The Woldingham Parish Council held its Annual Parish Meeting (APM) on Wednesday 23 May. The agenda was packed with updates on the work done over the past year as well as guest speakers. We were joined by guest speakers Pier Mason, Strategic Director of Place, Tandridge District Council, and David Hodge, Council Leader, Surrey County Council.
The agenda included the Chairman’s report, detailing the project work being undertaken as set out in the Neighbourhood Plan. The Chairman noted that the WPC were also monitoring the Tandridge Local Plan impact on Woldingham.
The Chairman then went on to explain the reasons why the WPC did not choose to acquire the Village Green. In essence, although acquiring the Green would ensure control for a critical village site, the costs to maintain would be considerable. As no change of use can take place for the Green, the WPC determined that the costs were not justified at this time.
The Chairman went on to note that the Council had supported many community activities through ad hoc and annual grants; that there had been some turnover of Councillors; and that the Chairman, who is also our Tandridge Councillor, was about to be appointed TDC Chairman of Planning Policy and so would be standing down as Chairman of the WPC.
Piers Mason gave an update on a wide range of Tandridge matters, but the sharpest debate centred around the issue of the proposed Garden Villages. Mr Mason, supported by the Chairman and by Councillor Hodge, explained that if a Garden Village site were not selected, housing development would be forced upon us.
The Parish Councillors then briefly updated the APM on planning, noting that of the many applications upon which the WPC commented, the WPC’s opinion was sometimes at odds with TDC. The WPC noted that the they were studying the divergences to understand why there was such divergence.
The WPC then reported that it had undertaken to source vehicle activated speeding signs which would be placed at either end of the village, and be able to moved as needed. In addition, video cameras were being placed on Church road to help reduce crime.
Finally, the WPC reported out on the Crescent Regeneration project. The project is focused on the redesign of crescent parking and regenerating the Scout and Glebe areas, including notice boards, recycling bins and benches. Future projects include addressing the unattractive BT building. SCC is currently drawing up parking options for the Crescent, the plans for the Scout/Glebe areas are being finalised and the WPC await final quotes for disposal of containers before contractors are appointed and work commences. The plans for the Crescent are very exciting and will transform the heart of the village.
GDPR – General Data Protection – went live 25 May and the WPC noted that it had fully complied with GDPR requirements.
Finally, Surrey Councillor David Hodge presented to the APM. He noted that patching and surface dressing of the Ridge and Northdown Road would be undertaken this summer. Woldingham Road’s existing surface suffers localised patch failure and would be redone in 2018 and then surface dressed in 2019. Councillor Hodge noted that the huge increase in potholes due to the harsh winter meant SCC had redeployed road teams to address them, more than doubling the number of road teams working on pothole repair. An additional £5million had been allocated in March to address the pothole problem. An additional £15million was later announced and the SCC was hoping to reduce spend on potholes and focus on large scale patching.
Councillor Hodge also noted that the final works to protect against flooding would be completed this year at Bug Hill. Bug Hill would further benefit from a new junction layout to improve safety. In addition, Councillor Hodge noted that SCC members were allocated £5k in funds per Parish to be allocated directly to the Parishes. Councillor Hodge is splitting his allocations and has allocated £1750 to highway projects and £1250 to community projects for Woldingham.
Finally, Councillor Hodge shared that the Surrey 2030 vision draft proposal had just been submitted to the full Council with the final plan to be presented in October, followed by budget and strategic direction in November.
The APM is your opportunity to hear from you WPC, TDC and SCC Councillors. Please send us feedback as to what more you would like to hear and discuss at future meetings.
Councillor Deborah Sherry