Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Royal British Performance

The Royal British Legion in Central Road has somewhat of a reputation for putting on good live music on a fairly regular basis. Next Friday (20th July) will see the Worcester Park debut of the blogger's band Denzeity.

Fresh from shows at the Fiddler's Elbow, Camden and other London venues, Denzeity will be performing two sets of mostly original foot-tapping melodic pop rock including History, the song that has caught the industry's attention and some new material like Version Of You which is so new there isn't even a full band recording of it yet.

Expect a smattering of covers, given the audience will want to hear a few things they already know but the main focus will be on fresh live original music.

The Royal British Legion is a members only club so now would be an excellent time to join. It's not very expensive and the low cost of food and drinks (not to mention free regular quality entertainment) means it pays for itself after not very many visits. Best of all you are supporting British ex-servicemen with your membership. You can join up any time - just go in and ask the bar staff (you may need to press the buzzer at the front door to gain entry). If you join up on or before next Friday (20th) you'll be entitled to come to the show!

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Keep abreast of Denzeity shows and events on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and the website. Check out the videos page for live and official videos.

Saturday, 7 July 2018

Dorchester Summer Fair

Off to the Summer Fair...

Monday, 18 June 2018

Midsummer Fiesta

Go on... you know you want to...

Friday, 15 June 2018

Make Some Music

In case you're interested...

Sunday, 5 November 2017

Hamptons Fireworks

On Tonight - The Hamptons Fireworks... Get along and enjoy!

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Club Developing

Some of you might remember Gary Weaving as the friendly neighbourhood policeman who use to patrol the streets of Worcester Park, others may know him in his current role as head of security on the Hamptons while others still might remember him as the guy who started and ran the angling club at the Hamptons. Few through may know him as a rock singer with a record out, recorded in the 1970s and fewer still may know him as a keen local photographer!

So when he asked me to promote the Cheam Camera Club of which he a a key member I felt it only right to do so. Please see below...

It's not strictly Worcester Park but as Gary pointed out, we don't have a Worcester Park camera club (that either of us can recall) so camera wielding Worcester Parkers now have somewhere they can all congregate and bond... or perhaps that should be converge and develop...

Saturday, 1 July 2017

Another Busy Day

After last weekend with so much going on locally, who'd have though this weekend could give it a run for it's money? Well the challenge has been thrown down and this weekend is looking to have just as much on as last weekend! Enjoy!

Additionally, the Friends of Green Lane School are having a silent auction so feel free to get in contact and place your bids...

Friday, 23 June 2017

Busy Day

There is so much on tomorrow I don't know where to start! If you want to try to get to everything I wish you luck - you are a better person than me! However here are the options for you to choose from. (Thanks to Richard Johnson for sending me a few I didn't know about!) At least you won't get bored!

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Vic House Update

Well the Victoria House situation is finally getting its official public hearing this Wednesday 19th April - at the Europa Gallery in the Sutton Council offices - St Nicholas Way, Sutton SM1 1EA at 7:30PM.

See the leaflet below being distributed by the WPRA and CHAPRA.

The two residents' associations (WPRA and CHAPRA) have helped gather a total of 1423 signatures against the proposal and hopefully the Councillors on the planning committee will remember who it is they represent when it comes to making the final decision.

We know the current building is an eyesore and needs to be replaced ASAP but we don't want it replaced with something completely inappropriate, that will create more parking issues in the area and which we will be stuck with for at least another 50 years. What we want is for the council to deny planning permission for this Eyesore #2 and force the developers to come back to the table with something far more appropriate for the area. We have seen a number of acceptable designs over the years for a replacement development. It's time one of those was built - not this collection of ugly tower blocks.

Please come along to the meeting to show the planning committee the depth of local feeling over this issue.

Saturday, 17 December 2016

Victoria House Saga Continues

As many people are now aware, new plans have been submitted for the re-development for Victoria House up at the North Cheam crossroads. When I say 'new plans', actually the proposal looks almost the same as the previous plan, which was withdrawn without explanation earlier this year. The main difference seems to be the retail units having been made a bit bigger.

So we're finally going to lose the eyesore that has blighted the crossroads for years. Yes that's one good argument. However how is the new plan going to affect the area?

The new plan - shown above right, is effectively a group of tower blocks - almost the ugliest possible design, universally known as the greatest attractor of antisocial behaviour. It doesn't fit in with the art deco design of the buildings on the other three corners of the cross roads or other buildings in the area.

Perhaps we could 'get used' to this design on our doorstep - all 10 storeys of it. But could we also get used to the over-spill of cars? This building is to have 90 residential units, a mix of 1, 2 and 3 bed-roomed affairs. How many car parking spaces would you think are needed to cater for 90 such flats? If you think fifty or less you probably don't use local public transport very much. But guess what - the answer is indeed 50! In fact it is closer to 45 as five of those spaces are for the retail units.

Now to compensate there are around 150 bicycle parking spaces. I seem to remember another recent planning application in Green Lane where we were told that 'everyone would arrive on bicycles' and so we needn't worry about the chronic shortage of parking spaces. Perhaps this plan has been put together by the same people? Just one question - are they deluded about the number of people who own/use cars (perhaps vs those who only cycle) or is this their attempt to socially engineer a little portion of North Cheam into a anti-car paradise?
PTAL map of Worcester park / North Cheam - click to enlarge

So what does it take for people to want to ditch the car?

Not very far away there are indeed areas where few people own cars. Areas where I would quite happy live without a vehicle. This area is called Central London. The reason we don't need cars there is a) the plethora of excellent public transport to get you to nearly anywhere local quickly, and b) nearly every type of shop imaginable within walking distance.

The relative convenience of public transport has all been nicely mapped out and corresponds to a number of 'PTAL values' (I promise not to get any more technical than this). There are nine values basically going from 0 (being almost nonexistent public transport) up to 6b - being transport so convenient you'd prefer it to using a car. (See the full London PTAL map here). The whole of central London is either PTAL 6a or 6b - indicating the most convenient public transport possible. Sections of Worcester Park are 0 (worst possible) most of the area is 1a (really awful) with areas mostly around main bus routes being around 2 (not quite as awful). There happen to be a couple of small islands in the area of PTAL 3 (which on an exam might almost scrape a pass). Victoria House happens to sit just inside the smallest of these.

I don't think you need to be a genius to work out that the best way to get people to use public transport is to increase the convenience of public transport to the point where it is preferable to car use. Deliberately discouraging car use by limiting car parking spaces to around half of what is needed without offering a genuine alternative is not 'visionary'. It's just stupid and will result in people looking for other places to put their cars. Those other places will be the very few spaces around North Cheam that still exist in side streets and around the shops. That means that a) other people who live in the area will have even less space for their own cars, and b) the people who currently shop in North Cheam and use their car to get there will soon realise that trying to park in North Cheam is a pointless exercise and will go elsewhere, leading to fewer customers in the shops there. This means that instead of reinvigorating North Cheam, this development will be an additional (if not final) nail in it's coffin.

A counter argument might be the parking available in the Sainsburys car park - and I'd agree that more needs to be done to let the public know that they can easily get to the North Cheam shops from here but it's not like parking just at the shop you want to visit. And it's existence hasn't been enough to make North Cheam a vibrant shopping area. Making the parking situation even worse isn't going to somehow fix the problem.

Now it's easy to say that this plan is better than the eyesore currently on the site (you may agree or disagree with this statement). However the point is, it's not merely one or the other. We have already seen a far better plan put forward for this area.

On the left here is the proposal put forward by Stonegate Homes. I personally knocked on doors with a petition in favour of this development (so this is not just a knee-jerk reaction against any local development.) Yes, this was still a tall development, and bigger than we would have liked, but it was generally in keeping with local art-deco design and crucially it had enough parking space for residents plus extra space for shoppers during the day and then for visitors in the evening. Also it wasn't a group of tower blocks. In short it would have improved the area, not diminished it.

For these reasons two local residents' associations have joined forces to fight against this latest proposal. Chapra RA (Church Hill and Priory Road Residents' Association) and the WPRA (Worcester Park Residents' Association), which I currently chair, have organised a leaflet which we are delivering to homes near the site and also a petition.

As this is a new proposal, all previous comments/objections (or letters of support) are no longer relevant and only comments specifically based on this new proposal will be taken into account by the planning department.

So if you would like to object, comment on, or even write in support of the proposal, the planning application number is A2016/75951 which can be accessed on www.sutton.gov.uk, or by using the following direct link.

You can also write directly to:
The London Borough of Sutton Planning Division
24 Denmark Rd
Surrey SM5 2JG
Remember to quote planning number A2016/75951.

The petition is being held in Steve's Card Shop on the North West corner of the crossroads - opposite Victoria House if you'd like to go in and sign it.

We also have a small number on volunteers out delivering leaflets and also door knocking to gather petition signatures. Please contact Simon Densley at the WPRA - wpra96@hotmail.com if you'd like to join them and they'll get you some leaflets or petition sheets and allocate you some roads to do. We need to be quick though - the deadline is at the beginning of January.

We hope that with two local residents' associations working together, our combined voices will be heard loud and clear. Yes we want the existing building removed, but we want it replaced with something that will enhance the quality of the local area - not something that in 10 years time might be as hated as much as the exiting Victoria House is now.

So please make your voice heard by emailing or writing to Sutton's planning department and please feel free to get in touch to either deliver leaflets or to knock on doors to get petition signatures. And yes if you completely disagree with me about all this, that's fine - you can write in to support the application.

Hopefully though we'll get the sort of development we need at the North Cheam cross roads. We've waited many years for a proper development. I'd say a couple more years to ensure we get the right one will be worth the wait in the long run - especially when we're looking back at what we did about this particular proposal.