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

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.