Saturday, 20 October 2012

Clock is ticking on Boatman developer

The Jolly Boatman site at Hampton Court

TIME is running out for the developer Gladedale to build a hotel, retail and care home complex on land around Hampton Court Station.

It has to satisfy Elmbridge Council that it has met 56 pre-conditions before it can start work, and must do so by June 16th 2013 when planning permission is due to expire.

As of late October 10 conditions had been approved, ranging from the types of materials to be used, to the buffer zone between the River Ember and the development, tree retention, a 'green roof' and more.

A further condition will be discussed at a council sub-committee on November 5th, and submissions for 13 other conditions have been received by Elmbridge Council.

Meanwhile an alternative plan for a park at the part of the site where the former Jolly Boatman pub once stood, was submitted by Thames Ditton resident Andrew Roberts and ex-Hampton Court consultant architect Keith Garner. It was supported by hundreds of letters from the public and was granted planning permission by Elmbridge Borough Council without the need for a debate and vote in council chambers.

Elmbridge Council Leader, John O’Reilly, said: "If the application had come before the Planning Committee I would have spoken strongly in favour and would certainly have voted in support. But of course to make it actually happen, the applicants have to own the site and the developer being willing to sell to them. That’s definitely a big challenge."

Steve Bax, Chairman of the Molesey Conservative Residents, added: "The prevailing view in Molesey - and one Molesey Conservatives agree with - is that a landscaped garden would be the best outcome at the Jolly Boatman site. It would preserve the view of the historic Hampton Court Palace from this side of the river.

“Molesey Conservatives were pleased that Elmbridge Council approved the Roberts-Garner design, and we would urge Gladedale to enter into negotiations with residents in good faith, with a view to selling the site to the community if it is unable to meet its planning conditions by the June deadline."

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Molesey roads in need of repair!


SURREY County Council is promising a five year blitz on the county’s worst roads.

It wants residents to suggest those in most need of attention by emailing improvemyroad@surreycc.gov.uk

John Furey, the county councillor for transport, said 90% of Surrey roads are now in a ‘decent condition’ and it is time to look at the remaining 10%.

Molesey Conservatives were successful in having Hampton Court Avenue in East Molesey resurfaced earlier this year, after sending photo evidence to Mr Furey’s predecessor.

Now we are asking for Island Farm Road (pictured) to be addressed. Please post your comments below.

Friday, 7 September 2012

Dominic Raab MP: No going back on deficit


ESHER & Walton MP Dominic Raab wrote the following column for readers of the Molesey News (Conservative newsletter) in September 2012, to update on his work locally and at Westminster.

The government is taking a range of measures to dig us out of this economic rut – cutting business taxes, cutting the red-tape holding entrepreneurs back, and trying to help get finance from the banks to the viable businesses that need the lifeline.

But, there is no going back on the plans to cut the deficit. The debt we have inherited from the last government is holding Britain back and is an appalling legacy to leave the next generation. It must be tackled.

Beyond the economy, we are delivering on welfare reform, so that those on benefits don’t earn more than the average family in work.

Schools reform is re-emphasising the importance of discipline and academic rigour – to equip our children with the skills to thrive in work and life.

We have a cap on immigration that is starting to bring down the numbers. The Prime Minister vetoed an EU treaty that threatened the British economy, and has refused to implement the diktat from Strasbourg ordering prisoners be given the vote.

Locally, I have been engaged with small businesses, local police officers at the new hub by the local, GPs and local charities. I intervened with Gladedale to help secure the landscaping of the Jolly Boatman site for the Olympics, and am supportive of efforts by local residents to purchase the site permanently. 

Above all, living round the corner in Thames Ditton, I understand and feel part of this wonderful, vibrant, community.”

Visit www.dominicraab.com to contact Dominic or to sign up for his monthly newsletter.

Monday, 2 July 2012

Molesey all set for Olympics!


MOLESEY will be looking its best for the Olympic cycling races in a month - with even the Jolly Boatman getting a makeover.


Conservative-led Elmbridge Council and MP Dominic Raab have been among those putting pressure on Gladedale Ltd, the developer which owns the derelict Boatman site next to Hampton Court Station, to get it cleared up.

And The Molesey News is pleased to report that Historic Royal Palaces is to landscape the site on behalf of Gladedale and in time for the Olympics when thousands of spectactors will come to Molesey.

Already litter and debris have been cleared, a fence has been put up around the site, and turf laid (see picture, right) - with the work due for completion in time for Hampton Court Flower Show on July 3.

On July 28th, 29th, and August 1st the eyes of the world will be on Molesey when the Olympic cycle races come to town, with competitors sweeping across Hampton Court Bridge and along the length of Hurst Road - passing through Walton and on to Box Hill before coming back to our area via Hampton Court Way. The time trials cycling event on August 1st will see racers using Walton Road.

Conservative councillor Jan Fuller, the Elmbridge cabinet member overseeing the borough’s Olympic preparations, said: “Areas along the route will be well decorated using money from Surrey County Council and Locog (Olympic organising committee). We have got 16 old bikes that will be decorated with silk flowers to go on roundabouts - as this is a very inexpensive way of making things look nicer.”

She said the crowning piece will be a commissioned wrought iron sculpture mounted on a rainbow shape which will be installed at the Sadler’s Ride roundabout in July.

In addition the ‘Welcome to the Elmbridge’ signs are being replaced with new ones celebrating our Olympic host borough status.
Following the games the Olympic portion of the signs will be unclipped and replaced with names of the town visitors are entering.

Elmbridge has £178,000 of Government money to spend on Jubilee and Olympic legacy projects, and some £40,000 of this is being awarded to local sports clubs to encourage young people to become more active.

Cllr Fuller said: “We set-up a cross-party task group to spend this money and one of the things we are going to do for young people is to put table tennis facilities into five parks. There will be two outdoor tables going in by the Hurst Pool in Molesey in the next two weeks.
“This is something the borough hasn’t got already and we’re going to give out free bats and balls for anyone who takes up the free coaching we will provide. We are talking to local shops to try to persuade them to stock bats and balls in future.”

South West Trains has given Hampton Court Station a lick of paint in anticipation of droves of Olympic spectators decending in July, and the Environment Agency has removed the undergrowth alongside the Thames at Hampton Court Bridge for spectators to stand and watch the races.

Residents are no fans of MJFC parking


A PLANNING application which threatened to pit Molesey Juniors Football Club against residents has been declared invalid by Elmbridge Council.


MJFC had applied to the council for permission to extend its car park at Neilsons Field off Molesey Park Road to 115 spaces, which would have meant laying hardstanding for 47 additional spaces on the green belt.
The matter had been due to go before councillors in June but the application was suddenly rejected by the council on grounds that more information was needed on ‘transport implications and tree protection’.

Residents of The Wilderness, Molesey Park Road and other streets had written letters of objection arguing that the area was being deluged with cars on match days but that extending the car park would not solve this.
In an eight-page objection The Water Garden Residents Company - a body which represents households in The Wilderness - argued that: “The car parking facilities have rarely been able to accommodate the traffic generated by the club resulting in illegal parking on pavements in residential roads and causing a risk hazard to pedestrians.

“Currently on any match day between 250 and 300 cars try to access the ground, and extending the car park to 115 spaces will not solve the parking issues, congestion or improve the safety for visitors to the matches or the other users of the river walk, Neilsons field or the infant children’s playground adjacent to the public car park.”

MJFC provides football at the field for around 300 young people for up to 10 hours a week at weekends. Objectors stress that they do support the club’s work in providing sport for the young, but want the parking problems addressed.

These include parents and supporters leaving often large vehicles in the passing spaces of the narrow road bridge which leads to Neilsons Field, creating ‘congestion and danger’ from vehicles reversing back over the bridge.

Residents told The Molesey News they would like MJFC to marshall cars in the direction of the under-utilised public car park off Walton Road in the town centre. One said: “It cannot be beyond the wit of all concerned - especially when the safety issues are taken into account - of finding ways to get the parents to use this car park. The walk is short enough - and surely a relief at not having to do battle to get onto the field every week.”

County Councillor Ernest Mallett, who submitted the parking space application as chairman of the Molesey Juniors Trust, assured that there is no truth to rumours that the club needs the extra spaces to expand its activities or to create a clubhouse with a late drinks licence.

Molesey Conservatives are pleased to report that residents have since had positive talks with MJFC and are hopeful of working together to resolve the parking issues. We’ll keep you posted.

Apps Court wins appeal


APPS Court Farm has won its appeal against Elmbridge Council's refusal to allow it to open a park and ride for the Olympics.
Councillors had accused the owners of the farm in Hurst Road of being greedy in seeking to operate a scheme at its green belt site for 14 weeks.
But a planning inspector over-ruled the council in June, authorising the change of use of a building to provide visitor and security facilities and for the park and ride to operate for eight weeks.
Steve Bax of the Molesey Conservatives said: "This is a good result for Molesey. If the park and ride was not going ahead we would have had thousands of Olympic tourists coming here with nowhere to leave their cars. Our streets and grass verges would have suffered.”

Elmbridge can save cash by having fewer councillors


Cllr John O'Reilly

THERE could be fewer politicians at Esher Civic Centre in future following a review by the Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE).
Conservative councillors voted in April to ask the independent boundary commission to review all 22 wards in Elmbridge as consider the appropriate number of councillors for each (Molesey wards have three each but some others have two).
The borough currently has 60 council seats - 32 are held by Conservatives, 22 by residents associations, six are Liberal Democrats, but the Conservative group would like to see this reduced to 48 in order to cut the cost of local government.
Councillors receive £4,245 as a basic allowance and every year this costs taxpayers £254,700 (plus additional monies councillors receive for cabinet posts and heading committees). A smaller, 48-person council, would save around £47,000 each year, assuming the boundary commission feels a reduction is warranted.
The review and consultations with voters is expected to take over a year and after that further time will be needed to receive the approval of Parliament. So changes are unlikely to take effect until elections in May 2015.
Leader of the Council, Cllr John O'Reilly (pictured) told the Molesey News that the council staff had reduced in recent years, as had the borough’s areas of responsibility, and councillors should not be exempt from the change and reductions.
Elmbridge Conservatives have led the way in reducing the cost of local government in the last six years, by saving £5million through cutting waste, renegotiating contracts and improving efficiency - all of which means the the council can continue to afford quality frontline services.

Radnor House faces closure


At risk: Radnor House in Hansler Grove

THE Molesey News has learned that Elmbridge Housing Trust (EHT) is thinking of closing the retirement home Radnor House.
Elderly residents of the sheltered home, which is in Hansler Grove, were warned on Monday June 18th that the building's future is under review. If it closes residents will be moved to suitable alternative accommodation in Elmbridge.
A spokeswoman for EHT's parent company Paragon, said: "We appreciate this is a difficult time for residents and we are working closely with both them and their families to ensure that residents can move to suitable homes which meet their needs as soon as possible.
“Paragon plan to retain the site for the future redevelopment of affordable housing which is more suitable to the needs of the borough."
Radnor House was built in the 1960s and has 29 'units' which are predominantly besits with limited parking. It said to compare less favourably to modern alternatives.
Steve Bax of the Molesey Conservatives said: "This will be a worrying time for residents and I would urge the Trust to look at all the options before making a decision.
“If residents are to be relocated it should be to better facilities in or as near to Molesey as possible.”
Elmbridge cabinet member for housing, Cllr James Browne said: "Paragon and its subsidiary Elmbridge Housing Trust have an excellent record in looking after their tenants, and they also strive to build new properties or renovate their existing properties to the highest standard possible.
“Elmbridge will work with Paragon/EHT to ensure that this programme is carried out in a manner which minimises disruption to the lives of the current residents."
We will keep you posted on what happens. Please email your concerns to MoleseySteve@gmail.com.

Steve thanks Molesey voters following May 2012 elections


Hello and welcome to another edition of the Molesey News, compiled and delivered by your local Conservatives.

I am Steve Bax the editor and you may recognise me from the recent Elmbridge Borough Council elections where I was once again the Conservative candidate for the Molesey East ward.

I would like to say a very big thank you to everyone who made the effort to vote on May 3rd (despite the bad weather), it is very much appreciated by all the candidates. In particular my thanks to the 807 Molesey voters who cast their ballots for me.

Sadly it wasn’t quite enough to win and I finished 107 votes short of the incumbant councillor, Nigel Cooper of the Molesey Residents Association (who polled 914). I congratulate him on a well fought campaign and wish him success.

Regardless of the outcome it is always an honour and privilege to stand for election in Molesey, and I am hopeful of better luck in the future.

I believe the Conservatives can take some comfort from the results. We managed to reduce the MRA majority by 877 votes in only a year, and increase our share of the vote by 17% which wasn’t bad considering how poorly the party fared in elections up and down the country.

Molesey Conservatives have been setting the local agenda and raising important issues, from parking and congestion to the impact on Molesey from the impending development at the Jolly Boatman site.

We will keep working hard on your behalf to improve our community and try to be worthy of your support.
The recent Jubilee celebrations and the Molesey Carnival showed our community spirit at its best and was a chance for friends and neighbours to come together in celebration.

Hopefully the Olympic cycle races will be just as memorable as they sweep through our town and showcase Molesey to a massive global TV audience.

There is a lot to look forward to, and not least our long overdue summer sunshine! Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Hampton Court Rescue Campaign backs Steve

Today I have received the endorsement of the Hampton Court Rescue Campaign. This is a major boost to my campaign and to say I am thrilled and delighted is an understatement! It shows my campaign themes of protecting Molesey from the parking problems likely to be made worse by building at the Jolly Boatman and station site, and fighting for the best outcomes for Molesey regarding the JB site, are hugely important to the people of Molesey!

Below is the announcement, my thoughts to follow after I've gathered them!




This email is for HCRC supporters living in the Molesey East Ward but may also be of interest to other supporters.

As a supporter of our fight to stop the enormous development that includes the Jolly Boatman site next to Hampton Court station, you will be aware that Hampton Court Rescue Campaign seeks to have the Jolly Boatman area landscaped to enhance the heritage views of the Palace from our side of the river.

We would like to make it absolutely clear that HCRC is a non-political, single issue, pressure group. Its only role is to fight against the Jolly Boatman development and the adverse impact the currently approved scheme will have on Hampton Court Palace and the local community of Molesey.

Being non-political, HCRC is able to support any person or organisation it feels will fight against this dreadful development - its financial and practical support of Keith Garner’s High Court action is an example of this.

HCRC will fight this development anywhere and everywhere so the future of the Jolly Boatman site will continue to be the hottest local issue in Molesey long after the coming May elections.
Molesey will be kept busy this summer. The Hampton Court Flower Show, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the Olympic Games will focus the world’s attention on our precious local heritage.

Parking and traffic will be pressure points in residential roads during this time, but will offer residents and businesses a foretaste of what Molesey’s streets will be like when construction of the Jolly Boatman development starts and the Station car park has to close.

The local Elections offer us the opportunity to have better community representation and a louder lobby in Elmbridge's Council Chamber, so identifying the strongest candidate for Councillor of Molesey East, has been high on the HCRC agenda.

HCRC committee is truly non-political - we include MRA supporters, Liberal Democrats, Labour supporters, Conservatives - but as a Group we will support any political candidate who will properly and openly represent our interests and the Molesey Community.

There are only two credible candidates: Steve Bax Conservative and Nigel Cooper Molesey Residents Association.

HCRC has read the messages that the two candidates have published in their pre-election newsletters and more importantly, we have now had the opportunity to study both manifestos. Steve Bax has enthusiastically grasped the issues that concern HCRC. At the top of his list of manifesto pledges is to fight against the huge impact the Jolly Boatman development will have on Molesey. By contrast, HCRC cannot find even a small mention of the JB development in Nigel Cooper’s manifesto – no short term commitment to push for the site to be cleaned up ahead of the 2012 summer events, nor a pledge to fight the development in the longer term.
Read both candidate’s newsletters and manifestos, speak to them on the doorstep during canvassing, and judge for yourself.

HCRC believes Steve Bax to be the strongest candidate to represent Molesey East Ward in the forthcoming elections. We are certainly not endorsing the EBC Conservative Group as a whole, but are persuaded that Steve Bax will do the best job for Molesey in the difficult times ahead.

Your vote for Steve on Thursday 3rd May will be crucial in the fight against the Jolly Boatman development.

If your neighbours are not on our database, please share this email.
Hampton Court Rescue Campaign
(hamptoncourtrescuecampaign.com)

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Candidates announced for this year's Molesey East election!

The official starting gun for this year's Elmbridge Borough Council elections was fired this morning, with the announcement from the council of the candidates who will be standing in May.

One big surprise is the number of candidates for Molesey East this year - at 12 is quite possibly a record! The reason for there being so many is that the Official Monster Raving Looney Party has decided to put-up nine candidates! I'm hearing on the grapevine that it might be an attempt to get into the records book for the most candidates from the same party.

Less surprising was the news that the MRA will be fielding Nigel Cooper as their candidate once again. After 17 years at the council and a lacklustre record of achievement for Molesey, particularly in the last four years, I don't think we can expect anything new from him. But I'll await his manifesto with interest.

I will be pledging support for residents of East Molesey who are suffering the ill-effects of railway commuters filling up their streets, with a practical plan to resolve the long-running problem (an issue which by the way, the MRA refuses to address and opposes the solutions!). I also promise to use my influence within the Conservative group at Elmbridge to restore the free parking at Molesey's town centre car park, to give a boost to our hard-pressed shops and a welcome relief to residents whose streets are being a tempting target for shoppers and shop workers who wish to avoid paying car parking charges.

As a member of the Friends of Molesey Library I will do my bit to keep our library open and thriving, and as a councillor will safeguard our town from inappropriate development, especially the kind which threatens our green and open spaces. Molesey could use a voice within the Conservative group to argue our corner and win over the broadest church of support.

On the thorny issue of the Jolly Boatman, I urge the owners of the site to accept the very generous offer from Historic Royal Palaces to landscape the site for the Olympics. I would like to see this become permanent and will support and encourage any credible plan to purchase the site for the community. I have grave reservations about the scale of what is proposed and its potential to spoil the view of the Palace from the Molesey side of the river. It could also have a detrimental affect on traffic flow and the already severe problem of station users parking in Molesey's residential streets.

I am standing for council because I live in Molesey and love the sense of community here, and the unique access to the river and parks and of course our proximity to historic Hampton Court. I want Molesey to continue to be a great place to raise my two young children and for you to raise yours.

I have been writing to residents all year courtesy of the Molesey News - the newsletter in newspaper style I created in August last year. So I believe I am starting this campaign on solid foundations and concentrating on genuine local issues. Mine is a manifesto for Molesey and I am looking forward to meeting as many of you on the doorsteps to hear your concerns and to do what I can to help.

Please keep checking the website between now and May 3rd for updates.

Best wishes,
Steve Bax

Molesey Conservative Residents candidate for Molesey East

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Time for action about nuisance commuter parking in Molesey


(To comment on this story please click on the headline and scroll down)

RAILWAY commuters are saving hundreds of pounds at Molesey’s expense by parking outside residents’ homes instead of the station car park.

Scores of cars are regularly being abandoned in Wolsey Road, Palace Road and other streets close to Hampton Court Station, from before 8am until around 7.30pm. This is causing householders considerable
difficulty getting out of their driveways and stops council vehicles from cleaning the gutters.
A concerned resident of Wolsey Road, told The Molesey News: “It is also impossible to see past these badly parked cars and therefore very dangerous when we pull out from our driveways. If you cannot drive out at an angle you ground parts of your car on the steep camber.”

She added: “Commuters fill part of our road between 1 Wolsey Road and 48 Wolsey Road before 7.30am every morning Monday to Friday.

They return at about 7.30 in the evenings. This is half the road taken up by people who do not contribute to our village.”

It is not hard to see why railway users prefer to park for free in Molesey’s residential streets. The cost of an annual season ticket for the station car park is £680, in addition to £1,640 for a standard class yearly season ticket to travel from Hampton Court Station into Central London.

And travelling from Esher Station costs £200 more, at £1,852, providing added incentive for commuters who might otherwise use Esher to make the trip to Central London.

In 2009 some 150 households and Molesey businesses signed a petition calling on Surrey County Council to restrict parking in Wolsey and Palace roads for an hour and a half on weekday mornings.

This would have allowed anyone wishing to visit the shops to come and go during the day. The small number of householders without driveways could have been issued with a parking permit under the proposals.

The idea was supported by the Conservatives at a Local Committee meeting (a decision making body made up of county and Elmbridge borough councillors) but opposed by the Molesey Residents Association councillors, who wanted to keep the status quo.

Ultimately the idea failed to get off the ground because the SCC ended up proposing a 3pm to 4pm restriction which would have penalised parents collecting children from St Lawrence School at the Church Road end, and residents couldn’t support it.

Steve Bax of the Molesey Conservative Residents, said: “East Molesey has been bedevilled by this problem for years. Apart from causing a daily inconvenience it also impacts on people’s enjoyment of their homes and streets. It becomes a quality of life issue.

“I think residents were on the right lines with their proposals, and I will be making it a campaign pledge at the upcoming election to support and assist them in getting this long standing problem resolved.”

With building due to take place on land around Hampton Court Station before June next year, the spaces at the car park could be unavailable and this will inevitably push commuter cars on to Molesey streets, making the situation worse if it is not urgently addressed.

What do you think? Email Steve at MoleseySteve@gmail.com or click on the headline to this article to leave your comments.


Steve Bax calls for action to save Molesey's antique streetlights


MOLESEY'S antique 20th Century streetlights are due to be ripped up and junked - unless urgent action is taken.

Many of our town's distinctive posts have been lost already, and replaced with modern designs by Surrey County Council's contractor Skanska, as part of a 25-year upgrade and maintenance contract.

The new designs offer improved white lights and mobile phone technology which allows them to be dimmed from a control centre in Guildford to save the county 60,000 tonnes of carbon and £12million.

But when conservation-minded residents and Molesey Conservatives called for the new lamp heads to be integrated with our existing posts, we were met with stiff resistance from county officers.

They said it was not technically feasible to keep the antique posts as they no longer comply with health and safety laws.

Steve Bax teamed up with a concerned resident and did some research on the internet. They discovered a near identical situation in the London Borough of Ealing from three years ago. On that occasion residents were successful in having their heritage posts integrated with modern technology, with the help of the Cast Iron Company (CIC) of Guildford.

Gary Young, of CIC, told The Molesey News that modern columns have a door in the base to allow the electrics to be worked on safely.

He added: "We came up with the idea of modifying the columns in Ealing by making a new cast iron base with a suitable door and backboard, and after modifying the old column this new base was then joined to the old one.

"Yes its more expensive but it works technically and these old modified cast iron columns will last a lot longer than their steel equivalents-probably 100 years plus! The problem with all these things is galvanising the political will to make it happen."

Mr Young is quoting £950 per post to upgrade them, which is substantially cheaper than the £3,000 to £4,000 which Surrey County Council claimed would be required to transport each column to the North of England for upgrading.

Our Molesey Residents Association elected councillors have been content to go along with the SCC plan and allow the posts to be lost. Their newsletter even enthused about being "able to see the stars again”.

Steve Bax said: "I say to our MRA councillors if you are serious about conservation in Molesey then it's time to prove it. CIC is prepared to meet with councillors and officers to discuss and offer its expertise. Let’s work together to get this upgrade option on the table before our grand old posts are gone for good."

What do you think? Email Steve at MoleseySteve@gmail.com or click on the headline of this article and scroll down to leave your comments

Owners of The Bell pub meet residents to discuss concerns


SPIRIT Group, the owners of The Bell pub in East Molesey, have had their plans to extend the historic building put in check by local residents.

It had applied to Elmbridge Council for permission to build a single storey, flat-roof extension at the rear of the pub, to include a service hatch, store room, porch and disabled toilet.

However residents in the vicinity of the Grade II listed pub in Bell Road submitted 11 letters of objection, raising concerns about increased traffic, a worsening of existing parking issues and long standing complaints about noise.

As a result the application was halted at Elmbridge Council earlier this month, to give Spirit Group three weeks to meet with residents and discuss concerns.

One Bell Road resident told The Molesey News: "The Bell is a much loved historic building and Spirit Group's belated interest in it's structural welfare is welcome. This Pub should be at the heart of the local community and working with close neighbours for a more harmonious relationship - certainly not exacerbating nuisance effects in pursuit of profits."

Another said: "Whilst I do not object to the proposed alterations, I feel that measures need to be introduced to protect the interests of those with homes in close proximity."

On Wednesday night (March 21) Spirit Group invited residents along to the pub to view its plans and to receive assurances from investment manager Victoria Rogers, who made the trip to Molesey from York.
She agreed to address local concerns and promised to improve the decor of the 600-year-old building.

Environment Agency agrees to look at 'dangerous' riverside path



MOLESEY Conservatives have called on the Environment Agency to make the riverside path safer at Hampton Court Bridge.

We have taken up the issue in response to residents living off Graburn Way, who wrote to express concern that the dirt track path is "pitted, uneven, and most of all extremely dangerous".

One described seeing a wheelchair user struggling to navigate the section, and added: "I had to help get the occupant out of the chair while their carer negotiated a particularly bad hollow in the surface.

"During the Olympics the towpath will presumably be crowded and there will probably be a nasty accident unless some restorative treatment is carried out now."

Spectators are expected to line the route of Olympic cycling events on July 28, 29 and August 1, when it crosses Hampton Court Bridge and passes along the Hurst Road in East Molesey.

The Molesey Conservative Residents contacted the Environment Agency, which is responsible for the path, and the EA agreed to carry out a site assessment in late March. We will let you know the results in the next Molesey News.

Council tax frozen again!


THE Elmbridge portion of your council tax bill has been frozen for another year, reflecting borough Conservatives' resolve to keep your bills as low as possible in difficult times.

It means that since the Conservatives formed the administration at Esher in 2006, there has been no increase in the council tax for five years out of six.

Elmbridge is one of only nine councils in England and Wales to have achieved this, and it is against a backdrop of 4% inflation and the council having to find £1.2 million in savings. And what’s more, there has been no reduction in the council’s services, and the charges for services EBC provides have been frozen again - for the fourth time in six years.

Over the life of the administration the Council has saved £6 million from its budget by renegotiating contracts, clamping down on waste and other measures. Elmbridge was recently praised by the District Auditor as among the country’s top performing authorities.

Council leader John O’Reilly, told The Molesey News: "The Council Tax freeze is particularly welcome for young families and those who rely on their pensions, where every penny matters.

"We are relentless in demanding value for money, but protecting our superb community and other services."

No garden for Jolly Boatman site?


THE developer which owns the derelict ‘Jolly Boatman’ site opposite Hampton Court, has yet to take up the Palace’s offer to landscape the area.

Gladedale, which plans to build a hotel on the land sometime before next year, was given a chance to have the site turned into a garden so that it could look its best during this summer’s Olympics - when three cycle races will pass by.

But The Molesey News understands the developer is considering other options, including to invite global TV crews to position themselves at the Boatman.

Molesey Conservative Residents candidate Steve Bax is to write to Gladedale to urge it to take up the Palace’s offer before it’s too late.

He said: “This developer stands to make a lot of money when it eventually builds its hotel, homes and retail complex around the station.

“The least Gladedale can do in the circumstances is to allow this site to be beautified in the short term, to give something back to the people of Molesey.”

Steve will pledge himself at the election to work with the developer and local residents, including the Hampton Court Rescue Campaign, to mitigate the effects of the scheme on Molesey. He will support any credible proposal to buy the land, so that it can become a permanent garden and compliment Hampton Court Palace.

He is also concerned about what will happen when the 240 space station car park is built on as part of Gladedale and Network Rail’s hotel, homes and retail scheme.

Steve said: “I fear even more commuter cars will flood Molesey. We must protect our residential streets from this onslaught. Network Rail must provide parking and not expect our residential streets to accommodate its customers.”

Thursday, 16 February 2012

A word from the Editor


Hello and a warm welcome to the first Molesey News of the new year! I am Steve Bax, editor of the Molesey News (and this website) and an aspiring councillor for East Molesey.


It’s been a busy couple of months since the last edition. In late November the Pavilion Appeal hearing took place at Elmbridge Civic Centre to decide whether 76 homes could be built in Hurst Lane, on land that was supposed to be reserved for community leisure and sport.

I was grateful for an opportunity to speak at the hearing and was hugely impressed by the passion and professionalism of the Molesey Community Action Group, who were more than a match for the opposition and carried the day.

A big well done to all of those residents and congratulations on a great victory. Looking ahead, 2012 has the potential to be a truly memorable year for Molesey. The Olympic cycle races in July and August will give our town unprecedented exposure to a massive global audience.

The spectacular views of Hampton Court Palace and the Thames are sure to inspire UK and overseas visitors to come here for a long time to come. Many of us may have a chance to see the Olympics up close and for free, and it will be great to see our town centre bustling with tourists. I hope this gives a welcome boost to our local shops who have endured some very difficult times recently.

Regrettably the road closures will bring disruption and inconvenience, but overall the benefits should outweigh the bad.

2012 will be a big year for me personally as I will be getting married in July at St Mary’s Church, East Molesey. It is likely to be the last wedding officiated by Rev. Carole Bourne before she retires, and is therefore a great honour for my fiancee and me.

You and I will also have the chance to elect new councillors on May 3. I will be standing again in East Molesey and will be putting forward some positive ideas on how to improve our area. It would mean the world to me if I were elected your councillor this time, and when you next hear from me I will set
out what I hope to bring to the role.

In the meantime I want to hear what your priorities are so that I can reflect them in my manifesto so please email your thoughts to MoleseySteve@gmail.com. My best wishes to you for a happy and prosperous 2012.

Olympics: The eyes of the world on Molesey


Picture by Flikr user Vick jg
reproduced with her permission
MOLESEY will be seen by millions of people from all over the world this summer when it hosts three cycling races in the 2012 Olympics.

A massive global TV audience is expected to tune in to watch the fastest men and women on two wheels, as they race past the grounds of Hampton Court Palace and along the length of Hurst Road in Molesey.

They will race on to Walton, Weybridge, Woking, Guildford, the Surrey Hills and Dorking - passing hundreds of thousands of spectators lining the route - then lapping Box Hill several times and heading back to Hampton Court Way in Molesey (via Leatherhead, Oxshott and Esher).

The Men’s Cycling Event on Saturday July 28th will see the first gold medal awarded of the 2012 games, and one of the favourites is expected to be the BBC British Sports Personality of the Year (2011) Mark Cavendish.

The women’s cycling takes place the following day, Sunday 29th, with a time trial cycling event on Wednesday August 1st.

Conservative councillor Jan Fuller has been overseeing Elmbridge borough’s preparations for more than three years, and told The Molesey News what the Olympics will bring.

“There is going to be tremendous media interest from around the world, and Molesey is a key part of the route,” she said. “Elmbridge has taken the view all along that this has vast opportunities for the residents
and businesses of the borough. In 2009 our ‘visitor economy turnover’ was worth nearly £230million. The Olympics will be a wonderful advertisement for us.”

Surrey County Council, which is responsible for roads, will be decorating the route with bunting and flags and Elmbridge will be using funds which it has secured from Central Government for ‘one off projects’ to
celebrate and commemorate the games.

Cllr Fuller, who is the Elmbridge Cabinet member for leisure and culture, set-up a cross-party task group of back bench councillors to draw up a list of projects to celebrate the Olympics and the Queen’s 60th Jubilee.
The idea being to leave a “lasting legacy” in the borough.

Walton councillor Andrew Kelly, who chaired the group, said: “We will mark the route in a permanent way and this will allow cyclists to enjoy it in future; we will invite sports clubs to apply for funds; put table tennis
facilities in some parks; as well as extra plants on roundabouts and hanging baskets in Olympic or Jubilee colours.”

The ‘Welcome to Elmbridge’ signs including the one in Molesey will be replaced to reflect the borough’s status as an Olympic host borough, added Cllr Kelly.

One Olympic-inspired innovation the council plans to roll out is a ‘tourism App’, which visitors to the borough can download to their phones to get directions and information on approved local attractions and businesses.

Cllr Fuller said: “People will be flooding into Hampton Court Station. There will be tourists coming in, whether British or from overseas, and station is going to be an enormous hub.

“People will walk out and be right on the route. We hope they will watch the race and then come to Hampton Court Parade or the Walton Road shops to buy a coffee or a meal. I would encourage businesses to think outside the box and make the most of this opportunity.”

The Molesey News heard anecdotal evidence that some businesses lost trade during the Olympic trial run in August, but Cllr Fuller believes this is because many spectators last year were local people who simply went home after the action had passed by. This year you are going to get the tourists,” she said.

One downside of the Olympics passing through Molesey is that the Hurst Road and Hampton Court Way will be closed before, during and for a time after the race has moved on.

This will mean residents in some streets will be unable to leave except on foot. However if the emergency services need to reach any homes cut off by road, then the race will be stopped.

For the Saturday and Sunday races the roads will shut in the early hours to be swept clear of debris. Any cars left on the street will be towed away, but residents will receive leaflets in advance to warn them of the danger.

Cllr Fuller said: “We hope this will be a really good celebration and will leave a lasting legacy for the borough. It will be a once in a lifetime opportunity and I hope people enjoy the spectacle.”


Will the Olympics be good for Molesey? Please click on the headline of this article for the comments box where you can add your views.

‘Free car park could de-clutter roads’


Parking in Palace Road, East Molesey

A SURVEY conducted by the Molesey Conservative Residents suggests there is a groundswell of support for the Walton Road car park to be made free to stop town centre users parking in residential streets.


Following the lead article in the last Molesey News we invited householders to go to our website to tell us their views on ‘nuisance parking’ in side streets.

Some 87% felt the Walton Road car park charges of 10p for half hour, 20p for an hour and a £2 all day were reasonable. But many expressed a view that a free car park would be the ‘only way’ to entice shoppers, shop workers and commuters, to use the Walton Road car park instead of clogging up residential streets.

A Bell Road resident said: “This is the only solution. Even the smallest charge is an incentive for people to park in the streets. I have lived in East Molesey for 22 years. When it was free, I used the car park regularly. Now, I never do; not because I can’t afford it but because I worry I may get delayed and end up with a parking fine.”

A resident of Spencer Road added: “I object in principle to charging for the car park. I walk or cycle around Molesey due to parking difficulties, but every resident I speak to wants to return to free parking. It would be a brave and honest council who admitted it was a mistake and hasn’t worked.”

One view from Kings Chase was that there should be signage at Hampton Court Station asking commuters to use the car parks and “show more respect to residents”.

However a Manor Road resident who supports the status quo, said: “If the business comunity need a free car park let them fund it.”

An Arnison Road correspondent claimed free parking would not deter commuters from parking in side streets because they “wouldn’t be prepared to walk to Hampton Court Station from Walton Road”.

Elmbridge has 28 car parks and only one is exempt from charges - the tiny 21 space Thamesmead car park in Walton. Molesey’s 128-space town centre car park generated a £16,011 loss in the last financial year due to its £48,000 ‘operating costs’, which include lighting and maintenance and enforcement, and business rates. However the council made a £950k profit from Elmbridge car parks as a whole.

The survey asked whether people were in favour of residents parking permits as a way of de-clogging residential streets, such as School Road or Palace Road (pictured left).

A resounding 80% said they did not want permits and would begrudge having to pay for them.
Steve Bax of the Molesey Conservative Residents said: “My thanks to those who took part in the survey or who sent emails. It helps to build up a picture of the scale of the problem in Molesey and what people want - and do not want - to see done about it.

“The prevailing view at the council is that the cost of running car parks should be borne by those who use them, rather than from council tax which everyone pays regardless of whether they own a car. But I think further debate is needed and would encourage you to email me your views and ideas.”

Want to comment? Click on the headline of this article for the comments box.

Find out what Molesey was like in wartime


WHAT was it like to live in Molesey during the dark days of World War Two?


A new exhibition from the Molesey Local History Society will offer an insight for those of us too young to remember or a trip down memory lane for those who were there.

The exhibit will be at the Royal British Legion in Walton Road, East Molesey, on March 9th and 10th. Find out more at www.moleseyhistorysociety.org

Appeal for Police Commissioner candidates


RESIDENTS will go to the polls in November to elect a Police and Crime Commissioner for Surrey.

The Conservative Party would like to field a candidate for this important role is looking for a high calibre candidates. They might be from business, police or military backgrounds, or even politics.

Commisioners will set policing priorities and be accountable to the local electorate, so if you or someone you know would make a good candidate, please apply at www.conservatives.com/policecommissioners

‘Molesey Shield’ found after seven year search


A DOGGED pair of local residents have tracked down one of Molesey’s most significant historical artefacts.


Paul Gossage and Steven Baker spent seven years searching for the ‘Molesey Shield’ - a 3,000-year-old Bronze age shield which was discovered in the Thames near Molesey in 1864, and has been missing for four decades.

They painstakingly trawled through records at Surrey Archeological Centre, and enlisted the help of Marion Uckelmann - the leading expert on European Bronze Age shields - to determine that an artefact on display at the Hunt Museum in Ireland was in fact the ‘Molesey Shield’.

Paul told The Molesey News that the shield was first discovered by a boatman in the 1860s, during a low river, and about a mile upstream from Molesey.

Shortly after its discovery it was bought by a James Milner of Palace Road, Molesey, and was featured in the prestigious Victorian periodical ‘The Gentleman’s Magazine’. In 1867 it went on display at the emminent Society of Antiquaries in London.

Paul and Steven believe the shield stayed in Molesey until 1882 when it was sold to a collector named Augustus Pitt Rivers for his private museum in Dorset.

Over the years its provenance was lost and in the early 1970s the sheild was sold by Pitt’s grandson to the Hunt Museum along with two other items from North-East Ireland. It became known as the Antrim Shield, a name still used.

Paul, 57, a former ambulance technician, said: “We think there is a really strong case for it to be renamed The Molesey Shield - its a far more honest and descriptive title - and the museum has accepted its provenance.”

He added: “When we found out it was in Ireland my first thought was to get it into the British Museum’, but the irony is it is being better displayed at the Hunt Museum and has pride of place.”
Paul and Steven (whose father is the Molesey historian Rowland Baker) are creating a Wikipedia page on the internet to tell the fascinating story of the shield. And a display has been put up at Molesey Library in Walton Road.

The shield is 64cm in diameter with a dome shaped central ‘boss’, and is a superb example of the craftmanship of its time. It will have been created from a single block of bronze, forged in an open fire and beaten thinner - a painstaking process that will have been repeated at least 200 times.

It most likely had a ceremonial use and may have seen battle before it was placed in the Thames as a ‘votive offering’ to the gods.

Palace's Jolly Boatman landscape offer


HISTORIC Royal Palaces, which runs Hampton Court, has offered to landscape the Jolly Boatman site in time for the Olympics.
It will pay for the derelict, fly-tipped site to be transformed in time for the August cycle races, or it will send in its own gardeners.
Steve Bax (right) at the Boatman site with Tony Nockles
of the Hampton Court Rescue Campaign.
Elmbridge Council is backing the idea and will press the site owner, Gladedale Ltd, to agree, at a meeting scheduled for early February.
Conservative candidate for Molesey East, Steve Bax, also welcomed the move, saying: “I am fully supportive of this generous offer from the Historic Royal Palaces and I would urge Gladedale to agree to it. The idea of clearing up and landscaping the Boatman site for the Olympics - when we’ll have TV crews and aerial filming - is something I have raised with the leader of the council on several occasions since last year.
“I am delighted it has a chance of becoming reality but we mustn’t forget that the site is in private hands and the council can try to persuade the owners, but ultimately it is Gladedale’s decision. I hope they will snap up this offer.”
Gladedale and Network Rail currently have planning permission to build a 46-bed hotel at the Boatman site, as well as homes, retail, parking and a care home on land surrounding Hampton Court Station. But the scheme has been on hold for three years due to a legal appeal brought by the former Hampton Court consultant architect, Keith Garner. The appeal has been widely supported in Molesey where many people fear a hotel will obscure views of the palace.
In November the Supreme Court refused to hear the appeal, meaning that as things stand the way is clear for the developers to proceed.
Elmbridge will make enquiries at the February meeting about what the developer intends to do.
Under planning law construction must begin by June 16th 2013 or the developer will need to go back to the council for fresh planning permission.
We will keep you posted on what happens with the Jolly Boatman.

Hairy Bikers boost Elmbridge Meals on Wheels



REQUESTS for Elmbridge Council’s Meals on Wheels are up 83% after the service was highlighted on the BBC’s Hairy Bikers programme.


The bikers, real names David Myers and Simon King (pictured above with Elmbridge chief executive Rob Moran), visited the Molesey Centre in School Road, East Molesey, where up-to 100 fresh meals are prepared every day and delivered to elderly and infirm residents.

They helped to modernise the menu and raise awareness of the service and its constant need for volunteers to deliver meals. As a result of the series being broadcast in September and October, Elmbridge received enquiries from 40 new potential volunteers and a huge uptake in the service.

Other councils are seeking to copy the borough’s model and it has even had emails from the Meals on Wheels Association of America.

Conservative councillor Christine Elmer, the Elmbridge cabinet member for Social Affairs, paid tribute to the staff and volunteers who took part in the programmes.

She said: “At Molesey as well as filming which took place over an extended period, they also maintained the day to day service. For the future, the aim is to roll out ‘fresh’ menus across all centres once there are volunteers in place with the preparation.

“The Hairy Bikers have offered their full ongoing support and our thanks go to them and the film company Optomen, for choosing Elmbridge and helping raise awareness of volunteering.”

Users of the service pay £3.25 for a meal and can request a supper too. Last year Elmbridge delivered nearly 60,000 meals.

If you would like to find out more or can spare a bit of time to help deliver Meals on Wheels please call the volunteer coordinator on 01372 474552.

Making homes greener and affordable


Cllr James Browne is responsible for housing.

ELMBRIDGE councillor James Browne has been speaking to The Molesey News about the major housing challenges facing our borough.

Cllr Browne is the Conservative councillor for Cobham Fairmile and has been the Elmbridge Cabinet member with responsibility for housing for 18 months – a role he is especially suited to given his background as a barrister specialising in landlord/tenant disputes.

He says his two biggest challenges at the moment are increasing the availability of affordable homes, and helping those who could find themselves unable to pay the rent due to a national cut in housing benefits.

Cllr Browne said: “It used to be that the Government paid up to a maximum of 50% of the market rent as housing benefit, but since April this has dropped to 30%. Our fear is that there will be an increase in people in private sector housing coming to us for help. So far it has only been small and we have coped perfectly well, but if we get a tidal wave we could struggle.”

The housing benefit bill in Elmbridge is around £40million a year with 1,322 claims in Molesey, and there are some 1,400 applicants on the waiting list for a home in Elmbridge.

Cllr Browne continued: “Our other big issue is to promote the development of affordable housing. The major problem in Elmbridge is that property prices are so high that it makes it very difficult for key workers and families on low incomes to afford to live here.”

Through the council’s partners, including Elmbridge Housing Trust, it has brought 185 new homes on stream in the last financial year, up to April 2011, and expects to create around 90 more by April 2012.

New builds, such as the development in Faraday Road, West Molesey, will increasingly utilise renewable materials and contain environmentally-friendly features such as solar panels and heating systems that circulate warmth from bathrooms and kitchens to the rest of the home.

Elmbridge has also joined forces with London-based Catalyst Housing to set-up a £1million pot of money to help local first time buyers to get on the housing ladder here. Buyers can apply for cash towards their mortgage deposit and this is repaid when they come to sell their home years later.

Cllr Browne said: “So far 14 or 15 applicants have been helped. On average people stay in their homes for seven years, so the hope is it won’t be long before the scheme becomes self-financing.”

Following the last edition of The Molesey News a resident got in touch for help regarding an empty home in Bell Road that was in a poor state of repair.

Cllr Browne said generally people look after their homes in Elmbridge, but the council can serve notices on owners to upkeep their properties, particularly if there is a health risk such as loose tiles or damp impacting on neighbours.

Despite the need for more homes, Cllr Browne insists planning applications from developers will always be properly scrutinised, and opposed if councillors deem them inappropriate.

He said: “Planning is the biggest issue that people contact us about, and people in Elmbridge are very good at making their voices heard when they don’t approve. We don’t allow developers to do as they please, but if all the developers walked away there would be a housing shortage and no money in the pot for affordable housing or children’s playgrounds, and the housing market would stagnate.”

A little help from Molesey Library's Friends


A FRIENDS group has been created to support Molesey Library and find ways to increase its usage.

It follows the very welcome news that Surrey County Council has changed its mind about ‘closing’ our local library and re-launching it as a volunteer-run service.

The U-turn was announced by Rose Wilson, head of the library service, at a meeting with the library steering committee of concerned local residents.

She suggested the change of heart may have been due to the distance to alternative branches, as well as the fact that Molesey Library is larger than the 10 others due to become volunteer-managed. It also has 1,000 more active borrowers than the next biggest library.

The meeting resolved to form a ‘Friends of Molesey Library’ group chaired by residents James Moore and Peter Ellis.

Mr Moore said: “A strong and active Friends organisation will be critical in developing the profile of the library and avoiding future threats. Some areas of activity will include outreach work involving schools and other community groups, events linked to the library and input to the facilities and services provided.”

For more on the Friends see www.friendsofmoleseylibrary.org.uk

Streetlight upgrade raises fears over loss of heritage


Old and new streetlights

WORK is under-way in Molesey to replace all orange glow street lamps with modern energy-efficient white lamps, but concerns are being raised over the loss of the town’s distinctive 20th Century posts.

Surrey County Council has agreed a 25-year deal with its contractor Skanska to replace, upgrade and maintain 89,000 streetlights across all 11 Surrey boroughs.

The project is being financed by a Government grant and is intended to save 60,000 tonnes of carbon across the county and ‘at least £12 million’.

The new lamp-posts will use mobile phone technology to communicate with a central computer in Guildford, allowing faults to be automatically detected and for the lights to be dimmed remotely to save electricity. The white lamps are also said to deter criminals by illuminating the streets better, and create less glare into homes.

The Molesey News understands that posts under 15-years-old will have their heads swapped, but around 70,000 older posts will be uprooted entirely.

In conservation areas such as Molesey’s Kent Town (encompassing Palace Road and other streets close to Hampton Court) Surrey plans to install ‘heritage style’ swan-necked lamp-posts, although residents will be consulted on their preferred choice of heritage design.

People living outside the conservation area will be able club together if they wish to pay the extra £150 per post for a swan neck design.

Steve Bax of the Molesey Conservative Residents said: “We welcome the opportunity for the county to reduce its carbon output and save taxpayers millions in electricity payments. But in looking to the future we shouldn’t abandon our past.

“The lamp-posts from Palace Road to Spring Gardens, Bell Road to Vine Road are good examples of early 20th Century street architecture and design and greatly enhance the character of those streets. It is worth exploring all options to see if the existing columns can be retained, cleaned-up and upgraded with the new heads if possible.”

After making enquiries the Molesey Conservative Residents were told by the county council that “upgrading the old high level gas service columns is not something we could consider”.

They say energy suppliers will no longer work on the older columns on health and safety grounds, and claim posts would need to be transported to the North of England to be upgraded, at a cost of £3,000 to £4,000 per column, rather than carrying out upgrades at street level.

The MCR is working with local residents to investigate other alternatives, but we want to hear your views. What do you think? Should Molesey’s older style lamp-posts be saved or should the modern replacements be embraced? Click on this article's headline for the comments box.

Car park empty, streets full


An empty Walton Road car park

EAST Molesey residents have complained of their streets being ‘clogged up’ by shopper and commuter cars, while the town centre car park lays virtually empty.


The problem is said to be particularly acute in narrow School Road, but The Molesey News has heard accounts of people being unable to get out of drives or park outside their homes in Hansler Grove and Palace, Wolsey and Matham roads.

Meanwhile the 138-space Walton Road car park is still being under-used on weekdays, despite a reduction in charges in recent years to 20p an hour or £2 for the day.

A School Road resident invited the Molesey Conservative Residents’ Steve Bax to walk the street with him and see the problems there first hand.

He said: “The real problems started when the charge came into effect in the Walton Road car park, and we now have a glut of cars that don’t belong to the street, who park here on a regular basis.

“My wife and I have lived here over eight years and have learnt to live with the problems. But other residents seem to be getting miffed and are leaving notes on cars and getting grumpy.”

He feels the solution is to restore the free parking at Walton Road, so Steve contacted Elmbridge Council’s head of parking services, John Strachan, to discuss options.

It transpires the car park generated £32,653 in the 2010/11 financial year, but its operating costs were £48,664 (this includes business rates, lighting, maintenance and enforcement) resulting in a loss to the council of £16,011.

However when you take into account all 28 Elmbridge car parks, including Thamesmead - the free 21-space car park in Walton, the borough covered its costs and made a £950k profit in the last year.

A congested looking School Road in Molesey
Steve Bax said: “Free parking at Walton Road would give Molesey businesses a boost and address some of the antisocial parking that residents have complained about. But we need to bear in mind that charges contribute to the running costs of our car park, which otherwise would have to be borne by all council taxpayers – including those who don’t drive.”

An alternative to free parking is for residents to request a parking permit scheme for their street.
Mr Strachan said these typically cost each home £50-a-year for one reserved parking bay or £70 for two, with the money covering the costs and enforcement.

But he warned permits can result in an overall reduction in parking spaces and resentment from residents at having to pay to park outside their own homes.

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Molesey Police Station to close but officers will stay local


SURREY Police has given an assurance that officers will continue to have a base here despite the closure of the police station in East Molesey.

At present there are four PCs, five PCSOs, a sergeant and a neighbourhood team co-ordinator working out of Molesey Police Station and serving the communities of East and West Molesey, Western green, The Dittons and Hinchley Wood.

But later this year they will be transferring to the Elmbridge Borough Council offices in Esher, as part of Surrey Police’s strategy of closing lesser used stations to fund 200 new frontline officers.

The building is already closed to the public, with the front counter having shut in March 2011.

Elmbridge Neighbourhood Inspector, David Hollingsworth, said the plan is for Molesey officers to have access to a local police post where they will be able to carry out paperwork and have their meal break. This will be in a “shared facility with a local partner”.

He added: “The re-location of Molesey officers in suitable new premises is still a work in progress. We are negotiating a potential alternative at present, but as we are still at the agreeing stage it is too early to provide details. I can say it is in East Molesey and it is a suitable alternative.”

Conservatives support Surrey Police in its goal of freeing up money for frontline officers. We think it is vital that officers continue to have a base in Molesey and be accessible to the public.

We would like to see the station put to positive use after the police move out, possibly as an extension to the Orchard School.

A word from local MP Dominic Raab


Dominic has been the MP for Esher & Walton since the general election of 2010. This is his article for the Molesey News written in August 2011.

Living up the road in Thames Ditton, it has been a great pleasure getting to know Molesey over the past year or so, as your MP.

I have visited local businesses from West Molesey Trading Estate to high-tech firms like Chelsea Technologies, who designed the sensors used to help clean up the BP oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico.

I have got to know some of our great head teachers, from Rosalita Edwards’ Nursery to Hurst Park School, and many other schools. I have been down to hear from doctors at Glenlynn Practice and Friends of Molesey Hospital.

Dominic is put through his paces at  Rosalita Nursery.
Whether it is speaking at the Women’s Institute or enjoying the barbecue at the Mid-Summer Magic party at Hurst Park, I’m always impressed with the strong community spirit we have here.

The government is determined to cut the deficit, to maintain economic confidence but also to avoid burdening high levels of debt and taxes on our children in the future.

That involves tough decisions now. But, it also means it is important that the community hears from and informs its local MP. It is important that we ensure the future of Molesey library.

The closure of Molesey police station reflected the changes in the way local policing is organised by Surrey Police. It is important that we retain a local police hub, but even more vital to strengthen the visible policing presence in Molesey.

Above all, I am committed to ensuring Molesey has a strong voice in Westminster.

Since April 2010, I have held three public - town hall – events in Molesey. I am holding another on September 9th, 7.30pm, at St Mary’s Church Hall in Bell Road, East Molesey.

Thank you to all those who have come along in the past. Whatever your political views, I want to hear from you.

Elmbridge in safe hands with the Conservatives


Cllr John O'Reilly pictured outside Averna in Molesey

MOLESEY residents can rely on the Conservative-led borough council to meet the tough economic challenges of the day while protecting services.

This was the message from Councillor John O’Reilly, leader of the majority Conservative group at Elmbridge, in an interview with the Molesey News.

Cllr O’Reilly, pictured, said that although his party has no council seats in Molesey it doesn’t mean it is not working hard locally and at Esher Civic Centre to maintain and improve the quality of life here. One way it is helping is by keeping your council tax bills low so that you have more spending power and more choice. This is all the more important at the moment when household incomes are being squeezed from all sides.

Conservatives have frozen the Elmbridge portion of council tax in four out of the five years that they have run the council. At the same time they have achieved £5million savings – the vast majority of it by cutting waste and improving efficiency.

Cllr O’Reilly said: “People can compare our record to the previous five years when the Residents groups were in charge at Esher and the council tax went up 40%. There was no real focus on saving money or getting value. There was no clear direction or imagination.

“My team is focused on efficiency, maintaining quality services, and keeping taxes low, as times are tough for families at the moment.”

Cllr O’Reilly is proud of the non-statutory provision of meals on wheels for elderly residents of Molesey, where the charges have been frozen despite the rising cost of food. And for the council’s “strong support” of the Molesey Centre in School Road.

He also reassured Molesey residents that there are no plans to close Vine Hall or Mole Hall as opponents have suggested. “We looked into the possibility of the community helping to run these halls to save the ratepayer some money,” said Cllr O’Reilly.

“In the end we couldn’t agree terms. The proof of the pudding is that two years after all the accusations and rumours the halls are still open.”

Regarding the controversial plans by Surrey County Council to introduce on street parking meters in Molesey and elsewhere, Cllr O’Reilly said the county has accepted recommendations that the first half hour of parking should be free.

He said: “Nobody likes to pay but if you can park somewhere all day then how will this help shops? What they need is a churn of customers.”

One thing he believes will be good for business, and for Molesey generally, is the Olympics and the “huge influx” of people that the games will bring to town.

“There will be three cycling races passing through the town and I hope that will be very attractive to our shops, and of course I hope residents will enjoy the spectacle,” Cllr O’Reilly said.

The council will be providing funds for the Olympics in Elmbridge and particularly for local legacy projects.

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