While canvasing last week, I was disappointed to learn that some Liberal Democrat activists have been apparently been making unfounded claims about Woking Park in a bid to attract votes in Mount Hermon, such as falsely claiming that the Conservatives wish to promote house building in the park or sell parts of it off to developers. Needless to say, these claims are entirely unfounded and it is a shame that the opposition has seemingly had to resort to such scaremongering and dirty tricks to try and win an election, rather than standing on their record.
At the meeting of Full Council last week, I asked the Leader of the Council to set out what steps the Conservative administration has taken to protect and enhance Woking Park in recent years. He could point to an impressive list of improvements. The Hoe Valley flood defence work has meant that the old run down greenhouse area is now well laid out and landscape. The Hoe Valley community buildings also now allow a range of community groups to enjoy the park. There is the new grass and 3G football pitches, a new cricket pitch, the relocation and refurbishment of the bandstand, improved tennis courts, enhanced grounds maintenance, a dog-free area for bettr relaxation, new play facilities, and a modern, high quality fitness gym at the Leisure Centre.
It is clear that the Conservatives on the council have shown tremendous commitment to Woking Park and any suggestions to the contrary are entirely without foundation.
At tonight’s meeting of Full Council I asked what officers were doing to keep tidy the public area in front of the old Blockbuster video store on the junction between Guildford Road and Station Approach. This abandoned shop front is now an eyesore, with cars often parked inconsiderately across the pavement and rubbish left strewn outside the premises.
In response to my request, the council has said that it has been in touch with Curchod & Co, the estate agents who are marketing the premises, and asked that an effective management regime is put in place. There is some confidence that the store will be occupied again soon, which should resolve the issue more permanently. The council has also instructed Serco to assist with litter picking in the interim. I was also told that any vehicles parked across the public highway will receive enforcement action as part of the council’s normal parking patrols.
I’ve been informed by Surrey County Council that the area around Oriental Road, Heathside Crescent and Station Approach will be subject to temporary traffic closure on the evening of Monday 2nd May, from 9pm to 6am, to allow BT access to carry out repairs and install new customer connections. As is usually the case, access will be maintained for pedestrians, residents, and emergency services, while advanced warning signs will be displayed ahead of the work being carried out.
I hope that this work will not be too disruptive for people living near the station but if residents have any complaints then please do let me now and I will be happy to raise any issues with the utility company.
One of the most frequent issues that people raise with me is the number of potholes in Woking and the state of our roads, despite the fact that highway maintenance is not a responsibility of Woking Borough Council. Unfortunately there are many demands for pothole repairs and resurfacing in and around Woking, and it is always a fight to secure budget for any necessary work and to push certain roads up the list of priorities.
My colleagues on Surrey County Council have sought to put a stronger focus on the need to invest in our roads and highways. In 2013, the Conservative administration agreed ‘Project Horizon’, an ambitious five year programme with £200m of funding to address the root causes of road disrepair across Surrey. Alongside this, central government recently announced a further £50m in grant funding to local authorities to tackle potholes, with £1m of this allocated to Surrey.
Locally in Woking, our Conservative County Councillor Liz Bowes and I have been successful in securing the resurfacing of particularly troublesome roads in recent years, including East Hill, Pembroke Road and Onslow Crescent. My fellow ward councillor, Cllr David Bittleston and I are diligent and proactive in reporting potholes to the highways authority, but we need residents’ assistance to flag these up, since the council is unlikely to take any action if it doesn’t have the data or evidence to show that a particular road is causing problems.
I would therefore encourage anyone who is concerned with the state of their road to report any potholes online here, and to contact me directly, since the more representations I receive the easier it will be for me to make the case to Surrey County Council for remedial or repair work.