New Charges at the Dump

Charlton-Lane-Eco-ParkSurrey has found itself caught between the recent increase in demand for social services and the dramatic reduction in British government funding.  Coupled with the Surrey’s failure to plan for a rainy day it has meant that Surrey has decided to reduce its spending in other areas. From 1 September 2016, charges will be introduced for some non-household waste at the Charlton recycling centre.

What type of waste will be charged for?

  • Tyres from cars, motorcycles and all other motorised vehicles
  • Waste from construction, alteration or repair of your home and garden such as plasterboard, breeze blocks, bricks, rubble, soil, stones, turf, ceramic bathroom fittings, tiles. You will have a free daily allowance of chargeable waste from the construction, alteration or repair of your home and garden of one bag OR one item OR one sheet of plasterboard. Thereafter charges will be applied.

What are the charges?

  • £5 per tyre or part tyre
  • £4 per bag or part bag of chargeable waste; or per item or per sheet of plasterboard
    • Bags no bigger than 50cm x 77cm
    • Items such as a concrete fence post, ceramic bath, cistern, paving slab
    • Sheets of plasterboard no bigger than 120cm x 240cm
  • If these materials are loose, a charge of £50 will apply per car load
  • Full list of the types of waste that will be charged for

Will there be any exceptions to the charges?

You will have a free daily allowance of chargeable waste from the construction, alteration or repair of your home and garden of one bag OR one item OR one sheet of plasterboard (see size restrictions above).

Bicycle tyres will be accepted free of charge.

What methods of payment will be available?

Payment can only be made by Visa or Mastercard debit and credit cards. Cash, cheques and other credit cards such as American Express or Diners Club cannot be accepted. Payment will need to be made before you are given access to the chargeable containers.

Green Belt Threat

Green Belt CountrysideThe national government has asked all local governments to review their green belts with a view to opening them up for development – Elmbridge is no exception.  Half the borough is designated as green belt (not to be confused with rural landscapes as above) and so its defence will have to be argued robustly.  We will be doing so with vigour.

The new administration of Liberal Democrats and its coalition allies is already building a coherent justification of our green belt and will ensure that is purpose of preventing urban coalescence is maintained.  A definitive Elmbridge policy on Green Belt in relation to local housing needs must be in place by the end of 2018.  That might seems far away but there is much work to do.

Elmbridge has to define why it needs it green belt.  It cannot just see “because”.  There has to be a reason in planning terms.  We can protect countryside for a number of reasons regardless of whether it is in the green belt or not.  It could be a site of special scientific interest, a defined view, an ancient woodland, a common or land owned by the National Trust.

The National Planning Policy Framework determines, in paragraph eighty, that the Green Belt serves five purposes:

  1. to check the unrestricted sprawl of large built-up areas;
  2. to prevent neighbouring towns merging into one another;
  3. to assist in safeguarding the countryside from encroachment;
  4. to preserve the setting and special character of historic towns; and
  5. to assist in urban regeneration, by encouraging the recycling of derelict and other urban land.

In Elmbridge we cannot use points four and five because they do not apply but clearly one can use the first three.  Regarding point one – how much of a gap do you think there should be between London and the towns in Elmbridge?  Presently there is no gap between Ditton and Surbiton; none between Molesey and Ditton; but there is a gap between Molesey and Walton and Ditton and Esher.  Weybridge already coalesces with Walton but the gap between Weybridge and Hersham is only about 100m wide.

In Weybridge our countryside is often further protected because the land is in the flood plain, owned by the National Trust or common land.

Thames Byfleet Cycleway

Heath RoadThe Liberal Democrats along with its allies in the new coalition administration agreed in cabinet today to proceed with studies to facilitate a path/cycleway alongside the Heath from the station to Brooklands Lane.  This land is held in common and is therefore heavily protected so any proposal with have to be very sensitive to the green space.

Campaigners have been seeking such a development for over two decades and there is still more work to come.

You can check the details here.

Heath Path

Heath Road

Another step on the way to safe travel for pedestrians and cyclists between the town and the station along Heath Road.

Surrey has never pushed for a path here because it was always considered too difficult to get permission from the owners for a path on the common.  Despite the general reluctance to make the move, I pressed for approaches to be made to the owners of the land. Officers from Surrey have now approached the owners who have given their approval in principle.

There are many more steps ahead. However, gaining this permission in principle is probably the most important.  We are now moving ahead on seeking sources of funding.  There are currently more financial pots available than there were previously. Two examples are the Community Infrastructure Levy- CIL – and the M3 Growth Fund.

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.

Broadwater Path

BroadwaterI learnt today that Surrey’s Countryside Officer has received formal notice of objection to the Broadwater Path from St George’s School on grounds of safeguarding.

I know that many people will be disappointed at this turn of events, especially given that St George’s School already has a public footpath passing through its grounds.

I trust that the matter can be resolved quickly as it was expected that the construction of the path could begin this spring.  This path, walked by many, including me, for several decades, was awarded £110,000 by Elmbridge to enable people with disabilities to progress from Weybridge to Cowey Sale with ramped bridges over the Broadwater and Engine Rivers.

This would only be the first stage because once the path was in place it would open up the possibility of public funding for essential maintenance of the lake, which is pressingly needed.

As ever, I’ll keep you posted with developments.

Tesco Bags of Help

Tesco Bags of HelpThe money raised from the 5p bag charge in Tesco stores in Weybridge will be used to pay for a local projects to improve green spaces in the communities. Projects that will get the green light as a result of the funding will include building new pocket parks, sports facilities, woodland walks and community gardens.

Administration of the local funding will be managed by the community charity with a green heart, Groundwork, which specialises in transforming communities and the local environment for the better/

Click here for more information.

Gateways Signs Grant

Lamppost bannersAccording to the applicants the Weybridge Town Centre Signage project will help to improve the look and feel of the town centre, improve footfall and further embed the success of the business group working with the borough to create a positive outlook for the town. The project will erect twelve Welcome to Weybridge lamp column banners and two Welcome to Weybridge gateway signs that will help define the town centre and support the environmental improvements to encourage residents to shop locally and support Weybridge town centre shops.  The picture here is indicative there is no visual of the proposed lamppost designs or gateway signs in the application.

As far as I can see, this expenditure is discretionary in that there is no legal requirement to provide these facilities.  This grant is therefore not replacing mandatory funding from elsewhere.

For more information click here.  Give your view on our giving a £3,900 grant for this proposal here. Other projects seeking grants here.