September Newsletter

This newsletter is packed with lots of local news from your Labour Councillors:

Tooting Common: tree consultation, ParkRun, Quietway cycle route, cafe improvements, cricket pitch and fitness equipment

Crossrail2 plans for Balham and Tooting, Bedford Hill Church redevelopment proposal, local Neighbourhood plan, new Headteachers at St Anselms and Ravenstone Schools, Transition Tooting local events, cycle hoops outside Trinity Pharmacy, safer Elmbourne and Hillbury Rds and Rosena’s trip to Calais to support refugees

Tribute to Cllr Sally-Ann Ephson

Cllr Sally Anne Ephson (centre)
Cllr Sally Anne Ephson (centre)

We are really sad that our friend and fellow Labour Councillor, Sally-Anne Epson, died recently as a result of Sickle Cell Disease.  It was inspirational that she didn’t let having the disease stop her a Queenstown councillor in Battersea. She spoke up strongly for residents in Queenstown and people with disabilities and she was warm and caring and really supportive and encouraging of other councillors. We will always miss her. Sadiq Khan has also paid tribute to her, and we are fundraising for the Sickle Cell Society in her memory.

Future of trees consultation now closed
Future of trees consultation now closed

1. Future of Chestnut Avenue The Tooting Common future of trees consultation closed on September 4th. Earlier in the week there had been over 600 replies. Early in the consultation I asked for leaflets to be sent to local homes, for drop in times for the public to hear from the council’s tree expert and I’m glad that these were agreed to. The options are for a replacement of the whole avenue with a different type of tree, replacement gradually with different trees as the existing diseased trees are removed, or removing all the trees and not replacing them. If the first option is closed by the Community Services Committee, this would be take 6 weeks during the coming Winter.

New ParkRun Director Tom Baker and Fleur after a run
New ParkRun Director Tom Baker and Fleur after a run

2. ParkRun is here to stay! There was a six month trial period of the timed weekly ParkRuns on Tooting Common every Saturday at 9am. These are very popular, with about 300 people running each week, and agreed to be well run by the cheery volunteers. The trial has been successful and ParkRun will now be a permanent event on the Common – do come down and give it a go!

3. Quietway cycle route Across London new Quietway cycle routes are being planned, aimed at encouraging more people to cycle through creating routes off main roads and for recreational cycling more than faster commuting. This includes a proposed route 5 from Croydon to Waterloo which it is proposed will include the path from the Triangle to Bedford Hill (a cycle route already) and then diagonally from the cafe to the Lido car park, and this could be a rough surface which would discourage fast cycling at the same time as opening up another cycle route across the Common which would be very welcome. There are also concerns about danger caused by cyclists to pedestrians so we’ll be underlining the need to tackle this in mind in our responses.

4. Tooting Common Cafe upgrade at last! The long-awaited extension to the cafe are due  to start later this month and to be finished by next March, including new wheelchair accessible public toilets with baby-changing facilities.

5. Cricket Pitch I am on the Tooting Common Management Advisory Committee of local volunteers who advise Enable and the council and take part in monthly meetings. At the September meeting we discussed the future of the artificial cricket pitch near the playground. Some people would like this to be re-instated as a grass cricket square, although I am keen to ensure that the pitch can continue to be used by the variety of cricketers who currently enjoy it.

6. Fitness Equipment I know that there is lot of interest I having a Fitness trail of wooden equipment on the common (like Wandsworth Common). The council has agreed to this but not to paying for it and I will continue to raise this at the MAC and with Wandsworth council.

7. Crossrail 2 – decisions ahead. We are firmly ‘Rooting for Tooting’ continuing to campaign for CrossRail to come to Tooting and Rosena and Rosena has met Michelle Dix, Head of Crossrail 2. We have been told that a recommendation for Tooting or Balham would be expected in the Autumn and then a further consultation on the new proposal.

8. Bedford Hill Church redevelopment opposed During the summer plans for a redevelopment of the former Church and Centre for the Deaf on Bedford Hill were published. This is for a redevelopment into 21 flats and a nursery, keeping the front of the church but not the remainder or the distinctive steeple. 70 objections were received, including from many local residents whose gardens have views of the rear of the church, Historic England and the Balham Society. The plans are too large in scale, do not take in account the local historic impact of the building, and lack of local parking would be a serious problem for nearby streets. We welcome more housing, and especially more affordable housing, but hope the developers will change their plans to a smaller number of flats and development within the existing structure.

9. Welcome to new Headteachers at Mrs Elwes at St Anselms School and Mr Croft at Ravenstone School – we’re looking forward to working with you both.

'Tour de Tooting' stewards
‘Tour de Tooting’ stewards

10. Transition Tooting local events – I enjoyed being a steward on the ‘Tour de Tooting’ cycle event in July and looking forward to the Soup disco tonight as part of the weekend of Tooting Foodival events. Congratulations to Transition Tooting on promoting sustainability and community in Tooting.


11. Cycle hoops outside Trinity Pharmacy When a local resident told me that his bike had been stolen from outside the pharmacy I started asking if cycle hoops could be installed outside so that bikes could be safely locked up. This pavement belongs to Transport for London and in April they said that they could put them in within 3-4 months. They are still not there, but we’re keeping up the pressure – watch this space!

12. Safer Elmbourne and Hillbury Reds Last summer we supported local residents and schools to raise their concerns about local road safety with the Council and several petitions were submitted. Traffic on Elmbourne Rd was monitored during the summer and a report due at the Committee on September 20th. I’ve asked about progress and am disappointed to be told that this won’t go to the September committee. We need more action on road safety by the Council and we’ll continue to make this a priority.

13. Wandsworth Welcomes Refugees and local support for refugees in Calais

Rosena recently went to Calais with a car full of things generously donated by Tooting business and local people and helped the volunteers teams in Calais and raised awareness of the continuing dreadful situation there. Here is her interview on Good Morning Britain. We’re also continuing to actively support Wandsworth Welcomes Refugees and ask Wandsworth Council to step up and provide foster carers for unaccompanied children refugees and homes for some families fleeing the terrifying war in Syria.

Its been great to see so many people at lots of events during the summer, including the Living Streets celebration of the borough-wide 20mph limit, South London refugees summer event, Cloudesdale Rd street party and many more.

Contact us – we’re here to help

We have monthly drop in surgeries at Balham library on the third Saturday of every month from 10am – 11am.

We’re on email:

Twitter: @DrRosena, @CllrFleur


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