Category Archives: Councillor Barton Update

Statement: Retiring as Haslemere’s Surrey County Councillor

As Haslemere’s retiring first Independent Surrey County Councillor, I am delighted to have been asked to share some perspectives on representing the town at County Hall. 

My message to the next County Councillor is that a community mindset trumps any political affiliation.  

My own experience shows that being free from the constraints of party politics has enabled me to challenge and speak up for the best interests of our community. 

Having as my only motivation the desire to serve the town has enabled me to bring together positive and collaborative partnerships in projects and initiatives that serve our town.  

I am an accidental politician, drawn to stand for the first time in 2013 having been so appalled as I witnessed Surrey County Council (SCC) planning to install parking meters throughout the town. 

Revenues from the parking meters were estimated to run into hundreds of thousands of pounds annually, with no clear benefit to the town and obviously negative impacts on local people and businesses.  

I was appalled that such a radical and negative change to our town could be ushered in by the back door with minimal public engagement, so I decided to challenge the closed shop and back room deals of the then one-party politics in Haslemere. 

They were exciting times – some may recall Haslemere’s second street demonstration since 1912, when hundreds of residents marched through the town to protest against the parking meters in support of our local traders and independent businesses. 

The event that sealed my decision to fight for the community was a Surrey and Waverley Local Area Committee meeting in Witley Village hall where local councillors were going to approve the parking meters in the town. 

Posters and banners were forbidden so we wore yellow t-shirts printed with the slogan “Haslemere demands a proper process and consultation”.

I had in my possession copies of letters from the clergy in Haslemere objecting to the installation of parking meters around churches.  

I was shocked to hear the committee chair state that there were no objections to the proposals, so I stood up twice and challenged this.  

Much to the amazement of the crowd, in response to my request that objections from the churches be properly considered, the Chair called for a security guard to physically remove me from the meeting and I was escorted out the building. In today’s world of zoom meetings, I am sure this would have gone viral, Handforth-esque! 

Following the meeting, a letter was sent to the Leader of SCC, setting out the case for a judicial review due to the total failure by SCC our then County Councillor to listen to the community… the meter plans were dropped. 

So shocked at what I had witnessed, I decided at the very last minute to stand for election as the first Independent for Haslemere.  

I did not expect to win but wanted to fire a shot across the bows of the tribal politics, to demand that Haslemere’s electorate deserved better.  Stunned, I won by the narrowest of margins, just 20 votes.

Much of my first term was spent challenging the established ways of local politics and being innovative including using social media (@HaslemereFirst). 

Although I will have been seen at first as an irritation to the party-based groups in the town, at Waverley as well as at County Hall – evidenced by fellow councillors often coughing comically and rudely rolling their eyes when I spoke – my desire to create a mindset of community-focused and transparent representation for the town resonated with local residents. 

My majority in 2019 increased from 20 to 1500, more than all the votes cast for the other party-political candidates put together.  This mandate has given me greater confidence to speak out for the town and to push back when decisions are not in the town’s best interests or do not faithfully represent the wishes of local residents.

I am proud to have called for public scrutiny of many issues, including challenging: councillors who vote against the wishes of their constituents on protecting our green spaces, cuts to the fire service in our area, lack of adequate budgets for mental health provision in Surrey and proposals to saddle the town with massive debts for an unnecessary multistorey car park. 

I have not been afraid to stand up for, and support residents and community groups, for example, where I played a lead role in the successful campaign to save the Alzheimer’s Centre, now The Hunter Centre and successfully lobbied SCC to enable the outstanding Stepping Stones school to expand into Undershaw in Hindhead. 

Throughout my term of office, I have consistently spoken up on the key issue of climate change and sustainability.   As a member of the SCC Climate Change working party developing the recent Climate Change Strategy, and on the Highways and Environment committee, I continually pressed for rigorous policy making to reduce carbon emissions. More locally, as a founder member of Haslemere Vision, the Neighbourhood Plan and as a member of the Town Council Neighbourhood Plan working party, I have supported the clear priorities of the community to protect the precious green countryside, rich in biodiversity that surrounds the town.  

I have also supported Shottermill Infant school’s innovative green waste scheme – funding hot bins to compost school lunch waste instead of it being thrown out for landfill won an SCC award – and was a founding member of Haslemere South Residents Association.

My efforts have also secured funding for critical road safety and improvement projects across Haslemere and Grayswood including building a safe network for pedestrians and cyclists across town and major road resurfacing under SCC’s Project Horizon. . A key priority has been to improve Haslemere for walking and cycling, and gradually positive steps are being taken through bringing together Surrey Highways and our local community Active Travel group

I have thoroughly enjoyed establishing and Chairing groups such as the Surrey Hills to South Downs Community Rail Partnership – this extended the local partnership to link Haslemere with other stations on the line to promote Haslemere as a gateway to the South Downs, Surrey Hills and National Trust countryside – and liaising closely with the community to make sure I distributed every penny of my members allocation funds to support the activities of a wide range of local groups.

The list could go on, but perhaps the key point about my tenure as County Councillor is that, as we emerge from Covid and look forward to a brighter future, the principles of openness, transparency and the independent mindset that is not constrained by any political party is the most effective way for Haslemere’s voice to be heard and the most effective way to make differences for the town that matter.

My challenge is for the next County Councillor to leave their party politics behind, to encourage the post-pandemic spirit of the community working together and simply put Haslemere first.  

I look forward to continue serving Haslemere as an Independent Town Councillor for the Haslemere South ward.

(An abridged account appeared here in the Haslemere Herald last week.)

Councillor Update for Haslemere, June 2019

2nd June 2019 – shared update about HillFest, an amazing event organised by Friends of Woolmer Hill.

3rd June 2019 – attended meeting of Haslemere Town Council’s Haslemere Vision steering group with Melanie Odell (Chair of the steering group), Stewart Brown (Chair, Haslemere Vision), Kirsten Ellis (Independent Councillor) at Haslemere town hall.

4th June 2019 – shared further update online about Thames Water works in Tennyson’s Lane. More here. (This work has now been completed and the road is open.)

5th June 2019 – Surrey County Council meetings in Kingston including first meeting of Climate Change Task Group chaired by Cllr Goodman, Cabinet member for Environment and Waste. Also, met with passenger transport team to discuss rail partnership initiative.

5th June 2019 – shared notification of pavement reconstruction in Beech Road from 17th June for approximately 5 weeks. More here.

6th June 2019 – attended #DDay75 anniversary memorial in Haslemere.

With Tom, British Legion standard bearer

6th June 2019 – shared online the South Downs Rambler Rail Bus link this Summer between Winchester and Petersfield rail stations, from Hampshire Community Rail Partnership colleagues. More here.

9th June 2019 – notified postponement of Beech Road pavement repair. More here.

10th June 2019 – Rethinking Transport – Member Drop-In Session at County Hall, Kingston. The Rethinking Transport project is fundamentally reimagining transport in Surrey: developing new, sustainable transport options where journeys are wanted or needed, while also rethinking how residents access communities, employment, health and social care, education and other key services to avoid unnecessary travel. More here.

12th June 2019 – attended LoveHaslemereHastWaste event at Haslemere Museum. Follow on Facebook here. You may also wish to read the article about the event in The Haslemere Herald, here: Keen Support for War on Waste.

13th June 2019 – chaired inaugural Steering Group meeting of the Surrey Hills to South Downs Community Rail Partnership – Haslemere, Milford and Witley stations with Godalming and Farncombe planning to join us. More here. Read The Haslemere Herald article here: On track to deliver passenger satisfaction. South Western Railway’s latest stakeholder newsletter is here:

13th June 2019 – shared online update re. signage for College Hill footpath. More here.

14th June 2019 – interviewed by BBC Surrey to talk about The Community Rail Partnership. Transcription here.

14 June 2019 – Merrow SCC highways depot – met with Cllr Matt Furniss, SCC Highways portfolio holder and Richard Bolton, SCC Local Highway services group manager to discuss SCC highways issues and forward strategy. Change in Kier provider, Flowline (the subcontractor providing Surrey’s gulley cleansing and drainage maintenance services) will be replaced by a new provider, Drainline.
Tour of highways laboratory, where a team of experts analyses road surfaces taken from cores, identifies why road failures occur, tests new materials and carries out work for many other counties.

16th June 2019 – shared guest blog post by David Goddin: Why I’m Supporting the Community Rail Movement

17th June 2019 – shared online update about pavement repair works in Beech Road. More here.

17th June 2019 – shared update re Surrey County Council’s preparation for a new Surrey Waste Local Plan. More here.

19th June 2019 – met with Mark Youngman SWR at The Station House to discuss the Surrey Hills to South Downs rail partnership potential bids to SWR’s Customer and Communities Improvement fund. The rail partnership has a range of project ideas generated at the launch.

20th June 2019 – shared agenda for Waverley Local Committee meeting (28th June). More here.

20th June 2019 – shared Councillor update from Tim Oliver, Surrey County Council Leader on Surrey County Council’s Transformation Project Overview. More here.

20th June 2019 – attended Surrey Climate Commission launch at the World Wildlife Fund eco-centre in Woking. Read more about its aims here. Was very positive that SCC Cllr Mike Goodman, Cabinet Member for Environment and Waste gave Surrey CC backing for the commission.

24th June 2019 – received draft minutes of Haslemere Town Council Amenities June 2019 committee. Read here.

25th June 2019 – shared update re next Teen Parenting course arranged by Tennyson’s Sure Start Centre. More here.

25th June 2019 – County Hall, Kingston, meeting with Mary Lewis, Cabinet Member for Children, Dave Hill Exec Director Children, Families and Learning and Simon White, Executive Director Adult Social Care and Ruth Hutchinson, Deputy Director Public Health. All provided helpful overview of services and challenges facing the County.  Particular focus on transformation of children’s services given long term failures as identified in Ofsted reports. Austerity cuts mean Surrey receives some of the lowest funding for these vital services – which present a real challenge. Many social issues remain hidden in Surrey. 

25th June 2019 – received South Western Railway’s latest stakeholder newsletter, The South Western Report, which can be downloaded here.

26th June 2109 – County Hall, Kingston, meetings with SCC Transportation Planning Development officer and Passenger Transport team manager to discuss SWR Customer and Communities Innovation Fund bid.

27 June 2019 – met with Head, Shottermill Infant School, Haslemere, parked my bike in the scooter hub, very impressed with the school’s work to meet UN Sustainable Development Goals.

28th June 2019 – attended June 2019 Waverley Local Committee. Read papers here including item re petition for Critchmere Hill and Woolmer Hill here. At the meeting, I agreed I will be arranging a site visit meeting with the petitioner and SCC Highways officers. Also, at this meeting, there was mention of Waverley’s s106 database (which includes Surrey CC covenants as well as Waverley’s). Here is the link, for interest:


I am pleased to advise that SCC’s drainage maintenance subcontractor, Drainline, took over provision of this service from Flowline as of Monday morning. All but one of the operatives has transferred across, and Drainline have provided a number of brand new machines, which will improve productivity and reduce the number of breakdowns. This will be at no additional cost to the County Council. There remains a limited backlog of work which was not completed by Flowline, but, Drainline are expected to complete this work by the end of this month.

You may be interested to read Surrey County Council’s Customer Service Snapshot May 2019 which I received this month. Link here.

Here is Transition Haslemere’s July 2019 newsletter.

My next county councillor update will be in September.

Councillor Update

This is my first councillor update since being elected to Surrey County Council and re-elected to Haslemere Town Council.

6th May 2019 – received update from South Western Railway regarding electric charging points at Haslemere Station. The update states South Western Railway will be installing eight electric vehicle charging points in Haslemere station car park. Read more here and here.

7th May 2019 – travelled by train and bike to County Hall in Kingston for meetings and to sign Surrey County Council declaration papers.

7th May 2019 – received a Surrey County Council invitation to join a member reference group to support the development of a refreshed Surrey Climate Change strategy. I will sign up to join this group.

10th May 2019 – meeting with SCC highways officer to discuss way of future working together.

11th May 2019 – took part in Haslemere’s Critical Mass Bike Ride. Read my write up here.

11th May 2019 – attended Gourmet Geezers charity dinner. All proceeds for the Gourmet Geezers cookbook (on sale in Haslemere Bookshop) will go to The Hunter Centre.

13th May 2019 – attended Surrey County Council Residents’ Association/Independent group meeting County Hall in Kingston.

13th May 2019 – attended Haslemere Town Council induction meeting.

14th May 2019 – promoted information online about Members’ Community Allocation Funding to support local community groups. More here.

14th May 2019 – shared information online about road surface dressing works in Lion Lane, Haslemere. More here.

14th May 2019 – met briefly with Haslemere First Scouts and local WBC councillors in Critchmere and Shottermill ward to understand the history of this scout group’s dealings with the previous WBC administration in respect to their tenure at The Youth Campus.

14th May 2019 – attended steering committee meeting for Haslemere Vision, discussing the future of Haslemere’s Neighbourhood Plan.

14th May 2019 – shared a note about the process of Mayor Making here.

15th May 2019 – attended South Western Railway Community Rail in the City at Waterloo station to promote Haslemere’s businesses and beautiful surrounding countryside.

16th May 2019 – attended Haslemere Town Council’s full council meeting. Papers here.

17th May 2019 – attended Haslemere South Residents’ Association meeting and drinks at The Georgian Hotel.

19th May 2019 – a great Little Lumpy event – over 600 riders raising funds for Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice. It was fun cheering the riders as they crossed the line. Well done Ken Griffiths and his amazing team of volunteers – including all the cake makers.  I have promised to ride next year, I invite all my fellow councillors to join me!

Pictured with Robert Groves, professional hand cyclist

21st May 2019 – attended my first Surrey County Council Full Council meeting since being elected. Papers here.

Greeting peaceful Climate Change activists outside County Hall before Full Council

28th May 2019 – shared information about Tennyson’s Lane road closure for Thames Water works. More here.

29th May 2019 – met residents and Thames Water on site to discuss the Tennyson’s Lane road closure and major diversion.  Major works are being carried out to the main trunk water pipe that supplies a large part of Haslemere. I liaised with the Highways team to agree an improved road management program that will reduce the time Tennyson’s Lane is closed. Thames Water letter here.

29th May 2019 – received notification that the Surrey Hills to South Downs Community Rail Partnership has been officially recognised by the Association of Community Rail Partnerships.  The original Haslemere Community Rail Partnership, successfully established in 2015, is expanding to include, as a first step Milford and Witley stations.

30th May 2019 – met with Highways officers on site at the road junction by St Stephen’s Church that is in very bad condition.  It was on the winter maintenance list last year, but works were not carried out.  I am pressing for a full resurfacing of this busy junction as a matter of urgency.

Notification of Future Events/Meetings

1st June 2019 – planting session for Wey Hill In Bloom. Volunteers are asked to meet at 10am outside Haslewey.

20th June 2019 – Launch of the Surrey Climate Commission. Event information here.

28th June 2019 – Waverley Local Area Committee Meeting,
Waverley Council Chamber, The Burys, Godalming GU7 1HR.

12th July 2019 – Surrey’s Rural Economy Conference 2019,
Cranleigh School Cranleigh Surrey GU6 8QQ

Nikki’s Surrey County Councillor Final Update for Haslemere

Surrey County Councillor Final Update

This is Nikki’s final update as your Independent Surrey County Councillor, it has been a real privilege to serve the community of Haslemere for the past 4 years.

Highways Issues

I would like to thank the SCC Highways team for all their input and patient advice during my term in office.

I have held regular meetings with the Highways team, and local residents to discuss a range of local issues as well as giving updates to Haslemere town council.   Other key issues include:

Lower Street:  road safety

Lower Street residents contacted me as they were concerned about traffic speeds, pedestrian safety and disabled access.  I set up a meeting with SCC Highways officers.  Residents proposed a number of measures to address safety issues- including a pavement in front of their properties, a one way traffic system, speed reduction, a ramped access to the high pavement, better parking enforcement and the poor state of the steps accessing the Waitrose car park.

Highways officers response: unfortunately Lower Street is physically too narrow to put in a pavement on the north side, it would only be feasible if a one way system was put in place- but costs and practicalities mean this is not a viable option.  A ramped access, although potentially feasible would be prohibitively expensive.  The Waitrose access is the responsibility of Waverley BC.

Traffic speed reduction was agreed to be the most possible to address.  Traffic speed data analysis along Lower Street indicates an average speed within the threshold to permit consideration of a 20mph zone.  The current financial crisis facing SCC means there is little chance of implementing this in the immediate term, it was recommended residents consider a community speed watch to monitor traffic speeds, and raise awareness of the issue.

An open meeting will be held on May 10th, St Barts School at 6.45pm.

 Lion Lane:  Shottermill Infant School- new pedestrian crossing (photo to come)

Shottermill Infant school governing body requested a zebra crossing to make it safer for children and parents crossing Lion Lane to get to both Shottermill Infant and Junior School.  I gave the proposal my full support and worked with the Highways team to secure funding for the scheme.  Most of the work has been completed, electrical work on the belisha beacon lights will be finished in the next 2 weeks and the crossing fully opened.

 Critchmere: highways drainage

Critchmere residents in recently built homes were experiencing severe drainage issues causing recurring property flooding.  I asked SCC Highways officers to help resolve the issues. After many months of investigation Kirby Homes accepted responsibility for the problem, a new drain culvert was put in preventing further flooding.

College Hill footpath public inquiry successful outcome for the town

The College Hill footpath, used for generations as a safe passage was blocked last year by developers Mr Warner and Mr Robbie. A public inquiry was held and in Jan 2017 the inspector found in favour of the community- the footpath (FP 604) was reopened and now has official ‘rights of way’ status.

At the inquiry I was concerned that the taxpayer was footing the bill for the SCC legal team in the inquiry when the defence case lacked any tangible evidence.  SCC’s legal team agreed to make claim for costs. In April 2017, SCC was awarded full costs of over £7000.

Bunch Lane posts

Residents of Bunch Lane requested wooden posts to protect a section of footpath from parked cars and traffic damage. I secured funding for this scheme.

Old Haslemere Road

Residents requested the replacement of a damaged grit bin.  There are new strict criteria for grit bin replacement, and I provided the additional necessary councillor support to achieve this.

Night light switch off

A number of residents have raised their concerns over the recent SCC cost saving night time street light switch off- in particular along routes used by commuters.  Unfortunately there are strict guidelines for this, I have challenge this and requested an extension until 01.00 hours. I trust my successor will continue this.

Haslemere Train Station

Haslemere Community Rail Partnership – helped organise the official opening of community information hub in the station shop. The partnership has funded a part-time hub manager to coordinate a team of volunteers that will man the shop over the summer months- promoting the town, its businesses, events and surrounding countryside.  The shop has already welcomed many visitors, including a couple of walkers from India who arrived at Haslemere station from London to explore the South Downs without any maps or local information.

Visitors to the Station Hub

The partnership has also funded the clearance and replanting of the flower beds on the platforms and planters to screen the new car park.  Plans include window boxes outside the waiting rooms and an improvement of the station flower beds on Lower Street.

Spring Planting along the platform at Haslemere Station

The SWT funded forecourt works are nearly complete, with unfortunate delays to the paving at the station entrance.

The new trees and hedging plants are beginning to screen the new car park structure, I gave very clear input to SWT during the pre-construction consultation that native species should be used rather than the planned ‘ivy’ walls.

The station travel plan survey identified the need for additional sheltered waiting places for travellers outside the station forecourt to reduce congestion at the station.  A 12 metre bus shelter (3x4m) with some seating and lighting has been ordered for the bus layover on Lower Street.  This should be installed by mid-June 2017.

Agreement has been reached in principle with SWT, SCC and the Station House development to fund a traffic calming scheme at the station to reduce speeds and improve safety for pedestrians- and particularly those using the bus stop on Lower Street.  A design will be drawn up by SCC Highways.

The provision of real time bus information is the final element of the station improvement scheme to be finalised.

Other key community issues and events: 

Marjorie Grey Hall Alzheimer’s Society Day Centre– under threat of closure following the Alzheimer’s Society decision to withdraw from the centre with a mere 3 months’ notice. I attended a number of meetings to see if a community led rescue solution could be found.  SCC provides funded and referral places at the centre, and highly values the provision it provides for a large geographic area of SW Surrey.

A group met with Jeremy Hughes, CEO Alzheimer’s Society. I had discovered other day care centres had been given 6 months’ notice, and asked that the Marjorie Grey centre be given the same to give the chance to save the centre and the services it provides.

An additional 3 months was granted until the end of June, 2017.  A working party has been formed.  To date:  NHS property board has formally agreed to transfer the lease to Haslemere Town Council, securing the future of the building for community day care use.  SCC is continuing to refer clients to the centre, discussions are on-going with various partners and an appeal has been made for donations to a transition fund to help keep the centre going until a new structure has been fully established. Please contact Haslemere Town Council if you wish to make a donation.

SCC youth services: meeting with SCC youth services officers and Haslemere Town Council to agree how to provide additional sessions at the Weycentre in the face of SCC cuts, with the result that there are no SCC funded youth sessions.  It was agreed that priority should be given to sexual health and well-being, HTC agreed to fund a weekly session for a 6 month trial period.  Unfortunately due to SCC cuts, Surrey were unable to provide a key worker for these sessions.

NHS: Stroke services consultation– attended a meeting with NHS managers to discuss local concerns over NHS plans to relocate stroke services to Frimley Park and St Peter’s hospitals.  It is critical that a stroke sufferer receives a lifesaving injection within 2 hours of the stroke. The NHS plans are based on 2 highly unrealistic assumptions that an ambulance arrives immediately on the scene in Haslemere, and also that journey times are 45-50 minutes to Frimley or St Peter’s Hospital.  The South East Ambulance service has been failing to meet its response targets and has been identified as a failing service. We were told by the NHS management that a consultation process was consider these concerns but there was concern by many that the plans were presented as a ‘fait accompli’. Coverage here in the Herald.

Hillfest, Woolmer Hill school music festival- it was a great pleasure to attend Hillfest where a sell-out crowd to listened to the many excellent music acts in the sunshine.

Other council meetings attended include:

SCC Full Council March 2017: Budget– A totally shambolic day in the Council Chamber.  We arrived expecting to vote on whether to hold a referendum to raise council tax by 15% in the face of a financially unsustainable position.  (CIPRA had carried out an official audit that raised serious concerns about SCC financial management, and sustainability).

The meeting was adjourned for several hours. On our return to the chamber it was announced that the 15% hike had been dropped, and we were to vote on a 4.99% rise.  There was no detail of any kind on this new budget, without this vital knowledge I abstained in the vote.  Numerous Conservative councillors congratulated the Leader David Hodge on his success at securing a special deal with central govt.  I asked a question about this “special deal”, and for detail on how much extra money SCC would be getting.  I was told there was no special deal what so ever.

Read press release here: Residents’ Association Councillor asks “Can things get any worse for David Hodge and the SCC Conservatives”

David Hodge’s texts sent to the wrong “Nick” subsequently revealed that a sweetheart deal had been brokered. This was denied by central government and despite 5 SCC MPs holding cabinet positions, I presume was unable to be seen to give financial favours to Surrey. To my knowledge no extra funding has been received, meaning the SCC faces a highly challenging financial crisis.  SCC will be allowed to take part in the business rate pilot earlier than planned.

Brightwells/East Street development, Farnham- although outside my division I am very concerned about the lack of process in the decision by SCC to invest £30 million into a property development scheme when many experts have challenged its viability.  Even SCC audits consider the financial investment is on the margins of viability, justifying the investment in terms of ‘community benefit’ that will accrue.

I asked a question about the moral case for investing £30 million of Surrey tax payer’s money, in a questionable scheme given the county is in financial crisis- with cuts expected to essential services going forward.  I was given an extremely hostile response by Conservative councillors to my question.

Waverley Local Area Committee– Hale Institute, Farnham. Papers here.

Haslemere Town Council– gave county concillor update

Members Allocation: 2016/17 total allowance- £10,296

Waverley Skateparks Open Day 2016 – £500

A Place to Be Youth Group: A Place to Be Yourself project – £300

Tennyson’s Sure Start Children’s Centre: provision of a crèche for Parenting Puzzle course – £452

Woolmer Hill School:  Orchestra Day and Young Musician of the Year event – £680

Crossways Counselling: Equipment for creative counselling sessions – £1280

Haslemere Hockey Club: Schools program – £240

Haslemere Great War: Great War Centenary Flagpole project at St Christopher’s Church – £400

Haslemere Community Rail Partnership:  Train station information hub – £750

St Bartholomew’s School: One Book project – £1500

The Orchard Club: Neighbourhood Lunch Club – £500

Transition Town, Haslemere: Community allotment – £300

Haslemere Citizens Advice Bureau: Purchase a lap top and mobile phone – £580

Woolmer Hill School: Library refurbishment – £2606

Haslemere String Competition: Local competition for talented young musicians on 18th May  – £200


When I look back over 4 years, I clearly remember a shop keeper in Haslemere saying he would bet £100 on me getting elected. He said it was a safe bet as it would be impossible for an Independent to succeed.  He also said that if by chance I did get elected, I wouldn’t be able to achieve much – as I wouldn’t be part of the Conservative ruling majority party.

I did get elected on a manifesto of openness, transparency and community engagement, and believe I have managed to get quite a lot done for the community over 4 years.

A few of my achievements

  • Regular updates on, sharing all my SCC activities and decisions.
  • Blackdown Lane resurfacedHigh Street conservation area- declutter of all redundant signage, signage upgrade and all street furniture painted black
  • Derby Road East resurfaced- the section of private road outside St Bart’s school until then refused resurfacing
  • Weyhill resurfaced- inexplicably not included in Project Horizon resurfacing program despite being main road through town
  • Student concessionary train fares for 16-18 year olds in full time education- negotiated with SCC officers to extend the scheme to pupils travelling south from Haslemere, previously only those travelling north were eligible
  • Sandrock- new conservation lighting columns along a previously unlit section heavily used by commuters and school pupils
  • Weyhill- new zebra crossing
  • Lion Lane- new zebra crossing serving Shottermill Infant and Junior schools
  • Haslemere Community Rail Partnership- set up the partnership with SWT, and other key community groups to improve the station and promote the town
  • Station travel plan commissioned to develop a more holistic travel plan for Haslemere and the station
  • College Hill footpath reopened following SCC legal challenge to blockade by developers- and I requested the successful claim for appeal expenses against the defendant
  • Stepping Stones school- provided support from SCC education that was vital in securing successful planning permission in an appeal

Thanks very much for reading my blog. I hope you have found my updates useful and I wish the newly elected County Councillor for Haslemere much success representing residents.

Au Revoir …

Haslemere County Councillor Update

Ahead of the Christmas holidays, here’s an update of some of my recent activities as Haslemere’s Surrey County Councillor.

Surrey County council budget crisis

You may be interested to read my full statement here regarding Surrey County Council’s budget crisis. The Haslemere Herald led with an article on this subject last week: Funding cuts could cause council tax to rise by 18 per cent

Street Lighting

  • The implementation of Part Night lighting has begun in Surrey Heath and will follow shortly in Guildford and Waverley
  • Risks around road safety and crime have been minimised wherever possible through the implementation process which includes the timing of the switch off when fewer people are on our roads and site visits to all locations
  • Read here the statement from Cabinet Member for Highways, Transport and Flooding, John Furey, regarding street lighting

Charging at recycling centres

  • Increased demand for essential services, coupled with reduced Government funding, means Surrey County Council needs to reduce its spending in other areas.
  • Click the leaflet here that explains the charges
  • Click the leaflet here for Frequently Asked Questions regarding charging


  • Five hundred tonnes were dealt with in September 2015 compared with 283 tonnes last month
  • Read statement here from Mike Goodman, Cabinet Member for Environment and Planning, regarding fly tipping

Haslemere Community Rail Partnership established. Haslemere won a national award. Update

Attended opening of the new car park deck at Haslemere train station.  The new carpark deck at the station is just one element in a wider scheme to improve Haslemere station and its environs.  This is a strategic initiative designed to promote the town and the enjoyment of its beautiful surrounding countryside, in the context of the 1.4 million passenger journeys made each year through the station.  South West Trains, SCC and the recently created Haslemere Community Rail Partnership are the lead partners in this project, which has already received a national ACORP award for its innovative approach. Attended award presentation with Ken Griffiths of Haslemere Events.

Ken Griffiths (Haslemere Events) and me with the Award certificate

Ken Griffiths (Haslemere Events) and me with the Award certificate

Key features of the improvement include the new cycle hub at the station for 120 bikes, together with forecourt works to upgrade access for pedestrians and bus users.  In addition, the vacant station shop has been renovated to create a community Visitor Information hub and Rail Partnership has secured funding for it to have a member of staff who will coordinate a team of volunteer travel and visitor ambassadors.  New maps and signage will be installed to help arriving visitors to the town and there is to be new planting both on the platforms and on the station approaches.  I am currently working with Surrey Highways on both the installation of a proposed cantilevered bus shelter in the current bus layover (which will provide a new pick-up and drop-off point to reduce forecourt congestion) and on the relocation of the current ‘caged’ bus stop opposite the station to a safer position. (Read here an earlier update where resident feedback helped inform forecourt changes.)

Example of Design for Cantilevered Bus Shelter. Final version to be agreed.

Example of Design for Cantilevered Bus Shelter. Final version to be agreed.

This holistic joined-up approach to improving the station would not have been possible without the energy, enthusiasm and financial contributions of the numerous partners of the Haslemere Community Rail Partnership, which I have the privilege to chair.  Founding partners are South West Trains, Surrey County Council, Haslemere Town Council, South Downs National Park, Haslemere Visitor Information Centre, Haslemere Fringe, Haslemere Museum, the Haslemere Society and Haslemere Vision.  Most recently, the partnership has been joined by The Station House hotel and we look forward to welcoming other new members in due course.

First car to drive on upper deck

First car to drive on upper deck

High Street/College Hill Footpath Inquiry

Local residents requested my support to challenge the blocking of the pedestrian right of way from the High Street to College Hill.  In this process I liaised with SCC Highways and the legal team.  The decision came up at the Waverley Local Area Committee (see here) and it was decided unanimously to apply for a Map Modification Order (MMO) to formalise this public footpath by right of long continuous usage by the community. Haslemere Herald article: ‘Alley war’ will be determined after public inquiry

I attended the public inquiry on 30th November and  1st December 2016. The Government Inspector has approved the MMO.  You can read the Inspector’s decision footpath here.  The developers that have blocked the path, Peter Warner and Hamish Robbie, have 6 weeks from the publication of the decision to appeal.  I hear from many residents that they are very happy with this outcome.

Wey Hill Pedestrian Crossing

Following requests from local residents and businesses I secured Waverley Local Committee funding for a pedestrian crossing at the top of Weyhill. More here.  Working with the Highways team, we successfully addressed some concerns of local residents. I have received positive feedback.

New crossing at Wey Hill

New crossing at Wey Hill

Shottermill Junior School New Library Opening

Attended opening of the fantastic new school library, an inspiring space for young people to learn and read.


I supported this project with an £800 award from my members allocation (more information here re . members’ allocation awards).

Stepping Stones: Undershaw Opening

Attended the opening of Undershaw at Hindhead, the new Stepping Stones school premises in the renovated home of Sir Conan Doyle.

nb-undershaw-1 nb-undershaw-3

I supported the planning application for Undershaw on the grounds that Stepping Stones provides a vital educational resource for Surrey students.

I am working with the SCC Education team to explore further collaborative opportunities with Stepping Stones for 19-25 year olds with learning difficulties going forward.

Local Committee funded Highways project 2016/17         

I have secured the following funding for road repairs locally.

  • Sturt Road  (including drainage repairs). £22,900 funding. (Works started but then were delayed until Jan 2017 as unforeseen damaged sub-surface pipes belonging to Thames Water required emergency repair before the works could be completed).
  • Lower Street. £23,367 funding
  • Kings Road. £19,730 funding
  • High Lane. £14,217 (works completed)

We are waiting for confirmation of 2017/ 2018 budget for highways maintenance.

Haslemere Grit Bins

Due to budgetary pressures, assessment of local grit bin requirements are being carried out.  Grit bins will only be removed from the network if they are broken. Each bin has been assessed based on its location and as agreed by local members a bin scoring over 100 points will be automatically replaced, any location score under 100 will be referred to the Local Area Team and Local member for them to review to see if they would want to fund a replacement. Once informed that a grit bin is broken and scores under the required score for replacement we wait until the end of the winter period to remove the grit bin, so that any salt in the bin can be used.

Quad bikes were previously hired for the winter period while testing vehicles to see which were the most suitable and useful during the winter period. As the quad bikes were not cost efficient they were not hired the following winter.

For interest, map here showing footway priority snow clearance and cold weather plan.

Also, Highway Cold Weather update plus priority route map here.

Other work in progress

Following requests from Shottermill Infant and Junior schools governing bodies, secured SCC funding for a pedestrian crossing on Lion Lane opposite Shottermill Infant School.  The design work has been completed and the crossing is planned for Spring 2017.

Upgrade to street lighting in West Street – to add a lighting column and convert existing to conservation grade as West Street is in conservation area.

Installation of cantilevered bus shelter at Lower Street bus layover and relocation of existing Lower Street bus stop to safer location.

Local highways issues

I hold regular meetings with SCC Highways team and Haslemere Town Council to discuss local issues, recent topics have included vegetation cut back, grit bins, gully clearance, pot holes, parking, traffic speeds.

Traffic speeds

Speeds continue to be a key concern, there have been 2 tragic deaths, and one seriously injured pedestrian over the past year on Haslemere’s streets.  The 2016 Waverley Health Profile highlights that deaths and serious injuries on Waverley’s roads are significantly worse than the English average (for all other indicators of health and well-being Waverley scored better than the England average).  I made a statement at Full Council, Dec 2016 calling on the Cabinet Member for Highways, John Furey for SCC to take action to address this issue. See my question here.

I continue to press SCC to establish a policy on average speed cameras. Going forward, I will be working with fellow SCC councillors in neighbouring constituencies to explore the possibilities of average speed camera cost/time sharing.

I have held discussions with residents, SCC Highways and parking teams about traffic speeds and pedestrian safety in various locations around town including:

  • Lower Street/Shepherds Hill junction: highway improvement scheme completed, ideally further measures would be introduced but legal restrictions and narrow carriageway limit what is possible.
  • Tanners Lane and the St Bartholomew’s triangle: SCC parking team has agreed the introduction of parking restrictions to improve safety
  • High Street/Three Gates Lane approach: after many delays the broken, solar powered VAS on southern approach to 3 Gates Lane has been fully electrified and new VAS on approach to Church Lane installed to slow traffic speeds
  • Petworth Rd/Blackdown Lane junction: The Variable Activated Speed (VAS) sign on the Petworth Road/Blackdown Lane junction is facing the wrong way, request to correct this currently with SCCC Highways.


Agreement with SCC Highways to nominate Haslemere High Street as the key priority for repair under Project Horizon programme for pavement works 2017/18.

A section of pavement running alongside the station car park is cracking and subsiding. Met with SCC and South West Trains (SWT) engineers – agreed that damage is linked to car park construction works so that SWT will repair.

Local flooding and gully clearance

Regular meetings with the SCC Highways team to discuss jetting priorities.

Met with residents in Critchmere experiencing regular flooding due to drainage issues following local development.  Extensive works required and agreed with SCC and the developer to resolve the problem.

Met with Sickle Mill Road residents, SCC Highways and Waverley Borough housing officers to discuss problems of bank slippage and flooding.

Surrey Cycle Strategy

As part of the Surrey Transport Plan, a Surrey Cycling Strategy was established in 2013, with Local Committees to oversee development of Local Cycling Plans.  My concern is that while the policy states as its aim “more people cycling, more safely” there are no targets for is no dedicated Surrey CC budget for cycle improvements or targets.

Some of the other local and county meetings attended

Waverley Local Committee and Full Council, and Economic Prosperity, Environment and Highways Board.

Review of Waverley Core Planning Strategy meeting

Waverley Youth Task Group meeting

Community Rail Partnership meetings locally and enjoyed a meeting in Netley-  looking at what other rail partnerships are doing across the network

Haslemere Society AGM. Provided councillor update to their members. See Haslemere Society events page here

Remembrance Sunday service

Presentation by Tony Steer, Bolney Parish Council who shared innovative ideas of communities helping themselves. Read article for more information: ‘Inspirational’ Bolney volunteers rewarded

Passenger information event at Haslemere station organised by Haslemere Community Rail Partnership (add link for car share and map thing)

SCC Sustainable Travel Team ran Personalised Travel Planning training to passengers

SCC Sustainable Travel Team ran Personalised Travel Planning training to passengers

Gave county support in meetings with Post Office for possible location at Haslewey

Attended meetings with the Orchard Club to discuss the re-location from Haslewey as SCC has responsibility for care of the vulnerable elderly

Attended Haslemere Community Land Trust meeting

Attended Station House several meetings to discuss relocation of bus stop, new pavement and official opening evening

Attended sports awards evening, celebrating the achievements of the many highly talented athletes and all the coaches and volunteers that give their time and energy to support the many sports clubs in Haslemere.

Haslemere Sports Award Event

Haslemere Sports Award Event 2016

Met with residents of Hollyridge Road and Derby Road to discuss their requests for additional street lighting columns

Waverley Ensemble

Attended an excellent Waverley Ensemble concert at St Christopher’s Church. The Waverley Ensemble is a group of 8 professional string and keyboard players based in and around the Haslemere area. The next concert is on 11th March.

Haslemere Independent County Councillor Update

Here is an update of my activities as Haslemere’s independent Surrey County Councillor over the past few weeks:

Meetings attended since my last update
Meetings attended at County Hall, Kingston

Mar 15, 2016 Full Council (Agenda, minutes and webcast here)

April 21, 2016 Economic Prosperity, Environment and Transport Board (Agenda and minutes here)

May 9, 2016 Haslemere Station Travel Plan finalising meeting with SCC Sustainable Transport team (link to final STP document)

May 10, 2016 Residents Association/Independents group meeting

May 17, 2016 Full Council (Agenda, minutes and webcast here)

June 9. 2016 Economic Prosperity, Transport and Environment Board (Agenda and draft minutes here)

July 5, 2016 Residents Association/Independent Group meeting

July 12, 2016 Full Council (Agenda here)

Waverley Local Area Committee meetings attended

Mar 16, 2016 SCC Highways Merrow, with Planning team to discuss PIC/SIO6 developer funding available for Haslemere highways schemes

Mar 18, Waverley LAC (Agenda and minutes here)

May 31, 2016 Waverley Youth Task Group, Godalming: presentations by Future Steps providing 1:1 Early Help, and Eikon outreach work as part of Waverley Local Prevention Framework.

Waverley youth task group - Eikon Bus

Waverley youth task group – Eikon Bus

June 17, 2016 Waverley Local Area Committee, Haslemere Hall (Agenda and draft here) See 2 paragraphs below:

Highways Budget 2016/17: Revenue Maintenance £237,173, Capital Maintenance £457, 242
Haslemere and Western Villages Task Group will receive approximately £120,000- to be divided equally. Of these funds 70% has to be spent on highway maintenance. I have been working with the Highways team on the list of priorities- to be finalised mid-July.  To include – drainage and highway surface improvement Sturt Railway Bridge and section of Sturt Road; sections of Kings Road, High Lane and Lower Street (at junction with Sandrock) resurfacing,
Project Horizon resurfacing: Blackdown Lane completed spring 2016, however Liphook Road-Sturt Road has been placed on a reserve list.  I am challenging this decision.

There is wide spread concern among councillors about the lack of information for members about Project Horizon, roads dropped from the list, little if any information about future plans.
Project Horizon 5 year Pavement Maintenance Programme – a new £21m scheme, an attempt to address an unacceptable level of deterioration of pavements.  Waverley LAC members raised their concerns that only one pavement scheme is planned in Waverley 2016/17 (a long stretch in Cranleigh) and that decisions over priorities were not based on local member knowledge.
I was re-nominated as the Waverley LAC committee representative on the SCC Friends and Family Committee

June 21, 2016 Waverley Local Area Committee private informal meeting, Farnham Town Hall

Haslemere Town Council meetings

Mar 17, May 12, June 30 2016 Haslemere Town Council – SCC Highways update and
Haslemere Railway station major works. Minutes/agenda here:

Meeting with HTC and SCC 17Mar16 – Minutes

Meeting with HTC and SCC 12May16 – Minutes

Meeting with HTC and SCC 10JUN15 – Agenda

South West trains are carrying out major improvements, a new cycle hub for 190 spaces is being built, works to improve the forecourt have just started and an additional deck on the station car park will commence in late August 2016.

Agreeing a forecourt design has involved many meetings, and numerous partners – including SWT, Network Rail, SCC Highways and Passenger Transport with input from Station Travel Plan survey findings.

The challenge is how to meet the needs of all station users, when there is such limited physical space – the station built in the 1850s was never intended to cope with 1.7 million passenger journeys/year.  Forecasts indicate passenger numbers will continue to increase, the large housing developments planned for Dunsfold, Bordon, Fernhurst and Midhurst will add further pressure on Haslemere station and the surrounding roads.  Building an additional deck on the carpark will provide an additional approx. 110 spaces, a temporary solution to the need for further parking capacity. I believe we need innovative, creative planning to cope with future demand, while maintaining the character of Haslemere as a small market town.
Disruption during the car park works, while challenging offers potential opportunities for travellers to find new ways of getting to the station- an on-line survey to to see if there is demand for a Hoppa trial for commuters to the surrounding villages.  Passengers can also check out SCC Travel Smart website for travel information to the station. For more information, read an earlier blog post here.

On June 14, 2016 a SCC/SWT communications event was held at the railway station: SCC Sustainable Travel Team ran Personalised Travel Planning training to passengers, SWT displayed forecourt and car park plans followed by an open community evening event at Georgian House Hotel.  (Link to recent plans).

SCC Sustainable Travel Team ran Personalised Travel Planning training to passengers

SCC Sustainable Travel Team ran Personalised Travel Planning training to passengers

SWT Travel event at the station

SWT Travel event at the station

Station Information Event

Station Information Event

Haslemere Station Community Rail Partnership

Mar 15, 2016 South West Trains stakeholder conference, SWT Basingstoke campus – SWT franchise ends June 2017, they plan to work with community on their franchise bid notably via the Community Rail Partnerships.

Mar 22, April 27, May 25, 2016 Haslemere Community Rail Partnership- established to promote Haslemere railway station as a “gateway” for visitors both to the town and the surrounding countryside, for the benefit of the businesses and town community. Improving the aesthetics and signage at the station forecourt and approaches is also a key goal.  The partnership has now been formally registered with ACorP- the national Association of Community Rail Partnerships.  Benefits include match funding for station forecourt improvements from SWT, with statutory agreement for future franchise holders to continue this funding support.  The previously vacant station shop has now been refurbished as a community information hub.
Haslemere Highways site visits and key issues.

Local Highways Issues

I have organised regular site meetings with residents, and SCC Highways and parking teams. Issues addressed include Critchmere – property flooding issues, Hindhead – pedestrian crossing, St Bartholomew’s Church and Tanners Lane – parking and concerns over pedestrian safety, Woolmer Hill – parking/bus blocking,

Three Gates Lane, traffic speed reduction ITS scheme is still incomplete: SCC Road Safety Working Group has explained that this is due to a back log of VAS (Vehicle Activated Signs) installations and the need for traffic management during the works, the 2 funded new VAS on the approaches to Three Gates Lane have unfortunately been delayed for over a year.  Currently planned for July/August, 2016.

Shepherds Hill/Lower Street highways works to improve pedestrian safety, completed May 2016.

Weyhill zebra crossing, works started late June, 2016 – currently the footway has been left purposely unfinished to allow the electricity board and Skanska to go in and supply the columns. Snagging to the unfinished section has been carried out, Keir have been asked to make some changes to improve it. It is hoped the electricity board will be going in very soon to carry out the works.

Bunch Lane, additional wooden posts to prevent verge parking to be installed.

Lower Street/Shepherds Hill pocket park – Town Council have asked to take ownership from SCC, still awaiting confirmation of the legal costs involved.

Some of the local events attended:

Mar 17, 2016 Woolmer Hill School music concert – contributed £680 funding from my members allocation

Left to Right for photograph Susan Stathers (Chair of Governors), Toby U (Yr7), Clare Talbot (Headteacher), Matthew Nash (Head of Music), Mille B (Yr 9), Nikki Barton, County Councillor, Eloise H (Yr 7)

Left to Right for photograph
Susan Stathers (Chair of Governors), Toby U (Yr7), Clare Talbot (Headteacher), Matthew Nash (Head of Music), Mille B (Yr 9), Nikki Barton, County Councillor, Eloise H (Yr 7)

April 19, 2016 Haslemere churches meeting to support local councillors, Camelsdale Vicarage

April 23, 2016 HM Queen Elizabeth II 90th birthday parade, Haslemere (more here)

April 24, 2016 St Georges Parade, Beacon Hill – all local scouting groups

May 2, 2016- Haslemere Charter Fair, judged the Town Crier competition (more here)

May 17, 2016 Brexit Debate – Haslemere Hall, Paddy Ashdown and Lord Forsyth lively debate in a very packed Hall

Paddy Ashdown (Remain) and Lord Forsyth (Leave) with compere in middle of picture

Paddy Ashdown (Remain) and Lord Forsyth (Leave) with compere in middle of picture

May 19, 2016 Mayor making, Sahran Abeysundara confirmed as new Mayor for Haslemere, Town Hall and July 10, Mayors Civic Ceremony, Haslemere Hall

June 16, 2016 Eagle Radio interview on station works and Station Travel Plan

June 29, 2016 Haslemere Vision Community Land Trust meeting, Haslemere Museum

Surrey County Council Members Allocation 2016/17

Haslemere Waverley Skatepark Open Day, August 11, 2016: Provided £500 grant towards the £2,000 costs of the event. The all-day event of workshops and competitions will be open to all skateboarders and bmx riders ages 7-16 years.

Any Haslemere community group is invited to contact me to apply for a grant, please see previous update (here and here) for a list of grants awarded previously.

Surrey CC Post Brexit

Rising demand for essential services while government funding is falling, SCC is being squeezed from both ends and this is set to continue.   Despite plans to save more than £80 million from the SCC budget this year, the increasing demand and cost pressures on SCC services will wipe these savings out.
The increase in demand for social care services account for the vast majority of this, with pressure set to continue.  By 2020 there will be an additional 6,500 Surrey residents over the age of 80 – many of them needing our support.  As the population of the county grows, SCC is also expected to provide thousands of additional school places, as well as improve the road network and dispose of Surrey’s waste.
Surrey is a significant net contributor to the national exchequer, yet receives one of the lowest financial settlements from the government in return.

County Councillor Update for Haslemere Q1 2016

March 13, 2016: Surrey County Councillor Update:

MEETINGS ATTENDED SINCE MY LAST UPDATE ( Last full summary was Jan 19, 2016 here.)

Jan 26th, 2016: Attended Economic Prosperity, Environment and Highways Board:  Agenda here. At the meeting, in response to a resident experience survey, I raised my concerns about the Local Area Committee, how it functions, and the need for it to be more user friendly.

Subsequently met with SCC’s Community Partnership Team to discuss (March 7th, 2016). My key concerns: public not clear about purpose and function of LAC, distinction between public and private meeting. LAC is a private committee meeting held in public, should be more of a conversation with residents- too restrictive in terms of discussion, officers’ expertise not always fully used, suggest chair should rotate- current chair in post for 6 years, more use of social media before, during and after meetings.

9th February 2016: Attended Full Council: Agenda here.

In this meeting SCC discussed budgets for 2016/2017 to 2020/2021. Here is a press statement from the independent councillors and residents’ association councillors for Surrey County Council. Also, you may be interested to read my colleague, Eber Kington’s Budget Statement during the meeting.

March 10th, 2016: Attended Economic Prosperity, Environment and Highways Board: Agenda here.  In the meeting, there was a Project Horizon Year 4 discussion. I raised the issue of Blackdown Lane that due to an administrative error was not completed as agreed in the Year 3 program. The Project Horizon team confirmed that Blackdown Lane is on the Year 4 program, a date to be confirmed as due to severe central government grant cuts to SCC the final highways budget has not been settled.

March 15th, 2016: Attended Full Council. Agenda here.


Local Area Committee (LAC) – Community Engagement meeting: how to make Local Area Committee more accessible.

March 3rd, 2016 LAC Private meeting, Farnham:  Agenda items included SCC schools and SureStart Centres

David Hodge, Leader of SCC: Private meeting

Haslemere Conservation Area Appraisal, steering committee meeting, Haslemere Town Council

Had several meetings with SCC Highways team in Merrow

Attended Southwest Trains stakeholder conference, Basingstoke. Working with SWT/SCC/Station Travel Plan. (More below)


Friday, 18 March 2016 1.30 pm, Godalming Baptist Church, Queen Street, Godalming GU7 1BA: Agenda here. You can follow local committee updates here on Twitter and here on the web.


The Haslemere Station Community Partnership has now formally established, via a legal agreement with South West Trains (SWT). Haslemere station is the main transport hub in the town, with over 1.3 million passenger journeys/year. The aim of the partnership, to improve the look of the station with planting, and better signage and also to use the station as a ‘gateway’ to promote Haslemere, its events, community assets, businesses and the wonderful surrounding countryside to both visitors and residents.

NB Station Shop

To date the partnership includes: South West Trains, Surrey County Council, Haslemere Town Council, Haslemere Visitor Information Centre, South Downs National Park Authority, Haslemere Chamber of Trade, Haslemere Fringe, Haslemere Vision and the National Trust. SWT community stakeholder team has match funded any contributions made by partners- to date SWT have awarded £5000, I have awarded £1200 from my SCC Members Allocation.

The station community partnership has been granted a short term lease on the vacant shop at the station. The plan is to create a Haslemere community information point. A team of volunteers, headed by Ken Griffiths has transformed the shop and a launch is planned in the next couple of weeks.

Visual of station shop

Visual of station shop

Haslemere Train Station: I’ve had several meetings with SWT engineers/arboriculture team to discuss the removal of all vegetation along the car park boundary in preparation for the additional deck at the car park. I have been working closely with SWT, pressing for maximum screening to reduce the visual impact of the metal structure. SWT have agreed to plant a screening hedge, with some specimen trees- although behind the current bus layby the pilings for the new structure will be too close to the pavement edge, so no planting will be possible. I am investigating whether a cantilevered, lit shelter would be possible along this section to provide a dry pick up and drop off area for train and bus passengers.

In response to a number of resident inquiries, SWT requires no planning permission for the car park, planning permission is deemed granted by virtue of Part 8 of the GPDO (2015).

I wrote about parking at the station here earlier this year.

St Ives School: Year 5, girls very concerned about litter, and the negative impact on the environment. Accompanied year 5 girls on Lion Green, as they picked up several sacks of litter as part of ‘Clean for the Queen’ initiative. I was impressed by how much they cared about their town, and the environment, how well informed they were and how much they wanted to do something to make a difference.

NB Clean For The QueenSure Start Play Bus, Woolmer Hill, met with local mums and tots on the bus. Sure Start Centre provides excellent support for parents and early years children.

NB SureStartBusHaslemere Society steering group meeting – presentation inviting Haslemere Society  to join the Haslemere Station Community Rail Partnership

Haslemere Station Travel Plan: Haslemere Station Travel Plan: Surrey County Council, in partnership with Haslemere Vision has commissioned a Station Travel Plan with the aim of understanding how people get to and from the station, the issues all users of the station experience, and to identify barriers to accessing the station without the use of a private car. A survey of train users, non-train users, local businesses and other key community stakeholders has been carried out. There was a very high survey response rate, over 1600 responses – all data is currently being processed. Two concluding workshops will be held on March 22nd, 2016 in the Georgian House Hotel. I will publish the final report including all recommendations on this site.


Interviewed by BBC Surrey regarding council budget cuts on 3rd February.

Interviewed by BBC Surrey re Shepherds Hill sink hole on 2nd March


Members’ Allocation for Haslemere:

Here is a final list of recipients for my annual spend

  • Waverley Borough Council: Waverley Skatepark Engagement 2015 –  £300.00
  • Haslemere Table Tennis Club: Woolmer Hill Table Tennis Centre – £1,500.00
  • Haslemere Basketball Club, Setting up a new team in Haslemere – £825.00
  • 1st Haslemere Scouts: Equipment and Storage – £1,105.00
  • Shottermill Junior School: Library Refurbishment Project – £800.00
  • Haslemere Station Comm Partnership: Community Partnership – £1,200.00
  • Haslemere Swimming Club: Training Equipment – £550.00
  • Crossways Counselling Service: Counselling Workshops – £1,300.00
  • Girlguiding, Girlguiding: LaSER South Korea 2016 – £450.00
  • Woolmer Hill School: Community Orchestra Day & Young Musician Evening – £680.00
  • The Wave: Family Fun Day – £600.00
  • Haslemere CAB: Enhancement to Services – £986.00


Sandrock. New lighting columns are now installed and connected to electricity.

NB Sandrock photo

Shepherds Hill sink hole repaired. Updates were here and here and also on my Facebook page and Twitter feed. Thanks again to all for their patience whilst the works and investigations were carried out.

Lion Lane Post Office Update. I received this letter from the Post Office about the closure of their operation in the former Coop, now M&S, supermarket in Lion Lane.

NB PO Letter (click on image to enlarge)

South Downs NPA Volunteering Opportunities Map – which enables organisations with volunteer opportunities to promote these opportunities to a wider audience. Here is a link to their website and map.

LittleLumpy is an annual cycling event which raises funds for the Haslemere Fringe. It has 4 routes with a new family-friendly route this year. Early bird discount ends March 2015. Check out the Little Lumpy website here. Their early bird registration fee ends 31st March 2016.


Haslemere Annual Town Meeting with a talk about Queen’s 90th birthday celebrations plus town volunteer awards will be on 23rd March 2016 (click on picture below to read invitation).NB Haslemere Annual Town MeetingSouth West Trains Travel Promotion.

SWT are offering advance off-peak day return tickets for just £15 adults & £5 kids, to over 170 destinations across the South West Trains network! You can save up to 78%*! Runs until 30th April. For more information:

Hindhead Tunnel Story

Can you help complete the Hindhead Tunnel story? Circle Eight have recently announced that its next local interest production will tell the Hindhead Tunnel story from pipe dream to reality. The film will also tell the history of the A3 at Hindhead and will examine the impact the Tunnel has had on the Hindhead area since it opened nearly 5 years ago. They are eager to collect the views, stories and anecdotes of people who live and work in the locality. In particular they would be very keen to view any film or video local people may have of the area in the past and of the Tunnel construction. If you believe you have something to contribute to the film, please contact Michael Orford at or on 01428 644871.

Changes to Surrey’s Recycling Centres

Please see this link re SCC’s Recycling Reduced Hours. Also see here for information about recycling in Haslemere.

Parenting Puzzle Course

Please see here about the Parenting Puzzle course organised by Tennyson’s Sure Start Centre on Wednesday 4th May 2016 12.30pm – 2.30pm. Crèche provided. To be held at The Hen House.

Press statement from Surrey Council’s Residents’ Association and Independent Group

Today is Surrey County Council’s full council meeting in Kingston. Agenda here.

The council will decide on revenue and capital budget 2016/17 to 2020/21 and Treasury Management Strategy Management Strategy. Item here.

Here is the press statement the Residents’ Association and Independent Councillors at Surrey County Council:

Cabinet Budget Papers Reveal Real Challenges Ahead Say Residents’ Association & Independent Councillors

Budget Papers drafted for the Conservative Cabinet’s recommendation to the Surrey County Council Budget Meeting on Tuesday 9th February have been released. The Residents’ Association and Independent County councillors have criticised the budget proposals for their failure to provide any details of cuts, service changes or higher charges.

The Budget Papers show a £46 million funding gap, of which £20 million the Conservative leadership failed to anticipate and they will now dip into the Council’s reserves to plug the hole. Leader of the Opposition Nick Harrison said:

“The Council is in a truly serious position as this is on top of an aggressive savings plan already in hand. The Council leader refused today to set out his stall and tell us where he expects the cutbacks to land. At the Council’s Budget Meeting the Conservatives will produce a budget of large generalised figures asking Members to vote it through without the detail. Those cuts only become public weeks after the budget is passed.   This ‘trust me I’m a politician’ approach to the serious business of reductions to services is undemocratic and lacks any opportunity for informed discussion of spending and service priorities.”                                                                                                                                            

Haslemere Independent County Councillor Nikki Barton said:

“I have real fears for the discretionary services provided by SCC. The funding of much of highways, Children’s Centres, libraries, waste and youth services is not required by law and all these important services could now face cuts. Due to cuts in the waste services budget, Haslemere has recently lost its valued Saturday dustcart collection. Furthermore, and of great local concern is that all SCC funded youth work sessions at Haslewey, the town’s youth centre, have recently been axed. There are fears that the requirement for the Transport Review to reduce transport budget by £2m by the end of 2017/18 will lead to reductions in much needed local bus services.”

 RA County Councillor Eber Kington criticised the Conservatives for their complacency and failure to anticipate and prepare for the Rate Support Grant cut announced by the Government.

“For the past year they have been telling us that they have the County Council’s finances under control and at the December Council Meeting they used their large majority to pass a Motion warmly welcoming ’a new Conservative Government which is listening to the voice of Local Government’. I don’t see much evidence of the Government listening to Surrey County Council when it comes to funding and the needs of our residents.”

Last week, I was interviewed by BBC Surrey on the subject of SCC budgets. Here is my interview (2 hours and 9 minutes in) (23 days left to listen).

My Update on Parking at Haslemere Station

In my recent county councillor update for Haslemere here, I wrote briefly about the upper deck parking coming soon at Haslemere station. I also mentioned a station travel plan and travel survey.

To provide more detail, here is a letter that I wrote to the Haslemere Herald this week  regarding my involvement with some of the key stakeholders.

Dear Sir,

As Haslemere’s Independent Surrey County Councillor, it is a pleasure to share an update on my work to make progress on the challenges of parking, and wider transport issues at Haslemere Station.

I was pleased that following a series of meetings with SWT earlier this year, agreement was reached for a single deck as part of their commitment to increased car parking at their served stations. It was recognised that a vast multi-storey in the heart of Haslemere was of inappropriate scale. My key concerns have been the lack of transparency in decision-making about the Multi-Storey Car Park, the lack of assessment of the negative impacts and costs of such a large development and the absence of any strategic planning. As of now, however, we have a strategic SCC funded Station Travel Plan in development, in partnership with Haslemere Vision who are developing the neighbourhood plan.

Besides the additional 100 or so new parking spaces, some key components of an integrated approach that I have been working to secure and support in my role as County Councillor include:

  • SCC and SWT’s significant co-funding of traffic calming and road safety improvements for safer access for cars, cyclists and pedestrians;
  • SWT’s funding of safer access to the dangerous bus stop opposite the station;
  • SWT’s funding for additional 100 cycle spaces in a new cycle hub;
  • SWT/SCC funding of upgrading of forecourt with planting and better signage;
  • Provision of real time bus information at the station;
  • SCC funding for the Station Travel Plan;
  • SWT Stakeholder Team partnership funding for a new Haslemere Station Community Partnership to promote Haslemere station as a “gateway” to our town and surrounding countryside, through maps, signage, leaflets and other promotion activities; and
  • SWT/SCC funding for a short-term of the vacant shop space at the station to be used as a pop-up space to promote local events.

None of this progress could have been made without the commitments from the broad team I have been working with: SCC, SWT, Network Rail, Haslemere Vision, WBC, South Downs National Park Authority, Haslemere Events and other Haslemere community organisations. Jeremy Hunt has given his support to the more appropriate scale of station car parking and I invite him to join this working group to ensure all steps are implemented in the best interests of the town as a whole.

As we move forward, I will be working with SWT as detailed highways and development plans are brought forward for SCC support and approvals. In my role as County Councillor, SWT have asked me to help coordinate their key stakeholder engagement and communications as the project comes to fruition. I shall continue to provide regular updates as usual on my website at, and encourage everyone to take part in the current online station travel survey at


Councillor Nikki Barton

Member for Haslemere

Surrey County Council

As well as the above letter, please see below a brief comment I sent to The Haslemere Herald regarding the station parking at Haslemere station. (Please see this week’s Haslemere Herald for lead article: Car park to open in Autumn).

First and foremost, it is very good news that we have secured commitment from South West Trains for an appropriate scale of increase in car parking at the station. Secondly, it is  extraordinary that Jeremy Hunt views this as a victory, given he has spent the last 6 years trying – and thankfully failing – to drop a car park the size of two jumbo jets into the middle of this small market town without full consideration of the impacts, how it fits into a vision for the town and what alternative options might exist. I cannot tell whether or not he has actually listened to the voice of so many in the community who have called for an integrated transport and car parking solution, rather than the narrow “bigger is better” mindset; however, I do welcome that he has at last implicitly conceded the points that I have been making for the past three years.

I would impress upon Jeremy Hunt and the Town Council the importance of the tremendous efforts spearheaded through Haslemere Vision and the newly created Haslemere Station Community Partnership, which provide great channels for engagement on the wider opportunities for the good of our whole community.

Haslemere County Councillor Update from the past 2 months

A belated Happy New Year to readers of my blog. Here is an update of some of my county councillor activities from the past couple of months.

Attended the following Surrey County Council meetings

Other work related to Haslemere

Station Travel Plan (STP). Secured funding for a STP. This is in partnership with Haslemere Vision. The first stage of background research has been completed. Happening now and for the next few days, there will be a travel survey and Haslemere Vision is looking for volunteers. Please click here to see how you could help Haslemere Vision for one or two hours.

Haslemere train station forecourt and additional deck car park. I met with representatives from South West Trains/Network Rail/Surrey County Council to finalise plans before key stakeholder consultation.

Highways schemes. Gateway schemes underway and some of you may have seen SCC notices in town. Work is going to start in the next two weeks. Shepherds Hill railings and Midhurst Road scheme still to be snagged/finished- lighting/electricity supply problems.

Shepherds Hill Road Safety worksRoad markings to improve pedestrian safety outside Grayswood School have been installed. Funded this highways scheme outside Grayswood Primary school to improve the safety of children, parents and staff walking to school.

The 30mph speed limit, Grayswood Road, town end. The 30mph limit on the approach to Haslemere High Street has been extended towards Grayswood. New signage has been installed.


Fosters Bridge: Arranged replacement of missing railing under the bridge.

Wey Hill crossing: Plans finalised for pedestrian crossing opposite Shahanaz. Installation date TBC.

Youth service: SCC paid provision has been re-allocated to Farnham following SCC Youth Services Needs Assessment agreed in Sept 2015. I raised my concerns for Haslemere. Success in lobbying for additional youth work resources at the Wey Centre – external funding has been secured to provide a paid member of staff to work one day per week to support young people. The CCard Scheme, 1-2-1 and ‘Early Help’ support for young people will continue to be provided in Haslemere through the SCC Community Youth Work Service.

Haslemere Station Community Partnership, town promotion: Attended start up meeting – using members’ allocation to fund start up with involvement from National Trust, South Downs National Park Authority, Haslemere Visitor Info Centre, Haslemere Museum, SWT, HTC, SCC, Haslemere Events.  Vacant shop at station to be used as pop up to promote community events and visitor information.

Sandrock lighting. Pedestrian lighting should be installed in the next few weeks.

College Hill right of way: SCC has now submitted a map modification order for the right of way access for the pathway leading from the Petworth Road to College Hill. The process will be delayed as the developer who installed the railings and blocked the access has lodged an appeal. This is now going to be a lengthy process. More here and Haslemere Herald article here.

Press release from the SCC Independents’ Group of Councillors regarding the Central Government’s decision to cut the Rate Support Grant. Read our statement in full here. The Residents’ Association and Independent Group is the largest opposition group within Surrey County Council. It currently has nine members, representing divisions from across Surrey. The group leader is Cllr Nick Harrison and it has members represented on all the committees of the council.

IMPORTANT. Bus Consultation affecting Haslemere. Consultation closes March 16th. Here is a link: and a summary of routes affected.

Spend of my annual Members’ Allocation

  • Haslemere Basketball Club. There will be a full press release for my next councillor update but here is an early indication of how the funds will be spent via an email sent to me by the club:

    “We are so grateful for the grant money provided by Surrey County Council via councillor Nikki Barton. We have already bought two match balls as per our funding application, which have been used in a recent match (see photo below). We’re looking into the best deals for the rest of the equipment and kit we require, and hope to have completed purchases and orders by the end of January.”

Members of Haslemere Basketball Club

Members of Haslemere Basketball Club

  • Haslemere Hockey Club’s schools program. Please read (click on thumbnail) Schools Programme 1 and (click on thumbnail)

Schools Programme 2to learn how the Hockey Club has spent the funds for youth coaching.

  • Table Tennis Club lighting. Funded new high-luxe level lights so that the table tennis players can use the Woolmer Hill gym for club nights.
  • Haslemere Events will take on the lease of the train station shop for community event promotion. I have given some of my members’ allocation to fund legal costs.

PLEASE NOTE there is still time to apply for funding for your local organization. Here are my contact details.

Other Items

Lion Green Post Office campaign. Please note the Facebook campaign page to try to keep the Post Office following M&S’ acquisition of the Co-operative site in Lion Lane.

Stepping Stones. High Court Appeal won. More here in the Haslemere Herald.

Haslemere Hub. The HaslemereHub meets at the Georgian Hotel & Spa every Tuesday (from 2nd February) from 9am for coffee with workshops for all local independent businesses. The purpose is to collaborate, share and grow! Your first visit is FREE!. Here is their Facebook page.

Are you a business owner in Hindhead or Beacon Hill? Meet the Mayor – Hindhead and Beacon Hill businesses

Waverley Ensemble. March 5 was due to be the first Waverley Ensemble Concert of 2016, but the concert has been moved to Saturday April 16 at St Christopher’s Church Haslemere at 7.30pm. Program: Arias sung by Amanda O’Brien and Telemann Flute, Violin and Cello Concerto with Susan Milan and Andrew Taylor. For more information please go to:

South Downs National Park Authority volunteering map. South Downs NPA website has a volunteering opportunities map – which enables organisations with volunteer opportunities to promote these opportunities to a wider audience. Link here to their website and map.