Route improvements to the 500 bus timetable

Windsor Rackham, coordinator of LIVE, has informed me that from September 2nd, 2109 the 500 bus timetable has route improvements. Windsor says,

The major change for Lightwater Road residents is that each service will now only travel once along this road. The stop for the Village and the Camberley direction will be on the Colville Gardens side of the road, while the stop for Windlesham and Sunningdale will be from the bus shelter side. Please note the timetable changes carefully as one or two services may be slightly earlier than you expect.

The change is a result of discussions with the Windlesham Parish Council, Surrey County Council, and LIVE. Your local Councillors are currently discussing with us the future of public transport in this area and all views are open for discussion. If you have any points you would like to raise, please talk to your Councillors or pop-in to LIVE on a Saturday morning in the Library Meeting Room. Timetables are available from the Library, Post Office, village shops, and LIVE on Saturday mornings.

Lightwater looks lovely lit-up

Awful alliteration, I know, I just couldn’t resist it.

Lightwater’s double switch – on event on Saturday, firstly the Windlesham Parish Council Christmas tree in the memorial gardens, with carol singing led by All Saints’ Church vicar, Rev David Sigsworth.

The assembled audience then moved to Lightwater’s village square for the switch-on of the Christmas Lights in the Square, sponsored by Co-op Food, Randalls Coffee and Wine Bar, and the Lightwater Business Association.

We enjoyed the odd combination of mulled wine and samosa. Here are a few photos of the events. Click on images to enlarge.

Surrey Chief Constable’s open letter regarding Unauthorised Encampments

This is a copy of the open letter from Chief Constable Nick Ephgrave QPM, to the Editor of the Surrey Advertiser, regarding unauthorised encampments across the county.

This summer has seen an unprecedented number of unauthorised encampments, no part of the county has been unaffected and as the summer has passed, the amount of ill feeling and anger about a perceived lack of action by police has been palpable.

The disappointing thing is that all of this was predicted and there is a practical solution available that would help. It has been successfully implemented in a number of surrounding counties, but has yet to be implemented in Surrey, leaving the local authorities and police with limited powers to deal with those intent on trespass.

Before I come to that solution, let me make it clear that there are two related but separate issues that need to be addressed. The first is the issue of an unauthorised encampment. This is of itself not a criminal matter and the lead agency for implementing eviction is the local authority, working with the land owner supported where necessary by the police. In this regard, it is absolutely the case that we in the police and our colleagues in the Boroughs and Districts have significantly upped our game this year and now have well-rehearsed and effective procedures for assessing and evicting unauthorised encampments in accordance with the legislation currently available to us. The shortcoming is that under the only legislation that we can utilise, there is nothing to stop those evicted from simply moving 100 yards down the road and setting up camp there. We then have to go through the whole rigmarole again and this is exactly what has happened this year, with repeated encampments as we follow groups round the county, creating further upset and disruption far and wide.

The related issue is that of criminality associated with some encampments. My clear direction to officers is that where there is criminality and where there is sufficient evidence to take action against identified perpetrators, then we will do so swiftly and firmly. The frustration comes when it is not possible to attribute a criminal act, for example criminal damage, to any one individual due to a lack of witnesses or other evidence to implicate them. This is no different to any other crime. One cannot simply arrest whole groups of people because ‘one of them must have done it’.

So, what else might be done? Under the legislation, if a designated transit site is available, the police are enabled to direct encampments to move immediately to the transit site, with far fewer criteria necessary to act. If those on the encampment refuse, or return to camp unlawfully elsewhere within three months they are liable to immediate arrest. Currently, Surrey has no transit sites and so none of these powers are available.

An increasing number of surrounding counties have created designated transit sites and their experience has been that this significantly addresses the issue of unauthorised encampments. Surrey, without any such sites, remains vulnerable to those who know the legislation and understand that the powers available to police are more limited, no doubt making Surrey an attractive venue for those who wish to set up unauthorised encampments.

To conclude, I recognise the frustration and anger of local residents and businesses affected by unauthorised encampments. We will deal with criminality as and when it occurs and continue to support local authorities in their actions, but the options available to my officers are limited and given other demands, I can ill afford the enormous resource and energy my officers put in to dealing with this. The provision of even one transit site will make an enormous difference to our ability to respond to unauthorised encampments, but it is not in my gift to make it happen – that is a difficult political decision that sits with our local leaders who I know have the issue under active consideration.

Yours sincerely, Nick Ephgrave, Chief Constable

UPDATE – big error: Have you say on the Windlesham Neighbourhood Plan prior to submission

Gosh, what a complete nincompoop I am, the consultation period ended 26th April 2017. That’s a whole year ago. I’m sorry to have misled you all.

Many will know of the Windlesham Neighbourhood Plan, and the desire for Windlesham residents to have in place a formal planning policy against which planning applications and developments are considered. The Plan can be viewed below, or in the locations listed in Windlesham Parish Council’s website, SEE HERE. The Parish Council is seeking comments on the Plan prior to submission.

Prior to the submission of the plan to Surrey Heath Borough Council, Windlesham Parish Council is undertaking Pre-Submission Consultation on the Draft Windlesham Neighbourhood Plan.

This formal stage in the process of preparing the Plan requires a six week period of public consultation. We are seeking comments on the Draft Plan from people who live, work or have businesses in the area and from other organisations that have an interest in the plan area.

The pre-submission consultation commenced on the 20th February 2017 and the closing date for representations is the 26th April 2017. Representations can either be emailed to Sarah Walker at sarah.walker@windleshampc.gov.uk or sent by post to: Windlesham Parish Council, The Council Office, The Avenue, Lightwater, Surrey, GU18 5RG