Raynes Park Community Forum
28 June 2023
The meeting was held in Raynes Park Library and chaired by Councillor John Oliver with Chris Edge from the Raynes Park Association (RPA). Around 16 residents and two councillors attended, with 67 views on YouTube following the meeting. The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting.
A resident asked about pollarding of trees on Edna Road. Cllr Wilson said that the council is behind on the current cycle of works following previous staff shortages and the season for pollarding has finished and will not begin again until September as it stops for the nesting season. The council will still clear branches if they are dangerous. Please report problems with trees online. London Borough of Merton (LBM) will be publishing its works schedule on the website. You have the right to prune overhanging tree branches back to the boundary line of your property, even if you do not own the tree.
A resident asked about parking on Kingston Road, as there is a proposal to restrict parking on Sundays but there will be no change to the controlled parking zone on the Apostles. Cllr Willis said the Kingston Road scheme will be going ahead in July. Chris Larkman said that a complaint was made by the Apostles Resident’s Association about the Cabinet Member, Cllr Alambritis, as he had previously said the scheme would not be going ahead. The church on Kingston Road has submitted a legal challenge as well.
PC Manning from Raynes Park Safer Neighbourhood Team gave an update on local policing issues. PC Manning joined the team four months ago and is now one of two ward officers. Ward panel sets priorities each quarter. The team are problem orientated and will work with communities to find solutions to their priorities.
The three priorities in Raynes Park are youth anti-social behaviour (ASB), motor vehicle crime, and burglaries.
Motor vehicle crime is low in Raynes Park compared to London and other parts of the borough but there have been a few incidents. The team conduct reassurance visits, gather CCTV or resident evidence. They set up a joint operation with the Traffic team involving the low visibility patrols at night. This resulted in a decrease in catalytic convertor thefts. The team has also been holding events in Raynes Park and Wimbledon to assist residents in preventing thefts.
On burglaries the team used crime mapping to identify locations for additional patrols and this resulted in a reduction of 50%. The team will continue to conduct reassurance visits. The team has also been working on parcel thefts on the Apostles.
There are two main ASB issues on the high street and on the Carters Estate. The team has created a portfolio of those involved in both areas.
A few shops have been targeted on the High Street, namely Starbucks, Co-op, and Waitrose. The team is working with these stores to identify opportunities to improve security. The Co-op has been especially targeted, so the team is working with the staff, but the layout and the CCTV is poor. The Area Operations Manager and Security Manager visited the store recently and committed to improving the CCTV arrangements. A new manager at Waitrose will also hopefully meet with the team soon, along with their external security team. There have also been increased patrols on High Street following robberies from young people of their phones. As a result, four youths were stop and searched, and three arrested for theft from the Co-op.
On the Carters Estate the team is working with Clarion and LBM. The team has visited three addresses of those responsible for some of the ASB and made home visits to residents reporting issues. The team conducted Stop and Search of six individuals who were smoking cannabis in stairwells of buildings that were not their own. Clarion will be replacing doors on the estate to increase security. The team are also working with the schools’ officer at Raynes Park High School to identify the young people involved.
A resident asked about boundaries and for contact details for other Safer Neighbourhood teams. PC Manning said that the SNT teams now match LBM ward boundaries and contact details can be found online.
A resident asked what will be done to stop ongoing harassment of residents by young people involved in ASB. PC Manning said they working across other ward teams and school teams to identify those involved and take action against them.
A resident said that young people are smoking cannabis by the parklet and PC Manning asked that residents let the team know where these locations are so they can target hotspots.
A resident on Gore Road asked about people outside regularly making noise still at 3am, so who should they contact to report this to. PC Manning said that in an emergency call 999, or otherwise you can report issues online, or in the case of noise or ASB report to LBM.
A resident asked about plans to extend the SNTs and PC Manning said that a Sergeant covers several wards, and then there are two PCs and one PCSO per ward. Another resident asked how much time the team spend on the ward. PC Manning said it varies as they often have to cover other events such as the coronation, Wimbledon, football matches and the response teams. Five out of six days are usually on the ward and hopefully SNTs will be a bigger priority in the future.
A resident said they were disappointed in the Co-op response and the message it sends to staff, residents, and police. PC Manning said that this is not a new issue, and they get a lot of calls to Co-op, 13 in the last month. The poor design of the store does not help.
Cllr Willis asked if the team are looking for new members of the Ward Panels. PC Manning said the Raynes Park panel is meeting on Friday at the Salvation Army Church, and new people are welcome. The leader of the Korean church will also hopefully be joining the panel after the team reached out to the Korean community.
Cllr Wilson said that residents had been telling her that having reported fly-tipping through Fix-My-Street they were then told the issue is fixed when it has not been. If this happens, please let councillors know so that they can raise the problem with the Public Spaces Team. There will be a litter pick on Saturday at 2pm from West Barnes Lane to cover the Carters estate.
Cllr Willis said there had been a substantial flooding event recently, but it cleared quickly, suggesting that some of the changes have helped. Thames Water is still working with LBM on long term solutions.
Cllr Oliver said residents have been raising a number of issues including council tax; fix-my-street; fly-tipping; ASB neighbour dispute; housing lists; step-free access at Motspur Park station; and modifications of homes for disabled people through Occupational Therapy.
Land Transfer – the small piece of land on the south side transfer has been delayed after an electrical cable had been discovered underground.
The Embankment on north side had been cleared by volunteers and the Friends group are now looking at appropriate planting for the autumn.
Kiss and Ride – Stephen Hammond MP has spoken with Workspace and they are appointing a company to manage the parking.
Chris Larkman has met with managers from Network Rail, South Western Railways and Stephen Hammond to look at the front of station to ask them to make some basic improvements like signage and removing the wooden fencing on platform 1.
Step-free access is going to be installed at Motspur Park but is also urgently needed at Raynes Park. The complication is installing a lift shaft for platform 3 and 4. A solution is to install a lift to platform 2 then create a new bridge and lift to platform 3 and 4. This approach will cost about £10m and is now on the list for consideration.
A resident asked about someone rough sleeping at Raynes Park station. PC Manning said LBM and the SNT working together, have issued a Community Protection Warning to the individual which if breached would result in a Community Protection Notice. LBM is also working to re-house the individual concerned and provide other services to support them.
Flooding in the Area and Rain Gardens
The Thames Water and LBM appointed consultant is due to report soon so there should then be a chance to study any implications of any proposed changes. Cllr Willis said LBM has approved £300k for the project and town centre improvements.
A resident asked about the leaking water main on Durham Road and Tony said this was old infrastructure that needs to be replaced.
LBM is following up on possible enforcement to remove the advertising sign diagonally opposite Waitrose.
A resident asked about plans to change the gyratory in Raynes Park. Cllr Willis said this was part of the plans to address the flooding in area and to create a civic space by changing the road layout. It will need funding from multiple sources and the LBM funding already announced is spread over 2024/25 and 2025/26 so it is unlikely that there will be major changes soon.
The forum was asked if they wished to continue meeting in the current format, chaired by councillors and the RPA, in addition to events that will be organised by the LBM engagement team in new formats to be discussed by Cabinet in July. Attendees agreed that they would like to meet again in the autumn.
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