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.
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 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 www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/haslemerestationaccess 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 www.travelsmartsurrey.info 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).
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
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
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.
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.