Nikki Barton – Independent councillor for Surrey County Council (Haslemere Ward) and Haslemere Town Council (Haslemere South Ward). Serving community interests and not political interests. Haslemere first.
Woolmer Hill Road remains closed as four dangerous trees have not yet been removed. The removal of the large ancient oak at the bottom of Haste Hill continues today. The position of the tree is endangering nearby homes and I have paid a site visit.
I have raised my concerns with the Highways team and SCC leadership about the lack of resources to cope with two major tree incidents in Haslemere at the same time.
Following the removal of the large fallen branch on Friday in Haste Hill that blocked the road, a large crack throughout the main trunk was discovered resulting in the need to fell the whole tree to prevent it falling on nearby homes.
The contractor explained that the recent heavy rains, following a long exceptionally dry period creates additional top heavy stress on the trees that are still weighed down by leaves and acorns. The roadside banks are also more fragile after these climatic conditions of drought followed by intense rain.
The lack of a second available tree surgeon team to work on both the Haste Hill and Woolmer Hill emergency has created the totally unacceptable situation whereby the Woolmer Hill trees were not felled over the weekend as I had expected, and the Woolmer Hill road remains closed.
Any such serious incidents reported are passed directly to the Surrey CC contractors Kier who then sub-contract out to tree specialists in this case having inspected the site.
The Woolmer Hill incident report initially related to one dangerous tree over the highway, this was dealt with last week but a further 4 trees on the steep embankment were identified as being dangerous, resulting in the continued road closure.
Over the weekend, the tree contractors visited the Woolmer Hill site and discovered that the situation had changed with the bank at risk of slipping. This changed the equipment required, with an additional larger cherry picker needed. The contractor has had to hire in this equipment that is rarely required.
Works are expected to start on the Woolmer Hill trees tomorrow once the Haste Hill situation has been made safe.
I’ve have been in touch with Woolmer Hill School who will be writing to parents/guardians.
Surrey County Council’s Highways tree contractors are working at Woolmer Hill today to remove a number of unsafe trees. There are four trees which require attention and, due to their location, we need some additional specialist equipment to carry out these works safely.
A crane and cherry picker have had to be brought in order to access the fallen trunks lying on the steeply sloping bank – with works continuing as a matter of urgency to make the area safe for residents and Woolmer Hill pupils, parents and staff access the school.
The government and Department for Transport have asked the Highway
Sector Council to make every effort to deliver essential highways projects on
all local authority highway networks, whilst abiding by the COVID-19 safe
working practices. We are therefore carrying out these works in line with
central government and COVID-19 safe working practises and in accordance with
the CLC Site Operating Procedures, endorsed by Public Health England.
Our sub-contractor will have appropriate procedures in place to
ensure their staff can comply with government advice. We would ask that you
please respect these workers as they deliver these highways services.
We will continue to keep Surrey moving and all key routes will
remain open and safe for key workers. For more information visit www.ourroads.today.
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.
and your residents can also find up to date details and receive updates of the
works on https://one.network/
Further cuts to night cover at fire stations are being proposed by this council. The first round of ‘transformational’ cuts had a significant impact on Haslemere station, which is now is currently often left empty. Most incidents on Haslemere’s ground are now being covered from outside the areas resulting in increased attendance times- often between 20-30 minutes- when the promise is attendance is under 10 minutes, 80% of the time. I understand studies indicate an overall reduction in attendance times as a result of the transformation, however this is not working for Haslemere- which also provides cover for any emergencies in the A3 Hindhead Tunnel.
My question, given the current situation as described above, how can I reassure my residents in Haslemere that they can have confidence in their fire service provision to assist in an emergency particularly during the night?
On sustainable transport relating to SCC’s proposed new headquarters:
Given the distance of the proposed Woodhatch site from the nearest rail station, what plans will be made to ensure our residents, SCC staff and councillors are able to access the proposed new civic heart for Surrey by sustainable transport modes?
Many residents have contacted me about the tree on Woolmer Hill and the resulting build up of traffic. I have been working with SCC highways on this matter. Here is an update from our highways representative for Haslemere:
“The tree that was originally in question has been cut away and cleared but our tree surgeons discovered a further 4 dangerous trees that are in danger of falling. Where the trees are located unfortunately they require some additional specialist equipment including a crane, digger and cherry picker to carry out these works safely. Unfortunately this takes time to organise but the works will be carried out on within the next couple of days to get all 4 removed. Once again sorry for the inconvenience. ”
the age of 5 can be tested but there will need to be 2 parents or guardians in
the vehicle – one driver plus one adult in the back to administer the test (you
must not leave your vehicle once on site). If only one parent is
present, you must park away from the test centre and enter on foot, where you
will be taken to a different area for testing.
transport can walk into the testing centre, but will also need a
Congratulations to Shottermill Infant School on achieving their Green Flag ECO status award- thanks to the innovative and sustained efforts of the dedicated teaching staff, green team, pupils and parents.
The school received their new hot compost bins before lockdown, funded from my SCC Members’ Allocation. Head Jilly Storey comments – “a huge thank you to you for the grant that enabled us make the huge leap to dealing onsite with our own food waste. We have made our first lot of our own compost and are getting used to the new aromas around the site!”
Best of luck to Head Jilly Storey who is currently shortlisted for the National TES Environmental champion of the year.