The Apostles Residents' Association
The Apostles Residents' Association

Raynes Park Community Forum

16 September 2021

Chair’s Report


The meeting was held via Zoom, and chaired by Councillor David Dean with Chris Edge from the Raynes Park Association (RPA). 30 residents and six councillors attended on Zoom with 115 additional views on YouTube. The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting and explained how the meeting would work.  



Police Update


Sgt Marcia Heritage and PC Doug Walter talked about the implications of the ward changes in 2022. The police will still look to align with local authority ward boundaries. The biggest change is the end of Dundonald ward as well as changes to most other wards. However, there will still be a Wimbledon town centre team and no change to the number of Safer Neighbourhood officers. Inspector Green has taken over operations in Merton from Inspector Whitehead and will be looking at what changes are needed to ward panels and chairs. Inspector Green will be in contact with panels to discuss details shortly. There will also need to be a changes to some police systems.


Cllr Crowe asked about the option of reorganising based more on local geography rather than wards. Sgt Heritage said it was made more sense to organise on local government wards and then coordinate across teams for town centres and on shared issues.  


A resident asked about reports made on Nextdoor of burglars trying to get in to homes through the front door at night. PC Walter replied to say that most burglaries are in the daytime but there is the odd one at night. He has not seen any reports but happy to look at any. Lower number of burglaries in the area than usual recently. Burglary remains one of the SNT priorities including patrolling hotspots and offering prevention advice to residents. Residents can report crimes online


Cllr Omar Bush asked about theft of catalytic convertors prevalent in area. PC Walter said that garages can install prevention measures to help reduce thefts. Residents should not approach anyone they spot removing convertors from cars but please call 999.  



Station, Street Management & RP Improvements 


Chris Larkman and Tony Edwards gave an update on local issues including a presentation on progress made at the south side of the skew arch. The presentation is included with this report. Hoardings and bins have been removed, the AstroTurf has been in place for three years and now a parklet has been added with seating and planting. In addition the tunnel has been painted with a view to a mural being added over October. Longer term options are still be explored but the temporary measures are a significant improvement.


Chris said that the land on the south side of the station should at last be transferred to Merton Council. Chris thanked Paul McGarry at Merton Council and Cllr Crowe for the persistence in chasing Network Rail. 


Workspace who own the Rainbow estate have responsibility for enforcing parking restrictions on the kiss and ride, and have promised to come up with plans for parking enforcement.    


A resident asked what would happen to the parklet after 12 months. Cllr Dean asked residents is they would support it remaining and there was general agreement that attendees would like it to stay. There was less support for the other new parklet outside Lyme and Thyme as it took up two parking spaces.


Cllr Dean thanked Chris and Tony for all their hard work. 



Planning Update 


Kris Witherington, Merton Council provided an update on behalf of the Development Control team.

  • 2 Amity Grove – block of flats- resolution by Planning Committee to grant planning permission subject to the completion of a planning legal agreement. The legal agreement signed off and permission issued on 2 September. 
  • 80 Bushey Road - Pre Application Advice had been provided for a demolition of the existing building and a mixed use scheme. No further progress/communication with the Development Control Team. File recently closed on the grounds of “no further action 
  • Manuplastics – Kingston Road - Two appeals for extra units over and above approved scheme for 99 flats (118 units and the other for 124 floor) are still outstanding although communication with Planning Inspectorate seems to suggest that they are working through their backlog and that it will not be long before a decision is issued. Meanwhile various details to discharge planning conditions attached to the consented scheme are being submitted, assessed and discharged.
  • Wyke Road  - 20/P0945 – Development of a block of flats alongside the railway embankment. Final details of S106 planning agreement being ironed out between the applicant and the Council solicitors and planning permission is likely to be issued very soon 
  • Burlington Road Tesco site – 19/P2387 - The appeal was allowed (29/06/21) for the major housing (456 flats) and commercial (499 sq.m offices) development by the planning inspector following last year’s public inquiry. Officers understand that a new house builder, no longer Redrow Homes, is in the frame to implement the development but for the moment no steps have been taken to start discharging the conditions that will be necessary before building work can commence
  • The former medical centre at 9 Amity Grove - 21/P1990 - erection of external alterations including timber cladding, new glazing, a replacement canopy, refuse, buggy storage and landscaping. Application determined on 10 September and planning permission granted.


Tony Edwards said that the appeal on the Tesco site development highlighted that Merton Council did not have a five year land supply. Merton needs to do that to prevent future successful appeals. 


A resident said that private representations were no longer posted on the website for others to see, Merton Council said new software was needed to ensure redactions would take place, and they would like to know when this will happen.





Dominic Collyer, Ashley Book and Nishad Sowky from Thames Water and Tom Sly from Merton Council gave a presentation on flooding issues in Raynes Park. The presentation accompanies this report. The heavy rain on 12 July had widespread impact across London including in Raynes Park. The actions taken so far in Raynes Park have including installing 4G sensors to track blocked drains, a CCTV survey of 3km of drains, high pressure jet cleaning, gully clearance, removal of tree roots, reconstructed sewers and upgrading pumps. More than 20 tonnes of silt has been removed. 


Future plans include surveying a further 3km of drains and modelling the case for additional capital investment in the area as well as changes to pump flows. Merton Council has bid to Thames Water for eight rain gardens that help slow the flow of water. In Cottenham Park Road a section of sewer had collapsed so is being replaced with a larger capacity sewer. 


Thames Water has replaced the PDF sewer flooding questionnaire with a new online form to make reporting easier. It is vital residents report flooding to Thames Water, not just Merton Council, as the level of reporting helps inform the evidence for investment decisions. This includes reporting retrospectively, after the event. Thames Water have also increased the capacity of the call centre and improved the system. 


A resident asked if the Council has the resources to enforce sustainable drainage systems (SuDs) that were required as part of planning consent. Tom said this would be looked at by either Building Control, which may or may not be done by Merton Council, or through Planning Enforcement. 


A resident asked about rain gardens and was told that there is a drive to install them as a greener solution to storing water and they involved replacing hard landscaping with soft landscaping. Thames Water has a budget for rain gardens and Merton is waiting to hear if it will receive funding and for how many sites. Sites are likely to upstream from problem areas to reduce the flow of water into priority sites. 


A resident asked about the changes to the South London Waste Partnership contact which reduces the requirement on Veolia for gully clearance. Tom replied that Veolia is only one contractor for gully clearance and the contract with Conway has seen an overall increase in gully clearance, especially in high risk areas. Tom reminded residents to move their cars when gully clearing was scheduled. 


A resident said the gully outside Lyme and Thyme has flooded and been reported. Tom explained that the positioning of the parklet was to allow access to the gully. A resident asked if planning requirements have been changed to allow for the climate emergency. Tom replied that requirements are reviewed annually to accommodate new needs. 


A resident asked about the build-up of sediment in the sewer. Nishad said the sewers are cleaned either annually or every 6 months but are monitored and will be cleaned more frequently if needed. A residents asked about reports of insurance issues on the apostles. Tom explained that insurance companies use a wide range of sources to assess flood risk.


Councillor Dean thanked the officers for the presentation and asked that they return in the future to update the meeting. 



Council Leader 


Councillor Mark Allison, Leader of the Council, thanked the chair for the invitation and had been fascinated by the issues raised by residents. Mark has been a Cllr for 20 years, spent most of the time in more background roles. He was born locally in St Helier and grew up in St Helier area before moving to Mitcham. Mark said that Merton is a great community but there are huge challenges. Mitcham is one of the more deprived areas and whilst huge progress has been made the COVID pandemic has undone some of that. Improving schools has been a vital element in improving life chances. As part of a mixed race family Mark said he is passionate about fairness, including appointing the most diverse cabinet in Merton’s history. As Leader he plans to celebrate Merton’s diversity. 


Mark has been Leader since November so has only experienced the role during the COVID pandemic. Mark launched Merton Together to recognise how many in the community wanted to step up and help their neighbours and others. Mark thanked everyone in Raynes Park who got involved in responding to COVID. Merton Council has worked with the NHS and other partners to help keep people safe but of course many families have lost love ones or had their circumstances changed. Supporting these households through this will need to be a priority. 


The Your Merton engagement exercise was launched to listen to residents about what they value and what their ambitions are for the borough. We are still analysing the results but it is clear that residents value their community, their local open spaces, and were much more conscious of their local area, especially their local high streets. Mark said he is still in listening mode and wants to hear want people have to say. He knows that there are local issues that will need addressing and wants to work together, as we did during the pandemic, to tackle the challenges ahead. Mark said he was proud of Merton and Merton’s community, and wants to build on residents priorities. 


The Chairman of the RPA asked about the distribution of Community Infrastructure Levey funding and said this not getting fairly distributed and not coming to Raynes Park. If Raynes Park projects are not a priority then let residents know so they do not waste time in bidding. Cllr Allison said that while he did not know about the details of those bids the criteria for CIL bids is clearly set out in advance so bids have to meet these. There will be areas of need in Raynes Park so would be happy to see bids submitted to help these. 


Cllr Crowe asked about Merton Council setting a strategy for land supply as the lack of a strategy had been cited in the successful appeal for the Development of the Tesco site. Cllr Allison said that the Housing target set by government, and is difficult to meet. Building more homes relies on the Planning Applications Committee approving schemes to meet the target to avoid applications going to appeal. Planning rules on viability mean the 40% affordable housing target is often not met and there are also reduced subsidies for many schemes. 



Any other business


Dundonald Church

Julian Plescia, Elder at the church gave an update on their building works. They were supposed to move into the new church in September but the building was flooded in July resulting in significant damage. The delay maybe up to four months and in the meantime they will continue to meeting a range of local venues. Residents can send any questions to



Cllr Dean thanked everyone for attending and closed the meeting



Date of next meeting:


Future meetings: 

All at 7.15pm in Raynes Park Library, subject to COVID-19 restrictions: 

  • Thursday 2 December 2021 
  • Tuesday 22 March 2022 


Any issues or questions can be emailed to


Thames Water Presentation at the Community Forum on 6 December 2018
Thames Water Raynes Park Slides_061218.p[...]
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