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 The Sanderstead Blog
Cllr  Lynne  Hale
Cllr  Yvette  Hopley
Cllr  Tim  Pollard

Purley Beeches is NOT being cleared for housing
02/05/2014 09:30:00......Posted by Tim Pollard

At the Sanderstead Residents' Association AGM last night, a number of residents raised concerns over the felling of many mature Beech trees before Easter.

The concerns fall broadly into three areas:

  1. A concern that the trees did not actually need felling
  2. A worry that it was done in order to clear the land for later redevelopment for housing
  3. Annoyance that the trunks and canopy from the trees felled has not been removed.

Dealing with the second of these first, there is absolutely no truth in the rumour that this work is all about clearing the way for a housing development. Purley Beeches is protected in our planning policies and there is no prospect at all of that changing. Certainly the ward councillors would be implacably opposed to any future attempt to build on this land and I can see no prospect of any future council administration seeking to do this.

I won't cover the third of these concerns in this post, as this is covered in earlier blog posts, except to say that we willl maintain the pressure on officers to clear the debris until it is broadly at a level which park users are happy to live with. It is important that some trunks are allowed to slowly decay in situ, as they would in an unmananged woodland, because of the benefits this brings as a habitat for various species. But at the moment, there is too much and it is spoiling park users' enjoyment, and that's not right.

So this brings me on to the first of the residents' concerns - the theory that the trees didn't actually need felling. I am not an arboriculturist and nor would I claim to be an expert on trees - but the council employs people who are, in the team led by Mr Browning. He has recently written to a resident, copying me in, explaining why the signs of decay are not necessarily visible to the naked eye and I reproduce the majority of that letter below. I hope this reassures residents that the works were necessary, although very regretable.

Thank you for coping me into your letter to Cllr Pollard regarding the above.

If I may, I would like to answer some of the concerns that you have raised in this letter;

Firstly, let me assure you that we are as upset as you are to fell these trees. However, the trees were not felled simply because they were over mature. They were felled because they were found to be hazardous.

With respect to yourself, and other people that have raised concerns, signs of a tree being hazardous may not be apparent to the untrained eye ( please see attached notes on Ketzschmaria deusta as an example of a fungal pathogen that can render trees extremely dangerous).

As a land owner we have a clear duty of care and simply cannot ignore trees that we find to be hazardous, especially in an areas such as Purley Beeches, which are both heavily used by the public and surrounded by residential properties. It should be noted that, in recent years, The Royal Parks, The National Trust and Kew have all been involved in court cases as a result of fatalities caused by fallen trees on their land.

The most recent felling is particularly noticeable because Purley Beeches, from an aesthetic viewpoint, is a pale shadow of its former self. Fifty years ago it was a magnificent woodland of mature Beech trees. Unfortunately, though, it was absolutely devastated in the1987 Hurricane and since then we have had to periodically remove trees that have become hazardous.

The problem has been compounded by the fact that the woodland was of a single age class and so there was not an understorey of young trees there to come through and replace the trees that blew over. To answer your question about planting, we have, in fact, already  planted several hundred replacement Beech trees. Unfortunately though, all of these trees have been ravaged by Grey Squirrels and the only long term answer to this problem is to cull all the squirrels from the site which, again, is a very emotive issue for the public.

Ironically, although the park has suffered aesthetically, it now improved ecologically as there is a far greater diversity. Ash, Hazels and other tree species are far more common and there is a greater variety in age structure, dead wood and habitat.  

Whilst understanding the criticism that the recent work has caused, I must point out that notices were put up at the entrances to the park some three weeks before the work started, explaining that we would be carrying out the work and inviting people to contact us if they had any concerns about this work. No one came back to us but, if they had, then we would have been happy to meet them on site, before the work started, and explain why the work was necessary.

Finally, can I say that, as well as managing some 33,000 street trees (one of the highest numbers of street trees in London), and trees in Parks, we also manage some 450 Hectares of woodland.We have active management plans in place for most of these woodlands and are proud to have achieved the high standards of woodland management required to receive Forestry Stewardship Council accreditation and to meet the UKWAS (UK Woodland Assurance Standard) standard.  We have also set up “ Friends of” groups for a lot of the woodlands and our woodland management is widely cited as being best practice both London and U.K wide.

I hope that I have addressed your concerns on this matter but please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any other points that you wish to discuss.


For the sake of completeness, I also paste below the excerpt from ‘Principles of tree hazard assessment and management’ referred to in mr Browning's text:


The significance of the decay fungus Kretzschmaria deusta (formerly Ustulina deusta): 

Extract from ‘Principles of tree hazard assessment and management’ by David Lonsdale 1999: 

“….U.deusta induces a brittle ceramic-like fracture. This can occur in main stems or root systems, since the fungus is exceptional amongst ascomycetes in being able to grow in the central wood of very large trees. 

Fracture often occurs before an advanced white-rot has developed, so that the fracture surface can be quite hard. 

The seat of the decay within the tree is usually at the stem base, where in some cases the fungus appears to have entered through a wound. In such cases, it can extend 4m or more up the stem, as well as into the roots. It can also enter via the roots, eventually causing windthrow. 

This is a particularly dangerous decay fungus, partly because its fruit bodies are often overlooked, also because of its very common occurrence and wide host range, and finally because of the type of decay that it causes. The brittle fracture associated with this decay often occurs with no warning of incipient failure, and without the compensatory thickening that can occur with fungi which cause selective delignification (e.g. Ganoderma spp.). Except in very advanced cases, this decay cannot be detected with a stress wave timer and may also escape detection by certain kinds of mechanical probe.” 

Other texts: 

K.Weber, C.Mattheck – Manual of wood decays 2003 

F.Schwarze – Fungal strategies of wood decay in trees 2000


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 Other Blog Posts

David Lean Cinema - Dementia Screenings - All Welcome
20/02/2019 19:51:00.......Posted by Yvette Hopley


The Sanderstead Councillors have sponsored two Dementia Friendly Screenings at the David Lean Cinema.  The First one is on:

Date:                     5 March

Time:                     Tea/coffee available from 10.15am, film starts at 11am

Venue:                   David Lean Cinema , Croydon Clocktower, Katharine St,              Croydon CR9 1ET

Cost:                     Free (thanks to sponsors from the Croydon Dementia Action Alliance)

How to book:         Click here to reserve seats for VIVA LAS VEGAS

These Dementia Friendly screenings aim to make cinema more accessible by providing a fun and inclusive experience to enable people living with dementia, their families and carers to attend the cinema in a safe and welcoming environment. The lights are left on low, there are no adverts or trailers and the audience is allowed to move around or even sing along to any musical numbers if they’d like to.  There is an interval for people to take a break and tea and coffee will be served before the film starts.



Food Waste Bins - Montana Close
11/02/2019 17:40:00.......Posted by Yvette Hopley

The food waste bins at Montana Close have not been collected since 18 December.  They are so full and smelly that residents have reported this as an environmental issue to the council.  Repeated requests by residents and the management company are to no avail.  I have reported the missed bins on several occasions.  What has gone wrong nobody can explain.  The Director of service has promised that the bins will be collected tomorrow.  Let's wait and see!



Clinic - Rectory Park Sanderstead
30/01/2019 10:35:00.......Posted by Yvette Hopley

The local councillors received many emails from concerned resident about the possible closure of the clinic at Rectory Park.  I have received the following official statement which does give some assurance:


We continually review our estate to make the best use of all of our premises to provide the best, most accessible and most efficient service we can to our patients.  There are no agreed plans to close Sanderstead Clinic which is an important part of our estate and sees 4,500 patients a year.

Our ongoing review includes how we utilise some of the empty clinic space in Purley War Memorial Hospital which is 2 miles away from Sanderstead and provides a range of services including minor injuries and minor illnesses.  Early conversations have begun to see what additional services, like physiotherapy or speech & language therapy, could move in to Purley to make this a central part of our care for people in the south of the borough but this does not mean changes at Sanderstead would have to happen.

At this stage we are only looking at what is possible. No decisions have been made and there would be no movement of services without a clear explanation to local people.




Christmas Trees
23/01/2019 12:18:00.......Posted by Tim Pollard


I was a bit disappointed to see a large pile of Christmas trees uncollected this morning near Sanderstead Pond. I don't know whether these all came from the same source or whether one person dumped their tree there and lots of other people followed suit, but as there's a danger that the council teams who are supposed to be collecting trees will miss these, I have reported them. The council, on its web site, says it will only collect from 'kerbside properties' - i.e. houses they collect kerbside recycling from. This is not really a kerbside site location, so that's another good reason to report them. Hopefully the council will collect them before the service ends on Friday, but rest assured I will keep an eye on it!



What happens when the council misses a green waste collection
23/01/2019 12:10:00.......Posted by Tim Pollard

For many months (or even years) I have been enquiring about what happens when a resident's green waste collection is missed, if the council does not remedy it when informed. Residents reglualry say that as they pay extra for this service, they should get a free collection added to the end of their twelve month paid period whenever this happens (at the very least). That's quite right, if you pay for 26 collections, you should get 26 collections (unless the reason you didn't get it is because you didn't put it out on time).

Finally, after asking different people many, many times, I have finally had an answer! You will get a collection added to the end of your contract period, which is now a rolling twelve month term, rather than the fixed April-November period it used to be. Thanks are due to cabinet member Cllr Stuart Collins, for promptly replying positively to this question when I submitted a written question to him last week. It's a pity it has taken so long to get this answer, but credit to Stuart for taking decisive action when it was put to him.



Elmfield Way not being street-swept
23/01/2019 12:06:00.......Posted by Tim Pollard

I had a complaint a few days go about Elmfield Way not being properly swept on both sides. This is a road that has two bi-directional carriageways separated by some green space: only the western half was being regularly swept. I brought this to the attention of the council's contract management team who have ensured Veolia is aware that there are two roads rather than one which need sweeping, and they swept the eastern side last week. Unfortunately they didn't do it properly, in that nobody swept the pavement leaves into the gutter before the mechanical sweeper came along, nor swept out around parked cars. As a result I have asked them to go back and do it again.



Croydon Adult Social Services Users Panel
17/01/2019 20:00:00.......Posted by Yvette Hopley

A great CASSUP meeting today to discuss direct payments and active lines along with the new way of working in localities.  Certainly direct payments can mean more independence, choice and control and we all want our residents with disabilities to have improved lives and better outcomes.  If you do know of residents wanting help in these areas please do get in touch with me and I can direct you to the right officers.  Your local conservative councillors will also be on hand to give you assistance and advice.



403 bus diversion latest - UPDATED
17/01/2019 09:43:00.......Posted by Tim Pollard

The ward team and Steve O'Connell, GLA Member, have continued to work with the local residents' associations to put pressure on TfL over the diversion to the 403 bus which means two miles of its route through Sanderstead receives no service.

This is the response from TfL, which I have considerable sympathy with:

As mentioned previously, the disruption is due to emergency gas works with multiple leaks having been identified on Selsdon Road at its junction with Croham Road. Croydon Council have contacted us last week to inform that in order to facilitate the works, they would need to put a directional closure in for all traffic heading southbound. Following on from this, our Network Traffic Controllers were tasked to investigate whether Brighton Road and Upland Road could be used to get the buses back to line of route on Selsdon Road. After detailed checks and risk assessments, we were advised that it would not be possible to use these roads as the buses would not be able to make the turn safely from Upland Road onto Selsdon Road.
We then enquired with the Council whether the diversion could be reversed, ie divert buses coming northbound, as this would have allowed us to use Junction Road which is much wider and could be used by buses. However, the Council advised that due to the location of the leaks this option would not be feasible.
As a result, the only diversion possible was the one that we have already put in place. This is due to low bridges on Selsdon Road, Sanderstead Road and Croham Road.
With regards to the specific suggestion to divert the buses via Croham Manor Road and Normanton Road, we have assessed this option however this is not feasible due to low trees, issues with parking and turning manoeuvres that would be required from Normanton Road onto Hurst Way or Hurstview Road and Croham Manor Road onto Selsdon Road.
With regards to supplying single deck buses, we have spoken to both operators for the 403 and 412 buses and they have confirmed that unfortunately there are no single deck buses available that could be used on the route, particularly on such short notice given the emergency works. Had these been planned works, we would look at potentially providing a shuttle service or single deck buses but these require some lead time to plan, organise, source and finance.  
We apologise again for the inconvenience this temporary disruption has caused. We have spoken with Croydon Council again this morning and reiterated the urgency and the problems that these works are causing and have asked them to ensure that the contractors are doing all they can to get these works completed as soon as possible.

Whilst it is very frustrating for passengers, I can see TfL's point of view here. I have been trying to get a response from the Council team that agrees works with the utility companies for over a week now, but they are not responding to my requests.

TfL believe that the works are now scheduled to come to an end on 20 Jan, which is better than we were first led to believe. I've driven past the site many times over the last week but regret to say I have yet to see anyone working on it. But we won't give up, we'll keep trying to get the council to take this more seriously than it seems to be at the moment.


4pm Thur 17 Jan

The officer co-ordinating the closure tells me:

Regarding the diversion, it was put in this way due to the proximity to the roundabout. If it had been a few meters back then we would have had the closure the other way and used Junction Road as the diversion for buses. We will keep this in mind if this situation is to happen again.

The extended duration of these works is due to a high number of leaks being discovered, 2 of which required specialist repair kits that had to be measured for each joint. I have spoken to SGN this morning and they have informed me they will be off the road Sunday night. I will be instructing them to liaise with Tfl buses to have the bus route / stops back to normally immediately following the road reopening.



Burglaries in Riddlesdown
16/01/2019 07:55:00.......Posted by Tim Pollard

Sadly there were four burglaries on the Sanderstead/Purley Oaks & Riddlesdown border over last weekend. I report it here from a Sanderstead perspective as I suspect criminals do not feel constrained by ward boundaries!

According to the local police team two were on Mitchley Avenue and two were on Ingleboro Drive. Access was gained via the rear of property. Various items were taken including jewellery and laptops. Two males aged 15-20 years old were seen hiding in a front garden bush on Ingleboro Drive when a resident called police, but both had run away prior to police arrival.
The SNT have responded by arranging for extra patrols in the area from a different unit, to boost the number of patrols.
The SNT say that side access and rear of the property are where homes can be vulnerable. Side gates should be secured with a lock/padlock that is not reached by learning your arm over. If the gate is 6ft tall you can consider trellis or intruder excluder spikes on top. Bins should be locked in behind the gate so they can't be used as a ladder. Rear fences should be secure and can also have intruder excluder or trellis on top as this is not easy for suspects to climb/gain access. Sheds should be secured and do not leave garden tools out that can be used to gain entry.

Here is a link to the SNT's crime prevention advice. There is good advice on locks, security and a walk around house showing what we recommend.



Diversion to 403 bus - UPDATE
15/01/2019 09:46:00.......Posted by Tim Pollard

Users of the 403 bus are quite rightly fuming about the decision to divert the route through Selsdon due to the collapsed sewer near the Croham Arms in South Croydon. Instead of doing a tight diversion to avoid the congestion there, the route has changed completely such that Selsdon Road, Carlton/Mayfield Road, Sanderstead Road and Sanderstead Hill get no service. To divert around a stretch of road covering 100 yards the diversion is running for over two miles. 

That surely can't be the best way to do it? We are pressing the council and TfL to think again and come up with a better plan. The works are scheduled to run until at least 25 Jan, so we think finding a way that enables bus users to carry on using the route should be a priority.

UPDATE 16/01/2019 - TfL now believe the diversion can be removed on Sunday 20th, which is clearly better than we had first been told. GLA Assembly Member Steve O'Connell is pressing them to be more creative in their thinking about future diversions. Whilst we accept that the repair is taking place in a difficult place, with double deckers unable to navigate a number of low bridges in the locality, it must have been possible to come up with a less disruptive diversion, perhaps by temporarily using single decker buses.



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 Older Blog Posts
Bins Overflowing - Montana Close
Heathhurst Road Refuse Collections
People forced to dump waste at recycling centres
Bus route consultation
Sewer maintenance, Limpsfield Road
19 Limpsfield Road Sanderstead
Beech Avenue Resurfacing
Resurfacing Beech Avenue in January
Be a Winter Champion - Do Take Care in The Cold Weather
Xmas Lights - Sanderstead & Hamsey Green
Sanderstead Pond - Vandalism
Sanderstead Memorial Hall - New Noticeboard
Sanderstead & Hamsey Green Ponds
Sanderstead Ward Panel Meeting
Sanderstead Library - Prize Winners!
Latest 'local plan' consultation
Friends of Kings' Woods
Council still messing up bin enquiries
Care home in Wisborough Road
Sanderstead Pond
Bins, Bins, Bins - But no Collections in some places
Fly tipping on Copthorne Rise
Fly Tip Bins with Asbestos
Recycling Boxes
How to handle the bin change over
Waste Services - Change of System
Update on wheelie bin rollout
Road works in Hamsey Green
Sanderstead Residents Association - Waitrose - 4 August - 10am
New Bin Delivery
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