We wanted to give you a brief update on progress on the issues raised in our petition concerning the A244 and its consideration at the Elmbridge Local Committee meeting on 16 November 2020.
Firstly, many thanks to all of you who supported the petition, a total of 973 signatures in just a few weeks illustrates the strength of concern about traffic problems in Oxshott. A more detailed update including an explanation of the history to some of our roads problems, how FEDORA is responding and the constraints within which we are operating will be published in the Spring edition of FEDORA magazine. This note summarises only the most significant activity.
Those of you who listened to the Local Committee meeting or read the papers will know that the response from Surrey Highways (SH) to our petition was not as we would have wished. I expressed FEDORA’s disappointment at this response which we regarded as not sufficiently responsive to the concerns of the village. The meeting was attended by Tim Oliver, the Surrey County Council (SCC) Leader, who apologised and accepted that the residents of Oxshott had not been well served in recent years. He proposed an urgent meeting of a smaller group to discuss our concerns in more detail. Two meetings have now been held and more are planned. The current position is:
- Tim Oliver has agreed to promote a solution to several of the village needs. As Council Leader he doesn’t need a SH recommendation to do this and SH is not opposed. In part this reflects the fact that SH is only required to consider the needs of local residents in a few very specific circumstances, principally new roads, whereas SCC has a wider (moral) obligation to consider the welfare of Surrey residents.
- We are pursuing three key objectives of a night-time HGV ban; the deployment of average speed cameras in the village; and a lower 20mph speed limit in the centre of the village supported by road modifications. We regard the HGV ban as particularly critical ahead of proposed major works to J10 on the M25.
- You may recall that the SH initial response to the petition noted that some measures couldn’t be implemented because they would not be supported by Surrey Police. FEDORA has been in direct contact with the Chief Constable and his office has helpfully confirmed that the decisions to be taken are the province solely of SCC and wouldn’t be blocked by the Police. However, they also noted that (i) they prioritise their resources primarily with reference to safety issues and HGV movements don’t feature in this assessment; and (ii) overall they don’t have the resources to enforce the measures we have requested and so by implication wouldn’t do so. SCC and FEDORA will continue discussions with Surrey Police at both an executive level and the Surrey Police and Crime Commissioner to request more support from the Police.
- In addition to the matters in the petition we have extended discussions to cover possible speed restrictions on local roads beyond the A244; the creation of uninterrupted pavements into the centre of the village from the south; and the possibility of a footbridge across the railway on the A244. As a first step SH will confirm whether Network Rail, who own the road bridge, would be agreeable to a footbridge proposal.
Overall, good progress is being made but nothing is guaranteed and the process to follow, which requires feasibility studies, consultation and submissions to the Elmbridge Local Committee for funding, means it will take 1-3 years to see results. We now have a much more constructive relationship with SH and aim to work closely with them to see what can be done to smooth the process and so move as quickly as possible. We will be in competition with requests from other parts of Surrey for the necessary funding so the continuing support of Tim Oliver and local councillors will be key.