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Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Council chamber - Merton Civic Centre, London Road, Morden SM4 5DX. View directions

Contact: Consultation and Community Engagement Team 

No. Item


Welcome and Introductions


The meeting was held in the Council Chamber at the Civic Centre and chaired by Councillor Natasha Irons. Sixteen residents attended, as well as seven other Councillors, and officers of the council and partner organisations. The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting.


Improving Healthcare Together pdf icon PDF 3 MB

Consultation on proposed changes to St Helier Hospital


Ruth Charlton, Consultant Paediatrician at Epsom and St Helier NHS Trust, and James Blythe, Managing Director Merton and Wandsworth Clinical Commissioning Groups, gave a presentation on the proposals for the future of critical care services at the Trust. The presentation is an appendix to this report. 


The Government has allocated £500m to improve buildings and build new Specialist Emergency Care hospital (SECH). Under the proposals 85% services stay at Epsom and St Helier sites and a minimum of £80m will be spent on improving the existing buildings. Emergency services do not currently meet national standards and CQC rate them as needs improvement. There is also problem with recruiting sufficient staff. The current buildings are not fit for purpose and expensive to maintain which creates an ongoing problem with finances


The new clinical model would mean at least two District Hospitals (Urgent Treatment Centre; Outpatient services; Diagnostic services; Planned Care procedures; Hospital Rehab/recovery) and one Specialist Emergency Care Hospital (Emergency Department; Acute Medicine; Emergency Surgery; Critical Care; Births; Inpatient Paediatrics). There are three options for the new SECH site:

Epsom, St Helier, or Sutton (next to the Royal Marsden). Sutton is the preferred site for the CCGs as it has the smallest increase in average travel times, would be easiest and quickest to build; and based on the Government assessment formulae provides the best value for money.


Modelling shows a slight increase in beds is needed, most would be at Epsom, St Helier and Sutton but some would need to be provided at other hospitals including St Georges, Croydon, Kingston or the Surrey hospitals to mitigate increase pressure on those hospitals. There would be little time difference in Ambulance and Car travel to the single SECH site, but there will be increases in Public Transport journey times for some people. The NHS would need to work with transport providers to mitigate this before the facility opens.


All three options are possible and no decision has been made so responses to the consultation are encouraged before it closes on 1 April 2020.


Residents raised a number of points and questions, which are set out below along with any response from James and Ruth.




Will improvements still be made to St Helier if the new centre is built elsewhere?

Yes, the blocks in worst condition, at the back of the hospital will no longer be used and increasing the number of single rooms will be a priority.

There will be a 62% reduction in beds at St Helier

Overall, there will be a slight increase in beds, although some of these will be at other hospitals.

Services will be taken from a deprived area to affluent Belmont

85% of services will be stay on site, for example anti-natal and pre-natal care will stay but services that needs 24 hour consultant cover will move to the new site.

Will it be more expensive to maintain more buildings on more sites?

Updating buildings should reduce ongoing maintenance costs

There will be no  ...  view the full minutes text for item 2.


Magistrates Courts pdf icon PDF 1 MB

Mandy Lamplough  JP


Mandy Lamplough, a Magistrate sitting at Wimbledon and Lavender Hill, gave a presentation on the role of Magistrates and what function Magistrates Courts play in the legal system. The presentation is available as an appendix to this report.


Magistrates are all volunteers, should be aged between 18 and 70, receive training, and should sit for 15 days each year. The Courts are the first level of court for criminal justice and see 90% of cases. They hear evidence, decide on guilt or innocence and can issue a maximum custodial sentence of 6 months. Sentencing options also include fines, a Court Victim Surcharge, and restorative justice. Magistrates also sit in less formal youth courts, family courts, and can issue warrants. Recent trends include fewer cases due to the increased use of Fixed Penalty Notices; an increase in the amount of violent and knife crime, and more crime involving young women. There has also been a reduction in the number of courts meaning further travel for many. 


In response to questions from residents, Mandy confirmed that Magistrates received travel and subsistence expenses but are not paid; that fines issued by the court are based on a proportion of weekly income and can be recovered directly from salaries or benefit payments. Mandy also said that the Probation Service administered restorative justice can be very powerful in helping both sides understand each other. Mandy said there is definitely a need for more Magistrates and from a wider range of background. Details of how to apply can be found at



Open forum

An opportunity to raise any other issue of local interest not covered elsewhere on the agenda. Kindly email your request in advance of the meeting to


A resident asked if there was an update on the Public Space Protection Orders on dog control that had been consulted on in 2018. Kris Witherington, Community Engagement Manager, said that he had spoken with the relevant team. The delay has been due to the need to ensure sufficient enforcement was in place. This is close to being resolved and if so, the process should be completed quickly.


A resident raised the issue of a shop on Morden Road whose display is blocking the pavement next to a shared cycle path. Kris agreed to raise this with Highways colleagues.

UPDATE following the meeting: Transport for London as the Highway Authority for the area has granted permission for the designation and licence following negotiations regarding its size. As there is a licence in place, and unless there is a breach of conditions, there will be no action taken.

A resident raised the issue of the increase in parking charges and said they did not feel they would reduce pollution. Cllr Irons explained that the previous increase was based on proximity to public transport links, through a measure called Public Transport Access Level (PTAL). Further changes relating to charging more for more polluting vehicles, based on the Ultra Low Emission Zone are currently being considered.


A resident asked if Merton Council would consider taking legal action to prevent the Improving Healthcare Together plans for St Helier Hospital going ahead.

UPDATE following the meeting: Cllr Stephen Alambritis confirmed that the Council is against the removal of services from St Helier and will fight to retain them, exploring all options to do so.


A resident also raised an issue about a property on Morden Hall Road using their neighbour’s crossover to park on the grass in front of their house.



Local Government Boundary Commission Proposals pdf icon PDF 390 KB

Proposed changes to Merton’s electoral wards


Kris Witherington gave a presentation on the proposals for new electoral ward arrangements from the Local Government Boundary Commission for England. The presentation is available as an appendix to this report. The consultation on the changes is open until Monday 2 March and can be found at


A resident asked about populations in each ward. Under the proposals three member wards will have 8,000-9,000 electors whereas two member wards will have 5,000-6,000 members.



London Assembly Update

Update from Leonie Cooper, Assembly Member for Merton and Wandsworth


Leonie Cooper, Assembly Member for Merton and Wandsworth, provided any update on the work of the London Assembly. The role of Assembly is primarily to hold the Mayor of London to account. There are 25 Assembly Members, 14 geographical, 11 from a top-up list. At the moment five parties are represented Labour, Conservative, Liberal Democrat, UKIP and Green parties.


There are a series of cross party committees. Leonie is currently Deputy Chair of the Environment Committee, and Chair of Economy Committee. The committees look at range of projects for example single use plastics, which resulted in roll out of water fountains; biodiversity and housing, which has been integrated into new London Plan. The Economy Committee has looked at the condition high streets, which included evidence from Love Wimbledon, and creating new jobs in a low carbon economy.


The final version of the London Plan is currently with the Secretary of State for approval. The plan includes requirements for net-biodiversity improvement on developments and for urban green space.


The Mayor has recently announced data that shows the impact of the introduction of the ULEZ and Low Emission Bus Zones has already had on improving Air Quality. This is at with more details at


A resident asked about improving access on public transport. Leonie said she has visited a number of stations as part of the Transport Committee along with London Travelwatch to look at access. The intension is to upgrade all the stations on the northern line but some are listed so this is more challenging. There is a budget of £200m to achieve this but the work has to be phased. The Mayor does not have power over rail stations and the many different operators of these stations make the situation more complicated.


A resident asked how the central London ULEZ had benefited Merton. Leonie replied that the evidence showed people had changed their behaviour for their whole journey, reducing the number of the most polluting vehicles travelling towards the zone. Merton has also benefited from the Low Emission Bus Zone at Putney High Street and the conversion of black cabs to electric vehicles. The ULEZ will be extended to the South Circular in 2021, but Leonie would like to extend this further. There is a budget of £864m to transform the bus fleet, with the whole fleet moving to electric or hydrogen vehicles.


A resident felt the increase in public hire and delivery vehicles was having a negative impact on Air Quality. Leonie agreed and said that since the introduction of Uber the number of public hire vehicles has increase from c80,000 to more than 600,000 and the Mayor has called for additional powers to regulate these vehicles. The Mayor is also working with delivery companies to explore alternatives like cargo bikes, logistics planning and electric vehicle. Data on vehicle use can be found in the London Data Store. 


The Mayor has announced that 20 September will be car free day with communities holding events  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.


Date of next meeting

7.15pm Wednesday 14 October 2020 at the Civic Centre


Councillor Irons thanked residents for attending and closed the meeting.


The next meeting will be on Wednesday 14 October 2020 at 7.15pm, Council Chamber, Merton Civic Centre.