Monthly Archives: November 2013
I’m pleased to report that County Councillor Liz Bowes and I have been successful in persuading Surrey County Council to introduce traffic calming measures in areas of Mount Hermon where residents have complained about problems with speeding.
After a number of accidents at the junction of Old Woking Road and Maybury Hill, the County Council agreed at a recent meeting of the Local Committee to introduce traffic islands on the approach to Maybury Hill to narrow the lanes and encourage drivers to reduce their speed. The pedestrian island on Maybury Hill will also be moved closer to Old Woking Road to make the junction more visible to traffic approaching from Old Woking and coming into the town through Byfleet. The County Council will also put down coloured anti-skid material to highlight the junction and make it easier for drivers to brake at short notice should the need arise.
The improvements at the junction have been on the County Council’s work programme for some time and the area was also independently highlighted as a collision cluster site at the most recent Road Safety Working Group, so I am pleased that the changes will be delivered before the end of the financial year.
Following representations from residents, the County Council has also agreed to introduce and fund a build-out feature on Park Road to encourage motorists to watch their speed. I went out with the local SpeedWatch patrol last year and saw for myself how bad the traffic is along this road, so it is good that the need for effective traffic calming measures at this location has finally been recognised.
I’m delighted to announce that Marta Andreasen MEP will be the guest speaker at the South Woking Conservatives’ annual winter lunch party on Saturday 7th December at Pin Mill on Heathside Road.
Marta has been an MEP since 2009 and was formerly chief accountant to the European Commission, where she raised concerns about flaws in the EU’s accounting system that left it vulnerable to fraud. She defected from UKIP to the Conservatives earlier this year and is ranked fourth on the Conservative list of candidates for South East England in the 2014 European Parliament elections.
The South Woking winter lunch parties are always a highlight of our association’s calendar of events and Marta will undoubtedly be a fascinating speaker. Tickets are likely to sell out quickly so make sure you book your place on the Woking Conservatives’ website.
On Monday evening members of the Licensing Committee met to consider a request by De Vere Venues for an extension of alcohol hours at the Gorse Hill hotel and conference centre on Hook Heath Road. At present the hotel is licensed to serve alcohol up to 11pm. De Vere submitted an application to increase this to 2am on every night of the week. Permission was also sought to remove some of the conditions attached to the license, which limits Gorse Hill to providing refreshments only to guests and those attending a conference or event at the venue.
The application was quite contentious with around forty letters of objection received from members of the public. Most representations centred on what was believed to be an ongoing problem with public nuisance arising from patrons leaving the premises shortly before midnight. Residents complained about general bad behaviour by De Vere guests including urinating in driveways near the hotel, minor damage being caused to parked cars, the theft of signs and dustbins from neighbouring front gardens, and loud talking and arguing on the street for several hours after closing time. The situation was complicated by the fact that many of these issues have not historically been reported to the police or the council’s environmental health team, making it difficult to judge the scale of the problem.
The committee was mindful of arguments on both sides, and it was felt that keeping the existing conditions to the license would reassure those who feared that the nature of Gorse Hill would change from a conference venue area to a pub which would admit all comers late into the night. However, we also believed that for a venue offering weddings and overnight events, the current limit 10pm limit on alcohol was too restrictive. Given the real concerns about noise and disruption, the committee felt that 2am was unreasonable for a venue in a quiet residential area such as Hook Heath. It was therefore agreed that the alcohol hours be extended from 11pm to midnight, but only on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
In making this decision, I recommended to members of the Hook Heath Residents’ Association, many of whom were in attendance at the meeting, that they should reach out and build dialogue with De Vere so that future problems can be addressed amicably. Serious cases of disorder or anti-social behaviour should be reported to the police since this will inform any future review of the venue’s licensing hours.
Woking Conservatives announce borough council election candidates for Mount Hermon East and Mount Hermon West
Last night I was formally adopted by the Woking Conservative Association to stand for re-election as the councillor for Mount Hermon East in next year’s local elections.
I’ve had a fantastic three and a half years on the council and have been pleased to be able to stand up for residents’ interests by helping to establish the East Hill Residents’ Association; campaigning against inappropriate development proposals on the old St Dunstan’s church site; working with Cllr Liz Bowes to persuade the county council to introduce traffic calming measures along Park Road; and making representations at the planning committee to protect the special status and character of the Hockering.
I’m also proud to have played a role in the shaping of Woking town centre and the redevelopment of our community by supporting measures such as the Hoe Valley scheme; the Moor Lane PFI project; the revitalisation of the town square, and the exciting changes taking place in Commercial Way and Victoria Square.
My priorities if re-elected next May will be to continue working with colleagues to transform Woking town centre into a high quality retail, commercial and entertainment destination; to protect our green spaces by campaigning against over-development in our residential areas; and to support the Executive as it continues to reduce wasteful and unnecessary expenditure and find innovative ways of delivering improved services and better value for money for residents.
I would also like to congratulate my friend Colin Scott, who has been selected to stand for the Conservatives in Mount Hermon West. Colin stood in the ward at the 2012 local elections and came very close to winning the seat. I know he will do a formidable job and be a strong voice in representing the interests of his residents.