Brexit Withdrawal Agreement

Have you heard any MP claim that they have read Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement?  Have a look here.  How many pages can you read before you loose the will to live. How likely do you think it is that your MP has read it?  I am not expecting you to read it but do have a little look.  This is the legal document between the Britain and Europe.   If you want to have a more digestible overview then look here.

Remember that the withdrawal agreement is just a small part of the whole process.  The big decisions have yet to be made and could take many years.

If you would like to have a peek at the political declaration for the basis of the future relationship between Britain and Europe then look here.  This is not a legal document, purley an aspiration.  It is well to remember that we would have left if we are negotiating this framework.  Therefore we will be in a much weaker position because Europe is far bigger than we are.  This declaration is is the best we can get and, if it comes to this, the deals will be far worse.  If you want to have a more digestible overview then look here.

 

Weybridge Car Parking Charges

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Car park charges are set to increase in January along with the hours that the car parks charging operates.  An an increase each day of two hours and a possible extension into Sunday charging.

The Conservative cabinet in Elmbridge has recommended car park charging increases averaging 6% a year over the next over the next three years.  In some cases the increase is 24%.

Extending hours

The report contains a proposal to extend the charging time one hour earlier and one hour later.  Therefore the full charging day for town centre car parks will be 8:00 to 19:00. Charging later into the evening can work in the very few car parks that are nearly full late into the evening, but only if the nearby streets are protected by evening parking controls.

Yearly Season Tickets

Under these proposals, in year two the cost of whole year parking increases by 24% in main car parks, 20% in station car parks and 23% in local car parks. This is because the annual permit will be withdrawn and the monthly permits are more expensive.

Variation in charging rates

The municipal car parks across Elmbridge are divided into three categories:  “Town”; “Village”; and, “Station”.  Each category has its own set of parking charges.  Unfortunately the usage of each car park does not reflect its designation.  For example, York Road is designated as a “Village” car park but acts like a “Town” car park.  The five “Station” car parks all charge the same rate but have quite different usage pattern.  Walton Park (Hersham Station) car park has low occupancy and Heath north (Weybridge Station) has extremely high occupancy (full early in the day).  The Conservative proposals do not offer a sensible approach to the needs of each town.

We would have preferred the introduction of variable pricing during the day.  Many car parks are near full at certain times and half empty at others.  Our recommendation is that when car parks are less full the charges should be lower.  A simple system of different rates would nudge people into considering using the car park at off peak times.

Monthly permits

Good to see that the Conservative are continuing with the monthly permits that we introduced.  As most people are paid monthly it is good to charge people monthly.  There is also the option of coming out and re-entering the scheme at will.

Matching on-street with off-street charges

We believe that any change to car park charges or charge times should take into consideration how this would affect local residents.  In unregulated streets surrounding a car park, for example around York Road car park, residents could be greatly affected if the charges are increased or new charges are introduced.  However, some car parks, for example Berguette in Esher, are totally surrounded by streets with regulated parking. In this case residents would be largely unaffected by the any changes in car park charges.

Revenue surplus

No-one relishes paying parking charges especially if the surplus varies between towns in Elmbridge.  Of the nine towns in Elmbridge, Weybridge provides the greatest parking revenue surplus.  This all goes into the general fund.  The Liberal Democrats support the idea that at least some surplus revenue generated in a town is used for transport improvements in the town concerned.

Pay on leaving

It was a pity that the Conservatives ended the introduction of pay on leaving in Churchfields car park and plan to introduce it into Cobham first instead.  The reason given is that there might be a new development on the car park site, in conjunction with the Library site. However fast any development is progressed it would probably mean that Churchfields car park would be untouched for three to four years.  This would be plenty of time for Weybridge to benefit from the flexibility of only paying for the time used.  In fact, many people would have paid automatically on-line.  It would have been very convenient.  Dispensation could have been made for those travelling to the church car park.

Sunday Charging

When we were in administration we looked at car parking on Sundays and found that no car park would benefit from having charging introduced on a Sunday.  It is simply a money raising exercise.   However, should a car park reach a  higher occupancy rate on Sunday than other car parks do in the week, then we should consider it.  But this has not happened significantly in any car park.

More Charging Details

Overall the revenue will increase by 6% a year – over twice the rate of inflation.

  • In year two the cost of a permit per year increases by 24% in main car parks, 20% in station car parks and 23% in local car parks.
  • Charging in station car parks whether full or not will increase by 3% a year.
  • Charging in local car parks 4% a year (for 30mins), 18% a year (for four hours) and 9% a year (for all day).
  • Charges in main car parks increasing 6% a year (for 30mins), 6% a year (for four hours). All day car parking in long stay 14% a year. Season ticket a year will increase by 10% a year.

This is not the coordinated approach from the two levels of local government that we were promised.  As Surrey county refuses to extend parking controls into the evening for Minorca and Limes Roads, Elmbridge borough proposes to push charges into the evening thus making matters worse.

Weybridge On-street Parking Changes 2018

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This post deals with the parking schemes that Surrey proposes to implement, subject to the agreement of the Surrey Local Committee meeting at 4pm, Monday, 26 November, 2018 in the Civic Centre.  These scheme will be formally ‘advertised’ as they stand. This is the first stage of public consultation on these schemes.

Streets to have changes – mainly additional double yellow lines for safety reasons:

  • Beales Lane
  • Devonshire Road
  • Fortescue Road
  • Grenside Road
  • Grotto Road
  • High Street
  • Manor Court
  • Mayfield Road
  • Thames Street

DYL = double yellow line, in other words no waiting at any time.

Devonshire Road

In Devonshire Road make the existing advisory disabled parking bay into a mandatory bay at any time, Blue Badge holders only, No time limit’. To improve compliance with existing bay.

High Street

Modify existing loading bay on the High Street to allow all vehicles to load/unload
here, not just goods vehicles as at present.

Manor Court

Manor court to introduce a DYL around the inside of the ‘island’ (access
to the flats). To prohibit parking which prevents access to the flats. To improve
safety.

Fortescue and Mayfield Junction

At the junction of Fortescue and Mayfield introduce DYLs to prevent parking
which obstructs sightlines to improve safety at the junction.

Roads around St George’s Junior School

In Beales Lane the addition of a DYL to prevent parking which causes obstruction to the carriageway and/or footway.

Grenside Road introducing an DYL  at the junction on the west side to prevent parking which obstructs sightlines. To improve safety at the junction.

Grotto Road extend existing DYLs  at the junction with Grenside Road to improve sightlines and safety at the junction.

In Thames Street the addition of a DYL in between existing restrictions near Montrose Walk and Portmore Park Road because it causes obstruction to traffic on the carriageway and poses a safety hazard to anyone wishing to use the footway at this location. Introduce ‘No Stopping Mon-Fri 8:15-9:15am and 2:30-4pm School Keep Clear’ on the opposite side of the road from the end of the existing school keep clear to the buildout opposite the access to Portmore Park Road. To improve traffic flow and safety during school ‘pick up and drop off times’.

Weybridge Parking – Permit Schemes

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This post deals with those parking schemes, requested by residents in the Weybridge Parking Review in 2018, which Surrey Highways officers have recommended to be rejected or for there to be ‘no further action at the current time’. These recommendations will be agreed or rejected at the Surrey Local Committee meeting at 4pm, Monday, 26 November, 2018 in the Civic Centre.

Rejected Scheme

Layton Court.  Residents request a permit scheme and a conversion of grass to hard standing. 16 signatures from 11 households- indicating support by 69%.  The road space directly in front of Layton Court can only accommodate 5 or 6 vehicles, so it does not seem feasible to restrict this to permit holders only and make it available for all 16 households in Layton Court. Taking a very low average of one vehicle per household means that there would be 16 permits sold and only 6 spaces. The creation of hard standing on the verges is not a ‘parking review’ issue. This would need to be considered by the local area highway team, although there is essentially no funding available to meet these kinds of requests.  Officer’s recommendation – do not proceed.

Schemes recommended for no further action at the current time

Dorchester Road.  A request for a resident permit scheme.  Survey indicates 85% support for the scheme.  The county council looked at a permit parking scheme for Dorchester Road in 2015/16 as part of the Weybridge parking review.  The idea was not progressed based on the feedback at the time.  See ‘Town Centre’ petition for further information about parking in this area.  Officer’s recommendation – no further action at the current time.

Gascoigne Road.  A residents’ request permit scheme. Support is 91% (in fact 100%).  The county council looked at a permit parking scheme for Gascoigne Road in 2015/16 as part of the Weybridge parking review. The idea was not progressed based on the feedback at the time. See ‘Town Centre’ petition for further information about parking in this area. Officer’s recommendation – no further action at the current time.

Limes Road.  To have controlled parking at all times or as close to it as possible. Officer’s recommendation.  Because discussions are ongoing about the possibility of providing more off-street car parking space, and we therefore do not feel it is appropriate to bring in further large-scale parking schemes in the town centre at the current time.  No further action.

Minorca Road.  To have controlled parking at all times or as close to it as possible. Officer’s recommendation.  Because discussions are ongoing about the possibility of providing more off-street car parking space, and we therefore do not feel it is appropriate to bring in further large-scale parking schemes in the town centre at the current time.  No further action.

Scheme was recommended for further development

Broomfield Court.  A request for a resident permit scheme.  Resident’s survey had 15 signatures from 14 households from 18 properties, proving 78% support.  Many of the properties in Broomfield Court do not have off street parking.  This scheme seems to have a lot of support and as the area is reasonably self-contained we do not consider parking displacement to be a risk.  Officer’s recommendation. Develop proposals for a parking management scheme including permit parking to operate in part of the road. Carry out informal consultation. If sufficient support for the idea is shown, refine proposals as necessary and progress to formal advertisement.

Liberal Democrats’ Prospective Parliamentary Candidate Monica Harding invites you to support her campaign

Dominic Raab’s resignation as Brexit Secretary has made it clear that our local MP wants the very hardest of Brexits and is willing to push our country to a no-deal.  There is no moderation in his idea of leaving the EU.  This is at odds with the wishes of his constituency who voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU.

As Brexit Secretary he was responsible for negotiating the deal which he now says he can’t support. Two years of negotiation and two Brexit secretaries have been unable to produce a deal which would lead us to the sunlit uplands promised by the Leave campaign.

It is clear it can’t be done.

We are left with a bad deal which the Prime Minister is trying to railroad us into accepting, because everyone knows a no deal outcome would be catastrophic.

The Prime Minister asked MPs to make a choice of her deal, no deal or no Brexit. She asked them to choose based on what their constituents want. We know what the constituents of Esher and Walton want based on their vote in the referendum. But I’m not sure our MP is listening or wants to listen. He certainly looks hell bent on his own idea of a hard Brexit.

If our MP can’t represent us then let’s fight for a people’s vote where we can express the final choice ourselves. Let’s take back control.

If you believe that your MP no longer represents you, then please join my campaign. My team are fighting hard for a people’s vote because we believe the people of Esher and Walton deserve better and for their voices to be heard.

Our country stands on the brink – the decisions taken over the next few months will determine our futures and Britain’s place in the world for decades to come. If you want your voice heard then join me. Please email me – monica_harding@hotmail.com – and we’ll work together.

Monica Harding
Prospective Parliamentary Candidate
for Liberal Democrats in Esher & Walton

Email monica_harding@hotmail.com

Surrey’s Parking Review Strategy

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Surrey County has changed the way it reviews parking across Elmbridge – again.  In 2015, they set in place a process for strategic reviews of parking in each of the nine towns in Elmbridge on a three yearly basis.  Weybridge was the second town to undergo a strategic review and found that county essentially ignored the wishes of residents and the advice of borough councillors in Weybridge Riverside. Understandably, this left many people disappointed and angry. County’s decisions did not reflect the needs of residents in town centre streets and appeared to be based on flawed logic.

The current approach

The three-year review approach was abandoned by county in 2017, with county reverting to annual reviews across the whole of Elmbridge.  In preparation for this year’s review Andrew and Vicki discussed parking issues with residents of each street.  Whilst views differed from place to place and, at times amongst residents of the same street, it was clear that certain streets needed prompt action this year.  People have been waiting long enough.

Officer recommendations

However SCC officers have recommended parking control changes in the following streets:  Beales Lane, Devonshire Road, Fortescue Road, Grenside Road, Grotto Road, High Street, Manor Court, Mayfield Road and Thames Street.These are mainly additional double yellow lines for safety reasons:For more information click here.

Streets with schemes that have been recommended not to proceed or where the officer recommendation is ‘no further action at the current time’ are: Baker Street, Balfour Road, Beales Lane, Broomfield Court (further work suggested but set to progress), Church Street, Dorchester Road, Gascoigne Road, Glencoe Road, Heath Road, Heathside Road, High Street, Jessamy Road, Layton Court, Limes Road, March Road, Minorca Road, Old Palace Road, Parkside Court, Portmore Park Road, Radnor Road, South Road, Thames Street, York Road and West Palace Gardens.  Details are listed here.

Can we afford to lose Weybridge Children’s Centre

Surrey County’s financial difficulties are putting at risk one of the most useful and effective community services in Weybridge – the Sure Start for All Children’s Centre, based in Churchfields.

Who needs help?

Surrey says that the closure of this, and other centres is necessary as it wishes to target those children “most in need”. Sadly, the way need is assessed is based almost wholly on national measures of disadvantage which ignores the very real needs and risks to well-being presented by more hidden needs such as unrecognised post-natal depression, domestic abuse and the simple isolation experienced by new mothers in commuter centres like Weybridge.

Why place matters

I spoke this week with the Leader of Weybridge Children’s Centre and came away convinced of the need for there to be high quality services available for children and families in most towns in Elmbridge. Daphne described to me the subtle ways of encouraging reluctant parents to attend the centre, and then access further services, which comes about thanks to informal encounters out and about in town. This is just not possible when parents have to travel to another town.

Weybridge’s centre is very special

Daphne and her deputy also filled me on on the range of innovative programmes they have introduced in Weybridge, which have been adopted by other centres and which have participants from other centres, including: a brilliant 7-week post-natal course; a paediatric First Aid course (only centre to run one) and an NHS facilitated 8-week Cognitive Behavioural Therapy based mental health course for mothers with post-natal depression.

What does OFSTED say?

In 2015 OFSTED visited the centre and found:

“One of the most notable features of their work is how successful the staff are in helping mothers and families become more capable.  This goes well beyond mothers and fathers learning how to become better parents.  It has a track record of helping parents to access education and progress to paid work.”

“The centre leader has done a sterling job of maintaining high-quality frontline services alongside inducting new staff and ensuring it is ‘business as usual’ for families during a period of significant change.”

“Her work is highly respected and valued by partners and parents alike.”

“The centre has been recognised as an ‘excellence in
practice partner’ by the health care provider for its work with parents at their child’s developmental check.”

“Targeted one-to-one support for children and families is effective and highly valued. Parents described staff to inspectors as ‘caring, sensitive, non-judgemental and patient’.”

Case files are of good quality and show the tangible impact that staff interventions have, particularly in empowering families to take control. Parents, including those from priority groups, build skills and confidence from attending specific programmes that help them to manage their children’s challenging behaviour positively.”

“The outreach work provided for the relatively high number of children and families who are in most need of support is extremely effective in enhancing their health, safety and well-being and
sustaining their involvement with the centre until their needs are met.”

“The centre provides access to high-quality services for most adults identified as needing help to improve their education and skills. Initial entry-level English courses are delivered by the college at the centre, where a crèche is provided by centre staff.”

Can we really let this disappear without a fight?

Read more on the centre’s facebook page give your opinion to Surrey here

Libraries

Surrey is undertaking several consultations and is seeking your comments by 4 January 2019 to help it shape those services for the future.

More people are using Surrey’s online services with fewer visiting in person, so changes to the library service are proposed to do things differently to fit better with modern life. views are being sought on the strategic principles that will shape the future service – such as whether libraries could bring together a range of local services under one roof.

Further details on all the consultations and the opportunity to submit views on these proposals can be found here.  The consultation response is at the bottom of the consultation webpage.

The analysis of the responses to the consultations will be presented to Surrey’s cabinet in January 2019 for consideration and then to full council in February.  There will then be a second phase of consultation where it will share detailed proposals in 2019 to seek resident’s views before any final decisions are made.

Surrey’s Recycling Proposals

Surrey is undertaking several consultations and it seeks your comments by 4 January 2019

Despite changes to recycling centres last year, Surrey’s financial pressures are so severe that consideration needs to be given to whether further savings can be found at community recycling centres.

Surrey’s proposals include:

  • Permanently closing a number of smaller, less effective CRCs, whilst
    increasing the opening hours at some CRCs. Up to six CRC sites are
    under consideration for closure: Bagshot, Cranleigh, Dorking, Farnham,
    Lyne and Warlingham.
  • Introducing a charge to dispose of construction wood and roofing felt.
  • Increasing the cost of disposing of items we already charge for.
  • Charging an annual application fee for van, pickup and trailer permits.

There are no recycling centres in Elmbridge and residents would probably use
the centres in Leatherhead or Epsom which are not proposed for closure, but
whose opening hours may change.

Further details on all the consultations and the opportunity to submit views on
these proposals can be found here.  The consultation response is at the bottom of the consultation webpage.

The analysis of the responses to the consultations will be presented to Surrey’s cabinet in January 2019 for consideration and then to full council in February.

Disability Bus Passes

Surrey is undertaking several consultations and it invites you to give your comments on disability bus passes by 4 January 2019

The consultation is proposing changes to concessionary bus fares. Surrey has been providing benefits over and above the national scheme for many years. The national scheme allows people with a disabled person’s bus pass to travel free on buses after 9:30am and before 11pm on weekdays and all day at weekends and on public holidays. Surrey is one of a few areas in the country still offering free travel for disability pass holders at all times and a free companion pass for qualifying older or disabled bus pass holders who need help to travel. Under the proposals these extra concessions would be
removed, which along with other efficiencies, would save around £400,000 a year.

Further details on all the consultations and the opportunity to submit views on
these proposals can be found here.  The consultation response is at the bottom of the consultation webpage.

The analysis of the responses to the consultations will be presented to Surrey’s cabinet in January 2019 for consideration and then to full council in February.