Review of the local news this week

One of the areas that I intend to pilot in this blog is to do some political commentary on some of the news items appearing in the Camberley News & Mail.

So making the local news this week…

“Borough Council must “fight harder” for rail links

This story highlights the concerns of the Camberley Society about the current poor rail links between our area and London. Now I regularly take the train from Camberley to London for social reasons and the 72 minutes to travel 32 miles is just ridiculous.  The Camberley Society are pressing for a link in 50 minutes which would be great but unlikely in the short term.

The Council will be discussing this further next week but one of the problems I experience is the very slow connection times at Ascot and Ash Vale which means that people generally wait there for 15 to 20 minutes. This may not be easy to resolve for signalling reasons but is definitely worth a look along with a couple of extra direct trains each day from our area including at least one “fast” service with much fewer stops. This is probably more likely in the short term than trying to get the Sturt Cord in Frimley Green reopened which is likely to be at least 10 years away.

Another area that needs looking at is the very unpleasant environment for travellers using Camberley Station.  Last time I travelled (less than 2 weeks ago), pigeons were enjoying the inside waiting area and the benches were covered with their droppings.  If you didn’t fancy that, you could stand outside in the cold and rain! This is hardly likely to encourage business commuters to get out of their cars and traffic jams.

Project to benefit from crime cash

This is a great story that St.Michael’s will now be getting a ball games area for young people. There is no doubt that this is a desperately needed initiative in an area where there are many young people living in cramped housing. Hopefully this will also resolve resident concerns when people are kicking balls around in car parks and garages and shows that positive engagement is a far better approach.

On a different note, it’s great to see that a new social enterprise has been launched to help adults with learning difficulties to get work opportunities.  Many years ago, I spent a number of enjoyable summers working with clients in this category and they are some of the most committed workers I have ever met.  Sometimes they need extra guidance and help with certain tasks but their loyalty and dedication is amazing and would put others to shame. As one example, I have met one bloke who spent over 10 years working as a gravedigger at a cemetery and was brilliant at the role. It’s good that there are a number of enlightened employers in our area who already realise this and let’s hope that more follow and this is a success.

Letters page

Interesting to read two letters from a Conservative and Lib Dem candidates in the recent elections who both comment about the lack of general awareness for local councillors. I have already blogged about this in detail but both of them make good points about apathy and that local councillors are well meaning but can only help if they know about a problem.  This again highlights that there is a real issue about local government and a need to positively address voter interest before the next round of elections come.  Perhaps it needs a few people to discuss in a local pub one night – volunteers are welcome to contact me!

And finally, it was good to see another mention for my good friend, Murray Rowlands who appeared at the Camberley Theatre along with many others for the annual Surrey Heath Book Festival.  I have bought his book “Innocents of War” but have to confess not to have read it yet although very interested in the Kiwi history,  I understand that he and former Z cars actor and now Cllr, Ian Cullen, were the warm up act for Honor Blackman who apparently brought “a bit of glamour to the event” according to a quote in the paper! It’s probably fair to say that Murray and Ian didn’t do the same…

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