County Councillor Update March 19 2014
LOCAL WORK IN HASLEMERE
Finalised Spend of Members’ Allocation 2013/2014
- Haslemere Town Council: Replacement tree bottom of Shepherds Hill: £200
- Crossways Counselling Service: setting up new couples and families branch: £2400
- Waverley Borough Council: Waverley Skate parks project 2013: £500
- SCC Corporate Parenting: Look after children savings fund: £500
- Haslemere First Responders: 2 full responder medical kits including mobile defibrillators: £2000
- The Wave Volunteer Project: New hedge cutter: £552
- Haslemere and District Scouts: Mess tent, hiking tents and events tent: £765
- Tennyson’s Sure Start Centre: Wet weather clothing for One O Clock Club: £400
- Haslemere Town Youth Football Club: Exchange program for parents and children: £500
- Haslemere Hockey Club: After school hockey program: £2426
- Citizens’ Advice Bureau: Enhancement of service provision: £600
- Haslemere Library: Art and crafts for the Under 5s: £150
- SCC Travel and Transport Group: New bus shelter at Critchmere/Border Road Junction: £5200
- Revenue £12,876
- Local Committee Capital £3,888
Multi-Storey Car Park (MSCP)
Invited by Patrick McLoughlin, Secretary of State for Transport to join an MSCP working group following a letter I sent to his offices expressing my concerns about the proposals to push through a MSCP without full consideration of all the facts. Attendees at the meeting: representatives from SWT, Dept for Transport, MP Jeremy Hunt’s office, HTC, WBC, Haslemere Chamber, SCC parking team.
DfT representative explained that the finances of a multi-deck MSCP at Haslemere train station don’t stack up because the additional revenue from any extra spaces provided at the station are included as ‘costs’ rather than revenue. This is because all day parkers would incur a ‘cost’ in losing their access to free on-street parking having been effectively ‘driven’ into the MSCP by yellow lining and parking restrictions.
SWT agree to pursue the additional 60 spaces on the Jewson’s side of the tracks currently used as a bus depot and to carry out a cost/benefit analysis for a single storey construction at the station. This would be a cheaper option (£2.5 m) and could provide an additional 150 spaces which is it presumed would be filled by those on the season ticket waiting list. I agreed this could a viable be an option if 1) no town wide, all day on-street parking controls were required, 2) a proper, open and transparent public consultation was carried out, 3) a new planning application was submitted subject to full traffic and environmental impact assessments.
I also stressed that any decision on the MSCP should be made on the basis of what is right for Haslemere, not on political expediency and that I assumed that Haslemere Town Council would consult publicly if it intended to raise the precept/local taxes in order to provide a large contribution to the MSCP.
I continue to believe a holistic transport strategy for Haslemere is needed going forward. The one deck MSCP and the use of the bus depot space should provide an additional 210 spaces at the station freeing parking space on our streets but only for a short period and then what? In the longer term more parking at the station will attract more cars, increase traffic/congestion and pollution in the town.
There is potential for more creative transport thinking, Haslemere Vision is currently considering these issues. For example, season ticket data shows that a cluster of 338 commuters live in and around Fernhurst, suggesting opportunities for car and taxi shares/hoppa buses. In the longer term, a park and ride may be a viable option given the prospect of large housing developments to the south of the town.
Shepherds Hill/Lower Street
Project Horizon repair: Shepherds Hill to be fully reconstructed starting April 1st, 6 nights of road closure 20.00-06.00 hrs. Courts Hill Road and The Avenue to follow in immediate sequence.
Shepherds Hill/Lower Street Railings: the case has been referred to SCC Customer Care team who deal with complaints across all services. Haslemere Town Council Planning and Highways Committee has submitted an objection to the railings. The railings were the project of ex-Councillor Renshaw and cost £40,000 (Members allocation, plus Local Area Committee contribution).
Lower Street pavement resurfacing: recent resurfacing was carried out as part of the above project.
Shepherds Hill tree: Agreed that existing split tree should be removed, and contributed £200 for new tree to be planted on adjacent grassy area, however investigations have revealed an air raid shelter too near the surface to plant a significant new tree. New discussions to enhance this ‘pocket park’, options include planting a number of smaller trees, bench and possible art work.
Shepherds Hill angled parking. In January last year this change from angled to parallel parking was over-ruled by the SCC committee as 1) there had been no reported accidents here, 2) it provides vital parking spaces for the shops and 3) it provides vital parking for residents of Lower Street and Shepherds Hill who have no off street parking.
Haste Hill: agreement with WBC and HTC to remove old railings and replace with wooden posts.
Derby Road, St Bartholomew’s School: reached agreement with SCC that potholes will be repaired, anticipated repair date during Easter holidays.
Serpent Trail Launch Event, Friday June 13th, 2014: Working with SCC and other partners to organise a community walk to celebrate and promote the upgraded Serpent Trail section linking Haslemere to the South Downs National Park. All will be welcome to join, more information to follow.
Haslemere and train station identified as ‘gateway’ to South Downs National Park as part of Two Parks Project. Local Sustainable Transport Funding (£150,000) has upgraded the Serpent Bridal path from the Petworth Road, will provide new route signage, support a Sunday public service to Midhurst during summer months and fund a reconfiguration of the train station forecourt to facilitate bus use.
Wey Hill Fairground Public Inquiry Cancelled: Waverley Borough Council dropped their application to redevelop the Wey Hill Fairground site and turn it in to a pay and display car park. I strongly objected to the proposal, and regret the waste of public money in pursuing this application given the very high levels of public opposition that forced a public inquiry to be held.
Letterbox pilot project: Community building initiative as part of Families, Friends and Communities project to increase social capital in a local area. Haslemere has been identified as a pilot town for Letterbox. The project will start by end of March, and will start with a letter drop, followed by a series of conversations with residents to understand their interests, their needs and what they are willing to do to help others in the area. Participants in the project will also be offered membership to an on-line community forum.
SCC Highways Strategy meeting: Discussions with SCC transport strategy team on the issue of transport and movement data available for Haslemere, essential for the development of a holistic transport strategy and to support the work of Haslemere Vision. Agreement that data available will be pulled together by SCC intern during summer 2014, data gaps to be identified with a view to further research.
Conservation Area Appraisal for Haslemere: Input as member of CAA working group, following acceptance by WBC executive CAA report will be available for six weeks of public consultation, estimated to start from 14th April subject to approval by WBC’s Executive on 1st April..
Followed up on resident requests including:
- Street lights out in Whitfield Road Haslemere.
- Discussions about potholes throughout the town, and in Kings Road, Hindhead Road, Shepherds Hill. Please report all potholes online here. You’ll find the Highways Incident Claim here on SCC’s website here.
- Referred the double yellow lines parking outside the station to the parking enforcement officers and the police.
- Request for directional spikes to prevent drivers exiting the train station via entrance would have to be dealt with by Network Rail as the owners of that land
- Midhurst Road/Hill Road speed checks
- VAS speed sign on approach to High Street vandalised, waiting for new parts
- Alley way down to Waitrose from zebra crossing, concerns over vehicle use and lack of hand rail, a problem when icy, referred to SCC highways
- Verge damage due to parking Beech Road
- Bus pass information
- Council tax increase
- Several meetings with residents as part of the current parking review consultation which ends on April 4th
Notification of requirement for a new school governor. A Haslemere Primary School looking for a governor: One of our excellent local schools is looking for a governor to join the governing body, please do contact me if you would be interested in knowing more.
MEETINGS/EVENTS ATTENDED: Jan-March 2014
Various site meetings with SCC highways and parking teams, met with new CHO Robert Mac Pherson, replacing Ian Fowler who is being seconded to Guildford team
Full council yesterday Kingston and RA/Independent Group meetings, Kingston
National Library Day event, Haslemere Library
Dr Helen Bowcock, High Sheriff of Surrey, reception to celebrate her very successful Shrieval year.
Haslemere Herald, reception to open new offices in King’s Road.
Haslemere Vision, Transport group and policy writing.
SURREY COUNTY COUNCIL NOTICES for Haslemere
Parking Review: formal advertising of the parking proposals approved at committee in December began 7th March.
See my blog post last week about the consultation and deadlines to submit comments.
Local area Committee meeting takes place on 21st March. See my recent blog post relating to this here.
SURREY COUNTY COUNCIL NOTICES county-wide
Surrey Libraries’ Children’s Book Award: Reading Groups are busy reading the 5 brilliant books shortlisted for this year’s Surrey Libraries’ Children’s Book Award. They are looking forward to a visit from one of the shortlisted authors and will be voting for their favourite book. The winner will be announced at the Award Ceremony at the H G Wells Centre in Woking on 30th April. There is still time for other schools to join in with the Award. For more information, go to our Book Award web pages – www.surreycc.gov.uk/childrensbookaward. Hashtag on Twitter is #OffThePageAward.
Public Consultation: Review of the Surrey Rights of Way Improvement Plan (ROWIP).
We are inviting comments on a review of the County Council Rights of Way Improvement Plan. The Plan was first published in 2007, this is the first review (Copy of Draft here).
We are seeking the views of path users and those with an interest in access to Surrey’s countryside including land managers, owners and neighbouring authorities. Government guidance states that the Rights of Way Improvement Plan should be reviewed once in every ten years, and DEFRA Statutory Guidance (Nov 2002) indicates the Plan should include:
· context / relation to other plans, statutory duties and responsibilities
· an assessment of user needs, including duties with respect to people with mobility problems
· an assessment of the rights of way network based on the definitive statement
· a statement of action and indication of how the action will be delivered
· a monitoring arrangement for implementation
The criterion for this review is a ‘light touch’; however there have been changes to a number of linked plans and strategies since 2007, particularly with respect to policy context. Our five key objectives for improving rights of way have not changed.
The Rights of Way Improvement Plan forms part of the Surrey Transport Plan.
Improving and promoting the public rights of way network can contribute towards many County Council priorities set out in the STP and other plans and strategies, including some targets for health and well-being. Please do forward this on to anyone who may have an interest or may wish to comment.
The Surrey Transport Plan is available on the County Councils web site:
The closing date for comments is Friday of 9th May 2014. You may send comments by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
or by post to: Alec Baxter-Brown, Surrey County Council, Countryside Access, Whitebeam Lodge, Merrow Complex, Merrow Lane, Merrow, Guildford, Surrey, GU4 7BQ (please address comments as ‘Rights of Way Improvement Plan Comments’).
Full list of Surrey County Council duties:
There are a great number of new duties that local government has been required to take on since 2010. Here is a full list of duties attached for your information: New Duties for Local Government since 2010.
February’s Scrutiny Bulletin. It is intended to give a brief summary of the work being undertaken by the Council’s Select Committees, as well as advising you of the dates for the next public meeting of each Committee: Scrutiny Bulletin February 2014.