Sunday, 22 December 2013

Updates - and Message to Oak Hill residents from OADRA Chairman


Dear Resident

First let me wish everyone the very best of Health and Happiness for the festive season and the New Year.
If you have planning problems or other problems where you think we as a Residents’ Association can help, then contact us by email on:

Our Planning Representatives Bryan and Chris keep an eye on all new applications and bring them to the notice of the committee if they believe there is any action we should be taking to preserve the area.

We are currently trying to ensure that the wall alongside the Police Federation Building redevelopment in Langley Road is built according to the granted planning permission – i.e. a wall in keeping with the walls on the adjoining similar properties. It may seem a small matter, but that is what preservation of the area is about.
Similarly we have been pushing for the planting outside St Matthew’s School, removed during the building works, to be replaced. It has been promised for nearly two years now, but no action has been forthcoming.

The Lime Tree School and the new Surbiton Health Centre have both been open for some time and seem to have settled down into their respective routines. We have not heard of any major problems, but it does seem that at times there is insufficient parking space at the Health Centre, because cars are parking alongside the driveway, and at times backing up to the Ewell Road. We would be interested to hear your feedback.

A "smiley face" sign that displays speed was installed on the Ewell Road, near the fire station, after a member kept informing the police about speeding cars along the Ewell Road, particularly late at night.

The new Royal Star & Garter Home in Upper Brighton Road opened a couple of months ago, and we wish the residents and staff every happiness in their new home at Surbiton, following their move from Richmond Hill. There have been some interesting articles describing the history and work of this charity in local publications.

We still await a plan for the old Oakhill Health Centre in Oak Hill Road, and the large white house alongside it (No.3 Oak Hill), that we were assured would be preserved and not demolished.

We hope to have our annual meeting and social in February or March 2014, when everyone is welcome to come along and express their views and enjoy themselves. The one last year was a great success.

The local Council elections are due in May 2014. That will be the opportunity for us to show whether we wish to carry on with a Party-Political form of Local Government, or whether we wish to select and elect councillors who live in the ward and are free from party political influence to represent the views of the people who have selected them.

Are there any people in our ward (Surbiton Hill) who believe in non-party politics and would be willing to put themselves forward to be considered as our representatives? Or do you know of anyone who might be approached? Please let us know. If you would like to discuss this further please contact us on:

If we do not make a stand, we shall continue with the type of Council we have always had, where we can moan as much as we like, but policy is decided on party-political lines.

Once again, we wish you a very happy and healthy New Year!

Robert Lewis – Chairman
Oakhill and District Residents Association (OADRA)
on behalf of the Committee
December 2013

Oak Hill History Project
There are now displays along the walkways on both sides of the driveway into the new Health Centre, showing some of the unique history of the Oakhill area. We recommend you take a look! Some of this information was compiled from research carried out during the planning stage of the new Centre, and some was contributed by OADRA members.

We have discovered several other interesting things about Oak Hill too - e.g. that Cooper Cars developed world-leading racing cars at workshops in Langley Road and Hollyfield Road - and in the 1950s and 60s famous drivers such as Jack Brabham could be seen driving them around, even in local streets!
We attach a photo of Jack Brabham with his latest car, right outside what is now Surbiton New Life Baptist Church (formerly called Oaklands BC), in Langley Road. The Coopers workshop was next door.



Recent break-ins
Please be aware that there have been a number of burglaries recently in the Oak Hill area, such as at garages behind flats. It is important that the local police are made aware of all incidents, but we would appreciate if you ever advise the police of an incident that you also inform OADRA, so that we can be aware, and help keep people informed. We intend to liaise more closely with the local police and Safer Neighbourhood Team, and to help strenghten Neighbourhood Watch groups in the area. Belinda Craig, one of our local officers, recently wrote:

"Hi everyone,
Just to make you aware that we have had a spate of garage burglaries on Surbiton Hill in the last couple of days. These have happened during the day with the method of entry being to bend back the garage door. Could you ask residents to be extra vigilant and keep an eye out for anybody acting suspiciously.
Kind regards, Belinda"

Our local Safer Neighbourhood Team is based in Surbiton YMCA, and can be contacted on: 020 8721 2518. (In the event of an emergency you should always dial 999, and for all other calls to the Metropolitan Police Service dial the new non-emergency police number 101.)
Surbiton Filter Beds update
The public enquiry was held a couple of weeks ago at County Hall, about the future of the Filter Beds in Surbiton. This is outside the Oak Hill area, but we know is of much interest to local residents. The developer who owns the land was contesting about why planning permission was not granted to build 64 floating homes and a marina at this site. The land has a highly protected status - Metropolitan Open Land - and so Kingston Council, Ed Davey MP, and hundreds of local residents (with their efforts focused via the Friends of Seething Wells group) think the proposed development is inappropriate. The developer hoped to convince the judge at the public enquiry that there were very special circumstances, meaning that the MOL status should not automatically prevent its proposal from being built. We await the outcome. The site is of much interest in terms of its biodiversity and industrial history. The FOSW group is developing its own plans for the site, in partnership with other organisations, for if the site were ever to become available.