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

Chairman's Notes, August 2000

Prince George's & LESSA Sportgrounds Update

There is little progress to report with regard to the possible developments on the local sportsgrounds. Jill Truman has received a letter from Charles Goodson-Wickes in which he states "...From our joint meeting with Wimbledon Football Club, I (CGW) was glad to be able to advise Mr Koppel on several matters, which I suggested would be civilised gestures and would give comfort to the local residents. He seemed very receptive to this advice." We shall wait and see the outcome of our future discussions with the club, who at the present time seem preoccupied with selling their best players for large sums of money.

Many residents in Greenway whose properties back onto the LESSA ground are very concerned about the future of this land. Several of them have contacted me directly to express their views and also attended the recent Association meeting. As discussed at this last Association meeting, we have no further information apart from the knowledge of the forthcoming departure of the groundsman at the end of September.

If you obtain any information on any of these grounds then please let us know immediately. We are aware that the Council are preparing guidelines for future planning applications and we will inform you as soon as any information is available. You can be sure the Council is aware of our views !

Developments in the Grand Drive Area - the Official View

We have printed in this Guide a letter from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) who have expressed to us their views on the proposed development of the St Catherine's School site and developments in general on flood plain land. The EPA have stated their opposition to any such developments as a consequence of the potential for flooding of this land. As we are all aware, except perhaps Merton Council, rain cannot soak into land covered with concrete! The EPA have stressed that they would oppose any development and we hope that the local authority will take note of this professional advice rather than bow to any political requirement.

Take an Interest in YOUR Area and act

There was considerable discussion at the last meeting with regard to overgrown vegetation covering footpaths, also the weeds along the gutters and all over the pavements as a result of the poor quality of the street maintenance. And we still pay one of the highest Council Taxes in London for this poor quality of service !? YOU can help clean up the area by getting a Council Advice Card (usually green or yellow) from your local library and informing the Council of the offending vegetation, blocked gutters, broken paving stones and any other matter they have overlooked in their alleged street maintenance activities. Please make a note of the date you send your card to the Council and if you do not see any action taken after a few weeks, telephone them and inform your Councillors too. We can all take a pride in our local area and make sure the Council carry out their tasks properly.

Cattle Arch Improvements - End of the Drips?

The Cattle Arch at Raynes Park Station is closed for several evenings this week (10th - 14th July) from 2200-0600 for repairs and we are expecting (hoping) that this also includes the refurbishment of the ceiling to stop the water dripping through. We shall report any progress next month.

(In fact, it appears that the Arch was never closed and no work was carried out - possibly due to rain ! - and there is no further work planned this year - Webmaster)

West Barnes Crossing - Traffic Lights

We are still waiting for this matter to be resolved. It must be ten years since it was first agreed that traffic lights would be inserted at West Barnes Level Crossing. But the problem seems to be between RailTrack and Merton Council and these two organisations getting their respective financial support for the project in the same year. While this matter remains unresolved, so the traffic congestion continues, aided by the reduction in width of West Barnes Lane by the strategically positioned traffic island which causes problems for motorists in the rush hour traffic queues. We can only hope for some progress soon. We do remind our Councillors continually about this while they are also trying to seek a solution.


We are receiving reports from residents of an explosion in the fox population this summer. The Council and the RSPCA are unwilling to act, however they do remind us that the foxes are WILD creatures and should NOT be fed by householders. It is bad for their metabolism if they are given mince and butchers' bones which do not contain the correct roughage to sustain them. Foxes require a diet of small rodents, birds, worms... which give them adequate amounts of fur, feather, gristle and small bones for their digestion.

If left unaided they will continue to build dens along the railway embankments, helping to keep down the rat and pigeon populations. By putting down food for foxes in their gardens, misguided people are creating a particular nuisance for those with small children and pets. One young mother has a problem caused by a family of four foxes in her garden which is left covered in excrement as the animals mark their territory, creating a grave health hazard for the children who play there. We have heard from another distraught resident who now has six unwelcome guests and still her neighbours are feeding the creatures.

Common sense must prevail. The proprietary brands of deterrent such as sprays and powders do not seem to work, so we have to rely on sensible neighbourly behaviour.

Questionnaire Feedback - Initial Responses

The July and August issues of the Guide have carried a questionnaire to help us develop the future of YOUR Association in the appropriate manner. So far I have received only ten replies, including one without a name and address, whose comments must therefore be disregarded. The major part of the questionnaire is to learn from you how you can contribute to the running of this organisation. But so far NOBODY has provided any such response. Comments about the value of the organisation and cosmetic matters relating to the Guide are of no use if there is nobody prepared to provide the leadership or support, help and co-ordinate the activities.

I emphasise again that we urgently need We still need more of you to be involved please. Remember it is your Association. Your input is vital.


Next Meeting

The next meeting of the Association will be held on Tuesday 12 September at 7.45pm in the Tennis Pavilion, 129 Grand Drive. You are all welcome to attend and we look forward to seeing you.

Garry Hunt (President and acting Chairman, RP&WBRA)