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.

Mole Valley Conservation

Over the years the Lower Mole Partnership (LMP) has built up a large and enthusiastic volunteer group which has carried out a wide range of tasks to implement improvements to the local countryside, four days a week, including weekends, throughout the year.

LMP has also developed a broad spread of skills for tackling specialist countryside management work including landscape enhancements, woodland management and pond restoration as well as access initiatives such as the Thames Down Link footpath.

In 2011/12, as part of the then Conservative administration budget savings exercise, the borough’s grant to the LMP was reduced by £15,000.  The Liberal Democrat/Residents administration has decided to increase the borough’s grant to LMP by £6,280.  This action not only supports the active engagement of many people into nature conservancy but save the borough in task that it would otherwise have to take on itself.

Fighting hate crime

Mary MarshallProposed by Liberal Democrat councillor Mary Marshall, Elmbridge Borough Council passed the motion below at its meeting on 20 July 2016:

“We are proud to live in a diverse and tolerant society. Racism, xenophobia and hate crimes have no place in our country. We, Elmbridge Borough Council, condemn racism, xenophobia and hate crimes unequivocally. We will not allow hate to become acceptable.

“Elmbridge Borough Council will work to ensure local bodies and programmes have the support and resources needed to fight and prevent racism and xenophobia. We reassure all people living in Elmbridge that they are valued members of our community.”

Elmbridge has a long established history of promoting and developing a robust Equality and Diversity agenda. It was the first Borough in Surrey to set up a borough-based Equality and Diversity Forum in 2007, which comprises representatives from statutory, voluntary, community and faith sector organisations as well as individuals with an interest in equality and diversity issues in Elmbridge.

The forum remit covers all areas where inequality and discrimination may exist and includes older people, disability, gender, race, religion and belief, sexual orientation and transgender identity, as well as other broader equality issues. Its mission statement is “to promote equality, celebrate diversity and support good relations in Elmbridge”.

Warning on public health cuts in Surrey

healthcareFigures released by the national department of health show the Conservative national government is planning to cut £2.2m from the public health budget across Surrey.

This will have a direct impact on efforts to improve health at local level because the public health budget relieves pressure on English NHS hospitals and clinics by helping people to solve their own health problems before they become serious.

For example, the budget helps finance work to promote exercise, give up smoking and tackle drug addiction.

Cllr Hazel Watson, Surrey’s Leader of the Liberal Democrats opposition, said: “These planned cuts of £2.2m to Surrey’s public health budget are the wrong cuts, made in the wrong way.  The public health budget is an important support system for our NHS and these planned cuts represent a false economy which will only end up costing the government and the NHS more than is saved.

Surrey urged to fund 20 mph limits

20mphFor a background on why 20mph is so important see here.

The Surrey Liberal Democrats are calling on the Surrey administration to provide the necessary funding to implement 20 mph speed limits outside Surrey schools where requested by the school and the local community.

Introducing a 20mph limit on all our streets is probably the most important way of improving our health and quality of life.  Even more cost effective than spending more on NHS England!  The reason is simple.  If speeds on the streets are less than 20mph cycling and walking increases and as more people cycle and walk their life expectancy improves by six years on average.  Not only do people live longer but their quality of life improvise too.  All this can be done by a simple change in the speed limit law.

It is of upmost importance that children are safe going to and from school and 20 mph speed limits outside schools help to achieve this by reducing traffic speeds and improving road safety.  A reduced speed limit warns drivers that they need to slow down near a school and in general drivers do slow down.

In Mole Valley, Surrey introduced three trial 20 mph advisory limits outside schools and following the trial the 20 mph advisory limits were made permanent.  However, whilst making these trial 20 mph limits permanent, Surrey also decided not to roll-out the trial to cover the roads outside other schools in the district.

How can time banking help you?

TimebankingFind out at a talk to be given at 10:00, on Tuesday, 14 July, at All Saints Church, Chestnut Avenue, Esher, KT10 8JL.

Within the borough we have a wealth of skills, interests and experience that we can share with each other.  Sharing these things can help to make our society better and Timebanking is a really simple way to make that sharing easy.

Timebanking is all about giving and receiving.  It works by people offering to share a skill, interest, experience or some practical support with other time bank members.  In return they can receive something they want from the time bank.

For example, Tony is 17 and offers to teach older people at the local community centre how to use WiiFit to keep them mobile and active. For every hour Tony puts in he earns one-time credit which he spends on learning new cooking skills from Jan, another time bank member. Everyone’s time is equal. For more information about timebanking please read the attached flyer and visit www.timebanking.org.

To book your place contact Liz Tracey on liz.tracey@surreycc.gov.uk or telephone 020 8541 7020

Hydrate with 8 drinks a day

Hydrate with 8 logo

The borough’s month-long hydration campaign begins on 1 July. The aim is to raise awareness of how much water (or other types of drinks, excluding alcohol) we should drink a day and the subsequent benefits to our health. Over ten different locations across the borough will be visited by our community transport bus including Centres for the Community, sheltered housing schemes, and health centres. There will be leaflets, special Hydrate with 8 mugs and other great freebies to take away.

In addition to the Hydrate with 8 campaign, there will also be a mini-falls assessment available to residents and information on how to reduce falls in the home. This will include borough services such as the care and repair and community alarm services.  All the advice can support older people to remain safe and independent in their own homes.

If you have any enquiries about the hydration campaign please call Community Support Services on 01372 474537.

How much water should we drink a day?  Visit your nearest pop up location at Walton Community Centre Manor Rd, Walton-on-Thames, KT12 2PB‎ on 14 July to find out.

Vicki Macleod for Weybridge North

Vicki Macleod

Vicki Macleod lives in Weybridge and cares deeply about our community and local quality of life. Vicki has a strong understanding of issues faced by education, health services, social care and businesses — and she has a great record of getting things done.  Many people locally will know her as a contributor to the activities of the Weybridge Centre, or as a school governor.  She was Chair of the Friends of Weybridge Centre charity for five years, and is a governor of Heathside School.

Vicki’s background: work in education

Vicki is very familiar with the issues in education and care for vulnerable young people. She is a qualified teacher, lecturer and coach. She taught in a comprehensive and in a residential school for disadvantaged and disruptive pupils. She also worked for 5 years with all special schools in Surrey and secondary schools across Surrey, providing advice and support on vocational education. Vicki is a former chairman of the SE Region Special Educational Needs Network. She became a governor of Heathside School in 2010.

Business skills and organisational accountability

Vicki Macleod is firmly in touch with the needs of businesses, through running a small business, and through helping leaders and managers improve their management and skills. At the University of Brighton she set up the MA in Learning in Organisations, and at Middlesex University designed and ran the MA in Education – Leadership and Management. In recent years she has coached leaders and managers in organisations of all sizes. Vicki brings expertise in organisational accountability and leadership. She is a director of Performance By Design Ltd.

Vicki MacleodHealth and social care

Vicki has a strong awareness of healthcare issues in Surrey, through working professionally with GP practices on improving their practice management, and through family links. Her brother and sister-in-law have been GPs in Surrey for over 25 years. She has first hand experience of services for the elderly and carers, through providing care to her late mother in her declining years, and continuing support to her father who lives in Weybridge. She has been very involved in the activities of the Weybridge Centre for the Community, and was Chair of the Friends of Weybridge Centre for five years.

Action on issues

Vicki believes in the value of communities taking action to bring about improvements in the quality of the environment – locally and globally, and in encouraging individuals to behave responsibly. She has been an active member of the Portmore Park and District Resident’s Association, supporting campaigns to influence Surrey County Council on issues affecting the local community, including the Walton Bridge scheme. She has a strong interest in local issues, and an excellent understanding of how things can be achieved locally (in part through being married to someone who served as an Elmbridge Councillor!).

Building for the future

Vicki Macleod is passionate about helping people achieve the best they can.  She moved to Weybridge in 1991 after taking up the role of curriculum leader for special schools with the Surrey Technical and Vocational Education Initiative (TVEI). Experience tells her it is possible to raise aspirations and achievement of children, young people and adults with appropriate support, guidance and opportunities.

Vicki is committed to acting in the interests of future generations, believing in stewardship of the environment, provision of stimulating and engaging education, encouragement of a healthy local economy, and careful planning of services to meet the needs of a growing ageing population.

You can rely on Vicki to work on behalf of the people of Weybridge.

Things to fix:

  • Safer streets, speed limits more visible, and better enforcement
  • Improved parking for Weybridge, off-street coordinated with on-street
  • More activities for young people
  • Better community facilities, to help give Weybridge a more vibrant heart
  • More focused help for older people, disabled people, vulnerable children and their carers
  • Safeguard parental choice over local schools
  • Protect the local environment, safeguard the Green Belt
  • Improve local roads and pavements
  • Improve public transport
  • Value for money, good quality services!

At a county level, Vicki is committed to help achieve the Lib Dem goal of making Surrey County Council competent and responsive.

To see what Lib Dems in Surrey can achieve, see the Surrey Lib Dem Record of Action and Success

Grants available to the voluntary sector

Disabled peopleCommunity organisations have until 30 January to submit applications for Elmbridge’s latest round of voluntary sector funding.

Annual grants of up to £3,000 are on offer for use by voluntary, community and faith sector organisations from April 2015. Funding can be provided for equipment, project and running costs and in particular to support vulnerable groups.

Successful organisations have previously received grant funding to promote independent living amongst older people and carers, support people with physical or mental health issues, provide foodbanks and welfare advice, prevent homelessness and social exclusion, and offer access to healthy activity and food, family support, environmental improvement, ethical saving, plus counselling and mediation.

All applications must be received by midday Friday 30 January 2015. Applicants who are successful will be notified by April 2015.  Click here for the borough’s site.