Thursday, 29 October 2015

A Tentative Crossrail Sucess

It appears our campaign may have succeeded in bringing Crossrail 2 to Worcester Park!

Crossrail 2 have begun another consultation but unlike previous consultations, where Worcester Park was missing as a station stop on the maps, this time there is a fact sheet showing Worcester Park, Stoneleigh and Ewell West as proposed stations along the route (thanks blog reader Doug for an early pointer on this).

On the consultation page there is a list of fact sheets, one of which is about the Epsom to Worcester Park regional branch. The main subheading of this states that:
"New Crossrail 2 services are proposed to serve all stations between Worcester Park and Epsom, with at least 4 trains per hour in each direction operating directly to, and across, central London."
There is also a table which shows that Worcester Park will end up with 8 trains per hour to Central London during peak times (an increase of 2) and it shows that all trains coming from Epsom will stop here.

I want to thank everyone who supported our campaign by signing our petition, or keeping one in their shop or just responding to the consultation.

Steve O'Connell AMThanks must also go to local London Assembly member Steve O'Connell who has supported the campaign both on the ground and by keeping the pressure up on Boris.

Claire Perry MP and Paul Scully MP at Worcester Park stationAnd also to Paul Scully MP who has supported the campaign from the beginning, and bringing transport minister at the time, Claire Perry MP down to see the situation for herself.

Simon Densley with Mayor Boris JohnsonAnd perhaps also to Boris himself whom I accosted on the issue every time I saw him.

It is not time to rest on our laurels just yet though. This is still only a proposal and not yet set in stone. I would urge everyone to respond to the consultation, filling in both the South West Branches section and also the compulsory About You section.

I responded earlier today and made the comment:
"It is with great relief, happiness and satisfaction that I see the Crossrail 2 is now proposed to serve Worcester Park station. Please do not let this be a temporary proposal. It is very important that Worcester Park be part of the Crossrail 2 network and I urge you to set this proposal in stone."
It has also bee noted that Worcester Park has not been included on a series of 66 ‘roadshow’ events at which Crossrail 2 staff will be available to answer questions. I have asked Paul Scully to ask why this is, at meeting he is having with Crossrail 2 representatives next week. I'm hoping part of the answer will be because Worcester Park now has what it wants, and hopefully we will be included on such events in the future. That said there are such events in Epsom and Raynes Park which I'm sure we will be welcome to visit with the same questions.

Update (12 minutes past 6 pm)

I have just received an email from Cllr Kevin Davis (Leader of Kingston Council and councillor for Old Malden ward - part of Worcester Park, in fact the ward containing Worcester Park station), stating:
"I can confirm we have managed to get Worcester Park included in the Crossrail 2 project."
Hip hip...


Autumn Treasure Hunt

The half term Autumn entertainment continues this Saturday with a kids treasure hunt along Central Road.

Serial organiser of these things, Richard Johnson told the blog:
"Even if your child didn't win one of the three prizes of the Autumn Art Competition (which closed yesterday), they can still win prizes in this Saturday's FREE Central Road Treasure Hunt…
Thanks to the support of Paul (new Manager of Worcester Park’s Sainsbury’s Local) and Daniel (Manager of Worcester Park’s Haart estate agents), Worcester Park’s children have the opportunity to complete an autumn themed treasure hunt this Saturday (Halloween).
You’ve probably already seen posters like the one featured here dotted around the shop windows in and around Central Road. On Saturday, from 10am,  children will be able to pick up a form at Sainsbury's Local in Worcester Park [or download it from here] and write the names of some of the shops where they discover the same poster in the shop window.
On filling the form with the names of 25 participating shops, children can present the completed form at Sainsbury’s and Haart, where they’ll receive some treats from both shops. Sainsbury’s will have 100 forms available and both shops will have 100 lots of treats, which they’ll give out from 10am until 2pm, or until they run out. Best aim to start at 10am to avoid disappointment.
All you’ll need to bring with you is a pen to write the names of the shops on your entry form.
You’ll note that the form in the shop windows focuses on local autumn views, rather than explicitly ‘Halloween’. In an effort to make this activity as inclusive as possible I’ve avoided any controversial imagery. And to make this a truly local treasure hunt, I thought it was an opportunity to show the beauty of autumn colours that you can see in KT4 at this time of year. Besides, it’s clear not everyone is keen on ‘trick or treating’,  which is seen by some as hostile begging. So rather than have your children knock on your (possibly elderly) neighbours’ doors and with a confrontational, 'Trick or treat!',  here’s an alternative challenge for younger residents to have test their observational powers in the high street, with some treats at the end of it."
Download the entry form here - and go and find those Autumn pictures!


Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Extraordinary Police Ward Panel Public Meeting

As many blog readers may already know, I was elected chair of the Worcester Park Residents Association (WPRA) in July. A recent tradition means that I also chair the Worcester Park Police Safer Neighbourhood Ward Panel. It is with this hat on that I have called a public meeting this Friday which I would like to invite the residents of Worcester Park to.

The following is the message which I have sent out to members of the WPRA:
There has been concern recently about possible changes to the local neighbourhood policing due to possible savings needing to be found from the police budget. 
As chair of the Worcester Park Police Safer Neighbourhood Ward Panel (as well as the WPRA), I have called an extraordinary Ward Panel meeting and it has been recently decided to open this up to the wider public so this important issue can be discussed in public so we as a community can make known our views on the future of local policing in Worcester Park. 
Both our London Assembly Member, Steve O'Connell and our new MP Paul Scully have agreed to be present and speak at the meeting to give us an inside view of the situation, and also listen to our concerns and take our views back to the next level on our behalf. 
The meeting has been organised for this coming Friday 30th October at Maple Lodge in the Hamptons at 7:30pm.
This will be a chance to find out with greater clarity what is happening with local police, raise our concerns about this with Steve O'Connell AM and Paul Scully MP, and most importantly stand up for our local community and the police who keep us safe.

Remember - this Friday 30th October, 7:30pm at Maple Lodge (the large building with the clock on top) in The Hamptons,

Hope to see you there...


Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Free Fireworks

If you are like my family, you're probably looking for somewhere to go around the 5th November to enjoy some fireworks without paying too much. Now that WP Junior is old enough to appreciate it, I had volunteered to actually buy some fireworks last year but Mrs WP suggested that it would be cheaper (probably thinking 'safer') to go along to one of the many pre-organised events instead. Given our wizened budget the reality was that neither was really feasible.

However this year is a whole different story. The budget is still gaunt - in fact even more so after the materialisation of WP Junior #2, but the Hamptons has come to the rescue!

On Sunday the 8th November, hot on the heels of their successful Midsummer Fiesta, the Hamptons are putting on a huge fireworks display for everyone and anyone who wants to come along.

The fireworks is actually just one part of an overall entertainment evening beginning at 3:30pm with a popup market, the second 'Made In The Hamptons' event (where Hamptons residents showcase their good and services - there's much enterprise in the Hamptons), Mulled Wine, and fair ground style entertainment for kids and us older folks...

WP Junior has just seen the poster and repeated "I want to go. I want to go. I want to go. I want to go." So it looks as if this event is likely to be a big hit - certainly for us!


Sunday, 25 October 2015

Green Unmade Track


A blog reader recently contacted me about the oddity that most of us know as the unmade section at the top of Green Lane.

He writes (with a couple of editorial adjustments...):
"The Green Lane School car park is starting to annoy me and many other people. It truly is a misery, and my car has suffered enough. The whole parking area is very neglected, and will get worse with this Winter's weather.
Another main problem apart from surface, is the lack of bollards or railings to prevent cars from reversing over the pathway.
There was a serious near miss when a car careered out of control a few weeks ago, through the hedge and into the Hamptons' fence. If it was the other direction - it would have gone through the children (it was pick up time) standing on the path and through the school wall / fence. It's all an accident waiting to happen, and it is not acceptable to wait until that accident happens, before anything is done about it.
The sheer volume of cars coming in and out throughout the day (see pics) is a concern. Particularly with cars swerving to avoid grounding their cars. I'm considering buying a Land Rover to prevent this happening again. It's also treated as a storage car park for the local mechanic's garage, and overflow parking from the Hamptons - which simply adds to the volume and parking chaos.
The school is aware it is a problem as I and many parents have raise this issue with them. They roll the their eyes and shrug their shoulders - they are also sick to death of the bickering councils saying 'it's the other councils responsibility.'
My concern is why is this neglected - from a duty of care perspective from either council. Local council should not be allowed to wash their hands of this because it is convenient to their financial budgets to do so. At the expense of child safety and general duty to council tax paying residents.
Why are they putting the local community at risk and avoiding their duty of care to the school and it's children? I'd have thought safety was a prime concern. It took a serious amount of campaigning to get the 'yellow and orange pencil bollards' put in by the roundabout."
My own understanding of this situation is as follows:

Whilst Green Lane Primary School is a Royal Borough Of Kingston School, situated within the bounds of the London Borough of Sutton, the land surrounding the school on all sides is completely within the Sutton boundary. There is only a thin piece of land between the western side of the school property and the Beverley Brook which marks the actual boundary with RB Kingston but everything here is Sutton's responsibility other than the running of the school.

The unmade section of road is unadopted land which is not owned by the council. Technically it belongs to someone but no one seems to know who that someone is. But as it doesn't belong to the council, the council are not required to maintain it.

I understand there are processes councils can go through to adopt such pieces of road but I suspect that doing so will make them responsible for it, requiring them to pay for it to be fixed and therefore cost money they don't want to spend. It is probably easier to just claim it's someone else's problem.

The council did reluctantly spend some money in this area when shamed into it by the late and fondly remembered Ray Bunce who campaigned for children's safety here for many years. He is remembered with a bench dedicated to him outside the school. Ray raised many thousands of pounds and eventually made some progress when the council agreed to the new pencil themed bollards outside the school. However even at those local committee meetings (which I attended) councillors were talking about the road not being theirs and so they couldn't justify spending money on it - in case the real owner then turned up and took it over again.

I must stress at this point that I'm not a solicitor and don't have access to council officers or files like councillors do and so I don't know exactly how much it would cost to adopt the land and then fix it. I can't help feeling though that the council owe a certain duty of care to people going about their business in public spaces within it's boundary and that fixing this problem should fall within that remit.

I also feel that the liklyhood of the real owner turning up is vanishingly small and the risk is worth it - for the sake of the children.


Saturday, 24 October 2015

Bumpy Journey


When I first spotted this notice above out of the corner of my eye, I assumed it was to persuade me to buy some cheap windows or sell a wrecked car or something. It was only having read 'Advanced Warning' that I decided to take a proper look and found that a bunch of roads are going to be closed to traffic next week. This must be the Council saving money on logos.

Notices being put through letterboxes in the local area make it a bit clearer what is happening. Browning Avenue, Dorchester Road and Langley Avenue (basic the S3 bus route apart from Green Lane) are having their old speed humps replaced with new ones.

This is another part of the traffic frustration measures (known paradoxically as traffic calming) which included Green Lane back in August.

Not everyone is happy with this. I bumped into Terry Aves who has being campaigning for the removal of these speed humps in Browning Avenue and to have them replaced with chicanes and flashing speed signs for a long time. Terry, a resident of Browning Avenue for 30 years, was very angry and quite happy to go on the record about his frustrations. He told the blog:
"These speed humps serve no purpose at all. The cars go right through them. They end up damaging cars.
The lorries still go down the road without slowing down. I have a hump right outside my house and the whole house shakes.
I've been on at the council 'til I'm blue in the face. They just don't seem to take any notice.
It's about time they have a rethink and put up electronic signs like the one in Green Lane and some chicanes but they don't want to spend the money. They're happy to spend the money on replacing all the speed humps though."
Well at least they've chosen half term week to do the work!


Kids Autumn Art Challenge

For all those children and parents who have enjoyed the periodic high street colouring, spotting and collecting competitions, here is another one for the half term week, based on Autumn.

Regular organiser of these events, Richard Johnson wrote:
"Following on from the Easter art challenge and some truly impressive and creative entries, it’s clear we have some budding younger artists in KT4, so here’s another opportunity for them to demonstrate their skills and techniques…
Worcester Park’s children are invited to create their own artistic design, based the theme of ’Autumn’ and enter it in  the competition, sponsored by Sainsbury’s Worcester Park.
It could be falling leaves, rising fireworks, a face on a pumpkin, or any other subject connected to autumn.
Three Prizes will be awarded to the three most creative designs entered.
Entrants can use any material or medium to construct your design, including downloading a form on a computer, designing it onscreen and printing it.
Entry is completely FREE.
Entrants can also enter as many times as they like.
Simply pick up (from Sainsbury’s Worcester Park) or download and print the entry form and create your design on it.
Write you name on the rear of the form and ask a parent to add their phone number (so Sainsbury’s can let them know if you have won a prize).
Simply hand in your entry, in store at Sainsbury’s Local (Worcester Park), by Wednesday 28th October 2015.
And Good Luck!"
So there you have it. Download the form above - click on it to enlarge and then right click to 'Save As' and then print it out!


Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Second Historic Revisit Of Central Road


Back due to popular demand, the historical local photos exhibition is on again this Saturday (21st October) from 11am 'til 4pm at the Royal British Legion.

Many readers will remember the first historical photo exhibition at the Royal British Legion back in May (Saturday 2nd) which over 500 people took the time to visit. Whilst I did go along and enjoy this exhibition briefly (and took some shots), this was the Saturday just before the General Election and I was very busy working with Paul Scully and didn't get a chance to also post about it on the blog at the time.

However I am glad to be able to bring your attention to the impressive collection this time around and not only that, to let you know the number of photos has since doubled so there is twice as much to see. (Thanks to the Surrey comet for the photo on the left here.)

A one of the organisers Richard Johnson told the blog:
"This exhibition will be the enlarged and updated follow-up of the May event, with vintage photos sourced from across our community. Since May, many residents and former residents have got in touch to offer postcards, photos or scanned images. So many in fact, that there will be twice as many pictures on display as last time: A big thank you everyone! At its heart will be local resident, Kay Foale’s collection, who has an impressive collection of vintage local postcards and has added her own photos, taken some decades ago. [Many of the images have never before been publicly displayed]. 
Alongside and an integral part will be Pets Place owner,  Brendan Austin’s ongoing and hugely complex research project into the comings and goings of Worcester Park’s Central Road. Brendan has set himself the extraordinary task of trying to reconstruct and record the changing names of the shops in our ‘high street’, going as far back as the Victorian era.
My own contribution has been re-photographing each of the vintage scenes of Central Road, from the same viewpoints, or as close as is possible today. When near matches are possible, it is much easier for the viewer to contrast and compare the changes in each pair of photos, over the intervening decades. Some pairs show a surprising similarity, whilst others show almost no correlation at all. 
The exhibition will be open from 11am to 4pm at the Royal British Legion in Worcester Park. Entry if FREE and open to all, even if you are not a member. Refreshments will be available."

A teaser of some of what is available:

Here are 4 pairs of photos from the exhibition with descriptions from Richard (click photo pairs to enlarge).

Looking up Central Road:
Today, looking uphill from the bottom of today’s widened Central Road; shops extend into the distance, on both sides of the road. In the Victorian era, the scene was very different, with the local commercial district consisting of a pocket of just six to eight shops. The area has seen extensive change, construction and reconstruction, with shop names and owners having changed many times over in the intervening century and a half. However, curiously, the majority of those few, original Victorian commercial buildings are still standing, and still operating in their originally intended role. 

Looking down Central Road:
Late Victorian and Edwardian postcards show Worcester Park’s Central Road as an idyllic, peaceful and tree lined residential road, that was visibly a joy to cycle downhill (albeit whilst carefully avoiding numerous piles of horse dung!) To capture today’s equivalent photo from the same location was more challenging than it looks, as it entailed standing in the middle of a now notoriously busy road. I took a recent comparison photo early on a Sunday morning. Not only as it was safer, but because it was the only daylight period of the week that I could avoid gridlocked traffic blocking the view!   

Central Road changes from residential to commercial:
Vintage photos of the top of Worcester Park’s Central Road reveal that during the Victorian era, today’s Central Road was lined by stylish, ornately finished, semi-detached houses with front gardens. Regrettably, today, those attractive residential homes that remained well into the 1930s are all but vanished. And long ago, their front gardens became pavement to accommodate the widened road. However, as I re-photographed this scene, I realised that nestling almost unnoticed between towering neighbours, one pair of those original semi-detached residences are still standing. Happily, these survivors are also in active use as offices.  [The y are located between Broadway Bargains and Sainsbury’s].

Central Road’s changing architecture:
For much of the post-war era, the dominant piece of architecture at the centre of Worcester Park was the Odeon cinema, which eventually became a supermarket and changed hands and its name, several times. Eventually demolished and subsequently rebuilt as two buildings with multiple uses, ‘spaghetti westerns’ have given way to ‘spaghetti Bolognese’ in the form of a branch of Pizza Express at the front. Meanwhile, the era of the silver screen has been revived, in the form of Worcester Park library’s cinema club, who utilise the rear of the first floor for screenings.

These are just 8 of the 200+ photos that will be on show this Saturday…

Update (1pm on the day)


It's very busy at the RBL with people enjoying the exhibition. You still have until 4pm to get down there...

Update (4th November)

Here's how the Sutton Guardian saw it...

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Baby And Children's Market


If, like me you are pushing through life trying to look after a number of little-uns, you may be interested to know that there will be a local Baby and Children’s Market on Saturday 31st October from 2pm - 4pm. This will be held at Christ Church with St. Philip, Ruskin Drive, KT4 8LG.

Contrary to the name, the buying, swapping and selling of babies and children will be discouraged, however toys, clothes and other items used by babies and children are more than welcome for trading.

The market bills itself as "a unique market specialising in pre-loved baby and children’s goods". I don't know about you but I've seen quite a few "markets specialising in pre-loved baby and children’s goods" since the first WP Junior arrived. There was one in the Hamptons back in March... So I'd say the jury's out on "unique" however the rest of it stands up to scrutiny.

There will be lots of stalls  run by parents selling their quality pre-loved toys, books, clothes and equipment. It will also host a limited number of small businesses targeted specifically at the 0 - 9 age group.

The cost of entry will be £1 for adults - kids are free (no doubt to encourage additional pester power...) There will be hot and cold refreshments available and a face painter too.

The market is open for stall bookings and may appeal to parents that have a house full of outgrown baby and children items and want to create space and some extra cash. Of course it's also a great way of recycling. 

If you are interested in having a stall there, the costs are:
  • Nearly New: £15
  • Hand Made: £18
  • Business stall (information only): £20 
  • Business stall (selling): £25
For more information contact Toni via email: toni@babyandchildrensmarket.co.uk, call on 07789591327 and see their website.


Hot Car


Residents of Parkview Crescent had an unpleasant surprise yesterday afternoon (around 5pm) when a Rover convertible was set alight in the car park behind the buildings there. The fire brigade arrived first and had put out the flames by the time the police arrived.

The bin shed also suffered quite a bit of damage but luckily there were no reports of anyone being hurt.

The saddest thing about this is the two boys who have been arrested on suspicion of arson are only 12 years old. They have been bailed to return to Sutton Police Station. But really - what sort of parents do these kids have?

Some readers may dismiss it as normal behaviour for a social housing area but I know some really decent hard working people who live in this part of the Hamptons so it's not the whole area or the people there you can just write off. But a few people really need to pull their fingers out and start teaching their children the difference between right and wrong.

If these kids are guilty then I hope there's an investigation into the parents as well.


Monday, 12 October 2015

School Open Morning


Cuddington Community Primary School will be hosting an open morning this Thursday 15th October.

Lee Herdman, the new Head of School told the blog:
"I began my work in the school on the 1st September, and am enjoying the privilege of serving the children and families within the community of Worcester Park. The school is hosting it's first open mornings on the 1st and 15th October. By doing this we hope to allow potential new parents the opportunity to see the school in action. [This] will be a very special occasion for us as a school."
If you live near Cuddington Community Primary School (Salisbury Road, KT4 7DD) or might be interested to send your little-un there, pop along to the open morning this Thursday.


Sunday, 11 October 2015

Money Down The Bog

An elderly lady in Lynwood Drive was recently conned out of £4,800 by a man claiming to need to fix her loo. On Tuesday 29th September, the 82 year old resident, allowed the man into her home without shutting the front door behind him only to find moments later that her toilet had become blocked and was flooding the floor.

She was asked for £4,800 to repair it was told to tell her bank the money was for ‘family reasons’. She withdrew the money and handed over the cash. She later received three follow-up telephone calls asking for more money to cover the cost of hire equipment but luckily she declined these further requests.

Police in Sutton have received a number of reports in the last week or so of residents being asked by doorstep tricksters for money to repair water leaks or drainage problems. Officers advise residents not to allow any unknown, unexpected callers inside their home. If you are suspicious of anyone calling at your door, shut the door keeping them outside, and call police on 999. They would rather come out and check that everything is OK, than to find someone who has become a victim of crime.

Residents who want improvement work carried out on their homes are advised to check out any companies and obtain references from previous customers before agreeing to any work. Most reputable companies will be happy to supply such information.

Sutton Council has a Safer Sutton Trader Scheme which seeks to help residents avoid bogus builders and unscrupulous traders. To find an approved trader please visit the Safer Sutton Trader Scheme website at: www.sutton.gov.uk/ssts or call 020 8770 5070 for further details.

For advice on rogue traders contact Citizens Advice consumer service on 08454 04 05 06 or visit:
www.citizensadvice.org.uk/index/consumer_service.

If you know someone who might be vulnerable to these sorts of scams, please talk to them to make sure they are aware of them and don't get ripped off. If you know anyone perpetrating these crimes - please call the police and dob them in. They are scum and do not deserve anyone's protection. (Yes it does make me angry...)


Scary Dog

Police are looking for a dog (pictured right), and it's owner after it charged at a jogger in Cuddington Rec. This originally happened back in July and was reported to Sutton Council. However the same dog (with the same owner) ran at speed towards the same jogger early (around 6:45am) on Monday 31st August, from a distance of around 30 metres and only pulled up at the last moment. The dog then growled as it circled him. The dog owner apologised after this second incident.

The jogger told police that:
"Since it was the second such instance with this particular dog, I was fairly confident that it would not physically attack me, but nonetheless, there is always that element of doubt which makes it scary." 
A few days later the jogger was back in the park when he saw the dog again but this time the dog owner restrained the dog by its collar whilst he ran by.

PC Heath Keogh, who runs the Borough LEAD dog initiative, said:
"There only has to be reasonable apprehension that a dog will injure or attack you for an offence to have been committed under the Dangerous Dogs Act. 
We would like this dog owner to come forward so we can engage with him and give him appropriate advice."
If you happen to be the owner of this dog, please contact Sutton Police station on 101.


Friday, 9 October 2015

A Flood Of Complaints



Many blog readers will remember all the work done in Green Lane a few years ago to turn the back green into a temporary flood plain to alleviate flooding in Caverleigh Way, Green Lane and other nearby areas.

In total £1,709,000 was spent on the scheme of which £150,000 was contributed by the LB of Sutton. These photos on the right, showing some of the early stages of planting were taken in March 2013.

Since then unfortunately, a number of people have contacted me to complain that in certain areas, the flooding is now worse than what it was before the scheme came into existence.

As you can see above, when the Beverley Brook bursts it's banks, it does indeed fill the newly created flood plain instead of the cricket club and the properties in Green Lane and at the low numbers in Caverleigh Way which back onto the water way as it used to be.

However in solving this problem it seems a different problem has been caused.

The New Flood Problem

Readers in the area will be aware that the green space between the properties in Caverleigh Way and the Beverley Brook was used to dump an amount of earth that was taken from the Back Green in order to lower it and create the flood plain.

According to blog reader Paul, resident of Caverleigh Way:
"Having gone through the turmoil last year, when thousands were spent to protect the cricket club. The building of the run off area and the building of the Green Lane Dyke, that is on the Caverleigh Way side of the Brook. Since it has been built the council have been called out many times due to the flooding it has caused on the wrong side of the Brook. I was informed that a trench had been dug and a perforated pipe had been laid and topped with gravel then soil. This would allow any collecting water to drain into the Brook.
But guess what? It did not work - with the skip lorries and vans driving over the area it has compacted the soil down."
Paul kindly included some photos including these two on the right here. One showing the flooding behind the garages and a more serious one showing flooding in a back garden.

This is only one of several complaints I have received from people who have told me about flooding in their back gardens. This seems to now be concentrated at the high number end of Caverleigh Way.

Paul also told me that he and also neighbours of his had contacted the council numerous times. He said the council had acknowledged the problem but that they had heard nothing more about it.

What Has Changed On The Green?

It seems to me that what has happened is that a ridge was created in the green space here and the water which would previously have flowed across the green and down into the brook can no longer do so. Instead it is forming pools of water that flood the garages and back gardens in Caverleigh Way.

I spoke to one local chap last year who said he thought someone had tried to save money by dumping the soil on the green here instead of paying for it to go somewhere more appropriate. I can't speculate on this myself but perhaps an investigation is warranted necessary to find out why flooding is still a problem here after nearly two million pounds of public money was spent specifically to fix the issue.

Other Issues

While on the subject of the flood plain. The 'temporary' fence blocking the pathway down into the area had a sign on it for a while saying it would be open to the public within months. This sign disappeared a great many months ago and there has yet been no sign of the path being opened to the public.

It would be nice to know when we can go in and have a walk around there and perhaps kick a football etc...


Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Part Of The Cycle

For those who missed the last bike marking sessions and want to get their bike marked (to frustrate bicycle thieves) there is another one on today outside the police office in Central Road.

They will be there from 3pm 'til 6pm and bike marking if offered for free. It means that if your bike is stolen it can a) Be proven it was stolen, and b) Be returned to you. So it make sense both in terms of making it less attractive to thieves and more likely to be returned to you if stolen.

Please Consider Cyclists

While on a cycling theme, Jane, a blog reader contacted me a short while ago about the problems she has cycling in and near WP. She wrote:
"I cycle to work on a regular basis in tooting. I am a sedate middle ages woman and I don't (luckily for you guys) wear any lycra. The closer to WP I get the more thoughtless and aggressive the car drivers get with vans and cars regularly passing me so closely, on both sides of the road, that i feel very threatened. I have read on line and experienced the aggression that some car drivers feel towards cyclists, but, I think we need a big re think about it. Our traffic is almost at a stand still at certain times of day and generally we can no longer take petroleum based transport for granted. Sutton has one of the lowest cycle journeys out of any London borough and this [cycle journey rates] is no surprise to me.
My children never cycle and nor would I let them when some car drivers behave so thoughtlessly towards cyclists - but at their age almost all of my journeys were by bike as was the same for all my friends. The more people that choose to cycle in our borough the more free the roads will be for motorists and the better the environment will be for our children."
In my previous job I used to cycle every day to Surbiton station (where I caught the west bound train - with my bike - to work). This meant riding down part of Central Road and along Malden Road, quite quickly and usually past stationary traffic in the mornings. Personally I was probably quite lucky as I rarely had any worrying incidents to report. But I have certainly been in some near misses on my bike and was once actually hit by a car turning in front of me which brought me off my bike but luckily only resulted in a few scrapes and bruises.

Conversely, when I drive I find it extremely frustrating when a small minority of cyclists feel it is their right to not take into account cars that may need to get past them or even deliberately (or perhaps just thoughtlessly) get in the way of cars.

So whilst I would echo Jane's calls to keep an eye out for cyclists (and in doing so making cycling safer and more attractive), it goes both ways and I would ask all road users to look out for and respect all other road uses - no mater what form of road use that takes.


Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Air Ambulance Draws A Crowd


London's Air Ambulance landing in Dorchester Park today drew widespread attention from local people. Having landed at around 2:30pm, it was still in the park at 3pm when Dorchester Primary school started to empty, providing an exited crowd of youngsters (including WP Junior) with a close up view of what is normally seen speeding across the sky overhead and looking very much smaller. It perhaps made a change from the other helicopter nearby...

Unfortunately this post has a serious side to it. The helicopter was there in order to bring urgent medical assistance to someone close by who had suffered an accident. As the pilot told me, they would normally only bring the helicopter if the situation was very serious and/or if specialist anaesthetic or other drugs were required. Even a heart attack would normally be dealt with by road ambulance.

The helicopter, which is based at London Hospital in Whitechapel made the journey to Worcester Park in 11 minutes.

Apparently the patient had an accident at home and after the Air Ambulance doctor and paramedic had stabilised them, they were being transported by ambulance to St Georges hospital.

Thoughts are now with the patient, likely to be someone known to a number of blog readers. The blog offers hopes for a speedy recovery.

Update

Apparently the patient had fallen from the third storey of one of the blocks of flats in Creston Way. See the Sutton Guardian story for more details: http://www.suttonguardian.co.uk/news/13807073.Air_ambulance_called_after_person_falls_three_storeys. Once again, our thoughts are with the patient.


Thursday, 1 October 2015

A Harvest Of Help Needed

A few readers may have heard of the Reverend Andy Cain. Rev. Cain is the vicar at St Mary's church on The Avenue in the Cuddington quadrant of Worcester Park (That's the bit west of the railway line in Epsom and Ewell) and is an active member of the local community.

He was recently elected vice chair of the Worcester Park Residents' Association (which I now chair) and want's to use his resources to reach out to all parts of the local community and bring everyone together as part of a single community - an admirable vision.

As part of this, his church, St Mary's is running a Community Harvest Appeal in aid of the refugee crisis.

Rev. Cain wanted to add that:
“I am impressed by the generosity of spirit exhibited by the good people of Worcester Park, thank you. For the past few years we have been using our Harvest Appeal as a way of giving much needed food to local people who do not have enough. These appeals have principally been through the local FoodBank, although other charities such as Crisis have also rightly benefited. This year, in light of the migration issue seen in our media, it is appropriate to demonstrate our good nature to people who are struggling outside of our area, I realise that the political situation is complex, but with this in mind, we are organising a Community Harvest Collection in aid of the refugee crisis. Many stores in Worcester Park are displaying the attached letter, if you are able to give anything of benefit, whether small or large, please make use of the two allocated drop off areas (St Mary’s Church and the Royal British Legion). Once again, thank you for your help and generosity. Together we can make a greater difference. 
Best wishes,
Reverend Andy Cain"
While putting this post together I am finding myself thinking of things I have around the house that I could easily donate and not even miss. I'm sure if we all did even that bare minimum, together we would make a huge difference. The harvest service is on Sunday 11th October so we have 9 days to get those donations in!