Raynes Park Community Forum
3 December 2020
The meeting was held via Zoom, and chaired by Councillor Adam Bush with Chris Edge from the Raynes Park Association (RPA). Seven residents and five councillors attended on Zoom with 97 additional views on YouTube. The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting and explained how the meeting would work.
Kris Witherington, Engagement and Consultation Manager provided a summary of the responses to the consultation. The presentation is attached to this report. The main points included:
Chris Edge said it was clear that that was a majority against the changes and that they were regarded as unfair. Tony Edwards raised the issue of the impact on high streets of raising the cost of parking. Cllr Bush said there is a Scrutiny Task Group looking at the future of the High Street. Cllr Dean said these proposals did not address the impact of the growth of diesel delivery vans and Cllr Fairclough said that these charges come on top of changes from 2019 that created a differential for Raynes Park and Wimbledon.
The full breakdown of the results are included in the Sustainable Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee on 8 December 2020.
Chris Larkman from RPA gave an update on plans for a farmers market. Had been in negotiation with the company that runs the Wimbledon Village market, Simon Greig to deliver something in the cattle arch at the station entrance. This land is managed by South Western Railways. Chris has met with SW Railways and owner of Magnificent Marrow shop at south of station. The conclusion was that there is not enough space for market stalls either side of the station so the idea is not viable. The Magnificent Marrow may still look to expand its store instead. The lack of open space in Raynes Park continues to be a problem.
Tony Edward said that it seems unlikely the Crossrail 2 would happen any time soon so it should be viable to expand the pavement space and reduce the lanes given to traffic. Once space if available it opens up options for events.
Chris Larkman said the roadway to the Rainbow has been redone by Workspace and they installed six parking spaces but with no restrictions and enforcement. The land is owned by Network Rail but Merton Council identified that in the planning agreement it says that Workspace should maintain the site. Chris is going to meet with Workspace to encourage them to begin enforcement. There has also been a lot of fly tipping and SW Railways has agreed to install CCTV.
The land to be transferred from Network Rail to Merton Council on the south side has been signed off and should be completed in the New Year. We also hoping to get permission for volunteers to clear the embankment on the north side.
Bulb planting didn’t take place this year as a result of COVID. Cllr Bush thanked Cllr David Dean for providing the bulbs and the positive impact they have had in Dundonald
A resident asked about plans for Skew Arch and any previous consultation on these.
Tony Edwards said the plans had previously been shared at Forum, some time ago and seemed to be popular but he was happy to share them again. They are attached to this report. The RPA has not given up on trying to get this done. Tony agreed that position of bus stops can be a challenge.
Barry Causer, Head of Strategic Commissioning, gave an update on COVID in Merton. The presentation is attached to this report. Barry said that the key message is that the number of COVID cases in Merton is coming down. For the last week there were 160 cases per 100,000 population. There was a bulge in the 16-29 age group with cases at 334. There is concern about the number of cases in the over 60s but the number of new cases in this age group was also coming down.
The number of cases in the East of the borough is slightly higher than in the West. A spike of cases in the West in September appears to have been linked to students away at university testing positive but being linked to the home residence instead of their university. This has been changed by Public Health England. We are still tracking the number of cases by ethnicity and signals are that we are not seeing the same disproportionate impact on BAME communities that we saw in the first wave in the spring.
We have not seen a return to the death rates of the spring and ICU admissions for the most severe cases appear to be levelling off. The NHS still has sufficient capacity to cope so it is important that patients still attend appointments and elective procedures for other health issues.
Local contact tracing is up and running to supplement the national programme. New lateral flow tests are quick and do not involve the use of a laboratory. This makes them ideal for confined settings like health care providers and universities. In future they could be also be used in schools, care homes and local areas to manage outbreaks.
The vaccination programme will be led by the NHS with support from local authorities. The government has already identified priority groups based on risk levels. We are still waiting the final approval on the three vaccines, which is expected this month.
London is in Tier 2 from tomorrow with restrictions on meeting with other households. The Hands, Face, Space message remains relevant and is still key to stopping the spread of the virus.
COVID Community Champions are volunteers who are helping to communicate key messages in their communities. Barry thanked those who are giving up their time. To find out more you can email firstname.lastname@example.org. There will be special ‘Celebrating Safely’ workshops on 14 December to offer practical tips for reducing the risk of COVID during the holiday season.
Leonie Cooper, Assembly Member for Merton and Wandsworth provided an update on the work of the Mayor of London and the London Assembly. The Assembly is not using City Hall unless chairing meetings. Staff have been redeployed to support the COVID response including the Nightingale build. The Assembly has now moved on to recovery work. Casework changed to lots of COVID related issues. Dons Action Group and lots of other volunteers have done amazing work.
Leonie said that a reduction in business rates and council tax as well as fare income for TfL has had huge impact. Fare income has recovered slightly but not enough to finance the network. As a result TfL has negotiated two tranches of financial support from Government. Mayor of London income has dropped by £500m so needs to make significant cuts across budgets. This includes moving out of City Hall as the owner has not agreed to drop the rent. The Mayor and the Assembly will be moving to the ‘Crystal’ in Royal Docks near the cable car.
The Mayor was planning to spend £50m on green project which has been reduced to £22m. There is still a grant fund available for community energy projects with a 11 January deadline for applications.
Leonie chairs the Economy Committee which has been investigating COVID impact on businesses, high streets and individuals. They have written to Government asking them to support particular sectors including culture, hospitality, and aviation.
Chris Edge asked about polluting diesel buses in outer London. Leonie said there is a £800m upgrade programme to make sure all buses operate at Euro 6 and a programme of replacing older buses. Leonie offered to check with TfL for monitoring data for RP to see if there has been any change. There is a map of Air Quality Monitoring across London. Leonie pointed out that different boroughs have introduced emissions based charging. ULEZ compliance levels have been quite high and the extension should help. Change is painful but has been brought in gradually, and the impact of Air Quality is serious.
A resident said that the Mayor might be short on cash but still able to find money for Low Traffic Neighbourhoods and cycle infrastructure. There has been opposition to some of these in Wandsworth and around London. Leonie explained that the funding came from Department for Transport through a fund allocated quickly which meant the use of Emergency Traffic Orders and consultation after the installation of schemes. The lack of consultation caused a lot of problems and is not the way the Mayor or TfL would want to do things. The LTNs in Wandsworth were all in Tooting across 6 wards with insufficient signage and little warning. It is essential to consult people in advance and make sure people know of the plans. Lots of suggestions from residents have been submitted to TfL to adapt changes, and the Tooting ones could have been adapted rather than taken out. Police and Fire Brigade have also been involved in discussions. Important to take residents with any major changes.
Councillor Crowe said that the cause of much of his case work often relates to the development of London and the challenges for services. Leonie said there are very large housing targets from national planning framework, London plan and local plan. Case work also involves a lot on homelessness and people struggling to afford a home. There is an issue of over development of expensive dwellings, for example on Isle of Dogs, Tower Hamlets, but we still need more social rented accommodation to make sure those on low incomes can still live in London. We need the Secretary of State to sign off London Plan as it gives us more controls over issues like environmental impact.
Cllr Bush said that Wyke Road planning application for 9 dwellings is going to PAC on 10 December and relocating 18 CPZ parking spaces. Officers have recommended approval but Cllr Bush will be speaking against the application.
A resident asked if changes planned to CPZ timings, Cllr Bush confirmed there are no plans currently.
A resident asked if there was an update on the Manuplastics site. Kris will check with Planning and update a future meeting.
Cllr Bush said an application for a 5G mast on Cambridge Road has been submitted. Comments up to 20 December.
A resident said that the appeal for Tesco site begins on 8 December and that there was an application has been submitted for 89 homes Meadow View.
Boundary commission changes
Cllr Crowe said that Local Government Boundary Commission for England reported their final recommendations in November. There will be significant changes in Raynes Park. Overall there will be 57 councillors instead of 60; Dundonald ward will be abolished, with Apostles joining Raynes Park; and some of the existing Raynes Park ward will join Village ward.
Councillor Bush thanked everyone for attending and closed the meeting.
30 March 2021 7.15pm in Raynes Park Library, subject to COVID-19 restrictions.