Category Archives: Submissions

Open spaces matter – our response to Merton Council Open Space Study

Merton’s green spaces matter.

In every poll of why people love where they live they come out top and Cricket Green has more green spaces than anywhere else in Merton.

So we have welcomed a new “open spaces study” by Merton Council which provides an opportunity to recognise their importance and protect and manage them better in the future.

Our green spaces certainly need better recognition.

The evidence is growing of a decline in management standards as a result of Merton Council’s contracting out to idverde. Development pressures are everywhere and Merton’s Local Plan is up for review.

We have highlighted some glaring gaps in the open space database, including important areas of registered Town Green.

Important areas of nature conservation interest are also missing and we have objected to open spaces like Three Kings Piece being classified as “outdoor sports facilities”. They are used for football matches for a tiny percentage of the time and are so much more important than that.

We’re also surprised at the omission of the new green space created around Fair Green as a result of the recent “Rediscover Mitcham” investment. Merton Council has promised that this will be registered as additional Town Green but has left it off the map.

Our submission also calls on Merton Council and Mitcham Common Conservators to prepare management plans for each of the open spaces.

Most green spaces don’t have a management plan and those for Cranmer Green ran out in 2006 and Mitcham Common in 2012.

Among other initiatives we’re also pressing for better protection for the local ponds, stronger commitments to keeping trees and shrubs well watered in the summer and a plan to replace trees which will eventually die off.

Read our submission –  open spaces study – jan 19

See – Merton Council’s open space map

Planning for the future – Merton’s Local Plan

Cricket Green is going to change a lot in the next 20 years.

The community is growing and getting younger. New public transport routes are planned. Over a thousand new homes could be built.

The Wilson is set to be redeveloped to provide new health and community services. The green spaces around The Canons will see investment and a new cafe.

The Burn Bullock and White Hart could reopen and the old fire station be given a new use.

All of this could improve our neighbourhood but it could also do harm. The Conservation Area and its environs are sensitive and easily damaged. More shops could close and green spaces and gardens could be lost.

The local workshops and yards could be built over and rising traffic could cause more pollution and make it even harder to cross the roads.

Merton’s new Local Plan will have a major influence on how Cricket Green changes. It is the keynote document containing all the policies that decide where and what kind of development is permitted and how well it should be designed.

The Local Plan is under review and we have set out our stall for how it should guide Cricket Green’s future.

We’re disappointed that too many of the policies are so vague they won’t help ensure the high quality of new building the area deserves. We’ve asked for the policies governing development sites, such as Benedict Wharf, The Wilson and The Birches to be strengthened. We’ve also identified the shopping parades in Church Road, London Road and Bramcote Parade for protection.

We are looking for more cultural facilities and we want Merton Council to identify and protect local community assets such as the Wandle Industrial Museum.

We’ve asked for extra protection for the green space behind Mary Tate’s almshouses and in Glebe Court. We want investment in the streets and pavements to make London Road and Jubilee Corner more pleasant and to close King George VI Avenue to prevent car parking at the heart of Cranmer Green.

We want more trees to be planted and local ponds protected. We’ve welcomed the Local Plan’s expectation that Mitcham cricket pavilion will become community run.

The Local Plan also needs to set the standard for good design and prevent Cricket Green becoming an area dominated by blocks of flats. We favour new homes based on streets and houses.

It is important that the Local Plan sets an expectation that local people will be involved in shaping development ideas well before they get to the stage of a planning application. It also needs to be backed by a stronger commitment from Merton Council to enforce planning laws when people develop without permission.

The Local Plan is expected to go to a public hearing later this year and come into force in 2020.

You can read our full submission – Merton local plan consultation Jan 2019

The Local Plan pages at Merton Council web site

Will the Sutton Link come to Mitcham?

Mitcham has benefited greatly from the opening of the tram in 2000 and there are plans afoot which could bring new transport links running through Benedict Wharf.

After years of concerted lobbying Transport for London is consulting on options for a tram or bus rapid transit route to Sutton town centre. One option would link to South Wimbledon and another to Colliers Wood.

We have welcome the potential of the Colliers Wood option.

This would run across the existing tram route at Belgrave Walk and through the car pound to join Church Road near to Mitcham parish church.

It is disappointing that the legitimacy of the consultation is undermined by failing to include details of where trams or buses will be stored and maintained. There is also a lack of detail over the precise route which will require some demolitions. We have asked Transport for London to consult again with more detail before a decision on the principle of any route is made.

The plans coincide with the emerging proposals for 500-800 homes on Benedict Wharf but neither consultation mentions the other.

We have also asked that the crossing of the existing tram avoid an intrusive over-bridge which would be visible from the Wandle Valley and Mitcham Cricket Green Conservation Areas.

There is also an opportunity to celebrate the route of the Surrey Iron Railway – the first public railway in the world – which would be followed by the Colliers Wood option.

Find out more about the “Sutton Link” proposals

Sutton Link MCGC&H comments

 

White Hart restoration plans blighted by intrusive flats

The Grade II listed White Hart is one of the most important buildings in Merton and stands prominently at the heart of Cricket Green Conservation Area.

It includes a large area of land to the rear which is the focus of plans for a new block of flats.

We have welcome the proposals to restore and re-open the White Hart and demolish the modern extension to its rear.

Unfortunately the new building proposed as part of the development is less sympathetic.

The architects drawing clearly show it will be visible above the roofline of the White Hart in the key approach along Cricket Green to the south.

Worryingly, there is no information provided on the impact on Lower Green West.

The design of the new flats also doesn’t do justice the the location and the proposed beer garden will spend most of its time in shade. An opportunity has been missed to service the White Hart from the rear and avoid delivery lorries adding to the congestion and road safety problems at Jubilee Corner.

As a consequence we have objected to the plans (see here) and invited the developers to collaborate on an alternative. We would welcome well designed residential development which funds restoration of the White Hart and avoids damage to the Conservation Area.

Read our comments

The future of Benedict Wharf

The long awaited plans for the future of Benedict Wharf have started to emerge.

This is the largest brownfield site in Mitcham and it will become available for development once SUEZ moves its waste facility to a new site on Beddington Lane.

We have previously welcomed the move and the plans to re-use the site for housing. Something in the order of 500-800 homes are planned.

The site has huge potential, including to strengthen links between Mitcham and Morden. It is a little known fact that Mitcham Parish Church is closer to Morden Hall Park than Merton Civic Centre but Benedict Wharf is a major psychological and physical barrier.

The plans revealed by SUEZ at a recent public exhibition are a step in the right direction but miss out on some of the key opportunities for improving access and lack the detail required for us to be confident of the proposals.

There are widespread concerns that the site might be developed for 10 storey blocks of flats looming over the area – including over London Road Playing Fields.

We have asked SUEZ to rethink and provide homes based on houses and streets. We are also keen to see a mix of developers involved, including the potential for custom-build housing and community land trusts.

It is disappointing that SUEZ is limiting community engagement to just one more public exhibition in 2019 and we have asked it to rethink its approach and not rush to a planning application in the Spring.

Read our submission on the December 2018 public consultation

View the information boards shown at the December 2018 public consultation

Let us know what you think – info@mitchamcricketgreen.org.uk

Merton Local Plan review – a time for action

The much anticipated review of Merton’s Local Plan provides an opportunity to turn the tide on the quality of new development in and around Cricket Green.

The new Local Plan will identify development sites and include the planning policies that will shape new building for decades.

We’ve set out our preliminary views in a detailed 20 page response and map which identifies:

  • fourteen sites with particular development or conservation opportunities – including detailed guidelines for developing not only the major sites at the Wilson and Benedict Wharf but also the Burn Bullock, White Hart car park, old fire station and the car wash site on London Road among others
  • the need to protect the important shopping parades along London and Church Roads and at Bramcote Parade
  • six opportunities for public realm and traffic management improvements, including closure of King George VI Avenue to traffic and removal of the tarmac path cutting across Cricket Green from the Police Station combined with moving the road crossing to the end of the public footpath running along the side of the cricket ground
  • thirteen community assets which need to be recognised and protected, including Wandle Industrial Museum, the bowling green, Mitcham Community Orchard and the Windmill pub
  • additional protections for Bellamy’s Copse, the carriage sweep outside Date Valley School and the green spaces which make such an important contribution to Glebe Court
  • protection for employment uses for the land and buildings used for car servicing and repairs behind London Road and for London Box Sash Windows

We have also asked for a Design Code to be prepared for Cricket Green which supports new residential development based on streets and town houses rather than flats and blocks.

We are looking for new policies to protect local ponds, including on Cranmer Green, and to designate all existing open space as Local Green Space, which offers the same protection as Green Belt.

We’re looking forward to collaborating with Merton Council during 2018 to help develop the plan and engage local people in these and other proposals.

There’s more to read in our full submission – Merton Local Plan review – MCGC&H contribution – Jan 2018.

We would welcome any feedback.