Vehicles Blocking Driveways
We receive many complaints about vehicles blocking driveways, entrances to and exits from property. This is seldom a question of the blockage being caused by a vehicle waiting, but by parking, ie the driver leaving the vehicle. Often the blockage is partial, but still sufficient to block the driveway and block the view of approaching vehicles in the roadway, even of pedestrians on pavements.
Such blockage is illegal as well as inconsiderate. Several London Boroughs took over the power to control this practice, along with other vehicle offences, from the police in 2013, but Kingston did not. Kingston’s excuse was that it had no yard to which it could take the vehicles offending by blocking driveways. The power to enforce the free entrance to and exit from properties has therefore remained with the police in Kingston.
A member of this Association noted that many other traffic regulations made by Kingston Borough in its own right require removal of the offending vehicle and taking it to a safe place, ie a yard. We enquired what this yard was, and how the offending vehicles were removed and kept. We discovered that there is no yard to which offending vehicles are taken for any offence, and that what RBK does is to book the offending vehicle for the offence, which means a fine for the owner and to do so repeatedly while the vehicle remains. We thought that such booking and fining would ultimately act as a deterrent to blocking driveways.
We have nevertheless put an enquiry to Kingston Police, about how often they receive complaints about vehicles blocking driveways, how often they act on those complaints, and what they do. We also asked how they see their power to book these vehicles in the future. The police have not yet replied. We will then raise the matter with RBK again, with a view to having RBK book offenders in future.
Vehicles often park across driveways with the permission of the occupant of the property. The problem is with the vehicle owners who park without asking for permission, and without leaving a note about where they might be found, and leave the vehicle while they go elsewhere, often for prolonged periods. If you observe that being done, it is best to intervene, even if permission has been obtained. Intervening might mean your neighbour can get in or out, or even yourself, next time. It could also set up a culture of behaving properly. Even trades people should make arrangements with property occupants about parking across driveways, not assume they can park any old how.
New Malden Fire Station
A member of our committee went to Surbiton fire station open day on the 15 December, to discuss the move of a fire engine to New Malden.
The New Malden fire station is at Shannon Corner adjacent to the A3, so is more accessible than Kingston fire station, which is on the Richmond Road,
vehicles have to use the one way system to get to most places. It is therefore the best use of resources, and should improve response times, which are just outside the targets.
There won’t be any job losses and a few more staff may be recruited to Kingston.
The fire service estimates that the move will result in 80 or 90 extra calls a year being met from New Malden (i.e. rather fewer than two a week), so it should not disrupt local traffic
or add to noise levels much.
To make space at New Malden the high volume pump (which is used for floods) is being moved to Kingston. Flood response and prevention is briefly discussed in the consultation
document. We will be making the point that flooding isn’t entirely a natural hazard- several recent London floods, including in NM 18 months ago, have been due to mains bursts.
We would like to see some discussion about what targets are set for water companies for inspection and maintenance of mains.
We have not read the draft London Safety Plan yet, but see that London Fire Brigade is taking on a wider role, including some public health work, so it will be interesting to see what that entails.
We understand that London Fire Brigade paid for sprinklers at Hugh Harland House off King Charles Road, so there may be scope for other work with RBK.
Deadline for responses to the consultation is 30 Jan. We have included a comment from RBK below, and a reminder link to the document.
Comment from RBK
This is part of a London wide review to improve response times for first appliances and second appliances at incidents by the Mayor.
Current targets are for the first LFB appliance to attend the incident site within six minutes, the second to attend within eight minutes and anywhere else in London within ten minutes.
Kingston performance is just outside of this and by relocating one appliance from Kingston Fire Station to New Malden Station LFB hope to comply with these targets.
We are not losing any appliances so the overall response capability for Kingston will not change.
SUMMARY OF ON-LINE RESPONSES TO DRAFT COCKS CRESCENT SPD
- Both the vision and overarching principles received greater levels support than opposition, but the level of opposition is nonetheless significant and often close to the level of agreement. This is also the case for the land use strategy and public realm strategy.
- Across other questions, opposition outweighs support. This includes the ‘masterplan’, ‘height and scale strategy’ and ‘delivery of affordable housing’. In short, the development’s proposed strategies very much divide opinion and whichever decisions are made on design (and importantly how these are communicated) in the next steps will need to give careful consideration to resident feedback.
- What can principally be taken from across the responses is very strong support for the Malden Centre, community and leisure facilities - eight in ten respondents see the delivery of a new leisure centre as very important. The community centre is seen as an essential part of life. There are numerous testimonies concerning perceived health, social and well-being benefits to people of the area. The swimming pool is a crucial part of the leisure facilities and residents are critical of the lack of detail as to what will be retained. People do not want to see a net loss of facilities. Future plans must address this. This also presents a major opportunity to improve on what is currently there.
- Concerns regarding infrastructure are also very prevalent. Public services (such as education and health) are perceived as under pressure already. Congestion and local parking are significant problems that people want to see addressed before development exacerbates the situation.
- The scale of development, particularly the upper limits of house numbers, and its height are also mentioned as cause for concern. New buildings need to be seen as more sympathetic and in keeping with the area, and not to overshadow them. This also relates to the above concerns regarding the impact on infrastructure and local amenities, and below regarding open space. Open space is seen as an important part of the development – in particular the need to retain green space and features that are linked with the document’s references to health and wellbeing.
- Whilst there is some recognition of the need for affordable housing, it also carried some negative perception of poverty and anti-social behaviour, and so greater communication is needed on this area.
- There are also references to a perceived vagueness and lack of detail in the SPD and overuse of jargon. It may be that the document is by nature intended as high-level, with greater detail to follow at later planning stages but nonetheless residents want greater clarity and greater certainty even at this stage.
The approval of the Cocks Crescent supplementary planning document was the main agenda item at the Growth Committee on 23rd November. The good news is that a new Malden Centre, with a pool, is now definite. An amendment was also agreed, that a comprehensive master plan for the whole of the Cocks Crescent development area should be produced in close liaison with local residents, before any planning applications. The Future Group, which helped develop the planning document, was founded two years ago after the 2014 SPD was considered "not fit for purpose." It is made up of representatives of the NM Residents' Association, the Groves Association, a local architect, a retired planning officer and residents. There is a goodly amount of experience here, working with but also challenging the proposals put forward by the Council. The next step is to agree the method of developing the site (e.g. jointly between the council and a developer), which we understand will come back to the committee in January.
There are of course still many concerns about the number of homes to be built, but the emphasis is now on a public space to enhance New Malden, with housing being the means of raising the funds to provide it.
Below has been extracted from the Cocks Crescent - Supplementary Planning Document ( SPD ) read in FULL
Or - LISTEN - Fast Forward 6 minutes
Key changes include:
● Greater emphasis on the civic, community and leisure aspects of the proposals within the the SPD vision and overarching principles;
●The Council’s commitment to deliver a new ‘community sport and wellbeing hub’, including a 25m swimming pool and other community/leisure uses. A new separate section has been included (‘The Malden Centre’) to focus on this issue;
● The Council’s commitment to deliver a new public square;
● Removal of the ‘Illustrative Masterplan’ and replacement with text describing the key relationships required between land uses as opposed to the spatial distribution of land uses;
● Greater emphasis on the need to respond sensitively to local character and neighbouring properties, as well as the safety of new public realm;
● Greater emphasis on the operational needs of local businesses; and
● Greater emphasis on New Malden High Street as a key place in the SPD area.
Air Quality - Test Results
The Association has had the results from Gradko Environmental Testing Laboratories:
The full report commissioned by NMRA can be read here.
Below are the locations - period of testing and the results in micrograms per cubic metre.
RBK's policy is not to exceed an annual mean of 40 micrograms/m3. Seven of our readings are near the annual permissible mean.
The HIgh Street reading is clearly the worst at 51.75 micrograms: there is a margin of error on all samples so the reading could be
49.06 - 54.44. The Fountain and Burlington School are also poor. We are particularly concerned about Burlington, since the school
playground is there and air pollution has a particularly harmful effect on childrens lungs.
We plan to do some more data gathering in the new year.
LOCATION PERIOD EXPOSED NITROGEN DIOXIDE
Hoppingwood Road A 25.61
Lime Grove A 24.47
Elm Road A 24.39
Kingston Road/South Lane A 39.02
Bodley Road A 41.02
Fountain Roundabout A 49.17
South Lane/Malden Road A 40.18
Burlington School A 44.50
Blagdon Road/Beverley Road A 37.32
Blagdon Road / High Street B 51.75
A = 24th September till 21st October
B = 23rd September till 21st October
THE AIR OF NEW MALDEN
It all started with our members. Questions about Air Quality in and around New Malden were being raised more and more as winter was coming to an end and people were getting out and about.
It took considerable organising but a public meeting was held with the eminent Prof. Frank Kelly, attended by our Members, Councillors, and James Berry MP. That was at the beginning of September, even before that meeting we were taking steps to obtain our own equipment in order for the Association to assess for itself, the state of the air we all breath daily.
13 Raby Road