Chessington District Residents’ Association
For the meeting to be held on 1st May 2018
At St Paul’s Centre, Hook Road – 8pm
1. CHESSINGTON DISTRICT RESIDENTS ASSOCIATION NOTICES
2. MINUTES OF LAST MEETING
3. VISITING MEMBERS QUESTIONS AND CONTRIBUTIONS
4. MAJOR NEW ISSUES ONLY
5. MATTERS ARISING AND MINOR ISSUES
6. HEALTH ISSUES
7. EDUCATIONAL ISSUES
8. PLANNING APPLICATIONS
9. PLANNING NEWS
10. POLICE REPORT 11.ANY OTHER BUSINESS
Of the meeting held on the 3rd of April 2018
Chairman – Colin Punch, Vice Chairman – Mike Hoare, Treasurer - Diane Brannan, John Botterill, Francis Brannan, Colin Dance, Brian Ekins, Jenny Lewington, Rob Robb, Peter Shakeshaft, Colin Suckling, Sue Towner, Sheila Watkins.
Councillor Andrew Day, Andrew Ellis, Simon Illsley, Henry Jelley.
Graham Hedley, Councillor Margaret Thompson. Dick Ware.
1.CHESSINGTON DISTRICT RESIDENTS ASSOCIATION NOTICES
( a ) Diane said that the Chessington Methodist Church Hall had provisionally been booked for the 21st of June for our AGM.
( b ) The new legal privacy rules that are being introduced from the 25th of May were discussed. This will mean that non members that receive minutes and other relevant information from our association will need to give permission to continue receiving it. Our members will not need to do this as by paying their annual subscription they become a member and agree to receive information from us. Our membership secretary will send an email to notify our non member email recipients.
2. MINUTES OF THE LAST MEETING
The minutes were agreed as a true and accurate record of that meeting.
3.VISITING MEMBERS QUESTIONS AND CONTRIBUTIONS
( c ) Fence Maintenance- A visiting member from Clayton Road asked us if we knew which property is responsible for maintaining fences that lie between houses. He said that the information was not on his house deeds and there was confusion as to who was responsible for maintaining the dividing fence.. We all said that we believed that if you stand in front of your house you are responsible for the fence on the right hand side of your property. We made a few suggestions as to how he could find out for sure but he seemed to have been proactive and already tried most. We will attempt to get confirmation of this issue.
( d ) Fire Engine access in Selwood Road - A member recently contacted us to say that they have now had three incidents when the Fire Engines had been unable to access Selwood Road.
She said that a few years ago, there was the same problem, so the Council imposed staggered yellow lines down part of Somerset Avenue so as to deter continuous roadside parking and allow fire engines enough passing space. It is thought that the residents of Vallis Way agreed to park their cars in their drives wherever possible and to stagger parking on the road.
Rob Robb volunteered to write to the Borough Commander of the London Fire Brigade to ask what their team does if they are unable to access a road and who was notified about Selwood Road when the fire engine could not get down the road. This has been a regular concern in many local residential roads in recent years. The growing number of parked cars, and especially parked commercial vans, often causes roadways to be too narrow for fire brigade vehicles. When this happens we recommend that residents contact the fire brigade. They will survey the road and make specific safety arrangements.
( e ) Chessington & Hook United Football Club - Andrew Ellis from the football club came to our meeting to give us an update on what has been happening at the club.
Andy told us that the football club had been burgled five times in the last four months. The first four times they made a big mess but did not steal anything. However, in the last break in they had £1,000 of kit stolen.
The footballs had ‘Combined Counties’ written on them. Football clubs have been written to by Surrey Council FA asking them to contact them if they are offered these balls.
They also had a serious act of vandalism, when wet football pitches were churned up and damaged by hooligans on mopeds. (The club is located on land with a high water table and drainage and ground maintenance are probably their major expense).
Despite reporting these incidents to the Police they did not knowingly receive a visit. Instead they received a letter from Crime Management Services in Kent thanking them for reporting the burglary. The letter said “ We have investigated the incident and our enquires are now complete. However, at this stage we do not have sufficient evidence to proceed further, which means we must close the case”. The letter described some follow up routines that had been pursued.
Our committee were very surprised to hear that our local Safer Neighbourhood Police team, who we believe to be very efficient and proactive, had not visited the football club to discuss the burglaries. We think that it is possible that they had not been informed by their colleagues and did not know that a burglary had occurred. We said that we would contact Sergeant Baxter ourselves.
The football club have received good local support. One person was particularly generous and gave them fifty footballs and other miscellaneous kit.
The good news is that the football club continues to undertake very valuable work among young people. At any given time they have up to 120 young boys and girls in training, playing football and participating in junior football leagues. One of the club aims is to help young people gain a sense of objective and to achieve their full potential. In purely football terms talented players are trained to such a level that they are recruited into more senior leagues and clubs.
The football club management committee have worked very hard to stabilise the club and ensure that it can continue to undertake the valuable work it does for young people and the community. A twenty seven year lease has been agreed with the Council. They were also given a rent freeze for seven years. The club no longer have any debts, they are all paid off!
We thanked Andrew for his time.
4. SUMMARY OF MAJOR ISSUES
There were no Major new issues
5. MATTERS ARISING AND MINOR ISSUES
( f ) Ace of Spades Roundabout - At our last meeting Jenny mentioned that bricks have fallen out of the roundabout. She has reported it to TfL. The problem is that the roundabout is too small in diameter for the large number of vehicles that use it. Rob Robb has also been in lengthy discussion with TfL for some time about the issue. Councillor Margaret Thompson emailed us to say that she has also contacted TfL about this matter over and over again. They say that lorries knock bricks out because they turn too close to the centre of the roundabout. GLA Member Caroline Pidgeon has been to look at the roundabout. She has contacted TfL directly from the Mayor’s Office.
6. HEALTH ISSUES
( g ) Merritt Health Centre Patients Participation Group (PPG) - Diane who is a member of this committee reported that during National Patients Participation Group (NPPG) week, commencing the 4th of June their PPG (which is a committee responsible for communicating between the patient and the surgery) will be holding a number of talks. There will be coffee mornings, meet and walk sessions, information on diabetes, mens health and womens health as well as first aid for babies and young infants and separate sessions for adults. When the schedule is finalised we will publish it so watch this space!
7. EDUCATIONAL ISSUES
( h ) Chessington Community College (CCC) - We had an informal meeting with Mr Ash Ali, Head teacher of CCC on the 23rd of March. The following are informal notes from a very full and positive meeting.
The recent school inspection results were discussed. These can be misunderstood by those not familiar with the complexities of our educational statistical system. The scoring system is essentially basically arithmetically points based with points awarded for a somewhat limited set of criteria. If you get the numbers all is well. Unfortunately, life is not so simple. If you start from behind, with a school that has social as well as educational problems to overcome, if you work hard and make good progress, and achieve significant improvement, you do not necessarily get the points, or the praise you deserve, because the message is too hard to communicate. This is the problem that CCC faces. They have twice as many pupils receiving free school meals as is normal for Kingston, and the number of children with special educational needs exceeds the national norm. Yet they are making significant progress with better and better results. All praise to them.
The Head teacher is ambitious to continue the improvement and there are signs that success is being rewarded. New pupil numbers are up this year. There is now expectation that the college will be able to have its own sixth form in four years time. That means that not only will it offer a significant range of subjects, taught at an acceptably high standard, with enough pupils getting the grades necessary for sixth form entry, but also have the positive public recognition necessary to attract sixth form pupils from other schools. Currently any CCC student that gets grades that are sufficient for acceptance to a sixth form can transfer to either Esher or Hollyfield.
CCC now works with a number of local companies to get support and also to find places for pupils to have apprenticeships. This is to exploit the government’s new requirement for companies of a certain size to run apprenticeship schemes. The Chairman of the Board of Governors has worked hard to initiate a number of projects in this area. We were surprised to learn that RBK currently has no local scheme to support apprenticeships. What local government sourced financial help that is available comes from Richmond Borough Council.
Local government educational funding is essentially split three ways. The terms used were pot one- school funding, pot two-special educational needs funding and pot three-central services. RBK overspends its educational budget of £92 million. The over spend is mainly on the obligatory supporting of special educational needs places. If a special needs child is accepted into a school like CCC the burden of the extra teaching care needed is placed upon the schools budget. What is a very high cost area is supporting disabled children. Where local facilities are not able to cope with the children it is possible for parents to send the children to special schools and to have the cost reimbursed from the Councils budget. Many schools are so financially stretched that they do not have the financial resources to accept special educational needs children. RBK now has a £5 million education budget deficit. The general feeling in the teaching profession is that central government underfunds education.
Problems, problems, problems.
CCC now has a working group to promote ‘teach local’. They attempt to recruit teachers living locally to work in local schools. This is an attempt to save money by avoiding having to pay for recruiting advertisements.
A comment made was that teachers working in Kingston have the predicament of having to pay high London accommodation costs while being paid lower outer London teaching wage rates. (is there anyone out there with one or two houses that could be rented to teachers?).
Tuition fees at university are now so high that the supply of teachers is being ‘choked off’. Our country is now importing teachers from abroad.
CCC are forming a ‘cluster’ group of South of the Borough primary schools, partly with the intention of developing a Chessington schools charter.
As the school is making steady progress it is considering putting its past reputation behind it and changing its name. ‘Rebranding’ is the fashionable term. The name ‘Chessington School’ is under consideration.
Ash Ali was generous in his praise for Police Constable Andy Elton for his excellent work with the pupils. He also said that he is very grateful for the support he has received from Edward Davey, our Member of Parliament.
We were very impressed that quite a number of teachers were still in the building when our meeting finished at half past seven. Our chairman spoke about being willing to do some support work with pupils. In an instant he was whisked out of the room to get him signed up.
Finally, it was mentioned that the school was organising an evening event for parents to discuss mental health issues for young people. One of our committee members will attend.
( i ) Ellingham School - Recently we had heard that Ellingham School were in ‘special measures’ after a recent inspection. Colin Punch contacted the school to ask if this was true. He was assured that it is not correct. Councillor Margaret Thompson emailed in response to our minutes. She wrote “Ellingham is a good school going through a bad patch, and not in special measures. I have talked to RBK. Staffing matters are still confidential but are now settled subject to the usual HR processes”.
( j ) St Philips School 17/10458/Ful – This proposal is for a 3 classroom, stand alone, additional building which will mean they will be able to extend the provision for the Special Educational Needs (SEN’s) children from 7 years old to 19 years old as against current age range of 11 to 19 years old.
Sheila Watkins attended the presentation which was made by the school. She said that the older SEN children currently get sent to Somerset and that the two schools would be kept separate. Our association have no objection to this application.
( k ) Cap in Hand 18/10123 - There is a revised planning application on the site of the Cap in Hand. This to build 38 flats with a mixture of 1, 2,& 3 bedrooms in buildings up to 7 storey’s in height. There will be only 14 car parking spaces which will mean that cars will park in the neighbouring streets! The likely radical increase in the number of vehicles attempting to park in nearby streets would probably require the establishment of ‘controlled parking zones’ in those streets.The new application does not include a pub. Our association will be objecting. Our Councillors have requested the application to come to the South of the Borough Neighbourhood Committee before being decided by the Development Control Committee at the Guildhall. We do not have a date for this yet.
8. PLANNNG NEWS
( l ) Bramham Gardens 17/10416/OUT – Our association objected to this application which was to demolish two houses and erect 2 x two bedroom maisonettes and 6 x four bedroom semi-detached houses. We are pleased to report that the application was refused as the spatial separation of the proposed new houses was under 21m, which was too close together.
( m ) Rushett Stables, Leatherhead Road 18/10023 - The application is for change of use. To provide two mobile homes with detached day rooms and utility blocks for two Gypsy traveller families. The application was refused as it is not considered to be appropriate for Green Belt land and would be detrimental to the character and appearance of the landscape.
( n ) Cricket Club, Leatherhead Road - The cricket club was broken into recently. However their alarm is connected to a system which alerts the Police, who arrived within 12 minutes. The thieves escaped without taking anything.
11.ANY OTHER BUSINESS
Borough of Epsom and Ewell issues that may affect us - During the course of the meeting a number of issues concerning our neighbouring Epsom and Ewell Borough were mentioned. Many indirectly affect us. We have put them together to make a more coherent picture.
The Epsom & Ewell Borough is at present writing its draft Borough Local Plan. An Issues and Options document was published and a six week public consultation was held last autumn. That comprehensive document included a number of possible options for where and how the future growth of the borough might be located. The consultation response was excellent. The analysis of the responses and the publication of the first draft of the plan is imminent. This will be followed by a second public consultation and the eventual submission of the completed local plan to the Secretary of State. The new Local Plan is expected to be adopted in late 2019.
Surrey County Council have tasked Epsom with building 600 homes per year for ten years. As Epsom and Ewell have now finished redeveloping the seven mental hospital sites they have become very expert at urban re-development. The last site to be re-developed, the St Ebbas hospital in Hook Road at Epsom, is a superb achievement and has won awards for its planning and architecture. The Epsom residents seem to have much more confidence in their Council to succeed in these projects than we have in RBK.
Epsom Council are creating a council owned property investment company to develop and manage their growing property investment portfolio. This is to compensate for reduced governmental funding by making the borough more financially self-sufficient. The new company EEPIC LTD ( Epsom and Ewell Property Investment Company Ltd ) will be run as a commercial operation outside normal council functions. The council is the sole shareholder of the company and has ultimate control. They will employ a small staff of experts in the property sector, with elected councillors as the only shareholders.
Mr Viv Evans, who was one of the senior planning executives In Kingston, has left to become the Head of Planning in Epsom.
Cultural events. In recent years ‘on line ‘retailers have brought about the closure of many bookshops and the second hand book sellers have virtually disappeared. This is bad for our society. The Methodist Church has come to the rescue. The Church in Epsom has a number of large and small halls and for the last seventeen years they have held an annual three day charity second hand book fair. This year’s book sale was advertised as offering 60,000 books! It was huge. The amount of work needed to bring it about must have been immense. The books were sorted into categories. One of our committee members was one of the hard workers. It was very popular with crowds of happy customers. Though a few rare books were sold at premium prices, the standard prices were 80 pence for a paperback and £1.20 for a hard back. There were plenty of bargains to be found. Last year the fair raised £36,000, this year they achieved £37,000! All credit to them for their hard work.
In March the Epsom Choral Society and the Regent Sinphonia performed a Handel oratorio at St Martin of Tours Church. There were a little over 90 choristers singing and 40 instrumentalists in the orchestra. The quality of the singing and the playing of the musicians was exemplary. The very large church easily accommodated the audience of over 300 people. This was another very impressive achievement.
St Martin of Tours Church, which is in Church Street, has a very interesting addition to its war memorial. A surprising number of service men from Epsom were killed in both wars. Mounted next to the First World War plaque are two of the temporary wooden grave markers which were put over the temporary graves on the battlefield of the soldiers killed. When the fallen were moved to a formal war cemetery someone made the effort to bring the grave markers, which are mud stained, back to England.
We were told that the Kings Head pub, which is a little further up the road, has an excellent team of cooks and serves the best Sunday lunches in Epsom. We have not yet had the time to check this out.
Dates for your Diary –
The next Chessington District Residents Association Meeting. Our next meeting will be held on Tuesday the 1st of May at St Pauls Church Hall in Hook Road which is the small hall attached to the side of the Church.
I wish to join / renew my membership of the Chessington District Residents’ Association 2018/2019
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