Monthly Archives: December 2014

Footpath from White Rose Lane to St John the Baptist School and Old Woking


A number of residents have complained that the footpath running from White Rose Lane and the Hoe Stream to St John the Baptist School and Old Woking is in a bad state of repair, with trip hazards from overgrown branches and hedges and the poorly maintained fence. The route is difficult to navigate, particularly for elderly people, during the daytime and is unwelcoming in the dark.


My fellow ward councillor, Cllr David Bittleston, and I have taken this matter up with Serco and with the officer responsible for neighbourhood services to see if we can get some remedial action taken. We will update residents as soon as we have anything to report.


Upgrade to telephone mast at Old Woking Road


I have received a letter on behalf of Vodafone who have said that the mobile telephone mast on the highway land adjacent to the Old Woking Road is due for an upgrade. The station is necessary to provide 3G and 4G mobile coverage in the borough.


As this is an upgrade of an existing mobile phone mast base station, there has not been any requirement on Vodafone to consider or identify alternative sides, and the location complies with the council’s local plan policies as well as the planning requirements set out in the National Planning Policy Framework. I am reassured that there are no health implications for residents, and that all Vodafone installations are compliant with guidelines set out by the appropriate regulatory bodies.


Bus route from Woking to Byfleet through Oriental Road


Arriva, the company which runs Surrey’s bus services, will be making some alterations to the route of service 437, which connects Woking town centre with Byfleet.


Instead of travelling along Oriental Road and Heathside Road, buses travelling towards Woking Station will be rerouted to run via Monument Road and Maybury Road to Broadway. The return schedule to Byfleet will continue to leave Woking by using the existing Heathside and Oriental Road route. The new route will come into effect from next Monday 15th December.


I am told that the change has been made to improve reliability although I fail to see how it will make any significant difference other than to pose an inconvenience to residents at the far end of Oriental Road who use the service to travel into the town centre. I have taken the matter up with the Joint Committee but I am afraid the prospect of securing any change is unlikely in the near term. In the meantime, I would encourage residents with mobility issue wishing to board the service to Woking town centre from Oriental Road to alight the bus on the way to Byfleet, which will then come back to the town centre on its return journey, as inconvenient and time consuming as this might be. Those wishing to complain can make their views known by calling Arriva on 0344 800 4411.


Medals ceremony for Arctic Convoy veterans


At the meeting of Full Council this evening, Woking Borough Council held a civic ceremony to honour veterans of the Second World War’s Arctic Convoys, who received the prestigious Ushakov medal from representatives from the Russian Embassy.


The Arctic Convoys were a series of highly secretive missions which were vital in delivering aid and supplies through the Arctic Ocean to the Soviet Union between 1941 and 1945, often under heavy bombardment from German naval forces. Over four years, 85 merchant vessanls and 16 Royal Navy warships were lost, and around 3,000 British sailors killed in what Winson Churchill described as “the most dangerous journey in the world.” Although the Russian Government has sought to award the Ushakov Medal to British veterans of the Arctic Convoys for some time, Foreign & Commonwealth Office rules meant it could only be accepted from 2013.


Today there are only three surviving veterans of the Arctic Convoys living in Woking. Douglas Potts and Reginald Guy attended the ceremony at the civic offices and received their medals in person from the Russian diplomats, while Edward Tann was represented by Royal Navy Commander Graham Turnbull. Mr Nalobin gave a respectful speech in which he spoke of Russia’s gratitude towards those who served in the Arctic Convoys, and also said it was important for those in Britain not to forget the heroism and sacrifice of those who helped keep the Soviet Union in the war.


After the ceremony, Mr Fedichkin told me that the Russian Embassy has extended the offer of Ushakov Medals to 800 veterans around the country, and they intend to award as many of these in person as possible. Similar ceremonies to that in Woking have also been held in other local authorities in recent months.


Following the decision by the Foreign Office to allow British sailors to receive the medal, I suggested that the council host a ceremony to provide one last recognition for those who carried a mission that was so dangerous, but crucial to the war effort. I was hugely honoured to play some small role in recognising the contribution of our borough’s veterans to our shared victory in the war.