Scrutinising Merton

Every year Merton Council invites views on the issues which should be given extra scrutiny through its array of Committees. It’s a welcome initiative although history has shown that very few issues raised other than by ward councillors get taken up. After six years we gave up trying in 2020 and didn’t respond. We’re having another go in response to this year’s invitation.

Seven issues have risen to the top and we’re asking Merton Council to look at them more deeply:

Operation of the planning service. This has become ever more problematic over time and we believe a review is long overdue. It should cover everything from the operation of the Planning Applications Committee to the quality of consultation and information provided on planning applications.

Tree management and protection. With over 130 trees lined up for the chop within 800m of the cricket ground we’re calling for a review of tree protection and more attention to how trees are cared for.

Online reporting. Anyone who has tried to report fly tipping, pavement parking and other issues will know just how offputting Merton Council’s online reporting service can be. It’s hard to navigate, requires different issues to be reported in different ways, provides no guarantees of follow up and lacks published information on what is happening Borough wide. User friendly online reporting tools are widely available and affordable and we are asking their use to be investigated.

Effectiveness of Mitcham Common Conservators. Set up under 19th century legislation it is increasingly apparent that the way Mitcham Common is being run is not fit for purpose. We’re asking Merton Council to review the Conservators’ role and ensure that Mitcham Common gets the forward looking, transparent and engaging management this jewel in Merton’s crown deserves.

School run and travel plans. With growing school rolls and impacts from the school run we believe it is time properly to review the effectiveness of school travel plans which promise much but rarely deliver.

Illegal fly parking. There’s a growing trend towards pavement parking around Fair Green and fly parking on the edge of Three Kings Piece, and Merton Council has passed the buck between departments when asked to sort it out.

Air quality. Our work with Mitcham Society has shown air pollution levels around Cricket Green and Fair Green exceeding legal levels. This isn’t helped by having diesel buses running through the heart of Mitcham’s village centre.

Read our full submission of topics for scrutiny here.