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.

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

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.

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.

Weybridge Business Park

In March this year, Runnymede Borough Council rejected plans for a 20,000 square metre warehouse on the now derelict site of Weybridge Business Park because it would be overbearing and have a damaging environmental impact.

The developers returned with revised plans for a number of smaller industrial units rather than the one large warehouse and this came before the RBC Planning Committee at the end of October. The council seemed to consider that the was an improved design due to its reduction in size and some additional landscaping. Along with the Weybridge Society, local councillors asked EBC to comment on the adverse effect the development would have on traffic through Weybridge, but unfortunately there was no objection raised from either the Local Highway Authority (SCC) or National Highways. Indeed, RBC determined that a reason for refusal on highway grounds could not be substantiated.

But conditions were imposed to restrict the hours of operations from 7am to 9pm and to limit the amount of floor space that could be occupied by one occupier so that units couldn’t be joined together to effectively provide one large warehouse.

However, the developers, Bridge Industrial, are appealing the decision to refuse their first application in March. The Weybridge Society is working hard, along with members of the Poets Corner Residents Group (PCRG) who live near the site, to prevent the appeal being heard in February from overturning the decision.

Petition for HGV weight limit

With Brooklands becoming a distribution centre for more and more companies, including Amazon, there are now more HGVs travelling through Weybridge and using the Balfour Road mini roundabout to turn into and out of Church Street. This is causing traffic jams, damage to barriers and pavements, and is dangerous to cyclists and pedestrians when the lorries mount the pavements to turn.

Neither Church Street nor the mini roundabout have been designed for this type of traffic and there have been 2 incidents with fatalities in the last 5 years on Balfour Road.

A petition to Surrey County Council was submitted in autumn 2022 to try to stop HGVs coming through Weybridge on the A317, received 270 signatures but was rejected on the grounds that it is a Surrey Priority One network with the comment that there “are no plans at this time to introduce a weight restriction.”

However, undeterred and seeing the escalation of the problem, we have joined with our St George’s ward councillor colleagues to promote a petition to introduce an 18 ton HGV weight limit on Brooklands Road. This is a B road and, if implemented, would achieve the aim of banning HGVs over 18 tonnes from using Heath Road to and from the town centre. There is still time to support the petition through this link or use the QR code below:  https://mycouncil.surreycc.gov.uk/mgEPetitionDisplay.aspx?ID=541 

The petition is due to close on the 29th December.

Elmbridge disappointed with ULEZ decision

Our Council issued a news bulletin on the 28th July to express its disappointment at the High Court decision to allow the expansion of ULEZ to go ahead from 29 August 2023.

Given the significant air pollution caused by traffic in Weybridge town centre, we have frequently called upon our highways authority, Surrey County Council, to be much more pro-active in restricting the most polluting vehicles. While we therefore support the benefits of cleaner air in Greater London from the extension of the ULEZ, we have also expressed our reservations to the speed of its implementation without proper consultation with boroughs and districts surrounding Greater London.

The statement by the Leader of the Council is:

We are supportive of improving air quality in Elmbridge and of increased trade in our high streets and parades, both of which we see as potential benefits to the possible extension of the ULEZ. However, we know our communities are linked to those of Greater London and we are concerned about impact on small businesses and our residents in introducing the scheme this year. We have continually lobbied the Mayor of London and TfL due to the impact it will have on the Elmbridge community as a whole. It is unsatisfactory that TfL are proceeding without a scrappage scheme for those outside the London boundary, specifically those who cross it in the course of their daily lives. It’s a change which is likely to hit hardest those are least able to afford it. We will continue to work with Surrey County Council to press TfL to engage with us to tackle this issue. 

All the political parties across Elmbridge Borough Council have stated their objections to the expansion of ULEZ. 

Surrey Police Crime Commissioner spends £3 Million while officer numbers are slashed

Through several Freedom of Information requests, the Liberal Democrat Party has discovered that Surrey’s Conservative Police and Crime Commissioner (PPC) has cost the taxpayer £3.2 million since 2019, paying out huge sums for social media and office costs as community police officers were removed from patrolling streets and dealing with crimes.

Since 2021, Surrey Commissioner Lisa Townsend has had three staff members to run her social media presence and has increased her office costs by £180,000 – the equivalent of seven community police officers (PCSOs). Yet since Townsend was elected, Surrey has slashed 39 community officers from the streets!

In April, Liberal Democrat Leader, Ed Davey, called on the Government to scrap commissioners amid falling community officer numbers. Since 2019, England and Wales have lost 1,284 community police officers, despite tens of millions spent on PCCs. The costs of the country’s PCCs could have funded an additional estimated 3,830 community officers on an average salary of £26,634. It is shocking to see a local Conservative politician waste so much money on social media and office costs whilst officer numbers are slashed.

According to discussions with the office of the PCC recently, the recruitment of PCSO’s by Surrey Police ground to a halt last year to hit savings targets. Whilst recruitment has now resumed, it will take some years to return to previous levels.