Here is an update of some of my county councillor work for Haslemere over the past weeks.
Serpent Trail Re-Launch
I am Surrey County Council’s representative for the Two Parks Project (South Downs and New Forest). The Serpent Trail re-launch and event was a success due to a very positive partnership between Surrey, Hampshire and West Sussex County Councils, the South Downs National Parks, Haslemere Visitor Information Bureau. The National Trust very kindly hosted the launch event, and Waitrose provided invaluable refreshments.
Haslemere is Surrey’s perfect gateway to the South Downs and benefits from frequent and fast train links. The joy of the Serpent Trail is that it is a circular route by getting the Number 70 bus (running on Sundays through the Summer between Haslemere station to Midhurst) or the train from various points on the route back to Haslemere.
Bus Shelter in Border Road, Shottermill
There is now a new bus shelter at the Border Road bus stop in Shottermill. The majority of funding for this was through utilising some of my member’s allocation, plus a contribution from Haslemere Town Council with a “top up” from some local PIC (Planning Infrastructure Contribution) monies. The bus shelter blends in very well with the environment and has been installed to a high standard.
Citizen’s Advice Bureau
Met with volunteers from the Haslemere Citizens’ Advice Bureau. Delighted to fund laptop and microwave for the CAB office from some of my member’s allocation. Attended staff meeting, learnt that recent benefit changes are having a significant negative impact on residents.
Delighted to meet Jeremiah and Sarah Kibobe who run Magnet High School and Orphanage in the outskirts of Nairobi. They visited local schools in Haslemere recently. The Bartons will be running as a family in the Safaricom half marathon in the Lewa Conservancy to raise money for the TUSK Conservation Trust and Magnet High School and Orphanage.
Met the 1st Haslemere Scouts group. With funds from my member’s allowance, they purchased a parol tent, hike tents, an event shelter and a gazebo. The equipment will be used during the summer at a number of events including the Surrey Scout’s Scoutabout, the Haslemere District Scout’s Muir Challenge, their summer camp in the New Forest, Cub’s Senior Sixers Camp and on a number of hikes; the equipment will benefit about 80 children.
At the moment the scouts wish to attract new adult helpers. 1st Haslemere Scouts are looking for adult volunteers to join the team organising and running the different scouting sections.
There are a number of different roles available including Scout, Cub and Beaver Leaders working with children between the ages of 6 and 14. Each role is different and offers everything from outdoor adventure, sports, developing new skills and arts and crafts to using organisational and management skills, communicating across the scouting movement and working with a variety of people. All roles include lots of fun, are very rewarding and can offer flexibility supported by full training.
If you can help or know someone who could and would like more information about the roles or the scouting movement in the UK, please contact them; firstname.lastname@example.org
Interim repairs for College Hill
Intervened to arrange next day interim repairs for dangerous potholes on College Hill.
Dropped into the community planning workshop to consider future uses of the Wey Hill Fairground.
Attendees were asked what ideas they have for this site. We were informed of the legal status of the land. It is common land and whatever Waverley Borough Council decides to do must be for the benefit of the neighbourhood.
IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT re Haslemere Vision. Hard copies of the final consultation are being distributed to over 8,000 households in Haslemere and the villages. Feedback during this consultation is vital if the final Neighbourhood Plan policies are to be a true reflection of the community’s wishes. Now is the time for input on some of the key issues and options facing the area we live in. Please read the booklet (which will be delivered to every household) and fill in the questionnaire, ideally on-line. Go to: http://haslemerevision.org.uk/surveys/consultation-survey/
Suderburg – German youth football exchange with Haslemere Town FC U11s
Met Haslemere Town Football Club for their U11s two ‘Friendship Trophy’ games with the visitors from Suderburg, with Cllr Libby Piper (then town Mayor). Provided funding for the team to support the exchange visit.
Wey Hill in Bloom Volunteers
Met up with the Wey Hill in Bloom volunteers earlier this month where they were re-planting beds and flower boxes.
Haslemere Town Council: Amenities Committee
Attended this meeting on June 12, 2014. Discussed the possibilities for the green space at the junction of Lower Street and Shepherds Hill. I am very keen that it should become an attractive pocket park, as a valuable green refuge at the intersection of 2 busy roads with a bus stop. I have agreed £200 of member allocation towards a new tree, and will negotiate with SCC Highways to see how the lower railings on Shepherds Hill could be altered to integrate the 2 spaces. Discussion included planting, a bench, a sculpture or piece of art possibly to mark WW1.
Sickle Mill Estate
Met with residents to discuss the failing bank below the recreation area and the impact on the road surface and drainage. Follow up research confirms that the bank is the responsibility of Waverley Borough Council. Also raised the very poor state of Sunbrow Road link with Sturt Farm with Highways. Continuing to follow this up.
Met with residents concerned about trees overhanging the highway, and drainage issues.
Parking enforcement in Haslemere
Met with Kevin McKee who heads up the Guildford Borough Council parking enforcement team to discuss the issues raised by residents and businesses of parking enforcement on bank holidays. GBC have a contract from SCC to carry out the on-street parking enforcement, while Waverley Borough Council are responsible for enforcement in their own car parks. We agreed that Kevin would meet with businesses to discuss concerns in early September. Businesses do have the right to load. Any businesses that experience problems with the parking wardens should get in touch with Kevin immediately. His email: KevinMcKee@guildford.gov.uk.
SURREY COUNTY COUNCIL HIGHWAYS UPDATE
1. “20 is Plenty” petition presented to the LAC in March, 2014 calling for reduced speed limits in the High Street, Lower Street and roads where requested by residents. I expressed my support for the principle of reducing traffic speeds through Haslemere. Currently many of our streets do not feel safe to walk and cycle, and crossing roads for the elderly and young can be challenging. There is a record of accidents on Lower Street near the station. The 2005 Haslemere Health Check identified a reduction in traffic speeds as a community priority.
Haslemere Town Council held a meeting of the Planning and Highways Committee on 29 May 2014. The committee voted to submit an official objection to the petition (see link). Given that the objection was based on out of date and factually incorrect information I requested that the objection letter be withdrawn. I understand this has been done. The issue of 20mph speed limits will be discussed at the next Haslemere and Western Villages task force. SCC Highways have adopted a new revised policy on 20mph limits. Existing traffic speeds are required to be 24 mph or less before a 20mph limit can be considered, without additional highway traffic calming infrastructure.
Traffic speed reduction can be achieved by altering the streetscape to alter how drivers perceive the road environment. I have secured £25,000 of Local Area Committee funding for “gateways” on the entries into Haslemere, with the aim of clearly stating that drivers are entering a built up area and should reduce their speeds.
2. Fosters Bridge flooding issues: the LAC funded report providing a full assessment of the catchment area and the drainage issues is nearly complete. Other reports are also being finalised, Combers’ Triangle and Critchmere Hill.
3. Jetters: There are 165,000 gullies across the county, a fleet of jetting machines clean each gully once a year, with a regular cleaning audit to assess the silt levels in the gullies. Recent severe storm events have caused gullies to overflow as the drainage system has been overwhelmed. The Lion Lane catchment, surrounded by a steep silty catchment, has experienced flooding issues. An extra £50,000 has been made available for additional jesters, Lion Lane gullies should be jetted during July.
One issue of concern is the lack of coordination between the Waverley Borough Council road sweeping schedule and the SCC Highways jetting schedule.
A 24 hour emergency flooding response team is available where properties or homes are at risk of flooding- See here: http://www.surreycc.gov.uk/people-and-community/emergency-planning-and-community-safety/flooding-advice/reporting-flooding,-trees-and-power-cuts
4. Tour of Britain Cycle Race: Stage 7, passing through Haslemere 13 September, 2014. I have discussed my concerns with SCC Highways about the condition of the road surface on the Sturt Road section of the route.
5: Haslemere Vision: I have had input as a member of the policy writing group focusing on transport issues.
6: Haslemere Road Re-Surfacing:
Delighted that SCC Highways has agreed to carry out extensive road resurfacing of A286 and A287 under the flood recovery program.
A286: Haslemere Road, 7.8 km will be resurfaced between Gasden Lane and Highercombe Lane, June-Oct 2014.
A287: Hindhead Road, 2.46 km will be resurfaced between Polecat Lane and Lion Lane, June-Oct 2014.
In addition major maintenance work will be carried out at the currently failing Deepdene Embankment, works planned for Oct-Dec 2014.
7: Road Outside St Bartholomew’s School: Also reached agreement with SCC Highways that the hazardous potholes on Derby Road East outside St Bartholomew’s primary school will be repaired during the summer holidays. SCC Highways will not be adopting the road, but have agreed to carry out a repair to resolve the current health and safety issues for the school and SureStart Children’s Centre.
Waverley Local Area Committee
Attended Waverley Local Committee, Friday, 20th June, 1.30pm
All information re LAC meetings can be found here: http://mycouncil.surreycc.gov.uk/ieListMeetings.aspx?CommitteeId=195
Environment and Transport Select Committee
Attended Committee meeting on June 12, 2014.
Information re this committee can be found here: http://mycouncil.surreycc.gov.uk/ieListMeetings.aspx?CommitteeId=136
Now full member of select committee (vs. previously substitute), raised my concerns that the current SCC sustainable transport activities have a very urban bias – the Local Sustainable Transport Funded Travel SMART programme working in Guildford, Woking, Reigate and Redhill. Going forward, there is very little, if any emphasis on improving sustainable transport provision in the smaller towns and villages in Waverley. I suggested a key issue that needed addressing is the lack of connectivity between communities for anyone who does not own a car. This results in physical, social and economic isolation. SCC Highways acknowledged this shortcoming.
The Waverley Local Transport Plan (shortly to be going out to local consultation) and Local Cycle Plans will be taken through the Local Area Committees going forward.
I also raised the issue of the need for proper integrated transport planning when schools are expanded.
PAY INCREASES FOR SURREY COUNTY COUNCIL
I sent the following statement to the Haslemere Herald.
It is totally unacceptable that the SCC Conservative leadership team have yet again ignored the findings of the independent remuneration panel and awarded themselves massive pay rises, without any proper transparent and open discussion. I am not surprised the panel has concluded that they have no alternative but to resign.
The Conservative party should reflect on the message this sends to the electorate. I am particularly disappointed that the SCC leadership has chosen to award themselves an extra £200,000 while cutting the funding for small local community projects across the county by the same amount.
Below is a link to a blog from Conservative Home. Although not linked officially to the party, it is run by Paul Goodman, former Conservative MP for Wycombe (01-10) and during that time he was shadow minister for local government.
There is a petition online: http://petitions.surreycc.gov.uk/moneygrab/
Surrey County Council Community Improvement Fund
Here is the briefing information on the County Council’s Community Improvements Fund 14/15, which sets out minor changes to the fund this year, along with the criteria and guidance, and application form. When talking to potential applicants, please could you use the new forms attached in place of any forms from previous rounds as these have been updated. These changes include the following:
- a reduction to the upper limit of applications to £30,000
- applications requesting 100% of funding are unlikely to be supported
- the requirement to demonstrate the wider community benefit of the project
- the recommendation that all relevant permissions should be in place at point of application (there is a requirement that they will all be in place 12 months from date of decision)
- the requirement that there is a minimum term of at least 5 years left on a lease (from date of decision), if the application relates to a project that is on leasehold property/land;
- being able to demonstrate that the project is scalable, in case all of the funding requested is not available;
- a word limit on sections of the application form to help ensure concise answers.
This fund has been set up to support local community based initiatives which make a real difference to people’s lives. Bids to the fund can be submitted for requests between £10,000 and £30,000 from 6 May until 25 July 2014. The funding is intended primarily to cover capital costs linked to community infrastructure projects.
Please see below a link to the County Council website for further information. Your local Community Partnership and Committee Officer (CPCO) will be happy to provide advice to applicants: http://www.surreycc.gov.uk/people-and-community/voluntary-community-and-faith-sector-vcfs/community-improvements-fund-leaders-initiative
DATES FOR YOUR DIARY
Food Bank AGM
The Haslemere and District Food Bank will be holding an Annual Meeting at the Methodist Church on Lion Green at 7.30pm on Wednesday 25 June both to celebrate its first anniversary and to account to the many stakeholders who have helped to make the Food Bank a very effective agent for good in our area.
They do not expect the meeting to last more than one hour; they will cover the progress they have made with collection and referral agencies, Food Bank logistics, customer demand and outreach generally. They do hope you can find the time to come along as the Food Bank has touched so many people in many ways. Do please invite anyone else you think may be interested – there is no charge – and contact Chris Gibson on 01428 661462 if you need any further information.
Local Policing Board Session
There will be a Local Policing Board session held on 3rd Sept 2014 between 5pm and 7pm. The venue is to be confirmed. These county sessions have been instigated by the Police and Crime Commissioner and take the form of a stall staffed by local Surrey Police officers and representatives of the Safer Waverley Partnership to give residents an opportunity to discuss policing priorities and local concerns relating to community safety.