Concern over the Old Stable Block in Cheam Park

by Mary Burstow on 19 June, 2015

Old Stable Block - To Let

As there have already been a Forum open up about The Old Stable Block in Streetwise, I thought residents would like an update on where we are with the Old Stable Block.

The Old Stable Block was first pointed out to me, when I first became a Councillor 5 years ago. My first reaction when I went to look at it properly was “Wow – That would make an amazing house – in the middle of a park, with views of London”

Unfortunately it was not to be. As the Old Stable Block is by “The Depot”. This is where London Borough of Sutton keeps and maintains much of its heavy equipment. I am told that early in the morning it can be very noisy. The opinion of Council Officers was that if it was turned into a house, even if the owners were told in advance about the noise they would be able to sue the council for noise polution. The Council would have to close The Depot. The Depot is business critical to the council. As the equipment kept in it services all the local parks and is in a good central location.

This left The Property Services Dept asking what to do next. As a councillor, I was clear, it had to be something which meant the building still had a public role. Not one it which people were never able to set foot in it. It was put on the market around two years ago, asking for expressions of interest.

A number of people came forward expressing an interest, but for a variety of reasons, their proposals fell by the wayside. The Treetops proposal is the first serious proposal to go beyond the “discussions” stage..

There is a very real need for Nursery Schools in the borough for local families. Just as we are having to expand local primary schools and build a new secondary schools. Young families are choosing to move to Sutton, because we have good schools, low crime, beautiful parks and it is a good place to live. Sutton is one of the top London locations for where people are wanting to live.

Treetops are meeting that need.

At the planning meeting, the cost of restoring The Old Stable Block and turning it into a working building is estimated at around £300,000. That does not surprise me. The building is little more than a single layer brick shell. The timbers are probably all rotten and the roof has many tiles missing. Inside there is a thick layer of pigeon poo. You can only enter the building if you wear protective clothing.

Old Stable block door

Commentators are quite right in saying the Council should have done something about this building long ago. I quite agree! It long ago ceased to be of any use to the council as a working agricultural building. It was when, 4 years ago, the Cheam, Belmont and South Sutton Area Committee meeting, chaired by Cllr Tony Shilds had to pay £4,000 for netting to go over the roof and to get rid of the pigeons, that Cllr Shields quite rightly said “Enough is enough – something must be done with the building” I hope you don’t mind my paraphasing! Tony

Old Stable block inside

This leaves us with the current application. It has been defered, because we need a traffic impact survey to be done by Treetops Nursery. This survey will look at how having a nursery in the park will impact the traffic and parking in Tudor Close and Cheam Park Car Park.

It will be used primarily by local parents, so we will want to find out how many Treetops parents expect to walk to the Nursery School, how many will drive to the school, drop off their children, then go to work and how many will take their children to Nursery, then leave their cars parked in Cheam Park, before catching the train or bus to work. We also need to find out how many staff from Treetops, they expect will drive and how many walk/cycle.

Tudor Close already suffers from increase volumes of traffic, as people drive to the car park in Cheam Park. It is especially heavy at weekends, when children come to play football with Little League. They are understandably concerned that the Old Stable Block development will bring increased volumes of traffic and there may be congestion.

Cllr Holly Ramsey, Cllr Graham Whitham and I are consulting residents in Tudor Close on what to do. We had asked them if they wanted double yellow lines or no parking between 11 – 12. Some residents say they want Residents only Parking in Tudor Close. As ward Cllrs we will be working with residents to make sure they understand the Pros and Cons of each option before any decision is made.

And finally….The planning application is A2015/71612. As ward Councillors, Graham, Holly and I will make sure that as soon as we know when it is going to the planning committee, everyone is told. I am sure it will be on Facebook, Streetwise, notices in the park and on both my and Hollys respective blogs.

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