Despite enduring the dog days of summer, the Parish Council continues to work hard on a variety of issues. As you will read in updates below, safety and security are paramount at the moment and work on trying to bring fibre broadband to the whole village continues. Despite the distractions in government while the leadership contest progresses, I have had a detailed conversation with our MP, Claire Coutinho, about possible measures to improve funding and efficacy for our police forces. As increased crime is a wide-spread issue, and much of it is international organised crime, we are pressing hard and working with Claire to ensure this is a topic addressed by the incoming leadership.
We are also applying for funding to source an additional defibrillator for the village as we know our existing defibrillators have been used to save lives. We currently have two in the village: one on the Village Hall and one on the Garden Village Peace Centre Hall.
As a reminder, we still have one vacancy on the Parish Council. If you are interested in hearing more about our work, please reach out to our Clerk, Karen Newman, at email@example.com. Please read on for detailed updates from your Parish Council.
Chairman Deborah Sherry
Speeding in the Village
Readers may recall that a speed check undertaken on Station Road in the summer of 21, the results showed that average speeds of 32.2mph northbound and 31.4mph show reasonably good compliance with the 30mph speed limit on Station Road. However, we wanted to test other locations in the village.
A further speed check survey was undertaken between the 7th and 13th of June, at 3 sites. The sites were: on Northdown Road, about level with halfway along the NDGC first fairway; on the Ridge approaching the junction with Northdown Road; and also on The Ridge close to the junction with Southview Road. All of these sites have a 40 mph road speed limit.
In the period of the survey the average road traffic speed recorded was actual below the 40 mph speed limit on all 3 sites, the average speed on the two sites on The Ridge was less than 35 mph. Looking at the 85 percentile figures this shows there is a proportion of vehicles that are travelling faster than the speed limit, to a limited extent on the Ridge but more so on Northdown Road. To explore this further, we looked at recorded speeds of 50 mph or more. On the two Ridge sites there are less than 1% movements exceeding 50 mph, but on Northdown Road there are 4% of northbound and 4.2% of southbound movements that exceed 50mph. This is around 30 movements a day in each direction.
The body of evidence we have so far shows that overall compliance to speed limits is reasonable, but there are a relatively small proportion of number of vehicles that exceed the speed limit by some margin on Northdown Road.
We know from previous review of thinking in this field that a lower speed limit is considered to have very little impact on reducing speeds, and in practice cannot been effectively policed. We will continue to keep this work on our agenda.
Councillor Alex Foulds
Woldingham Village Security
Late last year, after consultation with Surrey Police, Woldingham Parish Council decided to utilise money received from the Community Infrastructure Levy to purchase 3 Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras. These would form part of an extensive network across the Tandridge police area. The precise location of each camera in the overall network is sensitive information and the Surrey Police responsible for the scheme concentrated their efforts first on the spots they thought would bring the quickest results. Already quite a few of the ANPR cameras have been installed and Surrey Police advise us that they are starting to make a difference in preventing suspicious vehicles using our road network. The roll out of the whole network is expected to be complete before the end of the year. Each camera installed helps to protect not only the village where the camera is situated but also the neighbouring villages with everyone getting benefit from the full network. Once installed by the Police, they take over responsibility for service and maintenance of each camera in the network.
It does seem from the slowdown in reports on the KWS WhatsApp group that vehicle crime in Woldingham has reduced. Whilst some of this is down to the efforts of the group, there has been a step up in police presence and the ANPR network is also contributing. It is however an ongoing process where we can all play a part.
Some of you may have seen reports of cars being stolen by scanning keyless vehicles to identify the radio frequency needed to activate the vehicle. There was also an incident where a similar technique was used to open electronic security gates. They recommend that if you have an electronic gate system you should contact the installer/service company to discuss what measures, if any, you can take to minimise risk. Not having the gate controller in your car is one obvious precaution but taking expert advice on your particular system is a police recommendation.
We do keep a regular dialogue going with Surrey Police and continue to share best practice between the Parish Council, KWS and Neighbourhood Watch.
Councillor Peter Hutchinson
Gatwick Expansion TFL ULEZ consultations and Fibre Broadband
This month, the Parish Council has responded to several statutory consultations. The first was from Gatwick Airport, regarding the Runway 2 junction, to which we objected in the strongest possible terms to the conversion of the ‘emergency’ runway to a ‘second’ runway. The reason for the objection was because the increase in traffic (on the road and in the air) will not only have a severe impact on the environment but, more specifically, the additional aircraft movement will have a negative impact on the current peaceful life enjoyed by the residents in Woldingham. This village is already experiencing air traffic from the London airports and having a second runway at Gatwick would have a huge impact.
The second was to TFL on the proposed extension to the ULEZ zone. Our objection was because of the increased financial burden it will place on Woldingham families and businesses, particularly at a time when they are struggling to cope with large cost of living increases and to recover from COVID. With Woldingham being less than 3 miles away from the M25 and 3.1 miles from the nearest proposed ULEZ boundary, many residents travel to jobs, schools, health services, shops, leisure facilities and to visit friends and family in the proposed extension areas and this will increase their cost of living at a time when all costs of living have increased. Woldingham has a very poor public transport service, 3 buses a day, which are only accessible by residents living in the top part of the village, and a limited train service which is nowhere near the pre-COVID levels. They rely on cars to travel outside of the village. Local businesses rely on their cars and vans to deliver their services. They have no other option and we believe it is unfair to penalise them for that. We also flagged that we don’t understand why the London Mayor is not extending the scrappage schemes for old cars to the proposed zone, and indeed, to bordering villages that have to enter the ULEZ zone.
OpenReach fibre broadband update: The revised quote for the application to bring Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) for 358 houses and businesses in Woldingham has been received. Whilst it could be funded from the voucher scheme, this still means every resident would have to mandatorily sign up to a fibre broadband contact for 12-months post installation, or the voucher will not be applied to the installation costs. This would leave the Parish Council, as the legal entity signing the contract, exposed to considerable risk for sums that well exceed our budget. The government’s ‘Project Gigabit’ scheme is now, once more, on hold as further changes are made to it so we will wait for it to resume and see if those changes reduce the risk. In the meantime, Councillor Carole North is approaching Claire Countinho, MP for East Surrey, for support as the scheme originally did not require proof of activation by each household/business.
Vice-Chairman Carole North