Agenda item

Open Forum

An opportunity for the public to ask questions and raise points that concern this Committee’s area.   The time allowed is at the discretion of the Chair, maximum 15 minutes.


Points and questions relating to items on the agenda will be taken when the relevant item is considered by the Committee.


Questions do not have to be submitted before 5 February, however this is encouraged to enable a full answer to be given at the meeting.   Questions may be submitted by e-mail using either the address shown on the agenda front sheet or the Committee’s inbox:


The following question has been received from Mr Peter Morley, from the Rotary Club of Sutton.


"We have heard a suggestion that the Armillary might be relocated to Manor Park as part of the new Town Centre Renewal plans. Having provided it as the centre piece of the Millennium Garden and an iconic focus for the Town Centre, we are strongly opposed to the idea and wish to know the Council's views on the matter. In particular, we seek assurances that the Council will not proceed with the idea and that we will be directly and fully involved in any consideration of moving the Armillary from its present position"


a) Question received from Mr. John Pickup:


A safety hazard is created along Cheam Road A232 behind Morrison’s Supermarket, (a "red route"), by vehicles parked on the double red lines. These signify "NO parking at any time" but are ignored especially on Friday and Saturday evenings, and on the Sundays before Christmas. At times the traffic is restricted to one lane; sometimes vehicles are parked on the corner by the Church and traffic lights. I understand that Transport for London (TfL) maintains a patrol along red routes, and that this problem is not the direct concern of the council's traffic wardens or of the police although their station is nearby. Please would you advise me of a telephone number or e-mail address to contact when this occurs again? Incidentally the council is being deprived of income from the public car parks such as Gibson Road, which are open in the evenings but perhaps not late enough.


Donna Robinson ,the Area Co-ordinator, informed the committee that she had responded directly to Mr. Pickup providing him with the email address for TfL: the number for red route patrol 0845 6034545, and the following response from Donna Ashby Head of parking Services regarding the car parks: ‘With regards to Gibson Road Car Park income, we have just finished a complete restructure of the Car Parks and will be looking to change the opening and closing hours to cope with the demands of the service. This is taking into consideration the location and the needs of those parking in Sutton. There will be a statutory consultation once the hours have been formally agreed.’


Mr. Pickup had sent an email of thanks for the information provided.


b) Mrs Barbara Verey asked the committee what was the current situation regarding Shop Mobility? Councillor Sean Brennan responded that funding has been a problem and Shop Mobility were working closely with the town centre manager on getting a sustainable plan for funding.


c) Mr. Brisley the former president of the Sutton Rotary Club thanked the committee for allowing him to make a presentation . Mr Brisley also thanked the Chair and Councilor Lyn Gleeson for considering their views and promoting a meeting earlier in the week with the councils consultants. Mr. Brisley was the president of the Sutton Rotary Club at the introduction of the millennium in 1999/2000 and was speaking on behalf of all the six rotary clubs in Sutton.


It was explained that the Armillary, a historical timepiece had been funded in response to the council’s request for a millennium project that had a direct relation with time, which took 2 years of work. It was a beautiful feature telling the time and giving directions to other parts of the borough and bearing the rotary motto “ Service above self “. There were also other inscriptions giving more information about the Rotary Club and a low wall with the words “seize the moment”. It was expected that the feature would remain as a permanent memorial in the town centre marking the new millennium and the central part played by the Rotary Club in the welfare of Sutton since 1923. It was disappointing to learn, so late, that the architects current proposals included removing the Armillary from the town centre completely.  There had been no consultation with the Rotary Club or with the other organisations that had financed the Armillary.


It was felt that there had not been enough time since the Rotary Club raised their strong objections formally, for the consultants to produce other proposals.  However the consultants did show some sketches for relocating the Armillary, at a meeting earlier in the week.  The first site was in Manor Park, which the Rotary Club rejected, and the other to a curb extension in the northwest corner of the High Street / Mulgrave Road, which would only serve as a southern gateway feature and would not fulfill the Rotary Clubs objectives.  It was felt that the Armillary should stay where it is unless there are compelling reasons why it should be moved, and then positive efforts should be made to find an alternative site close to its current position.


The Rotary Club was therefore seeking the views of the council on the matter and seek some reassurance that the council would be directly involved in any consideration of moving the Armillary from its present position.  Reassurance was sought that the council did not intend to proceed with any proposals to relocate it any where in the town or outside it.


John Roseveare, Consultant, offered his personal apologies for not communicating their programme as well as they should have. It was fully recognised the importance of the Rotarians gift of the Armillary to the town and it was not in any way intended to downplay its importance.  Having received notice in late November that the council had been successful in their bid for £1.67m of funding from Transport for London, through their Area Based Schemes programme, the council begun the second round of consultation for the detailed scheme.  

The council were still in the middle of this process, involving a series of consultations with engineers and representatives from a wide range of organisations. This will continue for at least the next 4-6 weeks. At this point the council were required to submit an approval document to TfL setting out the scheme.


Unfortunately John Roseveare was unable to attend a previous meeting with the Rotarians from which the impression was gathered that it had been decided to move the Armillary to Manor Park. This was categorically not the case.


The council have since met with the Rotarian Clubs to explore the best way to ensure the Armillary contributes to the life of Sutton. The council would work with the Rotarians to ensure the Armillary is sited so as to benefit from the sunshine exposure it needs to function as a sundial.   It was confirmed that no decision would be made without the full involvement of the Rotary Clubs at every level of detail.


The Executive Member for regeneration Councillor Lyn Gleeson agreed with Mr Roseveare comments and as the lead member apologised and said it would be her intention to take a minimalist approach to moving the Armillary, as she was fully aware that this was originally donated as a centre piece for people to look at which needs to be taken into consideration when looking into possibilities of relocating the Armillary. No decision has been made yet. Councillor Lyn Gleeson stated that she was happy to meet and attend meetings to discuss this.


Councillor Lyn Gleeson asked if the Armillary located other points in the borough?  Would moving the Armillary from its original position affect this? Mr Brisley confirmed that there are inscriptions on the Armillary that state the distance and direction of other locations in the borough, if moved the arrows must still be pointing in the right direction.


A member of the public stated that they were aware that the Armillary had been donated to the people of Sutton and felt that the people of Sutton should be involved in the consultation for the removal or relocation of the Armillary.

 John Roseveare responded that the Armillary did not have to be moved and consideration with the Rotarians needs to be given to find the best position.


The Chair asked that it be minuted that the members of the committee apologised to the Sutton Rotary clubs for the lack of communication by the council, which lead to this unfortunate situation.


Councillor Lyn Gleeson declared an interest on this item as her husband chaired the Sutton & Cheam Society, who contributed to the Armillary at the point it was given.


Resolved: That the committee requests council officers, Councillor Lyn Gleeson the Executive Member for regeneration and the Sutton Rotary clubs representatives work to find a solution to this situation, as a matter of urgency, and inform the committee any decisions that are made.