I hope everyone is coping with this heat whether you are on holiday, sunning yourselves in the garden or sitting indoors with curtains drawn and lights off.
What a mess the country seems to be in with the rising cost of living and energy bills, now we have been told officially about drought conditions and with the threat of a ULEZ scheme being brought in by Sadiq Khan the Mayor of London there could be great hardship to many, not least residents of the London Borough of Sutton and Beddington Ward.
Fear not about the ULEZ, Councillor Barry Lewis, Chair of Environment and Sustainable Transport Committee has written to the Mayor of London saying the Council cannot back the proposed ULEZ expansion to Sutton as currently proposed. He does say the Council welcomes initiatives which may improve air quality and people’s health (that’s rich coming from an administration that voted for the incinerator which is breaking air quality targets on a regular basis made worse by granting Planning Permission for Viridor to install a new tank that will be used to house dirty diesel for use in firing up the boilers).
Councillor Lewis says in his letter “any expansion of the ULEZ must be accompanied by significant investment in public transport, better cycling and walking infrastructure, a fair and comprehensive scrappage scheme and extension of the planned implementation date”.
At least he has written but whether a Mayor under such financial pressure will take notice is another matter especially as Sutton has always been at the bottom of the list when dishing out financial support and grants to London Boroughs.
In a Councillor Briefing issued to us last Friday we were told that residents will receive flyers with information about a range of support available through various agencies in Sutton as well as the ways residents can help others.
I thought the Council meant they might just be looking at ways they could reduce various financial payments residents pay to the Borough including Council tax, rents and parking fines perhaps. Someone will tell me that they can’t do this legally but as Sutton has one of the highest Council tax rates of all London Boroughs, a small cut might be a help.
Before anyone official gets on their high horse about my suggestions we have to do something to help those struggling in our Borough. The saying goes ”for evil to prosper good men need do nothing”.
Complaints from us Councilors to the Council about the crisis that is Beddington Lane prompted a meeting with very senior officers from the Council. It allowed Nick, Tim and myself to express our views on the total shambles that exists for residents and businesses alike.
As Councillor Foster put it there was a great fanfare from the Council at the opening of the road and within 24 hours there were traffic queues because the roundabout is not being used properly and, yes, you’ve guessed it, another set of temporary traffic lights.
We expressed the view that the residents of Beddington (and indeed Hackbridge ward) are treated like third class citizens because in demonstrating their democratic right to vote for who they want to represent them they feel like they are being punished by the ruling administration.
The senior officers said this was not the case but we drew their attention to:
- Parking on Beddington Lane restricting the road in parts to single lane – the Officers have committed to a process to introduce double yellow lines from the Village to the Beddington Tram Stop. Legally, this involves a 6-week consultation period and I would encourage all residents to participate.
- The dust and aggregate covering the road and houses – officers agreed to look into this and the permissions granted for the businesses causing the dust. It was acknowledged that the hedgerows need attention as does the street cleaning to make the cycle ways and pedestrian paths safer.
- Therapia Lane – we once more focused on the rationale for the Council to properly adopt Therapia Lane – there were the normal platitudes about finance but it is just over a month since they announced the next £902,000 from the GLA grant to be spent on the Sutton Works Project in Sutton High Street. We pointed out the £3+ million in Business Rates generated by this ward and also Section 106 monies – it is a matter of will not a matter of money.
- HGV ban: 4 ½ years ago, officers talked of an HGV ban in Beddington Village and we are still waiting. Croydon continue to object and it could finish up as a legal process.
Beddington and Hackbridge continue to be denied a proper voice on the Standing Committees in spite of cross-party efforts from ourselves, Labour and Conservatives. We understand that there will soon be a petition from residents looking to raise the matter once more at Council.
The Liberal Democrats have an overall majority of 3 yet have demanded – and been supported by officers – a 2 seat majority on every Statutory Committee and shared the representation that Independents had in the last Council between Labour and ourselves. It is unfair and undemocratic and denies Beddington and Hackbridge residents a voice on these Committees.
Please support the petition when it is introduced.
Finally, I wish everyone all the best for the rest of the summer and to parents and pupils, all the best for the new school year.