Weybridge blog –
Manjit Gill, the Conservative candidate for Weybridge Riverside at next year’s Elmbridge elections was made an MBE by the Queen in October
The accolade was in recognition of her work with Binti International, the charity she founded which is headquartered in Weybridge. It delivered around 16,600 meals since COVID started to food banks, homeless charities and communal kitchens. Manjit also set up four local sewing clubs with over 50 women making face masks, period bags and aprons.
During this time, Whiteley Village residents who took part stayed connected through their love of sewing, and the focus of being an integral part of the club helped the women counteract feelings of isolation. Huge congratulations Manjit!
David Harvey is hoping to secure the support of voters in the Weybridge St George’s ward next May. He has been a Weybridge resident for 12 years and is very passionate about serving the community.
David has a strong background of over 20 years’ experience in the Service and Property sectors. He will bring clear thinking, energy and problem solving to the role of Councillor. Areas of special importance to David are enhancing local leisure provision, regenerating our High Street, protecting the Green Belt and ensuring that new development is sympathetic to the character of Weybridge.
Local Conservatives are the only party to pledge that there will be no development on the Green Belt, something which the Liberal Democrat and Residents Association coalition running the Council has chosen not to do with the failure to agree on a local plan. David grew up in Cobham and has an instinctive understanding of Elmbridge, he enjoys the committed support
of his wife and two sons.
Community spirit sees us through Covid crisis
Hello, I’m Charu Sood, Conservative councillor for Weybridge St George’s Hill and I would like to welcome you to our latest newsletter.
The current times are unprecedented but I am proud of how our community has pulled together to support each other and the most vulnerable. Adapting to the new normal has been difficult and has demanded sacrifices. Thank you for following the rules and playing your part in halting the spread of this virus. Clearly, we are in another critical phase so please continue to take every precaution and follow the advice to keep yourselves and your loved ones safe over the winter and festive months. Since the lockdown I have been involved in a number of great community initiatives. I have been helping the Elmbridge and Runnymede foodbanks with their deliveries and sewing PPE and facemasks for key workers, in addition to fundraising for the Your Sanctuary local charity and the foodbank.
The open spaces, parks and communal areas in and around Weybridge have been a real lifeline these past months.
Unfortunately, there have been instances of antisocial behaviour and littering. I worked with the local shops and Weybridge Cricket Club to make sure the message of keeping our parks and spaces clean is displayed and shared widely.
Finally, as the founder of Weybridge in Bloom, I thought it was important to ensure this community group continued its activities as normal over the summer to spread a little cheer. So, we once again ran the annual Flowerbed and Sunflower competition, planting the wildflower meadow, setting up new planters and running litter picking events.
Weybridge – News in Brief
- Clive House, Queens Road 2018/ 2252 and 2019/2286 both the appeals refused. The inspector dismissed the appeals. She agreed with councillors’ reasons to reject the applications and made particular reference to the effect on the adjacent Salisbury house.
- 85, Queens road 2020/026, 0473 and 1288 refused on the basis of parking stress, overall impact on street scene and character of the area.
- Hill view Nursery, Seven Hill road 2019/3370 – Granted as a Dementia nursing home operated by a Charity
- Pavement Licences: As the economy reopens post the covid19 lockdown the government has announced a further and urgent relaxation to planning and licensing loss to help the hospitality industry recover by removing some requirements and expediting others. The business and planning (act 2020) makes it easier for premises such as bar, restaurant and pubs to serve food and drink to customers outdoors.
- Tennis courts in Oatlands, Churchfields recreation ground and Cricket way Open space are open at No Charge.
- Touch tennis courts at Churchfields recreation ground will remain closed this year as they are smaller in size than traditional tennis courts, making it difficult to observe social distancing guidance.
Charu Sood – represents Weybridge St George’s Hill
The current times are certainly unprecedented and we have once again shown how our community spirit has come to our rescue. By abiding with the government guidelines, all of us have played a big role in halting the spread of the virus and saved lives. Our sacrifices in adapting to the new normal has been painful but will stand us in good stead to tide over this crisis together. Finally, I would add that our fight against this Virus is not over yet and we are in a critical phase. So I would like to request you to continue to take all necessary caution and follow Government’s advice to keep yourselves and you dear ones safe over the coming winter and festive months.
Over this past six months, I had been working with members of my local community through a number of initiatives such as food collections and distribution for the Elmbridge and Runnymede foodbanks, sewing PPE and facemasks for key workers and raising funds for a local charity (Your Sanctuary) and Runnymede Foodbank. In this lockdown, one of the most sought after amenities by the public has been our open spaces, parks and communal areas in and around Weybridge. There were instances of poor behaviours and practices by people who were not respecting these open spaces and leaving their litter behind. I worked with the local shops, Weybridge cricket club and other local and government bodies to make sure the message of keeping our parks and spaces clean is displayed and shared widely. Finally, as the founder of Weybridge in Bloom, I ensured that this community group continued its activities be it running the Flowerbed and Sunflower competition, planting the wildflower meadow, setting up new planters and running litter picking events.
Brooklands Accessibility project has been a major project that has been possible by a grant from Enterprise M3 plus funding from Surrey CC and Community Infrastructure Levy funds allocated by Elmbridge Borough Council.
So far this has provided a new shared cycle way and foot path along Heath Road upto the station and further across to the Brooklands community park. The final phase of this project will improve the accessibility to the Weybridge town from the crossing on Heath road through the path alongside Churchfield recreation ground and allotments.
It has been a tough year for businesses. Many had to shut down during lockdown and now they have to adhere to the government guidelines and keep their premises COVID compliant.
Weybridge Councillors Tim Oliver and Charu Sood along with Weybridge conservative Candidates Manjit K Gill and David Harvey visited businesses on the high street and met with Paul Povey, Chair of Weybridge town Business group.
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.
- The Police have a ‘Design Out Crime Officer’ (DOCO). His name is Mike Bessent. He is a qualified crime reduction specialist, and can offer free bespoke home security advice. To request a visit, use this link: https://www.surrey.police.uk/elmbridge/esher-claygate/
- Find out what is happening in your area – witness appeals, crime updates, crime prevention advice and news. It’s specific to your interests and local area; from reliable sources and you’re in control of how often you are contacted and who you receive information from. Sign up via https://www.intheknow.community/
- Follow the Surrey Police Facebook page via https://www.facebook.com/SurreyPoliceand tap Weybridge into the search box.
- Follow the Twitter page https://twitter.com/ElmbridgeBeat
- The Police can be emailed via the link on their webpage, which is monitored during weekday office hours. https://www.surrey.police.uk/elmbridge/esher-claygate/
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.