Weyfarers awarded Grant from CIL

Weyfarers websiteSubject to consultation, the Weybridge Local Spending Board for CIL has allocated £3,750 in matched funding to Weyfarers Rowing Club based at the confluence of the Wey and the Thames, hard by Thames Lock.

The award, subject to consultation, would be the first grant offer in Weybridge under CIL arrangements.

If you would like to join the club to make the most of the new facilities do so – places are already filling up fast.

If you or your group have suggestions for improving Weybridge infrastructure then go here for an application form or you can contact me.

Bidding for Weybridge CIL Funds

CILElmbridge charges developers a tax for new development known as the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL).  You can see how this works here.  The new tax began in April 2013 and has raised around £1m.

The national government has said that this new tax is to be raised for the purposes of providing new or improved infrastructure in Elmbridge.

The money raised has been split so that Elmbridge retains 75% and 25% is given to each town in proportion the the tax raised in each town. So far Weybridge has £22,000 to disburse.

Elmbridge is now taking applications for funding for local infrastructure projects.  Schemes can only be funded if they meet the following criteria:

  • The provision, improvement, replacement, operation or maintenance of infrastructure; or
  • Anything else that is concerned with addressing the demands that development places on an area.

If you want your project to be considered use the Community Projects Application Form and send this to Elmbridge by 23 May 2014 for your application to be considered by the Weybridge Spending Board.

Goat grazing To Maintain Heathland on Esher Common

GoatsSurrey Wildlife Trust and Elmbridge are working together on a conservation grazing project that will involve using a small herd of goats to maintain and increase the biodiversity of natural heathland on an area of Esher common.

The Esher Common SSSI (site of special scientific interest) restoration and management plan was approved by Elmbridge in 2005 to restore 22 hectares of common back to heathland. As part of the management plan, it was agreed to carry out trial grazing to see how effective it would be to maintain heathland. A small area of Esher Common has been selected for this trial and temporary fencing will be erected to protect and confine the goats.

15 male goats will arrive this month and stay for the summer, grazing in a small paddock on the south side of Esher common. Whilst it’s not true that goats eat anything, they do browse woody plants such as shrubs and trees; stripping the bark and eating the leaves. They will keep the birch, pine, gorse, willow and other invasive scrub under control, helping to restore and maintain the rare and precious habitat for wildlife on the common.

Jo Saunders, ranger for Surrey Wildlife Trust, says that grazing with goats is an excellent alternative to cutting scrub by machine. Goats can selectively browse woody vegetation; leaving more sensitive plants unharmed and creating a wonderful mosaic of micro-habitats. We’re really pleased that the team at Esher Common have decided to use goats to help with their heath restoration.

Hamish White, Elmbridge countryside officer, said, “We look forward to working in partnership with Surrey Wildlife Trust on this exciting project. We believe this trial project will help us with our heath and restoration programme by controlling the scrub in this area. There are many benefits using goats for grazing as they are able to access land which we cannot control with machinery and help provide niche habitats for plants and animals. In the long term it will allow us to create a diverse habitat which is needed for the wildlife that relies on Esher Common”.

If you are interested in becoming a goat ‘looker’, that is helping to keep an eye on the goats, or would like more information please contact Elmbridge’s countryside team on 01372 474582.

Canoe Club Car Park

Doyly Carte webThe Canoe Club or D’Oyly Carte (officially known as Walton Lane) car park is due for a significant resurfacing.  The entrance, up to the height barriers will be retarmaced. Because the land is in the flood plan beyond the barrier a new porous surface will be laid.  I do not yet have a date but the budget has been allocated for the next financial year and the aim is to it get ready for the summer. So perhaps sometime between April and June with luck.

Broadwater Path

BroadwaterMovement is slow but there is movement.  Surrey says that it has drawn up the proposed route from Grenside Road to Cowey Sale and has had a meeting with Weybridge health club about the section of the pathway crossing their land. The health club has shown that Argent Estates own a section of the path.

 

Surrey estimates that the timescale is:

  • By the end of April – establish contact with Argent Estates who own a section of the proposed path as they will have to dedicate a section of path across their land to make the scheme work.
  • By the end of May/June- draw up a draft dedication, get everyone to agree to it and seek Environment Agency consent for works.
  • By the end of June/July – finish off dedication of the pathway and start works on the ground, but this will also be dependent on budget.

You can walk the path in any case see here

Planning to Prevent Flooding

Flooding-at-eashing-bridge-in-godalmingLiberal Democrats are proposing a six point action plan to tackle Surrey’s flooding. The proposals aim to reduce the impact of future heavy rain by putting in place preventative measures.

 

 

They are:

  1. Complete and update Surrey’s currently outdated records on where flooding occurs (wetspots) and the Flooding Asset Register of walls, ditches and bridges which are known to cause flooding.
  2. Increase the cleaning of gullies (road drains) which is currently usually only once a year.
  3. Plant trees, particularly on high ground. An environmentally friendly way of trapping and slowing down the movement of water.
  4. Work with districts and boroughs not to build on flood plains.
  5. Repair flood damaged roads and bridges.
  6. Apply for funding from central government and the European Union.

Stephen Cooksey said: “These actions if implemented by Surrey will make a real difference to prevent the flooding in the future.

“The recent floods have had a devastating effect on many residents and businesses. Everything possible must be done to reduce the risk of this recurring.

“The Conservative administration has taken its eye off the ball and has not given enough priority to flood prevention. Basic things are very out of date, for example its record of places where flooding occurs ‘wetspots’ hasn’t been updated for two years.

“Similarly Surrey’s Flooding Asset Register, in which it is legally required to record details of walls, ditches or bridges known to cause flooding is woefully incomplete, only recording 65 items for the whole county, and is out of date having last been updated over two years ago.

“Surrey urgently needs to get its act together, update its information on flooding and structures that cause flooding before assessing what needs to be done to prevent flooding in the future and to calculate the cost of doing so.

“I question the adequacy of Surrey’s policy of only cleaning out gullies at least once a year, this clearly needs to be increased as many of Surrey’s gullies are blocked, which then causes flooding. In addition needs to review its ditches policy in rural areas to help prevent flooding.

“Whilst Surrey’s staff, the emergency services and other agencies have done an excellent job in responding to this crisis, much could have been done to lessen the impact of the recent bad weather if Surrey had taken preventative action, and lessons need to be learnt and acted upon to ensure the effects of future heavy rainfall is reduced.”

Weybridge Town Council

Weybridge, a hamlet in Byfleet manor, was governed since Saxon times from Chertsey. It became a self-governing village in the fourteenth century and a town in 1894.  By that time Weybridge had grown into a town of sufficient size to govern many of its own affairs. Weybridge built its own hospital, a fire station and an electric generating station. In 1933 the national government forceably removed Weybridge’s local government.

Weybridge-Map

I think that it is time for Weybridge to consider establishing its own government again. A number of people are planning to come together to initiate such a campaign.  Do contact me should you want to be a member of the working group.

Cowey Sale Parking Charges

D'Oyly Carte Green and car park entrance

D’Oyly Carte Green with car park entrance

The Conservative administration at Elmbridge has voted in favour of consulting on its proposal to introduce a 60p per hour charge,  from 10:00 to 16:00 all week.

Although Cowey Sale car park is not in Weybridge, if charging is introduced there it will doubtless affect the car park in D’Oyly Carte Green in Walton Lane.  Faced with charges at one end of Walton Lane, people looking for a walk along the Thames path will simply drive to Weybridge instead.

Elmbridge already makes a profit of nearly £1,000,000 a year from parking charges and half of that profit comes from Weybridge car parks (the other eight towns in Elmbridge put together provide the other half).  Weirdly, Cowey Sale car park isn’t even in Elmbridge – it is in Spelthorne.

I do not think charging at Cowey Sale is justified.  If it was always full that would be another matter.

Click on this link for the details 140124 NoticeofProposalsPublicCarParksFinal

All objections, specifying the grounds on which they are made, and other representations relating to the proposals must be made before 1 February 2014, in writing and sent to

Elmbridge Parking Services
1 High Street
ESHER
KT10 9SD.