Surrey Heath Council’s answers to questions at #TalkSurreyHeath

Surrey Heath Borough Council released, on Friday 23 February 2018, answers to the unanswered questions from the Facebook Live #TalkSurreyHeath event on January 30th 2018,

The latest #TalkSurreyHeath meeting took place at Surrey Heath House on 30 January 2018.  You find out more and watch the broadcast again here.

Due to the one hour duration of the broadcast the panel unfortunately did not have enough time to answer all the questions submitted. These questions and SHBC’s replies are below. We will be running another #TalkSurreyHeath event in Spring 2018.

What are you doing about the homeless?  
Council services are focussed on homelessness prevention so we stop this happening in many cases by working with landlords to address the problems that tenants are encountering.

When people become homeless we have a case worker to work with them to understand why they are homeless as it is important the reasons why someone became homeless are addressed so that as we help them to move back into accommodation they are able to sustain the tenancy.

We are working with local community groups to see what more we can do collectively to support homeless people in the Borough. The Council is now also considering whether it needs to begin to build its own housing.

When will schools have better SENCO for Camberley children that have disabilities?  There are many schools unable to cope to children with ADHD and autism. 
This is a matter for Surrey County Council not SHBC.

Good evening, can anyone update on the planned proposal for South Western Railway to remove our direct line services to and from London Waterloo in the peak time morning and evening? This is devastating blow to local transport, and the proposed changes will drive traffic to Sunningdale for a decent service. 
The Council will continue to lobby for the service to be maintained and is talking to the new franchisee South Western Railway about this.

What has happened to the asset value of The Square shopping centre since acquisition? 
The Square will be valued as part of our accounts. However as has been said before that Council purchased the Square with the intention of holding it for the long term for revenue and investment rather than looking to make immediate capital gains

Can you offer a view on recent trading in The Square?  
The overall spend in the centre is holding steady and footfall is performing slightly better than the national average. The feedback we are getting from our agents is that this has halted a decline and is as a result of the Council’s investment both directly in the centre and in the wider Town Centre.

How bad would it need to get before you shut the Theatre? What an opportunity for redevelopment! 
The Theatre is part of the wider offer of the Town centre. As such it plays an important role in attracting visitors who go on to spend in the town. As such it is an investment in the wider town centre assets that the Council now has a major financial stake in. We are looking for ways to continually improve the offer to ensure long term economic sustainability. Cultural activities are an important element of this.

Improvements have been made to the running of the theatre to ensure that it is as cost efficient as possible. We would urge more residents to visit the theatre – it is a real asset for Camberley – as only this will ensure its long term sustainability.

When do you believe that Deepcut will be started or completed?  
Work on roads, the village green and pond and clearance of some trees is already underway. A planning application went to Committee on 8 February for the first phase and we expect construction to start on those homes this year.

Do you agree that the Council should not have promoted Fairoaks until we understand the impact of Longcross? 
The Council has to explore all options for delivering new housing in the Borough. This site is known to be available for development and the bid to the Garden Village project was for funding to assist the Council in understanding whether this site might have potential for housing. In respect of Longcross, there is a wider feasibility study underway to look at the impact of that site together with all potential development proposals along the A320, including Fairoaks.

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Surrey Heath Borough Council targets fly tippers

Surrey Heath Borough Council announce the following on fly tipping,

Two fly tippers are £400 worse off this Christmas having each been issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) by Surrey Heath Borough Council’s Corporate Enforcement officers. [Click on image to enlarge]

Having received information from partners at Accent Housing, SHBC officers obtained CCTV footage which showed two individuals emptying the contents of a van of DIY waste into the communal bins at Wimbledon Road, Camberley.

The culprits, who cannot be named, were traced via the van’s owner, leading to a £400 FPN being issued to them both.

Accent’s Regional Housing Director, Rob Mills said: “This is a great example of collaborative working between Accent and Surrey Heath Borough Council. We will continue to work together to tackle anti-social behaviour, including fly tipping, across the Borough.”

SHBC’s Corporate Enforcement Manager Julia Greenfield said: “Earlier this year we launched a joint anti-fly tipping campaign with Accent Housing, and we thank them for their help in this case.

“Publicity for the campaign included leafletting areas that historically have been blighted by fly tipping. Issuing these Fixed Penalty Notices shows we are proactively targeting fly tippers.

“There is no excuse for people not legitimately disposing of their waste, and we will continue to take action against people who are caught carrying out this criminal act.”

Fly tipping can be reported at www.surreyheath/flytipping.gov.uk or by telephoning 01276 707100

Again Surrey Heath absent from the top 50 in the 2017 Halifax Quality of Life Survey

Surrey Heath were 20th in the 2015 Halifax Quality of Life Survey. In the 2016 survey Surrey Heath were absent from the top 50. It’s the same result again in the 2017 survey, Surrey Heath is absent. Yet Hart, an adjoining borough to Surrey Heath comes in 1st.

See the table on the right for the top ten – click on image to expand.

I’ve been troubled by the changes in the boroughs making up the top 50 for a number of years. In the 2009 survey Surrey Heath was third, and in 2010 we were 9th. See HERE for my previous articles on the Halifax Quality of Life Surveys.

Anyway, here’s the press release from Halifax, containing the tables and the make up of their annual survey.

Details of new garden waste collection service announced

Surrey Heath Borough Council announced that,

A new garden waste collection service will delivered across Surrey Heath from February 2018.

At a meeting of Surrey Heath Borough Council’s Executive on December 5, it was agreed that the new subscription-based scheme would operate fortnightly, at an annual charge of £40.

The Council-backed scheme will be operated by Amey, who replace Biffa, the current Green Waste Club operators.

The new cost, which is a reduction on the £57 a year charged by the Biffa scheme, includes the provision and delivery of a 240-litre wheeled bin. Subscribers to the existing scheme will be able to keep their current bin upon joining the new scheme.

New customers will receive a bin upon subscribing to the scheme.

Amey are the contractors for the new Surrey Heath waste and recycling collection service under the Joint Waste Contract, which will start on 5 February.

Managed by Joint Waste Solutions, this arrangement maintains a high quality waste and recycling service for residents in Surrey Heath, Elmbridge, Mole Valley and Woking, while saving taxpayers across the four authorities around £2.5 million a year.

The first contract of its kind in Surrey, it was part-funded by the Surrey Waste Partnership and supported by Surrey County Council as the waste disposal authority.

More detailed information on the new Green Waste Club scheme, and the Joint Waste Solutions service in general, will be issued to residents ahead of its implementation in the new year.

Service awards the main event at Surrey Heath’s council meeting

The Mayor of Surrey Heath, Cllr Valerie White, kindly invited us to attend December’s council meeting of Surrey Heath Borough Council.

Think there were just a handful of visitors to the council meeting, apart from three Honorary Aldermen. Two notable events contrasted to a very dull council meeting, no big issues discussed, no questions from the public or councillors. Very much like local government council’s everywhere.

The notable events were uplifting. Two council employees, whom I know, and for whom I hold each in high regard, were given recognition for their service to the Council and community. John Foley, from the Waste Management team, received the thanks of the Chief Executive for 40 years service. John has had a immense impact on Surrey Heath’s rising up, over the years, the league table of best councils for recycling. Jane Sherman, in Democratic Services, is shortly to retire after 30 years service. Her professionalism and dedication made for the smooth running of council meetings and governance.

After the meeting we shared a drink of wine and a mince pie with the Mayor, officers and Councillors. Here are three photos of the evening. The Mayor leaving the chamber behind the mace bearer, and John Foley, and Jane Sherman.

Camberley High Street revitalisation funding approved

Surrey Heath Borough Council is very pleased to announce that it has secured funding from Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) to improve the High Street and public spaces in Camberley Town Centre.

SHBC has been awarded a £3.5 million grant from Enterprise M3’s Local Growth Fund. The LEP supports economic growth of areas in the M3 corridor – stretching from Staines-upon-Thames to the New Forest, covering mid to North Hampshire, as well as South and West Surrey.  SHBC will add funds of £900k, so the total budget for the project is £4.4 million.

The scheme is an integral part of the strategy to develop Camberley as a major commercial centre.    It is estimated that the improvements could lead to an increase in the number of people coming into the town centre by 20% over a 10 year period. Other potential economic benefits expected to be generated by the scheme include more 100 jobs, with a total value of over £14m.

In addition to substantial structural improvement to The High Street, which will include widening the pavements, improving road and pavement surfaces; the project will also incorporate installation of public art and improved public seating and walkways in Knoll Walk and Princess Way.

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Duty done, comment on Boundary Commission review posted

The text, all neatly organised, of my comments on the review by the Boundary Commission for England of moving Windlesham into the Windsor parliamentary constituency is now entered into their consultation page.

Rather annoyingly all the bullet numbering and indentation of my text was lost when adding it into the Commission’s website. Key thing is, I’ve done it, and here’s proof. There’s still time [till end of today] if you’d like to comment also.