I spoke with the gang dealing with the water leak in Connaught Road tonight on my way back from Brookwood Club in an attempt to understand the impact on Brookwood residents.
Essentially, the leak has now been fixed, and the loss of water stopped. This is good news, especially in this hot period.
The team responsible for reinstatement (basically filling in the hole) will either attend site on Saturday or Monday. It is unknown at this stage exactly when they will be on site.
If it is tomorrow, the road will be fully open by Monday, otherwise it will probably be on Tuesday.
I have witnessed vehicles driving on the pavement and the grass tonight to bypass the road closure and this is particularly irresponsible and simply unacceptable and has been reported to the police. It is a pain, but there is no reason to put people’s lives at risk to avoid going the long way round. My personal opinion of those doing this, unfortunately is unable to be published on this blog.
You’ll obviously be aware that progress has stalled on Brookwood Lye. The initial planning application was submitted October/November last year, and the statutory consultation ended in early January.
Since then, the Local Planning Authority and Thameswey have been in consultation regarding some aspects of the development that they wanted changed, there were a few points from the roadshow which Thameswey were trying to address and finally, the Environment Agency had concerns about flooding.
For those living close enough, you’ll have received a new Neighbourhood Notification letter this week, as I did. This was notification that there had been some amendments made to the original planning application. The modifications may be summarised as follows:
- The modifications to Brookwood Crossroads have now been incorporated into the planning application. This is great news because it provides some certainty to those residents concerned the development would be built and the crossroads left. Adding the filter lane has led to the architects changing the number of houses at this location.
- There have also been some adjustments to the car parking throughout the site.
- The biggest change, and my most pressing concern was the brutal look of the flats. The top floor has been adjusted to meet the ‘Mansard roof’ design. This places the top floor apartments into the roof space which means they are less intrusive.
- More information has been submitted regarding the Flood Risk assessment.
Overall, these changes look positive and I’m grateful the concerns of mine and residents have been taken into account.
The new statutory period runs through to 19th July, although as usual you can continue to submit responses after this date via the Development Manager.
The plan numbers are: PLAN/2017/1306 and PLAN/2017/1307.
Last night at the Overview and Scrutiny Committee, Cllr Ashall and I raised the subject of Brookwood Railway station with representatives of Network Rail and South Western Railway. We raised the following issues that have caused resident’s problems:
- Disabled access
- Access for people with pushchairs
- Motorcycle bays
Of the five railway stations in the Borough, only Woking is mobility friendly. Certainly with Brookwood, the advice is that travellers who need to travel from the inaccessible platform two is to travel to Woking, use the lift and return or when coming back from the London direction, travel to Farnborough, use the lift and return. Obviously this makes a journey significantly longer and we think totally unacceptable in this day and age.
I have the Regional Development Manager’s contact details and I expect to meet up with him in the near future to discuss the problems.
Nothing obvious has progressed on Brookwood Lye housing other than to try and secure the site further. To state the obvious, I’m not currently happy about the gradual spread of the Travellers and I have made representations to enforcement.
I have spoken with the project manager responsible for the housing and he’s given me an update on progress. Planning officers gave a comprehensive reply to the original planning application early on this year and we held a roadshow at the start of the year where residents gave their views. All have been put into the mix.
Areas that have been looked at in more detail include a more detailed Flood Risk Assessment, the improvements to Brookwood Crossroads have now been directly linked to the development, a slight redesign to the brutal flatted buildings to make them blend in better with the surrounding properties, some minor tweaks here and there and finally additional reports as requested. I believe this has resulted in a small reduction in the number of dwellings.
The changes will be resubmitted soon and once validated as an acceptable application, the clock will start ticking again and the statutory consultation will begin.
Essentially, the process is working as it should although it is frustrating that it can be so slow.
I’ve reported the incidence of fly-tipping down Heath House Road this morning. As part of it is in the road, hopefully it will be gone either today or tomorrow.
A while ago I did report the incidence of fly-tipping down Connaught Crescent by the garages, but I’m not aware of what has happened recently with it. I’ll wander down there and check if it is still there.
Many of you may have signed the SCC petition that a Pirbright resident created a couple of months ago. This is a petition I support and have signed.
Today I have received notification that it has reached the threshold to be formally presented and debated at the Guildford Local Committee in June.
This meeting will be the 13th June, starting at 19:00. Unfortunately, I am unable to attend as I will be at the Finance Task Group in Woking at that time. It’s unlikely I would have been able to speak anyway, however I will have a chat with the Guildford Borough Council Pirbright Councillor, Cllr Gordon Jackson who I know well and make my representations to him. I expect him to attend anyway. I hope this meeting will yield a positive response to the problem of the lights at the tunnel.
After the recent elections, I have now joined the Executive at WBC and have become the portfolio holder for Promoting the Local Economy, HG Wells Conference and Events Centre and Information Communication Technology. A nice little promotion which will give me something new to get my teeth into.
Residents often come to me complaining of potholes in the road, not realising that I can do no more than they can which is report it to SCC. SCC are responsible for highways, not WBC. I’m only an elected WBC Member, and have no aspirations to run for SCC.
In fact, reporting a pothole to me increases the time it takes to get it fixed because it then relies on me reporting it which I won’t do until I’ve seen it myself which usually takes me a while to get round to. Far better to report it yourself using the SCC online web pages.
What I also do occasionally, is make general representations to the Cabinet Member for Highways at SCC who is Cllr Colin Kemp. Cllr Kemp happens to be a WBC Councillor as well, and so I periodically bump in to him in the chamber. He writes a blog and is also active on Facebook and Twitter. He’s been writing recently regarding the problems that come about as we leave the winter period on the roads. Please read some of his posts for an insight into dealing with the road network.
A Pirbright resident has submitted a petition to SCC regarding the tunnel at the western end of the village. His points are valid and I have signed the petition.
The problem at this junction is that on the Pirbright side, there are two feeder roads with traffic lights, and on the Brookwood side, there are two feeder roads but crucially with one set of lights. This does cause a lot of frustration because the well meaning drivers leaving Brookwood via Connaught Road, will pause to allow drivers from Bisley Camp Road / Brunswick Road to go, and the sensors decide that there is no traffic. This in turn means the lights go to red prematurely and the traffic builds up to intolerable levels. It can take 20 minutes sometimes to get out of Brookwood.
The obvious solution has been to add an additional set of lights on the Brookwood side, and I have had conversations about this with WBC officers in the past. The challenge is effectively two fold; a) who pays for the changes, and b) the junction sits in Guildford Borough.
There are no development opportunities that can be used to extract funds from to pay for the improvements. This is a major problem, because finding the evidence to justify the improvements should be reasonably easy, but SCC will simply claim there isn’t the money in the highways budget to do anything.
From my perspective, the junction sitting in Guildford causes further issues. Assuming the petition reaches the minimum numbers required, it will go before the Guildford Local Committee, the next meeting being 13 June. I suspect that convincing the Guildford Local Committee to use their sparse funds to pay towards improvements that are going to have a bigger benefit for Brookwood residents will prove challenging. I will endeavour to keep an eye on the agenda for that meeting and try and attend, although I do have a prior engagement that night already.
The petition may be signed here and I encourage as many people as possible to do so.