Merry Christmas Weybridge

This Saturday afternoon, Weybridge annual Christmas market and the lighting of the Christmas tree, organised by the Weybridge Town Business Group.

Market – 1pm to 6pm
The artisan, food and craft market will be held in Baker Street.  Many popular stallholders from previous market events are returning with their unique Christmas food & gift Ideas.  There are new stalls and entertainment.

Visit Father Christmas – 1pm to 6pm
Grotto and Sleigh

Carols 1:15pm
with Oatlands School ChoirCarols 3pm
with St James’s Church Choir

Children’s Parade – 4pm
Children from all five primary schools in Weybridge will take part in the lantern parade –  Manby Lodge, Oatlands, St Charles Borromeo, St James, and St Georges Junior.

Lighting Up – 4:45pm
This year the Christmas tree lights will be switched on by Miss Surrey
Carols – 5pm
For everyone to join in – carols around the tree

Brooklands Radio will be providing great music & entertainment.

Stalls
April’s Table, BBQ by Stoneleigh’s, Bee Product Gifts – Weybridge Beekeeping Society, Born to Build, Brooklands College, Brooklands Radio, Cook Weybridge, Cellar One Weybridge, Darcey B’s – Candles & More!, Father Christmas & Sleigh – Rotary Club Woking, Flipping Amazing, Forever Living, Geminera, George Bakes, Grape Outdoors, Hook A Duck Stall, In Love With Macarons, Lesley Blackburn, Love Print Unique, Mark Horner, St James’s Church, Weybridge – Dementia Care, Silent Pool Gin, Simon’s Pies, Stella and Dot, Stoked Pizza, Thru the Eye of a Needle, Tombola by Weybridge Day Centre, Village Maid Cheese, Waffles On A Stick, Willow Bakery, Wendy Foreman

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

Special Educational Needs and Disability 

Surrey county is undertaken several consultations and it is seeking your views by 4 January 2019 to help it shape the special educational needs and disability (Send) services throughout Surrey for the future

Surrey says that its draft strategy includes proposals for giving support as early as possible, which would be better for those who need help. The aim is also to provide support nearer to home and reduce the need for children to go to schools out of the county. To achieve this an extra 350 specialist school places are planned to be created in Surrey over the next two years. Surrey believes that, overall, the changes will mean better outcomes for children and families and with government funding failing to keep pace with the big increase in children needing help, they may also avoid more costly services being needed in the future.

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 we will share detailed proposals in 2019 to seek resident’s views before any final decisions are made.

Getting to grips with parking – the basics

Residents’ concern

As a recently elected councillor, I find that parking is one of the top topics that people raise with me. Issues I have been dealing with both before the election and now are:

  • unreasonable and dangerous parking by parents around one particular school in my ward
  • lack of access for waste removal from homes due to inconsiderate parking in narrow residential streets
  • Monday to Friday parking restrictions (single yellow lines) applying to Bank Holidays, not just working Mondays
  • severe parking congestion in the evening in town centre streets – even those with a CPZ
  • absence of turning space at the end of cul de sacs

What to do?

Some of these problems are matters of making information more widely available and better signposting: e.g. Mondays to Friday restrictions apply on Bank Holidays throughout Elmbridge. Or proactively letting diners know there is free evening parking available in Elmbridge car parks. These can be just 5 minutes away from their restaurant destination.

Taking it further

Some parking transgressions are due to lack of consideration or plain selfishness. The net result is that local people suffer at the hands of the inconsiderate!

When appeals for considerate behaviour fall on deaf ears, we need to explore what actions accountable authorities should take. And when this avenue is exhausted, we need to explore how the situation can be transformed.

Improvements in Weybridge

Over the following months your local Lib Dem councillors will be supporting local residents seeking improved CPZ timings in town centre streets. We will also be seeking to ensure that residents in narrow roads do receive bin collections, undisrupted by poor parking. And finally we will be exploring imaginative ways of securing clear pavements and safe parking around problem schools.

 

Elmbridge Loos

When the Liberal Democrat/Residents administration formed, one task on the to-do list was to end the expensive contract for the unpopular automatic loos.  Weybridge had three automatic loos all within 100m of each other.  These will be removed, as will all similar loos across Elmbridge.  Subject to full council approval, the present automatic loos will be separated into two categories – those in town centres and those in leisure facilities.  The brick built loos will remain.

The loos in town centres will be replaced by communities loos schemes although after consultation with all of the Weybridge councillors it was decided that Weybridge did not need such a scheme.

In the leisure facilities it is suggested that, if there is a sufficient footfall, there should new loos like the one below.

Brooklands park, which does not have an automatic loo, could be one of the locations where loos are introduced and £70,000 has been allocated for the works required.

If you want further information click here.

Blackspots in Weybridge

ACCIDENTS WAITING TO HAPPEN ON OUR ROADS

Many Weybridge residents are acutely aware of the traffic dangers in their neighbourhoods and on the roads they use as they go about their lives. Five local ‘black spots’ have been brought to our attention recently: Grenside Road (behind Thames Street), the junction by the station (again), Mayfield Road, Princes Road and Pine Grove and now Minorca Road.  All for different reasons, but each an example of why we need action to make our roads safer for all users.  In all cases Surrey County Council have a role to play in bringing about improvements.  Do you know of other roads where the risk of an accident is greater than average?

To let us know – email vicki.macleod@elmbridgelibdems.org.uk

In this article, we are highlighting the problems for residents of Grenside Road.

In Grenside Road the problem has been caused by a ‘kiss and drop’ policy for pupils at St George’s Junior School. In its efforts to encourage safety on Thames Street, the school has opened a back entrance to the school.  This now means that parents drive in to Grenside Road and park on the pavements. This has not solved the safety problem, it has simply transferred it to Grenside, where it is felt acutely by the residents who are lobbying Surrey to improve safety. They have been supported in this by Portmore Park and District Residents Association and the Lib Dems.

The local Surrey councillor has referred the matter to SCC Highways, but nothing has happened yet, despite the safety issues.

Dangers include: risk of a collision when exiting garages in the morning due to poor visibility, risk to young children going in to and leaving the school who are hidden by the bonnets of parental SUVs; risk to local pedestrians – especially those in buggies or with prams –  who are prevented from using their pavements because they are blocked by parked parents dropping off their children. The parking here is so intense at school drop off and collect time that people have been known to park on the grass between pavement and gardens.

Despite efforts of local Elmbridge Councillors and strong lobbying by Lib Dem Cllr Andrew Davis to have Grenside Road included in SCC’s Strategic Review of parking in Weybridge, SCC refused to budge from their original view and Grenside was excluded from consideration.

Possible solutions

Local resident Sarah Groves has written to her SCC councillor saying; “Local residents feel that this road has been completely ignored . . .. Since the Junior School’s ‘Kiss and Drop’ system was put in place there has been an increase in the volume of traffic on Grenside – parents are now approaching the School via Grenside from Grotto Road and from Thames Street via Convent Lane and then onto Grenside, this at peak times causes chaos especially when there is nowhere to turn safely –  Grenside Road is effectively a cul-de-sac.  The whole fabric of the road and pavements has deteriorated due to the high volume of traffic with vehicles turning and reversing onto pavements – churning the surface up with their SUV’s.”

She adds: “There is no traffic management system in place i.e. parking restrictions, speed limit signs, nor in fact the triangular signs showing children crossing; and the rear entrance/exit of the school has no clear yellow zigzags, that are outside every other school where children enter and leave.”

Local Lib Dem Vicki Macleod says “We were stunned that Surrey did not include Grenside Road in the strategic review of parking: it is a prime example of where a small intervention could have a big and positive impact on safety. We will continue to suport local residents in their quest to make Grenside safe for children and residents.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Far From the Madding Crowd

Swans canoodling on the Broad Water.

If you want to explore a newly opened part of Weybridge, simply walk around the new Broad Water path circuit.  The walk is about three miles long and can be accessed in several places.  From the Thames Path at Cowey Sale car park, Shepperton and Thames Path opposite D’Oyly Carte Island bridge, Weybridge.  From Weybridge town centre at Grenside Road (turn right at the St Georges School barrier).  From Walton a couple of hundred metres beyond Walton Lodge, along Oatlands Drive.

The green line indicates the new public footpath alongside the Weybridge Broad Water.

It is not yet completely wheel chair friendly – which is the intention.  But you can cycle around it.  There is one bridge yet to be built but you can easily cycle across the temporary construction.  Two bridges over the Engine River still have steps but just dismount to cross. The western stretch from Grenside to Thames path has two kissing gates so a tandem will not get though.

Engine River Bridge

You have to cross Walton Lane at the western and the eastern end to complete the circuit but both crossings are in or near 20mph limited areas.

Its great for all the family and, for a while at least, it is a well kept secret.

The hidden entrance at the Walton end along Oatlands Drive.

If you have never seen Broad water field you will not be aware that it has goal posts – no jumpers for goal posts as in Churchfields Rec.

 

 

Design a Flowerbed Competition – open till 27 January

Elmbridge Borough is holding a competition for local 7-11 year olds – one of the many activities being held nationwide to celebrate the UK-India Year of Culture in 2017.

The challenge is to design a circular flowerbed based on the vibrant colours and some of the more simple designs found in India.

The winning design in Weybridge will be planted in the Churchfields park.

For more examples of designs like the one above which are drawn on pavements, often in front of houses in Tamil Nadu, see photos taken by  Vicki Macleod on her recent travels there on the Weybridge LibDems Facebook page.

Entries must be submitted to Elmbridge by Friday, 27 January and full information on entering the competition can be found on the Elmbridge website.

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.