Vicki Macleod for Weybridge in the Surrey Elections 4th May 2017

On Thursday 4th May, you have a  chance to elect a new councillor to represent Weybridge on Surrey County Council.

Your local Liberal Democrat candidate is long term Weybridge resident Vicki Macleod.

You may know Vicki from her work in our local community, perhaps from her five years chairing the Friends of The Weybridge Centre charity. or as a school governor.

Vicki‘s priority is to give Weybridge a stronger voice for better delivery of the services local people need, including:

  • Better maintained and safer local roads and pavements
  • Local school places for Weybridge children
  • Responsible budget management by Surrey County Council

Many people see Surrey County Council as remote and inefficient with its history of mismanagement. Vicki will work with other councillors to put pressure on the administration for more effective financial management and for budgets that reflect local needs.  Her longer term aim is to see some of the services currently run by Surrey brought into local Elmbridge control.



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.

Town Meeting on Parking

Double-yellow-lines-on-a-road-and-pavement-curb-2101582Following the disturbing lack of engagement of residents, businesses and other interested parties by Surrey in its review of parking in Weybridge, your local Lib Dems decided to host a consultation meeting in the Weybridge Community Centre, Churchfields Place at 8:00pm, on Thursday, 14 July.

Discussion will include off-street and on-street parking policies; safety, parking on main roads; the balance between shoppers, workers and residents; and, the most effective way to ration available spaces.  It will also discuss approach to individual streets such as Curzon Road, Grenside Road, Pine Grove Road and Wey Road.  It will be an action filled event and school drop-offs etc will also be discussed.

Surrey’s parking review for Weybridge was up for decision at the Local Committee meeting on 27 June.  Cllr Andrew Davis argued that the consultation process should involve more presentation and dialogue with local residents before a set of firm proposals was put forward. He was supported by colleagues across all parties.  This resulted in the local committee agreeing that Surrey officers should discuss and amend the proposal in direct consultation with your Weybridge councillors at the end of July.

The previous proposal are here.


Grotto Road

Grotto RoadThe construction of a footpath on the north side of the junction of Grotto Road and Thames Street has been on locals’ wish list for years. Now that CIL (Community Infrastructure Levy) money is available it is possible for that footway to be installed.

Given the number of children who use this route to both St Georges and St James schools the location is considered one of the most dangerous routes in Weybridge off the main roads.

The project would be to be move the Grotto Road entrance south by the with of one footway on the north side and, to keep the street the same width, move the carriageway south along with the footway on the southern side.

If no utility or other works were in involved the cost would range from £10,000 to £20,000. However, the small tree would have to be moved but it is likely that the pillar box, air pollution station and telephone box could stay.  This sum is well within the amount that could be considered by the local CIL spending board.

The big problem is the cable box on the southern footway.  It is possible that the box could remain in situ with the path passing on the other side.  However, the inspection cover would have to be lowered and not only that if the cables are just below the surface the cabling would have to be lowered as well to take the extra weight and depth of the carriageway.  It is most likely (but not certain) that the utility company would have to move the box.  The charge for this can be up to £20,000.  This is because only the utility company can move the box and they tend to charge what they like.  Surrey may not go out to tender to get a lower quote.

There could also be other, yet unknown, utilities affected.  So the cost could rise again.

As part of the green would be used for the footway, the owners – probably Paragon Housing would have to be involved.  The project could be anything from £10,000 to £50,000 and most likely at the upper end.

Given that the local CIL board regularly gives grants at this level do you think this is a project that you could support?

Cycle Storage Grant

According to the applicant there are currently 164 cycle storage spaces at Heathside School, currently at least 190 students cycle to school representing 15% of students. Based on this when the school expands a minimum of 214 cycle storage spaces will be required – an extra 60 places.

As far as I can see, this expenditure is discretionary in that there is no legal requirement to provide these facilities.  However, on gaining planning permission for the expansion of the school conditions were laid down that required a school travel plan to be agreed prior to the additional student intake starting at Heathside School.  It is likely that the school plan will require extra facilities for cyclists and therefore this proposal could be considered a legal requirement.  On such a basis this grant could be considered to be replacing mandatory funding from elsewhere.

See more information here.  Give your views on our giving £33,500 grant for this proposal here.  Information on the other grants here.

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.

Housing and the Green Belt

Suburban spreadLast year I posted that Elmbridge planners were busily re-examining the borough policies with a view to protect ourselves from the national government’s changes in planning policy contained in the new NPPF.

Now new threats emerge with the demands for more housing.  One can easily see the need from a national perspective: people are living longer, having more babies, getting divorced – all cause greater household formation.  On top of that London – the premier city on earth – is a magnet for people throughout the world.  Is there a better place to learn globish than in London?

So our planners are revisiting our borough policies again to ensure we are protected against unwelcome developments and consequent planning appeals.  It has to be done thoroughly to avoid the accusations of nimbyism.  In area Weybridge is not much smaller than Hackney but Weybridge has less than a tenth of Hackney’s population.  It is only planning law that stops Weybridge having a much higher density.

Is reasonable for Elmbridge to maintain a low population when so many are in need of a place to call their own at a price they can afford?  Should we at least grow at the same rate as Britain as a whole?  We are already short of schools – where do we built the schools we need?