South Western Railway Strike Update

Today, I received this update from South Western Railway regarding proposed strike action.

From: Andy Mellors
Date: 21 November 2019 at 4:15:04 pm GMT
To: Nikki Barton
Subject: South Western Railway Update

Dear Cllr Barton,

I am contacting you regarding the prospect of industrial action taking place on the South Western Railway network and the impact this could have on passengers in your local area.

The RMT union has called 28 days of strike action which will disrupt our train services throughout December. The action is due to commence on 2 December and last until the New Year.

I very much hope we can avoid the strikes happening at all and we’re still open to discussions with the RMT.

However, we are working very hard planning for how we keep our passengers moving if the strikes do go ahead. 

This dispute centres around the role of guards on SWR’s trains.  We have publicly promised that there will always be guards on our trains, helping deliver the train service passengers need and want, and that our guards will have a safety critical role.

All we’re asking is that our guards work with us to bring in our new trains, which our estimates show could mean over 10 million more passenger journeys arrive on-time in peak hours every year.

We still hope these promises will help avoid strike action. However, we are putting plans in place to keep as many passengers as possible moving throughout the strike should it proceed:

  • By early next week we will publish downloadable, detailed timetables for services that will still be running during the strike, once these have been finalised. We will also be publishing some frequently asked questions to help passengers plan their journey
  • We are working with other transport providers so as many tickets as possible can be accepted on other rail and bus networks
  • We are committed to doing everything we can to provide people, business, councils, community groups and other organisations with the most detailed and up-to-date information we have and will be providing the latest travel information on our website

I don’t want this strike to happen. It doesn’t need to happen, and I hope the promises we’ve made to our guards will help reassure them that the strike is unnecessary.

However, if the strike does go ahead we will be doing everything we can to get our passengers to where they need to go in the run-up to Christmas and New Year.

We will provide you with regular updates as and when new information is available.

You can find the latest information at 

Kind regards

Andy Mellors
Managing Director
South Western Railway

Update – Planned works on Chase Lane and Tennyson’s Lane Haslemere Postponed

A week ago, I wrote about planned SGN works affecting Chase Lane and Tennyson’s Lane here.

Please see below an update from SGN explaining that these works are now postponed.

From: SGN Stakeholder and Community Manager

To: Nikki Barton <>

Subject: Planned works on Chase Lane and Tennyson’s Lane Haslemere

Hello Nikki,

Firstly I would like to thank you for your support in arranging a drop in event at the town hall.  Have to say with such short notice we had a good turnout providing valuable feedback and most importantly local knowledge.  

Following on from the town hall meeting, the team have taken on the feedback given and reached a decision to postpone the replacement work on Chase Lane and Tennyson’s Lane until the spring 2020.  We agree the diversion route could potentially be challenging during the winter months, the residents and road users safety is our priority.    

We would like to thank residents/businesses for their input, support and also their understanding that this work will be re-planned next year.   Please can I ask for your help in sending this email/update to residents you have on your distribution list,  I will also draft a letter to be sent out as soon as possible to all residents who would have been directly affected.

Again thank you for your help, speak soon  

Kindest regards

Stakeholder and Community Manager

Surrey Climate Commission event on 4th December

To: Nikki Barton <>
Subject: Surrey Climate Commission event on 4th December

Dear Nikki

Come and hear from the Surrey Climate Commission:

The Challenge Ahead (What we know already !)

Wednesday 4 December 2019, 16:30 – 19:30

At WWF Living Planet Centre, Brewery Road, Woking

Since our Launch in June we have been working hard towards creating a workable but ambitious pathway towards tackling the climate challenge that we all face.

In September this year we secured funding from Surrey University to start a Baseline Study aiming to provide robust evidence of where Surrey lies in relation to its targets now.

We now have interim results from this Study, as well as feedback from our recent Forums, so come and hear what these are telling us


Richard Essex

Chair of Surrey Climate Commission

Woking SWR stakeholder conference

Yesterday, I attended the South Western Railways Stakeholder conference in Woking.

Some slides:

Guard will be retained but strikes are still scheduled for December 2019
Additional early evening services for Haslemere

Acknowledgement by CEO Andrew Haines that Network Rail didn’t understand consequences of changing the layout at Waterloo station on the travelling public and didn’t liaise with SWR on impact on timetables. New approach – Putting Passengers First – following Holden Recommendations identified many improvements needed.

Big stress of increasing passenger numbers, 230 million/year on Wessex Route, Waterloo is the busiest station in the country.

Andy Mellors, Managing Director SWR, celebrating recent successful launch of Surrey Hills to South Downs CRP at conference.

Chase Lane, Tennyson’s Lane and Scotland Lane – Haslemere Temporary Prohibition of Traffic Order

Sent: 14 November 2019 14:33:04
Subject: Reference: ME-730218 – Surrey Highways: TRO CHASE LANE (D5527), TENNYSON’S LANE (D5527) AND SCOTLAND LANE (D5524), HASLEMERE

Chase Lane (D5527), Tennyson’s Lane (D5527) and Scotland Lane (D5524), HASLEMERE – TEMPORARY PROHIBITION OF TRAFFIC ORDER 2019

Dear Sirs

SURREY COUNTY COUNCIL PROPOSE TO MAKE the above mentioned Temporary Order under Section 14(1) of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984, the effect of which will be to prohibit vehicles from entering or proceeding in:

a) The entire length of Chase Lane (D5527), Haslemere.

b) That length of Tennyson’s Lane (D5527), Haslemere that extends from its junction with Chase Lane (D5527), to its junction with Scotland Lane (D5524); the vehicular diversion for traffic will be via Tennyson’s Lane, Blackdown Lane, Petworth Road, Jobsons Lane, Jays Lane and Tennyson’s Lane.

c) That length of Scotland Lane (D5524), that extends from its junction with Tennysons Lane (D5527), to its junction with Denbigh Road (D5526); the vehicular diversion for eastbound traffic will be via – Midhurst Road, Shepherds Hill, Lower Street, Haslemere High Street (around Town Hall), Petworth Road, and Haste Hill; and for westbound traffic – Haste Hill, Petworth Road, Lower Street, Shepherds Hill, Midhurst Road.

This Traffic Order is required to enable SGN to carry out a gas mains replacement works.

These works are anticipated to be carried out on:

Part a) 26/11/19 to 17/12/19

Part b) 06/01/20 to 24/01/20

Part c) 27/01/20 to 14/02/20

within phases of the 12 month period of operation of this Temporary Order that commences on 26 November 2019.

Advanced warning signs will be displayed and the temporary closure which is anticipated will be required for 24 hours each day will only operate when the relevant traffic signs are displayed. Access for emergency services, residents, businesses, pedestrians, cyclists and equestrians will be maintained at all times.

Chase Lane Diversion

Scotland Lane Diversion

Tennyson’s Lane Diversion

Scotland Lane Information Pack

Tennyson’s Lane Information Pack

Proposed amendments to some late night & early morning train services from December 2020

From: Andrew Harrowell
Date: 30 October 2019 at 7:52:00 am GMT
Subject: Proposed amendments to some late night & early morning services from December 2020

Dear Community Rail Partnerships

I am writing to you to let you know about our current consultation on the proposed amendments to some services from 13th December 2020.

The attached letter from Andy Mellors, Managing Director of South Western Railway, and Mark Killick, Route Director of Wessex of Network Rail, details why we are proposing these amendments. You can view the full consultation at:

I would appreciate it if you could share this with you steering groups and stakeholders.

Many thanks

Andy Harrowell

Community Rail Manager

South Western Railway

St Christopher’s Green, Haslemere – Carriageway Resurfacing work (Road Closed)

From: On Behalf Of Works Communication Team/EAI/SCC
Sent: 30 October 2019 14:16
To: Nikki Barton <>
Subject: St Christopher’s Green, Haslemere – Carriageway Resurfacing work (Road Closed)

Dear Cllr Barton

Please find attached the letter for the carriageway resurfacing work on St. Christopher’s Green, Haslemere. The letters are due to be delivered over the next couple of days.

The works are scheduled to start on 11/11/2019. Sometimes our plans have to change, often due to bad weather or problems on other works in the same programme which can have a knock on effect. If anything changes with the details of these works, we will let you know.

You and your residents can also find up to date details of the works on

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us on 0300 200 1003 or email

Kind regards

Works Communication Officer

Works Communication Team

Local Highways

Wrong to use the MIU for political gain

I wrote a letter to The Haslemere Herald last week and it was not published on the letters’ page but, parts were used in this article here:
MP accused of exploiting minor injuries unit fight.

Here is my letter in full:

Dear Sir,

As an independent local councillor, I have consistently said that community issues should not be the football of party politics.  If ever this was true, it is now, in the face of a proposal to close down Haslemere Health Centre’s Minor Injuries Unit (MIU).

I was therefore shocked and dismayed that Jeremy Hunt MP is using the town’s campaign to keep the MIU open as an opportunity to campaign as a Conservative Party candidate in the anticipated upcoming General Election.  Last week Hunt made a campaigning letter drop across Haslemere. Although it purports to raise awareness about the MIU and seek residents’ views on it, the letter crosses a number of red lines in my view:

  • Hunt requires registration through his election agent / party office for the “public” meeting in Haslemere Hall on December 6th
  • Hunt thereby collects email addresses and personal data on everyone wanting to go to the meeting
  • Hunt’s survey on the MIU includes asking how a resident will vote in the general election
  • Hunt’s survey includes asking whether a resident wants “help” with postal voting.

From my understanding we had been led to believe that this meeting, about a vital community asset, was genuinely a public meeting – open to all those in the community concerned, independent of any politics. It is clear however from the letter, that this public meeting to save our MIU is being explicitly used as part of an election campaign with entry to the meeting only granted once our personal data is shared, which could then in theory be used to select who attends, let alone for gaining an advantage in election campaigning in due course.

The blatant abuse of the MIU campaign for political ends continues.  I feel passionately that we need to work together, across all parties, to save our vital MIU.  Furthermore, it is exactly the type of issue where Town, Borough, County and National elected representatives should be collaborating closely and I am disappointed that our MP has taken this cynical path of action.

I AM PLEASED THAT OUR MP HAS SHOWN AN INTEREST IN A LOCAL MATTER, HOWEVER, I urge Mr Hunt to uphold the principle of a genuinely open and transparent public meeting,  welcoming all those who are interested in attending on a first come first serve basis. If ticketing is required to control numbers, it would be easiest to simply use the Haslemere Hall ticketing website (or alternatively organise through the Town Hall) in a way that is neutral and community based.

Saving our MIU is a critical community issue and must not be used for political purposes.

Yours sincerely,

Cllr Nikki Barton

Town Councillor and Haslemere’s Surrey County Councillor Scotland Lane Haslemere

Fire Services in Haslemere

Today was Surrey County Council’s Full Council meeting.

The meeting papers are here. Please note the petition regarding fire stations (including Haslemere’s) being closed at night. (Item 5 here).

I raised my serious concerns about fire service cover for Haslemere – particularly at night. In the meeting council voted against the 13.000 petition to scrap the cuts to the fire service. This means loss of 7 night time pumps, and reliance on part time, on-call staff overnight.  Already Haslemere fire station is currently regularly unmanned due to lack of staff. We are a high priority station as nearest to the A3 and the Hindhead tunnel. 

This was my question on this matter:

The recently issued Making Surrey Safer Plan purports to “make sure we have the right resources in the right places at the right time to respond when you need us”

Haslemere fire station is a high priority station due to its proximity to the Hindhead Tunnel on the A3 and it’s distance from neighbouring stations. Due to a lack of supervisory managers at Haslemere’s on call unit, wholetime appliances have had to be moved to Haslemere to provide cover over night.

When there have been insufficient wholetime fire appliances available retained/on call appliances have been moved to Haslemere to cover the shortfall.

During August this resulted in “Standby” appliances being moved from their base station elsewhere in the county to Haslemere to provide night cover twenty times.

On occasion, when there have been insufficient resources, the Haslemere area has been abandoned without cover for a period of 24 hours.

At present the Fire Service is struggling to maintain cover at night. This situation will be exacerbated by the cutting of a further 7 appliances at night.

The new Making Surrey Safer Plan

– slashes the night time cover throughout the county, potentially leaving Haslemere exposed,

– increases dependency on an already over-stretched pool of part-time fire fighters, and

– relies on crews backing each other up over long distances at risk to the base station’s primary response area.

 The Plan therefore increases rather than reduces the risk to my constituents’ safety and fails to ensure the right resources will be in the right place at the right time to respond to residents’ needs in emergency.   Far from driving the improvements called for by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate last year, Surrey’s Plan is a roadmap for deterioration in our fire service.

QUESTION 1: Would the leader please explain how, if the plan is implemented in its current form, I can reassure my constituents that they will be safe in their beds at night if the reduction of seven night time appliances across Surrey leaves insufficient resources when 24 hour fire cover at Haslemere cannot currently be guaranteed?

QUESTION 2: Due to the nature of the on-call system, fire crew availability can never be guaranteed.  Staff are already struggling with the extra demands on their time covering the shortfalls. Do you believe the heavy reliance on retained/on call stations is sustainable once there is a further reduction of seven appliances at night?

This is the response I received here:


1. Surrey Fire and Rescue Service has robust plans in place to ensure it can always deal with emergencies effectively and continually monitors all of its vehicles around the county, using the very latest technology, so that firefighters and equipment are in the right place at the right time. There have been occasions recently at Haslemere when cover has been moved in from other fire stations at night. This has been due to short-notice leavers at Watch Officer level. It is normal practice for the service to move crews and resources around the county based on a dynamic analysis of risk. Just before each shift, highly trained and experienced 999 Mobilising staff work with Duty Officers to assess crewing levels and deploy staff accordingly. The Making Surrey Safer Plan for 2020 – 2023 was approved by Cabinet on 24 September 2019. Under these changes, fire and rescue cover will continue to be provided across Surrey on a 24/7 basis. Fire engines may come from neighbouring fire stations in some areas at night-time, but these will still arrive within the service’s current response standard. The Making Surrey Safer Plan is focussed on re-aligning Surrey’s fire and rescue service in order to put more resources into community and business safety activities, to reduce the likelihood of emergencies happening in the first place. In terms of the Waverley area specifically, the impact on response times is minimal and in fact improves at the weekend under the Making Surrey Safer Plan and overall:

Ø Weekday – no change to arrival of the first appliance to a critical incident

Ø Weekend day – 32 seconds quicker arrival of the first appliance to a critical incident

Ø Night – 10 second slower arrival of the first appliance to a critical incident Page 14

Ø Overall, at all times of day, the arrival of the first appliance to a critical incident will be 1 second quicker These meet the risk assessment which shows that weekend days are the busiest, night times are less busy, and week days remain the same.

The service will regularly review its Community Risk Profile and distribution of resources as population numbers and distribution changes over time to ensure adequate resources are provided. Once implemented from April 2020, the changes will be closely monitored by the service and a dedicated task group which will report back to Surrey County Council’s Communities, Environment and Highways Select Committee for appropriate scrutiny.

2. There is no guarantee of the availability of either whole time or on-call staff unfortunately however the Making Surrey Safer Plan for 2020 – 2023 increases the potential use of on On-Call staff and appliances at night. Two On-Call new starter courses will take place in the lead up to 1 April 2020 (when the changes will start to be implemented), to increase our number of on-call firefighters.

Haslemere Minor Injuries Unit under threat of closure -deadline to respond TODAY, Sept 29th

URGENT Haslemere Minor Injuries Unit under threat of closure-deadline to respond TODAY, Sept 29th.

Dear All,

I just wanted to let you know that the Minor Injuries Unit at the Haslemere Hospital is at real risk of closure,

and that the deadline for the public consultation is TODAY- SEPT 29th, 2019. 

NHS policy is that the current system of three different types of urgent care provision needs to be rationalised as a standard system of “Urgent Treatment Centres” (UTCs), meeting 24 specified standards (including that they should be GP-led, and open 12 hrs a day, 7 days a week).

The implication is that existing Minor Injury Units and Walk-in Centres that cannot upgrade, would be closed- however I believe the facility at Haslemere already provides many services (see the list below) and rather than shut down, should be upgraded to meet the UTC standards.

No decisions have yet been taken concerning our local unit and the unit at Petersfield, but there is a real risk of closure. If both are closed we will all have to travel to either Guildford, Frimley Park or Chichester for treatment of minor injuries and blood testing.    

If you care about saving this vital service in our community please do write today to explain why our Minor Injuries unit is so important to you and your family. 

Please email and copy MP Jeremy Hunt-

Best wishes


Nikki Barton

Surrey County Councillor for Haslemere

Town Councillor for Haslemere and Grayswood

Existing Services at Haslemere MIU

There is an established MIU which already covers many of the needs of the proposed new centre including: –

Out of hours base

-Standalone Minor injuries….currently 9am -5 pm

-Radiology and Ultrasound on site

-Outpatients and fracture clinic

-Paramedics 24 hrs.

-A Pharmacy 7.30 am to 10.30pm week days .10 am to 5pm Sunday’s

-Community nursing base -Minor Injuries 9am to 5pm

-Telemedicine link to burns and plastic unit East Grinstead

-Pathology Service

These services have been built up over time and they are increasingly being used with an average weekly attendance at the MIU of 200 patients. It is important to note that there is space on the site which can be adapted or rearranged to make room for any additional services or a modular building.