I hope you all had a pleasant summer with your friends and family in the UK and overseas. Returning home gives you a new view of Raynes Park and West Barnes so we look forward to your continued interactions and comments on the area.
The Association, other organisations and residents have been suggesting to Merton for some time that the Raynes Park Library site should be redeveloped into a better library and meeting centre for the area. We first raised this matter with the Council at the 1998 AGM, when the then Chief Executive, Sue Charteris was our guest. Slowly some possible progress is being made. The Council has developed a document outlining the type of development they would consider acceptable and made this available to possible developers of the site. The new development would require private finance to provide a larger improved library, an assembly hall, public toilets and parking. The whole site would be available, including the old laundry and existing (closed) toilets which amounts to an area of 0.4 acres. The plan being considered is for a mixed development with the public facilities at ground level and either offices or flats above. This matter has been discussed at a recent meeting of the Raynes Park and West Barnes Town Centre Working Party which David Freeman attended on behalf of the Association. We do not have any details of the timescale for taking these development plans forward, but the discussions are an important and overdue step.
I am delighted to report that the Bob McKenzie Memorial Planter has been placed and planted on the north side of the intersection of Grand Drive and Westway. This is an ideal location and as central as possible in our ward to remember a friend, colleague, Mayor of Merton, local Councillor, supporter, auditor and adviser to numerous organisations in this area. On behalf of the Association, I would like thank Jean and John Haslam for taking the responsibility for selecting the planter and arranging with the Council for its location in Westway.
When it came to planting it, we naturally called upon the Horticultural Section to help us. However after much deliberation they found they could not, or would not. But again our tireless retirees John and Jean Haslam came to our rescue with some ericaceous soil and a few varied heathers which make a handsome display.
There is little progress to report with regard to the possible developments on the local sportsgrounds, although we remain in constant contact with the Council and our Councillors on these matters. Please contact us at any time if you gain any useful information.
The issue of developments on flood plains continues to concern us and we maintain a constant dialogue with the Council and our MP on this matter. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) continue to stress that any building on flood plains is foolhardy and we recommend that legislation is made so that they have the power to prevent Councils from ignoring their professional advice.
This is a matter of concern to us, as you will have seen from our correspondence to the Council setting out objections to the future plans to redevelop the sites occupied currently by the St Catherine’s School. In other neighbouring boroughs, such as Elmbridge, where existing properties are in locations prone to flooding, the owners have been warned and urged to get sand bags in readiness for any future flood which could occur at anytime. I have not seen any such forward thinking yet from Merton Council.
Although I reported in the August "Guide" that the Cattle Arch at Raynes Park Station was to be closed for improvements to alleviate the drips (!), I have not noticed any change. It was as wet as ever when I walked through there this week. I am also concerned with the poor state of many of the bricks which do seem very porous.We have been informed that any work has been postponed until December 2000 ! Residents are also concerned about the poor lighting under the arch especially as the Coombe Lane entrance to the station is closed at night. We asked for a reason for the closure and the Railtrack officials stated they were unaware that there was a closure.
On behalf of the Association, Margaret Pye is discussing with the Council and Government Departments, the possibility of renaming Cannon Hill Common to Cannon Hill Park and making it a heritage site. This would preserve it from any possible development or alternation from its current pleasant and natural state.
Merton Council are reviewing their road sweeping scheme and are debating whether to revert to sweeping weekly. Write to Mr Malik, Environmental Services, Merton Council, who would like to hear your views.
George Ferrier has been corresponding with the Bus authorities with regard to the K5 bus and the rumour of changes to the service. The correspondence has been printed in the Guide. We have now been informed that on the 1 November, the direction of the route will be reversed but otherwise, there will be no change in the service. The details are given elsewhere in the Guide.
I was delighted to receive an e-mail from a new resident to the area who had found our web site and corresponded with me to learn more about the Association. So our move into the e-world may be working. If you have access to the Internet, then please visit the web site which is maintained by our webmaster Tim Miles and send him any comments. I must emphasise the our Internet activities are not replacing any of the existing methods of communication and especially the Guide, which will remain the main method of communicating with you, the members.
I am also pleased to report that Edwin Cluer and David Rock have expressed a desire to assist the Association. We look forward to their active involvement in our activities, but we still need more new people to involved. I have now passed to Edwin the questionnaires received from you so he can make an independent review of your comments and suggestions. I am a little surprised to read comments such as
... I did not know you held meetings... AND
...Who can attend ?... when meetings are mentioned in EVERY issue of the Guide.
We have spent some time at our meetings discussing the future activities of the Association and there is agreement that a change is needed. We therefore intend to concentrate on
Residents can take more responsibility themselves by reporting directly to the Council on the "Green Card" available from any library, any specific matters relating to street cleaning, lighting and similar matters or refer them directly to the Councillors, who always attend our meetings. The Association will then serve as a focal point for the issues of the area, ensure that action is taken and use its hard-pressed resources to focus on the key issues for which an independent opinion is required.
If you have any comments then please come to our meetings and tell us. We like to hear from you.
During August, at the same time as the new education league tables were published, I noticed two large official signs standing in Coombe Lane and another in Worple Road stating
"...Warning : Rainspark Bridge Closed..."Am in the wrong place ?!!
The next meeting of the Association will be held on Tuesday 10 October at 7.45pm in the Tennis Pavilion, 129 Grand Drive, by the junction of Crossway. This open meeting is for all residents, local Councillors and representatives of the Police is your chance to discuss local issues affecting you and this area. At the next meeting the treasurer will be giving us his recommendation on the cost of the annual subscription, which at the AGM in March, some people thought should be increased from its current level of £2. If you have any views please contact John Cock and come to the meeting too.
You are all welcome to attend and we look forward to seeing you.Garry Hunt (President and acting Chairman, RP&WBRA)