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Raynes Park and West Barnes Residents' Association
Serving the community since 1928

Association News, August 2003

New committee system

It is now some eighteen months since we introduced the new committee system and had a very much-needed injection of "new blood" among Association activists, and we would like to know how you, the members, are finding things.

As you know, we now only have four "open" meetings a year (unless an urgent situation develops to which we need to respond). Our other monthly meetings are confined to committee members and councillors only.

We are aware that many of our regulars miss coming along to the monthly meetings, and, given a choice, would like to revert to the old system. However, large meetings simply do not allow for proper discussion of mundane organizational matters. Even with only ten or so of us there, it can be difficult to concentrate the mind, particularly when there are huge issues like the development of LESSA to deal with.

The current system should allow for the following :

If you feel that the system is not working satisfactorily, or you have some suggestions as to how things might be improved, please contact any of our activists listed on the back page of the magazine.


If you are finding that the pages of "The Guide" are full of comments and praise directed at our small group of planning advisors these days, we hope that you will bear with us. The work carried out by a few extremely dedicated people resulted in our local residents winning the appeal against Barratts' horrendous plans for the development of LESSA.

Of course, we realize this is not the end of the story (so long as the land is there, it will never end). However, I hope you will forgive us for just a small amount of pride at the result.

I referred to the "residents'" victory deliberately. Having sat through some of the enquiry, it wasn't difficult to form the opinion that although the Council did its best (in the end), it was the case put forward by the Association and its members which really won the day. My personal opinion (if I am allowed one) is that it was a gross error of judgment on the part of the planning officer(s) concerned to have recommended approval of Barratts' application in the first place, and would have set an appalling precedent.


The Council's Amenity Services Division, headed by Mr. Irfan Malik, is, as you may know, expanding its kerbside recycling collection service in our area. The Council is planning to collect mixed materials from each household (excluding large blocks of flats) weekly. Essentially, the green box scheme for recycling paper is to be extended to include glass, card/cardboard, plastic bottles and cans. The pilot scheme, which has been running in Lower Morden, has proved for the most part popular and successful.

The Council claims that it is going to be simple to participate in this new service. However, we must express great concern at the proposal that we should put paper and glass together in one box, and strongly advise against this action, particuarly in the summer!

Has no-one on the Council ever tried to light a bonfire by allowing the sun to shine through glass onto flammable material? Obviously there aren't many ex-girl guides or boy scouts in the Amenity Services Division!

Having said that, congratulations are due to Mr. Malik and his team for, at last, extending this service. Better late than never! Members may remember that this suggestion was made to the environmental services department of the day by this Association, via its local councillors, in the late eighties/early nineties. We queried then why different-coloured plastic bags couldn't be provided to householders so they could separate their rubbish into paper, cans, etc., ready for collection. Our suggestion came from a scheme being operated in Switzerland at the time. However, we were told quite dismissively that it couldn't be done. Just as our railway embankment trees have the wrong sort of leaves, so the Council had the wrong sort of vehicles, and apparently were to keep them for a decade.

Jill Truman

Concert by the West Barnes Singers

On a lovely summer's evening, the West Barnes Singers gave a concert at St. Saviour's to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Association. It was also in celebration of Andrew Charity's astonishing achievement of thirty years of conducting and leading the singers. The concert featured music taken from the Coronation on 2nd June 1953, which some of us can still dimly remember from our black-and-white TV sets.

The music was beautifully sung, and ended with a piece by Mozart with professional soloists. The concert was attended by the Mayor, who wrote us a nice letter of appreciation. After the singing, everybody repaired to the church hall and enjoyed large quantities of wine and nibbles. Our thanks are due to Jill and Simon Truman, among others, for organizing such a marvellous party.

Special edition of "The Guide"

Our editor, Martin Eales, and webmaster, Tim Miles, are collecting material for a special edition of "The Guide" to be published around Christmas. This will look back over the last 75 years of life in this area, and try to bring to life what it has been like to live here over the years. We still require the memories and stories of older residents, so please keep your contributions coming.

John Elvidge