It seems that everywhere I go right now I hear about potholes. And that probably has something to do with there being potholes everywhere I drive! I’m clearly not alone in worrying about the state of the roads right now, and hoping the thump noise which my car just made going over that last one just then wasn’t anything too serious. I’ve recently joined the local Facebook group ‘Woking potholes’ which is ostensibly a place to warn others about the worst potholes and damage in the area, but perhaps also has the rather pleasing side effect of being a darn good place to whinge about the state of our roads and what is being done about it.
Well, the short answer is quite a lot, but there is an awful lot of damage out there and only so much money and resource to go around.
Our roads are managed by Surrey County Council (not Woking Borough Council for this one – although goodness knows we do like to give them a hard time whenever we can), and in particular Councillor Colin Kemp is the Conservative Cabinet Member for Highways, and happens to live in Horsell, so he seems like a good place to start. First, lets read the highlights of what he had to say about the matter on Facebook recently:
“The average amount of pot holes reported over the last few years are February 3516, March 3851.
The figure for the same months this year are February 6524, March 8377.
So you can see the size of the issue we are dealing with and this is the worse it has been since the floods in 2013. We have also taken the decision to postpone some of the non-essential work to divert resource to identify and repair some of our roads.
Alongside that Kier have drafted in additional resource and where they would normally have about 8-12 crews out repairing our network there are currently 25 crews working in Surrey and they are looking to bring in more.”
“As you can imagine this is a major task. All defects are prioritised from P1 to P4 with P1 being an emergency response, we also have criteria built into the contract to manage the time scales they must react to the different criteria. For P2s, which must be reacted to within a few days, because of the amount of defects arising they are doing more temporary repairs to enable them to cover more ground and they will return at a future date to complete the repair. This does not cost the county any more money, this is an operation decision which allows the risk to be managed and enables Kier to meet the response criteria.” – Cllr Colin Kemp, 12th April 2018
As you can see, essentially what he’s saying is that potholes are cropping up more and more because our roads are facing some of the most significant challenges ever, as a whole pile of negative factors converge. The climate has put the composition of the roads under pressure – significant rainfall followed by extreme cold temperatures, followed by extreme heat, is just not what our roads are used to handling. (It could be argued that they should be built to withstand greater pressures, but in many cases that requires higher spend to begin with, and when UK climate is generally quite moderate rather than extreme, a local government which is already fiscally stretched will economise in as many ways as they can.) Surrey is becoming increasingly densely populated with more people living and working here than ever before, and more people using cars on a daily basis than ever before.
In April 2017, the Department for Transport for the UK government announced a £250million for the jazzily named Pothole Action Fund (£50million each year for the next 5 years). Of that, Surrey has been allocated just over £1million, which is calculated based the size of the local road network. The full statement is shown at the bottom of this article.
There is a very complex set of criteria which SCC use to determine the priority of maintenance works taking place on our roads. If you want to read more on that (or if you have trouble sleeping!) then take a look here.
The only way we can expect SCC to repair our roads is if they are told about there being a problem. Here are the WBC and SCC links for reporting problems that you see. Also, it is up to you to make a judgement call; if you think a particular road problem could have dangerous consequences, consider also reporting it to the police.
Don’t be put off trying to make a claim against SCC to repair the damage your car (or bike) has received. You may or may not be successful (in essence, it depends on whether they knew about it and whether they can prove they were “working on it”) but if the cost is significant – and what car repair cost isn’t significant?! – it might be worth the effort. Here are a few consumer rights articles to take a look at.
Department for Transport – Pothole Action Fund 2016-17
In April 2017 the government announced a £250m Pothole Action Fund. £50m will be made available each year for the next 5 years. Funding is calculated according to the size of the local road network in the area and for 2016-17, Surrey was allocated £1,033,000.
Surrey have used their allocation as part of a Preventative Programme to deal with both actual and potential potholes on our lower category roads. We have used a range of techniques including; hand lay patching, machine patching, jet patching, thermal patching and Rejuvophalt.
The 2016-17 Preventative Programme, which has cost £3m in total, has removed or prevented approximately 35,000 defects and therefore the funding from the Pothole Action Fund has removed over 10,000 potholes from the network. The innovative nature of this programme means that as well as removing or preventing potholes, we have also been able to add life back into the road network rather than just filling potholes.
Here’s a quick roundup of the latest Knaphill related planning applications, with Woking Borough Council. To find out more, or have your say, visit www.woking.gov.uk/planning/publicaccess
Nothing particular to report on the Anchor pub site, or the Lorenzo’s restaurant site.
If you’d like to read the minutes from the latest KRA committee meeting which took place in March 2018, please click here.
A planning application has been submitted by developers for a ‘change of use’ at the site 5 High Street (currently Lorenzo’s) from restaurant to funeral directors. We do not yet know which company is interested in this site (if indeed there is one specifically). PLAN/2018/0426
If this were approved, and a new business took up the lease, this would be the 4th funeral directors currently on Knaphill High Street. What do you think? Is it better to have empty premises or duplicate businesses?
Click here for the full planning application details, and to have your say.
The room was packed – not a single seat went spare! And that’s not too surprising when the two speakers we had were so interesting and entertaining. First up, Cllr John Kingsbury, spoke to us about the ‘The Changing Face of Knaphill & Woking’ and talked us through a range of ‘then and now’ photos from both Knaphill and Woking, with a particular focus at the end on what the future of Woking looks like. Our second speaker, Linda Kemeny, helped remind us all about the importance of women being granted the right to vote 100 years ago this year in her talk on ‘The Impact of Votes for Women on UK Politics’. She reminded the ladies to ‘use your vote’ in the forthcoming May 3rd elections, and remember what it means to have it.
This was last night’s agenda, and down at the bottom you can click to download the minutes from last years AGM, the KRA treasury report for this 2018 AGM, and also the corresponding accounts for 2017 (including the Knaphill Village Show).
Seeing as it SECAmb is the ambulance service that covers Knaphill and Woking, we thought you might like to understand a bit more about it. Here is an article from our recent magazine, giving you a little more background…
South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SECAmb) is the ambulance service covering Surrey, Sussex and Kent as well as parts of North East Hampshire.
It responds to 999 calls from the public, urgent calls from healthcare professionals and provides NHS 111 services across its region. It was formed on 1 July 2006 following the merger of Kent, Surrey and Sussex ambulance trusts and its one of 10 ambulance services operating in England. The service works across a diverse geographical area of 3,600 square miles with a residential population of 4.5 million which includes densely populated urban areas, sparsely populated rural areas and some of the busiest stretches of motorway in the country. SECAmb has over 3,000 staff, of which some 90 percent are operational staff – those caring for patients either face to face, or over the phone at its emergency operations centres in Crawley and Coxheath where we receive 999 calls.
On 22 November 2017, SECAmb implemented new national ambulance response standards, known as the ‘Ambulance Response Programme’. When a 999 call is received it is prioritized depending on the information provided by the caller. There are four categories of call, the response times for the most serious calls, category 1 is as follows: Category 1, Response: – For calls with immediately life-threatening and time critical injuries and illnesses. These will be responded to in a mean average time of seven minutes and at least 9 out of 10 times before 15 minutes.
SECAmb is a NHS Foundation Trust and as such invites the public to have a say in how it runs its service. It’s free to become a member of SECAmb, and members will receive a newsletter with potentially life-saving health tips, invitations to ambulance service events, and information about any changes we’re planning to our service. To become a member, fill in an online form here.
We are pleased to be able to share the list of Persons Nominated for the Borough Council Elections, which will take place on Thursday 3rd May, 2018. The KRA has no political bias so we will not comment on any candidates. The full list for the borough can be found here and the Knaphill nominations are shown below.
Once again, don’t forget to take your photographic ID along with you when you go to the polling booth, as you’ll need it this time to be able to cast your vote. Check out out full article on this here.
Each year the Knaphill Residents Association holds an AGM, and this year it takes on Tuesday 24th April, at 7.30pm, in the Knaphill Baptist Church on High Street. Everyone is welcome to attend, and we really encourage you to come along, find out about what we’ve been up to, and what you might be able to get involved with.
We have two fantastic local speakers this year who will be sharing their knowledge on two fascinating subjects:
Linda Kemeny is up first and will be talking to us on the impact women have made in politics. This year it will be 100 years since women were first given the vote, and Linda will take us through that history and the impact it has had on our lives. Linda Kemeny was formerly Lead Member for Children’s Services and Cabinet Member for Schools, Skills and Educational Achievement on Surrey County Council.
Next up is Cllr John Kingsbury who grew up in the borough and will be telling us a little about how the area has changed during this time and the impact he has seen in local government. John is a former Mayor and Leader of Woking Borough Council.
We hope you agree it should be a fascinating evening, and we will even provide tea and biscuits as well!
At the KRA we like to keep you informed of any important planning applications that are currently being processed for the Knaphill village so that you’re aware and know how they might impact you. In particular we want to draw your attention to two such applications:
PLAN/2017/1309. This was an application from New Vision Homes to build 4 houses (terraced) on Englefield Road, behind the Co-op. This application has been rejected by the Planning Dept. at WBC on the grounds that it was unduly cramped and small size of residential units and associated amenity space, parking provision and intensification of use. Furthermore the erection of the three storey buildings at 9.5 metres in height fails to correlate to this street-scene and would appear out-of-character in this context creating dominating buildings in the context of the area.
PLAN/2017/1398. The developer of the land at the rear of Sussex Court already has an approved planning application to build a single bungalow on this land. However, this new application was to build two bungalows, which has been rejected by Planning Dept. of WBC. The reason given for rejection was that the design and shape of the building and footprint and resulting layouts would result in an unduly cramped and contrived overdevelopment of the site which would fail to respect and make a positive contribution to the character of the area in which it would be situated.
Nothing new to report on the Anchor Pub proposals, and the owner of 1-3 High Street is working on a new plan after the previous application was refused (click here for full article).
The latest issue of Knaphill News is out now, and our tireless volunteers are out pounding the pavements to deliver a copy to your front door as I type. In the unlikely event that you don’t receive a copy through the door, then simply click here to download the latest issue, or you can collect a printed version from a number of locations around Knaphill, including the Post Office, library and GP surgeries.
This Spring issue is the first by our brand new editor, Jonny Cope, and we think he’s done a fantastic job, with articles on the ambulance service, refuse collection and children’s services in the village, as well as a few words from one of our councillors, Debbie Harlow, and the usual round of village news and updates. So get your copy today and get reading!