Community Infrastructure Bids 2021

Community Infrastructure Project Bids

On Monday 14 June, the Elmbridge Borough councillors for Weybridge and Oatlands and Burwood Park sat down to try and distribute around £202,500 from the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) fund across 20 bids for funding received in 2020 and 2021.  The total value of the bids submitted was over £1,257,000.  This presented quite a challenge to your councillors at the Local Spending Board meeting.

What sort of projects?

The nature of projects requesting bids ranged from those submitted by Surrey County Council for local highway junction and cycleway improvements; those submitted by Elmbridge Borough Council for improvement of community assets and the majority, those from community organisations, charities and sports clubs, for improvements to their facilities and buildings.

For councillors this was a challenging task and one which we knew would result in disappointment for many of the organisations involved. Many very worthwhile projects were not granted any funding. See further below for details about the bid scrutiny process.

So which bids were actually granted funding?

In the event, nine bids were allocated funding as follows (see details of the bids below):

Application 1 – Seven Hills Road Footway/Cycleway (Surrey County Council) – Full grant of £50,000

Application 2 – Re-Surfacing of Car Park and Provision of Bike Rack (St Mary Oatlands Church) – Partial grant of £15,000 of the £30,000 sought

Application 3 – Baker Street Junction Improvements for Pedestrians (Surrey County Council) – Full grant of £25,000

Application 4 – Brooklands Community Park – Car Park Extension (Elmbridge Borough Council) – Full grant of £32,500

Application 6 – Scout HQ Repair & Camping Equipment Store (1st Weybridge (Brooklands Own) Scout Group) – Partial grant of £6,500 of the £22,500 sought

Application 8 – Cricket green improvement works (Weybridge Cricket Club) – Partial grant of £44,5000 against the £84,500 sought

Application 9 – Weybridge Men’s Shed (Weybridge Men’s Shed) – partial grant of £12,047 against the £34,803 sought

Application 10 – Walton & Hersham Arena Pitch Improvements: Floodlighting (Walton & Hersham Youth Football Club) – Full grant of £8,690.22

Application 13 – Hydrotherapy Pool Improvements (Walton Leigh School) – Partial grant of £8,341.85 against the £25,000 sought.

The bids in more detail

Seven Hills Road Footway/Cycleway (Surrey County Council)

The proposed project would replace the existing footpath with a larger multiuser path. It would enable increased safety and capacity for residents and formalise usage for both pedestrians and cyclists. It would also improve traffic flow as vehicles won’t have to overtake cyclists. The project will provide a key nonmotorised user (NMU) route in the area and promote active travel. The majority of the funding has been secured, and the CIL application is for the remaining £50,000 for the project.

Re-Surfacing of Car Park and Provision of Bike Rack (St Mary Oatlands Church)

The project proposes to resurface the existing car park using eco-friendly methods, improving the layout, and subsequent flow of traffic, and to install a bike rack to encourage more usage of sustainable travel to the facility. The facility and car park are used by a variety of users, including community groups and nearby schools, so the project will improve usage and safety. A portion of the funding has been secured, and the CIL application is for the remaining £30,000 for the project.

Baker Street Junction Improvements for Pedestrians (Surrey County Council)

The proposed scheme is to improve the crossing facilities for pedestrians at the two junctions of Baker Street with the A317 (eastern end – Monument Hill and western end – High Street). The improved alignment of the routes will improve safety and the ease of usage for pedestrians, which will encourage more residents in the area to choose active travel means. Over half of the funding has been secured and £25,000 in CIL funding is being requested for the project.

Brooklands Community Park – Car Park Extension (Elmbridge Borough Council)

The proposed project is to extend the car parking provision by 50 spaces, as well as improving the flow of the current car park to eliminate the current requirement for users to reverse out, which will improve the safety of all users of the park. £32,500 in CIL funding is being requested for the project.

Scout HQ Repair & Camping Equipment Store (1st Weybridge (Brooklands Own) Scout Group)

The project proposes to install a new externally accessed storage area and improve the drainage to reduce the flooding in the building’s hall facility. The new storage area would enable the outside space and the hall to be used separately by different groups at the same to increase the capacity for the community to use the space as well. A portion of the funding has been secured, and the CIL application is for the remaining £22,500 for the project.

Cricket green improvement works (Weybridge Cricket Club)

The proposed project seeks to upgrade the pitch and area surface through groundworks and the installation of an irrigation sprinkler system, which will reduce the flooding risk to parts of the site and enable more usage of the pitch and area through the year. A portion of the funding has been secured, and the CIL application is for the remaining £84,500 for the project.

Weybridge Men’s Shed (Weybridge Men’s Shed

The project is project is to fit out the newly built shed with resources and utility connections to provide a space for those dealing with social exclusion, loneliness or depression to come for wellbeing support and community inclusion in the area. £20,756 in CIL funding is being requested for the project.

Walton & Hersham Arena Pitch Improvements: Floodlighting (Walton & Hersham Youth Football Club)

The project is for portable floodlights and storage which will increase the time that users can play on the pitches throughout the year by the various teams and groups, providing an increase in the usage of the pitches and decreased pressure on other lit pitches in the surrounding area. £8,690.22 in CIL funding is being requested for the project.

Hydrotherapy Pool Improvements (Walton Leigh School

The project proposes to upgrade the changing and shower facilities for the pool to enable better wheelchair access and increased usage by the students and community members using the specialist facility. A portion of the funding has been secured, a funding application is awaiting confirmation, and the CIL application is for £25,000 for the project.

The CIL bidding and scrutiny process

All bids for funding need to meet criteria set by the council. These are designed to evaluate the suitability and value of the projects in the context of CIL funding. Bids are score against the criteria and ranked accordingly. The criteria used are:

  • The extent to which the project mitigates the impact of development within the Borough
  • The level of benefits to residents, including evidence of community support
  • The level of match funding attached to the project
  • Value for money of the scheme and added value that CIL could deliver, and
  • Deliverability

In a year when there was a significant gap between that amount of funding sought versus the amount available, the scoring system had a significant impact. This meant that the highest scoring bids were more likely to receive funding. Additionally, one of the allocation rules is that the CIL funds are available only for a year and that there should be a high probability that the total cost of the project will be raised by the bidder, so that the project is carried out within a year. (See above, deliverability within the year is one of the criteria for bids).

Funds are retrospectively paid to projects at project completion and project spending is scrutinised by council officers to check that the funds given were spent in accordance with the bid specifications.

Where do the funds come from?

Elmbridge charges developers a tax for new development known as the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL).

National government said this new tax was to be raised for the purposes of providing new or improved infrastructure in Elmbridge.  The new tax began in April 2013 and has raised a considerable amount in the eight years since its introduction.

The money raised is split so that Elmbridge retains 75% for strategic infrastructure projects and 25% is given to towns.  This is allocated to each town in proportion the the tax raised in each town, which reflects the amount of development there has been.

 

Elmbridge BC advice to businesses

Live webinar on tablet with headphones

Expert advice to help businesses prepare for recovery

Do you run a local business? Sign up to EBC’s free webinar on Friday 29 May at 11am to ensure your business is ready to move forward as we emerge from this crisis.

The online event will be led by Business Growth Specialist Sanjiv Dodhia who will share the top ten actions you can take to help your business get through this uncertain time.

High Street Improvements

Town Square-01Not quite this radical proposal but a beginning to the improvement of the High Street.  The cabinet agreed to fund a feasibility study of proposals to alter the northern stretch of the High Street from Elmgrove Road to the Ship.

This proposal has been championed by the Weybridge Town Business Group of which my retail business is a founding member.

The details of the of the proposal are here.  Notice the cost of removing the telephone boxes!  You can see the outline plan here.  It hoped that the funding fro the project itself will come from a variety of sources including CIL.

Morrisons Deliveries

Morrisons-02Morrisons had applied to have the its delivery times times extended with a variation of condition four (deliveries/servicing) of planning permission 2015/0138 (delivery times) to allow deliveries between 5:00 and 23:00, seven days a week.  This would include bank and public holidays.

Whilst no-one had actually complained about noise following the previous extension and the application was conditional for one year only the it was generally felt that 5:00 was too early in the morning on a Sunday, especially when one felt that the shop only opens at 10:00 on Sunday.   Supermarket logistics are quite complicated especially in the south-east and delivery times are set more for distribution efficiency rather than the time the shop actually opens.

There were moves to allow the deliveries a little earlier than at present but unfortunately the planning committee may only refuse or permit it may not vary the application itself.

The applicant may now appeal against Elmbridge’s decision or submit a less extreme application next time.

Elmbridge Result

For Weybridge Riverside Result

Last Thursday, 118 people stood for election to Elmbridge’s council – representing twelve parties (there was also one independent).  A number were councillors already.  Only 48 could be elected.  The previous council was represented in the following way.

2015 EBC CouncillorsFollowing the elections last Thursday the result is as follows:2016 EBC CouncillorsAs the new council has 12 fewer councillors, one would expect a general of loss of seats for all parties.  Indeed whilst the Conservative party lost the most at 11 seats (10 percentage points loss), the Molesey party (1 percentage point loss) and  the Thames Ditton party lost one seat each.  Hinchley Wood (1 percentage point gain) and St George’s Hill party held steady.  The Esher and Hersham parties gained one seat each (2 percentage point gain).  Last there was one independent now there are none.  The Greens, Labour and UKIP did not gain a single seat and were not close to doing so anywhere in the borough. Labour Oddly enough despite holding their seven seats the Liberal Democrats made the biggest proportional gain – 3 percentage points.

As the Conservative party has lost overall control of Elmbridge the full council will have to come to a decision as to who should form the government of Elmbridge.

Elmbridge General Election

ballot-boxNext May Elmbridge will have a new council as all the present councillors have to stand for reelection.  This is because the number of councillors has decreased from 60 down to 48 and the wards have all changed.  The Residents’ parties wanted to remain at 60, the Conservative party were keen on 48 and I would have been happy with fewer – say 33.    (The number has to be divisible by three).

There are 118 candidates competing for those 48 positions.  Twelve parties in all and only one independent candidate.  Weybridge Riverside will be the most contested ward in the borough with ten candidates.  Although there are twelve parties standing in the borough only three of them will be standing in our ward the Conservatives, Labour and the Liberal Democrats.  Traditionally (for the last forty year anyway) Weybridge North has returned Liberal Democrats and Weybridge South has returned Conservatives.  Without proportional representation Labour has no chance in Weybridge.  UKIP and the Greens are not standing here.  This time, of course, half of Weybridge South has joined St Georges Hill ward and the other half has joined Weybridge North.

Our ward also has the only independent candidate in the borough.  There used to be more in Elmbridge but governments at every level find it hard to function without parties.

Cashless Parking

Elmbridge parking metersPaying for parking has been has always been a pain.  Does the machine work?  Have I got the correct coins?  Paying electronically with a card seemed a benefit but the transaction charge can be an extra 100% if your stay is short – 20p for a short stay and another twenty pence for the payment itself.

When Elmbridge withdrew the remote payment service over Christmas the problem got worse.  Everyone had to pay by cash and the machines filled up very quickly and stopped working.   Apparently, people were even fined for parking when the parking meters were full.  The online service was reinstated recently with another provider but it is still unacceptably expensive.

I called on the borough to use cashless payment when I first became a councillor and, not before time, Elmbridge is about to begin trials.  I understand that this new system will be semi contactless (proximate swiping) using ordinary credit and debit cards and there will be no charge to the user.  It is due to begin in the station car parks first and, if successful, it will move to the town car parks and on to the various other car parks in the borough.

I also suggested a more effective charging regime to maximise the usefulness of our car parking resources to promote the dynamism of our town centres and the borough transport infrastructure generally but that might require regime change at Elmbridge.

Play for Team Elmbridge

surreyyouthgameslogo2010finalTeam Elmbridge is looking for young sports enthusiasts to fly the colours of the borough at the Surrey Youth Games 2016 at the Surrey Sports Park in Guildford on
18 and 19 June.

If you are aged between 7 and 16 years old and want to try a new sport or compete against other boroughs in your favourite sport, then register online here
Team Elmbridge will be represented across 13 different sports this year so you have plenty to choose from.

To compete for Team Elmbridge you must:

  • Live or go to school in Elmbridge
  • Be the correct age and gender for the sport you wish to participate in
  • Be below county standard in the sport you wish to represent

Don’t miss your chance to have a go at something new or improve your skills in your favourite sport by receiving coaching from professional coaches from local sports clubs. This is your chance to learn new skills and tactics and it is completely free. Once the fun of the Games is over, you might want to continue playing your favourite sport.

Trials dates will take place throughout April and May and if you qualify for a place in Team Elmbridge, you will be attending free training sessions for up to eight weeks to get ready for the Surrey Youth Games. Over 2,000 youngsters from 11 different boroughs compete at the games every year. For some of them, it is their first experience of a county wide competition and an experience not to miss.

For more information on the P&G Surrey Youth Games please contact the Sports Development Team on 01372 474570, email sport@elmbridge.gov.uk or visit the website.

Elmbridge Prospects & Priorities event

Elmbridge logoElmbridge is putting on a prospects & priorities event on Thursday 14 January from 6pm at the civic centre, High street, Esher, KT10 9SD.

There will be an informal drop in session from 6-7pm offering residents the chance to talk about local issues followed by a presentation at 7pm. This will be presented by the leader and chief executive and will inform you of the borough’s plans for 2016/17 with a question and answer session to follow.

Because of limited seating capacity please register for the presentation part of the evening. Alternatively, you can contact Elmbridge by email at corporatepolicy@elmbridge.gov.uk or call 01372 474376