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.
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 will be in two weeks.