The Green Party

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


Sutton & Croydon Green Party will be there. Come and say hello!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Carshalton Conservation Area- Green response to the Consultation

Sutton Greens welcome the Council’s Draft Character Appraisal of Carshalton Conservation Area,

insofar as it once again sets down some of the reasons why this area was designated a Conservation Area some 40 years ago.

We note however that in the time that Carshalton Central has been a Conservation area (CA) there appears to have been relatively little in terms of ‘value added’ to show for it, and as the document itself acknowledges the CA has deteriorated in several aspects. Examples of this are:

· The poor quality of additions to St Philomena’s school, adjacent to a very significant listed building

· Poor quality shop fronts on the High Street

· UPVC windows and other unsympathetic treatments which have gone on continually all over the CA but particularly of course in residential areas such as the Mill Lane area. The terrace north from Rochester Road is an outstandingly ugly example.

Of particular concern is the fact that powers that the Council already possesses in terms of building control both inside and outside CAs do not appear to have been applied in the past. We recall that in the mid 1990s Sutton Green Party submitted a planning brief for the Mill Lane area prior to redevelopment drawing attention to the Conservation opportunities in terms of both open space and the built environment offered by the BP site; but this was wholly ignored in favour of the unsympathetic housing development that is now criticised.

Apart from (i) the sloppy drafting of the document with several typographical errors and less than satisfactory phraseology, and (ii) the apparent prejudices of the appraisers against buildings of particular styles and ages, we do not find the draft document per se very controversial. Without the determination to apply a set of appropriate policies to prevent further loss of character, and to encourage the upgrading of the CA, however, this document will be worth little.

On the specific point regarding the poor and deteriorating (to use the phrase from the document) [visual] quality of some of the housing within the CA, we note that several local Authorities (for example, Southend-on-Sea; Derby; Worthing) offer Conservation Area grants to encourage residents to reinstate or conserve features which add to the overall character of the CA- sash windows in particular. Will Sutton follow this lead and put some money towards enhancing the borough’s Conservation Areas?

We note the fact that the impact of traffic, particularly in the High Street and in West Street, continues to be very severe. We would further add that the proliferation of street furniture, including a sharp increase in signs, particularly around the ponds, detracts from the visual quality of the environment, and little attempt seems to have been made to minimise this. It is not even referred to in the document.

We give credit to Sutton Council for barring parking from in front of the Grove offices. We think that something more positive could now be done to the former driveway from the Coach & Horses entrance to the Grove alongside East Pond, and we regret that the chance was not taken to improve the High Street environment by removing some parking spaces immediately fronting the High Street when the car park was considerably extended. Will there be any commitment to prevent further loss of front gardens to car parking within the CA?

Summary: We await the evidence that Sutton Council is prepared to take the enhancement of its Conservation Areas more seriously by determined implementation of the exiting planning powers alongside any future management plan for the Carshalton CA which might arise from this document.

Annexe: proposed changes to the criteria for designation of Locally listed buildings

We welcome the proposed addition of a criterion of ‘groups’ of buildings contributing to the street scene in the CA, and also the inclusion of building materials and techniques. The use of local listing might be appropriate to apply to more humble buildings which taken together enhance the character of the CA, as in the Mill Lane area and West St Lane. We consider that the Sun public house is an obvious candidate for local listing in view of its prominent contribution to townscape and the patterned brickwork.

For Sutton Green Party, Bob Steel, chair.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007


You know those questions which start with “Where were you when (such and such famous event occurred)?”

Well……I came across one of those occasions on a working visit to Dublin during June.

Wednesday the 13th of June 2007 will be remembered as the day when the Green Party in Ireland took the historic decision to enter Government.

On the previous evening there had been several media interviews with members of Bertie Ahern’s Fianna Fail party and the Irish Green Party to try to discover whether the Greens were likely to vote to enter a new coalition-led Government.

Current Green politicians had voted to do so – but the final say was left with those party members who attended a convention in the Mansion House in Dublin.

I was lucky enough to be in a bar directly opposite the Mansion House when the members filed in past TV and radio crews. And also past several demonstrators with placards referring to, amongst other issues, the dangers of a Government continuing to allow US troop-carrying military planes to stop over at Shannon Airport and against a new motorway near the Hill of Tara.

The result of the vote was acceptance of the coalition proposal by 441 votes to 67 out of the 510 attending members. This well exceeded the two thirds majority required by the Green constitution.

Party Leader Trevor Sargent received lots of respect by honouring his earlier promise that, if the Greens decided to enter Government, he would resign as leader. It was however Trevor's hard bargaining with Bertie Ahern which enabled the deal to be signed and he was reported as saying that the vote “marks the proudest day of my life”.

What this means for the Greens in terms of positive commitments is:

- 2 full junior ministerial Cabinet posts (now confirmed as Department of the Environment, Heritage & Local Government and Department of Communications, Energy & Natural Resources)
- A carbon tax and targets for the reduction of 3% a year in greenhouse gas emissions
- The establishment of a climate change commission
- Setting up a commission on taxation
- New building standards to reduce the energy demands of houses
- Accelerate growth in renewable energy sources
- Reform of local government with a directly elected mayor for Dublin by 2011
- Establishment of an independent electoral reform commission which will examine the financing of the political system.

Objectives not achieved were:

- An end to the use of Shannon Airport by US military
- The abandonment of plans to build the M3 motorway near the Hill of Tara
- A ban on corporate donations
- An end to the plan to build co-located private hospitals on public land.

The coalition will also be supported by at least 3 Independents who agreed their own separate deals with Fianna Fail.

The mood amongst many of the Irish people (as far as I can gather from watching TV, reading newspapers and listening to Dublin taxi drivers!) is that this could be a really positive move for the country.

There were of course several Party members who, when interviewed, felt that the party had sold out on its fundamental principles (a la Germany in the ’80’s), but the resoundingly overall view was that this was indeed a historic day when Greens can start to have a lasting influence on Government policy.

George Dow

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

How to Save the World


A public meeting hosted by the Sutton & Croydon Green Party

Admission: FREE!

The core values of the green movement are people, planet and peace. With global poverty, environmental degradation and war seemingly ever increasing, what can individuals, business and government do to save the world?

Speaking at the event will be special guest Dr Derek Wall, Principal Speaker of the Green Party.

Monday 25th June 2007


The Club Room,
The Spreadeagle 39, High St, Croydon, Surrey, CR0 1QD –
020 8781 1134

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Saturday, May 26, 2007

Croydon Meeting

Monday May 28th at the Spreadeagle 39, High St, Croydon, Surrey, CR0 1QD - map.

The meetings will start at 8.00pm, upstairs in the function room at the back which faces the Town Hall.

This is a Sutton & Croydon Green Party meeting.

Saturday, April 28, 2007


Back in October last year I noticed on a poster at my local railway station – Hackbridge – that Sutton Council had published a Planning Document on “Hackbridge – towards a Sustainable Suburb?” – an Issues Paper – and invited local residents to submit their views on the issues and draft proposals covered in the document.

Hackbridge is in the north of Sutton borough – with the River Wandle running along its western edge, the railway line along the east, Mitcham Common to the north and Beddington Park to the south. It has excellent road, rail, bus and tram links to the City (London Bridge) and West End (Victoria), Sutton, Croydon and Wimbledon. Employment and health are among the top third in England, income just in the top half – but the quality of housing, access to services and education outcomes are among the bottom half in England. It’s historically been a pretty neglected part of the Borough. BedZED is located in Hackbridge.

Having provided detailed feedback on the issues document, I was invited to a one-day workshop held at BedZED on 19 April – jointly hosted by:

- the Council Planning Department

- the BioRegional Development Group and

- the Future Hackbridge Group.

Sutton Council is embarking on a new way of planning for the future of communities. The traditional land use planning system is changing with a new style of local development plans which will go beyond traditional land use planning and embrace the requirements for Community Plans. The overall strategic requirements will be set by the London Plan and other planning documents prepared by the Mayor of London and individual Boroughs’ strategies will be set by the wider Community Strategy and the core development plan provisions of the Local Development Framework.

I know, this sounds, like an awful lot of words (!) – but the upshot is that this new style of planning gives considerable scope at the local level – and local residents and other stakeholders can really influence how their local community develops and ensure that it does so in as sustainable a way as possible.

Hackbridge has been identified as the first area in the Borough under the new style planning framework.

BioRegional ( is an independent environmental organisation which develops practical solutions for sustainable living. Key within that is their concept of “One Planet Living”, designed jointly with the World Wildlife Fund and which provides a model for measuring ecological footprints – showing how our lifestyles impact not only on the planet, but also on other people. It calculates how much productive land, freshwater and sea is needed to feed us and provide all the energy, water and materials we use in our daily lives. It also calculates the emissions generated from the oil, coal and gas we burn and determines how much land is required to absorb our waste. A One Planet lifestyle means having a footprint of less than 1.8 hectares per person – Sutton’s is 5.38 hectares per person, which is apparently 65% higher than our ecological budget (and just under the UK’s figure).

The Future Hackbridge Group comprises keen and skilled residents and business people and includes Bill Dunster – Hackbridge-based architect of BedZED. The Group have drawn up a paper with a view to Hackbridge becoming the UK’s (not just Sutton’s!) first sustainable suburb. It covers plans for the economic, social and environmental future of the area, with a SWOT analysis, vision and values statements, specific aims and objectives and a suggested set of phased action plans.

The concept of a sustainable suburb covers a number of themes, eg:

- reinforcing the role of retail and leisure within local centres

- protecting and promoting local environment

- promoting sustainable development patterns (with appropriate mix of housing types and employment)

- reducing car dependency

- improving the existing housing stock

- improving environmental sustainability (to include a number of "green community initiatives")

- improving the quality of design.

In total around 80 people attended the workshop and attendees included representatives from:

- the 3 host organisations

- Transport for London

- London Development Agency

- Local schools (and also pupils)

- Developer

- BedZED

- EcoLocal.

Local Councillors and the local MP (Tom Brake) were also present.

The day included presentations from, amongst others, the 3 host organisations, group work, involving site visits around the area and discussions / feedback presentations when we could offer our own ideas.

I believe this was a terrific example of true consultation, with real commitment shown from everyone involved and a shared enthusiasm to take this whole thing forward. The next step is for the hosts to put firm up on an integrated strategy and action plans – and to share these with local residents and ensure that everyone in the local community is asked for their ideas and kept fully aware.

I was there as a local resident – not representing the Green Party – and spoke at the end with the Chair of the Future Hackbridge Group (Simon Courage – a BedZED resident), explaining that I would like to be involved in all this in some way. I’ll keep you all informed of developments.

One final thought - I guess that Croydon Council may have similar plans for a particular area and, if so, it may be a good opportunity for a Green Party member to get involved.

If you would like any more information on what happened at the Hackbridge workshop, do please let me know.


George Dow

020 8773 4100

Next Meeting

Monday April 30th at the Spreadeagle 39, High St, Croydon, Surrey, CR0 1QD - map.

The meetings will start at 7.30pm, upstairs in the function room at the back which faces the Town Hall.

This is a Sutton & Croydon Green Party joint business meeting, and one of the main topics of discussion will be election candidates.

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Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Next Meeting - Tuesday 10th April

The next meeting of the Sutton and Croydon Green Party will be on Tuesday 10th April at 8pm at the Centre for Environmental Initiatives (aka ecolocal) Carshalton, map here.

Please come along.
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Monday, March 19, 2007

Sutton Green Drinks


Sutton Green Drinks

6:30 'til late, Wednesday 7th March 2006

And then, the first Wednesday of every month.

In the Swan Bar (first bar on the left) as you enter THE GREYHOUND PUB, directly opposite the Ponds at Carshalton on the A232 (SM5 3PE).
How Do I Get There?

Walk, cycle, bus (127, 157, 407, X26, S3), train (Carshalton).

Sutton Green Drinks is for anyone working on environmental issues or studying them.

The idea is to meet for fun, contacts alcohol (& non-alcoholic drinks), info, gossip, inspiration, business and pleasure.

If you are new, just go up to someone and say "are you green?" and you'll be made welcome.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Letter to Sutton Press

Dear editor,

I was dismayed but hardly surprised to note this week that Carshalton High Street is soon to be blessed with another estate agent, which I think makes seven in our small local shopping parade, which also boasts several fast food joints. Now, I cannot believe that one single inhabitant of the area thinks that what Carshalton needs is another estate agent. It was over twenty years ago that the Green party first made the issue of sustainable local shops a key plank of our local manifestos, calling for local authorities to be given the power to set a sliding scale of business rates to favour community-friendly retailers; the need for something of this kind is even more urgent today with the serial decline of post offices, local food retailers, and other 'proper' neighbourhood facilities. The Sustainable Communities Bill, promoted by a range of green groups including the Green party but with cross party support, is making its way through Parliament as a private members' Bill. It will if passed give local councils the sort of powers we have long been calling for. Readers can find more information by logging on to


Bob Steel

Sutton Green party

Friday, March 09, 2007

March Meeting - Carshalton

The next meeting of the Sutton and Croydon Green Party will be on Tuesday 13th March at 8pm at the Centre for Environmental Initiatives Carshalton, map here.

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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

No Trident - Demonstrate Saturday 24th February 2007

Assemble 12 noon, Speakers' Corner. Rally in Trafalgar Square.

Details of where the Sutton & Croydon groups will meet up will follow.

CND Chair Kate Hudson talks about why you should attend the demonstration.

From CND

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