Morrisons Again

Proposed view of Morrisons SmallMorrisons has applied to Elmbridge to extend its delivery times.  The current limits are Monday to Saturday – 7:00 to 23:00 and Sunday and Bank Holidays 9:00 to 15:00. All commercial vehicles must vacate the site by 23:00 Monday to Saturday and 15:00 Sunday and Bank Holidays.  Between 21:00 and 23:00 the Quiet Delivery System must be used.

Morrisons’ proposal is that the limits be set to the hours of 5:00 to 23:00, every day. From 5:00 to 7:00 in the morning and from 21:00 to 23:00 in the evening the Quiet Delivery System will be used.

Further details can be found here and you can give your comments here.  You will notice that there appears to be no plans in the new hours on Sunday, Public and Bank Holidays to use the Quiet Delivery System in a way that makes them different from normal workdays.

Now Planned Difference
Monday to Saturday 7:00 to 23:00 5:00 to 23:00 5:00 to 7:00
Sunday, Public and Bank holidays 9:00 to 15:00 5:00 to 23:00 5:00 to 9:00 and
15:00 to 23:00

Baker Street Improvements

Baker Street websiteWithin its 2016-17 divisional highway programme, Surrey has agreed to undertake a public realm improvement feasibility study and public consultation for £8,000.  There is nothing programmed for taking it further next year so it’ll might be 2018 before any changes appear – if that.  In the recent “Vision for Weybridge” survey most people preferred Church Street to be closed to traffic rather than Baker Street but Surrey moves extraordinarily slowly.  That’s why a Weybridge Town Council would be such a good idea.

I will keep you posted as the project develops.

High Street Focal Point

Old Post Office PavementAs a founder member of the Weybridge Town Business Group, my retail business has been based in Weybridge for over twenty years, I am pleased that a further project is progressing.  There is much to do to improve our town centre and while the more ambitious projects, as indicated in a Vision for Weybridge and elsewhere, are being planned it is well to develop smaller projects to keep up momentum.  This is where a town council would help as in Claygate.

This mini project is to refurbish the paved outlyer outside the old post office by replacing the telephone boxes, cycle racks, air pollution monitoring box and loos with removable planters and seats etc.   It is planned that small events could occur at this spot throughout the year.

Cashless Parking

Elmbridge parking metersPaying for parking has been has always been a pain.  Does the machine work?  Have I got the correct coins?  Paying electronically with a card seemed a benefit but the transaction charge can be an extra 100% if your stay is short – 20p for a short stay and another twenty pence for the payment itself.

When Elmbridge withdrew the remote payment service over Christmas the problem got worse.  Everyone had to pay by cash and the machines filled up very quickly and stopped working.   Apparently, people were even fined for parking when the parking meters were full.  The online service was reinstated recently with another provider but it is still unacceptably expensive.

I called on the borough to use cashless payment when I first became a councillor and, not before time, Elmbridge is about to begin trials.  I understand that this new system will be semi contactless (proximate swiping) using ordinary credit and debit cards and there will be no charge to the user.  It is due to begin in the station car parks first and, if successful, it will move to the town car parks and on to the various other car parks in the borough.

I also suggested a more effective charging regime to maximise the usefulness of our car parking resources to promote the dynamism of our town centres and the borough transport infrastructure generally but that might require regime change at Elmbridge.

Telephone Box

Telephone BoxThe telephone boxes in the centre of town are hardly used.  I’m told that in the last year only fifty calls have been made on all the town’s telephone boxes.  If Surrey, the highway authority wants to move one then It has to ask BT, the usual owner, to do it.  I understand that BT has quoted £4,000 to remove the boxes outside the old post office.  The cost apparently is to dig a hole, seal the power supply and make good.  Nice work if you can get it.

Grants in March

CIL Grants

On Tuesday we will be deciding on whether or not to offer grants to several projects in Weybridge.  I want you hear your views.

£170,000 is available for Weybridge to allocate locally. Legislation states that these funds must be spent on projects that meet the following criteria.

  • The provision, improvement, replacement, operation or maintenance of infrastructure; or
  • Anything else that is concerned with addressing the demands that development places on an area.

This fund need not be spent if the grants are not deemd worthy.  The fund may carry over from one financial year to the next.

The definition of infrastructure is broad and includes:

  • Roads and other transport infrastructure
  • Flood defences
  • Schools and other educational facilities
  • Medical facilities
  • Open spaces
  • Sporting and recreational facilities.

The decision is made by all of the Weybridge councillors together at the civic centre, Esher at 7:00 on Tuesday, 8 March 2016.

The grants are for:

  • Loo replacement at the Weybridge Community Centre – £80,000
  • Town centre gateway signs and lamp column banners – £3,900
  • Cycle storage facilities for 60 cycle extra cycles at Heathside School – £33,500
  • Signage between the Thames Path National Trail and the Wey Navigation Towpath – £12,000
  • Weybridge Point (where Walton Lane and Thames Street meet) which would include landscaping of the car park, benches and introduction of a viewing platform – £5,000

A total of £134,400.  Please give your views here.

Parking in Weybridge

Double-yellow-lines-on-a-road-and-pavement-curb-2101582Do you have views on parking in Weybridge?  Anything from obstruction on the main roads, lack of spaces at the station, cost of permits, dangerous parking on corners.  I want to hear your views.  Do give me your views in this survey now.

Surrey is about to review parking arrangements in Weybridge and it plans to only do this once every four to five years.  Our chance for any change, if any, comes now – let’s take it.

I am on the Surrey committee that decides on any changes so I want to hear your views and help engender a debate because I know that views differ from person to person and we need a solution that has most people’s support and understanding.

Surrey has created its own survey.  If you complete the last question – relating to specific concerns please copy me in (by copy and pasting your response into an email to andrew @ davroche.com).  Surrey’s questions are quite ‘broad brush’ questions their survey needs to be in by 17 January 2016.  

A Vision for Weybridge

Town Square-01Many Weybridge residents have told me that they would like the town centre to have a focal point – what better than to pedestrianise the very centre of the town?  Give your comments.  it is just a very short strip between Baker Street and Churchfields Road but it would make a great difference to the look and feel of Baker Street, Church Street and the High Street. This would bring a whole series of benefits.

  • There would be a small piazza for people to relax in the quiet centre of town
  • Shopping throughout the town centre would be a more pleasant experience
  • Air pollution, which is current at or above legal limits, would be greatly reduced
  • More short-term parking would be available
  • Baker Street would no longer be a rat-run
  • Access to the town centre would be quicker as the through traffic would not be in the way
  • Buses would travel through the town centre unimpeded by cars.
  • The noise level would be so low that we could hear bird song rather than car engines.

It is likely that far more people could be sat across the new pavement between Cafe One and the Elmbridge Arms.  What a pleasant way to have a cup of tea or coffee in the sun.

This project would cost very little.   Many projects like this can takes years to put in place in England because of the way our governments are organised.  Responsibilities are spread between so many bodies that no-one takes the lead.

What about having a pilot first – just for next summer?  A temporary pilot would probably cost less than the consultation exercise required.  People would quickly experience the positive and negative aspects of the scheme.  Changes could be made as necessary through practical experience.  What is your view – take the survey.

Most people would consider that the biggest problem would be what happens to the traffic?  Clearly the through traffic will not be able to travel down the High Street.  Just like water, traffic always finds new ways through.  Surprisingly when changes like this are made a proportion of the traffic simply disappears but we would be wise to anticipate any problems and put in place appropriate mitigation measures.

This is simply a suggestion to set off your creative juices.  Another idea – much more expensive is here.

Town Centre Traffic

With Weybridge town centre pollution higher than safety standards and traffic often grid-locked – to such an extend that our High Street has the slowest traffic in all the shire counties – we need a to have a clear view of what we want for our town.

Option one – remove the traffic

Of course there is much too much traffic – no self-respecting town would accept a main road going through it.  Denmark has removed all main roads from all town centres and we can do the same.  Interesting and counter-intuitively traffic could flow faster through the town if there was only one main route. Much of the slowness of traffic is caused by the two mini-roundabouts at the junctions of Balfour/Church Street and Temple Market.

Option two – tame the traffic

I believe that we can make our town centre a pleasant place to be in despite the amount of traffic that flows through the town.  We can shorten travel time for motorists, increase trade for our shops, and make the roads safer for our children and the elderly.  Enable more people to cycle, which will itself also reduce congestion.  Allow people with disabilities and the infirm to navigate their way through the traffic and reduce their stress.  We can not only save but improve the heritage represented by our conservation areas in the Quadrant and Monument Green.

Conventional safety experts will tell you that we need traffic lights, roundabouts, tactile bubble paving and a vast array of signs but it is simply not true.

The following video shows what can be done with the will and the imagination.  If the main road is to be remodelled let us make sure that it is designed to the highest standards.  Don’t let the naysayers sell us short.

If Poynton can achieve these excellent results then surely Weybridge can do so too.  What are your views?

One of the advantages that Poynton had was that the highway authority and the planning authority were the same – Cheshire East Council.  Our planning authority – Elmbridge – and our highway authority – Surrey – are separate but that does not mean that they cannot work together to provide the outcomes we need.

The problems can occur when changes are proposed and there is no discussion between the relevant parties – at the same time.

Phone & Pay Service in Council Car Parks

car parks

The phone and pay service operated by Bemrose will no longer be accepted in Elmbridge borough car parks due to contractual difficulties.  Tickets should now be purchased from the pay and display machines.  A replacement pay by mobile service will be available in the new year.  For more information please visit the Elmbridge website.