Sutton North Lib Dem Councillors

Cllr Sam Cumber, Cllr Ruth Dombey and Chris Hawton working hard for Sutton North all year round Learn more


by Sam, Ruth and Chris on 4 October, 2021

Sutton Local Committee met on 9 September in the Salvation Army Hall.  This was the first time the committee had met face to face since Feb 2020.  As well as local Councillors from the Sutton North, Sutton Central and Sutton West wards, the Committee also includes various representatives from local community groups.  In Sutton North these include:  Chaucer Estate Residents Association, Friends of Rosehill Parks, Friends of Sutton Green, Greenshaw Residents Engagement Group and Sutton Garden Suburb Residents Association.  If there are any other community groups that would like to be considered for inclusion in the committee, please let us know.

The agenda for the meeting, with links to the papers, and the audio recording, is here.  

Issues discussed included a report on public realm improvements, Sutton Housing Partnership’s Community Investment Programme, an update on the street cleaning service consultation, and the Stronger Sutton Conversation. 

Public Realm has included the funding for:

  1. various improvements being made by the Friends to the Rosehill Parks.  These have included a Social Orchard, a Picnic Table, a Lectern information board and a water bowser for tree maintenance.  This will prove an additional attraction to this popular park.
  2. the provision of Festive lights at the northern end of the High St.  These lights create a focal point for the High Street over the Christmas period and encourage residents to visit the High Street.
  3. in partnership with Sutton Garden Suburb, repair and repainting of  the existing fence line located at Woodend and Greenhill and a number of lamp columns.
A local community orchard

Flower baskets at the pedestrian barriers at Sutton Green look splendid in this location.

We heard about Sutton Housing Partnership’s Community Investment Programme.  The programme is partly funded through Sutton Council’s COVID recovery grant, and has included a Food Shop at Hill House, St Helier, which has become a vital social hub.  SHP are considering extending to a bicycle repair service, and starting a jobs club.  Running the Food Shop has been hard work, but they have developed a strong partnership with Community Action Sutton (CAS), which has proved a major benefit.  The Committee asked that CAS be asked to present to the next meeting on resource sharing between community groups.

We had an update on the Street Cleansing Service consultation, held earlier in the summer.  The survey showed that most residents agreed that keeping streets and parks clean is a shared responsibility between residents and the Council.  This is welcome as we recognise that the Council, with its massively reduced grant from central government, cannot do everything it would like and needs to work with residents on this.  The survey showed support for introducing ‘smart’ bins, which send a digital signal to the Council when they need emptying.  There was strong support for the Council taking a zero tolerance approach to illegal fly tipping, and support for the Council using temporary parking restrictions and removing parked cars when absolutely necessary to get access to drains for cleaning to deal with the increasing risk of flooding.

One of the BigBelly solar bins

Although feedback from our regular residents’ surveys tells us that satisfaction with street cleanliness has improved in recent years, satisfaction is still not as high as we would like it to be.   The Committee discussed its general dissatisfaction with the frequency and standard of street cleaning.

In response to the report the Council has:

  • Used extra resources for a deep clean of hot spots identified by the survey
  • Provided extra resource for Rosehill Parks, Sutton Green and Collingwood Rec, focusing on litter picking, bin emptying and cleansing over the autumn/ winter
  • Planned for additional drain cleansing, with temporary parking restrictions where needed, from October.
  • Continued the roll out of 11 new smart bins, and 25 ‘big belly’ bins for the Sutton area, starting with Sutton Common station and Sutton bus garage.
  • Improved its on-line ‘Report It’ service to include a map to identify sites more easily, and a feedback email when flytipping, etc, has been removed.
  • Agreed new enforcement teams for fly-tipping, litter and dog fouling to start in December
  • Become a partner with Keep Britain Tidy for their Great British Spring Clean next year

We also heard about the Stronger Sutton Conversation – in the light of the COVID pandemic, we now have an opportunity to reshape our borough, including how we work, how we move around, how we shop and how we relax and have fun.  The Council has been consulting residents on how Covid-19 affected them and how you would like us – Sutton Council and our partners – to improve things for you as we move forward. 

Committee members were asked about how COVID affected them: they talked about working from home, fitting in shopping around work, more local shopping and eating, more use of take-aways, avoiding people when walking down the street – masks make people wary, making more use of the parks, appreciation of their gardens, and the success of on-line meetings (for some).  People felt that community spirit and neighbourliness had kept up and the challenge was to help this to continue to thrive into the future.  People felt the developments in the High St provided opportunities to build on this.

The next meeting will be on 11 November at 7pm.

Ruth, Marlene and Steve

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