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					                             Morden Community Forum
                                3 December 2009
                               Draft Chair‟s Report
The meeting was held in Merton Council Chamber , and chaired by Councillor Krysia
17 residents attended, as well as 6 other Merton Councillors, and officers from the
council and its partners.
Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Patricia Lewis.

       The Chair, Councillor Krysia Williams, welcomed everyone to the meeting.
       Mr Malik told the meeting that the Radio 4 programme, „Any Questions‟, would be
recorded at the Baitul Futuh Mosque on 8 January 2009. This was the first time that the
programme would be held in a religious building, and so this was an important event
both for the Mosque and Merton. (Contact information was available to the meeting and
applications for seats needed to be submitted by 8 December),

The future of Nelson Hospital
       Sarah Hall, Better Healthcare Closer to Home, Sutton and Merton PCT, gave a
presentation on the proposals for the Nelson Hospital site. You can download the slides
from the presentation by visiting the Morden Community Forum webpage at

         After the presentation Sarah answered questions from residents and councillors.
She explained the process for delivering NHS building projects. For a large hospital a
fully fledged public/private partnership would be created, but for a smaller scheme such
as the Nelson site, the project was carried out through an existing Local Improvement
Finance Trust (LIFT) financed 40% by public funds and 60% by „Building Better Health‟
which is owned by the Fulcrum Infrastructure Group. (More information about LIFT can
be found at

        A great deal of design work has taken place, and two options have been
prepared. The second option is more difficult in planning terms. The project is nearing
completion of what is termed LIFT Stage 1, when one option will be approved. LIFT
Stage 2 will start in early 2010 with a lot more consultation on the detail of the design. A
full planning application should be submitted in autumn 2010, and financial negotiations
should be concluded by early 2011. Work will start in late 2011, and the project should
be completed in 2013.

       Asked about public transport to the new Local Care Centre, Sarah said that they
were in contact with Merton and Sutton Councils and Transport for London.

       Hubert Child asked whether enough of the site had been reserved from sale to
the private sector, in order to anticipate the future needs of an ageing population. He
commented that the Local Care Centre seemed to have expanded, but that the two
storey additions near Manor Gardens might not work. Sarah agreed, and said that the
two storey wing would be pulled back.

        Sarah said that „minor procedures‟ included endoscopy, mole removal, some
stitching, among other treatments.

       Dese Child commented that an enormous proportion of the ground floor was
given over to plant. How much of this would use renewables?
       Sarah said that she did not have the figures, but that a lot of research had been
done. The NHS requires all building projects to achieve an „excellent‟ BREAM rating on
this aspect of the project.

Flooding in Morden
Ingrid Lackajis, the forum‟s Lead Officer, read out a report which had been seen and
commented on by Paula Davies, the proprietor of the Changes Hairdressing Salon, and
her supporter, Leslie Robertson.

Flooding in Morden: report to Morden Community Forum 3 December 2009

1. Background
In July 2007 there was a day of extreme rainfall resulting in major flooding in Morden
(as well as a large part of southern England).

The hairdressers premises on the roundabout connecting Kenley Road, Morden Road
and London Road was particularly affected and representations were made to the then
Morden Area Forum on what could be done to minimise the impact of such an
occurrence in the future.

Two issues were of concern: (1) those relating to the capacity of the drains, (2) advice
on preventative measures and what to do if flooding occurred.

The delays in responses and the fact that specifics were not addressed resulted in a
high level of frustration for the people affected. A number of councillors were involved
as were a range of council officers as well as external agencies. This frustration and
disappointment is acknowledged and regretted. It is important that co-ordination of
activities takes place in the future.

As a result, a review of how this kind of “complex” issue is to be dealt with has been
undertaken and further clarification of the role of Community Forum Lead Officers
provided: where questions arise that cannot be dealt with simply (ie they involve a
number of different sections and possibly other agencies) the relevant Director is to be
asked to “own” the issue and oversee a satisfactory conclusion. While Forum Lead
Officers will support the chair, they are not authorised to instruct other officers and are
not experts in many of the cases that may arise.

The points below are not an enquiry into why things did not progress as expected but
outline the activity that has led to outcomes.

2. Issues relating to drains and highways
February 2008

The (then) Morden Area Forum invited emergency planning officers to speak about
flooding issues in January 08. As a result the council were approached for help in the
affected premises, as to how improvements were being made in prevention and

The officer whose role covered highways was requested to look at the issue and contact
the enquirer and a letter was sent in April 08, explaining that different roads and gullies
were managed by different agencies.

He also contacted Transport for London (TfL) and their representative to attend a Forum
so he could respond directly to residents.

July 08

Brian Richmond of TfL attended and announced that they would be working with
Thames Water and the Environment Agency to put a plan together.

February 09

A letter was received (dated 10 December 08) confirming that they were undertaking a
survey of the main Thames Water sewer and the River Wandle to identify the issues –
this was to be completed by summer 2009.

September 09

TfL was approached to update on its activity and it reported:
    Thames Water had cleaned their surface water sewer the previous autumn,
      following the flooding
    TfL had completed their preliminary drainage design
    TfL were contacting Thames Water to alert them to the possibility of increasing
      their mains sewer capacity prior to TfL undertaking its work
    TfL expected their design to be finalised by Dec 09 and works completed by
      spring 2010.

In addition, the council agreed to review its priorities for cleaning gullies under its control

November 09

A meeting was held at the hairdressers to look at how to progress the actions:

      TfL were to be asked to give an update on their progress and timescales and to
       clarify which roads they were considering (An e-mail has been sent requesting
       this information)
      The council‟s Highways section was to be asked if they would review the
       drainage in the relevant section of Kenley Road to ensure it does lie lower than
       the crossover at the end of the alley leading into Kenley Road and that one drain
       is adequate to deal with the run-off from the service alley (Request passed to
       Highways, an officer has looked at the site, follow-up on results to come)
      To clarify the position of the Town Centre Manager (meeting was held with the
       Town Centre Manager – see below)

      To place business continuity on the agenda for March 2010 Morden Community
      To review the role of the Lead Officer for the Forums with Kate Martyn (meeting
       took place and will be reported at the December 09 Forum)
      A brief update on actions to be drafted for the Forum3. Advice on preventative
       measures in cases of flooding and what to do in the event of a flood

The owner of the hairdressers had contacted national agencies but had been referred
back to the council

The Safety and Civil Contingencies Officer visited the premises in July 2009 and passed
on some information. The question of a simple leaflet aimed at businesses arose, but
this was taken over by the appearance of the London Prepared website, that outlines
action to be taken and gives contacts in the event of flooding and other emergencies.
Weather alerts were also now available by e-mail.

Further discussion in November 2009 raised the role of the Morden Town Centre
Manager – the previous incumbent had been active in visiting business premises and
passing on bad weather alerts.

4. Town Centre Manager
Shola Adenekan is the current Town Centre Manager but his role covers all the town
centres (apart from Wimbledon) and so capacity is stretched. He is aware of the current
issues and will consider how he can support Morden businesses within his capacity. His
role also is an interim one as it will be reviewed from April 2010.


Ingrid added that Chris Lee, the Director of Environment and Regeneration, had agreed
to take „ownership‟ of the outstanding actions that were required.

Bartle Sawbridge, Neighbourhood Governance Officer, who coordinates the five
community forums, said that much had been learnt from this issue. One thing learned
was that complicated and long drawn out issues like this one, involving several council
departments and partner agencies, could grow beyond the capacity of the Forum and its
officers to resolve them. A proposal was going to be made that the top officer
management team of Merton Council, the Corporate Management Team, would receive
a report in such cases, and be asked to designate a Director (Departmental Chief
Officer) to take over responsibility for seeing an issue through to a satisfactory

Paula Davies said that it was good to hear what had come out in the report and other
comments. The new London Prepared website was useful, and the work that had been,
or would be carried out to the drains, was positive. Leslie Robertson added that she was
pleased that in future issues can be clearer and resolved with less hassle than this one.
It had been a long journey, but today it felt a little more positive.

Proposed bus lane on the A24
      The Chair told the meeting that at the previous meeting in October, Elspeth
Clarke ahd raised the issue of a bus lane proposed by TfL on part of the A24 in
Morden/Lower Morden. The grounds for the proposal and the limited consultation that
TfL had undertaken were both flawed.

       The Chair had written to TFL and Niall Coward had now agreed to meet her and
Elspeth on Monday 7 December. She invited anyone else who was interested to join the
meeting. Mr Coward was now saying that the main impetus for a bus lane was cyclist
safety, although this had not been made clear before. The Local Government
Ombudsman had previously closed the case, But Elspeth was asking for it to be

       Councillor Maxi Martin said that she too was having a meeting, with Brian
Richmond, a colleague of Niall Coward‟s, about the same stretch of road. Her concern
was the removal of a bus bay, which had made the Epsom Road/Green Lane/London
Road junction dangerous, particularly for strangers who did not know the road. She was
invited to join the other meeting on the 7th.

        Another resident said it had taken him 20 minutes to drive from the mosque to
central Morden that afternoon, because of a broken down van. A bus lane would make
this a regular occurrence. Gillian Clarke said that a bus lane would also make crossing
the road dangerous.

       Mary Ball, representing St Helier JAG and St Lawrence Church, said she had
also had discussions with Niall Coward about a request for two disabled bays outside
the church. She was invited to the 7 December meeting as well.

Morden Park
The Chair read from a Merton Council press release:
          The Council‟s Cabinet had decided against a Goals soccer centre after the
             summer‟s consultation led by Local Dialogue.
          £26,000 had been secured to install a multi use sports area especially
             designed for teenagers. This would be in use very shortly
          Officers had been asked to seek alternatives to commercial development
             for the other features that the consultation had identified
          The findings would be implemented as and when funding became

Attention was drawn to Bovril‟s website: The
company is putting money into green makeovers: £20,000 for each of 5 projects.
Residents were asked to vote online for a wetland for the ditch area of Morden Park.

Councillor Stephen Alambritis said that people should still press for Village Green status
for the park, to „lock‟ the space in the public domain.

Bob Whitfield had raised questions about the openness on „My Merton‟ to views
independent to the Council‟s. The Leader of the Council, Councillor David Williams, had
said that My Merton was totally free of part political bias, as it was required to be. Mr
Whitfield had now consulted the “Code of recommended practice on local authority
publicity” (Department of the Environment 1988), and quoted from it:
“Publicity touching on issues that are controversial, or on which there are arguments for
and against the views or policies of the council, should be handled with particular care.
It should not over-simplify facts, issues or arguments. Again, it is unlikely that slogans
alone will achieve the necessary degree of balance, or capture the complexities of
opposing political arguments.”
“Local authority newspapers or information bulletins are a special case. They are often
a cost-effective means of disseminating information, but they may touch on
controversial issues. If they do, they should treat such issues in an objective and
informative way, bearing in mind the principles set out in paragraphs 11 -19 of the Code
[which emphasise the need to be “ objective, balanced, informative, and accurate”.]

The Chair said that the meeting would note this and pass Mr Whitfield‟s comments on to
the Leader.

Police update
Inspector Matt Boyd introduced himself as the new Sector Inspector for Morden. He
invited people to e-mail him with suggestions of topics for future updates.
Policing around Halloween had been very successful, and similar arrangements would
be in place around Christmas, especially in Morden Town Centre, which has become a
bit of a hotspot.

Councillor Stephen Alambritis thanked Inspector Boyd for his invitation to the visit the
new police office in Morden. But looking across towards it from the entrance to Morden
Tube you could not see that it was a Police Office.

Councillor Maxi Martin said that she had been told that the new front office could not be
used until the old one had been decommissioned. Matt Boyd said that he did not know
when that would be.
Councillor Maxi Martin added that the visibility of the new Office in St Helier has worked
very well as a deterrent to potential criminals.

Councillor Peter Southgate referred to the recent discovery of another cannabis factory
in Merton Park. If cannabis was reclassified, would that affect its priority as a crime?
Inspector Boyd did not know. In answer to another question from Councillor Southate he
said that managing agents are aware that this sort of thing goes on, but if the rent is
always paid in full at the right time, they have no reason to become suspicious.

Leslie Robertson said that she saw a lot of PCSOs in Morden, but few actual police
officers. She would like to know more about policing in Morden. Inspector Boyd replied
that PCSOs have limited powers, but are very useful for reassurance and engagement

It was agreed to have a longer Police item at the next meeting, on police structure and

Councillor updates
Councillor Barbara Mansfield thanked people who had put lights in their houses to raise
money for St Raphael Hospice.
Councillor William Brierly said that there was a serious issue in Hillcross Avenue of
traffic vibrations that was unique to the area. He acknowledged that the Martin Way
changes had not been successful, and hped to have a solution very soon, and that TfL
would pay for it (about £200,000).
Councillor Philip Jones said that he was a member of the Morden Hall Park Liaison
Group. They wanted to make the stable block into a green living centre. He referred to
the film „Glorious 39‟, some of which was shot in Morden Hall Park.
Councillor Stephen Alambritis said that the Morden Sports Shop was closing, but that a
School Outfitters might move in there.
Stan James was moving around the corner next to Sainsbury‟s.
Matalan was applying to move into the old Wimbledon Woolworth‟s.
The planning application for the Morden Woolwoth‟s had been technically incorrect and
had been withdrawn.
Councillor Peter Southgate asked whether Chris Lee could come to talk about moving
railings and clutter in Morden Town Centre.
Councillor Maxi Martin referred to the “Willows” development. She was hoping that local
people would be consulted about the new street names – she would like ones with a
local history connection. She was going to discuss this with Chris Lee.
Bishopsford School was now a Trust College, and rated an „improving school‟.

Councillor Krysia Williams said that the M1 and M2 Controlled Parking Zones were
being reviewed. She thought that some of the roads that had excluded themselves in
the first round might want to come in now.
She mentioned that section 106 money attached to the Crown development had already
been earmarked: £3,500 for new signage, £7,000 toward extra school places, and
£8,000 for improving and upgrading public open space, so it would be difficult for the
Forum to comment on where they may wish to see this money spent..
Councillor Peter Southgate said that s106 was a good opportunity for community forums
to have a small budget. Local people should not be shy about putting forward their own
Councillor Philip Jones said that there was a lot of s106 money unspent.
Councillor Maxi Martin added that it keeps being scooped up by officers.
Councillor William Brierly cautioned that there were clear criteria for its use, and some
very specific requirements.
Mr Sargeant said that it would be nice for the forum to know what, for example, £8,000
would buy for a community project. The forum ought to create a wishlist.
Hubert Child said that when money was available to the forum it should be publicised
very widely.
It was agreed to have a substantive item on s106 (including explaining what it is!) at the
next meeting.

Next meeting: 7.15pm Thursday 18 March, Merton Council Chamber,
Civic Centre, Morden, SM4 5DX