New Malden Residents Association- Chair’s Report 30th October 2017

Introduction

Since our AGM on 9th November 2016, we have had a very busy year, although time pressures and a reduced committee have meant that we have not been able to host a public meeting. We had planned to have a meeting on Crossrail 2, but who knows when the funding for that will now be released. We have however continued to communicate via regular emails, the website, and our monthly articles in Village Voice. 

We work closely with our sister organisation in the Groves, and have also had discussions with Rotary, particularly on the topic of the high street. We are a member of NORA, the National Organisation of Residents’ Associations, which can provide advice and experience on, for example, the effects of having a large student population.

Three of the committee are regular attenders at the Malden and Coombe Neighbourhood Committee, and we also often attend full Council meetings when issues concerning New Malden are on the agenda. Two local councillors have been particularly helpful, and in the past year we have met three of our local MPs (one of whom had a very short tenure). A recent topic of conversation with councillors was how difficult it is to get a response from the council. I have recently tested the RBK on-line reporting system, but got stuck at the first hurdle as I didn’t have a house number. So how would I, for example, report fly tipping in the Cut? Apparently it’s all the fault of the previous administration.

The importance of members

Members are an important source of information. Last December, through member intelligence we were involved in the successful campaign to keep New Malden post office open. We were also alerted by one of our members to the potential move of the second engine from Kingston fire station to New Malden, and your chair was involved in a successful campaign with the FBU to retain it at Kingston whilst the situation was reviewed. Please will members continue to alert us to local issues, and also to the many consultation documents available, such as the recent Mayor’s travel strategy. Also please consider joining the committee- lobbying and pursuing investigations takes energy and time.

Campaigning

A member originated our most successful campaign this year, namely the curfew on the illuminated sign over the A3. This took eight months from when it was first lit up in January 2017, with many, many emails chasing councillors, our London Assembly Member, and Transport for London. We continue to be uneasy about the road safety of these adverts, and are pursuing this issue.

Another issue needing persistence (in other words, nagging) is the pigeon infestation under the Kingston Road railway bridge. This has been complained about for many years. We have been working with a Beverley ward councillor and our previous MP, James Berry, was very helpful in pursuing Network Rail. Work started but seems to have ground to a halt as the contractor seems to have no protocol for handling the birds. We will persist.

The environment and development

In 2016 we hosted a meeting on air quality with Professor Frank Kelly, a world expert. Most alarming is the effect of pollutants on children’s lung development. Of course, the air quality in New Malden is nowhere near as poor as that in inner London, but there are pollution hotspots, particularly the A3, Burlington Road and the High Street. Being in a pollution hotspot has not deterred an application to build a children’s nursery on the slip-road to the A3, currently under appeal in Bristol. You have one more day to make your views known!

Currently RBK is promoting cycling as part of the solution to traffic congestion, and we have commented on the elements of the Go Cycle scheme which affect New Malden; the Fountain roundabout, Kingston Road, London Road, and the proposed route through to Raynes Park. (The current clearance work is being done by Thames Water, not RBK). Planning policy tries to create disincentives to car use by limiting the amount of parking in new developments, but fuels more concern in the existing population, some of whom are already exercised by the issues of parking across drives. We must also lobby for better public transport in New Malden, since we cannot wait till 2040 and Crossrail 2.

Overarching the concerns about traffic congestion and air pollution in New Malden is the fact that we are the focus for a large number of new homes. The plan for a 23 storey monstrosity next to the station disappeared as quickly as it arrived, but work on No 1 Blagdon Road has begun. It is a source of frustration to many of us that plans for Cocks Crescent seem to have stalled. More homes for people in need, not property speculators, should be built, but we are concerned about piecemeal development, with no clear information on what will be done about schools, health services and traffic. These concerns form a major part of the questions for Ed Davey later this evening.

The question & answer session with Ed Davey will be published shortly.

Minutes of the AGM 

08:33, 17 Nov 2017 by Natalie Walton
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