My blogs

Weybridge blog – Jan 2018 

LOCAL BURGLARIES – UPDATE FROM YOUR COUNCILLORS

What are the police doing and how we can help others and ourselves?

Following concerns raised by residents relating to a recent increase in burglaries, Local Conservatives recently had a meeting with Greg Turner, Elmbridge, Spelthorne and Runnymede Police Inspector.

He gave us a comprehensive perspective of all the activities the police have underway to address the recent increase in burglaries and the progress they are making.

After a long term reducing trend, recorded burglary in Surrey and nationally has started to rise this year. It is difficult to compare this year’s figures with those of the previous year because the Home Office crime counting rules have changed. The crimes are typically opportunistic, non-violent, ‘quick in and out’ seeking items such as cash, watches and jewellery. Crimes are typically carried out between 4pm and 10pm.

The boroughs of Elmbridge, Spelthorne and Runnymede have experienced significant increases and the more affluent areas of the Borough, nearest to London, such as Weybridge are attractive to gangs from outside the area (and indeed outside the country).

What Are the Police Doing About the Problem?

Surrey Police has launched a burglary operation: Operation Spearhead. This includes the deployment of extra overt and covert resources, as well as more sensitive confidential ongoing work. Many arrests have been made recently, six within the last two weeks, with a further two charged and on remand in Elmbridge alone. Additionally, Surrey Police is offering the services of specialist Designing Out Crime Officers to liaise with victims and the community and improving their security, and it has also increased its use of social media and “In the Know” emails to raise awareness.

What Can We Do to Help Ourselves and the Police?

  • It is not only the Police who prevent crime. There is nothing better than a community that has engaged, vigilant residents who look out for each other and report things that look out of place. Dial 101 for non-emergencies. 999 for crimes about to happen, in progress, that have just occurred or if someone is in immediate danger. The police will never criticise someone for calling the wrong number in good faith.
  • We all need to consider whether our own home security arrangements are effective and appropriate to the property and contents. In many cases, big houses with expensive contents have inadequate security, which increases the risk of becoming a victim. Police guidance can be found at this link: https://www.surrey.police.uk/advice/protect-your-home-and-belongings/burglary/

Residents should consider such issues as:

  • Window and door locks
  • Remote monitored burglar alarms
  • Security cameras, both indoor and outdoor (wireless ones are now highly affordable)
  • Security doorbells
  • Access, particularly from the rear of properties where ladders, garden furniture and single-story extensions have all been used to gain entry.

And of course you should find out who co- ordinates YOUR NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH SCHEME or if there isn’t one then how about setting one up ?

Weybridge Blog – Dec 2017

Since my election in May as the County Councillor for Weybridge, I have picked up a wide range of issues affecting many of our residents. Inevitably these range from individual concerns to matters that affect the whole area, but both are equally important.

It is my intention to use this website to provide regular updates on local issues as my key priority going forward is to inform as many people as possible of what is happening in the town as well as taking soundings from stakeholder representatives, such as the Business Guild, Weybridge Society and residents associations, with a view at to getting as much agreement as possible on the way forward where there is a clear public impact.

As always, I very much welcome feedback either by posting on this blog web page, by emailing me at Tim.Oliver@surreycc.gov.uk or by contacting me on my mobile on 07711 423363.

Lastly, could I would please ask you to share with anyone that you think may be interested in this blog web page.

Weybridge Walk-in Centre

Many of us were shocked when the walk-in centre and the doctors’ surgeries accidentally burnt down earlier in the year. The facilities were well used and much appreciated by the people of Weybridge, so it is not surprising that there has been much speculation since then as to what will be re-provided on that site with many people claiming that a decision has already been taken not to re-provide the walk in centre.

That has been denied by Dr Claire Cunliffe, the Chairman of the Clinical Commissioning group who ultimately will be responsible for that decision who recently confirmed to me: –

“We have definitely not made any decisions about the full functions that will happen from the new building and Weybridge. We have said loud and clear to a public audience of over 800 hundred residents and Councillors that there will be an NHS building rebuilt on that site and a public consultation on the options for what will going in it apart from the GP surgeries. A rebuild will take around 3 years during which time the temporary buildings cannot house anything other than GP surgery and treatment rooms due to size constraints on the site. This was obviously our priority to return primary care services to the 25,000 patients. Over the next year there will be consultations with stakeholders including the public about what else goes in the building.”

I will make sure that details of the public consultation are widely publicised across the town when they are released.

Parking and Parking Restrictions

A full review of parking across Weybridge was carried out earlier in the year. I am aware that many residents were unhappy with the proposals that came out of that review which sought to balance the preferences of residents with those visiting or working in the shops and businesses. The limited amount of spaces in car parks forces people to use the side roads which understandably limits parking for residents.

Historically, there has been a review every three year but a recent meeting of Surrey County Council and Elmbridge Borough Council it was agreed that there will be a review every year so where there have been unintended consequences following from the recent review, I hope that we can look to rectify them.

I would welcome any comments on any particular issues that you have faced since the changes were brought in

Please find the link for Surrey’s parking review below:

https://www.surreycc.gov.uk/roads-and-transport/parking/parking-reviews

Roads

I’m working hard with officers at Surrey and Elmbridge to find a solution to the poor state of some of the roads in Weybridge, in particular St Georges Avenue, Haines Bridge and Seven Hills Road. I will provide a further update in my next blog.

Weybridge library

The library is well liked and well used and it is absolutely the intention of Surrey County Council to retain it as a community facility.

However, the building needs modernisation and the current proposal is to replace much of the mechanical and electrical installation to give it a renewed life and to look to re-clad the outside with a more modern feel. Whilst the library would remain on the ground floor it may be possible to include a cafe or some other type of public space to maximise the benefit to the local community.

As recently reported in the press, consideration is also being given to relocating the Registry Office to the second floor of the building. Although the location is not as attractive as the current site at Rylston, many people are tending to use one of the many licensed premises across the County people for marriage ceremonies. By moving it into the centre of Weybridge though it should bring in more footfall which will benefit local retailers.

tim elmbridge

Brooklands Cycle Scheme

The County has a bid in for funding from the local enterprise partnership to develop a cycle path from Brooklands business park to Weybridge railway station and from the railway station into the town centre. This will provide a safe route for both cyclists and pedestrians, not only will this be attractive but hopefully this will also encourage more people are to walk or cycle rather than use their vehicles or public transport.

Full details are available on the following link below: https://www.travelsmartsurrey.info/cycling/district-and-borough-cycling-plans/elmbridge-cycling-plan

 Traffic around Brooklands Business Park

The business park undoubtedly contributes significantly to the local economy quite apart from capturing a huge amount of history in the Brooklands motor and aviation museums. Unfortunately, the ever increasing volume of traffic in the area causes major congestion at almost all times of the day.

I have therefore commissioned through the highways team at Surrey a traffic study which will look at the primary causes of the congestion and hopefully come up with some ways of improving traffic flow. You may well have seen the recent announcement by highways England that they intend to reconfigure the junction with the A3 and M25 and we will see if there is anything arising from that reconfiguration that may benefit the Byfleet Road.

What of course would help is if there were a better public transport system and I am in discussions with key businesses at Brookland’s Park Business Park to see whether we can make more effective use of a shuttle bus system.

Streetscape

Funding has been made available to de-clutter part of the pavement from the Ship Hotel towards the centre of the town. Hopefully this will be the first stage of improving the pavements and overall the appearance of the High Street. Local businesses that are planning on upgrading their shop fronts should consider making an application for a grant to the Elmbridge Civic Improvement fund on the link below: –

Speed of Traffic

The congestion through the High Street may in part be a result of the phasing of the lights and the highways officers will have a look at this. However, the reverse is true in most other areas with most of issues relate to people driving too fast around the town.

Most of the objective evidence confirms that the lower the speed of the driver the less accidents that occur and the less injuries caused to pedestrians. I am aware that many residents would like to see a 20mph limit across the whole area, though there remains an issue around enforcement other than self-control by the driver. Again, I have commissioned a traffic speed survey to be carried out in the triangle area (Princes Road and the area around Manby Lodge) which has become a rat run for people wanting to avoid Queens Road.

Stakeholder Meetings

I recently had the first of what I hope will become regular meetings with a number of stakeholder organisations. This includes Paul Povey the Chairman of the Weybridge Business Guild as well as representatives from Wey Road, Portmore Park residents, the Triangle residents, the fairway residents. I hope the next meeting in January will include even more representatives.

I think this will be a useful forum for discussing both local issues and initiatives and to make a good way to make sure that the whole of Weybridge is fully engaged.

I would welcome contact from any other organisations that would like to join those meetings.

Surrey County Council

In May I was appointed to the Cabinet of Surrey County Council with the Property services and Business services portfolio. Business services covers the delivery of HR, Finance, IT, Legal and Procurement etc. and is mainly internally focused whereas property services includes all the county’s assets.

As government funding to local authorities has decreased to the point where it is now effectively non-existent, councils have had to look at other ways of raising revenue. This includes business rates and of course council tax but increasingly local authorities have looked to invest in property. Whilst Surrey has been one of those authorities its primary focus now is to look at his own property estate. Over the years the county has released a number of buildings that are surplus to the current requirements of the services it delivers, and we should be looking at ways in which those buildings can either be brought back into use and let commercially, converted to residential accommodation for affordable or social housing or redeveloped again for much-needed housing across the county. Obviously, any proposals will need to be approved by the local planning authority, Elmbridge Borough Council, but during 2018 there will be a full review of all the property owned by Surrey County Council and plans formulated on how to optimise its use to the benefit of the Surrey residents.

Elmbridge Local Committee Agenda can be found below: https://mycouncil.surreycc.gov.uk/documents/g3918/Agenda%20frontsheet%20Monday%2008-Dec-2014%2018.00%20Elmbridge%20Local%20Committee.pdf?T=0

Please take a look at my YouTube video where I set out the Councils strategy on how to make the best use of its property assets – https://youtu.be/RlNj6q3S1iE  

I will provide regular updates about what I am doing for Weybridge but in the meantime, thank you for reading my blog and I hope you have a pleasant break over the Christmas period.

Weybridge Christmas Lights switched on

Many thanks to the Weybridge Business Guild for all their hard work in organising the switching on of the Christmas lights yesterday. There was a fantastic number of stalls in Baker Street selling or promoting many different products or causes and the whole event was very well attended.