Wimbledon and Putney Commons Elections February 2018

Fewer than 20% of the circa 64,000 eligible electors voted in 2015

Residents in the blue shaded area are eligible to vote

Every three years there is a requirementfor WPCC to hold an election for the five elected Conservators. The date for the next election is Wednesday 28th February 2018.

How and when to vote

The Election is by a postal ballot managed independently on behalf of the Conservators by Electoral Reform Services. You will receive your postal vote early in February 2018. The Electoral Reform Services will also provide an opportunity for you to vote electronically. That information is available on your postal ballot form. The result will be determined by the numbers of votes cast as certified by Electoral Reform Services and will be announced by the Returning Officer.

Why it is important to vote

Fewer than 20% of the circa 64,000 eligible electors did so in 2015. This was a very disappointing turnout. You have an opportunity to have your say in who is elected to oversee the management of your Commons for the next three years.

If you are an eligible voter, look out for your ballot papers when they arrive in the post early in February 2018. Please take the time to read the Candidates’ Statements and use the next election to elect a body of local residents who you feel will best protect the future Commons and govern it effectively.

Why become a Conservator (Trustee)?

The Board of Wimbledon and Putney Commons Conservators is recruiting for a new Conservator.
Being a Conservator (Trustee) is rewarding and enjoyable. It is a great way to be involved in the local community, by helping to manage one of south west London’s most important public open spaces. Conservators/Trustees come from all walks of life and being involved in the Commons can help you meet new people, learn new skills or use your existing skills in a new context.

Being a Conservator (Trustee) can expose you to new experiences that can be diverse and interesting. It can present you with new challenges, both constructive and exciting as well as sometimes difficult balancing conflicting interests and priorities. You will do so as part of a team of Conservators/Trustees and the executive and will have the opportunity to contribute your unique skills and experience while learning from others too.

What to do if you wish to explore standing as a Conservator (Trustee)

You need to have a genuine interest in all aspects of the Commons, be prepared to attend regular Board meetings and be committed to ensuring that the Commons remain a natural open space providing an important green lung for South West London. You will also have obligations as a Trustee to the Charity Commission with respect to the Charitable Objectives of the Commons which are “to preserve the Commons as open spaces for purposes of exercise and recreation and other purposes”.

To be eligible to stand as a Conservator, the election bye-laws require you to be named on the Council’s most recent Electoral Register, and to be proposed and seconded by two other electors.

Wimbledon and Putney Commons Conservators is a registered charity 303167 and to stand for election you must meet the legal requirements to become a Trustee of a charity. You will find full details of how to stand here.

Under the 1871 Act Conservators receive no remuneration for their services.

WPCC Strategy for the Commons

WPCC have recently approved a new strategy for the Commons. Their Mission statement:

As stewards of the Commons and through our independent governance structure, we will safeguard their natural aspect and condition so that they are safe, available, welcoming and accessible for all.

This will require WPCC to:

+ conserve, enhance and protect the Commons natural aspect and wildlife for present and future generations to enjoy;
+ demonstrate sound governance and financial discipline by constantly reviewing operational procedures and all aspects of management;
+ seek to balance the enjoyment of the majority of users who come for informal activity and appreciation of the Commons quiet natural aspect with the needs of groups who undertake formal and/or more rigorous recreational activities;
+ improve understanding and identity of Wimbledon and Putney Commons and interpret its rich and varied heritage;
+ work in partnership with stakeholders to promote and achieve the Vision;
+ improve facilities used for organised recreation, sport and events;
+ encourage volunteering as a rewarding activity engaging people of all ages and abilities;
+ work in an environmentally sustainable manner.

The Commons are managed by a Chief Executive, and a staff of around twenty, including Mounted Keepers who patrol the Commons, and a maintenance team. They are employed by the Conservators who are collectively responsible for the protection and preservation of Wimbledon Common, Putney Heath and Putney Lower Common in accordance with the Act and for meeting their obligations as Trustees of the Charity, which was created in 1972.

How do I know that I live within the Levy-paying area?

If you live within three quarters of a mile of the perimeter of Wimbledon Common (see map above), measured by the most direct route, or within the old Parish of Putney as it was in 1871 (which now includes much of Roehampton), your household will be subject to an additional Levy on top of any Council Tax. This Levy is used solely for the purpose of managing Wimbledon and Putney Commons and is collected on behalf of the Commons by the appropriate local authority – Kingston Upon Thames, Merton or Wandsworth. It is the responsibility of the Council concerned to decide whether to identify the Levy separately on its Council Tax bills.

How do I know if I can vote in the 2018 Conservators Election?

You will only be able to vote if your name appears against an address within the Levy paying area (as defined above) and you have registered on the most recent Electoral Register. The February election will use the Register which is in the process of being updated through new on-line arrangements and will be published on 1 December 2017. If you do not know whether you are registered, you should enquire with your local authority electoral registration office.

Those eligible to vote will be sent ballot papers by post early in February 2018. If you believe you should have received ballot papers but have not then please contact Ms Paula Graystone, Deputy Clerk and Ranger on Tel: 020 8788 7655 or e-mail paula@wpcc.org.uk

Opportunities to Meet the Candidates

As part of the election process there will be two opportunities for electors to meet the Candidates.

The first are hustings being organised by The Putney Society and will be held on Tuesday 30th January 2018 at the Community Church, Werter Road, Putney SW15 2LL, starting at 8pm.

The second Meet the Candidates is being organised by The Wimbledon Society and the will be held on Wednesday 7th February 2018 in the Lower Hall, Sacred Heart Church, Edge Hill, Wimbledon SW19 4LU.

Who to contact if you have queries

If you would like to know more about any of the above, please contact the Chief Executive at

The Ranger’s Office,
Windmill Road,
Wimbledon Common,
London SW19 5NR,

Tel: 020 8788 7655
e-mail rangersoffice@wpcc.org.uk

Candidate Brief and Nomination Packs can be downloaded here, or are available from the Ranger’s Office by the Windmill.

December 7, 2017