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.

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.

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.

Walking safely in the High Street

Have you ever walked along Church Street and wondered why pedestrians should give way to traffic coming out of 10 Church Street next to the Golden Place?

Church Street 10

 

 

 

 

 

 

Well of course you shouldn’t but the way the footway is laid out makes you think you had better stop for traffic.  This is poor design and Weybridge is full of them. Church Street 44

 

 

 

 

 

 

Number 44 Church is another example where people – notice the blind persons’ pavement treatment – are expected to stop for next to no traffic.   Church Street 35

 

 

 

 

 

The Rectory entrance on the other side is much better.  It it tells drivers that they should give way to pedestrians.

High Street 68

 

 

 

 

 

 

The entrance to Ship Yard, above is priority goes the wrong way.

In London this problem has been recognized.  A study was undertaken at many locations to see whether pedestrians or drivers should be given priority.   It was decided on a cautious approach on the basis that if three times as many pedestrians crossed a minor street than vehicles entered into it then the junction would be modified to give pedestrians priority.

Junction Before

 

 

 

 

 

 

Before, above – after, below.

Junction After

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fears that drivers would present a danger were unfounded.

If any change is made to Weybridge town centre these modifications would be a useful improvement to our town.  We could always go the whole hog.

Other town locations shown below

Monument Green East

 

 

 

 

 

Walking to Morrisons across Springfield Lane

Monument Green West

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another junction that could be a crossover.

Monument Green North

 

 

 

 

 

The entrance to the Ship Hotel should be converted into a crossover at the next opportunity.

High Street 47

 

 

 

 

 

The entrance to an office car park is another case of very low volume car traffic again high volume pedestrian traffic.

Church Street Hospital

 

 

 

 

 

 

Although more cars use the hospital entrance I think people crossing would come out top.

Church Street Minorca

 

 

 

 

 

Minorca Road could be an opportunity too but we would have to look at the figures.  The examples below would need to be checked for traffic figures but are in contention.

Church Street 2

 

 

 

 

 

Churchfields Road

High Street Elmgrove

 

 

 

 

 

Elmgrove Road

High Street Baker

 

 

 

 

 

Baker Street.  Some are saying that this end of Baker Street should be pedestrianized in any case.

Multi-story Car Parks?

One of our fellow burghers recently told me that Weybridge has insufficient public parking space and more space should be created – not the first person to do so by any means.

And added that there should be a substantial reduction in car parking fees so that people coming to work in Weybridge can afford to use public car parks.   And went on that the daily cost of parking is unaffordable for the average worker.   What about creating a further layer of parking under the Churchfields car park?     I know this would be expensive but very little money has been invested in this town in recent years.

On the other hand I am told that parking charges are to underpriced because many times the car parks are full and that revenue from car parking reduces the council tax (though not business rates).

Elmbridge makes a surplus of just under £2.5 million pounds a year – half a million of which comes from Weybridge.

Côte Brasserie comes to Weybridge

Cote Brasserie-01The restaurant chain has applied for planning permission to combine two shops: Sevenoaks Sound and Vision and the Nail Company beauty salon into one to provide a larger retail unit.  One of the problems for Weybridge has been the lack of larger retail units, so that combining neighbouring units might be a way forward – as Boots, Laura Ashley and the Slug and Lettice have done in the past.

If Côte Brasserie opens then 41, 43, 45, 47 and 47 Church Street will be a row of restaurants.  We do like eating out in Weybridge but what is the implications for those living close by?

Do have a look at the plans here and if you want to make comments – here is a guide

Morrisons goes ahead

Proposed view of Morrisons Small

Morrisons has been given the go ahead by Elmbridge’s planning committee: ten in favour, six against and seven abstaining.

While I am happy to have a new store, I voted against the proposal because of transport issues, aspects of the design, sales floor size, access from the High Street for pedestrians and access to the store for cars.  Take a picture of the tree before it is cut down.

I did my best to make the proposal work better but my best was not good enough to persuade other councillors to change their mind.

Morrisons

Proposed view of Morrisons Small

 

Morrison’s planning application is set to go to Elmbridge’s planning committee at 7:45, Tuesday, 16 July, in the council chamber at the civic centre.

I am on the committee and I want to hear your views.  What do you think of this?  See the video.  Any thoughts on the plane tree in Monument Road?