Residents may be aware that works on a Surrey County Council proposed footpath connecting the new Weyburn development with the village via Marcus’s Triangle and the Milford Road is scheduled to start next week. The PC does not support the proposal for a number of reasons and has spent much time liaising with SCC and other agencies to try to prevent construction of the footpath. As the PC is still waiting on a formal response from SCC, the PC has issued a press release to all the local press which is attached below for your information.
PRESS STATEMENT: WEYBURN WORKS DEVELOPMENT, PEPER HAROW AND ELSTEAD – PROPOSED FOOTWAY
69 new homes are being built by Clarion Housing and their contractor Thakeham at the former Weyburn Works site on the border of Peper Harow and Elstead parishes. Surrey County Council (SCC) required as a condition of this development that the developer should construct a footway (pavement) to provide a pedestrian link between the housing complex and the centre of Elstead. This would follow a route south along Shackleford Road, into a part of Royal Common known as Marcus Triangle at the junction of the Milford and Shackleford Roads, followed by a crossing of the Milford Road and continuing thence to link up with the existing footway further to the west.
Elstead Parish Council, together with Peper Harow parish and our two Waverley Borough Council members, David and Jenny Else, have lodged strong objections to this project, both with the developers and with the Highways Authority, SCC, which has given consent for the planned route. All regard the route as unsafe, unsuitable, unnecessary and arguably unlawful.
The route is unsafe because it would cross the busy Milford Road at a dangerous double bend where there have been several serious road accidents in recent years. It would allow pedestrians a visibility ‘window’ of less than 4 seconds to check that no vehicles are approaching from either direction and to cross the road. This is barely adequate for able bodied adults. It is not nearly sufficient for people with limited mobility or for parents with young children. SCC originally advised that the crossing point would be lit, but they have since withdrawn this advice, without explanation. SCC’s own highway engineers regard the proposed route as unsafe.
The route is unsuitable because it is lengthy and circuitous and would make no provision for cyclists, who would be obliged to use the busy Milford Road carriageway. It would also create an urban feature in an area which is essentially rural and unspoiled.
The route is unnecessary because Elstead Parish Council has offered a much shorter and safer pathway across its own land, which would involve no highway crossings and which would also cater for cyclists.
The route is arguably unlawful because it would be constructed on common land, for which specific consent from the Planning Inspectorate is normally required. This has not been obtained. The owner of the land has not been consulted or informed of the plans and is strongly opposed to the use of his land for the purpose of constructing a footway.
Elstead Parish Council has asked SCC’s Head of Highways to provide a definitive statement, supported by a reasoned justification, on whether or not the land in question is indeed common land and whether specific Planning Inspectorate consent is required. As of today (4th September) no such statement has been received. Elstead Parish Council therefore asks SCC to delay the works (which are due to start on 9 September) until they are in a position to determine the common land issue one way or another. If they are unable to do this, they would be in danger of being complicit in what could be an unlawful act.
For further information please contact: Pat Murphy (Chairman) Elstead PC. TEL: 01252 703151. EMAIL: Elsteadpc.firstname.lastname@example.org