Blackspots in Weybridge

ACCIDENTS WAITING TO HAPPEN ON OUR ROADS

Many Weybridge residents are acutely aware of the traffic dangers in their neighbourhoods and on the roads they use as they go about their lives. Five local ‘black spots’ have been brought to our attention recently: Grenside Road (behind Thames Street), the junction by the station (again), Mayfield Road, Princes Road and Pine Grove and now Minorca Road.  All for different reasons, but each an example of why we need action to make our roads safer for all users.  In all cases Surrey County Council have a role to play in bringing about improvements.  Do you know of other roads where the risk of an accident is greater than average?

To let us know – email vicki.macleod@elmbridgelibdems.org.uk

In this article, we are highlighting the problems for residents of Grenside Road.

In Grenside Road the problem has been caused by a ‘kiss and drop’ policy for pupils at St George’s Junior School. In its efforts to encourage safety on Thames Street, the school has opened a back entrance to the school.  This now means that parents drive in to Grenside Road and park on the pavements. This has not solved the safety problem, it has simply transferred it to Grenside, where it is felt acutely by the residents who are lobbying Surrey to improve safety. They have been supported in this by Portmore Park and District Residents Association and the Lib Dems.

The local Surrey councillor has referred the matter to SCC Highways, but nothing has happened yet, despite the safety issues.

Dangers include: risk of a collision when exiting garages in the morning due to poor visibility, risk to young children going in to and leaving the school who are hidden by the bonnets of parental SUVs; risk to local pedestrians – especially those in buggies or with prams –  who are prevented from using their pavements because they are blocked by parked parents dropping off their children. The parking here is so intense at school drop off and collect time that people have been known to park on the grass between pavement and gardens.

Despite efforts of local Elmbridge Councillors and strong lobbying by Lib Dem Cllr Andrew Davis to have Grenside Road included in SCC’s Strategic Review of parking in Weybridge, SCC refused to budge from their original view and Grenside was excluded from consideration.

Possible solutions

Local resident Sarah Groves has written to her SCC councillor saying; “Local residents feel that this road has been completely ignored . . .. Since the Junior School’s ‘Kiss and Drop’ system was put in place there has been an increase in the volume of traffic on Grenside – parents are now approaching the School via Grenside from Grotto Road and from Thames Street via Convent Lane and then onto Grenside, this at peak times causes chaos especially when there is nowhere to turn safely –  Grenside Road is effectively a cul-de-sac.  The whole fabric of the road and pavements has deteriorated due to the high volume of traffic with vehicles turning and reversing onto pavements – churning the surface up with their SUV’s.”

She adds: “There is no traffic management system in place i.e. parking restrictions, speed limit signs, nor in fact the triangular signs showing children crossing; and the rear entrance/exit of the school has no clear yellow zigzags, that are outside every other school where children enter and leave.”

Local Lib Dem Vicki Macleod says “We were stunned that Surrey did not include Grenside Road in the strategic review of parking: it is a prime example of where a small intervention could have a big and positive impact on safety. We will continue to suport local residents in their quest to make Grenside safe for children and residents.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Additonal recycling from 4th December

Small household electrical, small batteries and shoes, clothes, towels etc

From 4 December 2017 Elmbridge is expanding its recycling service to include collection from home of small electrical items, batteries, clothes and home textiles. These items will be collected every week from your home on your normal collection day. They will need to be bagged in separate tied plastic bags (not black bin liners) .

Residents are requested to sort items and bag them into a separate tied plastic bag (not black bin liners) for each category and place bags next to their bin before 6.30.

What Elmridge can collect

Small electrical items

  • kettles, toasters, sandwich makers and irons
  • hairdryers and straighteners
  • radios
  • digibox/freeview box, video players and dvd players
  • clocks, alarms and watches
  • games consoles and laptops

Clothes and home textiles

  • clothes (must be clean and dry)
  • pairs of shoes and slippers
  • blankets and towels
  • curtains and bed sheets
  • accessories like belts and bags

Elmbridge cannot collect these items

  • any electrical items larger than 35 x 40cm like televisions or white goods
  • car batteries
  • low energy light bulbs
  • single shoes
  • wellington boots
  • cushions, pillows or duvets
  • cuddly toys
  • rugs and carpets
  • bric-a-brac

Find out what can be recycled.

On the day of your collection

Place your bagged items on the edge of your property next to your bins. Make sure your bags are out by 6.30am.

You can report a missed collection online from 4 December 2017.

Flats and communal properties

Unfortunately, we are unable to offer this recycling service to flats and communal properties at present.

What happens to my recycling?

Clothes and home textiles are either sorted to be worn and used again in the UK or abroad, or recycled into useful products like felt, insulation or stuffing.

The components from batteries and small electrical items are extracted and reused to make other items.  For example, zinc can be used in shipbuilding and to make lampposts or railings; gold from consoles for example can be re-used to make jewellery and musical instruments can even be made from the plastic.

NWSCCG response on the future of Weybridge Health Centre

The NWSCCG have today published their report of the two meetings held in October to inform and consult with local residents on the short and longer term future of the Weybridge Health Centre.

The NHS panel

Of crucial interest to Weybridge is the CCG’s position on replacing the Walk-in Centre service on the site.  Extracts on this subject are:

Are the treatment room services going back on site just to support the GP practices and Weybridge patients, or for wider use?

It is the CCG’s intention to support the re-provision of treatment room services for the wider population and as such we have requested proposals from our Providers.

Will there be a Walk-in Centre in the new building?

Before we decide exactly which services will be in the new building, we want to engage the local community and our partners to make sure the new facility provides the right services to meet the needs of the local population.

We understand the history and passion for the Walk-in Centre, and we will need to take that into account when planning our consultation.  However, we think it’s right to take this opportunity to think carefully about what services we need and how services might be delivered differently, and better, in the future.

We very much want to design this new facility with the help of the local community and as part of our engagement, we will think carefully about the type of services delivered at the Walk-in Centre, and others, to make sure local people have the right access to urgent, on the day care.  Access to timely care outside of what is traditionally provided by GPs is certainly what we are thinking and wanting to bring back onto the site.

You will find more questions from people who attended the meetings and the NWSCCG’s responses on a dedicated page on the NWSCCG website.

Tackling the housing crisis

The housing crisis in Britain has become an emergency. For far too long Britain has built many fewer homes than we need. Unless we build enough to meet demand, year after year, we will find that housing costs rise further out of reach.

Just to catch up with what we need today, we have to build 300,000 homes a year nationally – almost double the current level. These new houses and flats must be sustainably planned to ensure that excessive pressure is not placed on existing infrastructure.

Elmbridge borough wants to meet the needs of its people in terms of housing. Yet at every turn it comes up against the elephant in the room – the British government – which undermines local government at every turn.

The Liberal Democrats would empower localities to look after the needs of their own population and their own priorities, rather than being dictated to by central government.

A Lib Dem approach in Elmbridge

What would a Liberal Democrat Elmbridge do to solve the housing crisis if the national government got off our back?

Without restrictions from central government, Elmbridge could:

Borrow funds to build social housing

Elmbridge has the ability to service the loans, especially as interest rates are still at an historically low level. We would be investing in bricks and mortar which is always considered a very safe investment.  Elmbridge can’t though, because the national government heavily restricts our ability to do this.

Get money back when social housing is sold and reinvest this in more social housing

The national government forces local authorities and housing associations to sell houses at a discount of up to £80,000 under its ‘right to buy’ social housing programme, without any compensation to us, the owners. And then, prevents councils from using the revenue they do receive from the sales to build more social housing.

Improve the experience of renting

Elmbridge could ban letting fees for tenants, cap up-front deposits at a reasonable level, and increase minimum standards of repair and services in rented homes. We would Introduce longer tenancies, with an inflation-linked annual rent increase built in, to give tenants more security. Elmbridge cannot do this now because councils are prevented from doing this by the national government.  Our national government makes it impossible for Elmbridge to implement all the improvements we could offer to people renting in the borough.

Stop developers reneging on development payments to local councils

When Elmbridge gives permission for a developer to build a block of flats or a new street, this is on  condition that a certain proportion of the build is affordable housing. Alternatively, the developer may offer to pay a sum of money instead. The national government has made a law that allows developers to renege on paying this money once the development is built. This makes a complete mockery of the planning system.

Scrap stamp duty

The national government policy on stamp duty – a punishing 5% on homes over £250,000 across Britain – deters people from moving when they need more space. Instead of  buying a larger property and releasing a smaller one to the market, residents add extensions and loft conversions – making smaller houses bigger and reducing the number of smaller homes for first-time buyers and couples starting a family.

Our view

The national government and the media often blame NIMBYs and local planning for the lack of housing in our country. This is far from the truth. It is primarily the national government’s taxation and spending policy that stops local governments like Elmbridge planning for building the homes needed for healthy communities.

Income inequality, whose word do you trust

Policy Exchange

Founded by Nick Boles, Michael Gove and Francis Maude. To get a feel for the enthusiasm of this merry camp of dreamers, you need only read Gove’s sadly-deleted and somewhat hyperbolic testimony on their website: “Policy Exchange were a tiny band of guerrillas, partisans in the hillside fighting a lonely campaign, but now, that tiny guerrilla band has turned into the most formidable regular army on the thinktank battlefield.”

If Reform is the Greg Dyke of right wing think tanks, Policy Exchange is undoubtedly the John Birt: “blue sky” doesn’t come close. Reform’s ideas might annoy everyone except those who don’t like big government, but Policy Exchange regularly sets the bar higher and manages to get on their wick too. If you want a good example, think of the Police and Crime Commissioner Elections, described by then “Head of Crime and Justice” Blair Gibbs as “the boldest reform to policing since the 1960s”.

Gibbs is a classic Tory think tank wonk: Oxford University Conservative Association, stints at Reform and the Taxpayers’ Alliance, MP’s researcher, Policy Exchange, and now he’s working for BoJo. An impressive CV which suggests a somewhat detached relationship with the practicalities of the field in which he’s an “expert”. He was on Twitter, but described himself as one of the “four horsemen” of police reform, and this provoked such a furious reaction he had to leave. Let’s face it, if you’re a copper who risks his life every time he goes to work and who’s about to be hit by Government cuts, that’s probably not the sort of thing you want to read from a twenty-something policymaker.

(Incidentally, this is a common complaint about think tanks – salaries tend to top out pretty early, which means their employees go and do something else (usually working as Spads). To quote Zoe Williams: “It is noticeable […] how often you’re told by a 28-year-old that care of patients with Alzheimer’s can be managed by text message and ‘parenting classes can improve community engagement and lead to local wellbeing’”.)

Anyway, the PCC plan has been hit by a number of setbacks. First, it’s never a good idea to hold an election when you don’t know who the candidates are or indeed what they’re standing for. Then you’ve got the Paris Brown affair and now this extraordinary freedom of speech horrorshow, which is a whole blog post in itself. One of the companies to fund Policy Exchange is Deloitte, which issued press releases saying PCCs must “get to grips with current policing operations” and “focus on reforming pay, pensions and paperwork, the financial management of their force, and cutting costs.” Hard to think which firm they could hire to achieve that.

Surrey County Council Property Plan

Opposition councillors on Surrey County Council have brought to light that Surrey County Council is secretly negotiating a proposal to enter into a joint venture property development arrangement with a private sector partner.

Plans kept secret

Opposition county councillors have found that Surrey County Council is in the process of planning with a private sector partner to provide housing and development across dozens of sites in a secret deal that could be worth over £1bn.

SCC is already and secretly in the process of tendering a contract for a “Joint Property Joint Venture Partner”. This is described as “a unique opportunity to offer development delivery and service expertise across a raft of property development projects”. The project would see Surrey County Council, along with a large number of public sector partners, releasing land and vacant sites currently owned by the County Council and others into the Joint Vehicle.

The value of the project is estimated to be between £250m and £1.5bn, over a 15 year period with 32 sites currently identified but with potentially 100 more under consideration.

The procurement document states that “The Council aims to secure delivery expertise, and bring capacity and pace to a development programme that ensures optimal performance and returns from investment activities”.

So far, not so bad?

Done properly, this is could be very positive for Surrey, especially as the County holds property that has been empty for over a decade. The concern of opposition councillors on Surrey is that thay have no idea as to the details of how much a potential private sector partner would be looking to make in profit and what the margins or rate of return are for the county council. There is no information as to what kind of housing will be provided, tenure and whether it meets the needs of local residents.

Lib Dem Leader, Cllr Watson, has said “These plans deserve the highest level of scrutiny and public engagement, which is the exact opposite of the Conservative administration’s approach so far to its management of its own assets and the culture of secrecy which is prevalent at County Hall.”

Cllr Watson calling for the release of the full list of potential development sites so that councillors and residents can play their part in scrutinising these highly complex and secretive proposals.”

Other concerns raised by opposition councillors include: no mention so far of affordabilility of housing to be provided or the long term sustainability of developments undertaken by the Joint Venture.

Councillor Jonathan Essex, noted that there have been similar joint venture development vehicles in Haringey and Southwark, which have come under intense criticism after public scrutiny has revealed the flaws within the small print of these highly complex contractual arrangements.

He is calling for the County Council to engage with its own residents and present the full financial picture so that well-informed scrutiny can take place regarding this hugely important matter.

Cllr Watson and Cllr Essex have today written to the Leader of Surrey County Council, urging to share more information on these proposals with all county councillors.

What next for Weybridge Hospital site and services

In July 2017 fire destroyed the two GP practices, the walk-in centre and many other health facilities, offices and a pharmacy in Weybridge town centre. At a meeting late in July – attended by more residents than the hosts expected – the gathering was informed that, when the site was redeveloped, there would be, could be, no promise of restoring all the services which were lost in the fire.

Currently, residents of Weybridge believe that the two GP practices on the site will be restored but we do not know what else will happen with the town centre site.

We want to do our utmost to ensure that the residents of Weybridge are properly engaged in decision making about the future of health and care provision on the Weybridge Hospital site.

Help us help you by completing the survey

Thames riverside enhancement and maintenance

Thursday 5th October 7.30 for 8.00
Small Hall St James Church Centre

Come and find out how the Thames Landscape Strategy is working to improve riverbank management and enhance the overall riverside environment along the stretch of the Thames from Weybridge to Kew.

Don’t know anything about the Thames Landscape Strategy? Take a look here

http://thames-landscape-strategy.org.uk/who-we-are/

Jason Debney, Co-ordinator Thames landscape Strategy, will give an overview of TLS projects with local impact, including an update on the proposals for the Weybridge Point car park, a TLS project that secured funding of £70k+ from Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) funds in March this year.

Let’s be sure that proposals do actually enhance the riverside scene. Click on the PPDRA Newsletter below to see how things do not always work out for the best

Doors open at 7.30 pm, with the talk starting at 8.00 pm.

Grotto Road junction – Weybridge

The Grotto Road, Thames Street junction in Weybridge is notorious for road danger – the pedestrian risk and traffic around school times is horrendous. What makes it really dangerous is that there is no footpath by the fence in Grotto Road. Many primary age children walk by themselves or with their parents either alongside the fence in the traffic or have to cross Grotto Road twice to get to school.

So, what can be done about it?

Cllr Andrew Davis lobbied Surrey county to build a path – with an estimated cost somewhere between £20,000 to £60,000 but Surrey hasn’t the money. However, Weybridge has. Weybridge councillors have £500,000 to spend on such projects. All okay then? Well, actually . . . No!

Here is the bizarre thing. Any such project has to have a feasibility study, but Weybridge’s £500,000 may not be spent on such studies. And Surrey cannot even afford the study to demonstrate the cost effectiveness and benefit of the project!

Fortunately, Cllr Davis has managed to get Surrey to consider making a bid to Weybridge councillors to pay for the project, based on the upper estimate of £60,000, if the project is shown to have a good level of local support.

The Weybridge Liberal Democrat team have set up a survey to canvass support from local people who are concerned about the danger of this junction.

Weybridge residents, find out more and add your support here and watch this space for updates.