Last night saw the first of the new Local Committees, which are set to be the main conduit for dialogue between residents, councillors and officers dealing with issues in specific neighbourhoods. I sit on the Carshalton and Clockhouse committee which covers two wards stretching from the Poets Estate and Carshalton Village through Beeches to Clockhouse which adjoins Coulsdon.

The success of these committees will be driven by the Chairman and Lead Council Officer who need to make sure that residents are aware of matters arising, that they have an opportunity to be involved in discussions and that action is taken. Cllr John Kennedy and Isabel New started really well. We got through a long agenda in an introductory meeting finishing on the dot of 10.45pm. A roving mike allowed far more people to participate than before.

This was the last Local Committee that we will have in Sutton as we move between venues in Beeches and Carshalton enabling more people to come along. Now we need to introduce real communication in between meetings rather than a small entry on an obscure website or a tiny corner of the Guardian and help this grow. The new structure comes with a £200,000 budget for us to spend on capital projects in Carshalton so it is crucial that residents feel able to contact us with their concerns rather than being presented with a shopping list.