Local elections 2018 – Cricket Green candidates respond to our questions

The forthcoming election on 3rd May is an important moment for Cricket Green. Two longstanding ward councillors are standing down, and so whoever is elected we will see fresh faces representing our ward within Merton Council and standing up for Cricket Green.

As the local civic society we have asked questions of all 11 candidates standing in Cricket Green ward about their views on key local issues.

These range from the future of the Wilson Hospital and cricket on the green to their attitude to protecting the Conservation Area and priorities for Merton’s next Local Plan. We have also asked them about their favourite place in Cricket Green.

We have received responses from all five political parties and a number of the individual candidates. 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.

Local election 2018 – party responses

You can compare the 2018 responses to those we received to our questions to candidates in the previous local election in 2014

Annual Review 2017 published

We published our Annual Review for 2017 at our AGM on 24th April 2018.

This presents highlights of our work during 2017 – it is a good place to find out more about what we do and some of our achievements during the year.

Highlights of 2017 include :

  • Playing our part in the success of achieving a £4.7m Lottery award for The Canons Mitcham, and looking forward to seeing this project through to fruition
  • Working hard to protect our much valued green spaces from fly-parking and unauthorised work on green spaces, including the removal of front gardens
  • Forging working relationships with Merton Council’s contractor for green spaces management, idverde
  • Achieving Grade II listing for the war memorial at Lower Green West
  • Continuing our relationship with SUEZ and working with the company on its planned departure from Mitcham – which will leave its site with planning permission for housing
  • Achieving local listing for a number of Mitcham landmarks
  • Continuing to fight for a resolution to the Burn Bullock
  • Commenting on many planning applications – a large number of which seem opportunistic and without appropriate consideration of their statutory duty to ‘enhance’ the Conservation Area.
  • Organising events such as Mitcham Heritage Day and Community on the Green

…… and much more

Get your copy of our annual review:

MCGC&H Annual Review 2017 – read on screen

MCGC&H Annual review 2017 – print double sided and fold into booklet

Local Elections 2018 – our questions to candidates

The Local Elections on 3rd May are important for Cricket Green. How
Merton Council is run makes a real difference to our neighbourhood and
with two long-standing ward councillors standing down there are sure to
be changes to personnel whatever the result.

We are therefore asking questions of all eleven candidates from the five
parties who are standing for Cricket Green ward. We plan to publish
these by the end of April so you can go to the polls in the knowledge of
what the candidates think about some of the issues that matter locally.

Our questions are:

1 What is your most important priority for improving the quality of life
in Cricket Green?

2 Do you support the Cricket Green Charter and how will you use it in
your work for Cricket Green Ward ?

3 How will you demonstrate your commitment to protecting Mitcham Cricket
Green Conservation Area and its environs?

4 What will you do to help secure a long term future for Mitcham Cricket
Club and its pavilion?

5 What are your priorities for Merton’s new Local Plan?

6 How do you think the development of the Wilson Hospital and its
grounds can best respect the historic site and provide for the needs of
the local community?

7 What will you do to ensure Mitcham’s registered Town Greens are better
managed and kept free of litter?

8 What is your favourite place in Mitcham Cricket Green Conservation Area?

Watch out for the answers.

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 

From waste to place – the opportunity at Benedict Wharf

In the jargon of town and country planners the noisy and smelly waste operation at Benedict Wharf is known as “bad neighbour” development.

It has become such a bad neighbour that even its owner – SUEZ – recognises there is a problem. It has announced that the site will close in around two years. SUEZ is moving its operation to an industrial estate in Sutton where it can operate around the clock without disturbing the neighbours.

Community action over many years has helped bring this about and soon the lorries, smells and noise will be a thing of the past.

In a statement SUEZ has said it wants a good legacy for Benedict Wharf and intends to secure planning permission for redevelopment of the site before selling it on. It favours a “housing-led scheme…….which accord[s] with the character of the area and the ambitions of the community.” Early community engagement is also promised.

We’ve applauded the mature way SUEZ has started these discussions and look forward to collaborating on the future plans.

It is hard to overstate the opportunity which the closure of Benedict Wharf presents. This is a huge site – more than twice the size of the recent gasworks development – which can provide not only high quality and affordable homes but also new links and connections across an area that has been out of bounds for generations. It should transform the way we move around our neighbourhood.

Did you know that Mitcham Parish Church is as close to Morden Hall Park as the Civic Centre? With good planning and design we can create new green corridors. Two ideas are to link London Road to Morden Hall Park through Benedict Wharf and Phipps Bridge, and to link Mitcham Parish Church to Ravensbury Park and the Wandle Trail across the tram line.

A mixed development providing community-led and custom and self-build housing alongside commercial housebuilders could match the new homes to Mitcham’s needs. The sad entrance to the Cricket Green Conservation Area at the roundabout outside Benedict school could be transformed. London Road Playing Fields could be reimagined as a vibrant community green space, rich in wildlife and opportunities for play and recreation. This would be helped by removing the current boundary fence and allowing open space to reach far into the new development area. The plans could also acknowledge the route of the historic Surrey Iron Railway which made Mitcham the oldest railway station in the world.

All this and more is possible.

The closure announcement coincides with the long awaited review of Merton’s Local Plan. This includes a call for development sites to meet the area’s housing and other needs for the next 20 years or more.

We are asking SUEZ to work with us to put forward joint plans to Merton Council that make the most of the site. This will mean linking the SUEZ site with adjacent land including Lambeth car pound, land owned by Merton Council and even some of TfL’s land running alongside the tram line.

Mitcham’s development has suffered from a lack of vision and poor quality building for too long. The closure of Benedict Wharf provides a major opportunity to turn the tide and match the expectations of the local community. We are unlikely to have another opportunity to build an entirely new neighbourhood for Mitcham so let’s make it one we can all be proud of.

What are your ideas? Let us know and we will feed them in.

Benedict Wharf CLG – statement from SUEZ