The quality of life in Cricket Green owes much to planning controls.
These ensure development meets minimum standards, trees and open spaces are protected, noisy and intrusive activity prevented and listed buildings aren’t neglected.
The effectiveness of planning controls is only as good as the quality of their enforcement. This has long been a Cinderella of Merton Council and the official record shows that the number of outstanding enforcement actions on the books across the Borough is reaching 1,000. This doesn’t include the multitude of breaches that go unreported.
We are seriously concerned by the impact of weak enforcement on Cricket Green and are publishing our five year report. This tracks the success, or otherwise, of our formal requests to Merton Council for action since 2014 on issues such as:
- loss of trees due to failure to comply with planning permission for multi-use games area at The Canons
- the unauthorised use of Burn Bullock car park for car sales
- paving of front gardens without planning permission
- removal of the characteristic yellow tiles at the former Bull pub
- the proliferation of estate agent boards at Brook House and the Cricketers flats without permission
- the failure to implement requirements of listed building repair notice at Burn Bullock
- hoardings erected without permission around the fire station and straying onto others land
- unauthorised tree clearance, new entrance and other works at Blue Houses site
The record speaks for itself.
Only two of the fourteen issues raised have been resolved and even with these we were not notified of the action being taken.
Our representations have been frequently ignored even after writing five or six times and some responses have taken literally years to secure.
On this evidence it is clear Merton’s enforcement team is stretched too thinly and needs to be both better resourced and supported in taking a more assertive approach.
Read our Five Year Enforcement Report
We plan to maintain it and hope that future reports will paint a more positive picture.
It’s the 50th anniversary of Mitcham Cricket Green Conservation Area and so there is no better time to be refreshing the Cricket Green Charter.
The Charter was first prepared in 2013 and sets out principles that have been informing development and other decisions for more than five years.
The Canons Lottery project is a direct result of the Charter, and is just one of the important achievements it has inspired.
We have been inviting views on the refresh since the beginning of 2019 and been in touch with more than 5,000 households in the local area.
We have received some great feedback.
We also held a workshop earlier this month for local people and councillors. This also heard from Merton Council’s futureMerton team about the changes Cricket Green can expect in the coming years.
Thank you to everyone who has been involved so far. We produced a report on the consultation feedback.
We are now asking for your views on a final draft of the new Cricket Green Charter.
Have a look and let us know what you think.
- Have we pitched things properly?
- What have we missed?
- Are these your priorities?
- How would you like to see Cricket Green change?
You can email us, get involved on Twitter, or come along and talk things through at our stall at Merton Heritage Discovery Day (at the Civic Centre in Morden on May 11th) or Mitcham Carnival (at Three Kings Piece in Mitcham on June 15th).
We also have an Open Meeting in Mitcham Cricket Pavilion on May 28th at 7pm and would love to chat to you there.
We need to have your feedback by the time of Mitcham Carnival.
Report on the consultation feedback
Final draft of the new Cricket Green Charter
We’re delighted that the Secretary of State has accepted our nomination for the war memorial on Lower Green West to be nationally listed.
We proposed the listing on Remembrance Sunday last year and have secured a Grade II listing for this important memorial at the heart of the Mitcham community.
The volunteer research behind the nomination has now been accepted on the official record.
The war memorial has been listed on three grounds:
- As an eloquent witness to the tragic impact of world events on this local community, and the sacrifice it has made in the conflicts of the C20
- As an elegant wheel-head cross memorial with well-executed carved details and sculpted bronze swords
- For its relationship with the Grade II-listed Mitcham Parish Rooms.
We’re proud to have played our part in securing national recognition for this monument to the contribution Mitcham’s community made in the two World Wars. It stands as witness to the impact of conflict on Mitcham and we’re delighted to see the war memorial recognised and protected for the future.
The memorial was unveiled in 1920 at a ceremony attended by 5,000 people and has 588 names inscribed on the four panels.
This national recognition also supports the war memorials programme promoted by Civic Voice as the national organisation for local civic societies like Mitcham Cricket Green Community & Heritage.
Read the official listing notice
The impact of air pollution is rising up rapidly up the agenda and Cricket Green is not immune.
With support from Friends of the Earth we have been conducting some air quality trials in the area and the results are concerning.
We chose three locations at which to measure air quality – the busy road junction by the White Hart at Jubilee Corner; where Church Road reaches Lower Green and near the old milestone by Elm Lodge.
We set out ‘diffusion tubes’ for 20 days to measure pollution levels for nitrogen dioxide.
High levels of nitrogen dioxide are known to inflame the lining of the lung and reduce immunity to lung infections such as bronchitis. The tubes were sent off to a laboratory for analysis and gave the following results:
By White Hart 67.0µg/m3
Church Road/Lower Green West 27.1µg/m3
By Elm Lodge 41.8µg/m3
Air pollution is measured in µg/m3 (micrograms per cubic metre)
For the period of our trials (in August 2016) two of the sites exceeded the European legal mean annual limit for nitrogen dioxide at 40µg/m3
We cannot yet say that air pollution in Cricket Green is breaking legal limits as we ran the trials for too short a period of time. They are a snapshot and air pollution varies throughout the year as a result of the seasons, weather patterns, traffic levels and other events.
What we can say is that it isn’t looking good. While more results are needed, we think it is time to start taking action to avoid even more problems in the future. The solutions aren’t easy – traffic levels in the area are very high – but with effort they can found and as a start we think there’s merit in extending the Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) already planned for central London to cover a much larger area.
We are keen to extend this study further, and we are supporting Mitcham Society in its own efforts to monitor pollution levels at Mitcham Fair Green. Let us know if you would like to get involved.
One of our latest projects is to identify the buildings and open spaces in the area which are most valued by the local community. We are keen to take advantage of the new legal protection which has been introduced under the “community right to bid”.
Where local assets are included on a register held by the local council this means they can’t be sold off without the local community being given time to come up with some alternative proposals.
We’ve already identified the cricket pavilion and the fire station as early contenders. Neither is currently owned by the community and both are at risk.
We’ve included our ideas on a website gathering examples across the country and you can see the fire station here and the cricket pavilion here.
Let us know which other buildings or open space you think we should be campaigning for. Contact us at the usual address: firstname.lastname@example.org