Lion Retail Park
At a meeting of the Joint Committee between Woking Borough Council and Surrey County Council last night, officers were asked by local resident Marianne Meinke whether it would be possible to carry out speed monitoring along Oriental Road.
There are some specific challenges regarding parking and speeding at Oriental Road, with the street being very congested both at the bottom end near Woking station, and at the top end by the entrance to the Shah Jahan mosque and the Lion Retail Park. Due to the large number of cars which park on the pavement near the mosque, pedestrians often have to walk on the road at this point, while the lack of a crossing or design features means that vehicles can travel quite fast along the middle stretch of road. This is particularly dangerous given how narrow the pavement is, and the fact that this route is used by schoolchildren and those walking into town.
Through the Joint Committee my Conservative colleagues and I have been able to deliver traffic calming measures in places like Park Road and Old Woking Road, and I successfully pressed for the County Council to commit to feasibility studies for speed restrictions on Mount Hermon Road, East Hill and Maybury Hill in the next financial year. Oriental Road is already being monitored through the council’s Speed Management Plan, while the Joint Committee’s work programme contains a proposal to try and alleviate problems with speeding traffic.
Should I be re-elected in May then I will continue to press both the county and borough authorities to commit resources and do more to tackle problem areas on roads leading into and out of the town centre.
Last night I spoke at a meeting of Woking Borough Council’s Planning Committee on behalf of residents in Little Riding, Oriental Road and Maybury Hill who asked me to object to the application for increased opening hours by the Asda supermarket.
Asda had applied to extend its trading hours from 8am to 7am in the morning, and from 8pm to 11pm in the evening. However, residents are concerned that the location has suffered from traffic, noise, light and air pollution in recent years and believe that the scale of development at the retail park is overtaking the capacity of the local infrastructure to cope with the demand. Some 24 parking spaces have recently been lost owing to the construction of the new Costa Coffee unit.
The Lion Retail Park is an unusual site in that it is in a predominantly residential area with houses in very close proximity to the shops. While residents are not against additional trading and longer opening hours as a matter of principle, they understandably want to make sure that the expansion and development of the retail park is being done in a way that is consistent with its location in what is otherwise a quiet and peaceful part of Woking.
Following my representations, councillors on the Planning Committee voted to restrict opening hours from 8am to 10pm. During the meeting I also obtained reassurances that the council will not allow 24-opening hours at the retail park. I was pleased to be able to secure another victory for my residents and will continue to exercise vigilance to ensure that the quality of life for everyone living near the retail park is protected.
Several residents have contacted me to complain about inconsiderate parking on the grass verges along Oriental Road. This has prevented the grass from growing back fully after the roadworks earlier in the summer. Residents have asked whether it would be possible for bollards to be installed along Oriental Road to prevent people from parking their cars on the verges.
I have raised this matter with both Woking Borough Council parking enforcement and with Surrey County Council, who are the responsible highways authority. The council has asked civil enforcement officers to step up patrols and issue warning notices to any cars parked on the grass verges. Normal enforcement action and patrols along Oriental Road will continue during the 8:30am to 6pm controlled period.
In terms of a longer term solution, the County Council is reluctant to agree to the installation of bollards or wooden posts at this stage as they are concerned that this could move problems with inconsiderate parking further down the street towards the Lion Retail Park. I have therefore agreed that the matter should be kept under review and that we see whether the increased patrols make any difference. Should further action be required, it is possible for our county councillor to take a request for bollards or another form of verge protection to the Local Committee, or alternatively to fund such a measure out of her local allocation allowance.
Following a complaint from residents opposite the Lion Retail Park, I also asked the council’s parking enforcement officers to make representations to Surrey County Council about their vehicles parking in Little Riding during the recent night works on Maybury Hill. I have received assurances that this was a one-off and should not happen again.