Category Archives: Planning Issues

Front Garden Competition Revival

Once upon a time many years ago, in fact only as far back as 1979, a group of keen gardeners walked round the Grid twice a year and looked at the front gardens. They then decided which was the best and a silver platter was awarded. It was held for one year and then the whole process began again. This silver platter was ‘dug up’ and ‘unearthed’ recently after being buried in a loft. It is quite a splendid platter and we would like to reintroduce the best front garden competition again.

Are you a keen gardener? Would you like to be a judge? We would love to hear from anybody who would like to help. Please contact Tina Thompson via this site.

Mary Newstead – just one of our resident expert gardeners – offers some advice on what the judges may be looking for and how you can ensure your garden turns their heads. First impressions are important, and the many lovingly tended front gardens on The Grid are a sign that residents are responsive to this old adage. The forewarning comes at a good time as it will allow you the opportunity to make any changes and/or improvements over the winter months. Here are some ideas of things that can be done that will spruce-up and improve your lot with a view to attracting the attention of the judges next year.

  • If you don’t already have a flower bed, think about creating one. If your front is paved, just lift a few slabs here and there and add some new soil before planting.
  • If you have a specimen tree, consider cutting away lower branches to lift the canopy so you can create a new bed underneath with roses and lavender – a lovely combination – or low box edging to contain plants within the bed like evergreen liriopes, hardy geraniums, box balls and bulbs.
  • Plant a new, low maintenance evergreen hedge like Photinia x fraseri ‘Red Robin’, Griselinia littoralis, Buxus sempervirens or Viburnum tinus ‘Eve Price’ for flowers and scent. All will need only a gentle prune once a year.
  • Plant roses. Now is a good time to buy bare-root roses direct from the supplier – much cheaper than buying them in containers. Roses make a wonderful hedge if you choose the right variety such as Queen of Sweden and Harlow Carr both highly fragrant and repeat flowering. The species Rosa rugosa ‘Alba’ is also fragrant and has the added bonus of orange hips in autumn/winter. Go to for more choice.
  • It’s still not too late to plant bulbs for a window box or container display. Try for a fabulous choice of tulips and alliums. Although a little more expensive, you can buy bulbs already growing ‘in the green’ next spring from garden centres.
  • As judging time approaches, last minute jobs would be to add a top-dressing of compost to beds to show off plants, freshen up shingle by adding more and keep vigilant for weeds. If you already have a hedge, a gentle trim a few weeks in advance will allow it time to settle into its new haircut before judging.
  • Window boxes and containers may need replanting and shingle on top of the soil will really set off the plants.
  • General tidiness can be tackled nearer the time like sweeping paths and hosing down for an extra gleam. If you have painted walls, maybe a quick lick of fresh paint and, finally, a new front door mat if it takes your fancy.
  • It might be a good idea to make sure your bin isn’t overflowing and, if possible, move it to the back garden until judging is complete.

Mary Newstead
(Read her garden blog for more inspiration

Planning Rules

Meanwhile as the number of sheds in front gardens on the Grid is on the increase, Cllr Guy Humphries explains what is and what is not permissible re front gardens and home extensions. In the first instance if you have queries about whether planning permission is required, a great starting place is the Planning portal web site:

This has a number of the most common projects and covers many of the types of work we see in the Grid. You can also ring, email or see a planning officer at Wandsworth Town Hall. The more information you provide the planners, the more accurate the advice they can provide.

Outbuildings/Sheds Sheds in front gardens do need planning permission and this includes bicycle boxes. The rules for outbuildings in the rear garden are more complex and the planning portal web site again is a good starting point.

Walls You will need to apply for planning permission if you wish to erect or add to a fence, wall or gate and, for a front boundary wall (ie next to the road) depending on the height.

Paving of front gardens You will not need planning permission if a new or replacement paving of any size uses permeable (or porous) surfacing which allows water to drain through, such as gravel, permeable concrete block paving or porous asphalt, or if the rainwater is directed to a lawn or border to drain naturally unless the surface is more than five square metres.

Extensions The Grid is not in a conservation area, unlike Sutherland Grove for instance, so this makes some common types of extension a little easier. As can be seen, this whole area is fairly complex, so the general advice has to be; if in doubt, ask. The Planning Department at Wandsworth Town Hall are a pretty helpful team, so please refer to them with your queries.

General enquiries: 020 8871 6636

Wimbledon Park Update

The Wimbledon Park sub committee recently met Cllr Stephen Alambritis, the leader of Merton Council, for a friendly walk around Wimbledon Park. Cllr Terry Walsh accompanied the group and brought greetings from Cllr Ravi Govindia, leader of Wandsworth Council. The walk took about two hours and much was discussed and seen. Cllr Alambritis also received unprompted but relevant comments from a couple of passers by. Pat Sheerin took the opportunity to resubmit a petition on speeding cyclists supported by 175 signatures.

As a result we hope progress will be made on getting a proper consultative process under way. At this time we also became aware of Merton’s application for planning permission for a Winter Wonderland event over Christmas and New Year, incorporating an ice rink, refreshments and child fun fair rides from Saturday 3rd December to Sunday 15th January. At the time of writing there are already a number of objections on Merton’s planning website where there are more details. The date for considering this application is on the 8th December!

TFL are to take over a significant part of the park by the railway line so that work can be undertaken on the embankment. This should be finished around March time when the site will be returned to its muddy state. Despite asking we haven’t received any information about the date of planning application for the seasonal car park at Revelstoke Road car park. Many residents will want to comment on this and we will try to get the details of the planning number and proposal circulated in a timely manner.

We have set up a group called Residents Around Wimbledon Park (RAWP) mainly between ourselves and Wimbledon Park Residents Association (WPRA). We hope this will be the forerunner to enabling constructive dialogue between residents, park users and park owners and may lead to a ‘Friends of Wimbledon Park’.

Nick Steiner
SGRA WP Subcommittee

Grid Parking

The subject of car parking on the Grid was raised at the last Grid meeting.
The cost of a permit for residents has increased a great deal in the last three years.
In most zones, we get one hour’s protection for £120 a year but there are exceptions. On the opposite side of Revelstoke road, there are meters and different hours of parking restrictions.

There is more than one Zone and now we also have the car club spaces. The Grid is heavily parked with those living near to Replingham road particularly affected and I am sure other streets have their own problems.

Two petitions have been presented to the Wandsworth Borough Council about parking in Revelstoke Road and the problems residents there experience. Unfortunately, Wandsworth Borough Council was not prepared to do anything until the car parking in Wimbledon Park had been resolved. The second petition requested a disabled parking bay for the doctors’ surgery at the bottom of Revelstoke Road. This petition met with success and the parking bay is now in place.

The SGRA would like to know any issues you have about parking in the area
and your views in general. We have requested a review of the Grid Zone but to no avail.

Why not add your views to the parking topic on the forum?

Revised Thames Tunnel Plans

Thames Tunnel have now identified the brownfield site at Carnworth Road in Hammersmith, rather than the greenfield site at Barn Elms, as their preferred construction site for the drive shaft for the new tunnel under the Thames for the new ‘super sewer’. We must applaud the efforts of the Stop the Shaft Campaign that led the opposition to the use of the playing fields in this way.

Thames Tunnel have also produced more details of their plans for the construction works in King Georges’ Park. They need to intercept the combined sewer overflow that discharges storm water and sewage into the River Wandle under Southside, and link it to a new connection tunnel to their works in Dormay Road. These include reducing the proposed area of the site and moving the construction works to the north east corner of the park. Their consultation document is not consistent about the amount of land they need to use and we will be seeking clarification. In addition, it is not transparent about whether they intend to use or acquire the land. As this is Metropolitan Open Space we will oppose any question of transfer of ownership, particularly to a foreign owned company. During construction the effect on the community will be the loss of access to this part of the park for 21/2 years, the nuisance of construction between 8 and 6 daily throughout this period, between 5 and 8 daily lorry movements into Buckhold Road, more restricted parking in Neville Gill Close, and the felling of a dozen trees. The long term effect will be a slightly raised hard standing area with some seating in most of this part of the park, the planting of 18 trees, a new pathway, and a wild flower area. The current 19 storm overflow discharges of sewage a year that go through the Wandle to the Thames should reduce to one event a year. Thames Tunnel will require access, to maintain the shaft and the remaining equipment, via new sliding gates in Neville Gill Close. The equipment includes two ventilation shafts of up to 6 m high and an electrical and control kiosk about 2.5m high and 5m long, which will be built near or alongside the fence of the park.

Justine Greening MP is holding a public meeting for local residents and Thames Water at St Mary’s Church Putney on 8th December from 7.30pm to discuss this. You can have your say on the Thames Tunnel consultation website at In the meantime the SGRA will be seeking to ensure that there continues to be full access to the park and that any disruption to footpaths is kept to a minimum.