The town of Sutton is our home. It is on a major commuter train interchange of the borders of Greater London and Surrey. Historic England has recognised the enormous pressure for a rapid development of Sutton, designating the town centre in 2017 as a “Heritage Action Zone”. We also recognise that Sutton is now at a pivotal point, with a draft local plan potentially putting another 5,000 dwellings in an already congested area where community infrastructure is already under pressure.
We have come to realise that we cannot expect the local authority and its officers to know or to have regard to the views of residents of Sutton. Often residents are not even permitted to speak at Council meetings. There needs to be a voice for the residents of Sutton and a place for them to be heard.
At a meeting to establish a heritage society for Sutton on 6 May 2017 (which was kindly hosted by the Sutton Salvation Army at their church), it became clear that the speed with which Sutton is losing its heritage is a small part of other, even greater concerns which residents have. In particular, they have concerns about the loss and degradation of Sutton’s community and social infrastructure, the quality of architecture and design, intensiveness of development, loss of open spaces and the loss of businesses, retailers and employment opportunities from the town centre. Issues such as those have been served in other towns by their Civic Society and we feel that it is time for Sutton to have its own Civic Society, in association with Civic Voice as part of a powerful civic movement in England.
Our aims are, broadly speaking:
- to give the residents of the town of Sutton a strong voice in how their town is developed and to communicate their views;
- to help to create and maintain a vibrant and attractive town to live and visit with excellent facilities and community infrastructure for all ages and sections of society;
- to promote and demand high standards of aesthetic and functional design and architecture in local planning policies and in new developments;
- to enhance the quality of life for all residents of Sutton;
- to enhance and conserve Sutton’s existing heritage and to promote the creation of Sutton’s future heritage; and
- to promote and demand high moral and ethical standards and transparency from the Council’s members and officers in their dealings.