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Press Statement re. Waverley Standards Panel appeal

This is my press statement to The Haslemere Herald regarding dismissal of the Waverley Standards Panel appeal.

Having served Haslemere as an independent Surrey County Councillor and Town Councillor over the past 9 years, I have been committed to serving the local community.  It is right that all councillors are held accountable for their conduct and I accept that I inadvertently failed to include on the council’s register of interests the fact I was a member of my local residents’ association.  I had not considered this to be an organisation which required to be registered, but did so in 2020 having been advised it may need to be.

The Panel made no finding that I acted in anything other than good faith and there was no finding of personal gain or conflict of a pecuniary nature.

However, I do not accept the Panel’s finding that, as a councillor, being a member of my residents’ association meant that I could not be objective when voting on the town’s whole Neighbourhood Plan in November 2019 and that therefore I was in breach by taking part in the debate and vote.  This bizarre finding means that I have had to withdraw my membership of the Haslemere South Residents’ Association (HSRA).

It is quite simply incredible that Waverley have seen fit to spend tens of thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ money on a complaint of this nature. Surrey Association of Local Councils considers it a minor type of breach.  The non-declaration happened at a meeting where the Neighbourhood Plan, prepared on the back of years of work in the community, was approved virtually unanimously.  At no point did Waverley make any genuine attempt to seek an earlier resolution to the matter.

What is even more staggering and the most disturbing thing about this case is the fact that the complaint (which Waverley has invested so much money in) came from the lawyers of the property developer who did not like the town’s carefully considered Neighbourhood Plan; it would make it harder for him to build his housing estate on protected countryside.

From my point of view, not only was the complaint driven by a property developer, but it was brought by the same developer who, in breach of all principles of good conduct, had tried to induce me to support his plan publicly as a councillor.  Of course, I had rejected those inducements in the same way I hope any other councillor in my position would have done.  I am still totally perplexed as to why Waverley would give the time of day to this type of complainant.

Lastly, the irony is that the developer only challenged my voting at the meeting where I voted for a version of the Neighbourhood Plan which displeased him and not my voting at the meeting six months earlier when I voted for the previous version of the Plan which he liked!

Neighbourhood Watch – Free Webinars About Scams In July

July has a month of weekly online webinars to expose the truths behind scams, hosted by Neighbourhood Watch.

The webinars are FREE to attend and are open to anyone who would like to know more about scams, the psychology behind scams, prevention and how a fraud case is investigated.

The webinars bring together experts in their field relating to online fraud, a topic which we are all too familiar with and can affect anyone and everyone, as our lives are played out more digitally.

The dates of the webinars and their topics are as follows:

6th July, 5pm
Exploring the psychology behind scams and how scammers are so effective at their crimes
Paul Maskell, Fraud & Cyber Crime Prevention Manager, Dedicated Card and Payment Crime Unit (DCPCU)

14th July, 5pm
Insights into how a fraud case is investigated and how not to be the next victim

Ben Hobbs, Detective Sergeant; and Catriona Still, Head of Fraud Prevention & Training, Dedicated Card and Payment Crime Unit (DCPCU)

23rd July 5pm
Scams awareness training from the Friends Against Scams initiative
The National Trading Standards Scams Team (NTSST)

30th July, 5pm
Don’t get hooked by scammers! What you need to know about flubot and phishing scams
Christopher Budd, Senior Global Threat Communications Manager, Avast

How to book your place
You can click on the links within this message on each of the webinars topics to register your place or you can go to: www.ourwatch.org.uk/webinars and click on the webinar that you wish to attend, you can attend all of them if you wish and so make sure that you complete the registration page for each of them.

We look forward to seeing you all there.

Best wishes

Cheryl

Cheryl Spruce | Head of Membership and Community Engagement
NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH NETWORK, Central Support Team

Follow us.. ourwatch.org.uk / Facebook / Twitter /Instagram / LinkedIn
Neighbourhood Watch Network is a charity registered in England & Wales, CIO no: 1173349

Flexi Season tickets now available for South Western Railway customers

  • A new Flexi Season ticket is available to buy from today and can be used from Monday 28 June. 
  • This new product will offer SWR customers more flexibility – enabling people to travel on any eight days in a 28-day period – and could lead to significant financial savings.
  • From today, SWR customers also can change advance ticket bookings to a different date or time for no extra cost.

South Western Railway (SWR) customers who split their time between home and the office are set to save money and enjoy more flexible travel thanks to a new ticketing product which is available to buy from today.

The new Flexi Season ticket will replace SWR’s Carnet tickets and enable customers to travel on any eight days in a 28-day period. From Monday 28 June, customers will be able to enjoy unlimited travel between the same two stations on their chosen days, with the product being valid across the SWR network and beyond.

Part-time commuters could benefit from the new product through significant financial savings. For example, a Flexi Season ticket holder travelling between Woking and London Waterloo on two days a week would save over £250 a year when compared to the cost of daily tickets.

Flexi Seasons will be entirely contactless, meaning customers will need to obtain a SWR smartcard before purchasing the new product through the SWR app, website or a ticket office. To activate one of their eight day passes, customers are required to place their smartcard on a gate or smartcard validator, allowing them to travel between their chosen stations.

SWR is urging customers to check a new season ticket calculator to confirm which type of ticket is best for them. This tool is available here: https://www.nationalrail.co.uk/times_fares/season-calculator.aspx

In line with the rest of the industry, SWR is also taking part in the new ‘Book with confidence’ initiative, which allows advance ticket bookings to be changed to a different time or date fee-free, until 31 December 2021. The change, which is also introduced today, means that SWR customers can book train tickets safe in the knowledge that that they won’t be out of pocket if plans or circumstances change.

Commenting, SWR’s Commercial Director, Peter Williams, said:

“We are delighted to be able to offer the new Flexi Season ticket, which is on sale from today and available to use in a week’s time.

“This product will offer the flexibility and value for money that so many of our customers need in the aftermath of a pandemic which has fundamentally altered working patterns.

“We are also pleased to be part of the ‘Book with confidence’ initiative, which enables our customers to change the date and time of Advance tickets for free. We have all got used to plans changing quickly and unexpectedly, and we want to do all we can to ensure that our customers don’t lose out when they do.

“As these and other improvements show, we are determined build back a better and more flexible railway, fit for the post-pandemic world”.  

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said:

“Our railways work best when they are reliable, rapid and affordable.

“As we kickstart the biggest reforms to our railways in a generation, flexible season tickets are the first step. They give us greater freedom and choice about how we travel, simpler ticketing and a fairer fare.

“With a season ticket calculator to see which option works best for you, and a book with confidence guarantee to make journeys stress-free, the future of fares is flexible”.

Contact Information

Toby Williams
toby.williams@swrailway.com

Notes to editors

Flexi Season ticket – pricing:

  • Flexi Season tickets have been priced relative to the options passengers already have on their route.
  • That means they provide better value and convenience for most commuters travelling two to three days a week, compared to existing daily tickets or traditional season tickets.
  • The Flexi Season ticket will offer a minimum 20% discount on the equivalent monthly season ticket.

‘Book with confidence’:

If your plans change, you can amend date and time of Advanced tickets fee free up until 6pm the day before you travel, and until 31/12/21. Fare price difference may apply. Advance tickets purchased online can be exchanged for a voucher for future journey. Fee free changes also apply to Off Peak and Anytime tickets, up to the date of departure.

For more information on Flexi Season tickets, visit: https://www.southwesternrailway.com/train-tickets/season-tickets/flexible-train-tickets

Young Carers’ strategy: young people and parent survey

Overview

Surrey County Council and Health and Social Care partners are refreshing the Young Carers’ Strategy which will inform services for young carers in Surrey.

They would like to hear from young people and parents to help them better understand young carers’ services and how these can be improved. They would like to know a bit about your lives and your experience of any support received.

The survey is open until Thursday 1st July and can be completed by young people and parents. Young people may need help from an adult to answer their questions.

The survey will take around 10-15 minutes to complete. There are up to 28 questions for young people and 23 questions for parents / guardians. 

Answers to the survey will be used only to inform the Young Carers’ Strategy. All findings will be anonymous and will not affect your access to any services.

Young carers and parents of young carers who complete the survey will also have the opportunity to be entered into a prize draw for a chance of winning a trip to Thorpe Park! This will cover 4 entry tickets and travel (if required). At the end of the survey you will be asked for your details so we can enter you into the draw (young people must have their permission from parents to enter). 

Here is a link to the survey.

HCLT – Call For Sites

The Haslemere Community Land Trust has just launched a Call For Sites in Haslemere.

Sadly, not the sparkling jewels of a traditional treasure hunt, for Haslemere Community Land Trust is on the lookout for hidden-away plots and places with 24-carat potential. Forgotten sheds and barns, old tennis courts – areas that need some love, possibly with owners who aren’t sure what to do with them or who are wary of the profit hungry waters of commercial development.

Please read more information here.

Noisy Club Session this Saturday 22nd May

Ultra-X Trail running races at recreation ground this Saturday!

(Notice from Haslemere Tennis Club)

Expect some loud music and activity at the recreation ground this Saturday whilst our morning club session is on.

Ultra-X have kindly given us notice that they will be starting their series of 4 races from 06:00 through until 10:00am on Saturday morning, with some loud music and a generator to power their electrics, gazebos set up and a start/finish arch set up at the Northerly end of the rec. It should be quite a spectacle and hopefully won’t interfere too much with your tennis concentration! 🙂

Have fun this weekend!
Best Regards
Haslemere Tennis Club Committee

A message from South Western Railway as passengers return to the railway

From: SWR Stakeholders
Sent: 17 May 2021 18:22
To: nikki.barton@haslemeretc.org
Subject: A message from South Western Railway as passengers return to the railway

Dear Nikki,

I thought you might be interested in the below press release, which sets out the work we at South Western Railway have completed since the start of the pandemic to improve and upgrade our network. As you can see, improvements range from extra waiting shelters to better Wi-Fi. 

As restrictions lift further and people begin to return to the railway, I am sure that this announcement will be of interest to your constituents 

If you have any questions, please let me know. 

Best wishes,

Phil Dominey
Senior Regional Development Manager

South Western Railway (SWR) is looking forward to welcoming customers back to a more punctual, reliable and energy efficient network, following a year-long programme of extensive improvements made possible by low passenger numbers.


Since the first national lockdown in spring last year, passenger numbers on SWR’s network have remained consistently low compared to pre-pandemic levels. However, SWR has continued to run reliable services for people who need to travel and stepped up cleaning regimes to keep customers safe.
At the same time, SWR took the opportunity to work on initiatives that would have otherwise taken much longer to deliver, and created more disruption, had they been attempted when passenger numbers were at 100 per cent.


To list a few:
• 1456 train doors have been checked – and, if necessary, fixed. Doors that don’t open and close safely and smoothly can cause delays.
• Seven “Duty Control Managers” have been employed to lead the Control Room and make journeys smoother.
• 48 stations have been completely repainted, brightening up customers’ journeys.
• 280 new benches have been rolled out, 40 new waiting shelters have been installed across 30 different stations and 15 waiting rooms have been refurbished, allowing for a more comfortable passenger experience.
• All 187 SWR stations now have Wi-Fi, and there has been a 23 per cent increase in onboard connectivity speeds, meaning better access to the internet.
• 10 stations have been made more accessible, and safer, via automatic doors, smoother pavements, sturdier handrails, new ramps, and anti-slip tactiles and treads.
• 160 additional cleaning staff are helping to keep trains and stations clean, with thousands of litres of a long lasting disinfectant being used.
• And 16,180 light bulbs have been changed to LEDs, reducing energy use across the network by 21 per cent.
This comes as RMT members voted overwhelmingly for a deal to end the long-running dispute over the role of the guard last month, which had caused significant disruption to customers.
Claire Mann, SWR’s Managing Director, said:
“While our customers were away, we’ve taken every single opportunity to improve our services.
“We have made real progress and continue to work hard to transform what is one of Europe’s busiest networks. We’re investing heavily in our network, our people, and our local areas to improve the quality, safety, and reliability of our services, and better meet the needs of customers and our communities.
“We exist to connect people – with family, with friends, with employment, with experiences, and with opportunities – and we can’t wait to welcome our customers back to the railway as soon as they are ready to travel with us again.”


Mobile Coronavirus testing facility in Haslemere

A mobile Coronavirus testing facility is being established in Weydown Road Car Park, Haslemere, from Tuesday 18 May to Thursday 20 May.  

Testing is available to all those with COVID-19 symptoms, but must be pre-booked online. Booking for this site is open from 5pm the evening before and on the day.

Residents should book on the national testing portal: visiting www.nhs.uk/coronavirus or call the NHS on 119.

Those without an appointment will be turned away.

You can walk into the testing centre, but will still need a pre-booked appointment.