A "shocking" report has revealed that residents in Mitcham can expect to live nine years less than their counterparts in Wimbledon.

In the agenda prepared for a sustainable communities overview and scrutiny panel meeting held last month, it showed that the further east of Merton you live, the more deprived the area is.

But what it also revealed was that "poor air quality" played a big part in this gap.

Merton Council has said that one way it is attempting to rectify the issue is to increase parking charges around town.

One aspect of this proposal would see on-street parking in Wimbledon rise to £4.50 an hour from £1.20-2.40.

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But Conservative deputy leader and environment spokesman, Councillor Daniel Holden, questioned how this would help the people of Mitcham.

“The healthy living gap between the east and west of the borough is a deep shame on Merton Council.

"Despite their ‘bridging the gap’ aspirations there has been no real reduction in this gap.

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"What is concerning to us is that this Labour council thinks hitting Wimbledon with a massive hike in parking fees will somehow improve the public health of Mitcham, there is simply no evidence for this."

He added the council should instead concentrate on improving public transport and routes for walking and cycling.

When asked what it was doing to address the life expectancy gap, a council spokeswoman for the council said it is "committed to closing both the life expectancy and deprivation gap, which are closely related, through a wide range of actions which are fully set out in our health and wellbeing board strategy."

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"Poor air quality is seriously bad for our health - 6.5 per cent of mortality in Merton is attributable to the harm caused by poor air quality, which is equivalent to around 75 deaths every year.

"This is why the council has produced a comprehensive air quality action plan.”

Mitcham and Morden MP Siobhain McDonagh said: "These shocking figures expose the horrifying life expectancy gap across our borough.

"Of course air pollution is a factor, but at the root cause of life expectancy is poverty. And that includes the cost of living, lack of appropriate housing and prevalence of ill health.

"That’s why I was so appalled by our local health service’s decision to locate the multimillion pound Nelson Health Centre where life expectancy is much higher.

"Now, once again, they are considering the future of some of St Helier Hospital’s crucial services and whether they should be moved to Epsom or Belmont. It’s going to be down to us as a community to fight for them to stay."