Category Archives: Submissions

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.

New nominations for Merton’s Local List

The New Year begins with our latest nominations to Merton Council for buildings to add to the Local List.

This celebrates buildings and other structures with an important local story or notable architectural and design details.

Our last batch of nominations – Bramcote Court & Parade, Jubilee Corner gas lamp, Canons Lodge lamp stands, the running track in front of Park Place and the Three Kings Pond cart dip were all successful.

This year we have nominated (clockwise in the image above from top left):

5, 7, 9, 11 Upper Green East – these are of late 18th or early 19th century construction with distinct double pitch roof (enabling heavy slates to be supported). They are among the oldest buildings in Mitcham Town Centre and have a long and continuous use as shops with a history of different uses, including take away pea soup, confectionery, pipe & tobacco, song sheets, bar, boot and shoe maker, sweet shop, tailors and outfitters, cobblers, and estate agent.

4-7 Upper Green West – these are the oldest buildings on the west side of Upper Green and are of mid Victorian construction with single pitch slate roof and four chimney stacks (three original)

Kellaway House – occupied by Citizens Advice on London Road this is a striking late 19th Century double fronted detached house which is the last survivor of what used to be a row of detached and semi-detached housed along London Road between the Upper and Lower Greens. These were subsequently replaced by Glebe Court

Mitcham Police Station – a distinctive yellow brick building redolent of its time which sits easily alongside the diverse assemblage of buildings around the historic Cricket Green and was opened in 1966

You can find out more about the Local List on Merton Council’s website https://www2.merton.gov.uk/environment/designandconservation/listed_buildings.htm 

The Canons plans not yet ready for a green light

There is genuine excitement in the air about the opportunity of over £5m investment in The Canons and its grounds with the support of the National Lottery.

We have worked with Friends of the Canons and Mitcham Society for over five years to bring these plans to fruition and were delighted by the success of Merton Council’s funding application in June.

We are looking forward to continuing our role in The Canons Partnership to support and deliver the project.

It is with a heavy heart, therefore, that we have found ourselves unable to support the planning applications needed to go ahead with the works. The detail of the plans still leaves too much at risk and we are still waiting for guarantees than financial surpluses generated from renting out office space in The Canons house and running the cafe will be reinvested in the future management and conservation of The Canons.

The plans require some damage to the listed house and walls, impacts on their setting and causes important trees to be felled. Some of this is necessary for the wider conservation benefits and the opportunity to share The Canons story with more people and put it on a financially sustainable footing. It is a difficult balance and we think more needs to be done to maximise the benefit to the local community.

We need to see more access to The Canons house and the new cafe opened up for community use in the evenings. The walled garden needs to be repaired with better quality materials and the project needs to take a much more sensitive approach to new lighting.

We are looking for the removal of eyesores – such as an empty storage container and poor floodlights – before permission to go ahead with new improvements. The wildlife impact of lining the pond needs to be better understood and there also need to be more guarantees over the impact of the building works.

The Canons project can achieve so much for Mitcham, and we want this very large injection of money into our area to achieve the maximum benefit.  We stand ready to work with Merton Council to support the changes needed to secure planning permission as quickly as possible.

Read our joint representations on The Canons

Call for cleaner air

Merton Council has published its Air Quality Action Plan and we have come together with Friends of Mitcham Common and Mitcham Society to provide a response.

Air pollution is an issue which respects no boundaries and requires an area wide approach.

Our own monitoring of air pollution around Lower Green West shows it in breach of the required standards. You can see the results on Clean Air Merton’s community map.

There’s a lot to welcome in Merton Council’s Action Plan, especially support for extending the Ultra Low Emission Zone. Yet, it lacks the ambition and many of the measures necessary to address the scale of the problem facing the area are missing.

Here are our proposals for what needs to happen:

  • Targets for improving air quality year on year to 2022
  • A network of air quality monitoring stations – particulates and NOx – throughout the Mitcham area, including on Mitcham Common as well as along the roads that pass through it, with data made publicly available in a timely manner
  • Zero emission or hydrogen buses on all routes through Mitcham Town Centre and its designation as a Low Emission Bus Zone
  • A ban on heavy lorries running on Church Road between Lower Green West and Benedict Wharf as part of the measures to address “hot spots”
  • Changed traffic flow at Lower Green West to remove the existing “roundabout” configuration and reconnect it to Lower Green East
  • Improved pedestrian permeability in Mitcham Town Centre and Cricket Green – including enhanced pedestrian crossings and reduced crossing times
  • A requirement in all travel plans for schools and new development to demonstrate how they will contribute to improvements in air quality, and a commitment from Merton Council to monitor and enforce these travel plans
  • Investment in a behavioural change programme to raise awareness of individual actions to improve air quality
  • Enforcement against idling cars and lorries which extends beyond any plans to act on idling outside schools
  • Community consultation over the location of a network of well-designed electric vehicle charging points in Mitcham as an alternative to the current process whereby Merton Council submits planning applications to itself ahead of any community engagement
  • Active programme of succession planting of trees and hedges throughout Mitcham to conserve and enhance tree cover, especially along major routes
  • Stronger connections between Mitcham and the Wandle Trail and open spaces, including Willow Lane Industrial Estate
  • Active promotion of Mitcham Common as a source of health and well being with relatively better air quality including:
    • Promotion of healthy walks
    • Opening up the Ecology Centre as an affordable location for hosting community-led activity promoting health and well being
    • Management and planting along the fringes to filter particulates.

Our full response is here.

New “neighbourhood fund” priorities for Cricket Green

Merton Council has a new source of funding to spend on local priorities – the Community Infrastructure Levy.

This is paid by developers to cover the wider impact of their developments on the areas in which they build. A share of this goes to local priorities and we have set out ours in response to Merton Council’s consultation. 

Cricket Green Conservation Area already has spending priorities set out in the excellent Management Plan produced a few years ago. 

Our green spaces and trees need more care and we need to reduce clutter from signs and bollards.  We are also asking for the old fire station to be put to community use.  We would like the Council to do more to tackle the traffic problems around Lower Green West and improve Hallowfield Way so it provides the gateway that the Conservation Area deserves.  The shopping parade along London Road also needs urgent attention. 

Read our priorities for spending the neighbourhood fund