Category Archives: Local Campaigns

Plaza Cinema Planning November 2012 Update

Outline Planning Consent granted but there is still much to do

Dear Plaza Supporter

Last week the Planning Inspector upheld the appeal and granted Gresham outline planning permission to demolish the existing building and replace it with a mix of residential, retail and leisure. A copy of the Inspector’s decision is posted on our website Gresham’s outline application back in January with its huge amount of irrelevant material continued to cause confusion and debate right through the appeal process. In the end the Inspector stripped away all the irrelevant data and gave outline consent purely on the basic application.

So what does this mean? Well, after nearly a year the picture remains very unclear. The Inspector agreed that the new building can be a mix of residential, retail and leisure uses but gave no guidance on what amounts of each would be acceptable. He also said “only means of access is agreed at this time” and everything else i.e. appearance, landscaping, layout and scale of the new building is “reserved” for a full planning application.

The Inspector was sympathetic to the retention of D2 leisure and made a number of comments about the need to protect it, referring to the applicability of the National Planning Policy Framework, and citing “existing sports and recreational buildings should not be built on…unless they are clearly shown to be surplus to requirements or replaced by a better provision in terms of quality and quantity”. He also cited Policy DMO2b citing “that change of use of development involving the loss of indoor sports facilities will only be permitted where…it can be demonstrated that there is no current or future need or demand for the facility”. These statements are important references when the full planning application is ultimately submitted and considered by Wandsworth Council and I think it that respect we have much to be confident about.

We recently met Justine Greening MP and she reconfirmed the importance to her of retaining meaningful D2 leisure use, in both quantity and quality, on this site. We will also be discussing next steps with our Councillors, who have been very supportive to date, to ensure we keep the momentum up and the pressure on Gresham to engage with the community.

There is much to play for and we will be there at every stage of the process.

Rob Richman

21st November 2012

PLAZA IN WIMBLEDON PARK STADIUM – Saturday 25th August 2012 at 5pm

Dear Plaza Supporter

The Southfields Plaza Group would like to announce a FREE outdoor screening of “Back to the Future” on Bank Holiday Saturday 25th August at Wimbledon Park Athletics Track at 5pm or 1700hrs

Our campaign for a wonderful new independent cinema for Southfields is still very much in motion and we are working very hard to achieve that goal. In the meantime we hope we can offer you just a taste of Cinema in Southfields.


So bring along your picnics and see the film on our giant 40ft x 20ft screen.If you can’t be bothered to spend the morning in the kitchen we will have good hearty food and drink for sale from some first-class suppliers.


There will be a raffle with some magnificent prizes. Should you wish to enter the draw tickets will be available on the evening or, in the weeks leading up to the event, at selected retailers in Southfields and on-line from our web-site.

We are very pleased that Andrews, the estate agent, has agreed to put up some boards displaying details of the Plaza in the Park . We would love to hear from anybody who is prepared to have a board put up outside their house for the few weeks before the event.

Please reply to this e-mail with your address and giving Andrews permission to put a board outside your house. Also include your telephone number so we can get in touch.

Please put this in your diary and tell your friends and family and come and enjoy this wonderful community event courtesy of The Southfields Plaza Group.

If anybody wants to be involved with organising the event, donating a raffle prize or sponsoring something at the event please get in touch with

Rob Richman, 23 Granville Road, 23 Granville Road, London SW18 5SD

Southfields Plaza Campaign Group []

Our web-site at We do hope you can be there.


Plaza Planning Application Refused writes Rob Richman [Southfields Plaza Group]

Dear Supporter

On 18th April 2012 Wandsworth Council Planning Committee followed their officers’ advice and refused the outline planning application for 227 – 231 Wimbledon Park Road SW18.

The committee further encouraged the applicant to re-think their plans and conduct a more exhaustive and inclusive pre-application with council officers and local residents.

I’m sure the owners will need a little time to reflect on this decision but I’m cautiously optimistic that they will now see the imperative to engage with us and the wider community in Southfields to bring forward a far better and more popular scheme.

We at the Southfields Plaza Group will continue with our efforts to engage positively with the owners and their agents. As soon as I have more news I will be in touch.

Once again I would like to thank everyone that has supported the campaign and I feel privileged to be part of a community that cares so passionately about its future. Without your support this would not have been possible.

Best wishes

Rob Richman

Southfields Plaza Campaign Group []


Southfields Bye-Election – Councillors – What should they do if they get elected?

Whilst out collecting SGRA street subs late last year a resident told me that although they’d paid the Council to collect an unwanted bed and mattress a few weeks before,  they had not done so despite contacting the council several times. Later I emailed one of the Southfields Councillors and they got onto the Council Officer concerned and this caused the items to be removed quickly from the property. I even had a Christmas Card from the resident thanking me for taking this up to the local Ward Councillor.

Over the next few weeks political campaign flyers will drop through our letter boxes adding to the already piles of unwanted Junk Mail. Some you will transfer this to the recycle sack but others, who may not find anything on the TV worth watching, may entertain themselves reading the flyers, noting all the promises and about what they will do if elected and what their opponents haven’t or won’t do.  Some of these flyers are works of art, highly coloured, images of a smiling candidate, standing by a dodgy cracked pavement, a hole in the road or outside the doomed Post Office and Cinema or by a site where a new store will move in and put local businesses ‘out of business’.  The text will tell you all what they will be doing about it, ‘if elected’. If you believe it all then a countdown will end and all issues be resolved within a month, or earlier. Have you ever wondered why politicians don’t get sued for breach of promise or trading standards or something?

There’s no escape, forget the No Cold Calling Zone, the NCCZ signs displayed along  the street, the councils initiative targeting fraudsters, canvassing it appears is alright because, its ‘traditional’ one Town Hall person told me recently.  The election machine is finely tuned, they know if you’ve been to the polling station so you make sure you give those people blocking your way out of the poll station your poll card number, a leg out often does the trick of slowing down anyone fool enough to try to avoid this. Warning if you don’t give them your poll card number, be sure to get a bash on your door in the evening, promises to drive you to the booth if you vote for them, assist you to vote, wheel out your Granny in her bath chair, forget Corri or Eastenders, hit the record button and go to the pub, park, anywhere.

If you do get caught though, it helps if you have a handy list of questions pinned behind the street door ready to challenge the canvasser or candidate. Yes, some candidates get out and about, kissing babies, jollying old girls and frowning when being told how much the council wanted to charge them to come round and get rid of a fox that had set up home in their bedroom and had eaten their precious moggy. If the candidate does turn up, its wise to get a good look at them, take an image with your mobile, it will probably be the last time you see them, that is until the next election. Some residents have tricks such as waving a fictitious list at them, this will surely get them running for the hills, they don’t like well prepared residents asking awkward question when they cold call!

Of course I’ve made all this up, it doesn’t really happen in real life and most councilors will tell you they will do a fair job ‘if elected’ but you need to be on their case

It may well surprise some people that although the SGRA’s Constitution doesn’t allow alignment with any political party, present and prospective Southfields Ward Councillors and often Wandsworth MP Justine Greening attend the monthly meetings at St Barnabas, when her role as Cabinet Minister commitments allow. Usually when people vote they don’t realize the importance of their Local Councillor as opposed to their MP. However, local councils are run by elected Councillors who are voted for by local people.

So what should they be doing for us if they are elected? Here follow some brief answers that may help you choose who to vote for in the forthcoming Bye Election on Thursday 29th March.

As I understand it Councillors are responsible for making decisions on behalf of the community about local services, for example rubbish collection, leisure facilities, repair and maintenance of the pedestrian highway, trees and parks and agreeing budgets and Council Tax charges. The work of a Councillor includes holding surgeries to help local people, supporting local organizations, campaigning on local issues, and developing links with all parts of the community. Councillors are not paid a salary or wages, but they are entitled to allowances and expenses to cover some of the costs of carrying out their public duties. They are not Council employees. The elected Councillors provide the policies, and then paid employees (council officers) put them into practice.

If you have an issue directly affecting you not only whereas matters on the Grid are concerned you can contact your local Councillor to discuss the issue. You can contact them via your local authority or attend the Councillor’s advice surgery. Advice surgeries are available for local people to ask for help or advice, make a complaint or enquire about local authority services.

If you don’t want to yourself are or not confident in doing this direct you can raise the matter at the monthly SGRA meeting or through your Grid Street Representative who if they don’t know, can put you onto someone who does. Wherever possible the Chairman or Vice Chairman will email any or all of the Ward Councillors and put to them the issue and await a response and then report back to you.

If you want to know more check out the website.

The SGRA have immediate contact details our Councillors..

I hope this helps!



Tree watch fungus alert & Tina chases Grid tree funding

A serious fungus has been found on a tree in upper Trentham Street.The Wandsworth Tree Section were alerted who sent an arboriculture Officer to make an inspection.

Mr. Patrick Langley, Tree Service Manager has now told the SGRA that trees with this fungal bracket will have to be removed very soon. This is as the fungus will affect the heartwood and therefore it may become a hazard very quickly. Unfortunately the tree cannot be saved and the decision has been taken to remove the tree.

If you see other instances of this fungus, please notify your street rep, the SGRA or Mr Langley.  020-8871-6370 as soon as possible.At this moment we do not know if the tree can be replaced but we will keep Grid people informed. Continue reading