WALTON HIGH STREET CLOSURE PROPOSAL On Friday (June 19th) Chris Sadler and I received an e-mail from a Surrey C.C. Highways Manager. There ensued an e-mail correspondence, as follows. 1111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111
Subject: C19 Active Travel proposal - Walton High Street From SCC Area Highways Manager Dear Cllrs, Following the Government’s recent announcements we have been working with Elmbridge Borough Council officer colleagues to identify potential Active Travel schemes in Elmbridge. One site that is being put forwards is Walton High Street. This site has been identified because it is a busy retail environment, which could benefit from additional space for pedestrians to circulate and maintain social distancing. Please see attached two options for Walton High Street – the objective being to provide more space for pedestrians to circulate while visiting the shops and businesses. Both options would involve creating a new pedestrian zone. The zone would operate during the day, with the road open in overnight for deliveries. We are working to be able to accommodate buses at all times. The two options are:
Pedestrianise the full length of the High Street between New Zealand Avenue and Hepworth Way.
Pedestrianise the section of the High Street between Churchfield Road and Hepworth Way.
Both options would result in on-street parking being removed from the High Street to a greater or lesser extent during the hours of operation of the pedestrian zone. Both options would remove all through traffic except buses from the High Street during the hours of operation of the zone. (Please note that the attached drawings suggest that bus services would be diverted from the High Street. To clarify – it is proposed that bus services would be permitted to travel through the pedestrian zone with either option.) The Government has indicated that Surrey County Council will have the opportunity to bid for funding in two rounds. A bid for the first tranche of funding has been submitted to central government. We have bid for up to £1.7M in the first tranche, which would enable us to deliver a number of schemes across the County. For the second tranche, Surrey County Council will be able to bid for up to £6.8M. Please note that until the outcome of the bidding processes is announced, we don’t know what funding we might receive. When funding decisions are announced, we will then prioritise which schemes to deliver according to the funding we are awarded. At that point we will need to engage rapidly with local stakeholders to ensure the details of the prioritised schemes are as beneficial as possible to local stakeholders. All schemes in the first tranche will be implemented using temporary equipment, which means we can quickly change, adapt and / or remove these schemes in response to how people actually use and respond to them. Schemes funded in the second tranche are expected to be more permanent. Yours sincerely, Area Highway Manager SCC 2222222222222222222222222222222222222222222222222222222222222222 From: Graham Woolgar Subject: Re: C19 Active Travel proposal - Walton High Street Dear xxxx, If implemented, either scheme would have a significant impact on many Walton Central residents and the High Street traders. I would like to see time allowed for us to survey their views. Best wishes, Graham 3333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333 Subject: Re: C19 Active Travel proposal - Walton High Street Hi Graham, Under normal circumstances we would of course undertake wider public consultation over a number of weeks, with Local Committee involvement to weigh up options before consultation and the responses from the community. A scheme like this would typically take 2 – 3 years from initiation to completion. However the timescales for delivery of the 1st tranche of COVID-19 related schemes are very short. We will have 2 weeks from the date of the funding decision to start implementation, and a total of 8 weeks from the date of the funding decision to deliver the entire programme across the County. We have only had a couple of weeks to get to this stage following the Government’s announcement of this programme, with the funding decision imminent. When the funding decision is announced, we will then need to undertake some very rapid consultation with key stakeholders, to make sure we haven’t missed any important details. Please do note that the 1st tranche of schemes will be delivered using temporary equipment, under the experimental traffic regulation order procedure. This means that schemes will be able to be modified or removed very quickly if they are no longer needed, or if they need tweaking so we can improve them. Do let me know if you have any further questions. Thanks 4444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444 Subject: Re: C19 Active Travel proposal - Walton High Street Dear xxxx, It won't be good if you quickly deliver a scheme which is unwanted by both residents and traders. Best wishes, Graham 5555555555555555555555555555555555555555555555555555555555555555 Subject: RE: C19 Active Travel proposal - Walton High Street Hi Graham, I appreciate the sentiment but in this case it will be a choice of doing something quickly, or not at all. I am not defending the circumstances here, but we do need to work within the constraints that we have. Certainly if key stakeholders were to be opposed to the scheme when the funding decision, and consequent individual schemes are announced, then we would need to pause for thought / review. At this stage we are making Members aware of the possible schemes that we are considering, firstly as a simple courtesy, and secondly so that we can move rapidly once funding is announced. Thanks 6666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666 Subject: Re: C19 Active Travel proposal - Walton High Street Dear xxxx, Who are the key stakeholders? Best wishes, Graham And that was as far as our e-conversation got by close of business on Friday. My presumption is that the "key stakeholders" include the two S.C.C. councillors for our area, Rachael Lake & Tony Samuels, and the three Elmbridge Walton Central ward councillors. However, S.C.C. has a history of not being over-concerned by the views of Elmbridge Borough Councillors. I suggest either of the proposed schemes will impact the traffic flow in a number of roads, namely Winchester Road, Churchfield Road, Highfield Road, Esher Avenue, Sidney Road etc. In addition if you live between the Thames and the A3050 (Hampton Court Road) and normally travel South down Hersham Road or Ashley Road, the closure will obviously create difficulties. I also think that at least some High Street traders will not appreciate the removal of some or all of the on-street parking. The Walton Society would like to know what you think about the proposals. Please let us know by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org Drawings of the schemes are attached Please pass this e-mail on to others who may be interested, especially if you know any of the High Street traders. Graham Woolgar for The Walton Society
The plans can be seen below.