No amount of childish foot-stamping will disguise the fact that there is no published independent study to support MSCP.

Sir,

Craig McGowan’s letter last week perfectly illustrated what we have had to put up with from the Tory party in recent years: A ‘we know best’ attitude, the propagation of misinformation, statements made without any supporting evidence and personal character attacks on those who have the temerity to challenge them.  He is right in one respect, it would have been much better to have had many more than the 700 responses to the Haslemere Vision Survey but I wonder if he is aware that the Haslemere Design Statement, which is now a material planning consideration, was commented on by less than half this number of people.  He questions the cost of the survey, which was of ground-breaking importance after the introduction of the Localism Act 2012 and did NOT cost the many thousands he suggests but seems to have no such qualms about the cost-effectiveness of the Conservative-led Waverley Borough Council having to put their Local Plan out for consultation for a second time after doing such a bad job of it the first time.  Latest figures suggest that the consultation has yielded around 3000 responses across the Borough, which means it may have yielded the same number of responses from Haslemere as the Vision survey.  Meanwhile, without public consultation, Haslemere Town Council have committed to contributing £1 million to the MSCP.  Is that democratic?

He claims that ‘it is clear now that the argument for a second deck has been made and accepted’ yet no amount of childish foot-stamping will disguise the fact that there is no published independent study to support this claim.  I am at a loss to understand how anyone could argue that such a study is not vital when considering a development of this scale.  How does insisting that such a study should take place make Cllr Barton ‘underhand’ or the rest ‘anti-change’?  An independent Surrey Rail Strategy report compiled by Arup in 2013 highlighted the lack of data available on overall demand, mode share and car parking usage.  It recommended research into the potential effects of an MSCP on pollution, congestion and road safety as well as the possibility of access improvements and alternative means of transport as part of a Station Travel Plan.  Surrey County Council has funding available for data research and could contribute through local funds or funding bids but this option has so far been disregarded.  Heaven forbid it should reveal simpler, cheaper, safer, greener and more imaginative options.  Jeremy Hunt has secured agreement from the Department for Transport to oversee a working group to consider the MSCP.  Let us hope it takes a fair and democratic approach and that the result is one from which the town as a whole, not just the select few, will benefit.

 

Yours faithfully

Julianne Evans

27 High Street, Haslemere

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: JL Nobbs
Date: Thu, Oct 23, 2014 at 11:28 AM
Subject: letter
To: editor@haslemereparking.com

Posted in Commuters, Haslemere Chamber of Trade, Haslemere Parking, Haslemere Society, Residents | Comments Off on No amount of childish foot-stamping will disguise the fact that there is no published independent study to support MSCP.

Resident letter: Do we really want to be paying for a MSCP for the next 50 years when there may be alternative means of transport available to commuters?

Dear Editor,

I was surprised to read in this week’s edition of the Haslemere Herald, 10th October, that some of our Haslemere Town Councillors should want to ignore a democratic process to meet their political leader’s demands.  It is no secret that Jeremy Hunt (www.jeremyhunt.org) has declared on his website that Haslemere needs a MSCP, yet the feedback from the Haslemere Vision consultation was that an overwhelming 88 per cent thought the train station parking problem could be solved by providing alternative transport for commuters. By coincidence a petition to Surrey County Council Senior Leadership team went live this week petitioning its leaders to prioritise other road users over the car.

“According to the Department of Transport  (http://road-collisions.dft.gov.uk), Surrey County Council  (SCC) has the highest number of cycling fatalities in the whole  of England and is fourth highest for pedestrian fatalities of  any highway authority.

Pedestrians spend more per week than any other shopper Tfl (Town Centre Study 2011). One in five cars on the road at morning peak traffic times are taking  children to school, contributing to congestion, air pollution  and carbon emissions. With school pupil numbers projected to  rise year on year the school run is expected to have an  increasingly negative impact on congestion. One in three  children leaves primary school either overweight or obese.   (www.livingstreets.org.uk/wow) . Inactivity is costing the  Primary Care trust in England in excess of £940million a year.

We petition SCC senior leadership team to make our towns and villages safer for pedestrian and cyclists and to stop  prioritising the car over other road users. We ask that they look at best practice outside their own County.

Please sign this petition: http://petitions.surreycc.gov.uk/SaferRoads/

Don’t forget to confirm your response to the petition via email.”

It has previously been suggested that the Haslemere Tax Payer could fund a MSCP.  Do we really want to be paying for a MSCP for the next 50 years when there may be alternative means of transport available to commuters?  Please say “NO”, and sign the above mentioned petition for a better quality of life.

Best wishes,

Victoria Leake

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Victoria Leake
Date: Fri, Oct 10, 2014 at 9:07 AM
Subject: MSCP Haslemere
To: editor@haslemereparking.com

Posted in Commuters, Haslemere Parking, Residents, Surrey County Council, Town Council, Waverley Borough Council | Comments Off on Resident letter: Do we really want to be paying for a MSCP for the next 50 years when there may be alternative means of transport available to commuters?

Why have a debate when a press release will suffice?

Read from bottom up:

—————————————————————————————–

From: Haslemere Parking
Sent: 09 October 2014 9:50 AM
To: ‘Haslemere Town Clerk’
Subject: RE: Press release – Multi Storey Car Park

Dear Lisa

I am very disappointed to receive your reply. A press release to The Herald should not preclude the MSCP being on the agenda of the November meeting. I see it as the most extraordinary attempt to stifle debate. I was clear in my first email to you that Stephen Mulliner’s original premise that opposition to a MSCP has been microscopic is simply untrue. This needs a full and open discussion.

Other than Haslemere Vision’s survey, two surveys relating to the MSCP have simply been there to build a body of support for a MSCP. On Jeremy Hunt’s website he steered the issue in one direction only: To show your support please email haslemeremscp@gmail.com to sign up to the campaign or click on Register Your Support. That is not democratic! When a twitter account – @NoHaslemereMSCP – was set up to challenge Jeremy Hunt’s MSCP campaign, Jeremy deleted his twitter account, as he only had 10 followers in support. The SW Trains survey that councillors have used as evidence was not independent. It was conducted by SW Trains!

The most recent survey is the one conducted by Haslemere Vision filled in by local people. Given that our elected representatives have relied so heavily on historic flawed surveys, I have no confidence in our elected representatives to produce another. We urgently require a proper debate and the basis of the debate should be the most recent Haslemere Vision responses.

I ask again that this is an agenda item on the November 20th full council meeting.

With kind regards

From: Haslemere Town Clerk
Sent: 08 October 2014 4:22 PM
To: Haslemere Parking
Subject: FW: Press release – Multi Storey Car Park

The Council took on board your comments re the next Council meeting not being until November and this morning instructed me to send the statement below to the Herald. I hope that this might answer any questions you have, and preclude the MSCP issue being included on the Agenda in November – unless further information comes to light between now and then.

 

Best wishes,

 

Lisa

 

Lisa O’Sullivan

Town Clerk

Haslemere Town Council

01428 658828

www.haslemere.com/towncouncil

Follow us on Twitter – @Haslemere TC

 

 

The Town Council offices are open Monday, Wednesday and Friday 10am-1pm and 2pm-4pm

 

 

From: Haslemere Town Clerk
Sent: 08 October 2014 12:04
To: Haslemere Herald
Cc: Penny Bradley – Mayor
Subject: Press release – Multi Storey Car Park

Dear Bea,

Please see below HTC’s response to the recent statements from Jeremy Hunt MP and Cllr Nikki Barton:

HTC notes that the content of Jeremy Hunt’s letter to Patrick McLaughlin of 5th September offers no real new information in terms of a car park, of any size, being built at Haslemere Station.

The Council acknowledges Cllr Nikki Barton’s comments in relation to the Vision survey, but is also aware that that survey was not available to the several hundred commuters who drive to the Station from well outside Haslemere every day, mainly from the south and west.

The Council feels that, before any final decision is made regarding an MSCP at Haslemere Station, there should at the very least be a transport assessment commissioned so that an impartial and professional view can be established to whether a MSCP is required in Haslemere. It is hoped that HTC can work with Surrey County Councillor, Nikki Barton to facilitate this.

If deemed appropriate, Haslemere Town Council will also consider commissioning an online survey for residents and commuters to have their say on the future of parking in Haslemere and to judge what demand there might be among non-local commuters for alternative forms of transport.  Ideas such as a Park-and-Ride have an obvious appeal in theory but may be impractical if commuters will not use them or they prove uneconomic

Best wishes,

 

Lisa

 

Lisa O’Sullivan

Town Clerk

Haslemere Town Council

01428 658828

www.haslemere.com/towncouncil

Follow us on Twitter – @Haslemere TC

 

 

The Town Council offices are open Monday, Wednesday and Friday 10am-1pm and 2pm-4pm

 

 

Posted in Commuters, Haslemere Parking, Surrey County Council, Town Council | Comments Off on Why have a debate when a press release will suffice?

Request to @HaslemereTC for debate Haslemere regarding station multi-storey car park

From: Haslemere Parking
Sent: 03 October 2014 10:13 AM
To: ‘Lisa O’Sullivan Haslemere Town Clerk’
Subject: MSCP

Dear Lisa (Town Clerk)

I refer to a response below on the subject of a station car park. You’ll note that Stephen Mulliner feels that 97%  (i.e. 230 or so out of 17,000 as a sample of those who were prepared to take the trouble to express a view) is an overwhelming majority by any standards.

70% of respondents to the Haslemere Vision consultation (476 residents which is more than double the 230 response cited above) favoured improving access for alternative means of transport to the station. Only 14 residents out of 681 residents mentioned a multi-storey car park in the consultation responses.

The council took a stance to support a campaign for a MSCP but the most recent evidence by the town council convened neighbourhood plan suggests that there is very little constituent support for this. It does rather dispel the view that opposition to a MSCP has “been microscopic and that almost all feedback has been positive”.

I would like this to be an agenda item at full council on 20th November 2014 in order that we may have a full debate in order that a formal response by the council may be submitted to Jeremy Hunt.

Would you be so kind as to put this request to the Mayor? I look forward to your reply.

—————————————————-

From: Libby Piper (e-mail removed)
Sent: 31 January 2014 2:15 PM
To: Haslemere Parking
Subject: Fw: Haslemere MSCP

Please find below your original email together with Stephen Mulliner’s comments shown in bold beneath each of your points [as the HTC parking representative].  Apologies for the delay in responding but Stephen was overseas until mid January and as he has been deeply involved in the MSCP project for many years and has been involved in the majority of the talks with the various government and rail authorities, he was the best person to respond to your queries.  I do hope that his response answers your questions and as you will see, HTC are of the opinion that little is likely to happen until the SWT Franchise comes to an end in 2017.  The contribution offered by HTC was based on a positive response from DfT/NWR/SWT by the 23rd January when the budget and precept had to be set.  Any consideration of a HTC contribution in the future will be based on future proposals and business case which would require the submission of a further planning application for an increase in the size and design.

best wishes

Libby

__________________________________________

From: Haslemere Parking

Sent: Thursday, January 16, 2014 9:13 PM

To: Libby Piper

Subject: Haslemere MSCP

Dear Libby

I’ve read in The Herald today that the town council is proposing to part fund a MSCP for Haslemere.

Please would you provide a full breakdown of the current funding scheme that has recently been reviewed by the DfT, including a detailed breakdown of how the town council will raise the funds? I’m keen to know what implications this will have for taxpayers and how this type of council spend with satisfy the social, economic and environmental benefits for residents as set out in the Social Value Act.

Stephen Mulliner: The funding scheme is straightforward – the MSCP construction cost of £X million to build (where X is expected to be between 7 and 8 depending on foundation requirements) would be provided as to £(X – 0.5 to 1) million by Network Rail and/or DfT and £(0.5 – 1) million by HTC.  The need for a local authority contribution is to increase the Benefit/Cost Ratio to a level acceptable to the DfT.  Without that, nothing will happen.  Once built, SWT lease the MSCP from NR and cover the leasing costs and MSCP maintenance from MSCP income.  The financial fly in the ointment is that only the incremental income can be taken into account to cover both the leasing costs and maintenance charges.  The existing income from the 200 at-grade spaces cannot be taken into account.

In addition, I’d like to know if your funding calculations are based on the existing planning for the car park or if it will be bigger/smaller than the plans that were on display back in 2009. I find it odd that residents are being to ask to agree to something without understanding the funding model or knowing the dimensions of the building. Is there a reason that none of this information regarding funding for and size of a proposed MSCP is available on the town council website?

Stephen Mulliner:  The expectation is that the proposed MSCP would have two and a half decks to accommodate 550 spaces.  It will be on the same footprint as the 2009 application.

There has been nothing definite to communicate to residents so far because of the key role of the DfT which has been very slow to respond and has still not come forward with a proposal.  The DfT has an important say until 2017 because SWT is currently being subsidised as to 80% of the shortfall between the income that was forecast for 2014-2017 and the actual income in that time.  It is vital that the increased MSCP income is not effectively reduced by 80% in 2016 and 2017 (which is the earliest that a MSCP would be in operation) as otherwise the SWT/NR funding model fails completely.

I would also like to ask you if you feel that 200 responses in support out of a population of 17,000 should really be fairly described as “overwhelming support”?

Stephen Mulliner: 230 or so out of 17,000 is a sample of those who were prepared to take the trouble to express a view.  Of those, 97% are in favour.  That is an overwhelming majority by any standards.

As you know, I spoke with Lisa O’Sullivan and asked for town council information re the MSCP. Lisa sent me 5 documents after scanning HTC’s online documentation and it yielded very little evidence of consultation with Haslemere residents.

Stephen Mulliner: The issue has been live in Haslemere since 2008 with regular mentions in the local press whenever the possibility of progress has seemed to be high.  The run-up to the May 2009 planning application had extensive press coverage.  The SWT/NR joint application for DfT funding in summer 2011 led to a public meeting at the Haslemere Hall in September 2011 at which Phil Dominey of SWT explained their plans.  It has been referred to extensively in the Press both before and after the County Council election.  It is no exaggeration to say that the volume of opposition has been microscopic and almost all feedback has been positive.

I know you’re very busy and I hate to bother you with this but I feel like I’m very much in the dark on this matter.

I look forward to your response.

Posted in Commuters, Haslemere Parking, Residents, Town Council | Comments Off on Request to @HaslemereTC for debate Haslemere regarding station multi-storey car park

Jeremy Hunt continues to push for Haslemere Multi-Storey Car Park

From Jeremy Hunt’s website, 19th September 2014:

Jeremy Hunt, MP for South West Surrey puts pressure on Secretary of State in a bid to guarantee plans for improved station car parking for his constituents

MP for South West Surrey, Jeremy Hunt, remains consistently focussed on securing adequate parking for his constituents at both Haslemere and Farnham trains stations.

After months of discussions with both the Managing Director of South West Trains, Tim Shoveller and Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin MP, Jeremy secured a commitment from the DfT for them to oversee a working party to explore the options for a multi storey car park in Haslemere and also a commitment from Tim Shoveller to include plans for multi storey car parks at both stations within his franchise extension deal which was due to be considered at the end of this year. However, in the last few weeks Jeremy has become aware of a possible delay in South West Trains extension being granted until the Summer of 2015.

Unhappy with the impact such a delay would have on his constituents still struggling to find adequate parking, Jeremy wrote earlier this month to the Secretary of State impressing upon him the importance of establishing a deal with South West Trains by Christmas. Jeremy said, ‘there are a number of improvements which South West Trains are keen to implement in the area which are being held up pending the renewal of their franchise agreement. Such a delay will have a significant impact upon the rail company’s ability to make these positive changes, including plans for significant improvements to car parking facilities which are much needed. I am hopeful that the Secretary of State will take on board my concerns and look to establish a deal within South West Trains’ existing agreement before the New Year and not delay plans any longer.’

Wording of Jeremy Hunt’s letter to the Secretary of State for Transport, 5th September 2014, below:

South West Trains Direct Award

The announcement earlier this week that South West Trains was buying an additional 150 carriages for its suburban capacity expansion plan was very good news, and a positive reflection of the Department for Transport’s reinvigorated approach to making things happen. However, I gather that the Direct Award franchise extension to South West Trains is now not likely to happen until Summer next year, potentially delaying for a number of years urgently needed improvements to the railway around my constituency. The good news for passengers that could be delayed includes things like the introduction of proper smartcard ticketing and better ticket purchase facilities, car park expansions at a number of stations and planning for mainline capacity expansion. It would be bad news for my constituents if those improvements could not happen.

I am told that it would be possible to agree before Christmas an earlier deal within the existing franchise with South West Trains to secure those benefits which is good to hear. If there is anything I can do to support that important earlier deal then please let me know.

The wording of my e-mail to Jeremy Hunt, 24th September 2014.

Dear Jeremy

I read the statement on your website that you are continuing to push for a multi-storey car park in Haslemere.

I would like to share that last night Haslemere Vision, our neighbourhood planning group, presented the results of their Stage One town-wide consultation. 70% of respondents favoured improving access for alternative means of transport to the station. Only 14 residents out of 681 residents mentioned a multi-storey car park in the consultation responses. One resident at the Haslemere Vision meeting suggested that it could be a condition of the franchise renewal that bus services are put in place for commuters rather than a multi-storey car park.

I am not sure where the pressure is coming from for a multi-storey car park but the Haslemere Vision response suggests it is not from constituents.

You shared with me back in February that a working group will be set up. Have they now fully explored the options and are you able to share the findings of their meetings?

I look forward to your reply.

Also here, copy of email to Jeremy Hunt (Transport Minister in cc)

Jeremy Hunt, MP for South West Surrey

By e-mail to: jeremy.hunt.mp@parliament.uk

12th January 2014

Dear Jeremy

I have read your new Multi-Storey Car Park (MSCP) website. I do not support your current campaign for a MSCP. I think it is undemocratic to provide an e-mail address only asking for support, and not to have full and open consultation for what could end up being the largest building in our rural town.

You state your belief that the only real solution to Haslemere’s parking problems is to provide more car parking at the train station, in the form of a multi-storey car park. You ask for support for a multi-storey without giving residents any supporting evidence that this is the best solution. There has been absolutely no independent resident consultation in Haslemere in the 15 years I have lived in the town. The current application outlines the level of consultation: “Haslemere Town Council placed an article in the Haslemere Herald and erected preliminary images in the Town Hall for Public review. Questionnaires have been sent out by SWT to rail passengers.”

A MSCP will create a revenue stream for SWT and will be conditional upon residential road restrictions such that Haslemere residents will have to bear the inconvenience of the parking restrictions with no upside. Furthermore, there is a considerable downside for commuters since station car parking charges have increased far faster than rail fares or inflation, because SWT does not have to cap these increases.

If Haslemere as a town managed its own parking services, an income could be generated such that revenue raised in Haslemere would stay in Haslemere. The Localism Act’s Community Right to Challenge provides a right for ‘relevant bodies’ to submit an expression of interest to run local authority car parking services. This ought to be explored. Such a scheme would also create local employment in your constituency. I would have liked to have discussed this with you in the context of the Wey Hill public inquiry but was disappointed to have my recent meeting request declined.

Has a park and ride scheme been properly explored? Such a scheme could be much more affordable for commuters and residents than car parking at the station. It works elsewhere. I’m not saying that is the answer but it’s another possible solution.

I understand that Guildford has just extended its Park & Ride service in a partnership between Surrey County Council and other local organisations including Guildford Borough Council. The scheme is funded by the Department of Transport’s Local Sustainable Transport Fund and is part of Surrey’s Travel SMART programme, which aims to help Surrey residents and businesses cut calories, carbon and cost. As Health Minister, solutions with considerable health benefits should surely be considered. Furthermore, according to your website, you are only working with the Waverley Borough Council and Haslemere Town Council and not Surrey County Council – why not?

In January 2007 you wrote on your website: “Regarding traffic management, 74% of local people believed that Farnham needed an integrated traffic plan and 78% thought that South West Surrey’s villages were being ruined by traffic and that there needed to be further investment in better traffic management.” And yet, you are encouraging increased traffic and sole reliance on car use by supporting a MSCP without looking at alternative ways to take the pressure from car parking at the station.

SCC’s recent rail strategy report produced by Arup gives the impression that no independent research has been carried out to support a MSCP at Haslemere train station.

That Surrey-wide report, Sept 2013, (with input from Haslemere) found:

  • Rail station parking improvement programme needs to be informed by data collection exercise on current usage and forecast growth. (SCC has funding available for data research and could contribute to this through local funds or funding bids (eg Access for All or National Stations Improvement Programme).
  • There is very little further evidence and data on access to stations in Surrey, such as overall demand, mode share and car parking usage.
  • Based on the data collected, a Programme of access improvements should be developed to address gaps, providing additional capacity or alternative modes of access. Schemes should cover all transport modes and could include improved parking facilities for cars and bicycles, improved walk and cycle access to stations, improved pick-up/drop-off facilities for private cars and taxis or improved bus services to the station with enhanced interchange and integration (e.g. coordinated timetables). The package of measures could take the form of a Station Travel Plan, as a catalyst for improvement.
  • In some areas of Surrey the private car is an important mode of access to rail stations, particularly in rural areas where there are few viable public transport alternatives and where distances are too long or roads not suitable for walking and cycling. In these cases, car parking facilities need to provide sufficient capacity at an appropriate price. Examples raised in the consultation include Haslemere, Farnham, Brookwood, Godalming, Redhill and Merstham. Issues include lack of capacity, particularly after the morning peak. These key locations need to be identified and studied through this option, to assess the capacity issues and determine where expansion of car parks is appropriate and provides value for money.
  • Development objectives: Reduced reliance on car travel and its associated impacts (congestion, pollution, safety).
  • Population growth: providing an alternative to car travel on the congested road network.

On 17th October, you published a link to the above-referenced Arup report in your twitter feed. That is how I first heard about it. On 8th November you tweeted about the success of your new MSCP campaign. The MSCP campaign does not seem to be supported by any of the recommendations in the Arup report that you shared.

There is little evidence to support a MSCP (I am only aware of car counts in Haslemere, an early morning survey of the Wey Hill car park and a questionnaire sent to commuters in 2009) and this ignores 1) the consequences of congestion and pollution and 2) the fact that these counts are produced, not by an independent expert but by Councillor Mulliner whose position as a town councillor and a Waverley Borough councillor is conflicted. A MSCP cannot be considered without viewing the site at Wey Hill. Recently, I wrote to Councillor Mulliner outlining my concerns about the consequence of introducing a MSCP and also about my concerns over his conflict of interest in this matter. He has not replied. I wrote:

1)      Consequences. Your business case for a MSCP ignores the effect of increased congestion, pollution and road safety. (Many school children use the train to get to school during the morning commute and will have to encounter increased traffic flows when crossing roads. This has serious safety implications. Cycling and Walking will become less appealing.) Lower Street becomes gridlocked with one flash flood at Fosters Bridge. How will the entry/exit points of the station cope with the extra cars during the commuting period? There are cheaper and more imaginative solutions and the increases in pollution and congestion have not been considered. All items recognised as needing rigorous research by the independent Surrey Rail Strategy report compiled by Arup have been ignored in Haslemere.

2)      Conflict of interest. A simple calculation of 500 cars in the station MSCP – with the required residential road restrictions that the MSCP would insist upon because funding would be conditional upon a CPZ to divert commuters into paid car parks, tells me there would be (and it’s a very conservative estimate) NEW revenue of £160,000 per annum from overspill parking in 3 of WBC’s car parks (Tanners Lane, Wey Hill and Weydown Road). This is immensely attractive to WBC. Not one penny of that revenue has to come to back to Haslemere. Indeed, you are on record saying charging at Wey Hill will be easier to impose once proper parking at Haslemere station is in place, http://haslemereparking.com/wey-hill-car-park-item-at-last-weeks-waverleybcs-executive-meeting/. You are the person consulting on how much parking may be needed for a station MSCP and you are also the person who is balancing this with the borough council’s desire to get as much parking revenue from its car parks.

I support examining all alternatives with maximum community input and I understand that Haslemere Vision, the town’s neighbourhood planning forum, has the mandate to do that. The members of the Vision’s Transport Working Group have themselves not reached consensus that the MSCP is the right route.

In Haslemere, there is a recent history of residents campaigning on parking issues. Last year, lack of proper consultation by Surrey County Council eventually resulted in them being faced with a potential judicial review over their on street parking actions, and led to their pay & display plans being dropped.  Lack of proper consultation by Waverley Borough Council has led to the Wey Hill public inquiry at which the inspector will read 236 letters of representation, with more than 98% of residents writing against the application. The message is clear – residents want open and inclusive consultations. Your tweet recently We have been talking about a new car park at Haslemere station for years – now is the time for action, not more consultations!” is factually incorrect. We have had no such thing. The only people who were asked to provide their views were commuters in the previous application submitted by Stagecoach South West Trains. Indeed the mentions you have received via Twitter on this matter have been against a MSCP.

I am not saying that a MSCP is not the right solution for commuter parking. I feel that the timing is wrong with the Wey Hill public inquiry in April. Indeed, if the MSCP went ahead it could pave the way to look at how the Fairground common land can be given back to the people of Haslemere because commuters will no longer need to park there. Waverley Borough Council could then offer low cost and affordable parking to Wey Hill shoppers and shopkeepers in the Weydown Road car park? Or, would we even need a MSCP if we invested in a campaign for alternative uses of transport and better public transport? What I am saying is that it should not be considered without research that considers all the alternatives. This research should be based on independent expert data concerning station users and should take into account traffic management, future development in the surrounding area and residents’ views.

You cannot claim a MSCP is an essential improvement to the infrastructure of Haslemere and definitive answer to the town’s parking problems when you have had no open consultation and there is no robust supporting evidence. How will you help your constituents in a collaborative and inclusive way to achieve a proper long term parking solution for Haslemere?

 

In cc Transport Minister, Patrick McLoughlin

Posted in Commuters, Haslemere Parking | Comments Off on Jeremy Hunt continues to push for Haslemere Multi-Storey Car Park

Tesco are applying to remove car parking spaces and put in a car wash

Location Tesco Stores Ltd, Lion Green, Haslemere GU27 1LD

Planning Application Record: WA/2014/1361

 Proposal Change of Use of nine parking spaces to hand car wash and valeting operation; erection of an office and canopy.
 Applicant Company Waves Consultancy Limited
 Applicant Jon-pall Bonnett
 Agent Jon-pall Bonnett of Waves Consultancy Limited
 Received Date 07/07/2014
 Valid Date 28/07/2014
 Case Officer Gemma Page
 Phone 523583
 Email planconsult@waverley.gov.uk
 Site Visit
 Parish Haslemere
 Ward Haslemere Critchmere & Shottermill
 Grid Ref 489014  132687
 Decision Target 22/09/2014
Likely Committee Date
(if required)
03/09/2014
 Decision Pending Decision
Posted in Haslemere Parking, Shopkeepers, Waverley Borough Council | Comments Off on Tesco are applying to remove car parking spaces and put in a car wash

It is now perfectly legal to record council meetings

For nearly two years I have been asking for permission to record Surrey County Council’s Waverley Local Area Committee (LAC) meetings. I was granted permission from the Committee Chair, Cllr Pat Frost (with certain conditions attached) to record the 13th December 2013 meeting:

  • this permission is granted to you personally
  • the permission is subject to the business of the meeting not being disturbed: the Chairman will make the final decision in all matters of dispute in regard to the use of social media and filming during the meeting
  • filming must be limited to the formal meeting area (i.e. that occupied by the members of the Committee) and not extend to the public seating area
  • we may request a copy of any recording made
  • it is recommended that tweets should take place at the end of an item so that the full range of a discussion can be covered

In June 2013, Cllr Pat Frost was keen to point out that:

I must stress that the DLCG have only issued guidelines and have not enshrined them in law.

From Gov.UK website, Published 6 August 2014

New law now allows press and public to film, tweet and blog town halls.

In a boost for local democracy and the independent free press, councils in England were brought into the 21st century today (6 August 2014) after Local Government Secretary, Eric Pickles, signed a Parliamentary order allowing press and public to film and digitally report from all public meetings of local government bodies. This ‘right to report’ updates a law passed by Margaret Thatcher as a backbench MP.

Following the passage of both primary and secondary legislation, the move opens councils’ digital doors, covering broadcasters, national press, local press, bloggers and hyper-local journalists and the wider public. The new law aims to end active resistance amongst some councils to greater openness. Councils have even called the police to arrest people who tried to report, tweet or film council meetings, or claimed spurious ‘health and safety’ or ‘reputational risks’ to digital reporting.

This new law builds on Margaret Thatcher’s successful Private Members’ Bill from 1960 which allowed for the written reporting of council meetings by the press. The new rules will apply to all public meetings, including town and parish councils and fire and rescue authorities.

Local Government Secretary, Eric Pickles, said:

Half a century ago, Margaret Thatcher championed a new law to allow the press to make written reports of council meetings. We have updated her analogue law for a digital age.

Local democracy needs local journalists and bloggers to report and scrutinise the work of their council, and increasingly, people read their news via digital media. The new ‘right to report’ goes hand in hand with our work to stop unfair state competition from municipal newspapers – together defending the independent free press.

There is now no excuse for any council not to allow these new rights. Parliament has changed the law, to allow a robust and healthy local democracy. This will change the way people see local government, and allow them to view close up the good work that councillors do.

Further information

New rights

The government has published a plain English guide of practical information on how the public can exercise their new rights, and what they should expect from their local government bodies.

The Openness of Local Government Regulations 2014, which apply to England, give rights to members of the press and public to:

  • use modern technology and communication methods such as filming, audio-recording, blogging and tweeting to report the proceedings of the meetings of their councils and other local government bodies
  • see information relating to significant decisions made outside meetings by officers acting under a general or specific delegated power

Case studies

  • a councillor in Thanet was removed by the police for trying to film a council meeting discussing airport expansion

  • Wirral Council said filming a planning committee would compromise ‘health and safety’.

  • Tower Hamlets Council barred a 71 year old resident from filming due the risk of ‘reputational damage’ to the authority

  • Keighley Town Council blocked residents filming as it would amount to a ‘breach of standing orders’

  • Bexley Council said audio and visual filming would breach its ‘agreed protocol’

  • Stamford Town Council placed a ban on journalists tweeting from meetings due to the risk of them ‘not accurately portraying a debate’

  • a blogger in Huntingdonshire was removed by police for filming, and has advised fellow bloggers to ‘be prepared for the police to be called and the possibility of arrest’

Why is it important?

So that we do not have a re-run of behaviour that 200+ residents witnessed at the famous Witley Surrey County Council LAC Waverley meeting chaired by Councillor Pat Frost.

Meeting was reminiscent of something between Hogarth’s Gin Lane & the Mad Hatter’s tea party

A day at the Panto – @SurreyCouncil parking Proposals for Haslemere – open letter

Letter to @Jeremy_Hunt about the conduct of the Local Committee Waverley cc @SurreyCouncil

Posted in Haslemere Parking, Surrey County Council | Comments Off on It is now perfectly legal to record council meetings

Councils should show where parking fees spent, says RAC

From the BBC website: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-28518696

Councils should show where they are spending revenues from parking charges, according to the RAC motoring group.

Four people in five surveyed by the motoring group said parking charges had increased in towns and cities.

But two thirds of 1,525 people surveyed thought there had been a reduction in available parking near the centre of their town or city, the research found.

The Local Government Association said the report did not reflect “the reality of parking in our communities”.

But RAC technical director David Bizley said: “We need transparency. Councils should be compelled to report where the money raised from parking goes – giving drivers assurance that it is being ploughed back into road and transport improvements, rather than just plugging budget holes elsewhere.”

Too small

Of the drivers surveyed, 41% “were suspicious about what parking fees are used for”, he said.

The poll also found that 65% of motorists reported that even when they finally found a parking space, it was too small for today’s breed of cars – many of which are wider than previous generations of vehicle because of the addition of side-impact protection features.

A spokesman for the Local Government Association, said: “This report is not a true reflection of the reality of parking in our communities.”

“Councils remain on the side of hard-pressed motorists by keeping a lid on parking charges which are only set to rise with inflation this year.

“On-street parking revenue is spent on paying for parking services. Any surplus is spent on essential transport projects, such as tackling the £12bn roads repair backlog and creating new parking spaces.”

Many councils already published annual parking reports, he added.

Communities minister Penny Mordaunt said: “Excessive parking charges and unfair parking fines push up the cost of living and undermine local high streets and shopping parades.”

Posted in Surrey County Council, Waverley Borough Council | Comments Off on Councils should show where parking fees spent, says RAC

“Cowboy parking squads”

From the BBC website’s round up of the papers today, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs-the-papers-28518937

Scared

Most motorists may have had cause at some time or other to utter a silent expletive when they have found a parking ticket on their car, but the Daily Mail says a new “menace” is making matters worse.

The paper’s lead story says “cowboy parking squads” employed by High street firms are hitting hundreds of thousands of drivers with £100 fines – and using threats to make them pay up.

The Mail says the firms are essentially “bounty hunters” employed by fast food chains, retailers and railway operators who issue parking notices that appear similar to council ones, but do not have the same legal standing.

Wheel clamp Many wheel clamping companies have switched to issuing tickets on private land, the Daily Mail reports

“Many are being issued unfairly and – in some cases – without legal authority,” the paper adds.

The Mail says many of the firms operated as car clampers until the practise was made illegal on private land in 2012.

AA president Edmund King tells the paper some firms use “cowboy tactics, scaremongering and bullying” to penalise motorists heavily for relatively minor parking infractions.

“Often motorists know that they are in the right, but when they get a letter that looks like an official fixed penalty notice followed by a letter that looks like an official bailiff’s letter they pay up because they are scared.”

Mr King says the British Parking Association, which regulates the industry, is paid for by car parking firms, a situation he says is akin to “inmates guarding the jail”.

The paper doesn’t say what the BPA makes of this charge.

The Mail’s leader column says “we urge all motorists to stand up for their rights and defy the new generation of car-park cowboys”.

More parking problems in the Daily Express which quotes an RAC survey suggesting a quarter of us now have to pay to park in places that were free last year.

And 67% of respondents said they were driving less because of the rising cost of car parking.

The express says the charges and fines had become “a cash cow” for cash–strapped local authorities.

But a Local Government Association spokesman tells the paper “parking revenue is spent on parking services” and other transport costs, such as repairing pot-holes.

Posted in Haslemere Parking | Comments Off on “Cowboy parking squads”

Have your say in the future of Haslemere

Haslemere is in the process of drawing up a neighbourhood plan for the town. This is a chance to have a say in many issues including parking.

Haslemere Vision would love you to complete their survey, please click on a link below to start the survey (there is no requirement to logon or register to complete a survey, just click a link below):

    • Consultation Survey

Complete the Consultation survey online http://haslemerevision.org.uk/surveys/, or if you are unable to complete this online you can download a copy of the consultation document “Planning Haslemere’s Future – Have Your Say”* to complete offline and return to a local collection point in Haslemere.

*Note: Further copies of the document are available at: The Town Hall, The Museum, The Library, Haslemere Hall, Haslewey, Nobbs, Tesco, The Co-op, Hindhead Furnishing and Grayswood Cars.

 

UPDATE: 28th July 2014. The deadline to respond has been extended to 31st August 2014

Posted in Commuters, Haslemere Chamber of Trade, Haslemere Parking, Residents, Residents' Associations, Schools, Shopkeepers, Surrey County Council, Town Council, Waverley Borough Council | Comments Off on Have your say in the future of Haslemere