The borough maintains 97 car parks across Elmbridge. They ranging from our town centres through to our commons.
In becoming portfolio holder for transport in May 2016 Cllr Andrew Davis asked for a current valuation and maintenance programme for all the car parks. Unfortunately, apart from Drewitt’s Court this had not been undertaken for many years. Perhaps the previous Conservative administration thought the car parks could mend themselves.
A condition survey was undertaken in 2016 to identify the state of the borough’s car parks and the financial commitments for repairs over the next five years. The full cost to bring the car park up to standard is £13m.
The borough’s obligations relating to Drewitts Court in order to comply with the terms of the existing leases, require that a structural evaluation of the ramp be undertaken immediately and that the repairs be carried out as quickly as possible. It is likely that the full cost will be £1,500,000.
To catch up with the amount of maintenance required for the other car parks the borough plans to spend up to £6m over the next three years.
However, with the high need for social housing, the pressure to build over car parks is high. Not all car parks are suitable but those that are should not given comprehensive repairs until their housing status is known.
Naturally, the order of work and indeed what work will be done will be undertaken with full consultation with local councillors. A full management programme will be produced for each car park for while they are being reconstructed. Dewetts Court will take much longer so will have a special plan. It is likely to begin in January so us not to clash with the Christmas season.
A new notice board for Claygate has been erected at the end of Coverts Road today. This was created for the benefit of the local residents (who live some distance from the centre of the village) as well as the many visitors that come here. Since living in this part of Claygate, I have noticed that many pedestrians, riders and cyclists are completely confused where they are in relation to the centre of Claygate when they exit the track at the Holroyd Road end of Coverts Road. The track known as the ‘BOAT’ which has no vehicular access, is used by the public mainly for hiking, running, cycling, dog walking or horse riding. This track links Claygate with Esher and also comes out on Fairoak Lane between Oxshott and Malden Rushett, depending on the route you take. Claygate village centre and train station is some distance from Coverts Road so the new board has a detailed map showing your exact location.
As you stand in front of it, you can clearly see what can be discovered in the surrounding area. There are numerous footpaths and bridleways, flora and fauna as well as directions to the village itself. Claygate is full of restaurants, pubs, cafes and village shops. It is surrounded by beautiful countryside views, walks and rides. It is well worth a day out, whichever mode of transport you choose. With the financial help of Surrey County Council, Claygate Parish Council and with a personal contribution of my own, the board has been created, developed and finally delivered on site today.
Thanks must go to Sarah Kingsley from Eclipse Creative for her patience and wonderful art skills. Also thanks to Elmbridge’s Countryside Officer Dave Page. Dave originally helped me to create the map, adding to my ideas with his in depth knowledge of the local countryside due to both his keen interest and occupation. Dave and his co workers from the Elmbridge Countryside Team put the board in place this morning. Residents will now have the benefit of seeing at a glance what is going on in their village community. Horse riders, dog walkers, cyclists, runners and hikers will find new tracks, wildlife and plants as well as discovering a little about the local history of Claygate. Thank you to everyone that has helped this community idea finally come to fruition.
On the afternoon of Saturday, 14 June 2014, following a collision with an unsuspecting motorist there was the tragic death of a horse. It was spooked by selfish fly-tipping, lost its experienced rider and in fear bolted straight out into the road. I have managed with the help of the Claygate community, the Equestrian Community, Claygate Parish Council and SCC Councillor Mike Bennison to raise enough money (£5,000.00) to rebuild with improvements the dilapidated horse crossing in Woodstock Lane South. A road safety audit determined what measures were required to implement the new crossing and it is now in place, improving the safety of everyone that uses this fast and busy road. There is now a large pen for horses to enter, secure and separated from the road. Site lines and signage have also been enhanced and the pedestrian footpath which runs alongside the track has been cleared so pedestrians and horses no longer share the same path. Thank you Claygate for trusting in me to deliver this project for the safety of our community.
A new group has formed in Weybridge to highlight the risks to Weybridge by the Environment Agency plans for the Thames and Wey.
To help remove the flooding risks between Windsor and Weybridge a series of new works have been undertaken and more are planned. Eventually they will enter the Thames as shown below.
Judging from the flows of the current river it will mean that there will be new pressure building up at the upper Desborough Bridge which is only 24m wide. This pinch-point will cause the Thames to back-up and flood its banks (as happened in the recent flood). What makes matters worse is that the new cut from Chertsey will be up to 60m wide bringing even greater pressure on the Thames around its confluence with the Wey.
One option is to effectively continue the new cut through the north west corner of Desborough Island. This would keep the flood flowing within the main channel of the Thames.
One of the advantages of this plan would be that a new pedestrian/cycling bridge could be constructed like those that Sustrans build across the country.
Elmbridge has received an application for a grant of £82,000 to change the layout of the path through the car park at the end of Thames Street with an aim to highlight the Thames Path and focus on the view of the Thames.
This bid is competing with many other bids from around the borough. What do you think? If you want to know more about it click on Weybridge Point Car Park. The meeting to decide on this is being held on Monday, 29 September.
With a walk taking place nearly every day of the year, the borough’s organised walks have helped walkers to cover some 94,500 miles since the scheme was launched in 2003. Walks are available for all abilities. Find out more. If you want to select a walk and add it directly into your diary click here.
Subject to consultation, the Weybridge Local Spending Board for CIL has allocated £3,750 in matched funding to Weyfarers Rowing Club based at the confluence of the Wey and the Thames, hard by Thames Lock.
The award, subject to consultation, would be the first grant offer in Weybridge under CIL arrangements.
If you would like to join the club to make the most of the new facilities do so – places are already filling up fast.
If you or your group have suggestions for improving Weybridge infrastructure then go here for an application form or you can contact me.
Surrey Wildlife Trust and Elmbridge are working together on a conservation grazing project that will involve using a small herd of goats to maintain and increase the biodiversity of natural heathland on an area of Esher common.
The Esher Common SSSI (site of special scientific interest) restoration and management plan was approved by Elmbridge in 2005 to restore 22 hectares of common back to heathland. As part of the management plan, it was agreed to carry out trial grazing to see how effective it would be to maintain heathland. A small area of Esher Common has been selected for this trial and temporary fencing will be erected to protect and confine the goats.
15 male goats will arrive this month and stay for the summer, grazing in a small paddock on the south side of Esher common. Whilst it’s not true that goats eat anything, they do browse woody plants such as shrubs and trees; stripping the bark and eating the leaves. They will keep the birch, pine, gorse, willow and other invasive scrub under control, helping to restore and maintain the rare and precious habitat for wildlife on the common.
Jo Saunders, ranger for Surrey Wildlife Trust, says that grazing with goats is an excellent alternative to cutting scrub by machine. Goats can selectively browse woody vegetation; leaving more sensitive plants unharmed and creating a wonderful mosaic of micro-habitats. We’re really pleased that the team at Esher Common have decided to use goats to help with their heath restoration.
Hamish White, Elmbridge countryside officer, said, “We look forward to working in partnership with Surrey Wildlife Trust on this exciting project. We believe this trial project will help us with our heath and restoration programme by controlling the scrub in this area. There are many benefits using goats for grazing as they are able to access land which we cannot control with machinery and help provide niche habitats for plants and animals. In the long term it will allow us to create a diverse habitat which is needed for the wildlife that relies on Esher Common”.
If you are interested in becoming a goat ‘looker’, that is helping to keep an eye on the goats, or would like more information please contact Elmbridge’s countryside team on 01372 474582.