Automatic Payment Parking comes to Weybridge

Work begins in September for a ticketless payment system for Churchfields car park. There will be several options but most locals will probably choose to simply drive in – drive out and pay on account.

No longer will you have to guess you length of your stay.  If you bump into a friend whilst shopping you can can have a coffee or lunch without going to fill the meter.  No need for coins either.

Convenience

Unlike many car parks elsewhere you will not even have to pay on exit via a pay-station. You simply drive out.

Of course, non-locals will have to use a pay station – unless they choose to register their vehicle on account.

Costs

Although the new car park should be a great benefit to users it will cost the borough a loss in revenue of around £30,000 a year.  This is currently what is collected from parking fines.  With barriered pay on exit parking penalties will reduce almost to nothing.

Some might say that the borough should have increased the parking charges to cover the cost of the proposals.  However, the Liberal Democrat led Elmbridge administration decided to recommend the full council agree this proposal without changing the charges in any way.

The main reason is that people might develop different parking habits from before and we felt it would be prudent to see what changes, if any, might be required.

Charge by the minute not the hour

So charges will remain at current levels.  After a few months we will be able to assess the new usage pattern and new, more flexible, charging arrangements could be introduced – possible pay only for the minutes used rather than the mainly current hourly system.  As ever, there will be consultations before any payment charge proposal are introduced.

We have reasonable confidence that once the barriers are installed the level of parking charge evasion will decrease to almost zero and therefore the revenue will increase by between 10% to 30%.  We’ll see.  As we get closer to the launch date we will be sending out more detailed information.

Tennis Courts Refurbishment

 

Concern has been raised regarding the newly introduced system for booking and charging for use of the borough’s tennis courts. See here for the full report.

However, we had reached a point where the borough needed to make a decision about how to secure the long-term future of park tennis courts and how to encourage more and different people to take exercise through playing tennis.

For over fifteen years, the courts have been allowed to deteriorate. The estimated cost of bringing the 12 most popular courts up to standard is £134,000 with a yearly refurbishment cost of £1,200 per court.  The cost of bringing all the courts up to standard, would be significantly greater and the yearly refurbishment cost would be £34,800.

The borough’s choice was:

  • do nothing and allow the courts to deteriorate even more
  • pay all upgrading costs from council tax and maintain free access to the courts at all times (and take away funds from other much needed projects)
  • raise the level of council tax for all residents
  • charge for use – with concessions for those in receipt of means-tested benefit

The borough charges for all sports: for example, badminton, swimming, football and squash. It would be difficult to single out tennis as the only sport that was free.

Different charging regimes will produce different effects, so the borough has to be clear about what it wants to achieve and charge accordingly.  The choices include:

  • maximize usage from whatever source;
  • steer particular types of user (old or young, frequent or casual);
  • maximize borough revenue; or
  • or any of the above in combination.

Your councillors unanimously, drawing on public health evidence, have chosen a charging and booking package which has worked successfully in other boroughs and which is designed to widen the range of people using the public tennis courts. This includes both annual membership at £36 a year for a family of five for frequent users and a pay as you go system for casual users. We do not yet have differentiation in charge levels to reflect the variability of demand at different times of the day, or the week, or of the year. With the current system it could be possible to have very low charges at off peak times. This would be part of any review undertaken following the experience in use.

Apart from revenue, one of the advantages of the new system is that people may book a court in advance and therefore know they have a court for when they arrive. They will also know, one assumes, that anyone already using the court has overstayed their booking.  The changeover would be rather similar to what occurs currently at the Xcel centre for those playing squash or badminton

If you want to read the report that was drafted by the borough staff for consideration by the cabinet and that was recommended by the cabinet for the approval by the full council – it is here.  If you want to read the full consultation report taking views from 196 respondents to the council’s on-line survey – it is here.

If you want to see the webcast of the short debate around the introduction of tennis court charges it is here – from 48 minutes.  You will see that there were no objections to the proposals.

Previous blog on tennis courts.

Dominic Raab backs the Heathrow Expansion – the Liberal Democrats will oppose it

Dominic Raab published a piece in last month’s Your Elmbridge outlining the so-called benefits of the Heathrow Expansion.


Read above, or view here on page 20 of 23

As the Liberal Democrat candidate, I find it imperative to respond. A third runway at Heathrow would have a serious negative effect on our community, both during and after construction. The promises are a premature ‘take-off’ and we need to bring the discussion back down to the ground!

Let’s be quite clear at the outset – the case for a third runway at Heathrow has not been made; in fact, the opposite. The national government’s report identifies Gatwick as the better economic choice. Since its release, the figures for Heathrow have been thoroughly dismantled by impartial experts. The government has halved the estimated benefits. Transport for London has tripled the projected costs. On the government’s own figures, the net benefit over 60 years is a mere £6bn.

Have a look at the proposed work.

The runway (red) cuts across the M25 requiring demolition of many homes and businesses and terminates near a nature reserve. The motorway will be rerouted, tunnelling underneath the runway and other major road works will be necessary (blue).

A new Heathrow ‘hub’ (orange) replaces a golf course to the north. The words “amenity to residents” seem to have disappeared from the Raab radar screen! The M25 upheaval will spread across Elmbridge. The knock-on economic costs have not been factored into the decision.

Dominic Raab’s claim that a 54% increase in aircraft traffic will lead to reduced aircraft noise beggars belief! Homes and businesses near Heathrow will need heavy soundproofing, building work better employed constructing new homes. But, for a huge area under new flight paths including Elmbridge, if you want to open your windows, sit on your patio around the barbeque or visit local nature reserves, well it’s ear-defenders for you. The threat to impose fines on the airport for noise infringements won’t benefit the residents and will just be passed on.

More empty promises are made. “No increase in road traffic”! The M25 and interconnecting roads across our community are frequently gridlocked focused around Heathrow junctions. “Air quality will be maintained”! Currently, local air quality frequently breaks health guidelines. A 54% increase in air traffic will make both aspects worse.

The Transport Minister “Suggested that a new rail link connecting Surrey directly to the airport is under consideration”! If this doubly hedged ‘carrot’ happens, a large intermediate transfer hub would appear somewhere in leafy Surrey and a cross-country tract would be converted from nature, farm, housing and business to railway. Shifting the problem does not solve it.

The Heathrow Authority will only meet a small fraction of the cost of the project – billions will come from taxation. But in the time since the start of the decision process, aircraft and communication technologies have been transformed. Do we need this runway at all? With improving seat booking, current passenger capacity would increase by 30%. Superliners that are lighter, quieter and more efficient raise this figure even more, also reducing environmental pollution. Concrete mixer unnecessary! Put your wallet away!

Elmbridge has long been an area of outstanding beauty and tranquillity with its rivers, parks and commons. This is under real threat. It is not too late for us to make our concerns known.

Andrew Davis
andrew-davis.org.uk

Esher & Walton General Election Hustings Confirmed

Hustings provide a great opportunity for local residents to meet, hear from and put questions to candidates standing in the election.

We’re pleased to share the following hustings in Esher & Walton that have been confirmed for the General Election:

Wednesday 31st May – East Molesey

Location: East Molesey Methodist Church, Manor Road, East Molesey, Surrey, KT8 9JU
Time: 7:30pm to 9pm

Thursday 1st June – Thames Ditton

Location: Our Lady of Lourdes Church, Hampton Court Way, KT7 0LP
Time: 8pm

Monday 5th June – Hinchley Wood

Location: St Christopher’s Church, Claygate Lane, Hinchley Wood, Esher, KT0 0AQ
Time: 7:30pm

Hard Brexit will be hard on Britain

The Tories are pushing to cut all ties with the EU regardless of impact. Labour is shrugging its shoulders and saying “Oh well”. It’s up to the Liberal Democrats to make sure Brexit causes as little damage to British interests as possible.

The Liberal Democrats are determined to retain the best of the EU – and that means staying in the Single Market. It’s this market that makes most of our exports possible, brings money into UK businesses and the economy, and enables us to pay wages and invest in national and local infrastructure. What’s more, it plays a key role in maintaining our peace and security.

Andrew Davis is pro-Europe and will do his utmost to stop any government imposing a disastrous Hard Brexit on us all. And he fully endorses the Liberal Democrat plan to put any deal to the British people before it is finalised.

If leaving the EU was to be decided by the people, then they should absolutely also have a say on how we do that.

The Conservative candidate, Dominic Raab, has campaigned hard to leave the European Union and wants Brexit at any cost – wanting to leave both the Single Market and the customs union.

Andrew Davis, your Liberal Democrat candidate, will fight to remain in the Single Market.


Volunteer to help Andrew win in Esher & Walton

Event: Meet Andrew Davis in Molesey

24 May at 19:30–21:30
The Orchard School, Bridge Road, East Molesey, Surrey, KT8 9HT

We’d like to invite local residents in Esher & Walton to hear from your local candidate Andrew Davis about why he’s standing for election and give you the opportunity to meet him and ask him questions about his campaign.

Register your interest on our Facebook Event

Conservative councillor for Walton South, Christine Elmer leaves the Conservative Party and switches her allegiance to the Liberal Democrats

Having spent 11 years working for the Conservatives, Walton South councillor Christine Elmer, has joined the Liberal Democrats party today. She announced her departure on Twitter saying:

“I can no longer be a Conservative due to this Gov’s hard Brexit. I have today joined the Lib Dems” whilst sharing the link to the Liberal Democrats member sign-up page.

Against the Conservative Brexit, Christine Elmer said:

“I have been unhappy for some time with the political direction of the Conservative party. In recent days this situation had escalated by a series of events, including the announcement by the Prime Minister of a general election about the handling of the terms of the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union.

As a fervent Remainer I find I can no longer support the government’s line on this, nor that of the current MP Dominic Raab. I now find it impossible to be a member of the Conservative party and have therefore decided to join the Liberal Democrats party.

I have served Walton South ward since 2006. In 2014 for the first time in 40 years of Elmbridge Council electoral history I was returned unopposed and in 2016 I received the highest number of votes in the all-out elections called for the ward. I therefore believe I have a personal mandate to continue in office. It is not my intention to cause a by-election.

I will do my best to continue to represent my constituents of Walton South and to look after their interests regardless of political interest. I feel I will be better able to do that as a member of a political party that I can support 100% both at a national level and locally. That party is the Liberal Democrats party.”

Richard Waller, Chairman of the Elmbridge Liberal Democrats extended her a warm welcome:

“The Elmbridge Liberal Democrats are delighted to welcome Christine Elmer to the party. She is recognised as being a highly competent Elmbridge councillor and in addition will reinforce our voice opposing a hard Brexit nationally.”

Andrew Davis, Liberal Democrat candidate for Esher & Walton in the General Election sees this as part of a growing trend:

“In Esher and Walton, we are seeing more and more people choosing to support the Liberal Democrats. Christine Elmer is one of many. Support for the Liberal Democrats is growing locally and nationally. The Conservatives lost their majority here in the 2016 borough council elections. And in the last six days, since the snap election was called, we’ve had 12,500 new members join the party.

Elmbridge is pro-Europe and 60% of us here voted Remain. Yet Dominic Raab, the local Conservative MP, is pushing for a hard Brexit. The majority here don’t want a hard Brexit. People here are making their voices heard and choosing Liberal Democrats for Esher and Walton.”

About Christine Elmer

Christine Elmer has lived in Elmbridge for over 50 years and has represented Walton South as a Conservative member since May 2006. She was Cabinet Member for Corporate Development from 2008-2010, and has held the post of cabinet member for Social Affairs since May 2010. From 2001-2007 she was a senior policy advisor at DEFRA.

She is married to Chris, a former Elmbridge councillor, who also left the Conservative Party last year to join the Liberal Democrats following the EU referendum. They have two children.

Andrew Davis announced as Lib Dem candidate to challenge Dominic Raab in Esher and Walton and prevent a hard Brexit

The Liberal Democrats have selected Andrew Davis as their candidate in the 2017 General Election.

“People in Esher & Walton should vote for the Liberal Democrats to prevent a hard Brexit and protect the local economy” the party’s local candidate, Andrew Davis has said today.

The Liberal Democrats are standing on a clear platform to prevent a hard Brexit by staying in the Single Market, and want to give the British people the final say on the Brexit deal.

Andrew Davis, the Liberal Democrat candidate for Esher & Walton commented:

“This election is a huge opportunity for voters in Esher & Walton to change the direction of our country and prevent a disastrous hard Brexit.

“People in Elmbridge voted decisively to remain in the EU, and certainly did not vote for the extreme form of Brexit that Theresa May and Dominic Raab plan to impose on us after being backed by Labour.

“For all those who want to protect our local economy by staying in the Single Market and ensure the people have the final say over what comes next, this is your chance.

“The Liberal Democrats are the real opposition to the Conservative Brexit Government and the only party fighting for a Britain that is open, tolerant and united.”

Elmbridge Liberal Democrats are holding a “Meet Andrew Davis” event on Wednesday 26th April 19:30-21:00 at Holy Trinity Church Hall, Church Road, Claygate KT10 0JP. You can show your interest on our facebook event.

Printed and promoted by Elmbridge Liberal Democrats at 18 Lockhart Road, Cobham, Surrey, KT11 2AX

Critical Surrey County Council election 4 May 2017

On Thursday 4th May, you have a chance to change the balance of power in Surrey County Council.

Vote for change – vote for your Liberal Democrat candidate

In Weybridge, vote for Vicki Macleod

In Hinchley Wood, Claygate and Oxshott, vote for Alastair Coomes

In Walton, vote for Chris Elmer

In The Dittons, vote for Gerard Doherty

In Cobham, vote for David Bellchamber

In East Molesey and Esher, vote for Paul Nagle

In Hersham, vote for Michael Smith

In West Molesey, vote for Alastair Sturgis

In Walton South and Oatlands, vote for Adriana Dredge

Conservatives are Failing Us

Surrey County Council has been under Conservative domination for the past 40 years. Surrey residents now face a £123m black hole in the county’s budget – that’s even after recent budget cuts.

The Conservatives hold 58 of 81 seats in Surrey. With such little opposition, they are not being held accountable for their actions.

Surrey County Council Responsibilities
Surrey County Council duties include responsibility for:

  • Providing school places
  • Getting our roads fixed
  • Looking after our elderly and vulnerable
  • Providing youth services and family support
  • Managing most of the money that residents pay in council tax

These services directly affect our lives. The Council’s own survey results show that only 39% of residents agree that the council provides good value for money.

With dissatisfaction at a record high – now is the time for change

Surrey isn’t working – make your voice heard

With non-existent financial planning, a huge budget deficit and ongoing cuts to services – it’s time for change. Vote for a better future for our families and all Surrey residents.

Vote for Vicki Macleod for Weybridge in the Surrey Elections May 4th 2017

Vicki Macleod – a voice for Weybridge

A long-term resident of Weybridge, Vicki cares deeply about our community and local quality of life. She has a history of involvement in the community – contributing to the activities of the Weybridge Centre as Chair of the Friends of Weybridge Centre charity, and serving as Governor to Heathside School.  She is now Vice-Chair of the Board of the ElmWey Learning Trust.

Vicki Listens to Local Residents

She understands many of the needs of our town, having lived in Weybridge for over 25 years.  She also listens to and acts on people’s local concerns.

Vicki is now asking residents:

“Which services provided by Surrey are letting us down?”

“What improvements do we want to see in our town?”

Vicki will work hard to make Weybridge an even better place to live.

More Effective Financial Management

Many people feel disconnected from Surrey County Council.  Those in the know see it as remote and inefficient, with a history of financial mismanagement.

Vicki apply her energy and commitment in working with other councillors to fight for more effective financial management and for budgets and projects that reflect local needs.

Her long-term aim is to see some of the services currently being run by Surrey County Council brought under Elmbridge’s control, most notably safety of roads and pavements – through better maintenance and through traffic calming.

Delivering More Together

Vicki believes that Weybridge will gain much more from having her as their Surrey County Councillor – as she will more easily work together with local Elmbridge Councillors, such as Andrew Davis and Peter Harman, and with the Elmbridge Liberal Democrat and Resident administration to achieve their vision for Weybridge.

Support Vicki Macleod for Weybridge

Vote for Vicki Macleod, your Liberal Democrat candidate, in the county council elections on May 4th and help put an end to Surrey’s mismanagement of the council tax we pay .

You can email Vicki at: vicki.macleod@weybridgelibdems.org.uk or call her on 07714 044 410.