Brooklands Half Marathon

MarathonFollowing the success of last year’s event Weybridge half-marathon is being organised again this year.

It will take place on Sunday, 22 March.  Enter by 28 February for a lower entry fee.  Starting on the test track at Mercedes-Benz World at Brooklands, the first three miles are all on the really smooth track surface before going through the town centre, to the Thames by Cowey Sale and back to the Mercedes track for the last the miles before finishing on the historic Brooklands Straight.

Mercedes-Benz World is providing space for a ‘MarathonVillage’ with sports retail and catering outlets and a ‘charity village’ along the home straight for the charity groups entering the event. Minimum age 17 years.

Road closures on the public highway will end at 10:00. Runners on public roads after 10:00 will be asked to run on the footway until they reach the Mercedes-Benz World circuit in traffic free conditions.

If you would like to have the full details of the event including competitor entry details click here.

Morrison’s Monday Mayhem – Avoided?

Proposed view of Morrisons Small

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Update.  As I said below we had to wait until the new year to find out how the traffic moved around the new store.  I have not seen any glitches in the traffic but I know that some people have found small hiccups on school days turning right into Thames Street. Also I have never seen the store car park full – the lowest being seven place left.

An exciting day on Monday as our illustrious mayor opens the new Weybridge Morrisons.

Not only is the store new but it is a flagship store and that means people will come to see the new features that no other Morrison store has.  I can smell the bakery from where I live.

Morrisons says that the first two weeks of a store opening draws many more people than usual so they will have extra staff in place to protect the car park from over filling.  These staff are intended to stay fro two weeks but if the problems persist then the staff will be kept on until the pressure dies down.

As the opening comes just before Christmas the extra traffic could last through Christmas and the sales into January.  By January we should see the normal flow.

It will be interesting to see where these extra cars will go. Contact me here if you have a problem.

Baker Street Plans

As part of the planning conditions, Morrison has to pay for traffic calming in Baker Street.  The draft plans are below and have been sent to Surrey’s transportation development planning team to agree as a condition of the planning permission.  What do you think?

Baker Street Traffic Calming

 

 

 

 

You can open up a larger map here: Draft Baker Street Scheme-01

Flight path trials and aircraft noise

AirplaneA number of people have mentioned the recent increase in aircraft noise around Weybridge.  This is do with the need to review the flight paths around Britain.  Such a review has not happened for over forty years despite a rapid increase in air travel.  Each airport has been asked to examine possible new routes.

For more information click here

Heathside School

Heathside

Surrey is seeking planning permission to raise Heathside’s school numbers. Originally Heathside School was given permission for 920 pupils but by 1996 it had increased its number, without planning permission, to 1352. On being challenged for this discrepancy it sought retrospective planning permission from the borough to increase its number in 2005. This was refused, again on transport grounds. Surrey appealed to the national government and the government planning inspector agreed to a new maximum number of pupils (the actual number attending the school at that time) on condition that the travel plan be reviewed every six months. This is a very weak condition as most travel plans are often lax in the beginning and are often unenforceable in any case.

This new planning application is caused by the need for more school places in the borough. Elmbridge has a secondary school age population of 12,000 pupils and that number is growing. Births in Elmbridge increased by 30% between 2002 and 2010 and the
borough plan indicates that up to 3,375 new homes are to be built between 2011
and 2026.  Yet Elmbridge has only four secondary schools – in Ditton (Hinchley Wood), Esher, Hersham (Rydens) and Weybridge (Heathside). It needs ten more schools of 840 pupils each (four classes in each year from years seven to thirteen).

Because of the taxation arrangements in Britain – unique in the developed world – Surrey relies on the national government for revenues to fund new schools. Unfortunately, this revenue has been reduced significantly in recent times and Surrey simply does not significant revenues of its own to build the schools it needs. So Cobham, Molesey and Walton do not have their own schools – putting pressure on those towns like Weybridge that do.

The cheap option is to increase the size of the present schools.  Heathside, originally a large 940 pupil school that has grown to 1,352 is set, should the application be successful, to increase to 1,475 pupils.

Elmbridge’s remit is purely related to the planning aspects of the project not the merits or otherwise of increasing the size of a school that has already outgrown its buildings.  This particular application will be decided on highway matters alone.

Interestingly, Elmbridge is not the competent authority when it comes to highway planning matters.  Surrey is the highway authority as well as the education authority.

The planning application is originated from Surrey which has a duty to school all of the children of the county.  The application arrives at Elmbridge which in turn asks Surrey, as highway authority, what it thinks of the application.

This puts Surrey in a difficult position – it is both poacher and gamekeeper.  Its decision must not just be one based on integrity but must be seen to be so by those most affected by the increase in numbers.

Any parent who has been anxious about their child’s school place will understand the massive pressure that Surrey is under to deliver those classroom places.

The Elmbridge planning application number is 2014/3765 and details can be found here.

Weybridge Town Centre Traffic

Baker Street websiteWeybridge town centre needs a comprehensive overhaul – from Balfour Road to Monument Hill and all points in between.   Last year I posted about what we could achieve for Weybridge.

What was lacking was not the ideas or the commitment but the availability of funds.  However, there are government funds especially in place for enabling extra investment in transport infrastructure of the M3/A3 corridor.

But we have to bid for these funds and for our bid to be successful we would have to detail why improving Weybridge would be a benefit of the M3/A3 corridor as a whole.  Not only has Weybridge one of the highest GVAs in the country based on the flagship companies located in the town but its transport infrastructure is restricting growth its further growth potential.  Weybridge is such a popular destination it is notoriously difficult to enter the town from any direction in the morning.

I believe that a case can be made for improving Weybridge’s infrastructure but such a case costs money to design.  We need to bid elsewhere for to the funds to develop a feasibility study.  Again this can be done.

Elmbridge Cycling Strategy

CyclingEvery time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race.  H G. Wells

Cllr Margaret Hicks, who represents Hersham at Surrey and is also the chair of Surrey Elmbridge Local Committee, has been keen to develop strategies in a number of areas under her purview.  This is all to the good in my opinion – it aids joined up thinking for one.

Margaret has already begun on a parking strategy and now it is the turn for the committee to develop a joint Surrey/Elmbridge strategy for cycling in the borough.

Vision  An Elmbridge of physically, mentally and spiritually healthy people of all ages enjoying fresh air and a high quality of life.

Mission To enable all the people of Elmbridge – who wish to do so – to cycle safely.

Strategy
To achieve our mission our strategy is based on our being:

  • Utilitarian. We focus on a person’s ability to cycle from home to the key places that make their life work: their school or workplace, their station, their town centre. Therefore routes to these places are dealt with first.
  • Network based. We understand that the benefits are far greater if networks are created
  • Inclusive.  We bring as many agencies, organisations and groups and people together to compound the benefits and spread the message.
  • Incremental. Although we have a clear and ambitious vision we know that many small steps made by many people eases the journey
  • Anticipatory. We take advantage of possible opportunities that might arise by anticipating requirements before they occur
  • Communicative. We engage with everyone and keep them informed
  • Sustainable. We strive to be socially and environmentally sustainable in everything that we do.

What would you like to see in a cycling strategy?

When I see most parents cycling with their children to primary school then I know we’d have cracked it.  It is much quicker to cycle than walk – although walking can be fun too.

All my family are fortunate enough to walk to school/work as they are so close.