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.

 

 

Slower speeds, safer streets

Damage after crashSurrey’s Conservative Leader, David Hodge, when giving evidence about 20mph speed limits to a House of Commons Select Committee in 2014 said: “The problem is that it is all very well putting in a 20mph limit, but unless somebody is going to enforce it you have wasted a whole lot of money. My view is that I have no intention of wasting public money putting in 20mph limits.”

John Furey, Surrey’s portfolio holder for transport told me that he had no mind to implement 20mph limits because it hindered people’s business and he wanted growth for Surrey.  But this view does not bear scrutiny.

Let’s do a quick calculation.  Most car journeys are under five miles long. They usually begin on a side street, pass along a few main roads and end on a side street.  Let’s assume that the journey is 5 miles long – 4.6 miles on main roads and 0.4 miles on the two sides streets at each end.  Let us also assume that the driver can drive at the maximum speed along the whole journey – hardly likely during the day (even at night either) – no stopping to give way at junctions, no traffic lights, no zebra crossings and no congestion. At 30mph the journey would take ten minutes door-to door.  Given that the maximum speeds in the side streets would be 20mph – the journey in such a case would be 10.4 minutes door-to door. The difference is 24 seconds.  In other words, the journey would take 4% longer.  The longer the journey the proportionally smaller the time difference.  During the middle of the day the difference would be too small to notice.  Yet for the sake of a few seconds lives are lost and injuries greater.

But the 20mph limit on side streets makes a greater difference. Surveys across the country have shown that mothers will cycle if the streets are seen to be safe and, more importantly, they will let their children cycle too.  In general mothers have more influence on their children cycling than fathers.  The greater the switch to cycling the lower the air pollution, the more pleasant the environment, and the healthier the people.

Given that between the ages of 5 and 40 the greatest single cause of death in Britain is being killed by a moving vehicle (whether driving it, being a passenger or being a passerby) it is important to reduce this loss of life.  Enforcing a 20mph speed limit on side streets would be the single most effective way for the police service to protect us.

Currently the cost of 20mph limits is a small 20mph roundel on every other lamppost.

Lib Dems urge Surrey to protect children

Childrens servicesFollowing an Ofsted inspection this June, which rated Surrey’s Children’s Service as “inadequate”, Surrey’s Conservative administration has published its plan on Children’s Improvement 2015.

“Inspectors concluded that there were widespread and serious failures that potentially leave children at risk of harm,” said ClIr Hazel Watson, Surrey’s Leader of the Liberal Democrat Opposition. “The Conservative administration has a huge challenge to turn around Surrey’s children’s services.”

Better recruitment and training

The Improvement Plan is a substantial report suggesting a host of actions, including better recruitment and retention of social workers, improved training for children’s services staff, more thorough management oversight and more efficient procedures. The publication of the report is the county’s pathway to the recovery of children’s services.

Liberal Democrats in Surrey will work with the Conservative administration and other political groups to ensure that the improvement plan’s actions are fully implemented.  The special focus will be on recruiting and retaining social workers who are experienced and can provide the best possible service for Surrey’s children. The current vacancy rate is approximately 20 per cent in essential social work teams in Surrey,”

“Little Foodies” fully catered for at the 2015 Elmbridge Food Festival

Elmbridge Food Festival LogoLocal children’s entertainers will join the bigger and better ‘Little Foodies’ area to ensure the whole family has a great time at this year’s Elmbridge Food Festival.  Face-painting, balloon modelling, art and crafts, drama and ball skills will all be part of the free entertainment on offer on Saturday, 26 and Sunday, 27 September.

There will be a wonderful variety of entertainment on offer during the Food Festival including; a treasure trail, bug hunt, Tudor style sweet making and much much more.

More than 9000 people attended the 2014 inaugural food festival and based on this year’s line-up of activities, a similar strong attendance is expected. Entry and car parking for all visitors to Painshill will be free over the course of the weekend. Gates will open each day at 10:30 and close at 5pm.

The Food and Drink Theatre will be the hub of the festival with live demonstrations throughout the weekend, while music from around the county will fill the air.

A detailed line up of stalls, food and drink theatre events, music acts and children’s entertainment is available from the borough’s Food Festival webpage

Elmbridge Youth Service – Have your say

youth workSurrey will be making changes to the Community Youth Work Service (CYWS) shortly.  CYWS helps young people to be more employable by building their resilience, developing their skills and improving their wellbeing through youth work.

Youth work is voluntary and helps young people to develop their skills, knowledge and confidence so that they can reach their goals. It is available to all young people, especially the ones who need support the most.  Surrey will work in partnership with other organisations to provide more activities for young people.

There is less money available for services for young people overall which means that Surrey needs to find a way of delivering youth work that makes the most of the money that it has.  It wants to use the money it has for youth work to make the biggest difference to young people, particularly helping them to prepare for work and their adult life.

Surrey wants to find out what you think about their plans and your ideas of how it can do things better.

The consultation for Elmbridge has been published on the Surrey Says website.  You can quickly and easily provide a response online by following the instructions on the website.

Surrey is also holding a series of public consultation events in each area to better understand the views of Elmbridge people.  The consultation will be running until 21 August 2015. Information about these events is again available through the website.

Surrey urged to fund 20 mph limits

20mphFor a background on why 20mph is so important see here.

The Surrey Liberal Democrats are calling on the Surrey administration to provide the necessary funding to implement 20 mph speed limits outside Surrey schools where requested by the school and the local community.

Introducing a 20mph limit on all our streets is probably the most important way of improving our health and quality of life.  Even more cost effective than spending more on NHS England!  The reason is simple.  If speeds on the streets are less than 20mph cycling and walking increases and as more people cycle and walk their life expectancy improves by six years on average.  Not only do people live longer but their quality of life improvise too.  All this can be done by a simple change in the speed limit law.

It is of upmost importance that children are safe going to and from school and 20 mph speed limits outside schools help to achieve this by reducing traffic speeds and improving road safety.  A reduced speed limit warns drivers that they need to slow down near a school and in general drivers do slow down.

In Mole Valley, Surrey introduced three trial 20 mph advisory limits outside schools and following the trial the 20 mph advisory limits were made permanent.  However, whilst making these trial 20 mph limits permanent, Surrey also decided not to roll-out the trial to cover the roads outside other schools in the district.

Sports Centre Approved

Xcel Leisure Complex 2Last night Elmbridge Planning Committee unanimously gave approval to the application for a new football stadium with spectator seating and facilities that meet all necessary modern requirements and governing body standards. The stadium will be available for use by Walton Casuals, Walton Casuals Juniors Football Club and Walton & Hersham Football Clubs. The facilities will also be available for casual use and hire.

There will be new astro turf and grass pitches designed to cater for junior and senior football and youth development.

It is also intended that an eight lane all-weather track athletics stadium with a spectator stand and all the necessary modern facilities will be ready in time for the World Athletic Championship 2017 which is to be held in London.

In addition to this there will be an enhancement of the existing park to provide a new multi-use recreational space as well as a children’s play area which was lost when the new Xcel was built.

Because the development is over 1,000m2 and in the green belt, the final planning decision is with the national government.  In any case the decision to build the sports centre together with the costs and funding for the project will be made later this month with the intention for it to be operational in 2016.

Xcel Free Family Open Day

Xcel Leisure ComplexSixteen local teams will compete for the Elmbridge Cup,  in support of Sparks, the Elmbridge Mayor’s charity.

The Barclays Premier League trophy will be on display at Xcel Leisure Centre on 18 July from 9am to 4pm.

Free fun activities will be available all day including trampolining, badminton, soft play, swimming and a big ‘Aerobathon’. There will also be a BBQ from 12pm – 3pm.

For more information visit the Elmbridge website.

Get soaked at the new Hersham Splash Pad

Hersham spash padThe new splash pad within the Hersham recreation ground, which can be enjoyed in the summer months, will be officially opened by The Mayor of Elmbridge, Councillor Jan Fuller, at 10:00 tomorrow.

This recent addition to the recreation ground is made up of seven water features built into the surface, and is designed for children 12 years and under to enjoy super soaking fun in the sunshine.

After some final tweaks, the splash pad is now fully operational and proving to be very popular with local families. The automatic sensors mean that the splash pad only operates when visitors stand on the activation pads and therefore energy will not be wasted on colder days when no one is using the facility. Issues with replenishing the water tank at specific time intervals have now been sorted enabling short breaks when children can use the other equipment in the park or simply spend a quieter time to gather some energy for their next splashing session.

For more information, visit the Elmbridge website, call 01372 474 568 or email: leisure@elmbridge.gov.uk

Lib Dem £28.6 million school boost

School childrenDisadvantaged primary school pupils in Surrey are set to receive £28.6 million to boost attainment, the Liberal Democrats have announced.

The Pupil Premium funding for 2015/16 will help teachers to support those children at most risk of falling behind their colleagues.  It means primary schools will receive £1,320 for every school pupil who has registered for free school meals at any time in the last six years.

Evidence shows that raising the attainment of pupils by the end of primary school has a direct impact on future exam results.

The pupil premium will get extra money to schools in Surrey,targeted at the children who need it most. The whole class benefits when fewer children are struggling.