Friday, 30 September 2016

End Of An Era

The last two Edwardian Villa's from the set which used to dominate the South Western side of central Road have now, as of two weeks ago become a pile of rubble.

The semi-detached pair which housed Vivash Hunt solicitors until late 2015 has been set for demolition for a while. Plans to build a modern block of flats completely out of keeping with the local character were opposed by local residents after a campaign by local resident Richard Johnson (yes that's a whole lot of local) to keep the villas intact, and perhaps use them for a well needed doctor's surgery in the area - which the building was used for prior to being a solicitors' office.

Despite the objections, the council planning committee back in March approved the redevelopment by 5 votes to 4. You can see details of the planning meeting here. The blog is sorry to note that one of the 5 councillors who voted for the application is one of our local councillors - who's area of responsibility actually contains the demolished villas and many of the local residents nearby. I would have hoped our local councillors at least would share a stronger sense of local character and the importance of connections to local history.

We can now look forward to "four storey building comprising seven 2-bedroomed self-contained flats and one retail unit" that will look like this. As Mrs WP said a moment ago when she saw the picture - "Yuk!".

Thursday, 29 September 2016

Spark Extinguished

There's always something a little unsettling when a shop that's been open for a while closes down. And there have certainly been a few in and around Central Road recently. However there is one which is a little sadder than most.

Worcester Spark, which has been an electrical store for decades will be closing it's doors for the last time at the end of the month - which is tomorrow.

I have been well and professionally served by Worcester Spark every time I have been there and was genuinely shocked to see the closing down signs a few weeks ago.

Sadly the business has not been able to sustain itself with Martin, who has owned the business for many years after working there since he was a teenager, having to subsidise the shop through his separate work as an electrician for too long. It perhaps would have only taken another few people each day to shop there to keep it running but sadly not enough people have been supporting this local business and now we we are losing it.

Martin will continue his work as a local electrician but sadly Graham, the friendly face behind the counter will now, as he put it, be having to sign on.

Worcester Park will not only be losing an electrical shop. As many people know, Martin was one of the main people contributing to the Christmas Late Night each year. As well as helping Tracy from Cycle Power and Brendan from Pets Place organise things he helped with stalls - particularly in Windsor Road near his shop. His contributions to the traders association as well as local community events will be missed just as much as his shop will.

In an effort to empty the premises, all stock is now discounted to 50% off (not the 25% off which it was when I took the picture above) however they are only accepting cash.

The blog would like to wish both Martin and Graham good luck in the future and if anyone needs a friendly and conscientious chap to work behind the counter - there might be someone available quite soon...

Friday, 16 September 2016

Kiddies Shop

And now for a little good news... A new children's clothing shop is opening tomorrow in the old Sue Ryder premises. The shop 'Piku' is being opened by Mercedes who once co-owned the Cache shop (now Mia Strada) just up from Lynwood Drive.

Mercedes and her friend/assistant Katy were busy in there this morning unwrapping all the new clothes and setting up the boutique. Piku are having their grand opening tomorrow (Saturday 17th September) from 9:30am and there will be a few gastronomic treats for those who manage to pop in.

Mercedes told the blog they will be opening from 9:00 'til 5:00 during the week but 9:30 'til 5:30 every Saturday. She also showed me a few samples of the kiddies' wear available which included clothing from Portugal, British organic clothing and a range of what seemed like very reasonably priced general ware. (Mind you I'm one of the least qualified people to talk about clothing and fashion... - until recently I thought a cat-walk was what a cat did when it wanted to go somewhere...)

The Strada Less Travelled

Back in March 2015 Mercedes took the step of opening the ladies clothing shop Cache with her friend and business partner Mireya. After a successful year Mercedes felt she wanted to open her own shop and they both realised they now had the experience to go it alone. So Mercedes offered to sell her share of Cache to Mireya who bought it and changed the shop to Mia Strada, still specialising in affordable quality women's clothing, accessories, hand made jewellery and gifts.

They wanted to complete the deal before the end of the financial year (to keep the financial things a little simpler) and Mercedes began to work on her dream shop, finally choosing the old Sue Ryder shop after it closed in June last year to open Piku.

Mercedes and Mireya are still friends (I saw them both this morning) and were communicating this morning about the new shop opening.

Hopefully like Cache/Mia Strada, Piku will become a part of the Central Road Furniture and be a very successful local independent business!

Saturday, 10 September 2016

St Mary's Heritage Open Day

St Mary’s Church, Cuddington, (at the top of The Avenue in the Epsom and Ewell bit of WP) is having an open day today (Saturday 10th September), from 11am to 5pm.

As well as giving you a chance to look round the building, this year’s event will feature displays marking the 150th anniversary (a few weeks early) of the opening of the Iron Church that preceded St Mary’s, and telling the 150-year story of The Avenue, St Mary’s Road and Cleveland Road. There will be a photograph or drawing of nearly every pre-1910 house that existed in these roads (like the one on the right here), plus stories of some of the people who have lived here, above or below stairs.

This old photo shows Millfield or no. 33 The Avenue, one of the 1860s yellow-brick villas, which was replaced in the 1970s by the flats of the same name.

Monday, 5 September 2016

Vent Yer Treen

Train services from Worcester Park station. I think we can take it as read that they are rarely particularly impressive. Sometimes a whole day goes by with nearly every service running to schedule with no cancellations, but not very often...

If you would like to vent your railway related spleen, an opportunity is however on offer. Paul Scully, the new(ish) local MP has organised a public rail meeting for this Thursday (8th September) at the Royal British Legion.

Paul has persuaded the Chief Executive of South West Trains, representatives from Transport for London, the Department for Transport and Network Rail as well as his parliamentary colleague from the western side of the bridge, James Berry MP to attend the meeting and also Chris Grayling MP who is not only the local MP for a reasonable portion of Worcester Park (the Epsom and Ewell bit), but happens to be the country's transport secretary as well - so effectively the most qualified person in existence to discuss local transport issues.
The meeting will be a chance to hear from all of these guests, and to ask any questions about things that might be concerning you, such as overcrowding, rolling stock, and what Crossrail 2 means for the station and the surrounding area - all in the comfortable surroundings of the local Royal British Legion in Central Road.

Paul (who was out this morning and last week in Central Road promoting this) would like as many people as possible to attend this important event so if you have anything at all to contribute to the issue of local transport, this is your opportunity to say/do something about it.

The meeting starts at 7:30pm. Please register (for free) to help give some idea of numbers likely to attend.