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.

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  The reason that withdrawn slots should be randomly chosen is to avoid any possibility that airlines could be seen to affect the choice of slot to be removed.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.

 

Highest employment ever

UnemploymentIt has taken some hard choices – and the remarkable effort of millions of people and business around the country – but this marks another positive step on the road to a stronger economy.
There are two million more people in private sector jobs, fewer unemployed young people, long term unemployment is falling and we have more women in work than ever before.

The only way we have been able to play our part in turning the economy around is by taking the long view.  Back in 2008-09 who would have thought the Britain would have the highest growth in Europe (bar Iceland) and the seven highest in the OECD (after Chile, Iceland, Israel, Mexico, New Zealand and Turkey).

But, in my view, we have a long way to go.  Part of the solution is to ensure that any government at the national level is elected with the majority of the voters.  It is unlikely that the recovery would have happened if the Liberal Democrats had not stepped up to provide Britain with a strong and stable government in tough times.  The coalition was elected with 59% of the vote.  There has not been a British national government elected with a backing of over 50% of the vote since the 1930s.  Indeed, in peacetime the present coalition was elected with more support than any other government since the Liberal landslide in the 1860s under Gladstone.

British voting since 1832

Elmbridge Retailer of the Year

An outstanding number of votes were received this year for Elmbridge Retailer of the Year 2014 but not one of the winners came from Weybridge.  Did you vote? The voting closed on Tuesday,  6 May.  The winners were:

  • Best restaurant/café – Dolly’s Tea Rooms, Molesey
  • Best for hair and beauty – Academy, Claygate
  • Best for clothes or gifts – Zebra Boutique, Walton
  • Best deli/grocery/speciality foods store – Paul’s Fruit and Veg, Ditton
  • Best for speciality products – The Art Agency, Esher
  • Best independent retailer in Elmbridge – Ceramica, Claygate

Europe set to have cap on credit card fees

Credit Card websiteThe European lower house (European parliament) voted this month to cap credit card fees to 0.3% and debit card fees to 0.2% of the transaction value (or 6p if lower). These caps would apply across Europe.

Research has shown that a cap in fees could provide retailers with nearly £5 billion in savings and lead to lower consumer prices. However, the upper house (Council of Ministers) has to concur before such caps can become law.

Each year businesses suffer from unregulated and unjustifiably high fees when a customer chooses to pay by card.  Capping these transaction fees will mean businesses can and should be able to pass on savings to consumers, which will directly benefit households across Europe and contribute to economic growth and consumer confidence.

As the Party of In, Liberal Democrats want to strengthen and protect our vital trade links with the rest of Europe. By cutting unnecessary costs for businesses Britain can increase its competitiveness within the world’s largest single market – Europe.