A nuanced approach to parking needs

Part of the work that the Liberal Democrats have undertaken in relation to parking is to examine the availability of parking space in Weybridge at midnight.  This time was chosen because the cars parked on-street would only be ours – just residents.  The shops are closed and the evening trade is over.  Shop and office workers have long gone home.  You can see from the map below that the pattern of nighttime parking stress varies widely across the town.  People living in streets next door to each other can have quite a different experience.  The key indicates what the colours mean.  The streets marked red had no available spaces at midnight and the streets in green indicate streets where parking spaces were freely available.   Some longer streets can have a varying experience along their length. 

The overall picture is quite different at midday. It may come as a surprise but the parking stress if lower at midday than at midnight.  Again the parking experience can vary remarkably from street to street.

These maps only show two times in the day – midnight and midday.  Ideally, there would be a map for every minute or hour of the day.  We all know demand flows across the town at different times.  The drop off and pick up for schools has an acute impact for certain locations.

A street could be amber and not red simply because there is one space available – so the amber streets are under stress too.  As is yellow, with three spaces available for every ten cars.

Flexible Parking in Churchfields

This summer much needed improvements will be brought to you by the Liberal Democrats. The first to arrive will be flexible parking in Churchfields car park.  The changes are part of the investment in quality and innovation programme across Elmbridge, which will bring five benefits:

  • Stay for as short or long a time as you like – no need to decide beforehand
  • Total refurbishment of the car park, bringing a new layout -improving capacity – and total resurfacing, with a solid foundation
  • Free pop-in parking: to pop into the library or pick up a prescription
  • Park and go – where you lock up and walk to the shops – no need for a ticket
  • No more penalties for overstaying

This is just the first step – greater flexibility will follow.  We want the car park to be well-used but also to always have some spaces available.

Using the parking surplus for our town

Elmbridge’s car parks make a surplus each year and up till now this has gone into the borough’s general fund for spending on our services, from meals on wheels to parks and recreation grounds.  Weybridge generates the highest surplus in Elmbridge so would gain most if some of the surplus was used to pretty up the town.

In fact this is one of the initiatives brought in by the borough’s Liberal Democrat/Residents administration last year for action this year.  The plan is to set up a fund for each town, based upon the surpluses from car parks in that town.

The council agreed this policy on 19 July 2017 to begin in the year starting May 2018 from funds accumulated in 20217/18.  This extra funding will be made available to support local sustainable transport and highway improvements, or extra townscape improvements. The precise figures are not ready yet, as the year is not complete. Our plan is for the proportion of parking surplus dedicated to these projects to increase year by year.

We would really be interested in you views on what you would like to see.

Investing in our car parks

For the last ten years Conservative administrations have left our car parks to rot just like our roads. The new Liberal Democrat/Residents administration in Elmbridge is not going to let our borough car parks go the way of of the county’s highways, so we have undertaken a review of the state of the sites and have set in place a programme of works to restore and maintain the quality of surfaces and to reconfigure parking spaces.

We will also be introducing barriers and licence plate recognition so that cars can be parked for as long as needed rather than having to rush back for fear of being fined.

Installing a planned maintenance and improvement programme is just the beginning.  We have also begun to put funds aside each year to ensure that the programme will not be affected by the unhelpful, capricious, attitude of the national government in the nontransparent way it funds local government.

Working with residents on parking

You may not know this, but one of the reasons I stood as a councillor originally was to help find solutions to the parking problems that are faced in some parts of the town.  

As a consequence, I have talked to nearly everyone in the town and if you have not yet spoken with me yet, it is not for the want of my trying!

Lib Dem colleagues and I have been speaking with residents in streets with particular concerns – often using a survey.  Sometimes we revisit because conditions and options change.  We have worked with residents to propose solutions that work for their street and those surrounding them.

On-street parking is the responsibility of the county council and this means that any change has to be agreed by them.  This has been difficult for at least three reasons:

  • Surrey lacks coherent principals underlying its approach to on-street parking
  • The process that Surrey uses for making decisions is flawed
  • Surrey has insufficient funds to provide a speedy delivery of change

These three problems were compounded by the Conservatives’ drive to undertake parking reviews in each area only once in three years – to save money (Surrey has been governed by one party for nearly all of the last 140 years).  This policy of under- investment has been used for highway maintenance over decades, to disastrous effect.

And to cap it all Surrey’s policy is that controlled parking should not cause displacement.  Such a policy is internally inconstant.  The introduction of parking controls will cause displacement unless the new controls are so negligible that no displacement occurs – then what’s point.

As controlled parking inevitably leads to displacement the smart thing to do is anticipate and plan for it, all the time ensuring that no new stress is introduced. This is the approach that we are taking currently to a number of roads in the town centre.

Councillors’ Allowances

In the recent Conservative Party manifesto they say

“They even put up their personal allowances by 12%”

Here is the truth

Coupled with the reduction in the number of councillors, the overall councillor pay bill was reduced by £22,547 a year.  In 2008/09 the total councillor allowances and expenses came to £389,296.  In 2017/18 the total was £338,855, a reduction of over 13% or £50,000.

In May 2016 the number of councillors of Elmbridge borough was reduced 60 to 48.  This move was supported by the Liberal Democrats who would rather have had the number of councillors set to 32 or even fewer.

In consideration of this reduction in the number of councillors and the consequent increase in workload, the the independent body that recommends councillors’ pay decided to undertake a comprehensive review of councillors’ pay in Elmbridge.

The Liberal Democrats view was whatever the review body recommended, we would accept it.

The review decided that councillors should be paid less than £7 an hour (the minimum living wage is £8.75-£10.20). Some pay would be cut, others increased – depending on the workload involved.

The Liberal Democrats voted to implement the recommendations of the independent review body. The Conservative did not.  So the Conservatives voted to set up an independent review body to remove the possibility of councillors setting their own pay and then – when the review body reported its findings – voted against the findings.

The review was coherent and comprehensive – see the report for yourself Report of the Independent Remuneration Panel – September 2016.

You have seen it before …

Is this true? Not in Elmbridge it isn’t.  Nor is it true that the Liberal Democrats or the Residents’ parties plan to build these houses.  Yet this is a claim the local Tories have made in their manifesto.

Don’t be taken in by Tory “fake news” on the Green Belt.  They have claimed that the current Lib Dem/Residents coalition administration is proposing to build over 5,000 homes on the Green Belt, and that this was opposed by the Conservatives.  This statement is utterly untrue.  An intentional untrue statement is a lie.

The facts are:

  • The Conservatives voted for the Strategic Options consulted on last year which were unanimously agreed by the whole Council, including all the Conservative councillors.
  • The Conservative national government requires the borough to plan for the building of up to 12,000 extra homes in Elmbridge.
  • The Conservatives might be in breach of electoral law and have been reported by the Elmbridge Returning Officer to the Electoral Commission, the police and the Conservative’s election agent for grossly misleading residents.

Elmbridge Borough Council has not produced any specific proposals in relation to the local plan and there has been no vote in the Council on building on the Green Belt for the Conservatives to have opposed it.

The national government demanded that Elmbridge Borough follow a consultation process and this process was unanimously agreed by all parties in the full council in December 2016: all the Conservative councillors; all the Liberal Democrat councillors; and, all the Residents’ parties’ councillors.

All councillors agreed that only by acting together can we defend the people of Elmbridge against this onslaught from the Conservative national government.

To this end the leaders of all three parties on the Council wrote to the Secretary of State with a common position protesting against the national government’s proposals.

Liberal Democrat and Residents Association Councillors continue to oppose development on the Green Belt and continue to lobby and protest to the Conservative national government against its proposals for house building.

Vicki Macleod (Weybridge Riverside)

Vicki Macleod (Weybridge Riverside)

Vicki is a long term resident of Weybridge with a strong history of action in the community.

She is a Founder Member of the ElmWey Learning Trust, and was a Governor at Heathside School from 2010 to 2016 when the Trust was established. She has a strong interest in the wellbeing of pupils in the Trust’s schools and of vulnerable members of our community. She continues to be involved with local charities for the elderly as a Trustee of the Weybridge Old Folks Club.

If elected as councillor for Weybridge Riverside, Vicki will bring her considerable knowledge of Weybridge and professional skills, developed in a number of management and business roles, to this work.

I will do my utmost to ensure that, in these times of austerity, Elmbridge Borough acts in the best interests of all who live in Elmbridge, as well as seeking to bring much needed improvements to Weybridge.”

1. Vicki Macleod is a long-term resident of Weybridge, having moved here to work with Surrey Special Schools in 1991. She is well known locally and is embedded in the community through her work with charities for the elderly and with Heathside School. Vicki brings energy, interest and commitment to all she is involved in.

2. Vicki fully will work for more affordable and council housing, careful stewardship of the environment and to ensure our towns are great places to live. She supports the restoration and improvement of health provision in Weybridge and a future-proof ap-proach to traffic and parking in Weybridge.

Graham Winton (Oatlands and Burwood Park ward – Cllr 1983-2007)

Promoting a community in Oatlands and Burwood Park!

Graham Winton is standing in the borough elections because he wants to build a civic community in the ward.  We all have our interests, problems, pastimes and needs. We can all benefit from a community spirit. The ward needs an identity.

If elected Graham will strive to
• promote a thriving Oatlands Village Centre
• integrate the major schools in the area (Cleves and Oatlands First)
• manage traffic in all the major through roads particularly pressing for “20mph is plenty” where there is congestion, vulnerable school chil-dren or residents
• promote cycling and walking in place of car journeys
• encourage a better use of large open spaces in the ward for recrea-tion, fitness and sport.

Electing a Liberal Democrat as your councillor will always secure you a willing community worker, such as Graham Winton.

1. There is a lack of a community feeling in a ward that sprawls. Schools, churches, shops, businesses and residents need to work together to solve problems and create op-portunities. Cooperation creates the right kind of progress which generates community wellbeing.

2. I would work with all parties on the council to seek solutions to problems as they arise. I would hold regular meetings with ward residents to discuss issues. I would be an enabler to hold those responsible to take action where needed, for example, police, county council, health services, social services, fire services not just the borough council.

Mike Rollings (Claygate)

Mike Rollings was brought up in Claygate and after a career elsewhere he returned to ‘the best village I know’. He works in finance as a restructuring and insolvency practitioner in London.

Mike finds Claygate and its atmosphere a perfect antidote to the busyness of a big city. And that is what he wants to protect and enhance.

If elected as a councillor Mike will work in close collaboration with Mary Marshall and Alex Coomes, Claygate’s two other councillors.

These will be Mike’s priorities as one of Claygate’s three Elmbridge Borough councillors:

  • Campaign for more well-located secondary school places for our children
  • Support sensible planning, but oppose out-of-character or out-of-proportion applications
  • Put pressure on Surrey to fix the dangerous potholes and ensure quality road repairs
  • Work to maintain the vibrancy of The Parade, our retailers and businesses
  • Protect our precious Green Belt which makes Claygate a great place to live
  • Encourage community sports, community activism, culture and neighbourly conduct
  • Assist seniors, youths, families and vulnerable people with appropriate services
  • Enable increased recycling, reduce cost of waste disposal and control fly-tipping

Mike’s campaign theme ‘Our Kind of Claygate’ reflects his commitment to a high quality of life in the village.

1. Claygate faces several issues: dangerous potholes, the scourge of fly-tipping, missing school places, non-affordable housing, threat to our retailers, vital services for the elderly, youths and families. Above all the need to protect the Green Belt and the village from over-development.

2. I will work with Claygate’s two other Lib Dem councillors, Mary and Alex, to tackle the above issues.  Press Surrey for more school places and maintaining roads and pavements. Work on Elmbridge’s plan to build affordable homes, fight to protect the Green Belt, support local shops and businesses, engage with young and old, and maintain Claygate’s unique character.