Tonight we had the Surrey Heath Local Area Committee taking place in the Ian Goodchild Centre. Now I appreciate that the name does not sound promising in terms of being very interesting but it is the only formal group where you get to see both County and Borough Councillors talking about important issues such as the roads. We also get quite a few members of the public turning up as well as local politicos. Bizarrely, we were in the same building as Freddie Starr who was doing a comedy night in the Theatre. Hopefully, the two audiences found their way to the right rooms otherwise there could have been some disappointment all round.
Turning to the meeting itself, it always starts with a public question-time which offer a chance to hear the current local campaigns. This time, residents raised a wide variety of issues such as cycle paths, the cut in breakfast club provision in Surrey schools and a possible library/museum hub in Camberley as well as serious road concerns in places such as Southwell Park Road, A322 and Station Road in Bagshot. In fact, so many issues were raised that we could have gone on for longer which shows that despite the cynics, people do want to talk local concerns and without political labels.
Onto the agenda and it appears that the Tory County Cllrs are less than happy with the Tory borough councillors on the issue of flooding. In particular, they are cross because a new “Partnership Board” has been set up to “reflect areas with the greatest flood risk”. Lots of Surrey councils are taking part but sadly, not Surrey Heath BC at the moment. No-one seemed to know why or at least weren’t saying in public other than strange references about one of the Tory Borough members and their view about working with County.
An update report followed from the Safer Surrey Heath Partnership and in particular their priorities for crime and disorder over the next year. The fact that one priority was to address, “higher risk drinkers of alcohol” was childishly amusing to some at the meeting and obviously did not relate to any local county councillors who happened to be present.
Moving onto Highways and the Chairman proudly announced that there will be a Highways event for the public in Camberley Town Centre on the 27th October at which people can tell the County about all the bad roads in their area. Unfortunately it appeared that no-one had bothered to tell any of the Borough members who clearly knew nothing about it. Any knowledge of the publicity methods that were being used drew a similar blank. Still if no-one turns up to complain about their local road between 11am and 4pm on 27th October, this can only mean that everyone is 100% happy with every single road in Surrey Heath (or perhaps not?).
Finally and some good news, we took a decision to agree funding for major improvements to the Toshiba Roundabout in Frimley to the tune of around £700k, This is an area I drive through every day and the traffic flow in most directions is a real problem. This won’t be done immediately and it will need careful designs but the plan is to do this in the 2013/14 financial year which would appear to be shortly after the County Council elections….