Tag Archives: Surrey County Councillor

Councillor Surgery on Monday 9th December 2013, 9.30 – 11.00am

I will be holding a Councillor surgery on Monday 9th December 2013, 9.30 – 11.00am.

This will be at the Haslewey Community Centre.

This will be an open session where you can get information and advice, inquire about services that Surrey County Council provides, or speak with me about a council issue that you may wish to raise.

I look forward to meeting with you.

Proposed Changes for Admission to Camelsdale Primary School.

This was brought to the attention of Surrey County Councillors and Surrey’s Borough and District Councillors today by Claire Potier, Principal Manager Admissions and Transport (Strategy), SCC.

This is an extract of the communication but please read this document here for more information.

Dear Colleague

Surrey County Council is consulting on the proposed changes to admission arrangements for some community and voluntary controlled schools from September 2015. Full details of the consultation and the changes being proposed are available at www.surreysays.co.uk.

Changes to the schools which will be considered to admit local children when assessing nearest school for community and voluntary controlled schools:

Camelsdale Primary School in West Sussex to be added to the list of out of County schools which will not be considered to admit local children.

The consultation on the proposed changes will run until Monday 20 January 2014. I would encourage you to read the paperwork and if you wish to submit your views please complete an online response form. Alternatively if you would prefer to respond on a paper form, please telephone the Surrey Schools and Childcare Service on 0300 200 1004 to request a copy. Please note that only response forms which are fully completed with the respondents name and address will be accepted.

After the closing date, responses will be collated and presented to Surrey County Council’s decision making Cabinet on 25 February 2014. Its decision will then need to be ratified by the full County Council on 18 March 2014.

Once determined the final admission arrangements will be placed on Surrey’s website at www.surreycc.gov.uk/admissions.

I look forward to receiving your comments.

All the best

Claire Potier

Principal Manager Admissions and Transport (Strategy)

Tel: 01483 517689

Councillor Update: September/ October

SCC Cycle Strategy Survey

SCC’s Cycle strategy survey – www.surreycc.gov.uk/cyclingstrategy – closes on November 1st, 2013. The survey only takes 5 minutes to complete. Please do take part if you’re an individual or you’re part of a cycling club/organisation and you are interested in making our town a safer place to cycle.

I am motivated by the fact our children and young people cannot cycle safely around Haslemere.  Unlike children in towns and cities across northern Europe, most of our children are ferried to school and their activities by car.  Children enjoy less personal freedom and independence, get less exercise, the cars they are driven in pollute and cause congestion, the time consuming taxi service provided by parents and carers creates stress for all and petrol prices continue to rise.

Cycling Haslemere Barton

Clearly the geography of Haslemere, built on hills with many narrow roads presents considerable a considerable challenge to cyclists, but I believe we can improve the situation. Safer crossings, and reducing traffic speeds are a first step to making cyclists and pedestrians feel more confident about leaving their cars behind.

You may interested to listen to Surrey’s cycling debate hosted by BBC last week. Click here for audio.

A new petition calling for a 20mph speed limit in Haslemere town centre has been launched by a resident of Haslemere: http://petitions.surreycc.gov.uk/20mphzone/

Making Haslemere a better place for cyclists can also bring economic benefits from cycle tourism. Haslemere train station has been identified as a ‘gateway’ to the South Downs National Park within the Two Parks Project (New Forest National Park, and South Downs National Park). Department for Transport Local Sustainable Transport Funds of £150,000 have been awarded to Haslemere as part of the Two Parks Project for initiatives to reduce the impact of traffic on the two parks.  In Haslemere, funds are being used to upgrade a section of the Serpent Way bridle path, improve signage on the route and at the train station, and to support a summer Sunday bus service between Midhurst and Haslemere.

Local Highways Issues

Junction Place:  Met with local businesses and residents concerned about dangers of rat running through the slip road occurring since new double yellow lining has removed parked cars.  The white lining in response has not prevented the rat running.  The loss of valuable on street parking spaces by double lining has also been identified as an issue.

SCC Highways planned to install a bollard at the junction of the slip road with Hindhead Road, which on speaking with local businesses, I understand would impede their client parking and business vehicle access.

I have agreed with SCC Highways that the yellow lining should be removed and the previous situation restored.  The situation will be monitored to assess if a bollard is necessary in the future.

Weyhill Road/Hindhead Road: confusingly not included in Project Horizon, SCC road refurbishment program.  I have agreed with SCC Highways that a full repair of all potholes will be carried out in November, with a micro-asphalt top layer running from St Christopher’s Green to the ESSO garage to be laid in the spring.

Derby Road, St Bartholomew’s School section: Ongoing discussions with SCC Highways and Education departments to find a way to fund repair of increasingly deep and hazardous potholes. Invited Linda Kemeney, Cabinet member for Schools and Education to St Bartholomew’s School.  Very productive discussion on both the school expansion plans, and the state of the road.

Pavements: Several stretches of pavement in the High Street are damaged. Haslemere currently has no funding available from SCC for replacement paving slabs, repairs are being made with tarmac.

Local Area Committee: Funded highways schemes 2013/14

Fosters Bridge: Local area committee funds currently committed for investigation into flooding problem, I will be submitting a bid for additional LAC funding (2014/15) to action any solutions identified.

Critchmere/Hindhead Road junction: feasibility study into traffic management improvements.  In addition SCC highways planning to prohibit left hand turn from right hand spur onto Hindhead Road to improve safety.

Coomers Triangle: feasibility study into one-way system. I have requested that this study be expanded to investigate how to improve safety for cyclists, pedestrians and drivers at Courts Hill Road/Hill Road junction with Shepherds Hill/Midhurst Road. I will be submitting a bid for LAC funding (2014/15) to implement any recommendations.

December Parking Review Issues For Consideration

Weydown Road: issue of dangers caused by double-parked commuter cars raised by residents.  Discussing possible solutions with residents, police and SCC highways.

Residents permit scheme bays: in some locations question over efficiency of use of limited on street parking capacity with resulting negative displacement impacts.

Courts Hill Road west: commuter parking creating access issues for residents.

Junction Place: single yellow lining outside Methodist Church and small row of shops removed valuable customer parking, one hour parking restrictions on Lion’s Mead as church events often exceed one hour.

Bridge Road: displaced cars now double sided parking causing an obstruction, police notices put on fencing to reduce hazard risk.

Kings Road: Yellow lines by The Herons were filled in.

Meetings Attended

Two Parks Sustainable Transport Stakeholder Conference: Brockenhurst, New Forest. Attended in my role as SCC ‘champion’ for Haslemere within the Two Parks Project. A very interesting event looking at the future of sustainable transport in the New Forest and South Downs National Parks, while celebrating what has already been achieved.  Brighton’s Fun Way to the Beach, Beach Bus, and the New Forest bus, cycle and Twizy (one man electric cars) tours,  www.brandnewforest.com, demonstrated what can be done. Richard Hammond, Chief Executive of Greentraveller, illustrated the power of social media campaigns in promoting sustainable tourism. His message was that selling ‘an experience’, rather than a destination is the most powerful marketing tool.  I believe Haslemere could be marketed using his approach, an idea I discussed with Richard and intend to follow up. You may be interested to view this BBC item, New Forest and South Downs National Parks discuss green transport.

One Team Working Together Workshop, County Hall, Kingston: bringing together members of Local Committee’s and Community Partnership teams aimed at building relations between officers and members, and looking at how stronger links can benefit the residents of Surrey.

Waverley Local Area Committee, Cranleigh. Sept 20th.  Click here for meeting agenda, decisions and draft minutes. Requested that the Surrey Cycling Strategy be given proper consideration on next year’s agenda. The next Waverley Local Area Committee meeting will be on 15th December 2013, in Godalming Baptist Hall.

Haslemere and Western Villages Task Group meeting, Churt Pavillion, Churt: Discussion with SCC Highways and Waverley Borough and Town Council representatives for Haslemere setting priorities for Local Area Committee highways improvements budget 2014/15.  The budget available to the Waverley LAC for highways improvements will not be specified until March 2014 at the earliest, however last year £800,000 was allocated to the LAC to be shared among Farnham, Godalming, Cranleigh and Haslemere and Western Villages. The agenda I have set for Haslemere (some listed above under Funded Highways schemes) includes: improvements to resolve recurring flooding at Fosters Bridge, ‘gateways’ on the approaches to the town, feasibility studies to improve pedestrian and cyclist safety at the Hill Road/Courts Mount Road crossing, the Lower Street/Shepherds HIll junction, and to consider a green way for cyclists/pedestrians avoiding Fosters Bridge in conjunction with a signed network of cycle, walking routes, an additional pedestrian crossing at Weyhill, replacement of the broken railings outside Claytons Jewellers in the High Street, and decluttering to remove redundant signage in the town. I also requested that a refurbishment of the red safety banding on the A286 entering Grayswood should also be included in the priority list, however I understand that this will be carried out during the Project Horizon road resurfacing planned for 2014/5.

Sturt Farm Development, Pre-Planning Application Consultation, Haslewey, Haslemere: Raised my concerns with planning consultants about additional pressure of the 150 planned homes on primary school places, Haslemere primary schools are currently close to maximum capacity, and on traffic flows on Sturt Road.  The lack of an adequate pedestrian path/crossing from Sturt Road to Kings Road in the plan at present is of concern.

Haslemere Vision, 2nd Visioning Workshop, Lady of Lourdes Church Hall, Haslemere: community engagement event. Please take the time to fill in their Engagement Survey.

Various meetings with SCC highways, parking, sustainable transport and transport policy teams at SCC Highways offices in Merrow and in Haslemere

Service for the Judiciary, Holy Trinity Church, Guildford, at the invitation of the High Sheriff of Surrey, Dr Helen Bowcock.  An annual service is held to celebrate the start of the new legal term and to offer support to those responsible for keeping the law of the land. During the service the High Sheriff read an Affirmation of the Shrieval Promise, a tradition that dates back hundreds of years.

Judiciary 2 Judiciary 1

Read press coverage and see more pictures of the Service for the Judiciary here.

Waverley Local Area Committee Private Briefing:  Wey and Arun Canal, proposals for Compasses Bridge, Surrey cycling strategy, and Surrey schools briefing.

Full Council meeting, Kingston, October 15th.: Click here for agenda and reports pack. spoke to support Lib Dem motion promoting openness and transparency in decision making.

St Bartholomew’s School, Safer Travel Workshop: Presentation by St Bart’s travel coordinator outlining the issues of travel safety, inconsiderate parking and congestion around the school. Parents, staff and local residents discussed ideas including more walking buses, car sharing, increasing scootering and cycling as possible solutions going forward.

Haslemere30 Food Festival: Introduced local schools cookery competition.

Residents Association/Independent Group, County Hall, Kingston:  Finance briefing outlining significant financial pressure on SCC budget combined with a high level of uncertainty as central government funding to local authorities is cut back further (2013, 10% real terms cut in total local govt funding) . Meanwhile demand on education, most notably the need to provide additional primary school places, and social care provisions grows.  Surrey residents receive the lowest Formula Grant support of any county area in England and the third lowest of all English upper tier areas.  Budgets in all SCC departments will need to make significant savings 2013-18.

Rex Cinema Memorial Service, Junction Place. and unveiling of memorial stone at Junction Place. Local resident Mick Bradford has worked tirelessly to research the crash of an RAC fighter plane into the Rex Cinema in 1942 in which 3 young airmen died.

Airmen Memorial Mack Buckler, a local pupil at The Haslemere Preparatory School has made a national award winning short film about Haslemere in the Second World War. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GdRNUUXaPzg

This weekend, the Met Office has issued an Amber WIND Alert which covers all of London & SE England to cover the potential impacts from a low pressure system.  This warning also mentions the potential impacts from the rain. The Met Office warning can be viewed on Hazard Manager. Hazard Manager also has some graphics under the ‘Events’ triangle showing possible tracks of the system.

Gritting: Salt stocks are ready for winter – Surrey County Council’s barns have been filled up with 16,000 tonnes of salt ready for ice and snow this winter. Surrey will also be able to call on more than 40 specialist gritting vehicles and a small army of farmers with tractors and ploughs to clear roads across the county. Haslemere’s salting routes are outlined here. If you are a twitter user, please also follow @surreytravel for up to date information on gritting and weather, as well as other travel alerts for Surrey.

Lion Lane Post Office. I received a letter from the Post Office saying the Post Office branch in The Co-operative on Lion Lane is going to be modernised. This is part of a three year investment and support programme. The new look Post Office is scheduled to open at The Co-operative, Lion Lane on Monday 11th November 2013 at 13.00. It will need to close for refurbishment on Monday 4th November at 17:30.

Haslemere and Western Villages Task Group Meets Today

The Haslemere and Western Villages Task Group meets today. The meetings are held in private but I’ll happily share things I’m thinking about that I hope to bring to the meeting. Clearly this is not in priority order. Many items have been discussed with SCC Highways. These topics have been collated through Haslemere Vision feedback. Bear in mind each item has a different price tag and funds are very limited. Some items will not be taken forward. Other items may be added.

  • Gateways on the 4 main approaches to the town: Aimed at enhancing sense of place and influencing driver behaviour/speeds.
  • Feasibility study: Safety improvements at Shepherds Hill j/w Courts Hill Road: Aimed at assisting pedestrian/cycle movement across the A286.
  • Ornate railings at Claytons Jewellers: To match Lower Street/Shepherds Hill.
  • Pedestrian crossing at the museum: Pelican (signal crossing) rather than zebra at this location due to speeds/width.
  • Feasibility study: Pedestrian crossing Shepherds Hill: Crossing at j/w Lower Street.
  • Feasibility study for Haslemere/Weyhill cycle/pedestrian  network: To include looking at off-road link using Network Rail land by Jewsons.
  • De-clutter town centre and Wey Hill parade: Rationalise signs/railings etc.
  • Lighting upgrade Wey Hill parade: Conservation lighting columns to match High Street.
  • Pedestrian crossing Wey Hill at St Christopher’s Green: Probably Zebra as speeds thought to be low.
  • A286 Grayswood Road pedestrian crossing.
  • A286 Grayswood: Refurbish traffic calming by renewing red banding.

Councillor Update From Recent Weeks

Councillor update from the past few weeks: 

Shepherds Hill

The worst of the potholes have finally been repaired! The major Project Horizon resurfacing will take place in the Autumn.

The large lime tree at the Shepherds Hill/Lower Street junction has a split in its trunk: I was assured that a 50%  reduction in the crown and a supporting metal brace would be sufficient to save the tree.  Unfortunately, all the branches have been cut (along with an accidental chop of the Christmas tree lights!) and the tree looks very stark.  While regrowth will occur, it will never regain its former glory and a decision needs to be taken whether to replace the tree now, or to plant a new tree next to the old tree that would be removed when the young tree reaches maturity.

Lime Treet Lower Street Shepherds Hill Junction

SCC Highways work gang

Chief Highways Officer for Haslemere, Ian Fowler, manages all local highways maintenance.  I have agreed with Ian to allocate £4000 for 2 weeks of work gang time over the next year. The gang have been working around Haslemere including hedge cutting, sign cleaning, repairing and repainting of the damaged railings outside Clayton Jewellers.

Highways Localism funds

Following discussions with SCC Highways, Haslemere Town Council has successfully bid for £2000 from the new Highways Localism fund to carry out local highways maintenance work.

Parking – Kings Road

Concerned residents in Kings Road have been in contact about the hazard presented by the growing number of cars parked on the bend of Kings Road by the industrial estate.  SCC Highways are planning double yellow lines via a temporary traffic enforcement notice that should be in place by the end of August.

The Kings Road parking situation is the result of inevitable car displacement following recent additional yellow lining and the introduction of resident only parking schemes in Haslemere. SCC Highways are planning to assess the impact of the schemes in the autumn before the December parking review.  An efficient use of limited parking capacity in the town is essential and I am concerned to note some ROP bays are almost permanently empty suggesting a less than optimal use of the available parking spaces.

West Street/High Street: further yellow lining

A number of residents have asked why in addition to the highway, now the kerb on West Street and into the bus layby in the High Street has been painted with repeated double yellow lines, accompanied by enforcement signs on new posts inserted into the pavement.  There have been complaints that the lining is very ugly, and also impacts on the traders as now no stopping to unload at any time is permitted.

West Street No Loading SCC No loading markings West Street

I met with the SCC parking officer to discuss the matter, and plan to meet with the representatives from the Fire service and local businesses in September to understand the full logic behind the new lining.  My initial conversation this week with representatives from the fire service suggests that the main reason why fire engines get blocked on West Street when responding to an emergency is the lack of car driver consideration, rather than loading and unloading vehicles.  The extension of the lining into the bus layby outside the bookshop does not seem to fit with the argument of providing a clear route for the fire engines.

Given that SCC Leader David Hodge recently stated at the recent full council that SCC actively supports local businesses, it would seem important to make sure that unnecessary barriers to trading are considered carefully.

For general interest, here is recent RAC report on parking charges.

Attended Full Council Meeting: July 16th

Meeting of full council, for the agenda, minutes here.

Presentation on World War 1 Commemorations

This is planned for period 2014-18, led by imperial War Museum has website detailing all initiatives http://www.1914.org/

A County Remembers: Surrey in the Great War: SCC Heritage has put in a bid to £10 million Heritage Lottery fund for projects that relate to the impact of the war on peoples lives and society in general.  The SCC application is for a community based research project into the histories of individuals, communities and organisations during the war years, with a focus on engaging and inspiring people curently not acctively involved in heritage.  By working with people of ages and backgrounds the aim is to create a global, accessible and enduring resource which will tell Surrey’s story during the Great War. The research will focus on the following themes: Stories of Survivors: Life in Surrey 1914-18 Serving at Home; Surrey All Over the World.  The names on war memorials will provide a catalyst for a broader research enabling people to explore, discover and understand the impact of the war on their local area and community.  If the SCC HLF bid is successful, Haslemere should be part of this exciting initiative.

Haslemere Town Council: July 18th

Presented an update of all issues to Haslemere town council.

Environment and Transport Select Committee and Surrey Cycle Strategy Workshop

Presentation on Operation Horizon, £120 million investment plan for major road maintenance to replace worst 500km (10%) Surrey roads, delivered through 2 key actions:

Increase road maintenance budget: cabinet has approved an additional £25m funding over 5 years, annual budget increase from £12m to £20m

Contract savings: project will deliver 16-20% saving on existing contract rates, nearly £20m re-invested in Surrey roads.

Discussion on CIL- Community Infrastructure Levy  (replacing existing Section 106 funding) which is paid by developers to the District or Borough Council on a charge per square meter basis.  A percentage of this funding will be transferred to communities which have a Neigbourhood Plan to realise the goals of that plan.

I raised the issue of the Waverley Borough Council Core Strategy which has recently been rejected by the Planning Inspector, and the implication that no CIL funding will be available to the Haslemere Vision if Waverley fail to adopt a core strategy.  It was agreed that in this scenario would present a problem.  Deadline for report to inspector was August 1st. Next meeting with Inspector will be 7th October 2013.

Haslemere Buzz Event

Attended the Haslemere Buzz event where the Chamber of Commerce had invited professional moderators to organise a series of workshops to brainstorm ideas for the High Street. A report will be presented back to The Chamber and working groups will manage actionable ideas.

Surrey Cycle Strategy Workshop

Cycling is a major transport issue both nationally and locally. Surrey is now seen as a cycling destination, with a post Olympic growth in both regulated (road racing, time trials and Ride London-Surrey events) and unregulated (cyclo sportive) events.

The aim of the strategy is to ensure a lasting Olympic cycling legacy and maximise the economic, health, environment and quality of life benefits of increasing cycling in Surrey.

There are main three groups of cyclists, those that take part in on road sports cycling, utility cyclists using a bike to get to work, to the shops etc, and leisure cyclists including families and children.

Meeting the needs of these different groups will clearly be a challenge for the strategy, improving road safety for cyclists is critical. While cycling participation has grown, there has also been increase in cycling casualties in Surrey.

There was an interesting discussion from a range of perspectives.  Councillors representing communities (for example in the Box Hill area) which experience regular road cycle races and training events with large groups/peletons of cyclists, identified the need for improved communications with local residents where there are extensive road closures for events, as well as the need to better manage the relationship between all road users, and between cyclists and residents.

I raised the results of the Haslemere Vision consultation that has identified the need for safer cycling routes in and around Haslemere as a key priority.  To date improvements for cyclists in Surrey have focussed on the main urban centres, Woking, Redhill etc. Clearly given the geography and size of Haslemere, providing better facilities for cycling will be a challenge but I do believe it should be a long term goal that everyone, adults and children can feel it is safe to cycle to school, to work and around Haslemere as others living in towns across Northern Europe currently do.

Project Horizon

Very constructive follow up meeting with Mark Borland who heads up Project Horizon to discuss Wey Hill/Hindhead Road which is not included in the original Project Horizon list of roads, despite its very poor surface condition.  I have asked SCC to look into this and they are currently carrying out a technical assessment of the road to decide if the road base needs repair or whether a surface repair would be sufficient. Mark has agreed to report back to me by August 30th.

It is intended that Project Horizon schemes will work in partnership to address local congestion and road safety issues, and we agreed that all opportunities to address these issues in the Wey Hill area should be taken when the road is being resurfaced.

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.

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.