Category Archives: Cricket Green Conservation Area

Local elections 2022 – our Cricket Green questions for candidates

We will have three new ward councillors for Cricket Green following the Local Elections on 5th May. All three incumbents are stepping down, two after a single four year term.

As the local civic society we have asked 10 questions about key local issues of all 11 candidates from the five political parties standing in Cricket Green ward. The questions cover issues including the future of the Wilson, the impact of high rise tower blocks and how Cricket Green can best respond to the climate and ecological emergencies. Candidates have also been asked about how they will secure the future of cricket on the green and protect the Conservation Area. We have also asked how they will support the character of Mitcham Village and ensure swift action on fly tips. Candidates have also shared their favourite places in Cricket Green.

Every political party has responded. We thank them for engaging. Their answers are revealing. As a local charity it is not for us to take sides in the election. The responses speak for themselves and we hope you find them useful. We look forward to working with the successful candidates when they become our ward councillors after the election.

Read the responses to our Cricket Green questions – Local election 2022 – party responses

Car wash redevelopment should be fronted by shops not bin sheds

New plans for nine homes on the car wash site at 370 – 374 London Road are now with Merton Council to decide.

We earmarked the site to be allocated for building in the Local Plan and support its use for a combination of new homes and an extension of the local shopping parade.

Merton Council agreed with our approach.

The developers have other ideas and propose a line of bin sheds and cycle stores along London Road instead of shops and local services.

We’ve objected to this, and also objected to the loss of adjacent trees without planned replacements and the proposal for a shallow green roof which falls well short of official standards.

There are no affordable homes in this proposal, and the flats will generate an extra 5 or 6 cars with no parking to be provided.

It is planned to collect bins and make deliveries from London Road which is sure to create congestion and conflict with buses, cyclists and pedestrians.

The building design is better that earlier plans for 19 flats but lacks detail and key documents which are required to be provided are still missing.

We have asked Merton Council to reject the plans and invited the developers to come back with new proposals once they have involved local people.

Read our submission on the latest plans for the car wash site 370-374 London Road – Jan 22

Six nominations for addition to Merton’s Local List

We’ve started the New Year with a clutch of suggested additions to Merton’s Local List.

The Local List identifies buildings and structures of local historic value which don’t quite make it for national listing but are important to the story and heritage of our neighbourhood.

Being included on the Local List offers some additional protection from being lost or demolished when planning decisions are made.

This year we have deliberately worked on a selection of buildings and structures which do not have immediate visual appeal but they are of significant local historic value:

  • Mitcham Police Station – this was agreed to be added during the last review once Merton Council officers provided councillors with an up to date photograph.
  • WWII anti-tank blocks – these are located by Tramway Path near the Willow Lane railway bridges and provide a rare example of a WWII structure in the area.
  • Mitcham’s last wall mounted postbox – this can be found on Spencer Road at the edge of Mitcham Common.
  • Buildings on Willow Lane Industrial Estate – this important industrial area is often overlooked despite its significant history and contribution of many firms to developments in engineering and construction techniques. We have proposed the former HQs of Scaffolding Great Britain (in Cathite House) which pioneered modular construction methods and Morfax which contributed to the development of Concorde, the Exocet missile, simulators for the Chieftain tank and the Ministry of Defence’s radar systems. The Morfax Building included the largest clean room in Europe at the time.
  • Holborn Union Workhouse Wall – this is the last remaining structure from the large workhouse that occupied land between Eagle House and Mitcham’s village centre and it also forms the boundary between Lavender Fields and Figges Marsh wards by Asda and Chak 89.

The Local List is meant to be reviewed every year so do let us know if you have any other suggestions we can look into for the future.

5G monopole application for Hallowfield Way must be rejected

We’ve had the misfortune to deal with some exceptionally poor planning applications over the years but the latest proposals for a 5G telecoms mast in Hallowfield Way set a new standard.

The search for 5G sites in and around Cricket Green has been a difficult one. Proposals for the entrance to Park Place and by the Parish Church have rightly been rejected. A taller mast was permitted by the fire station with a vast array of street cabinets obstructing and cluttering the pavement. We’ve supported the need for 5G coverage in the area and proposed better locations such as industrial estates and roundabouts.

The latest scheme is for a 15m mast by Benedict School on Hallowfield Way. We’re not keen on the location on the edge of the Conservation Area, right by the school and in view of the Grade II* listed Parish Church. It’s also on a site that is going to be transformed by the new housing development on Benedict Wharf and in the middle of the line of the new tram route when it gets built. There are better sites nearby which fit the search criteria.

The most disappointing issue with the proposal is the shocking quality of what has been submitted. Remarkably the planning application:

  • locates the mast in the wrong place – putting it on Miles Road instead of Hallowfield Way
  • chooses a site which lies outside the applicant’s own search area for where a new mast must be erected to provide full 5G coverage
  • states both that there has and there has not been prior consultation with Merton Council
  • states that neighbours have been consulted when we’ve been able to find no evidence of any earlier consultation
  • argues that the mast has been put into a commercial area to avoid impact on homes when it is actually located between houses and a school and well away from any commercial buildings
  • selects a location said to have “numerous” street light columns to reduce the impact of the tall mast despite there being very few street lights in Hallowfield Way
  • provides details of seven locations which have been reviewed that concludes the Hallowfield Way site selected has been “discounted due to insufficient pavement width”

The applicant has even started work on the site before a decision on the planning application has been made.

For obvious reasons we’ve asked Merton Council to reject what’s on offer and request an application which actually makes sense.

Read our full response here 5G monopole -Hallowfield Way – Oct 21

Mitcham Heritage Day Saturday 11 September 2021

10:00am to 4:30pm Saturday 11 September 2021

Mitcham Heritage Day is our annual celebration of local heritage.

Mitcham Heritage Day is a Covid-aware event. Please carry face covering and hand sanitiser and check government guidelines. Please comply with any actions requested at venues including distancing, queuing and waiting. Be aware that participating venues and their programmes may change at short notice – including right up to the day of the event.

Thank you to all the volunteers who are working hard to help make Mitcham Heritage Day 2021 happen.

Download our map for use on the day.

If you enjoy Mitcham Heritage Day do please consider becoming a member (downloadable form). Your membership fees will help us run Mitcham Heritage Day 2022, as well as supporting all the other work we do.

Mitcham Cricket Green Community & Heritage
1.00pm guided walk around the gems of Mitcham Cricket Green.
Allow 1 hour.
Assemble on cricket ground opposite pavilion.

Mitcham Cricket Green Community & Heritage
10.00am to 4.30pm Heritage Shorts self-guided tour.
Learn more about Mitcham Cricket Green at a range of information points. Visit as a self-guided walk or check each location out as you are passing. All the information points can be found on the downloadable map on this page.

Mitcham Parish Church
10.00am to 4.30pm church open.
10.00am to 12.00pm bell ringing tower open with bell ringing demonstrations.
2.00pm Introduction to the Graveyard talk and tour, if weather is fine.
Exhibition provided by Merton Council’s Heritage and Local Studies service Mitcham Heritage: An A-Z.
Refreshments.

Cricket Green School
10.00am to 4.30pm access permitted.
See the remains of the Grade II listed arch of 14th Century Hall Place in school grounds. DIY children’s activities.

Wandle Industrial Museum
9.30am to 4.30pm museum open.
Talks at 10.00am and 3.00pm on the 200-year history of the textile industry on the River Wandle and the methods used in printing. The museum has exhibitions on the history and heritage of the people and industries of the Wandle Valley.

Mitcham Cricket Club
Ladies and girls cricket festival on the cricket field.
The cricket pavilion is not expected to be open to the public.

Mary Tate’s Almshouses 
11.00am to 2.00pm display on front lawn of cottages showing a cottage interior.
12.00pm talk on the history of the cottages.
1.00pm to 4.00pm. Tea, home made cakes and live music from jazz singer Jenny Green. All proceeds to Macmillan Cancer Support.

The Canons
12.00pm to 4.00pm
12.00pm to 3.45pm timed tours of The Canons House. Booking essential. Book here.
11.00am to 4.00pm Digital Drama All the Fun of the Fair community heritage project including augmented reality experience of old photographs of Mitcham Fair brought to life, smartphone based audio trail soundscape of Mitcham Fair (bring headphones to use with your phone), and a chance to share your memories of Mitcham Fair. Digital Drama can be found near the Dovecote.

Mitcham Methodist Church
10.00am to 4.30pm church open. Volunteers available to tell people about the church and show them round. Organ music throughout the day.
3.00pm church choir singing.
Refreshments.

Saints Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Church
11.00am to 3.00pm church open.
11.00am, 12.00pm, 1.00pm tours of the church and garden.
Exhibition of the church Consecration in the parish room.
Exhibition provided by Merton Council’s Heritage and Local Studies service Cricket Green, Snapshots of Local History.
Refreshments.

Melanie’s Walk
Meet 11.00am at bus stop at entrance to Mitcham Junction rail station.
Approx 1.5 to 2 hours taking in Mitcham Common and various heritage sites.
Walk finishes at Wandle Industrial Museum.

Mitcham Heritage Day is part of Wandle Fortnight 2021 and Heritage Open Days.

Thanks go to Wandle Fortnight and The Canons (via the National Lottery Heritage Fund and the National Lottery Community Fund) for their financial support.

 

   

The Canons – end of the beginning

The next few years should be exciting ones at The Canons. Ten years on from our first proposals to invest in its future the £5m Lottery funded project will come to fruition. The landscape contractors have already handed their work over to Merton Council and those working on the house are about to do the same. The place is being slowly opened up to the public and there’s lots to enjoy and the promise of more to come. As the works finish so the promise of renewed community activity should come to fruition and we have the benefit of a full time community officer supporting things till the end of 2022.

An early priority is to ensure that the promised work has been completed and delivered to a high standard. With Friends of the Canons and Mitcham Society we’ve already drawn Merton Council’s attention to a multitude of “snagging” issues ranging from poor build quality and rutted ground to a failure to provide replacements for felled trees or finish the entrance from Cold Blows.

You can read our “snagging report” along with Merton Council’s initial response here.

There is also the not so small matter of whether Merton Council has planning permission for the landscape work now completed. The simple answer is that it doesn’t. A key planning condition attached to the original planning permission has yet to be signed off and a request to do this has only just been submitted despite the works already being finished. We’ve been asking about the lack of permission since before the landscape contract began, including through use of Freedom of Information requests, email requests and The Canons project Steering Group, without success. Important details are still missing and fewer plants in the walled garden and around the car park have been provided than promised in the application. We are also concerned the new trees in the expanded car park have too little space to flourish.

The new opening by the obelisk is also causing concern. The original plans extended the railings as well as the hedge to provide a secure boundary and there are road safety concerns and worries about a traveller incursion with the unfinished boundary now in place. We’ve also asked for evidence that The Canons has a long term Management and Maintenance Plan capable of delivering what’s needed for the long term in place. Our requests for a copy have been rebuffed to date.

You can read our comments on the application to discharge the landscape condition here.

The next few years will also be a test for how well the investment will bring the lasting change we all want. The real test will be how well Merton Council can care for The Canons in the long term and a successful transition is critical. As the Lottery funded contractors leave site so the landscape gets handed over to Merton Council’s own contractors idverde to care for it in the future. The landscape idverde is being being given back is infinitely more complex and challenging to manage and they will need to step up.

There are some worrying early signs. As Friends of the Canons has reported, the wildflower areas along Commonside West and next to the walkway south of the track have been wilfully mown instead of being left to flower and then set seed. The rural character of the rough path running through Bellamy’s Copse has been damaged by cutting a double swathe through the vegetation and herbicide known to cause yellow disfiguring has been used on newly sown areas. Long grass under mature trees left during “no mow May” has subsequently and unnecessarily been cut rather than being left to grow and set seed. Too many plants have died from a lack of watering. It would be tragic if all the effort that has gone in was not followed by long term management and maintenance fit for the job.

Looking ahead it is clear the long term sustainability of The Canons will depend on the funds generated on-site from lease of the house and community cafe being re-invested into its long term care. We’ve been reassured by the National Lottery Heritage Fund that this is a requirement and will be looking for Merton Council to confirm it as the project moves into its next phase. There are also opportunities to share management of parts of the house and the landscape with local community groups.

The Canons is a jewel in Cricket Green’s crown. As a community we have invested heavily in its future. Very few of us can hope to see another investment at this scale in our lifetimes. Its time is now and it’s time to get things right.