Investing in Weybridge

Most of the funding for the new market / fair street improvement is being funded by CIL

New building development in Weybridge has meant that we have around £500,000 to invest in projects that improve our lives in Weybidge.

If your organisation has a project that will contribute to Weybridge’s infrastructure then apply for a grant from Elmbridge borough. You can apply for grants up to £500,000 from 13 February.

Click here for a summary on CIL and get examples of recent bids here.

Complete and submit your application by midnight on Sunday
29 March 2020.

Click here for further detailed information about the CIL grant process and do contact the borough CIL team on 01372 474342 or email cil@elmbridge.gov.uk or ourselves if you need help and guildance.

Unauthorised moorings on the Thames

I regularly paddle up and down the river between Weybridge and Walton whilst training as a member of Weybridge Rowing Club and Thames Valley Skiff Club. Over the last few years I have witnessed a significant increase in boats moored without permission along the river.

Within the Public Right of Navigation there is deemed a right for boat owners to stop on land, subject to the necessary landowners consent, for a reasonable period, the Environment Agency (EA) considering this to be 24 hours. The law only allows the owners of the land that the boats are moored on to take action against an unauthorised mooring. As the EA owns most of the towpath running through Elmbridge, they consider the most effective method or dealing with this issue is through prosecution for repeated trespass offences. But anyone regularly using the river or the towpath can see that this has so far failed to produce any reduction in the number of illegally moored boats. 

However, there have been two recent developments which indicate some positive steps towards tackling this problem:

  1. Those occupying a number of moored boats near Cherry Orchard Gardens in Molesey had encroached onto the towpath and erected fences, gardens and garden furniture. Last year the Elmbridge Borough Council (EBC) Planning Compliance Team issued nine enforcement notices to have these removed. The notices were appealed, but on the 13th January the government’s Planning Inspectorate turned down the appeals as ‘not valid’. This means that the enforcement notices can now come into effect. The notices require the use of the land for the permanent mooring of boats to cease, and any structures, fencing or enclosures to be removed. The period for compliance is one calendar month, i.e. by the 13th February.
  2. The EA has decided to engage in procuring the services of a specialist company to help it manage moorings on its land. They have previously managed their designated mooring sites where charges applied for stays of more than 24 hours, e.g. at Hurst Park Wharf, Molesey, at Miskins Wharf, Walton, and at Desborough Island. This time it also wants the appointed company to be responsible for managing boats moored outside its designated mooring sites. This is a significant change. It wants all boats to be moored in accordance with any applicable terms and conditions; this should mean that overstaying boats are moved by their owners/masters without delay or enforcement procedures will be put into place. Subject to the quality and affordability of the responses received, the EA hopes to make an appointment and have all necessary arrangements in place before the Easter Bank Holiday weekend of 10-12th April.

Finally, EBC has no powers to move/evict boats on EA land but it has continued to work closely with Surrey Police and the EA. If you identify a crime or anti-social behaviour then this should be reported to the police or reported on-line at:

Report ASB associated with moorings

To report any other non-urgent matter relating to the river contact: enquiries@environment-agency.gov.uk or telephone 03708 506 506 during office hours. The EA will also seek to take action against any incidents of pollution in the river that are reported to them. If you witness any dumping of waste into the river you can report this on their hotline 0800 807060 and they will investigate.  

20s Plenty for Us

Why reduce speeds in our residential streets?
There are a whole host of reasons but in climate emergency terms it is to enable people to travel in the safest, healthiest and greenest way that we know and that is by cycling. We know that people will cycle if they feel safe.  The way to do this is to provide cycle ways separate from the carriageway – as opposed to a narrow lane in the kerb; and, on our side streets to have speed limits set below 20mph.

Just imagine the difference if all our secondary children could walk or cycle to their local school.  Of course, we would be reducing air pollution too.

Why is 20mph so important for safety?

Studies show that humans react differently when they are moving below 20mph as opposed to when they are moving above that speed.  It is all to do with our own maximum sprinting speed.  For obvious reasons, evolution did not equip us to react to situations when we were travelling faster than we could sprint.  So when travelling below 20mph we can deal with other drivers, pedestrians and cyclists in a far more convivial manner than when we are travelling above that speed.  

We have 30mph now – is that not good enough?

When the urban speed limit was set at 30mph in 1934 it was a matter of judgement that is was a safer speed.  Via a great deal of research, we now know that at above roughly 22mph most people find it difficult to read the intention of the person coming towards us.  The lower our speed, the more likely it would be that we could avoid bumping or crashing into someone. 

But we know driving slower is safer – what is so special about 20mph?
,,
Unlike braking distance, which increases with speed gradually, the ability to read the intention of a person coming toward you declines slowly up to around 20mph and then collapses rapidly.  Below that speed, you can see where the other person is looking and act accordingly.  Above that speed, you have to guess – and guess very quickly – to avoid a crash or, more seriously, injury or death.

The police cannot enforce a 20mph speed limit – so what is the point?

It is regrettable that our police service is decidedly overstretched but just because our police cannot, at the moment, enforce the speed this does not mean a 20mph limit should not be introduced.  Otherwise we might as well abolish the crime of theft.

Brooklands Business Park Accessibility Project

Your local councillors recently attended an update briefing from Surrey CC’s Transport Strategy Project Manager and Transport Planner on the work planned to provide improved pedestrian and cycling paths from Weybridge town centre to the station and through to Brooklands Park. 

Some preparatory work has already been completed:

  • Last summer clearing of ground-covering scrub and trees was undertaken along Heath Road; a few trees were retained to give a better aesthetic and the paths will be routed around these. 
  • The much-needed resurfacing of St George’s Avenue last October was also part of the scheme and a dropped kerb was built towards the station end of the road so that cyclists can come off the road onto a short section of pavement to then cross the main road via the refuge.
  • In November, the refuges for pedestrian access to the station were widened and dropped kerbs improved.

More work is planned for the February half-term, including larger refuges for the crossing on Brooklands Road to Heath Road South car park. Following this, the track from the car park, past the sewage treatment works, across the River Wey and through to Brooklands will be widened and provided with lighting. Funding has been ear-marked for improvements to Sopwith Drive and Wellington Way as well as for better pedestrian access to the station and for increased cycle parking provision. There will be bus stop improvements and suitably placed finger-post signs. The path under Wellington Way occasionally floods, as it has done recently, and a raised boardwalk is planned to keep this path open and usable more often.

If there is sufficient money then a second phase will be considered to link the planned route from Heath Road through to Churchfields and the town centre. This exciting proposition would complement the current discussions of a town regeneration scheme centred around developing the publicly-owned NHS, library and community centre sites. There would be further public consultation on any proposed options.

Cycling to a new level

The regular monthly Sunday Elmbridge cycle ride is called off because of the weather.  The next ride will be on Sunday 8th March. 

But if you want to look towards the summer the Elmbridge Cycle Group is planning cycle tour in Switzerland – to ride from the source of the River Rhine to Lake Constance in Germany.

The trip will be towards the end of June (provisionally 21st June to 28th June).  They will start in Andermatt at the source of the Rhine River and will follow it (mostly downhill) until it reaches Lake Constance.  This will be about 5 days of cycling with one or two rest days or optional side excursions to Liechtenstein, St Gall and/or Friedrichshafen.  Beyond Lake Constance there is another option to continue for three or four more days to Basel.

Typical distances will be between 30km and 60km per day.

If you are interested or have any questions please let George of Elmbridge Cycle Group know.

Investing in our infrastructure – CIL

The application period for the 2020-2021 CIL funding round for local projects will open on Thursday 13 February 2020 for a period of six weeks. Applications must be completed and submitted by midnight on Sunday
29 March 2020. More about CIL here.

After this closing date, applicants who have applied by the closing date will have a further four weeks to provide any outstanding details needed for a valid application. Failure to provide the requested details by the deadline will result in the application being invalid and not being considered.

Applicants will be invited to attend and present to the relevant Local Spending Board, with these boards being held in June and early July 2020.

The 2020-2021 CIL Local Funding Application Form and Guidance Notes will be available on Thursday 13 February 2020. In the meantime you get more backgound here.

For further information about the CIL Local funding process, please contact the borough team on 01372 474342 or email cil@elmbridge.gov.uk.

Monica Harding thanks local voters and activists for their support

The Liberal Democrat candidate Monica Harding fought a powerful campaign in the General Election in Esher & Walton – gaining 28,389 votes against the current Tory MP Dominic Raab’s 31,132. Although Monica was 2,743 short of winning the contest, the result showed a strong swing towards the Liberal Democrats – in fact the largest swing in the country. In 2017 Mr Raab still had a majority of more than 23,000.

Monica is grateful to all those who voted for her as their preferred choice for our future MP, and wishes to thank warmly all the hundreds of volunteers who supported her campaign.

Underneath you can read Monica’s letter to residents and activists following the general election.

We are not a ‘safe seat’ any longer

The old adage about ‘safe seats’ does not apply in the Esher & Walton constituency any longer. Here’s the proof. Elmbridge voted decisively ‘remain’ in the European election by voting for the Liberal Democrats – ahead of the Brexit Party and the Conservatives.

And the most recent YouGov poll in the Esher & Walton constituency confirms that the Liberal Democrats are ahead of the Conservatives in people’s voting intentions.
So the time has come to send a Liberal Democrat to Westminster as our MP.

Our parliamentary candidate Monica Harding is campaigning energetically to unseat the current Tory MP Dominic Raab, who does not represent our views.
Get to know Monica and support her campaign!
https://www.monicaharding.org
https://www.facebook.com/MonicaHardingEsherWalton

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

Elmbridge Cycle Group

The group’s next ride will begin at the Hand and Spear by Weybridge Station at 10am, on Sunday, 9th December. It will finish at 1pm at the Jolly Farmer Princes Road, Weybridge and be followed by Christmas Lunch  at the Jolly Farmer.

If you would like to come to the Christmas Lunch please let them know by emailing george.james @ elmbridgecycle.org by Saturday, 1st December so that numbers cab be confirmed with the restaurant.  Please also let them know your food selection from the menu here.

Details of the ride route will be sent out, as usual, a few days before the ride.  If you just want to come on the ride, but don’t want to stay for the Christmas Lunch, then you can just turn up on the day.