What’s happening with the new Weybridge Cinema?

Much needed town centre development

Weybridge residents are looking forward to having a new independent cinema at the site of Weybridge Hall. This might be the first of several enhancements to the life of the town centre. However, people have expressed concern over the lack of any update and apparent delay in the development moving forward.

Why the delay?

Recently published council papers (Item 6) now show that there have been unanticipated costs which which will impact the overall budget needed. These arise from removal of asbestos and the proposed approach to effective sound proofing. The cabinet will be considering this on 4 July and will make recommendations to full council.

Culture and Affordable Housing

The plan for this development is to deliver a cinema with around 100 seats, plus affordable housing units above. These will comprise four one-bedroom and one two-bedroom units. These units will be affordable for rent properties.

Clearly residents and businesses in Weybridge are keen for this development to the evening economy to go ahead. We are keen to enhance the social and cultural life of the town which is great to live in.

Keeping you informed

We will provide an update once a decision has been taken.

 

Grants for business

Elmbridge borough has grants to aid businesses  via the Elmbridge Civic Improvement Fund.  Weybridge is the biggest claimer for funds in Elmbridge.  The aim is to support the growth of the local economy.  Funding can help you business with:

  • Shop fronts and signage
  • marketing and promotion
  • town centre events
  • streetscape improvements
  • learning, skills and training

Contact 01932 474 216, email business@elmbridge.gov.uk or click here.

A Vision for Weybridge

Many Weybridge residents have told me that they would like the town centre to have a focal point – what better than to pedestrianise the very centre of the town?  Give your comments.  It is just a very short strip between Baker Street and Churchfields Road but it would make a great difference to the look and feel of Baker Street, Church Street and the High Street. This would bring a whole series of benefits.

  • There would be a small piazza for people to relax in the quiet centre of town
  • Shopping throughout the town centre would be a more pleasant experience
  • Air pollution, which is current at or above legal limits, would be greatly reduced
  • More short-term parking would be available
  • More trees could be planted in the High Street
  • Baker Street would no longer be a rat-run
  • Access to the town centre would be quicker as the through traffic would not be in the way
  • Buses would travel through the town centre unimpeded by cars.
  • The noise level would be so low that we could hear bird song rather than car engines.

It is likely that far more people could be sat across the new pavement between Cafe One and the Elmbridge Arms.  What a pleasant way to have a cup of tea or coffee in the sun.

This project would cost very little.   Many projects like this can takes years to put in place in England because of the way our governments are organised.  Responsibilities are spread between so many bodies that no-one takes the lead.

What about having a pilot first – just for next summer?  A temporary pilot would probably cost less than the consultation exercise required.  People would quickly experience the positive and negative aspects of the scheme.  Changes could be made as necessary through practical experience.  What is your view – take the survey.

Most people would consider that the biggest problem would be what happens to the traffic?  Clearly the through traffic will not be able to travel down the High Street.  Just like water, traffic always finds new ways through.  Surprisingly when changes like this are made a proportion of the traffic simply disappears but we would be wise to anticipate any problems and put in place appropriate mitigation measures.

This is simply a suggestion to set off your creative juices.  Another idea – much more expensive is here.

Walking Safely in the High Street

Have you ever walked along Church Street and wondered why pedestrians should give way to traffic coming out of 10 Church Street next to the Golden Place?

Church Street 10

 

 

 

 

 

 

Well of course you shouldn’t but the way the footway is laid out makes you think you had better stop for traffic.  This is poor design and Weybridge is full of them.Church Street 44

 

 

 

 

 

 

Number 44 Church is another example where people – notice the blind persons’ pavement treatment – are expected to stop for next to no traffic.   Church Street 35

 

 

 

 

 

The Rectory entrance on the other side is much better.  It it tells drivers that they should give way to pedestrians.

High Street 68

 

 

 

 

 

 

The entrance to Ship Yard, above is priority goes the wrong way.

In London this problem has been recognized.  A study was undertaken at many locations to see whether pedestrians or drivers should be given priority.   It was decided on a cautious approach on the basis that if three times as many pedestrians crossed a minor street than vehicles entered into it then the junction would be modified to give pedestrians priority.

Junction Before

 

 

 

 

 

 

Before, above – after, below.

Junction After

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fears that drivers would present a danger were unfounded.

If any change is made to Weybridge town centre these modifications would be a useful improvement to our town.  We could always go the whole hog.

Other town locations shown below

Monument Green East

 

 

 

 

 

Walking to Morrisons across Springfield Lane

Monument Green West

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another junction that could be a crossover.

Monument Green North

 

 

 

 

 

The entrance to the Ship Hotel should be converted into a crossover at the next opportunity.

High Street 47

 

 

 

 

 

The entrance to an office car park is another case of very low volume car traffic again high volume pedestrian traffic.

Church Street Hospital

 

 

 

 

 

 

Although more cars use the hospital entrance I think people crossing would come out top.

Church Street Minorca

 

 

 

 

 

Minorca Road could be an opportunity too but we would have to look at the figures.  The examples below would need to be checked for traffic figures but are in contention.

Church Street 2

 

 

 

 

 

Churchfields Road

High Street Elmgrove

 

 

 

 

 

Elmgrove Road

High Street Baker

 

 

 

 

 

Baker Street.  Some are saying that this end of Baker Street should be pedestrianized in any case.

Heathrow

heathrow_3_750Heathrow was a poor locational choice for a new major airport even when it opened in 1944 and replaced Croydon and Hendon airports.  Also the land for this new London Airport was forcibly purchased by the national government under special powers – the Defence of the Realm Act – without compensation to the landowners specifically to avoid public opposition.

A similar approach is happening today.  Notwithstanding, the impact of an enlarged airport on noise, air and ground pollution the proposed airport expansion does not make economic sense.  The assumptions used in the Davies report  – discount rates for investment, payback periods and PFI rates etc could be considered designed to ensure that the recommendation of the report  could only be Heathrow.

If it is considered that south-east England needs extra airport capacity then it should be in the Thames estuary if at all and while such an airport is being built then perhaps Gatwick could be expanded as a less dreadful choice than Heathrow.

At present Heathrow is running at too high a capacity – far higher than other airports. Heathrow should have the number of flights reduced so that it ordinarily runs at 80% capacity.  At such capacity the amount of stacking would be reduced, thus dramatically reducing air pollution and noise (saving fuel too) and also the airport would be able to cope better when the weather is not so favourable.

To do this the national government  – with one year’s notice  – should randomly withdraw six slots (flight movements in or out) a month (a week would be better but more unsettling for the industry).  The reason that withdrawn slots should be randomly chosen is to avoid any possibility that airlines could be seen to affect the choice of slot to be removed.  At the same time four of those slots would be leased by auction for, say, five years to the highest bidder.  The revenue would not go to the airport but to the state.  The revenues could be partly used to either compensate those who lived near the airport before it was built or to develop better landside connections to reduce air pollution from arriving road traffic or both.

Côte Brasserie comes to Weybridge

Cote  Brasserie-01The restaurant chain has applied for planning permission to combine two shops: Sevenoaks Sound and Vision and the Nail Company beauty salon into one to provide a larger retail unit.  One of the problems for Weybridge has been the lack of larger retail units, so that combining neighbouring units might be a way forward – as Boots, Laura Ashley and the Slug and Lettice have done in the past.

If Côte Brasserie opens then 41, 43, 45, 47 and 47 Church Street will be a row of restaurants.  We do like eating out in Weybridge.

Business Masterclass: a practical leadership guide.

Business MasterclassA part of its business development programme Elmbridge has produced a series of events for SMEs.  The first is  business masterclass on leadership skills.

This free event will focus on providing business owners, managers, and anyone who leads staff with the practical leadership skills they need to lead effective/productive teams and keep control as the business size and ambition grows.

Hear from Tony Crouch from Outstand, who has over 30 years’ experience with Unilever and now specialises in advising SMEs on the leadership skills they need to manage teams and growth.

In addition the event offers a fantastic networking opportunity with like-minded SMEs from across the borough to meet new potential suppliers and future business contacts.

The class is at 8:00 till 10:00 on Tuesday, 14 July 2015 at Civic Centre, High Street, Esher KT10 9SD

If you would like to attend this free event please sign up via:https://business-masterclass.eventbrite.co.uk

Weybridge Town Centre Traffic

Baker Street websiteWeybridge town centre needs a comprehensive overhaul – from Balfour Road to Monument Hill and all points in between.   Last year I posted about what we could achieve for Weybridge.

What was lacking was not the ideas or the commitment but the availability of funds.  However, there are government funds especially in place for enabling extra investment in transport infrastructure of the M3/A3 corridor.

But we have to bid for these funds and for our bid to be successful we would have to detail why improving Weybridge would be a benefit of the M3/A3 corridor as a whole.  Not only has Weybridge one of the highest GVAs in the country based on the flagship companies located in the town but its transport infrastructure is restricting growth its further growth potential.  Weybridge is such a popular destination it is notoriously difficult to enter the town from any direction in the morning.

I believe that a case can be made for improving Weybridge’s infrastructure but such a case costs money to design.  We need to bid elsewhere for to the funds to develop a feasibility study.  Again this can be done.

Morrisons

Proposed view of Morrisons SmallThank you for all your questions and comments.  These are the answers that Morrison gave me today at our meeting.

When will Monument Hill be opened?  This afternoon.

Will all of the street work be complete?  No there will be short closures from time to time.  The pedestrian crossing is still to be finished and the landscaping will be completed in November – apparently the best time to plants trees.

What about the illumined sign at the rear of the store?  Morrisons says it will look again at the sign facing Baker Street.

What about the contractor parking problem?  Morrisons says that it has made park and ride facilities available to all contractors so if anyone finds any problem parking then call Simon Whittingham on 07964 245 239.

When will the store be opened? The intended day for the opening of the store will be Monday, 24 November. Morrisons invite ideas for the opening – any thoughts?

How will the store manage traffic after opening?  Morrisons expects a larger than usual number of visitors in the first few weeks so it has laid on extra resources to ensure that the flows are well managed.

What is the employment situation?  All the twenty or so departmental managers have been recruited and Morrisons is in the final placement stage for the general staff of 200. Most of which are very local. Morrisons has worked with the job centre next door to recruit long term unemployed people and the apprenticeships will be in place soon. further recruitment will begin soon to fill in any gaps.

Where will the staff park?  Morrisons says that in off-peak times those staff members who need to park wills use the under-croft parking at the store.  At peak times Morrisons says it will provide off-street parking (not Elmbridge public car parks).

Will there be trolley tokens to stop trolleys being left all over the place?  No there will not nor will there be any trolley mechanism to stop the trolleys leaving the store. However, Morrisons beleives that the design of the store is such that people will not take trolleys out of the store. That will be one to watch.

Will Morrison seek further planning change in the future?  Given that the Weybridge store is the only one in the country that does not have deliveries on all of its opening days, I expect Morrisons to apply again at some point in the future to have some of the delivery restrictions set aside.  Said the that I thought it would be unwise to pursue such a course until its stock with the burghers was considerably higher than it is at present. It would need to demonstrate that the local fears regarding noise were unfounded – if that be possible.

The roundabout looks awful – will Morrisons change it?  The roundabout is Surrey’s idea as is the chevron design. This is a matter that I will be taking up in due course.

Parking responsibility  On-street parking management is perversely Surrey’s responsibility (I think it should be Elmbridge’s but thee you go).  I have no doubt that a review of all local streets will have to take place once Morrisons opens.  Surrey has already said that, in Elmbridge, it will look at Walton first – there is no guarantee that Weybridge would be next – unless we all kick up a fuss.

Baker Street Traffic. This problem should abate now that the road works are almost complete.  As part of the planning application Morrisons has agreed to contribute to the traffic carming of Baker Street.  It is for Surrey to take this project forward.  I have a more radical solution – restrict motorised traffic (apart from buses and taxis) from passing in front of Lloyds Bank. That would remove through traffic completed and civilise the town.

Have I missed anything? Then please tell me.