Design a Flowerbed Competition – open till 27 January

Elmbridge Borough is holding a competition for local 7-11 year olds – one of the many activities being held nationwide to celebrate the UK-India Year of Culture in 2017. 

The challenge is to design a circular flowerbed based on the vibrant colours and some of the more simple designs found in India.

The winning design in Weybridge will be planted in the Churchfields park.

For more examples of designs like the one above which are drawn on pavements, often in front of houses in Tamil Nadu, see photos taken by  Vicki Macleod on her recent travels there on the Weybridge LibDems Facebook page.

Entries must be submitted to Elmbridge by Friday, 27 January and full information on entering the competition can be found on the Elmbridge website.

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.

Churchfields Play Area

Churchfields Park Playground-wey-soc333Today I was at the civic centre to take a look at the final scheme for the play area.

All being well, the contract will be signed with the equipment providers this week and the the play area will be open before the summer holidays begin.

A big thank you to all of you who joined my campaign at the beginning and for the schools and parents who gave their support as the campaign progressed.  Focused action gets results.

I would have liked to have posted pictures but we are still in the confidential stage and also in purduh – I will get them to you as soon as they are made available.

Heath Road Path

Heath RoadSurrey has agreed to spend £160,000 over two years to improve safety and amenity around and approaching Weybridge Station from the town.  In some respects it has been overtaken by the new cycling plan for Weybridge (the initial station plan – remarkably – did not consider cycling).

This project is essentially a bare minimum approach to the problem given that Surrey raises insufficient funds to provide a transport network fit for one of Europe’s most dynamic locations.

The project is subject to consultation – and it needs to be because there is quite a lot wrong with it.  The main parts are:

  • Improving the unmade path on the southern side of Heath Road – this has been superseded by the current plan to make this part of the station town centre cycleway.
  • Improving the car parking opposite the Korean Church.  I am not sure that this is a good idea because it is part of the common and therefore should be removed and not upgraded. That would save £20,000.
  • Creating a one-way system for Old Heath Road.
  • Improving pedestrian crossing on Heath Road and Station Approach.
  • Resurfacing the carriageway across Diggers Bridge.

As it passes through the system I will give more details.  I’ll obviously notify you of any consultation.

Easter Egg Hunt by bike

Cycling cycle cyclistThis Sunday is Weybridge’s annual Easter Egg Hunt – by cycle.

Starting from the Hand & Spear at the station at 10am on Sunday the Easter Egg Hunt will take us on a tour of the area looking for hidden Easter eggs.  In teams of two or three cyclists, and using a map and a clue sheet we will have two hours to find as many answers as possible.

Teams can consist of two or three members.  Don’t worry if you don’t already have a buddy to ride with, you can be paired up with someone suitable at the start. There will be no fixed route, but expect to cycle around 20 miles or so.

The finish back at the station by about noon.  There will be prizes, kindly provided by Woking Cycle Users Group.

If you want to come, just turn up.  If you have questions or need to contact the organisers on the day call 07930 320 241.

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.

Outdoor Play Week

Littleworth commonFor many reasons, children nowadays are not experiencing as much active play time as their parents used to when they were young. Outdoor Play Week is all about encouraging children to connect with nature and rediscover the fun and excitement of playing outdoors. From Sunday, 20 March to Saturday, 2 April, children and their parents can join in free events across the Borough:

  • Pond dip at Littleworth Common – Sunday 20 March. Drop in from 10am. Event finishes at 11.30 am.
    Littleworth Common Pond, across the road from Café Rouge on the Portsmouth Road. Nearest postcode: KT10 9AD
  • Hunt for creatures that crawl and swim in your local ponds.  All equipment will be provided and staff will be on hand to help you identify your catch.
  • Xplorer – Drop in sessions – Wednesday 30 March, 10am to 12pm and Friday 1 April, 2.30pm to 4pm
    Coronation Recreation Ground, Molesey Road, Hersham KT12 4QR.
    A family fun challenge suitable for all ages, pre-school to primary. Use a map to try and find secret animals and interesting facts pictured on markers hidden around the park. When you’ve finished don’t forget to collect your certificate.
  • Go Wild with Outdoor Play – Saturday 2 April
    Drop in from 10am. Event finishes at 1pm.
    Brooklands Community Park, Sopwith Drive, Weybridge KT13 0XF
    Explore Brooklands Community Park. Model with junk, make a ball run, hunt for bugs in the woods and try some natural crafts.

All the above events are suitable for all ages.

Why not invite your children to make the most of the many green spaces in the borough during Outdoor Play Week? They can burn off energy, take a close look at the environment and learn to interact and understand the natural world. The outdoors offer limitless opportunities for creativity and free play. Playing outdoors with their friends will develop their social skills. It will also boost their confidence as they learn new things and assess risks.

For further information, please visit elmbridge.gov.uk/shout or elmbridge.gov.uk/countryside or call 01372 474 634.

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.

Shout! Keep children busy and entertained this Easter

ShoutChildren can enjoy a variety of fun, low-cost activities during the Easter school break with the Shout! holiday programme.

The week-long popular activity schemes and sports courses are running every day from 8.30am to 5.30pm from Tuesday 29 March to Friday 8 April and the Sports and Arts workshop is running from Tuesday 29 to Friday 1 April. There is also a wide range of day-long workshops to choose from, including arts and crafts, dance, circus skills, woodland challenges and a brand new CSI detective day for young detectives in the making.

Parents can get up to 20% discount on all Shout! workshops if their child holds a valid more card. A more card costs £5 per child and can be ordered online at elmbridge.gov.uk/more. It also gives discounts on activities at the Xcel Leisure Complex, the Hurst Pool and at some local retailers. Booking lines open exclusively for more card holders on Monday 22 February from 12pm to 5pm and on 23 February at 9am for all.

This Easter, the Shout! programme also includes many free outdoor events for children of all ages with a Towpath Toddle for toddlers and older siblings, a den building fun afternoon and some family Xplorer sessions where families will be testing their orienteering skills to find secret animals and nature facts in local countryside sites and parks.

The Shout! Holiday Activities brochure is now available online. Please call 01372474634 or email shout@elmbridge.gov.uk for further information.