Raynes Park Community Forum
Wednesday 15 June 2017
The meeting was held in Raynes Park Library Hall, and chaired by Councillor David Dean, with Chris Edge from the Raynes Park Association (RPA). Approximately 35 residents attended, as well as Merton Councillors, Stephen Hammond MP, and officers from the council and its partners. Chris Edge opened the meeting, welcoming everyone and introducing Councillor Dean as the Chair.
‘Suspension of parking bay’ signage
A resident asked if suspensions and the dates that they apply could be made more clear, citing the signs on Coombe Lane as unclear. Councillor Dean agreed to follow up the matter.
Council car park (Waitrose)
A resident questioned why the car park by Waitrose is run by the council and why there is a charge for Sunday parking. Councillors and other residents felt in general that the car park functions well with reasonable charges applying; and whilst Sunday parking could be free, this would result in higher costs elsewhere.
Proposed CPZ for Errol Gardens and Barnard Gardens
Some residents voiced concerns about the proposed CPZs for these roads, commenting that too many parking places will be lost to double-yellow lines, with a negative impact on neighbouring roads. Councillor Dean suggested residents speak to their local councillors about the matter.
Another resident voiced dissatisfaction with the diesel charge levy, commenting that conversely, free on-street parking for electric vehicles is impractical because cars cannot be charged when they are parked on the street.
Helen Alexander-Allen updated residents on her campaign opposing the new wheelie bins, explaining that she is proposing alternative bins. Surveys she has undertaken indicate that 82-95% of residents do not want wheelie bins, therefore she encouraged those who are opposed to sign her online petition.
A resident expressed concerns about overhanging vegetation from people’s gardens, which is impeding footpaths, especially for the partially sighted. She pointed out that residents are responsible for cutting vegetation back to their own boundary lines, and if they don’t do it, the council has to but at residents’ expense. It was suggested that advice about the matter could be included in the Raynes Park Residents’ Association’s newsletter to increase awareness. Residents were also asked to water newly-planted trees if they live close to any.
Plans for the South Side of Skew Arch
Tony Edwards explained that Network Rail will not allow the Raynes Park Residents’ Association to go onto the site; however they are not clearing the vegetation themselves. As such, the situation regarding landscape management is still unclear. Chris Edge added that he and Chris Larkman met with Network Rail and South West Trains and suggested that the residents’ association might be willing to put forward funds for maintenance of the site, but as yet, no progress has been made.
With regard to the Skew Arch and making the south side better, the removal of the bins has had no ill effect. Due to the possibility of Crossrail 2, the consensus is that a lot of money should not be spent, therefore the hope is to put down synthetic grass. £2,000 has been raised from a Tesco grant and £500 obtained from the London clean-up fund, but the artificial grass is still too expensive, so the aim is to try to get off-cuts of grass for free.
Stephen Hammond MP informed residents that he expects to hear about the next set of plans before the end of July. Raynes Park may still be included within these plans, and if so, a new round of consultation is to be expected in the autumn. Mr Hammond said he would ask Crossrail 2 to include a public meeting within this consultation. Councillor Dean added that it is hoped a public meeting for Dundonald ward can also be arranged regarding Crossrail 2.
Matt Bryan from the Counter Terrorism division at Merton Police returned to the forum to show residents the ‘Operation Fairway’ video about reporting suspicious behaviour and what to do in case of a terror incident.
There is an anti-terrorism hotline: 0800 789 321, but in the case of an immediate threat, people can ring 999. The police will respond to any 999 calls even if the caller is unable to speak at the other end.
Campaigns such as Wrap and Prevent are in place to try to spot signs of radicalisation, strange behaviour and mental health problems such as PTSD, which might lead to someone being a terror threat. Anyone identified as such is given support from social services and a mental health assessment.
My Raynes Park Festival
Tom Underwood, Chair of the My Raynes Park Festival noted that this is the eighth year of the festival, which will run from 23rd June to 2nd July, with a variety of events and entertainment for all ages. As part of the festival, a community fun day – Raynes Lark in the Park – will take place on 2nd July from 12.30-4.30pm.
The Raynes Park Christmas Fair will take place on Friday 1st December from 3.30-7pm. Further information will be available at the next forum meeting.
The Prudential Ride London is taking place on Sunday 30th July.
Tom Sly, Flood Risk Management Engineer at Merton Council, assisted by Will Graham from Veolia and Claire Walshe, a Neighbourhood Client Officer at the council, spoke to residents about flooding in Raynes Park. It was explained that the council is trying to work out a programme for emptying gullies and for general flood prevention. Since the Pitt review following the summer floods in July 2007, Merton has increased gully cleansing in known flood risk areas, therefore almost all of Raynes Park is covered by our high risk gully cleansing programme each winter.
Residents were also encouraged to report flooding to Thames Water as well as Merton, whenever it occurs. This is so that Thames Water will recognise there is a flooding issue in Raynes Park, as they currently do not hold many reported incidents of flooding in the area. Responding to a resident who said that flooding in Dupont Road was reported last year but Thames Water still have not dealt with the infrastructure there, Tom said he is in ongoing talks with the organisation about how it can be more pro-active when it is known that heavy rain is due. Likewise, discussions about Edna Road are ongoing: Thames Water put in a sewer lining, which has blocked some of the road gully outlets into the sewers. The council has repaired some of this, but it is Thames Water’s responsibility to ensure the sufficient working of the sewer system.
Shannon Corner, because it is an A-road, is the responsibility of TfL. The council has met onsite with TfL to discuss flooding.
Blocked gullies, cement in drains, or blockages from leaves should, in the first instance, be reported online via the council’s ‘Report It’ tool. There is also an app called ‘Love my streets’, where blockages can be reported, and for those who are not online, they can call the council.
Chris Edge commented that the sewer under Raynes Park Road Bridge is not very effective and suggested that if Crossrail 2 is going to dig up the whole area, Thames Water could put a new sewer along the whole road, up to the high street. Tom agreed that the whole network needs to be reviewed as part of any major infrastructure project and is speaking to both Thames Water and Crossrail 2 about it.
It was added that the National Flood Forum website has information on how householders can protect their properties against flooding in order to decrease insurance premiums.
Apologies were given for Neil Milligan, who was unable to attend the meeting but had provided a written update, which was read out by Councillor Dean:
Also the car garage on Wyke Road has been using the pavement and verge for parking their vehicles. Many customers have written to the council asking they be allowed to continue the parking for the sake of the business. Enforcement action was instigated due to highway safety reasons. The garage submitted an application for a parking layout last year but failed to follow up on the detail. They have now been given the opportunity to again try to regularise a form of safe parking on the site.
The Chair thanked residents for attending and closed the meeting.
Dates of future meetings all at 7.15pm, in the Library Hall: 14 September 2017; 7 December 2017; 8 March 2018.