The Apostles Residents Association aims to protect and enhance the local environment and promote the interests of the local community.
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To become a member, please contact your road rep. The fee is £4 per annum and £2 for pensioners and those out of work. If you would like to pay your subscription by bank transfer, please transfer to: Apostles Residents Association, account no 02383523, sort code 30-99-66 and put your address as the reference.
After you have joined, please click here to sign up to receive emails from us.
PLANNING APPLICATION TO CONVERT AN APOSTLES' HOUSE INTO TWO FLATS
On 17 October 2019 the Planning Committee of the London Borough of Merton was asked to agree to convert 36 Aston Road (Planning Application reference: 19/P2715) into 2 flats. The planning officers had in fact recommended granting permission. This took us totally by surprise. We had already made our written submission and based it on the Council's Core Strategy to preserve 'family' homes:
The conversion of existing single dwellings into two or more smaller units typically involves the intensification of the borough’s urban housing stock, resulting in the loss of larger units. Given the identified need for 3 bedroom units and the historical provision of smaller units, we are seeking to retain the existing stock of family sized units in Merton. Applications for conversion of existing sized single dwellings into two or more smaller units must include the re-provision of at least one family sized unit. The London Plan (2009) defines a family unit as having three or more bedrooms.
However, the planning office decided that because the property was currently only 2 bedrooms, it did not come under these regulations. (In fact we only heard about the matter going to the Planning Committee quite by chance (2 days before) thanks to a resident on Aston Road.) I was away on holiday. Cllr Anthony Fairclough kindly agreed to represent us. This was our submission:
I am pleased to say the Committee decided to defer a decision and they gave this reason:
Members commented that they were unhappy at the loss of a family house, and suggested that the item be deferred so that Officers can investigate if the legal advice received in 2007 has any weight in protecting this property.
The matter is therefore still undecided. Watch this apace for any updates.
Apostles Residents Association.
THE NEW RAYNES PARK TO NEW MALDEN WALKING AND CYCLING ROUTE
The new walking and cycling route was opened on 13 July 2019. It is really delightful and will be useful for many people. It feels like a country path! Try it out! You can always walk one way and get the train back. From Raynes Park the path is accessed via Taunton Avenue (at the back end of Waitrose).
ARA Survey Results: Take a look - it makes interesting reading:
PARKING CHARGE INCREASES
Merton Council has now confirmed it is going ahead with plans to increase the annual cost of our Controlled Parking Zone (CPZ) charges from £65 to £110 - with an additional charge for diesel car users. The cost of visitors' permits is planned to rise from £1.50 for half day to £3 and from £2.50 for a day to £4.
Their rationale is that they wish to cut down the use of private cars for health and environmental reasons and that they think they will achieve this by raising the charges.
Our view has been that there will be little or no reduction in car use as a result of the increases and that we think they are offering the 'health and environment' argument as a smokescreen for what is an additional tax.
Even if their rationale were correct, we believe this to be a totally unfair tax. The only people who will pay are those living in CPZ areas. If you have your own driveway, you will not be charged. If you do not live in a CPZ area you won't be charged.
There was extensive consultation before CPZs were introduced. We were told at the time that the annual charge was to cover the Council's cost of running the scheme. There was never any mention of the Council using this as a means of taxing us.
The increases will come in to effect some time in the New Year. It may be worth purchasing some visitor permits in advance of the price increase.
BUSHEY ROAD DEVELOPMENT GETS GO-AHEAD
Merton Council Council Planning Committee voted on Thursday 15 November 2018 to approve the plans for the development of the Car Show Rooms at the end of Edna Road on Bushey Road. This will result in the provision of 34 flats. Chris Larkman and Jim Walton from the Apostles Residents Association spoke in opposition to the plans. We argued that the size of the development was out of character with the terraced houses of the 'Apostle' roads, pointing out that in other roads additional terraced houses had been added to the ends of the roads. We suggested this would be an acceptable way to increase the number of dwellings in the area. We also argued that, if the flats were to be approved, any access should be from Bushey Road, claiming that access from Edna Road would cause traffic problems in Edna Road. The Planning Committee claimed that with only 3 parking spaces allocated to the flats, this would not be the case. We're not altogether surprised by the outcome. The local authority is under pressure to provide an increased number of units of accommodation, and they claim to have negotiated some adjustments (though minor) to the original plans.
Residents on Vernon Avenue have recently found Japanese Knotweed growing in their gardens.
The RHS advise that Japanese Knotweed is a weed that spreads rapidly and can suppress all other plant growth. Eradication is difficult as it cannot be removed by hand or eradicated with chemicals. In appearance, in the summer, it produces dense stands of tall bamboo-like canes which can grow to approximately 2 metres tall. The canes have characteristic purple flecks, and produce branches from nodes along its length. Leaves are heart or shovel-shaped and up to 14cm (5½in) in length and borne alternately (in a zig zag pattern) along the stems.
Japanese Knotweed present on your property can cause problems when selling the property. As a seller, it is your responsibility check the garden for Japanese Knotweed (bearing in mind that it can die back in winter). The TA6 Property Enquiry form asks you to confirm whether your property is affected by Japanese knotweed and, if so, where it is and to provide a management plan for its eradication from a professional company. It can affect the value of a property given the difficulty in eradicating the weed and that it can take-over the garden.
Ideally, given the nature of the terraced housing along the Apostles, a co-ordinated approach to tackling the problem should be taken. If all those affected were to take action at the same time, it would assist in ensuring the eradication of the weed and would, hopefully, assist in reducing the cost of eradication.
If you have Japanese Knotweed in your garden or nearby please let us know - initally via your road rep - see Contact Page. We need to erradicate it completely!
CROSSRAIL2 - LATEST UPDATES
Whilst the Crossrail 2 project team continues to liaise with the Raynes Park community, in reality, not much new information has been forthcoming since the last round of consultation in 2015/16. As yet, we still have no real detail about how Raynes Park might be affected, apart from what might be implied from the broad brush information from over two years ago.
In 2017, Crossrail 2 prepared its strategic business case and submitted it to the Transport Secretary. While this showed that London could pay for half of the scheme over its life, the Mayor for London and Transport Secretary agreed to see how London might fund half of the scheme during construction.
This would seem to imply that London’s 50% share of the funding was partly predicated on income streams generated by the new railway and associated developments along its route.
In February 2018, it was announced that the government has called for an independent financial review to look at the project’s overall financial viability and whether or not the costs might be reduced. The review will be led by Mike Gerrard, former managing director of Thames Tideway Tunnel. What the outcome will be remains to be seen. However, it may affect the overall scope and its phasing.
Whilst this Independent Affordability Review is expected to issue an interim report and then a final report by the summer of 2018, the Department for Transport will then need time to review it and reach its own conclusions. Therefore, no further formal public consultation is anticipated until all this has been completed. This whole process is expected to take another year, putting back any further public consultation at least until early 2019.
Whilst this is news, in reality, it heralds further delays and continued uncertainty for the project.
Additionally, there are now political questions being raised over the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) and also competing pleas for more transport funding in other parts of the country.
Against this background, TfL is now forecasting a £1bn operating deficit for 2018/19, although it does have plans to turn this around by 2021.
All these problems will make the Gordian Knot of funding the construction of Crossrail 2 harder to untangle.
(Our thanks to Jerry Cuthbert from the Raynes Park Association for this article.)
On 26 June 2018, members of the NetworkRail CrossRail 2 section met with community leaders in Raynes Park. It appears they will be consulting people in the Raynes Park area about options for the line west of Wimbledon Station later this year. At our meeting they had a discussion with us about the consequence of closing the two level crossings in West Barnes and Motspur Park. (Clearly these level crossings will no longer be compatible with the number of trains passing through.) What will they offer as an alternative?
1 October 2018 update: Yet again the plans have been put back. This time for a further review of the costings. This means that the promised consultation will now take place some time in 2019!
SOUTH OF THE SKEW ARCH
Take a look at the start of making this area look nice!
DUNDONALD CHURCH DEVELOPMENT PLAN
Dundonald Church, 577 Kingston Road, plans to knock down the present structure and replace it with a more permanent building comprising a church with residential units above. Go to their website for more information.
BIKE EVENT - RAYNES PARK - SUNDAY 4 AUGUST 2019.
The event is always a great success and Raynes Park comes alive.