As stated earlier as things stand the ambulance station based in Knaphill is to close and the staff plus vehicles transferred to Ottershaw.
The body that made this decision, South East Coast Ambulance Service Foundation Trust, has been placed in special measures . The reason for this is that they have been rated inadequate by England’s chief inspector of hospitals.
Amongst the reasons given by the Inspector for the decision included bullying, delayed response times and putting patients at risk. The KRA have also been told that there is a shortage of staff.
Given grave state of affairs it is down to politicians at all levels, we have briefed our MP, to halt this move to close our ambulance station because once it closes it will not reopen.
South East Coast Ambulance Service is to close the ambulance station situated on Bagshot Road (A322) Knaphill. We understand that the closure could take place before the end of October.
The KRA were receiving reports from residents about the intended closure of the ambulance station and when we questioned Cllr. Hussain he stated that no one had consulted or informed the local Councillors of a possible closure.
Yesterday, 25 September I came across an article on the website of the Ambulance service. The article is headed ‘Chertsey Make Ready Centre to incorporate more ambulance crews.’ It was only on reading the full article that what this meant was that the crews and vehicles based at Knaphill were being transferred to Chertsey. The article was published on the 20 September.
The ambulance service tries to argue that one of the reasons for closing the Knaphill station is because, and I quote, ‘it is not in the right location for current patient demand.’ What it should have said is that a developer is interested in buying the land and the ambulance service needs the money.
Knaphill ambulance service covers Woking west of the town centre including Goldsworth Park, St. Johns, Knaphill and Brookwood plus parts of Surrey Heath including Bisley.
The South East Coast Ambulance Service is already failing to meet national targets on response times to 999 calls, how is increasing the journey time to our corner of Surrey going to help. We keep being told that in the case of a full emergency time counts and that is why the target is a response time of within 8 minutes to 999 call. How will an ambulance navigate the traffic at peak times from Chertsey or Ottershaw to Knaphill and be within the target time.
Another key question, who has made this decision. The ambulance service is an NHS foundation trust and as such has local politicians on its Board, who represents this part of Surrey on the Board? Were they not paying attention or sleeping on the job?
The KRA has written to both our MP, Jonathan Lord and our County Councillors, Saj Hussain asking for the closure of the Knaphill Ambulance Station to be put on hold until there has been a full, independent review of the decision including an examination, b traffic experts, of the travel times from Ottershaw to the area covered by Knaphill.
We await a response from both our MP and County Councillor.
The new footpath that goes from Brookwood Farm pavilion to the canal towpath has been reported to Woking Council following several complaints about the surface of the footpath. The current footpath surface is unsuitable both for cyclists and adults pushing baby buggies. WBC have agreed to investigate but added that as the path goes across what will be a country park they will have to consult Natural England who approve all footpath surfaces in Country Parks.
The ground floor of the new car park at Brookwood station is now open. When we visited the ticket machines were not working and therefore you had to purchase your parking ticket in the station. The new cycle pod has also been opened.
Please note that the slip roads off Connaught Road have been switched. This means that you use the slip road nearest to Knaphill to get to the station.
We can now confirm that Premier Pubs Estate have formally requested a review of the decision to register the Anchor public house as an asset of community value. The review will normally take place within 8 weeks of the Council having received a written request for a review. What we do not know is if Premier Pubs have sought an oral hearing.
Work has started on the old library site and we assume the first job is to complete the demolition of the old building. Access to the site is from Englefield Road. Those who have been following this story will know that New Vision Homes were granted planning permission in February 2015 to build a 3 storey block containing 9 residential units. Later New Vision Homes/Woking Borough council acquired land at the rear of the old library that fronts out on Englefield Road. Although this land has been acquired neither WBC nor New Vision Homes has stated what they plan for this land.
As workmen start to demolish the old library one must assume that New Vision Homes plan to go ahead with the single building that has been approved. Having suggested that the builder sticks to the original plans they showed a single entrance to the new flats being off the High Street but surely having acquired land at the rear it would make more sense to make the entrance off Englefiled Road! This change would require an amendment to the agreed plans and as yet no such amendment has been published.
If the demolition is completed by the end of October then the annual Armistice Day service may be held on the land in front of the old library.
As of 5th September, Knaphill library will be open during the following hours :
Monday 1 – 5 Thursday 10 – 1, 2 – 5
Tuesday 10 – 1, 2 – 5 Friday 10 – 1, 2 – 5
Wednesday Closed Saturday 9.30 – 4
After chasing an update for several months, we have just been informed that the situation regarding Knaphill is the following, which is a direct quote from a communication from Inspector Nolan Heather, from the Woking Area Policing Team of Surrey Police:
“In April we underwent a change in how we deliver our front line service. This resulted in a new model called Policing in your Neighbourhood (PIYN). This is good news for each borough as it means that each area now has its own uniformed team who are locally led. The old Safer Neighbourhood Team has also changed as well. It has become smaller and is focusing on tackling repeat issues on the borough.
For Knaphill, PCSO Sultan Khan is still the point of contact for the area. He is managed by PS Emmie Harris and both of them form part of the wider team that looks after Woking.
In regards of the names and numbers to contact, for an emergency it will be 999 as this will provide the quickest response. If the incident is not an emergency then the 101 number is the next best number to call. This will ensure that your call is logged and details can be passed onto the team. This reduces the risk of the matter being missed should the officer be away on leave for example. Residents can also contact the local team on firstname.lastname@example.org (I must stress that this is not to be used to report crime).
We also have our own Facebook (Wokingbeat) and Twitter page (@wokingbeat). These both provide an opportunity for local residents to see what the team are currently involved with.”
The KRA are looking at the possibility of organising a public meeting with Inspector Heather so that he can explain in more detail the implications of the above and residents can ask questions and express any concerns or problems they might have. Details will be made available once this is firmed up.
I must thank Elizabeth Bell and John Stoker for the photographs.
The KRA has been monitoring the activities connected to the Anchor. Earlier in the year we were made aware that the owners of the pub were looking to close the pub and after consultation with local Councillors they started to devlop plans to utilize the building for apartments and retail units.
In May the Surrey Hants Borders Branch of CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) submitted an application for the Anchor to be registered as an asset of community value.
On 15 July Woking Borough Council judged that the case presented by CAMRA meant that the Anchor met the criteria and the Anchor Inn has been registered as a pub and an asset of community value.
What does this mean?
Basically the Anchor must remain a public house for as long as it is registered. The decision notice states that the Anchor will be registered for five years.
Does this mean that the Anchor will remain open for business for the next five years?
No, the owners can decide to close the pub if they feel that the finances do not make it worthwhile keeping the doors open. However if the owners do close the pub and advertise the premises for sale or to be leased the new owners or leaseholders must operate the building as a pub. So the plans to change the use of the building are put on hold.
Are there grounds to appeal the decision?
Our understanding is that only the landowner has the right to request a review of the decision. The landowner is Premier Pubs Estate Limited and they have until 15 September to submit a request for a review if they wish to challenge The decision.
What is the concern of the KRA?
If the Anchor remains open as a public house that’s OK, our concern is that if Merlin Inns, current operators of the Anchor, decide to pull out and Premier Pubs cannot attract a new pub management company they will close the pub and the building stands empty. Once a building is boarded up and essential maintenance ceases a building will soon start to deteriorate. You only have to look at The Meadows, the hospital building that stands next to the Nags Head to see how an empty building soon becomes a wreck.
So that is where things stand, currently the Anchor Inn remains open for business, for how long, that is up to Premier Pubs and Merlin Inns.
the full report on the Anchor can be found on the website for Woking Borough Council. Write community asset into the search engine.