Parking Enforcement

There are resurfacing works going on today in Brookwood, namely Heath Drive and possibly a section of Connaught Road.

I can confirm that the CPZ enforcement will not be enforced. If you have had to move your vehicle, it will be fine to park in any bay or safely on single yellow lines outside of the resurfacing areas. The 20-minute bays will still be operating as usual.



Bagshot Road

Some of you may have noticed signs saying that there will be road closures for about eight weeks to Bagshot Road. After the four-way temporary traffic lights at the weekend at Brookwood cross roads, some might have put two and two together and reached five. The two are unconnected.

I believe the crossroads was fixing water issues on Brookwood Lye Road, and has now been completed.

The eight week signs are in regard to an issue I blogged about recently where the cemetery walls were discussed. Bagshot Road will, outside of peak times, have temporary lane closures in place to allow works to be completed to the cemetery walls. If the lane needs to be shut, it will involve two way lights, and will only be between 09:30 and 15:30.



Heath Drive Resurfacing Works

Cllr Ayesha Azad has informed me that Heath Drive is to be partially resurfaced under the Severe Weather Programme.

This is to occur on 15th May and is scheduled for one day. It is likely to cause some disruption, and all cars must be parked elsewhere for the duration. A letter is due to be posted out to those households very shortly.

If you have any queries, please come back to me or contact Cllr Azad directly.



Green Bins

Over the weekend, I noticed a number of green bins along Connaught Road had not been collected last Thursday. I’ve no idea why, but I have contacted Joint Waste Solutions to ask when they will be collected as it won’t be acceptable for them to stay in situ for a fortnight.

Representatives will be checking Brookwood this afternoon, and shortly after they will let me know when the bins will be emptied. I’ll update this blog with those details.

UPDATE at 13:30: These have now been cleared. It was a simple oversight on behalf of the collection team; the lorry ended up full before they finished Brookwood, and after going to the tip, they forgot to come back. It’s just unfortunate that it should happen over the longest Bank Holiday weekend, however at least it was resolved effectively the next working day. JWS hope no-one was inconvenienced but if so have asked me to pass on their apologies.



Surrey Fire and Rescue Service Consultation

You may have seen advertised the consultation into fire services in Surrey. Not a Borough matter, however due to our close proximity to Heathlands and their tendency to catch fire, I do talk to SCC Councillor colleagues about the fire service and I was very pleased when dedicated heathlands fire fighting equipment was introduced to Woking Fire Station.

Both Guildford and Woking have had brand new, state of the art, Fire Stations built and opened in the past three years. Surrey Fire and Rescue was recently exempted from making financial savings, and was allocated an extra £900,000 for 2019 for new fire engines, recruitment of new staff and changing its services.

Over the past 10 years the number of fires in Surrey has reduced by 50%, but in the same period road traffic accidents (RTAs) have increased by 50%. And more people die by drowning in our rivers than in RTAs. So Surrey Fire and Rescue are looking to reconfigure their services to the demand with more emphasis on preventative work.

There is a current consultation on changes. A three month public consultation about Surrey’s fire and rescue service began in March and closes in late May 2019. Details below.

The three proposals for 2020-2023 are:

1) Spending more time on community and business safety to help prevent emergencies occurring in the first place. When firefighters and fire engines aren’t needed at 999 calls, Surrey Fire and Rescue will be undertaking more community safety work to prevent incidents occurring in the first place. Much of this is done during the day when people are at school, work, home and most active in the community, some of this would also be done during night shifts. For example , Surrey Fire and Rescue works very closely with Adult Social Care, to visit elderly and vulnerable residents.

2) Maintaining the number of fire stations in Surrey and changing how some of them are crewed. Independently verified risk analysis shows that Surrey needs 20 fire engines during the day and 16 at night to keep Surrey safe. The proposal would mean we have more fire engines than this – this additional capacity allows extra resilience for larger and longer emergencies as well as training and practice in the increasing variety of emergencies our firefighters now respond to. Changes are also proposed to widen the catchment for on-call firefighters in some areas to assist with recruitment.

3) Recovering costs from some non-emergencies to reinvest in SFRS. It’s being considered looking at charging for some 999 calls which are false reports of fire, and animal rescues, to reinvest into the service.

These proposals are based on a detailed analysis of the risks that exist in Surrey, including understanding where the most vulnerable people are, and ensuring that Surrey Fire and Rescue have the cover needed to keep Surrey safe.

Information about risks is used to decide how best to allocate fire and rescue staff, resources and equipment to prevent these risks from happening and plan how best to respond to them if they do; this enables Surrey Fire and Rescue to focus its prevention activities on the areas where they’re most needed and have the most impact. This is a key element of the plan which proposes a shift in focus from mainly responding to emergencies to being better at preventing them in the first place. Naturally, the service is still focussed on providing the best service that it can to all residents and continuing to prioritise responding quickly to emergencies.

There is a Community Risk Profile that also explains more about how SCC and the Fire Service assess and address the risks in Surrey. Not only are there fewer calls during the night, but the risk picture also changes. For example, there are fewer people driving so there is less risk from road traffic collisions.

The Service has also welcomed 24 new recruits to Fire and Rescue HQ this year, 12 from Surrey, eight from West Sussex and four from East Sussex as part of a joint training course.

The full plan, summary document, online survey and equality impact assessment are available to comment until 26 May 2019. Please give your views in the consultation. The consultation may be examined and responded to by following this link.

Thanks to Guildford Cllrs Elms, Paul and Witham for much of the copy written here.



West Hill Cottages

I’ve seen a rumour circulating regarding the two properties facing Brookwood Crossroads suggesting that they are in a poor state of repair and will be knocked down. It’s untrue, so please don’t believe it.

The truth is very simple. Both properties have been acquired as a portion of the land will be used to improve the crossroads. This has been done on the basis of a willing seller (in both cases). To be clear, when agents of WBC contacted the owners of the properties to enquire as to whether they would be happy to sell to the Council, they confirmed they were and the deals have now been done.

The intent has not changed in over two years which is why I’m surprised someone with absolutely no knowledge has made stories up. The plan has been for the work to be done, which will likely involve removing the tree and the hedge, widening the carriageway and then building a wall at the new boundary. The properties would then go back on the market so that someone else could enjoy these quirky dwellings.

WBC doesn’t want the properties, but it is easier to do the kind of work required here with full ownership of the land in place rather than trying to negotiate with residents and buying a small parcel of land.

If the Council Tax payer is lucky, once all the works are done and the wall built, the properties will be worth more than they are currently. The area will certainly look nicer without the hedge and we’ll be able to see those beautiful cottages once again.

As always, contact me if you have any concerns about the goings on in Heathlands and remember that stuff written on social media is often based on opinion rather than facts unless backed up with evidenced links.



Brookwood Lye Development

I recently caught up with the project manager in Thameswey responsible for the development at Brookwood Lye. To recap, Thameswey is WBC’s housing delivery company and currently owns most of the site and will select a builder to build out the site once planning has been approved.

I’m wary of giving dates, because so far all dates I’ve provided have been woefully optimistic and as far as I’m concerned we’re about one year behind where I wanted to be.

A previous application was submitted in October 2017 and a number of issues were raised by me, the Environment Agency, WBC’s drainage engineer and the Local Planning Authority. It is the concerns raised at this time that have caused the delay. My primary issue was one of the blocks of flats that was close to the Brookwood Lye Road. It was too close and was out of character for the street scene. This has been changed, as has, the large block of flats abutting the railway line which has now been split into three buildings.

The total number of dwellings has stayed the same at 126, and I’ve received no indication that the mix will change, i.e. 50 sell at market value, 50 affordable rent and 26 sell at an affordable level. All the affordable dwellings will have a local first policy for a short period before being opened up to the rest of the borough residents.

I will have a stab at timescales. The new planning application was due to be submitted before May. If that runs through the process smoothly, we can expect it to be at Committee in September. It is unlikely to be presented to Committee unless the chances of it being granted are high, so assuming it is granted permission in September, the current view is that clearing the site will begin over the winter period and building would start in the spring 2020. Take this paragraph with a pinch of salt because I’ve been wrong every time so far!

I think the cross road improvements will come along during the development although I’m not currently up to speed on the latest proposals. They are still making their way through the SCC/WBC Joint Committee.

As ever, happy to answer any questions on this if you have any, and once I have more information, I will publish it here.