Weybridge Library

Extension and major refurbishment

We hope you were able to visit the Library for the recent public ‘drop-in’ event to view the latest plans for its major refurbishment. We were pleased to see that the revised drawings included our proposals for this to become more of a Community Hub by including a  kitchen and servery next to the activity/performance hall on the first floor which should give it greater scope for a wide variety of daytime activities and evening functions; the entrance into the ground floor extension from the car park will be moved to make it more visible and easier to use and the area in front of it will be landscaped to make it more attractive.

Planning consent was granted in December 2023 but some additional work will take place to include the changes described above. It is intended that the contract for the refurbishment work will be awarded in March, services temporarily co-located in the Community Centre in the same month, construction completed in April 2025 with fit out, handover and occupation in May 2025.

Weybridge highways improvements

Weybridge Transport Strategy: £5 million for Weybridge’s streets

A public consultation took place early last year on plans to improve the streets in Weybridge town centre to make them safer for pedestrians and cyclists and to improve traffic flow at some junctions. The total cost of these improvements comes to £5 million with money coming from SCC and EBC’s Strategic CIL (Community Infrastructure Levy) fund. As a result of the consultations, the proposals to close Elgin Road and Old Wharf Way to traffic were removed.

Due to the M25 junction 10 programme, which should finish by the end of this year, the programme has been divided into two phases. Phase 1 works will be less interfering to traffic and will be co-ordinated with National Highways to limit the effect of any J10 restrictions or closures. Phase 2 works will have a more significant effect on traffic flow and will be scheduled for early next year.  

We understand that Phase 1 works will include: 

  • Pavement and cycle lane improvements on the High Street between Elmgrove Road and Baker Street; 25/04/24, 1 day;
  • Improvements to Monument Hill/Baker Street priority junction; 23/04/24, 2 days;
  • Work on the Bridge Road/Old Wharf Way junction; 12/02/24, 20 days;
  • Installing a Manby Lodge School crossing (scheduled during the August school holidays). 

Phase 2 plans include improvements to the A317 Balfour Road/Church Street mini-roundabout, to the Monument Hill and Monument Green junctions, the Balfour Road/Portmore Park roundabout and the Church Street/Minorca Road junction.

Weybridge Hospital site

Are we closer to a re-build?

The plans showing a two-storey building with GP services on the ground floor and clinics, diagnostics and children’s and mental health services on the first floor, are currently being reviewed after feedback from the planning authority, Elmbridge Borough Council (EBC). Replacing the walk-in centre is not in the plan (due to having an Urgent Treatment Centre at St Peter’s) but there will be a Same Day Urgent Care access hub which will be available only for booked appointments via the GP or 111.

The intention is for NHS Property Services to proceed with a full planning application in the spring for building to start this summer. The aim is for the building to be handed over to the NHS for fitting out in the winter of 2025 and for it to be opened in spring 2026 when the portacabins will be removed.

Brooklands College development approved

Illustrative Master plan from Cala Homes

At Elmbridge Borough Council’s Planning Committee on Tuesday 5th December the application to redevelop the Brooklands College site was approved.

The application involves providing a total of 320 new homes in blocks of flats, town houses and the refurbishment of the listed Brooklands mansion into luxury apartments. The College put forward a development of such a significant scale on Greenbelt land largely to pay off £20m of a £25m debt it had incurred when contracting apprentice training to a company that subsequently went bust. The money is owed to the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA), an agency of the DofE.

The debate in the Planning Committee meeting involved discussions on whether paying off the debt was a legitimate use of the planning process and constituted the Very Special Circumstances (VSC) necessary for building houses and flats on Greenbelt land, whether the design, mass, bulk and height of the proposed buildings were acceptable and whether there would be undue additional pressure on our roads. Despite being advised that paying off the debt did not constitute VSC, and with a number of councillors expressing concern about the scale of the proposed buildings and the effect on our already congested roads, the application was approved by a majority.

Clearly there are advantages to the proposals, including:

  • Upgrading the College’s teaching facilities;
  • Increasing the provision on site for local students requiring a high level of Special Education Needs, supported with funds from Surrey County Council;
  • Delivering a new sports centre and community space for the use of the College and the wider local community;
  • Refurbishing the site’s listed mansion, returning it to its historic residential use and restoring its terraced gardens;
  • 40% of properties will be affordable homes providing a mix of rented housing, shared ownership and discounted first homes;
  • Opening up 12 hectares of woodland for newly accessible public use;
  • Reopening pedestrian and cycling access across the railway bridge giving residents living south of the railway better access to Brooklands College, Heathside School and into Weybridge;
  • Remediating and building on areas that were former landfill sites.

Centres for the Community

During recent safety assessments of the services at Elmbridge’s Centres for the Community, some fundamental safety issues for customers and staff were identified that needed to be addressed as a matter of urgency. It was hoped that they would be closed for a few days but this was extended so that a reliable, consistent and safe service could be provided.

Since the Covid pandemic and through the recent cost of living crisis, there has been an increasing strain on organisations caring for people and it seems EBC’s services have been stretched very thin. The closures are needed to rectify issues which include fire safety procedures, risk identification, assessment, and mitigation processes, and safe staffing levels.

The following services have been running as usual:

  • Community Transport’s Dial-a-Ride, Hire-a-Bus and school services.
  • Meals on Wheels deliveries 7 days a week.
  • The Community Alarm service.

External groups hiring the centres were able to use them again from Tuesday 5th December. All vulnerable users have been invited to either the Walton or the Cobham Centre (both re-opened on the 11th December) where there will be a warm welcome with the option of lunch and table-top games. Those who need transport have been identified and will be helped.

If you have not been called by the council, or you know someone who should be contacted, please phone 01372 474 474

Runnymede & Weybridge MP VOTES DOWN sewage sickness compensation scheme

Our protest against dumping raw sewage

Local Liberal Democrats have slammed Dr Ben Spencer for VOTING AGAINST a compensation scheme for swimmers who get sick from sewage.

The amendment to the Victims and Prisoners Bill, tabled by Liberal Democrat MP Tim Farron, would have allowed anyone who gets sick, as a result of illegal sewage dumping, to claim compensation from water companies. However, it was voted down in the Commons this week after Conservative MPs, including Dr Ben Spencer, voted against it.

It comes despite a recent report which found a staggering 1,924 cases of people getting sick due to suspected sewage pollution over the last year, nearly triple the number of cases reported in the previous year.

Ellen Nicholson, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate for Runnymede & Weybridge, said:

“It’s shameful that Ben Spencer and this Conservative government have once again put water companies’ profits before people’s health.

“It is a complete slap in the face to all those in Runnymede & Weybridge who expect their MP to stand up and fight for them, instead of for massive companies who have dumped filthy sewage into our rivers and lakes.

“It is a sad state of affairs when swimmers are falling seriously sick from sewage while water company bosses trouser millions in bonuses.

“The Liberal Democrats have exposed the sewage scandal and will continue to hold these polluting firms to account even if Dr Ben Spencer refuses to.”

New flower beds at Churchfields Rec

Your local councillor team has held discussions over the last few months to improve the planting of the prominent beds at Churchfields Rec following the dying back of the annual summer bedding plants. This accords with the council’s vision for a more sustainable Elmbridge with improved biodiversity and they have now been planted with lower maintenance grasses and flowering shrubs to provide an attractive display all year round.

New Crossing on Oatlands Drive

Two years ago your local councillor team were pleased to see the work they had proposed to widen, resurface and install better lighting on the ‘green lane’ that connects Oatlands Drive to Grotto Road to make it a better shared walking and wheeling path. We then pressed SCC to install a crossing on Oatlands Drive to make it safer, particularly for children and parents going to and from St James Primary and St George’s Junior Schools. Good to see that this installation is now nearing completion.

Our MP votes against improving GP and ambulance wait times

The Runnymede & Weybridge Conservative MP, a qualified doctor, has been criticised after voting against a Liberal Democrat amendment which would have committed the government to improving GP and ambulance wait times.

The amendment also called on the government to build the 40 new hospitals that had been promised and bring in measures to address the crises in the NHS and social care.

The Liberal Democrats have set out a clear plan to fix local health services, including giving people the right to see a GP in a week or 24 hours if in urgent need. 

Ellen Nicholson the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate for  Runnymede & Weybridge said: 

“Dr. Ben Spencer has shown a callous disregard for patients waiting in pain. As a medical professional himself, this is deeply concerning. Runnymede & Weybridge deserve local health services that provide the care people need, instead of being forced to wait for weeks on end for a GP appointment or hours for an ambulance to arrive. They also deserve an MP that will be a strong local champion and stand up for our health services.

“This Conservative government has run our NHS into the ground. Communities like ours have been taken for granted for far too long. Voters know that with the Liberal Democrats they will get much better, just as they deserve to.”

Elmbridge Parking Review

SCC have proposed some changes to parking restrictions in the Borough and would welcome feedback to the proposals. The closing date for feedback of this review is 22 December.

Street notices have been put out where changes are proposed and residents of properties fronting the proposals have been notified in writing of changes planned in their area.

Full information and a link for feedback is available on SCC’s website: Elmbridge parking review 2023 – Surrey County Council (surreycc.gov.uk)

The proposed orders are also available for inspection at Esher Civic Centre, the Highways Depot in Merrow, plus libraries across the borough.