Heathrow third runway – your say

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In  October 2016 the national government announced that the Heathrow Northwest Runway Scheme was its preferred location for new runway capacity in the south east,  and ran a 16 week consultation.

A consultation on the revised draft Airports National Policy Statement is now underway. This is an opportunity to record your views on the proposals.

The revised draft Airports National Policy Statement sets out:

  • the need for additional airport capacity in the south-east of England
  • why government believes that need is best met by a north-west runway at Heathrow Airport
  • the specific requirements that an applicant for a new north-west runway will need to meet to gain development consent.

The consultation runs until 19th December 2017. For more information click here or phone 0300 123 4797 or go to this page to make a response.

Funding available for local community projects

This is a great opportunity for our local charities and voluntary groups which are now invited to apply for the Elmbridge borough’s annual grants fund.  Awards up to £4,000 to groups supporting people in need in the local community are available. Previous years’ initiatives have included carer respite programmes, family advocacy support, crime prevention schemes, and purchasing of equipment.

Liberal Democrat Councillor, Andrew Davis commented: “This is a great opportunity for voluntary organisations in and around Weybridge to support initiatives that directly benefit the vulnerable people in our community”.  This is your chance to apply.

A Voluntary Sector Forum will take place at 2.30 – 5.30pm, on Friday, 24 November at the Civic Centre in Esher, when advice will be given on how to apply for a grant.

For more information, or to request an application form, contact the borough’s voluntary sector support office on 01372 474543 or scampbell@elmbridge.gov.uk.  Forms can be downloaded here.

Making Our Taxis Safer

Taxis need to be licenced by local governments, this ensures some level of safety  for the customer.  At the moment each borough in Surrey sets their own rules for granting taxi licences. It is proposed to bring all Surrey boroughs in line with the aim of increasing the safety of the public.

Elmbridge borough is asking for your views on its plans to increase protection of  children and vulnerable persons when using licenced taxis.

The biggest change proposed is to make child sexual exploitation awareness training compulsory for all drivers. The other major change is that criminal convictions and general behavior of the driver be taken into account before a licence is granted. At the moment, a driver denied a licence in one borough of Surrey could reapply in a different borough. The proposed changes would prevent this.

Contact the council with your views before 4 December at here or contact us.  Changes agreed would be announced in early 2018.

Weybridge Hall

The Elmbridge Liberal Democrat coalition put forward a proposal for the conversion of the Weybridge Hall into a cinema with flats above.  This was agreed by the council on 19 April this year.

This would be a great addition to the evening economy with people typically adding a meal or drinks to the occasion.  Ample parking is directly opposite.  The intention is for the cinema to run throughout the day – running less mainstream movies for the young and old.

The specific tenure of the flats will change over time but they will be part of our programme to meet our social housing needs.  There will be five or six self-contained flats for the upper floors, to be either affordable units, temporary homeless accommodation or general needs affordable housing.

One of the key aspects of the design is to ensure that the acoustics are perfect not just for the cinema goers but for the residents above and the neighbours surrounding the development.

There are several steps still to go.  The operators of the cinema will need to be decided.  Planning permission too is required and, all being well, the construction will begin in the spring.

Weybridge Spine Cycleway

We have been promoting a cycleway through Weybridge for a number of years and despite many setbacks, practical steps are now being made.  The cycleway will link Byfleet to Weybridge and pass by M&S, Tescos, The Heights, The London and Brooklands Museum,  Brooklands College, Heathside School, St George’s School, the station and the town centre, The cycleway is in three parts:

  • The southern end meets the Byfleet cycleway at the Elmbridge/Woking border at Brooklands and passes through the park, past the Brooklands museum, alongside the railway to the station. It is proposed that the section from the Mercedes Benz world and the Heights to the station will be well lit.
  • The middle part will travel parallel to Heath Road and via an upgraded Springrose path and Springfield Lane to Monument Green
  • The northern part will link Monument Green with the Thames Pathway and Wey Navigation Path

The southern section is being developed first.  This and the middle section require access to common land and therefore, subject to public consultation which ends on 27 November, the permission of the Secretary of State.  The Elmbridge Countryside Consultative Group has already endorsed the scheme.

Alongside this various land permissions and cycle orders are required to accompany the business case the Elmbridge and Surrey have to make to unlock the allocated local enterprise partnership funding for the project.

The aim is to finalise the project’s business case in December 2017 in order to submit the application in January 2018 for opening in 2019/20.

Homes for the future

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.

The perverse position is that we already have enough bedrooms to house everyone.  Properties are left empty and others have more bedrooms than people.  The mix of housing is totally out of kilter.  We have to rebalance the supply of housing to reflect the needs of our people today and for the decades to come.

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

On a national scale we would create at least ten new garden cities in providing tens of thousands of high-quality new zero carbon homes, with gardens and shared green space, jobs, schools and public transport.  Only when homes are built alongside transport, education and health facilities can communities develop robustly.

On a local scale the national government should stop undermining local government.   The Liberal Democrats would empower localities to look after the needs of their own population and their own priorities.

Such action would include:

  • The national government fully funding the right to buy social housing programme.  In other words, if the national government maintains the right to buy for tenants, the discount between the market price and the price offered to the tenant is paid for by the national government.  This sum could then be used to build more social housing.
  • Ending the national government’s restriction of local government borrowing for housing.  This would greatly increase the supply of social housing to meet local needs.
  • Requiring local plans to take into account at least 15 years of future housing need for the indigenous population – focusing on long-term development and community needs.
  • Improving renting by banning lettings fees for tenants, capping up-front deposits, and increasing minimum standards in rented homes.
  • Promoting longer tenancies of three years or more with an inflation-linked annual rent increase built in, to give tenants security and limit rent hikes.
  • Strengthening local government powers to enforce higher quality standards in private rented properties.
  • Improving protections against rogue landlords through mandatory licensing and allow access for tenants to the database of rogue landlords and letting agents.
  • Giving tenants first refusal to buy their rented home, if their landlord decides to sell during their tenancy, at the market rate.

In the longer term the provision of extra homes would be assisted by: gradually removing the capital gains tax exemption on domestic property; reforming and gradually eliminating stamp duty; and, introducing a land value tax.  These actions alone will begin to nudge people into considering their house as a home and not as their main investment opportunity.  Not only would this allow people to move more frequently to new homes that suit their needs but would help the economy by rebalancing our savings into investing into industry and commerce.

The national government and the media often blame nimbies and local planning for the lack of housing in our country but it is the national government’s taxation and spending policy that stops local governments like Elmbridge planning for building the homes needed for healthy communities.

Time to Speak Out against Domestic Abuse

A free workshop is open to you in Esher at 12-2pm, on Tuesday, 28 November.
STOP ABUSE

A relationship is considered abusive when one partner tries to dominate, threaten or bully the other, either mentally or physically.

Young people and children suffer hugely when they witness such behaviour and this is also considered to be a form of domestic abuse.

The stress endured by people in abusive relationships can deeply affect their self-esteem and their health, often resulting in absence from work, or even the loss of their job as a result.

Sadly, domestic abuse is still considered by many to be a taboo subject, which means that those who suffer it are too ashamed or embarrassed to seek help. With this in mind, the Elmbridge Community and Safety Partnership and Surrey Police are keen to encourage victims to speak out and to take advantage of the services available to them.

To raise awareness locally, a free event is taking place at 12-2pm, on Tuesday, 28 November at the Civic Centre in Esher. There will be a short dramatised production by Alter Ego, exploring the impact of domestic abuse, as well as informative talks and material. To register for the event: Surrey Domestic Abuse Helpline: 01483 776822

Late Night Licence Application – Weybridge

The premises,  previously Sullivan’s Wine Bar, is proposed as a restaurant/entertainment place selling alcohol.  It would be open past 11pm

There is a notice in the window asking for local objectors to write to:
Borough of Elmbridge
Civic Centre
1 High Street
ESHER
KT10 9SD

(email or phone is not sufficient – they will only take notice of written objections)

Weybridge station – Entrance closed

The entrance for the upper car park to Weybridge has been closed.  The gates were sadly padlocked  today and we understand may have been that way for the last  two weeks.

There was no sign indicating the closure. Just inside the locked gates was one to say it would be open 10am to 4pm.  It wasn’t.

Today, in response to an inquiry of South Western Railway, there was no direct answer to the question,  ‘why is it closed?   We were told that an answer from the station manager, Peter Burn, should be given within 20 days.