Councillor Ruth Dombey, Leader of Sutton Council, has urged the Government to reconsider their decision against Transport for London (TfL) taking over Greater London lines operated by Southern, South Eastern and South West trains.
Her urgent message to the Minister follows a joint letter from senior councillors in five South London boroughs sent last month pressing the Government to confirm their commitment to devolve Greater London rail services to Transport for London.
Commenting on the Government’s U-turn Cllr Dombey said:
‘‘The latest Government U-turn is alarming. There is long-standing cross-party support from local authorities across Greater London for the Mayor’s proposal for TfL to take responsibility for the Southeastern and Southern Rail franchises when the current contracts expire.
Sutton is developing plans to build a new world-class international centre (London Cancer Hub) for cancer research, diagnostics and treatment. This site has the potential to create over 13,000 jobs, contribute £1,1bn a year to the UK economy and deliver at least two extra cancer drugs every five years. This is one of many exciting examples of projects in London that will be at risk if the Government fails to invest in modern transport infrastructure in South London.
TfL have a proven record of running services in the capital and of turning around failing rail lines. I urge the Government to put common sense ahead of party-politics and do what’s best for Londoners.’’
Councillor Dombey has requested an urgent meeting with Chris Grayling, Secretary of State for Transport, to discuss this matter.
Commenting on Wednesday's autumn statement Councillor Simon Wales, Deputy Leader of Sutton Council and Lead Member for Resources said: "We are disappointed that this Tory Government has failed to address a number of issues of significance to local councils."
On social care, Simon commented: "Services supporting elderly and vulnerable people are at breaking point now.
"Councils, the NHS, and social care organisations across the country have been clear about the desperate need for the Chancellor to take action to tackle the funding crisis in adult social care, yet the autumn statement did not mention the NHS or social care once. This is unacceptable.
"It is time this Government takes the crisis in adult social care seriously and injects genuinely new additional funding. Passing the funding buck to local councils for this looming national crisis is not the answer."
On housing, Cllr Jayne McCoy, Chair of the Housing Economy and Business Committee said: "The Government's partial climbdown from its attack on social housing is welcome.
"However, the sticking-plaster funding offer to aid the delivery of affordable homes is simply a case of giving with one hand and taking away with the other until the requirement to sell off council homes to fund housing association right-to-buy is dropped. We are still a very long way from properly addressing the housing crisis and being able to ensure home ownership is as realistic an option for our children as it was for us."
As part of the Felnex development, sixteen new roads are being created in Hackbridge. Could you help name them?
Cllr Hanna Zuchowska said: "As a local Councillor, I want to make sure the new road names reflect the character and heritage of Hackbridge, and who better knows our area than local residents!
"There is already a list of suggested names rounded up by the local community. You can vote for your preferred option, or add your own suggestion, by clicking here."
Carshalton Central is one of the greenest wards in Sutton, with about a third of the area being open spaces including Carshalton Park, Grove Park, Wrythe Rec and Warren Park as well as bordering on Benhill Rec.
Local Councillors - Jill Whitehead, Hamish Pollock and Chris Williams - are determined to ensure green spaces, large and small, are preserved and protected.
At the Carshalton Local Committee on 18th October, funding was agreed for 30 new trees in the ward. These include new street trees on Harrow Road Green, Erskine Village Green, and Carshalton Place Canal.
New trees will be planted in various locations, including Carshalton Park, Grove Park and Wrythe Rec replacing those that have been felled recently due to old age or disease.
In Carshalton Park Road, a tree will be planted to replace one which had to be removed. A local resident will contribute £50 towards the tree and will water it while it grows. If you would like to contribute to your local environment in this way, please get in touch.
Many Sutton residents commute to London by train, and the combination of good schools, low crime, a green and leafy borough and proximity to local railway stations is what attracts many London commuters to the area.
For this reason, local Councillor Trish Fivey and Richard Clifton, are concerned at the reports they are getting from many residents that the train service is not adequate. Both of them have, at times, been commuters into central London and they know the frustrations.
In September, Trish made an impassioned speech to Sutton Council on the problems residents have experienced, quoting the stories residents have shared with her of cancelled services and broken down trains. The Council called on the Government to review the franchise of Southern Railway and Govia, and implement stringent penalties for failure to deliver an adequate service.
Since Richard was elected he has fought successful campaigns to save the Thameslink service and to get the side entrance to Sutton station open. They are now campaigning to increase the capacity of the station car park and want to monitor the performance of the railway -- please continue to contact them with your thoughts and experiences.
Your local Lib Dem Councillors have been working with the organising committee, headed by Ric Adams, to make the 2016 Christmas lights switch-on event even better.
The committee has received a neighbourhood grant from the Beddington and Wallington Local Committee, to help fund street food stalls and a bigger PA system.
The event will start at 5pm on Friday 25th November, with the switch on at 7pm by the Mayor of Sutton Councillor Richard Clifton.
There will be choirs and two bands until 8pm plus food supplied by Chef RF, The Woodcote Flying Club and more.
Local Councillor Mary Burstow is working hard to improve Cheam Recreation Ground, building on her record of delivery for Cheam's lovely green spaces.
Mary is working to secure funding for a new path across Cheam Rec that will link the newly refurbished pavilion with the existing path to Nonsuch Park.
In the six years Mary has been Cheam Ward Councillor, she has secured funding for three new paths across Cheam Park, Cheam Rec and into Nonsuch Park.
Mary said: "This fourth path will allow people to walk, cycle and push prams across Cheam Rec in the winter and not get their feet wet. It also means people can do a circular walk, taking in Cheam Park, then the newly planted trees and stunning views of the London Basin from Cheam Rec".
Rail bosses want to demolish the two Victorian railway bridges in Hackbridge – Hundred Acre and Irrigation bridges - despite protests from local residents and Councillors.
Hanna Zuchowska, Lib Dem Councillor for Wandle Valley and Hackbridge, said: “Network Rail are refusing to pay for essential maintenance to the bridges, so they’re pressing ahead with the demolition, despite strong opposition from the local community and Sutton Council.
“Tory Cuts to the Council’s funding mean we have to reduce our annual budget by 50% by 2019, and there are more cuts to come, so it’s unreasonable and unrealistic of Network Rail to demand that we take on all the repair and future maintenance costs.
“We are disappointed that they are not willing to help the Council and community find a more satisfactory solution and we’re calling on the company to reconsider its position.”
Please sign our petition calling on the rail bosses to save the bridges here.
Carshalton South & Clockhouse is one of the greenest parts of Sutton, with so many great parks and open spaces. Local Lib Dem Councillor Amy Haldane is determined to ensure green spaces, large and small, are preserved and protected.
At the Carshalton Local Committee on 18th October, funding was agreed for 43 new trees in various locations throughout the area.
As well as new trees, funding was also agreed for a new picnic table for Oaks Park, a new illustrative map of Oaks Park and a second noticeboard for Queen Mary's Park.
Amy said: “The lovely parks and abundance of trees across Carshalton South and Clockhouse make it such a great place to live, work and raise a family.
“I’m really pleased that we’ve secured more trees for the ward and more amenities for our parks.”
Traffic in Worcester Park has been a problem for some time now and your local Councillors are determined to tackle it.
One recurring problem is around Central Road, where motorists try to avoid the busy road by rushing through neighbouring side streets.
Early in the morning of 20th September, your local Councillors Paul Wingfield and Richard Marston joined police officers in Ruskin Drive to make sure everyone was sticking to the 20mph speed limit.
They caught around a dozen motorists speeding in just two hours. These motorists will be receiving letters from the Police.
The team will be out again to calm down the speeds on a few more of our local roads - residents are more than welcome to join in, so please get in touch if you would like to.