Firstly, although it may be a little early to do so, may I wish you all a very happy Christmas and a peaceful New Year. No doubt I shall be running around at the last minute still searching for presents. With the best of intentions it happens every year. These notes will be shorter than usual, as there is quite a lot in this month's "Guide" about a revised planning application for the London Electricity Sportsground in Grand Drive. We seem to have gone full circle on this, because it was just after Christmas last year that the original application landed on us. The first item is perhaps timely with Christmas in mind.
It seems that the Post Office, or Consignia as it is now called, has cut out the early morning postal collection in our area and many other parts of south-west London as a cost-cutting measure. However, for most people, it should not make too much difference. I made some enquiries and was assured that, with the introduction of faster mail-sorting equipment at the Nine Elms depot, Consignia still expect to meet their delivery performance targets even with mail not being collected until mid-day. In fact, some 'busy' boxes, including those in Amity Grove and at Raynes Park station, will still be emptied in the early morning. I suppose the ever-growing traffic in email must be making a difference in the volume of ordinary mail. One interesting by-product of this change mentioned by Mr Brennan, Head of Network at Nine Elms, is that it should result in fewer postal vans on the roads during the morning rush 'hour'. A small contribution to easing traffic congestion.
Several members have commented on not having seen P.C. Alistair Tiddy, the West Barnes Beat Manager, recently. He was drafted up to central London immediately after the 11 September disaster, and in fact only had one day in Wimbledon in the month following the New York tragedy. It seems that when the police are called on to provide extra staff in special circumstances, it is the Beat Managers who are the first to be released. We send our best wishes to Alistair and hope he will soon be back in our midst. I heard one comment on the BBC that the presence of all the extra police in central London was essentially a PR exercise in reassurance. Perhaps it is, but very understandable given the circumstances
Just a reminder, as I notice a lot of people pruning trees and bushes. Merton Council now operates a green waste collection service for households. Up to five bags of green waste can be collected by contacting the Waste Helpline on 020 8545 4157. You need to remember that the waste needs to be genuinely green material, and can include grass, hedge cuttings, leaves, small twigs, dead plants and weeds, but not tree stumps or large branches or soil.
Ray Boyce in Bushey Road contacted us about a large beech alongside Prince George's Playing Fields. He felt that the tree had not so much been pruned as butchered. On inspection I had to agree. To my amazement, one week later, I discovered that the tree had been felled. The explanation is given in the December "Guide" by the letter from Mr Block, Merton's Environmental Control Officer. The trunk of the tree was very close to the main road, and presumably was a potential danger. A sad but necessary end.
Members may be interested to know that the Association posts about forty copies of the Guide each month to various people. John Hughes, Secretary of the Horticultural Section, looks after this with our thanks. Included in this distribution are a small number going to senior officials and Councillors at the Civic Centre and a number to ex-members and life members who have moved away from our area. We also send copies to the local newspapers and other residents' associations in the Wimbledon/Raynes Park area. It is useful to keep in contact with these other RAs, because there are some issues of common concern - Prince George's comes to mind.David J. Freeman