Welcome to the latest WEHRA Newsletter.
At last, life feels like it is returning to something approaching normal with many people returning to their workplaces and social venues reopening.
The pandemic is already resulting in fundamental and radical changes in how we live, work and play. It has made us far more aware of where and how we live with quite a lot of movement of people in and out of our area.
There is a huge amount happening in and around Hillside which will impact our area– a lot of which is outlined in this newsletter – so it is essential that we are aware and have a say in these proposals for change.
WEHRA’s Executive Committee is reviewing what we do and how we communicate with our members. We very much welcome your input into this process.
Lynne Gordon, Chair
In this issue
Parking and Traffic Update
Safeguarding our Environment
The WEHRA Executive Committee meets four times per year. If there are any issues that you would like the committee to discuss please contact your street representative or our secretary Christopher Dizer (37, Compton Road) on 8946 1619 – at least two weeks before the meeting.
Dates for the remaining meetings in 2021 are the 30th of September and 18th of November. Meetings are attended by your elected executive committee members and street representatives and WEHRA members are always welcome. These will be conducted online until further notice.
Planning in Wimbledon, indeed across the whole Borough, continues to cause concern. Merton Council has published the third iteration of its Local Plan which will run until the 2040s. Unfortunately, it is still fixated on growth – planning many tall buildings in Wimbledon and further development of the nighttime economy. The Plan is still talking about Crossrail2 which will certainly not happen in the lifetime of the plan. However, only lip service is paid to the climate emergency and very little thought has gone into the effects of the pandemic on the future built environment.
We had hoped that PlanWimbledon, our Neighbourhood Planning Group, would be able to provide a stronger residents’ voice in planning but its application to become a neighbourhood forum to produce a neighbourhood plan for Wimbledon was refused by Merton Council in July despite over a 1300 responses – 90+% of which were positive – to the consultation. The key reason given for this was the lack of business support in the town centre – Wimbledon Town Centre accounts for 80% of the business revenue in the Borough of Merton and, as the Local Plan demonstrates, the Council wishes to expand and develop it as much as possible. PlanWimbledon is now regrouping and preparing for a second application.
Significantly, PlanWimbledon’s application was opposed by Love Wimbledon. Love Wimbledon is the local Business Improvement District (BID), their primary aim is to increase footfall in the town. They are funded by a levy on local businesses and although they often claim to represent residents do not have any resident representatives on their Board. They are licensed by Merton Council and work closely alongside them in planning matters.
Update on Specific Planning Applications:
- AELTC Expansion Plans:
The All England Tennis Club (AELTC) is planning the biggest expansion of its facilities in decades. It is applying for planning permission to build an 8,000-seat stadium, 38 outdoor courts and 10 ancillary buildings on the former Wimbledon Park Golf Course which is a Grade II* Heritage Listed Park and Garden, Metropolitan Open Land (the urban equivalent of Green Belt) and a Conservation Area.
The project will transform the historic parkland which was originally designed by Capability Brown. The build is expected to take 8 years and when completed, will bring an estimated 190,000 more spectators to the annual tournament, including the Qualifying Event which will relocate from Roehampton.
The proposals have implications for the whole community so please take a look at what is proposed and if you have concerns, please make your views known to the planning authorities.
The deadline for responding to the planning applications is 30th September
The planning applications can be found at: www.merton.gov.uk/planning Application number 21/P2900
- The YMCA
The demolition has started on the old YMCA building on the Broadway – the plan is for a new YMCA plus 136 private apartments on the site. We are still concerned about the height and density of the new buildings.
- 4, Francis Grove: Demolition work is also due to start on the site. The new office development will be twice the height of the old one and completely cover the site’s footprint.
- St George’s House: This is the building opposite the station which currently houses Little Waitrose, Starbucks etc. the owners have put forward proposals to demolish the current building and replace it with a 12-storey office block with retail on the ground level – this application is now working its way through the pre-planning system. We have concerns about its height – just in excess of 50 meters – and whether, post pandemic, there really is a need for so much office space in the future.
- Alwyne Mansions: The scaffolding has now gone up to build the much opposed, extra storeys on Alwyne Mansions – it is estimated that this will be ongoing until June 2022.
- Centre Court:
The Centre Court Shopping Centre has been sold to Romulus – a Fulham based company – who are primarily known for their hotel developments. There are no specific proposals as yet, but they are talking about making Centre Court more accessible in terms of a direct entrance from the station and a better entrance from Queens Road, greening the building and making it a more lifestyle destination with a food hall etc.
- The Bank Buildings, Wimbledon Hill Road: Nothing has happened on the hotel development, but the current owners have applied for a change of use of the Amity College part of the building from education to offices.
The freehold on our local Sainsbury’s site on Worple Road is currently up for sale with a guide price of £25.5m. Sainsbury’s still has 25years to run on its lease but this is one of the sites earmarked by the Council for major redevelopment.
- Water Garden on Wimbledon Hill Road:
The Council has installed a water garden at the bottom of Wimbledon Hill Road where it meets Woodside. The garden has a sustainable drainage system which is designed to absorb storm water and prevent flooding. It is hoped that the Council will start the proposed refurbishment of the whole of the walkway on the hill at some point this year – this has been in the pipeline since 2016.
- Hartfield Walk: Love Wimbledon’s development of Hartfield Walk – the cut through between Morrison’s and Robert Dyas – has caused a great deal of controversy in recent months. The construction work was completed prior to it being granted formal planning permission and has involved sub-standard materials and workmanship already resulting in the need for repairs. The scale of the overall cost of the development – some £120,000 of council money – has also given cause for concern.
To help the hospitality sector to recover from the pandemic, the Council has approved 41 new licenses for restaurants, bars and cafes to put tables and chairs on the pavement. They have also created 5 ‘parklets’ – these repurpose existing parking bays as seating areas, the one in Kings Road by the Old Frizzle is shown with another outside the Light on the Common.
Parking and Traffic Update
CPZ W2 – Still awaiting results of parking consultation
You may remember that the Council undertook a consultation on some proposed changes in the W2 Controlled Parking Zone (CPZ) at the start of 2020, in April the Council came back with their proposals – these are a mixed bag, some are very welcome, others not and result in a different response depending on which street you are resident on and what parking facilities you already have.
WEHRA put a small working party together and to collect residents’ feedback on these proposals and with the support of our ward councillors put a counter proposal to the Council – we should have their feedback in a few weeks’ time
The HGV problem:
The scale of the waste recycling facilities located at Weir Road has grown exponentially in the past ten years – the site now has in excess of 600 lorry movements each day – that is one per minute in the average working day. The facility serves a wide area – the boroughs of Sutton, Croydon, Kingston as well as Merton so the HGVs travel long distances to get to and from the site, the latter part of which is through our residential streets where they often rat-run and speed. More worryingly, there is no air monitoring around the site – the readings are taken in the Broadway where comparatively few of the HGVs pass.
It is increasingly apparent that Weir Road – which was originally designated as ‘light industrial’ and meant only to serve the Borough of Merton – is not a suitable location for such a large recycling facility. Many of the local residents’ associations are working together to lobby for the recycling facilities to be moved to a more suitable site adjoining the A3 so the pollution and safety issues raised by so many HGVs are minimised. Click on the link below to read further.
At the beginning of September, Wimbledon Park Residents Association (WPRA) acted as the lead residents’ group in lobbying for the facilities to be moved and gained a great deal of traction with the Inspectors at the hearing on the latest South West Waste Plan and are hopeful on getting an amendment to the current proposals – the YouTube link to this hearing is below
We now need to maintain pressure on the Council to address these issues so please write in to them as the scale of response has a real effect on what they decide. You might like to comment on:
- how the air pollution, traffic congestion and noise from the waste carrying HGVs has affected you and in particular any worries you have about the health consequences of the air pollution
- the sheer number of waste-carrying HGV’s and support the findings of our traffic survey which found more than 600 HGVs going to and from the site in a working day.
- how the waste carrying HGVs are travelling along residential roads in order to get to the Weir Road sites.
- demand that the waste reprocessing sites in Weir Road be moved to a more appropriate location where it will cause less problems for residents
Please could you send this to your local ward councillors copying in the following representatives of Merton Council:
Council leader : Cllr Mark Allison: firstname.lastname@example.org
Cabinet member with responsibility for the environment: Cllr Natasha Irons: Natasha.email@example.com
Merton Council Chief Executive: Ms Hannah Doody : Hannah.firstname.lastname@example.org
Merton Council Director of Environment and Regeneration: Mr Chris Lee: Chris.email@example.com
Head of Future Merton (Merton’s planning dept): Mr Paul McGarry : Paul.firstname.lastname@example.org
The East Hillside Lower Traffic Neighbourhood:
The East Hillside Low Traffic Neighbourhood Group (EHLTN) has been lobbying Merton Council to test/ implement the ANPR camera technology which monitors car numberplates to prevent non-local through traffic without restricting local traffic, public and emergency vehicles etc. At present, due to TFL funding constraints the Council is not yet able to embark on the scheme, however, they have committed to installing traffic sensors to gather data to support a funding case in future. The traffic sensors should be operational from this September and will monitor the whole Borough and East Hillside within it. The test should be 12 months in duration.
The Fruit man in St. Marks Place:
Lots of people are wondering what has happened to the fruit stall in St Marks Square. In short, Mick Ferrari has been in hospital but is now recovering and is hoping to be back in situ before Christmas. If anyone wishes to send Mick a ‘get well‘ message, email it to email@example.com. Leigh will be pleased to forward to his granddaughter. Mick’s surgery was more complex than expected, and he will need more time to recover. He thanks you for your well wishes.
The Waggly Walk returns:
The Wimbledon Guild is holding its Waggly Walk fund raiser on the 2nd of October. The event is open to walkers with or without dogs with a choice of a 4km or 7km route, both of which start and finish at the Hand in Hand pub. Tickets cost £10 per adult, £5 per child or £25 for a family ticket
Wimbledon International Music Festival:
The Music Festival will be taking place between the 13th and 28th of November – booking is now open!
The Polka and Wimbledon Theatres are now open again!
Just to remind you that both theatres are back with full programmes.
The Christmas shows will be Dick Whittington at Wimbledon theatre and Cinderella at the Polka.
Merton Council Elections to be held in May 2022
The next Council Elections will be held in May 2022. Following the report from the Boundary Commission last year, the number of Ward Councillors in Hillside is being reduced from three to two. This will coincide with the retirement of two of our current ward councillors, David Williams and David Simpson who have both served our community for many years. Dan Holden will be re-standing and will be joined on the Conservative ticket by Rob Cossins who is a local Hillside resident. The other local parties will be announcing their candidates soon.
Canvassing has already started…
Wimbledon Common Nature Club – CALLING ALL CHILDREN Aged 6-14
Enjoy lots of fun with the Wimbledon Common Nature Club, which meets the first Sunday of every month.
Its aim is to help children discover nature and the pleasure of the great outdoors through a variety of fun events, which run from 10.00am to 12 noon. The meeting point is the Information Centre.
Activities in the past have included:
- Pond dipping
- Shelter building
- Fungi Foraying
- Decorations for Christmas
However, just as Covid has impacted on every area of our lives, it has also impacted on the Nature Club. Consequently, if you are interested in taking part, it is advised to first contact the Club Leader, Auriel Glanville before turning up at the meeting point. She can be reached by:
Phone: 020 8 540 6154
There are, of course, lots of other things happening on the Common for people of all ages, details of these can be found on: www.wpcc.org .
And for those rainy days when going to the Common isn’t as appealing as on a warm, sunny day, but you still want to keep young children entertained, then download the PDF’s on this site to print out fun key line drawings to colour in. There is a wide range to choose from, including: butterflies; caterpillars; fish and The Windmill.
Join Wimbledon Guild for their Warm & Well Information Fair
If you’re a Merton resident and would like to find out more about staying well as the colder weather approaches, go to the Warm & Well Information Fair being held at Wimbledon Library on Wednesday 13th October from 2:30 – 4:30pm.
Get your blood pressure checked with One You Merton, pick up your free information pack (with a handy room thermometer) and enjoy free brownies and refreshments.
Stall holders include: Wimbledon Guild, Age UK Merton, Thinking Works, Healthwatch, the Police, the Fire Brigade, and more.
For more information contact Catherine on 0208 946 0735.
Safeguarding our Environment
Saving our Trees
We are delighted to report that WEHRA has been instrumental in securing a Tree Preservation Order on the splendid sycamore tree located at the back of the Pho and former San Lorenzo restaurants following an application to fell the tree had been made by the new owners of the San Lorenzo.
Many of our desperately needed local street trees in the public area have either been lost or are in danger:
- The three prunus at the front of Wimbledon station have had their tree pits covered in tarmac, so water can no longer reach the soil.
- The two large plane trees outside the entrance to Centre Court are dead/dying. One fell over showing its root structure had been reduced to 70% dust. Its sister tree is today roped off, awaiting removal. No doubt root structure is equally compromised by lack of water to keep root structure healthy.
- Love Wimbledon has – without consultation – enclosed the trunks of four mature ornamental pear trees in Hartfield Walk, covering them in glued down AstroTurf and chicken wire, keeping sunlight from nearly a metre of each trunk, and preventing any rainwater reaching the tree pits. Further, all trees have outgrown their original metal supports and iron grates, and these were also covered, rather than removing them as would be proper arboricultural practice. The trees are now compromised, and it is very likely they too will now die, due to lack of rainwater and from rot/mould from enclosing the trunks.
- One sorbus fastigiata has been removed outside Morrison’s, cut to the ground, with no evidence of disease/damage.
- Two mature acer, healthy, two storeys tall, in St Mark’s Place – it emerged Future Merton authorised their removal, without any planning application or consultation.
- Eleven healthy mature trees were removed recently from the Plough Lane street scene, outside TrustFORD. Eleven healthy, beautiful, 30-year-old trees that represented half of the street trees on this congested distributor road. These trees too were in a Conservation Area, they were illegally removed virtually overnight without consultation.
That is a total of 23 trees listed above; there are several more street trees in Wimbledon town in poor condition or dead that need attention
The RHS’s Planet Friendly Gardening Campaign
This new campaign by the Royal Horticultural Society features ten easy gardening tasks which will make a real difference to the environment and biodiversity. Tasks include growing fruit, vegetables and flowers, switching to rainwater and pulling up a paving slab or two to make room for some bee-loving perennials.
The RHS is asking you to share these tips with as many of your friends and family as possible. Click below for more details:
Doris May Waters April 1924 – January 2o21
Although she was a Wimbledon resident for over 60 years, Doris grew up near Corsham in Wiltshire where she was born the eldest of the Colman family in 1924, she was then followed by six brothers! She won school awards for swimming and the high jump and also loved cycling. After finishing school, she qualified in shorthand and typing and then worked in various locations around the west country during the second world war.
She met James Waters from County Mayo in Whitney in Oxfordshire and they married in 1944, moving to Oxford where their first son was born. In 1948, they moved to London spending seven years in Holloway and then two in Highbury where their second son arrived in 1956. Throughout those years she worked at the Stradivarius offices near the Angel.
In 1958, the family moved to Wimbledon to live above her brother’s dental surgery in the Broadway and then the family bought 21, Compton Road in January 1960 where her three daughters were born, and she also kept many pets.
After spending a few years being a full-time mother, Doris resumed working. In addition to helping her husband James run the South London Irish Association, she was a bookkeeper for several local firms and although she ‘retired’ aged 65, she still carried on working part-time until she was 81.
James died in 1992, and Doris also experienced some ill health but despite this she was always an active and caring mother, grandmother and from 2020, a great grandmother.
Your Street Representatives
WEHRA street reps: (House numbers in parentheses)
Alexandra: Christine Denwood (32 Alwyne)
Alwyne: Winnie Taglianini (54) and Christine Denwood (32)
Bernard Gardens: Street Reps needed
Compton: Marcela Montes (57)
Glendale Drive: Ann Broadbridge (40)
Parkwood: Laura Hurley (22)
Rostrevor: Martin Perry (6)
Springfield: Street Reps needed
Woodside: Leigh Terrafranca (66)
Woodside House: Street Reps needed
Worcester: Marcela Montes (57, Compton)
How to join the Wimbledon Society
The Wimbledon Society was established in 1903 to help conserve the best of Wimbledon’s historic and natural heritage and is one of the country’s oldest civic groups.
Membership is £15 pa for an individual member and £20 for a family and members receive a quarterly Newsletter
and access to the Museum’s archives; the local history group and activities.
Application forms can be obtained from Jennifer Newman at firstname.lastname@example.org
Please also see our website for more details. www.wimbledonsociety.org.uk
Your Local Councillor Contact Details
Councillor Daniel Holden – Daniel.Holden@merton.gov.uk
Councillor David Simpson – David.Simpson@merton.gov.uk
Councillor David Williams – David.Williams@merton.gov.uk
Paying your WEHRA subs online
The £10.00 payment should be made using the details below and referencing your address:
Bank: The Cooperative Bank
Bank Sort Code: 08-92-99
Account Number: 65649493
Account Name: WEHRA
Ref: (Your name, house number, street and email)