Developing The Lodge at Carshalton Ponds

Last week, your Lib Dem councillors Jake, Jill and Chris paid a visit to The Lodge at Carshalton Ponds to see the work in progress by local charity Ecolocal to convert this historic building into an ecological and community resource. We were shown round by the site team and discussed with them the wide range of uses the community could potentially see come to fruition thanks to this exciting new development. We were very pleased with the attention to detail and respect for the history of the building being shown in the plans and the work being carried out. We are really looking forward to the completion of the building works later this year. The Lodge has the potential to enhance and draw attention to the importance of our local heritage buildings, and enhance Carshalton’s green credentials in ways that involve the community who live locally.

We were also excited by the ambition and passion of the team working on the site, who have a genuine passion for the preservation and promotion of Carshalton’s heritage and green spaces. The team have ambitious plans to bring the historic characters of the Lodge to life while making renewed use of the site for the benefit of the community. The Walled Garden project was particularly interesting and exciting to see – potentially representing a first for the area, the recreation of a Victorian Walled Garden – and is an important step forward in preserving the gardening and horticultural traditions that once were commonplace in Carshalton.

Ecolocal are already well known for their other Carshalton projects – such as the Environmental and Frost Fairs, and for their community gardening sessions at Westmead allotments – The Lodge promises even more!

We would like to thank the team for arranging the site visit, and are looking forward to seeing this very exciting community project take shape in the coming months!

The Charles Cryer theatre update

Jake, Jill and Chris are delighted that Sutton Council is inviting offers for the Charles Cryer theatre.  Bid documents were sent on 6 April to the organisations that responded to the Council’s recent marketing.  The best deliverable offer is being sought, with preference being given to proposals with community and/or cultural benefits.   Bids must be in by 11 May.

Cllr Steve Penneck, lead Lib Dem councillor for libraries, arts and heritage said:  ‘I am delighted that after a sustained marketing campaign the Council is now seeking bids for the theatre.  We have always made it clear that, in the current climate of Conservative austerity, the Council cannot afford to subsidise the theatres.  I have continued to believe that the Borough needs a community arts hub, and we are committed to delivering this over the next four years.  I hope proposals will come forward which meet this aim, are financially viable and will provide the Cryer with a sustainable future.’

Update on the Carshalton Buildings

Jill, Chris, Hamish and Focus Editor Jake Short are pleased to provide the latest news and facts on the Carshalton buildings, situated in and around Carshalton High Street, Grove Park and Carshalton Ponds. There has been a lot of misinformation in circulation recently and we wanted to set the record straight. This area is part of the Carshalton Conservation Area and it has added protection in Sutton’s Local Plan, which has just been approved by the Government’s Planning Inspector. As such, any Planning Applications have to follow the requirements for Conservation Areas which ensure protection is given to local heritage.

You can also catch up with this on our website at where you can download copies of all our recent Focus newsletters, and see our other postings.

Charles Cryer Theatre:
We have been marketing the Charles Cryer and there has been a lot of interest for a variety of different uses. The restaurant area is now available which makes it more attractive. We will shortly be inviting bids and asking these to be returned by early May. We have agreed that the Council will not subsidise the Charles Cryer, but we would encourage any cultural or community use which is viable and sustainable into the future. We are determined to ensure that the Charles Cryer remains a vital part of the Carshalton scene.

The Lodge:
Contrary to information you may have read elsewhere, The Lodge has not been sold. It has been leased to local charity Ecolocal so that it can stay in the Community and be used by the community. After widescale consultation with local residents,  this was their preferred option. The present Conservative government approved the leasing of such buildings (known as Community Asset Transfer) so that community groups can take over heritage buildings at less than market value in order to keep them in the community. This solution has ensured the protection of this lovely 19th century building  for the future. Ecolocal has started work on conversion and improvements, and they are making The Lodge into an ecological centre of excellence which will be open to all for community and educational use in about a year’s time.

More information is available on Ecolocal’s website: and at

The Old Rectory:
Plans have been drawn up for the conversion of The Old Rectory to mixed commercial and residential use. When the building was leased to Sutton Living, the Council pledged to maintain its historic features for future generations to enjoy. Heritage England recently carried out a new inspection of the building. All the listed features will be preserved as key parts of the building when the conversion takes place.

Pinks Gym planning application:
Residents are keen to know what is happening with the old Pinks Gym site at 9-11a Carshalton High Street, since the last planning application in late 2017 was turned down by the Council. In December 2015, an earlier and smaller scale planning permission was granted for conversion of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd floors into flats, and permitted development was given (a government scheme where developers do not need to apply for planning permission) in January 2017 for a further two flats on the ground floor at the rear of the building (see application numbers C2015/72992 and C2016/76066). We are keeping a careful watch on the site to prevent any possible breach of planning approvals.

The Fox and Hounds Public House:
A local Carshalton employer has bought the Fox and Hounds Public House to be the headquarters of his thriving local business. He is currently in discussion with the council’s planners as any new development has to be in keeping with the Conservation Area and protect local heritage. We are awaiting a planning application for the site over the next few months.”

Exciting Progress with The Lodge

Ecolocal has just announced that building work on The Lodge project has now started.  Ecolocal, supported by the community in Carshalton*, is rightly pleased that they can now fulfill their aim of renovating The Lodge to create a thriving focal point for the local community.

Sutton Council agreed that Ecolocal should take over the lease of the Lodge in Carshalton (the former Social Services building by Carshalton Ponds) in order to keep it in the community. The Council accepted a rent at less than the market value in return for community services offered by Ecolocal.

Ecolocal plan to create a community hall and kitchen, a straw bale classroom suite, workshop facilities in the old stables, and create an office and meeting centre to support community enterprises. Their Ecocentre aims are in line with Sutton Council’s One Planet Environmental Policy.

What Sutton Council has done in transferring The Lodge as an “Community Asset Transfer” is to use a common way of keeping valuable community assets in the community – which was approved by the present Conservative Government, and is adopted by many Councils, including Tory ones.

The Conservative Government brought in legislation to encourage councils to make buildings available to local community groups on favourable terms – as long as the community benefit is sufficient to offset the loss of income. This is the case with the Lodge. The Council will retain ownership of the Lodge, protecting the Lodge Lands from re-development.

The Conservatives on Sutton Council seem to think that the only value of anything is its monetary worth.  The value of The Lodge being managed by Ecolocal will be to give to residents of Carshalton a new focal point in their area, containing an Ecological Centre of excellence, which will draw people into Carshalton and help preserve our heritage.

You can find out more at

* Notes: 1) A special meeting of Carshalton Local Committee in 2011 attended by over 70 community representatives and residents voted for Ecolocal to take over The Lodge.

2)  Local consultation showed that 97% of the 699 residents who completed Ecolocal’s detailed questionnaire supported their proposals – and over 60 local groups said they would be interested in using the community facilities they intend to develop.

Listed Buildings in Carshalton Central Ward

Your councillors are passionate about protecting and enhancing Carshalton’s heritage.

We are delighted that all the buildings referred to below have been included in the new Sutton Local Plan 2018.

Carshalton Village has been a conservation area since 1959, when we were part of Surrey County council. This designation was updated when the London Borough of Sutton came into being in 1965.

In the London Plan, the GLA expects boroughs to: “maintain and enhance the contribution of built heritage to London’s environmental quality, and its cultural identity and economy”. We are determined to do just that!

Carshalton Central ward has several Grade 2 nationally important buildings listed by Historic England:

  • All Saints Church (12th-19th century) by Carshalton Ponds, which has a Grade 2+ listing
  • Carshalton House (1691-1713), the chapel, gates, boundary walls, and the Hermitage or Grotto in its grounds (all St Philomena’s school)
  • Water pavilion (orangery) known as the Water Tower, in the grounds of Carshalton House, managed by the Friends of the Water Tower
  • Honeywood Museum, Honeywood Lodge, culvert and Gate House in Honeywood Walk
  • The Old Rectory (18th century) in Honeywood Walk
  • Leoni Bridge (18th century) over the River Wandle and Carshalton Ponds
  • The Water Wheel in the grounds of Grove Park
  • North Lodge, No 21 North Street – pre-18th century
  • The Greyhound public house in Pound Street, number 37 Pound Street, Ruskin Stone and cast iron pump in Pound Street
  • The Grotto in Carshalton Park
  • No 6 The Square, the early to mid -18th century Orangery, and the former Public Library now nursery in the Square.
  • A range of buildings in West Street, Carshalton including numbers 3, 7-11, 15, Nelson House, numbers 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 10a and 12. Also numbers 20-24, 42, 70, 72-78, 80 (Rose Cottage).
  • West Street Lane no 25 (18th century weather boarded)
  • No 19 Park Hill, home of the writer Mark Rutherford (real name William Hale White), and numbers 25 and 27 Park Hill

There are also a range of other buildings which are Locally Listed as these are recognised as important by Sutton Council:

  • Grove House, The Nest and Stonecourt in Grove Park The Lodge, Festival Walk
  • Ansells Snuff Mill in Mill Lane, and Mill Lane School
  • Carshalton Railway Station
  • Wall at numbers 36a to 38 North Street
  • Numbers 30 to 42 Carshalton Park Rd
  • Numbers 16 to 22 and numbers 24 to 42 Park Hill
  • The former Carshalton War Memorial Hospital buildings Ruskin Road Methodist Church
  • The Sun Public House, North Street
  • 1 to 8b Westmead Corner
  • 185 Carshalton Rd – weather boarded cottage

All these buildings are important parts of Carshalton’s heritage and need to be protected.