Margaret Hawkes is standing as the Lib Dem candidate in Walton North this May. Walton North covers an area north of the town centre from the Thames down to Ambleside Avenue.
Question: if you live in Walton North, where do you play tennis? How far would your children have to walk to a tennis court?
Question: what kind of phone signal do you receive? The council can block planning permission for phone masts, no phone mast, no signal.
Question: how safe are our roads for pedestrians, especially at night?
Margaret answers: “Your local council can work to make everyday life bet-ter for you, or it can be swayed by minority voices to block improvements to our lives. If I am elected, I shall work for the residents of Walton North to ensure that the council improves their life quality and is not a forum for pro-test movements that stop and delay beneficial changes.”
1. I’ve lived in Walton for forty years and as a local resident I am only too aware of the problems that are faced by my fellow residents, from finding good quality school places, to the problems of parking, from the child care to the care of the frail elderly. But, many people feel ‘politicians’ are not taking note. This lack of trust needs work, and deeds not words.
2. I joined the Liberal Democrats because I want to help build a fairer and more open society where all our citizens are valued and they have a stake in our society. As a councillor, it will be a privilege to help in this process, to empower the local community so that the voice of all can be heard. I believe that a local councillor should work to make people’s lives better.
I have lived in Walton for 25 years with my wife Christine. In 2007 I took early retirement after 40 years in public service and was elected as a Conservative councillor, serving Walton Ambleside and Walton South between 2007 and 2016. During this time I chaired both the Licensing and Planning Committees, and was Vice Chairman of the Overview & Scrutiny Committee and member of the SCC Local Committee for Elmbridge.
Why now a Liberal Democrat? I became disillusioned with the Conservative administration while I was still a Conservative Elmbridge Borough Councillor and was not comfortable with the complacent and arrogant stance adopted, not dissimilar to the national stance. I therefore did not seek re selection as a Conservative candidate in May 2016 but reassessed my views as more facts about the party emerged. It became clear to me that my political allegiance now lay with the Liberal Democrats with whom I think I am better placed to serve the residents of Walton South.
1. Planning, traffic, roads and quality service – but we are in the hands of the Planning Inspectorate on Drake Park, the biggest development Walton is facing and traffic and roads are the responsibility of SCC which need vigorous lobbying to get residents’ views listened to. Value for money is not just about cutting costs but retaining quality services.
2. Oppose inappropriate development impacting on residents’ quality of life and recreational green spaces. Reintroduce an effective 24-hour noise complaint service, scrapped by the Conservatives. Bring back bags and scoops for dog waste in parks. Lobby Surrey County Council to replace trees we are losing from our roads.
Ashley Park and Dewitt’s Court car parks are now to be refurbished and works in Ashley Park has begun already..
After many years of neglect, the Liberal Democrat led Elmbridge administration has decided to refurbish all the car parks in the borough – beginning with two of Walton’s car parks.
This multi-million pound project will take place over a number of years but the Liberal Democrats aspire to reach a higher standard for the borough rather than the patch and mend policies of previous administrations.
Ashley Park car park has been a poor state for decades with many complaints about the rough surface. Rather than mend it, previous administrations simply offered a discount parking charge for a poor quality car park. The Liberal Democrats intend to bring the car park up to standard and, once that is done, bring the charges in line with other similar car parks.
Under previous administrations, car park charges have been set across the borough on a three year cycle. The pattern of use of each car park is more often than not quite different from its neighbours and that pattern can change over time. This has meant that some parks are beginning to overfill while others find their usage has declined.
All car parks are now reviewed on a frequent basis to check that the charging does not mean a car park is full – who wants to turn up at a car park that does not have a parking spot? The same review will look to reduce charges if the car park is hardly used. At the moment the charge for parking is the same throughout the day – in future, as appropriate, the rates will vary to maximise the utility of each car park.
Chris has lived in Walton for 25 years and understands the local issues – unlike the sitting Councillor who lives in Weybridge.
Experienced Public Servant
Chris has worked in public service for nearly 40 years before taking up a position in Elmbridge Council. In this role, Chris held many positions of responsibility such as:
Representing the Walton Ambleside and South wards for over 9 years
Chair of Licensing and Planning Committees
Vice Chair of the Overview & Scrutiny Committee
Member of the Surrey County Council Local Committee
His extensive experience includes:
local planning issues
complaints to Surrey County Council about needed road repairs
helping local businesses secure additional parking at the Halfway shops Walton
local road safety issues
establishing a Community Speedwatch for Walton
Drake Park and WeylandsNoWay Campaigns
Chris worked with the community on the Drake Park and WeylandsNoWay campaigns against the proposed waste digester, questioning the Council about highways assessments and holding them to account over air quality and proximity of housing to the proposed digester.
Your current Councillor– a conflict of interests
Your current councillor represents both Borough and County Councils – creating a conflict of interests on the Drake Park and Weylands plans. She is also Deputy Mayor, and if she becomes the Mayor of Elmbridge in May as expected, will she have enough time to fulfil her responsibilities and represent your interests at council level?
Chris’ Top Priorities for Walton
Better accountability and control of Surrey finances
Provision of care for the elderly and vulnerable
Protection of green belt and open spaces
Adequate infrastructure to meet growing demands
Maintaining existing road networks to a safe standard
Support Chris Elmer for Walton
If elected, Chris will devote his time and efforts to wholly representing you at Surrey County Council. Vote for dedication and experience – vote for Chris Elmer on 4th May.
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.
Are you keen on having advertisements on our roundabouts in Elmbridge because you you see no harm in them? Or are you dead against them because they impoverish our beautiful borough? A number of proposals have already been withdrawn. You can see what is proposed by clicking on a roundabout near you.
After the decision by the full Planning Committee regarding the sports hub, we have now received the outcome from the Secretary Of State regarding the need for an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and he has decided that an EIA is required. The essence of what the Secretary Of State said is:
“Whilst this is a finely balanced case, the proposal does raise concerns to suggest the potential for significant environmental impacts through surface disturbance of the former landfill site, uncertainty about the extent of the contamination of the site and the potential for gas migration to both the River Thames and nearby residential properties.”
Whilst the borough is disappointed by this decision, especially as the issues mentioned above have already been addressed in the planning report, Elmbridge has begun on the EIA exercise as promised at the Committee meeting. The EIA will be the subject of public consultation and will be presented to the Planning Committee in due course. I will let you know timescale as soon as I have it.