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.


Bins Overfull Desborough webIf you have gone for a walk in Weybridge you can’t go far before you find a bit of mess around a bin.   Indeed, you can find litter strewn around even if there is no bin. The new Churchfield Meadow has litter hidden in the long grass as does Desborourgh Island (shown here) and Weybridge Point for example.  I have contacted the cleansing department on a number of occasions and the stock reply is that the Conservative borough administration has decided on a limit to the number of bins.  That limit is now reached.  The same applies to dog bins.  The only way that extra bins may be placed in Weybridge is if bins in other places are removed. As no other bin is deemed underutilized there is no prospect under this administration to increase the number of bins.

Rubbish Crushing Bins WebBins in certain parts of the town are collected daily but some bins are used seasonally – either across the year or across the week.  One resident told me of a bin they saw around Wimbledon.  This bin compacts the rubbish so they have a very large capacity and they can also notify staff when they are becoming full. They only need to be emptied when full so require far less maintenance then ordinary bins.  This could be a cost-effective remedy.

If you know of any bins that are often overflowing or if you know of a bin which seems never to be used then please get in contact.

I have also been asking about the food waste bins which appear not to be fox proof.  I have asked for the number of bins in the borough, where they are located and how much they cost to install and maintain.

I know that people should take their litter home but unless we can stop people dropping litter we have to provide facilities for them – otherwise our environment will be scarred.

Spot the goats grazing on Esher Commons

Goats on esher commonFor the second year running, Elmbridge is working with the Surrey Wildlife Trust on a trial goat grazing project on a small area of Esher Commons.

This trial forms part of the Esher Commons site of special scientific interest restoration and management plan which began in 2005 to restore 22 ha of heathland.

In spring, a dozen male goats were released into a specially fenced area of Esher Commons as a sustainable solution to control the growth of scrubby vegetation and help restore valuable heathland. Heathland is a rare and precious habitat which is under threat from unwanted scrub which includes pine and birch. By introducing goats to help manage scrub re-growth, we are enabling the heathland to re-establish, grow and spread. The goats job will be to control the birch, pine, gorse and willow and other scrub that threatens to invade the heathland, so protecting wildlife.

The goats are a familiar sight in this fenced area. They are well cared for and have become a natural addition to the commons. Their enclosure ensures they have enough space to explore and plenty of vegetation to eat. Last year, Elmbridge’s countryside team received enormous support from the public and visitors helped to keep the goats safe and secure.

If you are interested in becoming a goat ‘looker’, that is, helping to keep an eye on the goats and their fence, or would like more information on them please contact the Elmbridge ‘s countryside team on 01372 474 582. If you notice an injured or sick goat please contact the Surrey Wildlife Trust grazing team on 07817 769 672.

 For more information contact  01372 474579 or email countryside@elmbridge.gov.uk

Churchfields Play area

Churchfields Park Playground-wey-soc333Ideas in so far.

Swinging basket thing that a few children can sit in and be pushed (there is a huge one in Bushy Park).

Any climbing frame – boys love to climb! The large webby climbing frame in Brooklands park is always popular.

Hidden trampoline, more baby swings, tunnel, basket swing.

Climbing frame, Slide with tunnel. Large circular swinging basket.

Would be great to have more rides for really young ones

Closed in roundabout like the one in Brooklands playground so that children cant get knocked over by protruding arms like the one that is already there. Rope net climber.

Super great playground, could have more benches for adults to sit in the middle and watch over more than one child who like to play at either end of the play area or in the scooter ramp bit.

The pool is getting tired.

Better climbing frames – like the one at Oatlands.

The wooden fort at the Medicine Garden is amazing.

Rope climbing apparatus.

Monkey bars, floor trampoline, spider web, a big curly slide, get the train back and bars.

Climbing frames, ropes.

Fantastic climbing frame at Hurst Park Molesey, Witches Hat, Climbing Wall

Too many pieces of equipment have been taken away such as the climbing frame, why? Older children don’t have that much to do now. We also need more swings, two baby ones and two older ones aren’t enough for the population of Weybridge.


Weybridge Point

River Grant for car park-01Elmbridge has received an application for a grant of £82,000 to change the layout of the path through the car park at the end of Thames Street with an aim to highlight the Thames Path and focus on the view of the Thames.



River View-01This bid is competing with many other bids from around the borough. What do you think? If you want to know more about it click on  Weybridge Point Car Park. The meeting to decide on this is being held on Monday, 29 September.

River Grant-02

Dream a little Midsummer Night’s Dream with ‘Shakespeare in The Park’

As part of national 450th anniversary events celebrating the birth of William Shakespeare, Shout! is looking for young Elmbridge actors to take part in ‘Shakespeare in the Park’.  The week-long theatre workshop is open for 10-16 year olds and culminates with three performances on the final day in parks across Elmbridge.

Taking inspiration from ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’, one of Shakespeare’s most loved plays, young people will be encouraged to release their energy, free their voices, to listen, to think and to be creative. The travelling players will present a performance on the final day exploring the connections between Shakespeare’s theatre and storytelling.

The workshop and rehearsals will take place at the Riverhouse Barn Arts Centre, Manor Road, Walton KT12 2PF,  10:00 to 16:00 every day, from Monday, 11 to Friday, 15 August.

Live performances will take place on Friday, 15 August at the following venues:

  • 11:00 at Churchfields Recreation Ground, Weybridge
  • 13:00 at The Cobham Medicine Gardens, Cobham
  • 15:00 at Riverside Gardens, Walton

The cost for the workshop is £75 for the week with a More Card and £90 without.

For further details and bookings please call Leisure and Cultural Services on 01372 474634 or email leisure@elmbridge.gov.uk

Shout! For Some Summer Fun for Your Children

Shout! kids websiteWith the holidays only two weeks away, now is the time to book some summer fun for your young ones while they are off from school.

Shout! Holiday Activities have a limited number of places left on the week-long Ready! Set! Shout! sports course for 5 to 13 year olds from Monday, 28 July to Friday, 1 August and the Shakespeare in The Park drama course for 10 to 16 year olds from Monday 11 to Friday 15 August.

If your children are sporty, there are still some spaces on the following courses:

  • Cycle Skills workshops for 4 to 12 year olds on Monday 4 and 11 August
  • Totstennis sessions for 3 to 5 year olds and Tennis4fun (for 5to 8 year olds) starting on Monday 4 and 11 August

There is also availability on the following fun and exciting full-day workshops:

For children who like all types of music and dancing:

  • Make a Music Video in a day for 9 to 13 year olds – Thursday 31 July
  • Drumming Day for 5 to 8 year olds in the morning and 9 to 13 year olds in the afternoon –  Monday 4 August
  • Road to Brazil for 5 to 8 year olds who love football and dancing – Friday 8 August
  • Twinkle Toes for 5 to 7 year olds – Friday 15 August
  • Let’s learn to Bollywood Dance  for  8 to 13 year olds – Friday 22 August

 For adventurous kids looking for action and thrills:

  • Outdoor Adventure Team Challenge for 5 to 8 year olds on Thursday 7 August
  • Water Mania for 11 to 15 year olds – Thursday 21 August
  • Paintballing for 10 to 15 year olds Thursday 26 August
  • Pit Stop Scalextric for 5 to 12 year olds – Wednesday 27 August

 Budding chefs will be cooking a storm in the kitchen with Ready! Steady! Cook! (for 9 to 13 year olds) on Thursday 19 August.

Call 01372 474634 to book or click here for the brochure.  The holiday activities are running from Monday 28 July to Friday 29 August.

Goat grazing To Maintain Heathland on Esher Common

GoatsSurrey Wildlife Trust and Elmbridge are working together on a conservation grazing project that will involve using a small herd of goats to maintain and increase the biodiversity of natural heathland on an area of Esher common.

The Esher Common SSSI (site of special scientific interest) restoration and management plan was approved by Elmbridge in 2005 to restore 22 hectares of common back to heathland. As part of the management plan, it was agreed to carry out trial grazing to see how effective it would be to maintain heathland. A small area of Esher Common has been selected for this trial and temporary fencing will be erected to protect and confine the goats.

15 male goats will arrive this month and stay for the summer, grazing in a small paddock on the south side of Esher common. Whilst it’s not true that goats eat anything, they do browse woody plants such as shrubs and trees; stripping the bark and eating the leaves. They will keep the birch, pine, gorse, willow and other invasive scrub under control, helping to restore and maintain the rare and precious habitat for wildlife on the common.

Jo Saunders, ranger for Surrey Wildlife Trust, says that grazing with goats is an excellent alternative to cutting scrub by machine. Goats can selectively browse woody vegetation; leaving more sensitive plants unharmed and creating a wonderful mosaic of micro-habitats. We’re really pleased that the team at Esher Common have decided to use goats to help with their heath restoration.

Hamish White, Elmbridge countryside officer, said, “We look forward to working in partnership with Surrey Wildlife Trust on this exciting project. We believe this trial project will help us with our heath and restoration programme by controlling the scrub in this area. There are many benefits using goats for grazing as they are able to access land which we cannot control with machinery and help provide niche habitats for plants and animals. In the long term it will allow us to create a diverse habitat which is needed for the wildlife that relies on Esher Common”.

If you are interested in becoming a goat ‘looker’, that is helping to keep an eye on the goats, or would like more information please contact Elmbridge’s countryside team on 01372 474582.

Cricket Green Car Park

Cricket Green Car Park Website

Tim Crowther, my predecessor as a  Weybridge councillor and a long-time campaigner to protect our open spaces, tells me that Weybridge cricket green is a registered village green (akin to common land status). The land is owned by the borough.  Under a deed of exchange the land is “to be kept unenclosed and … available as open space and recreation ground for the enjoyment and general benefit of the inhabitants of Weybridge”.

The present car park on the green has been established by usage over the years.  The original use was to provide car parking space for the cricket club and for informal uses of the open space.  Such use has, however never formally or legally been approved, as it should have been under section 194 of the Law of Property Act 1925.  What has happened is that, over the years, the site has increasingly been used as a general car park for the surrounding area – by Manby Lodge School, by nearby residents, and by businesses and shop workers and visitors. Strictly speaking, the use of green for such purposes is illegal because of the wording of the deed of exchange and from the fact that approval by the Secretary of State under the LPA 1925 has never been sought or given.

If proper consent for car parking on the village green been forthcoming it would undoubtedly been restricted solely to purposes connected with the recreational use of the green. If the council was now to seek retrospective consent Tim Crowther has no doubt that any consent would be so restricted.  Up until very recently, the status of the car park has been made clear by a (small) notice at the entrance to the car park stating that the use of the car park is restricted to visitors to the cricket club and the open space. It appears that this sign has recently been removed.

The protection of common land and village greens from encroachment creep is of the utmost importance and it is disappointing that the council has, by default, allowed this to happen in the case of the cricket green car park and is now putting forward proposals which exacerbate the problem without doing anything to correct it.

It is not necessary or desirable in Tim Crowther’s view to “encourage a turnover of vehicles” at the cricket green car park by introducing a three hour parking limit.  Measures should now be taken, he suggests, to restrict the use of the car park to recreational users of the green.  The reintroduction of sign to this effect would be a start, coupled with measures of enforcement.  Without such action the car park will inevitably gain an unavoidable wider legitimacy and the hard-won status of an historic village green betrayed.

I agree with Tim’s assessment.

Illustrated Talk – Brooklands through the Ages

An illustrated talk on ‘Brooklands through the Ages’ – from the Iron Age period right through to modern times will be held on Thursday, 23 January at 8pm in the large hall of the St James’ Church Parish Centre. It will offer insights about the Brooklands area covering its origins, history, people and other interesting facts.

Brooklands today is very much shaped by the legacy of the motor racing circuit built in 1907. The early history of the area, how the circuit came into being and its subsequent development all yield some fascinating insights about the life and times of people in Weybridge.

The speaker is Steve McCarthy, whose background is as a professional engineer.  His interest in cars and local history has led him to study Brooklands wider than just the well chronicled aspects of the racing circuit.

All are welcome, Weybridge Society Members are free and non-members £3.