Tag Archives: Haslemere first

Shepherds Hill/Haslemere Vision/Fracking and More

Shepherds Hill potholes

There have been conversations with residents and SCC on this issue. As well as arranging a site visit with John Hilder (Local Highways Manager), I also met with Trevor Pugh (SCC Highways Strategic Director, Environment and Infrastructure) to request urgently needed road repairs on the A286 on Shepherds Hill.  While individually the potholes apparently fail to meet the ‘safety matrix’ requirements for immediate repair by SCC Highways, I explained that drivers are now swerving to avoid the ‘chicane’ like series of potholes, onto the opposite carriageway creating a significant safety hazard.  In addition, I pointed out that a large number of valuable vintage cars and motorbikes will be travelling up Shepherds Hill en route for the Festival of Speed at Goodwood this weekend.

I have been pressing SCC Highways for a date for the Project Horizon resurfacing, but as I understand that likely date for this will be October/November at the earliest, I requested that a decent quality repair of the holes be made before the Festival of Speed traffic starts arriving.

Good news, or so I thought, I heard on 12th July that Shepherds Hill should be repaired on that same day,  before the Festival of Speed. Unfortunately, SCC’s contractors repaired just one pothole. This is very disappointing and the contractors have now placed signs at the foot and top end of Shepherds Hill.



Large Tree at foot of Shepherds Hill

I’ve been informed that tree branches are obstructing sight lines. I’ve spoken with officers about this.

Haslemere Vision

Attended Haslemere and Villages Vision steering group meeting.  The Vision is a non political, community led forum to enable everyone who lives or works in Haslemere and surrounding villages to pool ideas and resources to create a master plan for future development.  The Vision has pledged to use new Localism powers to undertake and deliver projects that preserve and enhance the wellbeing of the area for the benefit of all those associated with it.

A new questionnaire (click here) has been launched this week on the website (www.haslemerevision.org.uk) to ensure as many views as possible are taken into account (paper copies available at the Town Hall, Haslewey, The High Lane Community Centre, Haslemere Library and Haslemere Hall).

After many months of preparation the Vision will start to work on drafting the Haslemere Neighbourhood Plan in September. More volunteers are needed to join both the steering group that will lead the process forward, and the five working groups to develop the policies and proposals that will inform the plan.

The 5 work groups are: 1) Transport, traffic and parking 2) Environment- built and natural (including housing) 3) Economy and Local Business, 4) Culture, Education and Leisure and 5) Well being Health and Inclusion.

Please get in touch with Haslemere Vision via the website or email info@haslemere.org.uk if you are interested in any of these issues and want to play a part in Haslemere’s future.  The Vision is open to everyone, and everyone’s views count.

Surrey CC Police: Waverley Safer Neighbourhood Team

Met with Tom Budd, Surrey Police Neighbourhood Commander who is based at the Bury’s, Godalming to understand the policing provision for Haslemere.

Haslemere is one of the communities within the Waverley Safer Neighbourhood Team, which includes 13 Neighbourhood Police Officers, and 17 Police Community Support Officers (PCSO’s)who deal with local issues and low-level crime.  PCSO’s have the power to seize alcohol, drugs and to stop vehicles requiring the driver to provide name and address. They have no powers of arrest.

Haslemere, Grayswood and Chiddingfold are served by Neighbourhood Police Officer PC Swindell and Community Support Officer George David.  (http://www.surrey.police.uk/my-neighbourhood/waverley/wvhg/meet-the-neighbourhood-team).

Regular local neighbourhood policing team surgeries are held: coming up

  • Meet the Beat: July 24th, 2-3pm at The Wheatsheaf Inn, Grayswood Road, Haslemere
  • Meet your Neighbourhood Staff, August 6th, 11-12.00am at Haslemere and District Community Hospital, Church Lane, Haslemere.

In addition cover is provided by an:

  • Emergency response team based in Guildford responding to 999 calls. Each shift has 4 cars located around Waverley.
  • Dog units, 4 for Waverley
  • Detective team
  • Casualty reduction officer and 2 roads policing support officers
  • Domestic violence team

An innovative multi-agency Safer Waverley Partnership has been established between:

Waverley Borough Council

Surrey County Council

Surrey Police

Surrey Fire and Rescue 

National Probation Service

Guildford & Waverley Clinical Commissioning Group

North East Hampshire & Farhnam Clinical Commissioning Group

The mission statement of the partnership is “Feeling Safe and Being Safe in Waverley”. An annual Strategic Assessment of crime and disorder issues in Waverley is carried out and an action plan is drawn up showing how the partnership intends to tackle the issues highlighted.  The Partnership also works with many other organisations to deliver projects and improve community safety.  The Partnership has several delivery groups focusing on areas, individuals and different types of crime and disorder. It also links with groups at divisional, county and regional level.

The partnership has a strong focus on preventative work, initiatives include:

  • Providing free home fire alarm checks
  • Ride it Right scheme to reduce motorbike casualities on the A3
  • Road User Awareness Days for Year 11 pupils across Waverley
  • Safe Drive, Stay Alive courses for over 16 year olds
  • Free panic alarms and shed locks for vulnerable residents
  • Youth intervention team enters into acceptable behaviour contracts with young people.   As a measure of the success of the strategy, there has not been a report of antisocial behaviour on Lion Lane, Haslemere in the past 6 months. Haslemere officers PC Swindell and PC Will Davis are very proactive locally.
  • Safer Waverley initiative identifies local trouble hotspots where individuals are either causing trouble or are vulnerable.  The Community Incident Action Group brings all parties together as part of a Joint Action Group to make sure that the proposed interventions are the most effective.

Tom Budd highlighted  the disconnect between public perception of crime levels and the reality.  I raised the question of household burglary and was very surprised to learn that there are on average 10 ‘dwelling’ burglaries per month across Waverley, (the burglary hot spot is Farnham) and on average 40-50 non dwelling thefts (sheds, garages etc) per month.  The Commander stressed that community feedback is vital in building up an intelligence database.

We also discussed the often hidden issue of domestic violence, often linked with high levels of alcohol consumption.  The problem is growing due to the pressures of economic recession.  Commander Budd explained how victimless prosecution is possible if a victim is too afraid to testify, and safe sanctuary is provided where needed.  The Christian Alliance charity receives partnership funding to provide support for survivors of domestic violence.

Surrey police work closely with Sussex and Hants forces via embedded officers, joint operations and regular cross border crime meetings to share information.

I expressed my appreciation for George David, Haslemere’s wonderful Community Support Officer. George is a very positive presence in the town, who regularly helps St Bart’s children with the walking bus, and crossing to get to school.  I discovered last year that he helps the walking bus even if he is officially not on duty and so not being paid for his time.  George definitely goes the extra mile and I believe Haslemere is very lucky to have him working in our town.

Fracking, Fernhurst and potential impact on Haslemere

Received a number of emails from residents concerned about Celtique Energie’s planning application to the South Downs National Park Authority for “the siting and development of a temporary exploration borehole, well site compound and access road including all associated infrastructure and equipment, for the exploration, testing and evaluation of any discovered hydrocarbons through the drilling of a vertical, and a contingent horizontal well from the same borehole:” at Nine Acre Copse, Fernhurst.  A campaign group has been established http://www.frackfreefernhurst.com/.

Clearly if large shale gas reserves are identified as being exploitable, there will be a considerable environmental impact on Haslemere, arising from an increase in lorry traffic through the town and the potential long term impacts of the fracking process on the ecosystem in particular on water resources.

I understand fracking has been banned in France, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Romania, Bulgaria and several states in the USA due to environmental concerns. It is a new topic for Fernhurst and environs and certainly one in which it will be vital to understand many implications, both for and against.

St Bart’s School, Derby Road

Received a reply to my email sent to SCC leadership expressing my concern about the state of Derby Road in front of St Bartholomew’s School.  Apparently there are a number of schools across the county in the same position as St Bart’s, sited on private, or unadopted/unmaintained roads.  SCC has agreed to address the issue to try to find a way forward.  This is an excellent step forward.

Residents only parking permit scheme

Residents only parking permits have been introduced around Haslemere.  The impact of the scheme will be reviewed and reported in the December parking review.  Feedback can be sent to David Curl, SCC Parking Team david.curl@surreycc.gov.uk.

Lion Green, Haslemere

Met with Jim Edwards, Waverley Borough Councillor (Shottermill Ward) and Haslemere Town Councillor, and David Curl to discuss parking issues on Lion Lane.  David Curl has agreed to include key issues in the December parking review for consideration.  Yellow lining to improve safety for Shottermill Infant School pupils, and to provide passing spaces on Lion Lane have been implemented this week.

Haslemere Town Council Application for Community Improvement Scheme Funding

Provided written support for HTC application to SCC Community Improvement Fund to upgrade and refurbish play equipment on Lion Green.

Waverley Borough Council Car Park Permit Pilot Scheme

While delighted that Waverley have acted so swiftly, following the meeting I recently organized at the Georgian to see how collectively we could support businesses in the town, I am concerned that the parking permit scheme pilot has not been developed with any wider consultation with the business community.

The pilot scheme proposes to sell an initial 50 permits for £50/year giving the holder parking between 3-5.30pm in the Waitrose car park.

There are many examples of successful initiatives across the country as other councils are supporting their high streets.  For example, Chester’s ‘Free After Three’ parking scheme introduced 3 years ago has greatly increased footfall in the towns shops, and has been successfully copied by many towns.

Given the feedback that the recent increases in parking charges in the Waitrose car park are having an impact on the number shoppers who stay on in town to visit other shops, I am disappointed that WBC are not able to go further and work with a wider group of stakeholders to develop a more substantial  initiative that would have more impact in attracting shoppers to the town.

Independent/Residents Association Councillors’ Meeting, Kingston

Met with other 8 independents/RAs councillors in preparation for full council on July 16th.  One of the issues discussed is the £100,000 performance related bonus that will be awarded to David Mc Nulty in 2018, and the appointment of a number of cabinet associates without any full council consultation.

Creating a Buzz On Our High Street

The Haslemere District & Chamber of Trade will be hosting an event in Haslemere Hall on Tuesday 16th July  ‘CREATING A BUZZ ON OUR HIGH STREETS’. Click here for more details.

Haslemere Museum Founders’ Music Festival

This will be on Friday 19th July 2013, 7pm to 1pm and Saturday 20th July 2013, 12pm to 11pm at Haslemere Museum. More information here: FOUNDERS FEST flyer.

Haslemere Independents’ Day Tomorrow


Haslemere is marking its own Independents’ Day by encouraging people to buy from their local independent shops. On July 4th people across the country are being asked to back their local businesses by buying from local retailers in their High Street. The national campaign is organised by the National Skills Academy for Retail to champion local retailers.

To raise awareness of the campaign, a range of shops in Haslemere is taking part, offering discounts, tastings and children’s activities.

Julianne Evans of J L Nobbs stationers, who has been co-ordinating the campaign, said: “Retailers in the town have really come up trumps with a superb range of offers. So far 27 shops have signed up, but this number is increasing all the time. If you have a Haslemere Reward card, some of these outlets are offering double points.

“We are very proud of the unique mix of independents and chains we have in the town and would love people to come and see why.”

Coverage in Haslemere Herald.

Coverage in The Messenger.

Councillor Update – past 2 weeks

Multi-storey car park (MSCP), Haslemere Train Station

Met with WBC Cllr Stephen Mulliner to discuss the possibility of a MSCP at the train station. It is a complicated situation involving a number of parties with South West Trains renting the land from Network Rail which holds the site as part of its regulated estate.  At present no party is interested in funding the project as it is not considered economically viable due to a number of factors including an unfavourable revenue support agreement between SWT and the DoT, and a lack of willingness to invest by SWT as its franchise is up for renewal in 2017.  We discussed the need to find a way forward, particularly if the planned housing developments at King Edward VII in Easebourne, the Syngenta site in Fernhurst and the Bordon/Whitehills town all go ahead putting further pressure on parking at the station.

Also discussed the 20 is Plenty conference attended by Cllr Mulliner.  A number of towns across England have introduced 20 mph speed limits, examples local to Haslemere include Liphook,  Portsmouth and most recently large areas of Brighton. Cllr Mulliner shared that the short message of the conference is easy to state – the public safety and public health benefits of a 20 mph limit are clear and a counter-argument based on increased emissions is weak. Local ’20 mph is plenty’ groups in Surrey, for example in Godalming, have been established calling for speed limit reductions to improve safety and the quality of life for residents. At present SCC does not support 20mph speed limits in towns in Surrey.

Footpath from Grayshott/Hindhead to Woolmer Hill School

Met with residents of Upper Hammer Lane to discuss the routing of the footpath. Siting the path on the ‘north’ side of the lane will require extensive removal of residents trees and vegetation that have been allowed to grow onto the highway verge. There is a strong possibility that the Ministry of Defence will give permission for the path to run on the ‘south’ side which would avoid the need for this clearance. I hope SCC and East Hampshire District Council will continue to liaise to move this project forward to provide a much needed safe path way for children walking to Woolmer Hill school.

Haslemere business vitality

Invited representatives from Waverley Borough Council, Haslemere Town Council, Chamber of Trade and other businesses in Haslemere, including Waitrose to meet to discuss possible initiatives to boost trade.

Footfall in many businesses in Haslemere has fallen significantly over the past year, there is a growing number of empty shop units. All high streets are under competition from internet sales, and general economic recession, but businesses in Haslemere suffered exceptional pressure during the 3 month gas works disruption when the High Street was effectively ‘closed’.  This was followed by two increases in parking charges in the Waitrose car park and one in the Chestnut Avenue car parks, as well as the extension of charging until 7pm.

(Waverley Borough Council is responsible for off street car parks, SCC is responsible for on street parking).

High parking charges were identified by the representative from Waitrose as a barrier to shoppers extending their stay to shop in Haslemere beyond the free hour (60p of the 80p charge) currently refunded by Waitrose. The inconvenience of searching for change to feed the meter was also identified as a reason for deterring shoppers.

A productive discussion looked at possible incentive schemes to attract shoppers, that may have changed their shopping behaviour, back to Haslemere, as well as encouraging people living in the villages and countryside to shop locally.  The Waverley Borough Council representatives supported the idea of a limited period parking charge refund scheme and agreed to take it further with WBC leadership.

In an innovative scheme to support local businesses, thought to be first of its kind in the country, Chichester District Council and West Sussex County Council are planning to introduce a High Street store dedicated to selling local produce (www.chichester.gov.uk/localproduceshop). It would be great to see Waverley and Surrey working together to support a scheme like this.  We are very privileged to enjoy a range of independent shops which give Haslemere its unique character, make it a great place to live and provide local employment. I trust all elected representatives will join me in doing all we can to rebuild economic vitality and prevent our town becoming another ‘clone’ town dominated by national chains.

Visit to Woolmer Hill School

Visit to Woolmer Hill Secondary School, guided by headmaster Mr Armstrong-Harris.  I was very impressed by the atmosphere, the focus and enthusiasm of the pupils, the site and the excellent sports facilities including the Edge sports centre.  The school has a strong academic record, last year achieving outstanding GCSE English results.

Mr Armstrong-Harris shared his vision, that Woolmer Hill school should sit at the heart of the community of Haslemere, providing local children with a local school where they receive an excellent academic education within a nurturing environment.  I look forward to supporting Mr Armstrong Harris where I can.

Haslemere and Sustainable Transport

Met with members of SCC’s sustainable transport strategy team in Haslemere to discuss the next Local Transport Plan (LTP 3) which is currently in draft form. I am encouraged to learn the current draft of LTP 3 includes strategies to encourage more cycling and walking.  A cross sector approach is envisaged.  A modal shift from car use to walking and cycling for daily use and for leisure will bring a range of benefits: environmental ~ reduced pollution and congestion; improved health and wellbeing; economic development ~ via tourism and high street regeneration.

We discussed the need for safer roads to encourage this shift in behaviour away from car use, and the funding sources to make this a reality.  The Local Sustainable Transport Fund, a Dept of Transport fund is one pot available.  SCC have successfully obtained funding for the recently launched Travel Smart online journey planner project at http://travelsmart.surreycc.gov.uk.

We discussed the Haslemere and Villages Neighbourhood Plan which is currently being developed by volunteers in the community. Feedback from over 350 participants during the initial workshops in September 2012, and the launch in April 2013 have identified reducing traffic speeds and improving conditions for cyclists and pedestrians as priority issues. Haslemere Vision volunteers are planning to take workshops to a wide range of community groups over the next few months to ensure an inclusive consultation process has been carried out. Officers will be invited to a workshop to observe how community engagement and feedback may support their current policy priorities.

Some support to encourage leisure cycling and walking from  Haslemere as a ‘gateway’ to the countryside is already underway as part of the Two Parks Project (LAC Sept 21, 2012 minutes).  The majority of the £3.81mn budget is being spent within the two national parks (South Downs and New Forest). As Haslemere sits just outside the South Downs Park, it will receive a small proportion of the the total budget. Just under £150,000 is being spent over the next 2 years. New signage for cyclists from Haslemere train station to the South Downs National Park has already been installed. Other elements of the project include a Sunday bus service from Haslemere to Midhurst, real time passenger information at bus stops, bridleway improvement, Serpent Trail signing and rail to bus stop improvement.

Planning to meet with Paul Fishwick, project manager in the Transport Policy Team to see how the Two Parks Project can tie in with a wider sustainable transport and tourism strategy for Haslemere.  I would like to understand how the project can link with the Walkers Are Welcome initiative, a national scheme of which Haslemere is now a member, thanks to the work of the Haslemere Visitor Information Centre.

Waverley Local Area Committee

Attended ‘private’ informal meeting preparation for Local Area Committee meeting that will be held on July 5th in Farnham. Expressed my support for inclusion of sustainability objectives within draft LTP3,  requested that LAC meetings, normally scheduled for 2pm on Friday afternoons, could be brought forward to finish earlier so that committee members could pick up their primary school age children from school, continued to assert that a presumption of openness and transparency should be adopted in LAC task group, and committee meeting terms of reference.

Derby Road- St Bartholomews School

Continuing to work with SCC Highways and SCC Estates department to find a way for the short section of Derby Road to be properly resurfaced to make it safe for nearly 400 children currently attending St Bart’s Primary School and the Tennyson’s Sure Start Children’s Centre which shares the same site.  An urgent solution is needed.

I also want to ensure that SCC Highways will start to provide a winter gritting service for the school, which I understand it currently provides as priority to all other schools in the town, both state and private. Last winter, Derby Road in front of the school was treacherous as the very large water filled potholes froze over presenting a health and safety hazard for pupils and parents.

St Bartholmew’s Primary and Graywood Infant School expansion plans

Due to a shortage of primary school places in the county (SCC needs to provide more school places following a 20% rise in birth rates over the past decade), SCC is asking St Bart’s to expand to take an additional 15 children into reception (PAN, pupil admission number of 60) on a permanent basis.  The school will have 2 forms, 60 pupils, for every year group.  As part of its planning application consultation process St Bart’s must develop a travel strategy/plan to demonstrate how any extra traffic will be managed.

SCC also has plans to expand Grayswood Infant school into a full one form entry primary.  Historically St Bart’s has taken 45 children into reception and held 15 spaces for Grayswood children into year 3.  The expansion of St Bart’s will mean this is not possible resulting in a further shortage of Key Stage 2 places.  As part of the planning application, a public consultation is currently taking place.

A number of residents have contacted me with concerns about the impact of the schools’ expansion on traffic levels in their neighbourhoods. While I support the enlargement of both schools to provide children in Haslemere to provide the needed local school places, the travel plans that will be developed for both sites should address and improve the traffic and parking situation going forward.

Early morning interview earlier this week on BBC Surrey with John Furey, SCC Cabinet Member for Transport, I raised the issue of Derby Road and the safety of pupils. I also expressed my concerns that the Hindhead Road/Weyhill, the main access into Haslemere from Hindhead and the A3 does not appear on the list of Project Horizon roads for resurfacing over the next 3 years.  (SCC Project Horizon). Project Horizon is a new SCC Highways initiative, aiming to spend £100 million over the next 5 years to resurface 10% of the worst roads in the county. In awarding a large, long term contract economies of scale have achieved savings of an estimated £20 million.  I understand the Project Horizon list of roads was drawn up following local consultation, apparently a road show bus came to Haslemere last autumn. This is a BBC article about Project Horizon.

The road surface in Weyhill is in very bad condition, I have been in contact with SCC Highways and agreed an engineer will visit to assess the situation.  If it is agreed the base layer of the road needs replacing, a revision of the Project Horizon list will be needed for Haslemere, with a final decision made at a full Local Committee meeting. If the surface only requires a resurfacing, funds may be found from a source outside the Project Horizon budget. I feel strongly that an upgrade of the road surface through  Weyhill should be a priority, particularly in the light of the recent resurfacing of Haslemere High Street.  A survey report should be sent within the next 3 weeks.

Shepherds Hill

Requested the date for the resurfacing of Shepherds Hill, which will be refurbished under Project Horizon. The surface continues to deteriorate and I am concerned that if the date for the work is as late as March 2014 after another winter, a more substantial repair will be needed in the interim to improve driving and cycling conditions.

Round Up 27th May – 9th June, 2013

1. Highways Localism Funding: Meeting at Town Hall with representatives from Haslemere Town Council,  SCC Highways and Localism team to discuss HTC submitting a bid for Highways Localism funding.  Pot of £20,000 funding to be shared between 21 Town and Borough Councils in Waverley for minor local highways maintenance, not within SCC usual remit. Slightly confusingly the scheme was previously called the Lengthsman Scheme.

Although the deadline is tight, we collectively agreed that HTC should submit bid for £2000 to pay for a week of a fully equipped work gang that could carry out small tasks, for example, sign cleaning, railing repair etc. around the town.

2. Dangerous condition of Derby Road in front of St Bartholomew’s School: interview with Haslemere Herald.  The short section of Derby Road that runs between Church Lane and High Lane is ‘un-adopted’ and therefore not maintained by SCC. One estimate for repair of this section of road is £11,000 which would have to come out of school education budget which I believe is inappropriate given St Bart’s school is a local authority school.

Re-contacted SCC Highways, and SCC Estates department to understand SCC position.As the main frontager on this section of highway, St Bartholomew’s School is responsible for maintaining the road.  SCC Highways could technically serve a section 230 enforcement notice on the school to repair the road.  However, clearly SCC is not able to serve notice on itself as the ‘owner’ of the school estate.

Very positive support for my position from MP Jeremy Hunt in the Haslemere Herald.

3. Support for Haslemere Businesses:  Received a letter from owner of High Street business setting out the current crisis facing shops and businesses in Haslemere High Street.

Sent invitation to the 5 Haslemere Borough Councillors, Haslemere Town Council and Chamber of Trade and other businesses to meet to explore how, as elected representatives of the community, we can work together to support the economic vitality of the community. Meeting planned for next week to discuss possible initiatives.

4. South West Area Briefing for Local Committee Members, Shalford Village Hall. 

Haslemere is part of the Waverley Local Area Committee (LAC), which also covers Farnham, Cranleigh and Godalming.  9 county councillors and 9 borough councillors sit on the Waverley LAC.  The South West Area of Surrey also includes the Guildford LAC. There are 11 LACs across the county of Surrey.

SCC’s Community Partnership Team provides the support link between county councillors and the LAC. From May 2013 the dedicated Waverley LAC contact is David North, Community Partnership and Committee Officer, Delia Davies as Local Support Assistant.

Decision-making at SCC takes place at 3 levels. Countywide policy making takes within the cabinet led by the Leader David Hodge and the Deputy Leader Peter Martin. The work of a number of select committees support and inform the work of the cabinet. Local area committees are intended to work closely with local residents, partners and businesses and provide input to both the work of the cabinet and select committees.

LACs make decisions about highways, the local prevention framework for young people, library opening hours and rights of way (a quasi judicial function).

Residents in Haslemere have had some very challenging experiences of the Waverley LAC over the past 16 months, in particular during the attempt by SCC to introduce pay and display to our community.  The Community Partnerships Team how they plan to improve how the LAC functions, including greater investment in public participation with the introduction of professional public address systems, information leaflets and posters, clearer format for agenda, reports and minutes and improved web presence.

The Chairman/woman will be given greater discretion over the running and management of meetings, and in addition to the public questions at the start of the meeting may take a public question at the start of the item on the agenda if it relates to that item.  It will be made clear to the public that LAC meetings are private decision making meetings held in public.

The public deadline for submitting a formal question/statement before an LAC meeting will be shortened to 4 working days, petitions must have a minimum of 30 signatories (or at Chair’s discretion) with 3 minutes allowed for the presentation of the petition (at Chair’s discretion).

5. Funding sources for community projects

Member’s Allocation: Each county councillor/member receives an allocation of £12,876 revenue funding per year to support projects that provide a benefit to the community and meet SCC agreed policies/priorities.

Local Committee Capital Funding: each LAC has £35,000 allocated for 2013/14, how this is shared between the 9 councillors in the Waverley LAC  will be discussed at the first informal LAC meeting on June 14th.

Community Improvement Fund, £1 million : 2013/14. Applicants can bid for between £10,000 and £50,000.

All projects have to meet the following criteria: Improve community facilities, make a real difference to people’s lives and encourage self reliance.

The closing date for the first round of applications is 28 June, 2013 with decision taken on 11 Sept, 2013.  The second round is open to bids from 28 June, 2013 closing date 19 November with a decision on the 4 Dec, 2013.  Please contact the Community and Partnership Officer d.north@surreycc.gov.uk if you would like any more information about this scheme.

6. RAF/Rex Cinema Crash Memorial: Herald photo shoot with Mick Bradford and Libby Piper at the site of the planned memorial for the young pilots who died when the RAF bomber tragically came down over Gibbet Hill and crashed into the old Rex Cinema next to the current Eden Hairdressers. Mick is planning to start fund raising for the memorial stone, and we discussed the possibility of a storyboard at the site.

7. Haslemere Vision: Afternoon working with Haslemere Vision engagement group on preparing a number of workshop activities to be taken to different community groups to work with them to understand what they would like to see in the Haslemere and Villages Neighbourhood Plan. http://haslemerevision.org.uk/

Evening meeting in Haslemere Hall with a number of volunteers representing range of groups in the town to explain how they can make use of the interactive workshops we have designed.  Please contact Haslemere Vision if you would like to get involved.

8. Shepherds Hill: Further contact with SCC Highways about the state of Shepherds Hill, residents and Haslemere Town Council concerned, in particular risk of damage to Festival of Speed vintage cars and motorbikes travelling through Haslemere.

9.  Parking: Residents in roads receiving parking permits received their letters this week setting out zones and payment information. Review in December parking review at the LAC meeting. 5 June 2013 ROP Letter Haslemere.

10.  Annual Report for Countryside Access/Rights of Way SCC has recent published its latest Annual Report for Countryside Access/Rights of Way. The report aims to give an outline of how SCC goes about managing public access to Surrey’s countryside and to give some facts and figures on the County Council’s work for the period 2012/13. You may view the report here.

Week May 20th – 25th, 2013, Councillor Summary

Week May 20th -25th 2013

Attended Annual General Meeting of Full Council: Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

David Hodge re-elected as Leader, Peter Martin re-elected as Deputy Leader. David Munro replaced Lavinia Sealy as council’s Chair and civic head of the county.  David Munro stepped up from Vice Chairman to take the Chair position, with Sally Marks filling role as Vice Chair.   The Council is made up of 81 County Councillors, 58 Conservative, 9 Residents Association/Independents, 9 LibDems, 3 UKIP, 1 Labour, 1 Green. The full cabinet was announced. View the full webcast of the AGM here.

David Hodge set out the key aims for the next 4 years: improving Surrey’s roads, investing in schools, boosting apprenticeships, care for vulnerable people and the local issue of litter which he stated blights people’s lives.

Eber Kington challenged the decision by the Leader to award David McNulty, County Council Chief Executive, a bonus of £100,000  to be paid in 2018 on the proviso that certain performance-related targets be met, in a secret meeting. Independent group intend to challenge this. (Surrey Ad article on this subject.)

Met with officer responsible for Local Area Committee to discuss how experiences of Haslemere during parking debacle could provide learning for SCC. One positive outcome is that specific training given to Chairs and Vice Chairs of all Local Area Committees. The meeting protocol has also been adapted to allow members of the public the opportunity to speak (albeit with limited rights) during the debate on an agenda item as it happens.

Afternoon Session: Market Place

Attended exhibition of key services provided by SCC, which are very wide ranging. Including: Community Speed Watch Team, partnership between police and community to monitor traffic speeds, Travel SMART programme initiative to provide local people with more travel choices, help cut carbon, calories and cost.  Transport for Surrey, including Surrey Rail Strategy, to be produced by Arup, looking at overcrowding, rail capacity, faster journeys and longer trains.  It will also look at the Crossrail 2 project which will liberate considerable capacity at Waterloo and will impact on Haslemere. Surrey Telecare Service, a 24 hour service using simple equipment to help potentially vulnerable people live more independently in their homes. SCC Cultural services, including Surrey Arts, Heritage, Libraries and Community Learning.  Surrey Fire and Rescue Service.  Adult Social care services, and Children, Schools and Families services.

Spoke with officers responsible for services to understand how Haslemere can benefit more from what they offer, planning to link local providers of these services in Haslemere, including the voluntary sector, with the key SCC officers via a series of meetings in Haslemere.

Wednesday May 22nd, 2013

Confirmed meeting between Haslemere Town Council and SCC Highways Localism Team with a view to Haslemere submitting a bid for share of £20,000 funding for local highway maintenance.

Met with Mick Bradford at the site of the 1942 RAF bomber plane crash into the Rex cinema which stood next to the current Eden hairdressers in Weyhill.  Mick has spent many hours researching this very dramatic event in Haslemere’s history and has uncovered many photos, including photos of the 3 young British pilots killed in the tragic accident.  We discussed the siting of a memorial stone under the tree opposite the site of the Rex, and the possibility of a story board so that everyone can learn about the event. I have contacted SCC heritage services to understand if there is any funding for the story board.

Mick is planning to raise funds locally for the memorial as a fitting tribute to the young pilots who died. A memorial service will be arranged once the funds have been raised and the stone is installed.

Thursday, May 23rd, 2013

Morning spent having drive around with Ian Fowler, SCC highways officer for Haslemere to understand the highways issues. Ian is going to be a great help with the detailed problems that arise.  He explained that an annual pothole check is carried out by Paul Cooper, and white spray is painted around holes that need repair.  Any pothole greater than 40mm deep should be repaired within 5 days, any pothole less than 40mm deep and assessed as needing repair should be repaired within 28 days.  Any holes reported by members of the public are visited by the May Guerney contractors or Ian, if assessed as needing repair the hole area is sprayed orange and the same criteria above applied. The most effective way to report a pothole is the pothole online or in the case of emergencies by calling SCC on 0300 200 1003.

I raised my concerns over the quality of pothole repair with both Ian and Richard Bolton, SCC Highways. It is clearly an issue, the extreme winter conditions have resulted in more ‘temporary’ repairs, there was an approx 50% increase between Jan and April 2012 and Jan- April 2013 with over 7,500 reported defects per month. I will continue to press SCC on quality of the service May Gurney provides. (Additional reading on this subject: Environment & Transport Select Committee, 7th February 2013 & SCC Cabinet meeting, 26ht March 2013, Item 10).

SCC is responsible for maintaining highway verges and hedges, however, no budget has been set aside for this. There is an expectation that the councillor will use some of their £5000 Community improvement fund to pay for this work. Ian explained that given the lack of budget for cutting, SCC has no option but to issue enforcement notices to households where their trees and bushes cause a problem on highways and footpaths.

Visited Derby Road where the section outside St Bartholomew’s primary school is in a very bad state. The road is currently unadopted and SCC has no legal obligation to maintain the road.  All properties with a frontage are legally obliged to maintain the road to a good standard. St Bartholmew’s is the main frontager. I share the concern of the school that it does not seem logical for a Local Authority school that has seen a growing pupil population to use its precious financial resources to pay to fill potholes so that its children can get to school safely. Winter maintenance and gritting is another issue that needs to be addressed. I intend to press for SCC to improve the state of this section of Derby Road.

Friday, May 24th, 2013

Continued dialogue between Lower Street/Shepherds Hill residents and SCC over railings.  Have secured agreement from SCC for planting where residents request on Shepherds Hill, and have obtained agreement from SCC to consider providing planters on Lower Street.  My goal is to work with the residents to find ways to improve their streets despite the new railings.

Contacted SCC Estates department to understand the legal implications/SCC responsibility for safety in Derby Road situation where children cross from SCC pavement to Local Authority school.

Arranged to meet with representative of Transition Town Farnham at Transition Town Haslemere Green Drinks on June 6th, Royal Oak pub to discuss their successful Green Ways Cycle Route project.


Residents in the roads receiving Residents’ Permits have been sent this letter (Part 1 & Part 2).

There will be no parking items on the Local Committee agenda until December 2013 in the parking review. Changes in Weydown Road will be reviewed at this time apart from access protection markings which could go ahead before December.

Next update

Next update will be in two weeks.

Second Week as Haslemere County Councillor

Induction day 2: Monday, May 13th, 2013

Second induction day at County Hall, Kingston, including sessions on Environment and Infrastructure, Customers and Community, Adult Social Care, Children Schools and Families, Code of Conduct and a session on ‘Listening to our Customers’.

Frustrated that most of the day spent listening to presentations on SCC facts and figures on services provided, when more useful would have been sessions with experienced re-elected councillors to give practical advice for newly elected members, e.g., how to respond to problems raised by constituents, the funding pots available to Haslemere, how to draw up bids to apply for funds as some have imminent deadlines for applications etc.

Attended Independent and Residents’ Association group meeting. Confirmed I will sit on Local Area Committee and will for now be a substitute for Environment and Highways Committee.

Highways and Transport team meeting: Tuesday, May 14th, 2013

Met Highways & Transport team, John Hilder (Area Highways Officer, South West), Richard Bolton (Local Highway Services Group Manager) and David Curl (Parking Strategy and Implementation Team) at the Surrey CC site at Merrow. The site is shared with SCC highway contractor May Gurney and Skanska, SCC lighting contractor.  There is also an on site laboratory for product testing.

Was shown the high tech pot hole call centre with 4 large screens showing live information including local weather, incoming calls and e-mails reporting holes, and real time pot hole repair team location. You can report by logging a pothole online or in the case of emergencies by calling SCC on 0300 200 1003.

Discussed introduction of residents’ permits scheme in Haslemere in late May/early June.  Expressed my concern about some elements of the scheme.  Agreed that where a residents’ parking permit scheme does not function properly it can be assessed and withdrawn under the December 2013 Parking review.

Highways team explained that Waverley Local Committee makes decisions on Highway Improvement Schemes (ITS) in the four areas of the Borough (centred around Haslemere, Cranleigh, Godalming and Farnham).  The ITS schemes collectively form the Waverley Local Transport Plan (LTP).

Expected allocations to Waverley for 2013/14 are as follows:

  • £262,000 ITS capital, (usually directed towards ITS schemes)
  • £262,000 Maintenance Capital, (intended for capital maintenance work but can be directed towards ITS)
  • £317,000 Maintenance Revenue (can be used for ITS schemes or capital maintenance.
  •  Total allocation: £814,000

Looking forward to the training session on June 4th to understand how councillors prioritise their local improvement schemes and how to bid for a share of this allocation.  I understand that whilst other Local Committees share the pot equally between member Councillors, the Waverley Local Committee shares the allocation following negotiation between members of the Local Committee.

Local transport plan (LTP) task groups represent the four areas of Waverley, Haslemere is represented by the Haslemere and Western Villages Task Group.

The 2013/14 priority list for the LTP Task Group:

  • £20,000 reserve funding for the Lengthsman Scheme (a new initiative where parish and town councils invited to bid for funding to organise enhanced highway maintenance works for themselves)
  • £15,000 Implement Parking Review Recommendations
  • £15,000 Jetter hire for 3 weeks to clean drains
  •  £10,000 Ad-hoc signs, bollards, etc by local team
  • Total £60,000

An additional Community Pride fund of £5000 is allocated to each councillor for community enhancement.

Haslemere Vision: Tuesday, May 14th, 2013

Attended the Haslemere Vision organising group meeting.

Woolmer Hill footpath link with Grayswood/Hindhead: Wednesday, May 15th, 2013

Site visit with Ferris Cowper, East Hampshire County Councillor, to route of proposed footpath for Woolmer Hill pupils walking to school from Hindhead/Grayswood which crosses from East Hants into Surrey.  Agreed to work together to finalise last section of the route, and to liaise on other cross boundary issues, for example bus services between Liphook and Haslemere.

Lower Street/Shepherds Hill railings: Thursday, May 16th, 2013

In response to local residents’ complaints about new railings installed in the Shepherds Hill (and recently in Lower Street) conservation area, agreed with SCC Highways that works should be halted.  Site visit held with John Hilder (Local Highways Manager), Sarah Wells (Waverley Borough Council Conservation, Planning Projects Team Leader) and Daniel Payne (SCC Supervising Engineer).  Concluded although there are real concerns that the railings fail to meet the Haslemere Design Statement requirements that “any development should be sensitive to the quality of surrounding environment”, it would be a waste of taxpayers’ money to remove the new railings. Residents however will choose their preferred colour and SCC has agreed, as a gesture of goodwill, to replant gardens on Shepherds Hill damaged during installation.

It is clear that lessons need to be learnt from this situation, and all parties agreed that in future, proper consultation with residents must be carried out when any proposals are brought forward.

Meeting Mayor, Haslemere Town Council: Thursday, May 16th, 2013

Met Cyndy Lancaster (outgoing town mayor) to discuss matters arising including Highways Localism Fund.

Mayor Making ceremony: Thursday, May 16th, 2013

Attended Mayor Making in the evening: the election and swearing in of the new Town Mayor, Libby Piper, in the Town Hall.  Thanks were given to out-going mayor, Cyndy Lancaster, who has done a fantastic job working for the town during her year of office.

Several Conservative party members commented on how effective the use of social media had been in the election campaign.  The fun party atmosphere on the steps of the Georgian Hotel on polling day, and the number of younger voters was noted. Held firm on my view that HTC meetings to discuss grant allocations should be held in public, not as currently in private/exempt.  A presumption of openness should be upheld for all meetings unless agreed by all to be of particular sensitivity.

Residents’ Association, Derby Road & Weydown Road: Friday, May 17th, 2013

Met Chairman of the Derby Road/Weydown Road Residents’ Association to discuss the need for additional lining on the lower part of Weydown Road.  The current situation, with cars parked on both sides of the road, is causing safety problems. The lining proposed should not result in any significant displacement. Agreed to discuss with David Curl.

Also discussed the dangerous pothole situation on Derby Road in front of St Bart’s school. This stretch of Derby Road is currently considered by SCC to be ‘unadopted’ and so not maintained by SCC.  Agreed to discuss with SCC Highways to find a solution.

Highways Localism Fund: Friday, May 17th, 2013

Discussion with Lynne Martin, Senior Project Manager, SCC Environment and Infrastructure to understand how Haslemere can benefit from a share of a £20,000 Highways Localism fund to be divided among 21 Waverley parish/town councils by the Local Area Committee.  Highways Localism fund is intended for minor highways maintenance such as vegetation clearance, extra grass cutting etc.  Agreed to meet with Lynne and Haslemere Town Council representative to put bid together before May 31 deadline.

Mentor Meeting: Friday, May 17th, 2013

Met with Carmel Millar, my SCC mentor in Haslemere today.  Carmel is head of Human Resources.  Joined by Richard Oldham, Manager Haslemere Hall and Cyndy Lancaster. Agreed investment in building relationships between Haslemere and SCC is needed. Carmel has asked me to give a testimony in SCC training session on organisational Values and Culture.

Discussion also focussed on SCC’s misperception of Haslemere as ‘wealthy commuter town’, I shared with Carmel that a foodbank is starting in the High Lane Community Centre.

Longdene Road: Friday, May 17th, 2013

Contacted by a resident concerned that SCC Highways were planning to stop cars turning left from bottom of Longdene Road towards Weyhill.  Email sent to David Curl for clarification.

Next update

I will aim to write a councillor log at least every two weeks.

First Week Update, 7th May – 10th May 2013

New Councillor Induction at County Hall, Kingston, 7th May 2013

I was very grateful for the welcome I received from the other 8 Independents at County Hall and for the cross party support I have had. I am pleased to have Carmel Millar, SCC’s Head of HR and Organisational Development, as my mentor. Carmel is coming to Haslemere on Friday, May 17th, 2013 and I plan to show her what a great town we live in as well as the challenges we currently face.

Potholes on Shepherds Hill

Raised the issue of potholes on Shepherds Hill with Surrey County Council Highways and had confirmation that they will be repaired tomorrow. Be warned there will be a bit of disruption as there will be a Stop/Go traffic system in place. There is an area of ‘scabbing’ at the bottom of Shepherds Hill which will need heavier equipment to repair, and require a temporary road closure. I will let you know when a date has been fixed for this work.  Major maintenance is planned for Shepherds Hill later this year when it will be resurfaced as part of Project Horizon (go to page 58).

Town Council Meeting

Met with Haslemere Town Council’s Clerk, Lisa Sullivan, to discuss issues including the RAF memorial in Weyhill, the pressure on primary school places, the poor state of the grass on the Memorial triangle with the possibility of finding funding from the Lengthsman Scheme to cobble the margins which are permanently affected by salt spray damage, the function of the Haslemere and Western Villages task force, the Walkers are Welcome Scheme, the need for promotion for shops and businesses and the availability of other SCC funds for town improvements.

Lower Street/Shepherds Hill Railings

Reached an agreement with SCC and WBC that Lower Street/Shepherds Hill Residents’ Association will liaise collectively to decide on the railing colour of their choice. SCC have agreed to paint in colour of residents’ choice.

Derby Road/Weydown Road/KIngs Road Requests

Received highways’ requests regarding the condition of Derby Road outside St Bartholomew’s School, the safety issue of double parking on Weydown Road, parking on blind bend on Kings Road. I am meeting with SCC Highways team on Tuesday, May 14th, 2013 in Guildford and will raise these issues.

College Hill Drain Cover

Contacted SCC Highways following concerns raised by Haslemere Town Council and several residents over loose drain cover at bottom of College Hill causing safety issues. SCC Highways confirmed that cones will be placed around the drain (a lug is broken) and a repair will be carried out within 28 days.

Upper Hammer Lane

Contacted by Ferris Cowper, Hampshire County Councillor, to ask for my support with a proposed footpath to Woolmer Hill School. I am meeting with Ferris on May 15th on site, I fully support any projects that make it safer for our children to walk or cycle to school. Read Life Magazine’s coverage.

Local Authority Governor

Signed off Local Authority Governor for a local state school.

Venue for the next SCC LAC (Waverley) meeting

The next Surrey County Council Local Area Committee (Waverley) will meet on Friday, 5th July, 2013 at 2pm. I learned this week this will be at Hale Institute, Farnham. It will be preceded by a public question time at 1.30pm.

Induction Day at County Hall

Thanks to everyone who voted for me and thanks for the messages of encouragement.

Today is my first day at County Hall. A draft schedule of the day’s events is outlined in Annexe 5 of Surrey County Council’s prospective councillors’ booklet.

I’ll be back in County Hall on 13th May 2013 for presentations and workshops.

On 21st May 2013, it is the council’s full AGM, View the webcast online.

Please note the next Waverley Local Area Committee will meet on 5th July 2013 at 2pm. Venue to be confirmed.

Thanking Our Volunteers

Two weeks today, on the Thursday 2nd May, Haslemere residents will be voting in the local County Council elections.

I would like to thank all the volunteers who have helped with the Haslemere First campaign by delivering campaign leaflets to houses in Haslemere, by asking local shopkeepers to put posters in their shops and leaflets by the tills, by helping with marketing and social media and by spreading the word about an Independent candidate for Haslemere amongst your friends and neighbours.



Meet Nikki and hear why I am standing as an Independent candidate.

I want to bring a new perspective and voice in representing our town.

Share what you see are the issues and opportunities for Haslemere.


WHEN: Monday 29th April

TIME: 9am -11am

WHERE: High Lane Community Centre

I look forward to meeting you

In addition I will be holding an online meeting on Facebook on 30th April.


Meet Nikki and hear why I am standing as an Independent candidate.

I want to bring a new perspective and voice in representing our town.

Share what you see are the issues and opportunities for Haslemere.


WHEN: Tuesday 30th April

TIME: 8.30pm – 9.30pm

WHERE: online on Nikki’s Facebook page www.facebook.com/HaslemereFirst

 I look forward to meeting you online

THANKS very much for helping the campaign.

Please continue to discuss the elections amongst your friends and colleagues.

For those who like social media, any engagement on Twitter (RTs and Replies) and on Facebook (likes, comments, shares) will help spread the Haslemere First word.

Thank you from Nikki.