Had a chat with some people working on the canal today. Much of their surveying work is done and contractors will be starting on Monday predominantly working on repointing the brick works around the locks.
One of the locks has had some wood work done as well.
There were no crayfish found in this section which is good news as they burrow into the banks and cause horrendous problems further upstream.
The most interesting thing, if not a tad sad is the fact that four catfish were found when they were draining the pounds. Obviously catfish aren’t native to the canal so it is clear that people have dumped them in the canal when they’ve become too big for a domestic tank. I’ve never understood why people don’t fully research the pet they are acquiring before buying it so that putting animals under stress can be avoided.
The Canal Authority are confident it will be full of water and open to navigation again by Easter.
The pathway across the Country Park has been cleared a week ahead of schedule, I don’t yet know when they will lay the new surface as there is some debate around the ability for the current foundation to take the resin as proposed. As usual, as soon as I know anything I’ll publish it here.
Three of the four lights on the Zebra crossing outside the school have been replaced this week after a catalogue of excuses by both Surrey and the company responsible. This has been done mainly due to a very persistent resident, to whom I grateful.
Whilst out walking the dogs yesterday in the proposed Country Park, I bumped into a couple of guys surveying the dodgy white-stoned pathway. As I said in my blog entry on 8th January this was a temporary solution which would be rectified fairly soon: https://cllrkevindavis.me/2017/01/08/path-across-country-park/
It turns out the guys I bumped into yesterday are the contractors responsible for the work. I had a chat with them and they start on Monday. They will be removing all the white stones before laying a resin surface on which small stone chips will be sprinkled over, similar to the canal path.
I have asked the WBC officers responsible for Green Spaces to look into a couple of areas of the path that will probably easily flood when it is a less permeable surface. I hope to meet them on site sometime this coming week to show them and thus ensure the path is slightly built up or a good camber is created to aid water run off.
It is expected it will take two weeks to remove the white stones, and then the new surface, weather permitting will be laid shortly after that. I don’t yet know when the path will be closed but it almost certainly will be during the resin laying stage.
I have made the suggestion to WBC officers that certain grass walkway areas could really do with raised composite duck boards on a par with those at Heather Farm. I hope this gets done as a couple of the lower lying areas have been all but unusable for the past couple of months unless wearing wellies or walking boots.
I have fed back to WBC the need to keep this Country Park as rugged and natural as possible rather that the more artificial ‘inner-city’ look and feel to the Country Park the other side of the A322. I believe that is their intention.
Back in December, I met up with the SCC Parking team and discussed proposals that residents had suggested to me. I have now been given the draft drawings outlining those proposals.
Having confirmed what is drawn here is what residents have asked me to look into, the proposals will now go to the Joint SCC/WBC committee in March. At committee, if they are agreed, consultation letters will be sent out to nearby residents for their view. Once the consultation period is finished and depending on what comes back, the proposals will be finalised and road markings redrawn.
I’ve included two maps here showing everything planned.
The above map shows a slight modification to the section by St. Johns Court. The changes are to put double yellow lines across the mouth of St Johns Court and about a car length either side and also to create a new parking bay. This is a significant safety improvement and increases the available CPZ bays in the village by one.
This map of the village centre has four proposed changes. Outside the launderette and Post Office, a total of five 20 minute parking bays will be created. This is good for the businesses here and improves the chances of lunchtime trade as vehicles will be able to park there during 13:00 to 14:00 and it also prevents vehicles parking there all day which disrupts trade.
The two double yellow line sections are both significant safety improvements. The section opposite the Post Office will prevent vehicles stopping there and keep the line of sight for vehicles exiting the station clear. The section opposite Heath Drive will make it safer for vehicles exiting Heath Drive, and provide a decent refuge area for vehicles travelling west down Connaught Road to dive into allowing east bound traffic unrestricted passage. It is this latter proposal that I expect will draw some criticism from those residents living in the rows of terraces as it will involve the loss of effectively an area capable of parking three cars. However, the consultation will go out in a couple of months and we’ll see what comes back.
A hot topic recently has been Council Tax. I’m sure most are now aware that SCC are not going for a referendum.
Last Thursday at full Council the final figures for 2017/2018 were determined. The following shows the WBC element and the total amount of CT due for each band:
Band WBC Portion Total CT
A £151.14 £1,188.55
B £176.33 £1,386.65
C £201.52 £1,584.74
D £226.71 £1,782.83
E £277.09 £2,179.01
F £327.47 £2,575.20
G £377.85 £2,971.38
H £453.42 £3,565.66
CT is due from April and WBC will request 10 payments from April to January 2018. If you wish, you are able to pay it over 12 months. You will need to call WBC to arrange this.
Finally, you may have read in the news concerns around WBC borrowing. I share some of those concerns, however I am satisfied that most of the borrowing is ‘good’ borrowing and as current Chair of the Finance Task Group, apply pressure to WBC to ensure that borrowings can be classed as good. The key point about good borrowing is that it frequently is used to purchase an asset which pays WBC an income. This income effectively subsidises CT and for 2017 is expected to be £55.13 for a band D property.
If WBC didn’t borrow in this way, we’d have had a clear choice, increase CT by £55.13 for each band D property in 2017 or cut services. If you wish to read the WBC papers going through this, look on the WBC website for documents from the November 2016 Executive meeting.
Other Councils in Surrey are beginning to adopt this model as the most palatable way of protecting services as there is fierce opposition to increasing taxes. If you are a resident of Heathlands, I’m happy to spend time allaying your fears over WBC borrowing if you wish.
Another planning application for a change of use from offices to dwellings has been submitted for the Red House down Cemetery Pales. The application is PLAN/2017/0109.
I’m not yet aware of what the differences are between this application and the one that came forward a few months ago which I objected to. I will make contact with the officer concerned and find out what the differences are before I probably object to this.
I claimed no expenses other than my regular allowances for January.