to a more suitable location on or before the end of the 4 year period.

As part of those conditions the applicant is now obliged to submit a travel plan and a management plan before they can begin using the building as a Mosque. These must be approved in writing by the council.

We must navigate very carefully now - for the sake of our community. While I still hold the view that this is an absurd application for that site, we are where we are and we must not let it rip our community apart. We need to accept that the law is the law and that while we have done everything in our power to stop this happening - it has happened. Above all we must not vent our anger through acts unbecoming of our decent community.

Yet we should continue to work within the law to bring about a better resolution than this one. Over the next four years it must be demonstrated that all conditions imposed by the application are stuck to fully. At the end of that time the question will be asked, "What evidence is there to show that the conditions have been breached."

If the conditions are breeched, then we will expect the council to produce documented evidence. If they cannot present the evidence then there will be no case as it will have to be assumed that no conditions have been breached. So we must ensure our local councillors push to make it the highest priority for Worcester Park that any breeches of the conditions are noted and documented by the council. This will have the twin effect of hopefully minimising the nuisance caused to the local community by this application, and if as many suspect, the Mosque is not able to operate in the way the planning application claims it will, then planning law will be able to be used to ensure a more suitable spot is found after that time.

If there has ever been an issue that has brought the entire local community together it has been this one - united in our opposition to this planning application. I believe that even though we have been unsuccessful, we should be proud of how we came together as a community. We did not let the pressure off, even after several years when many other local communities would have folded and interest waned. We had more people at the final day of the appeal than at the first day! (I understand that usually with these things many people attend the first day and by the time the final day comes, few people have the inclination to bother to go.)

I don't know that there is more we could have done. Given the limitations in planning law (of which I am not knowledgeable), I can't think of a single thing more we could have done as a community or individually to cause the entire appeal to be thrown out.

What  are your reactions to this dear reader? Over to you...

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Vote Today

Normal service will be resumed shortly...

But in the meanwhile - Today is the day you choose the next Prime Minister

Choose wisely (or else throw a dart at the screen...)