Monthly Archives: November 2012

Is SITA a good neighbour?

Volunteers recently helped Mitcham Cricket Green Community and Heritage complete a survey of SITA traffic.

Local people have been raising concerns with SITA for a long time about large lorries using the narrow end of Church Road and the tight junction at London Road to access the SITA site.

Yet SITA has done little to encourage vehicles to use the much wider part of Church Road that leads into Colliers Wood and our survey suggests vehicles by far prefer to use the narrow end of Church Road.

Passers by were keen to talk to our volunteers as they did the survey. One volunteer reported:

“A young woman with a push chair told me how frightened she was walking along Church Rd and also crossing Hallowfield Way. “The lorries just come bombing down from Sita”

The local Guardian published an article about our survey and asked SITA for a comment. The response falls well short of the mark, suggesting that SITA takes comments seriously and wants to be  “good neighbour” but refusing to take immediate action.

Read our full survey report.

What can you do?

If you would like to help, or would like to share your own experiences of SITA lorries, please email us at

If you see any lorries in the narrow part of Church Road, or any SITA lorries causing problems or displaying bad driving behaviour please let us know by email, telling us the date and time and describing what you saw.

Please send us the registration number of the vehicle if you can, and if you can take a photo with your phone please send us that too. We will alert SITA and keep all incidents on file.

The Cricketers pub saga continues – prepare for the Planning Inspector

Regular visitors to our web site will know of the ongoing saga surrounding the Cricketers pub on London Road.

Now it has reached a very important phase. This is a long post but please read it right to the end – it’s important!

The pub, built in the 1950s and replacing an earlier pub, was acquired by a developer which has put in no fewer than three planning applications to demolish and build flats on the site.

The first was turned down by Merton and then turned down at appeal. The second was turned down by Merton last Spring. A third application came in during the Summer.

The developer has lodged an appeal on the second application, a design it called modern but which to our eyes is no different to thousands of other blocks of flats to be seen all over the country.  The building is too large and too poorly designed for this sensitive site.

Now the developer  has also appealed the third application, even though this has not been in front of Merton’s planning committee yet.

The third design  is, in the words of the developer, an ‘idiosyncratic design’ based on ‘fake history’. It is version of what a Victorian pub might look like if it were turned into a block of flats.

Part of our objection to this proposal is that with so much real history on Cricket Green, this fake history would look like what it is – a confection with no real meaning. It would undermine and overpower the Vestry Hall , a real Victorian building, and the fire station, built in the 1920s. Both are locally listed.

We’re not against development, or against a modern design. What we want to see is a development which does the Cricket Green and its setting justice. We want something of high quality which makes the 21st century’s first important contribution to the buildings on Cricket Green.

You can read our objection to the ‘modern’ application here and to the ‘fake history’ application here.

What can you do?

There are two things you can do at this stage that would really help.

First, you can send in your views on the ‘modern’ design electronically via the Planning Inspectorate website

A plan of the scheme can be viewed here.

To submit your views to the Planning Inspectorate go here.

And then please submit them again here.

It is important to do this twice as there are actually two applications being appealed. One relates to the planning consent for the new building and the other to the conservation area consent to demolish the existing building.

The Planning Inspector will be influenced by the views of local people so it is important to make your voice heard if you can. The deadline for objections was 20 November, but no harm can be done if you submit your views after that date – if you are quick.

It will make a real impact if the Inspectorate receive a flurry of emails and letters so please do support us if you possibly can.

The main issues raised by MCGC&H are that the proposals will significantly damage the character of the conservation area because they:

  • overwhelm the site and compete with the listed Vestry Hall and locally listed fire station
  • remove an important community use
  • present a supposedly contemporary, three colour, design that feels both mundane and already dated
  • introduce a major new source of light pollution into the muted and sensitively lit nightscape of Cricket Green
  • prevent the whole island site being considered together

Second you can watch this web site for further updates.

A date has not yet been set for the Planning Inspector’s informal hearing – but we will post information here about it as soon as we get it.

We’ll also keep you up to date with information about the second ‘fake history’ application, including letting you know when we learn it is due to go before Merton’s Planning Committee and any information we get about the appeal.

Mitcham town centre regeneration project gathers steam

We’re excited about new proposals for regenerating Mitcham Town Centre.

Merton council has secured at least £3 million to invest in Mitcham town centre. The focus will be on the Fair Green, with a keen eye on breathing new life into the market, shops and open space as part of the scheme. There is also money to improve roads and transport.

The council is about to start on a major public consultation programme so that local people can influence how the money is spent.

A consultation document will be delivered to the 22,000 homes in the CR4 postcode. Schools, libraries, faith and other groups will also be contacted.

There will be a consultation event on Fair Green on 22, 23 and 24 November.

Visit the Rediscover Mitcham web site today – and watch it for further developments.