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.
Earlier today I chaired a meeting of Woking Borough Council’s licensing sub-committee, which was called at the request of Surrey Police to review the premises license for the Every Day shop on Maybury Hill. Both the police and trading standards have expressed concern about a number of incidents at the shop, including the sale of alcohol to underage customers, selling alcohol to people who were already drunk, and selling bottles of spirits that were found to have been stolen from nearby supermarkets.
During the course of the hearing it became apparent that there was little, if any, training or record keeping at the store. The police also presented substantial evidence of criminal activity taking place at the shop, such as handling stolen goods. It was made very clear to the committee that the standards of behaviour at this premises fell far short of what we would expect from any license holder in the borough. We were also concerned that the shop owner did not inform the court upon his conviction that he was a license holder, as he was required to do, nor did he bring his conviction to the council’s attention.
Under these circumstances, it was felt we had no option but to agree with the police’s recommendation that Every Day should have its license revoked. This will hopefully send a strong signal that the council is determined to keep residents safe and that evidence of illegal activity or a serious breach in the licensing standards will be dealt with quickly and firmly.
White Rose Lane will be closed for two weeks from today while Affinity Water replace some of the pipes underneath the road between Barrens Park and Wendella Close. Residents who live further along White Rose Lane towards Bylands and Rosewood will have to use an alternative route into town up Maybury Hill or Old Woking Road then along East Hill.
The disruption is inconvenient but necessary to allow Affinity Water to carry out these much needed repair works. I have been given reassurances that the work will be completed in good time. I will be monitoring reports of any noise or disruption to residents and will be happy to take up any complaints from residents directly with the company.
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.
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.
Earlier today I went to see residents on Maybury Hill who have complained about the building works taking place at Noel Cottage. Having viewed the site for myself, I agree the state of the pavement and front driveway at this location is unacceptable, with rubble strewn everywhere and dust from the works covering cars and front gardens in neighbouring properties. I have also been told that the building work has been going on at weekends and through the night, despite conditions being put in place that state such activity should be restricted to the daytime and through the week.
I’ve been in touch with Environmental Health who tell me they have already been out to to see the premises and spoken to the builders regarding the times they are allowed to start working on site. I’m told that the council has also given the builders advice on how they can improve the situation with the dust, including using a hosepipe to dampen down materials. Residents have been given some diary sheets to record any further incidents. These will allow the council to gather evidence in relation to the noise and dust and will support any formal action that may be taken against the developer, and can also be used to demonstrate that the situation is ongoing.
If residents have any further complaints, they should record them on their diary sheets and return them to the council. If the council does not receive any written complaints, they will not be able to take action against the builders if the problems carry on. Should Environmental Health receive diary sheets back, the council will assess the complaints and determine whether there is anything further it can do, such as serving enforcement notices.
Residents on Oriental Road and Maybury Hill will have noticed ongoing roadworks over the last few weeks. This work is being done as part of Surrey County Council’s Project Horizon, a programme of maintenance that will see £100 million spent on essential pothole repairs over the next five years.
Some people have expressed annoyance that the work is being carried out during the night and over the weekend, as this is creating noise disturbance for those living in Maybury Hill. I have also received complaints that the workmen are parking their vehicles inconsiderately in front of people’s driveways in Little Riding.
I have taken these issues up with the County Council and been advised that the reason for allowing the work to carry on through the night was to ensure the minimum amount of congestion on Oriental Road and the least disruption to businesses trading in the Lion Retail Park. While this may create a degree of noise nuisance for residents, it was felt that a balance had to be struck and hence a decision was taken to carry out the work while the roads would be quieter. The fact that the repairs are being done outside normal working hours also means they should hopefully be finished more quickly than might otherwise be the case.
The County Council tells me that, following my representations, they have spoken to their contractors and been given assurances that they will no longer park their vehicles on Little Riding. However, if residents have any further complaints then please do get in touch and I will be happy to raise them with the relevant authorities.