Wise Up For Winter

Hambledon Parish Council has an Emergency Plan procedure in place in the event of harsh winter weather bringing disruption to the village.

However there are many simple precautions people can take to make sure they can cope with cuts to power supplies and phone lines, a problem that has affected Hambledon in the recent past and usually caused by high winds or heavy snow.

If power fails so to do household phones as many cannot function without electricity. As a safeguard, make sure you have a stand-by phone that does not need a power supply. The council has a small supply of such phones and if you require one please leave your details at the village shop.

Frosty Hambledon, November 30th, 2016

Mobile phones lines can also fail during severe weather and it is worth remembering that the public phone box outside the village shop does not require electricity and will continue to work unless overhead lines have been brought down. Operator, reverse charge and 999 calls are free but you will need to use a bank card for all other calls.

Keep torches handy and make sure that you have a supply of batteries. A battery-operated radio will also come in useful for listening to local radio bulletins. Tune in to BBC Surrey on 104.6FM or Eagle Radio on 96.4FM.

The village website will also carry updates at www.hambledonsurrey.co.uk.

Please keep an eye on your neighbours, particularly those living alone or infirm, especially during cold spells and weather-related disruption.

If conditions are severe the Emergency Plan volunteers will do their best to assist with any individual issues as well as deal with general problems around the village such as fallen branches/snow blocking roads, paths and drives and maintaining contact with external agencies.

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King George V Hospital History

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Built by the Metropolitan Asylums Board as a Tuberculosis Isolation Hospital in 1922 (originally known as Highdown Sanatorium), KGV was at the cutting edge of TB research and treatment for forty years. It was instrumental in pioneering development of drug therapy (streptomycin) to combat TB and the manufacture of Iron Lung equipment. KGV had a smaller sister hospital just 2 miles to the west: Milford Hospital ( formerly Milford Sanatorium )

Groves--smallThe King George V Hospital was constructed at an initial cost of £215,000 on an open field site surrounded by trees. The land was originally part of the Busbridge Hall estate. Chessums were the builders working under post-war pressure to complete on time and on budget. Original plans intended that the entrance would be from Hambledon Road, with a long drive approaching the star formation building layout. (The route is probably marked by a line of Poplar trees still in evidence between Hares Grove, the Superintendent’s house, and the road.

Cost cuts prevented this and the Salt Lane entrance remained the only way in with porter’s gatehouse. Buildings on site included many isolated wards connected by covered open sided paths in a star formation, canteen, chapel, kitchens, pharmacy, Library, X-ray and operating theatre (extended in 1950’s), nurses homes (1940 & 1960’s), admin block, greenhouses, patients leather workshops, snooker room, tuck shop, mortuary, engineering, boiler with chimney for the overhead piped heating.

KGV Tower then now

The tower and admin block: 1995 prior to demolition, and in 1947

Most buildings were brick built (pebble-dash rendered) with concrete floors (innovative in their day) under slate roofs. The majority of Wards were single storey with central corridors and glazed pavilion at the end. These were demolished in the 1970’s.
The hospital was only connected to mains drainage in the later years and originally sewage was discharged into the field to the SW of the crossroads (see ornate soil vent pipe at crossroads).

The hospital was also a significant horticultural site, the orchard, extensive range of trees and vegetation being laid out by the first medical superintendent Mr James Watt (an arboriculturist) in the 1920’s. A farm sited at Hydestile crossroads (now mostly demolished) was used for patient rehabilitation.
Screen Shot 2015-01-11 at 16.03.03Many patients were from London and upto the late 50’s it was exclusively male. The long term nature of their incarceration and treatment meant that patients and staff built strong friendships. Most staff and patients speak of their time at Hydestile as being “the best of times”. Indeed many patients came back to work at the hospital.
The site expanded considerably in 1941 with the building of a hutted military hospital on adjacent farmland to the South East. This soon became the home for St. Thomas’ Hospital Lambeth, evacuated from their London site due to extensive bombing. St. Thomas’

The Hospital ceased to be for diseases of the chest in 1969 and adopted a variety of other roles and eventually closed in 1988. The buildings were demolished in 1997, leaving only the gatehouse, Hares Grove (former Superintendents house) and six staff cottages, all now refurbished. Other buildings in the area owned at some time by the Hospital included Ryecroft, Hunt Cottages and Wayside.

TBHospitalsmall

The 52 acre site has now been redeveloped for housing – known as The Hydons, Salt Lane, Hydestile. Little trace remains of the KGV although one of the tennis courts has been refurbished and forms part of one garden. In the woods to the north of the new houses there are traces of the foundations of nurse and doctors accommodation, hidden in the undergrowth. Likewise the steps and footings of 1&2 Salt Lane remain close to the new footpath. These were temporary buildings used by the original builders of the Hospital. No. 1 was demolished after 1945 and number 2 (latterly a shop) in the 1970’s.

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Ray Galton as a TB Patient in Milford 1949

The hospital also benefited from celebrity support over the years from Leslie Phillips, James Robertson Justice and Terry Scott, who were regular visitors. As an interesting snapshot of what it was like to be a patient you’d be well directed to view a BBC2 sit-com from the 90’s “Get Well Soon” co-written by Ray Galton. He drew upon his experience as a patient in the nearby Milford Hospital (linked to KGV) during the late 40’s and early 50’s. He met his long time comedy writing partner Alan Simpson there and together they wrote their first comedy radio scripts during their enforced stay in hospital. Within 10 years they were the UK’s foremost comedy writers, famous for Hancock and Steptoe. Their famous Hancock’s Half Hour radio episode “The Sunday Afternoon” is a clever observation of the boredom that must have been repeated often during their many years treatment for TB.

 

 

Gallery of images from 1920 – 1988:

This video was recorded in around 1995.   At the time I lived on site in one of the former nurses cottages.  The site had been stripped by vandals and used for paintball and general destruction.  After many planning battles the site was eventually destined for re-development. The diggers came in and flattened it all.   A sad day for the many who’s lives had been touched by their time at Hydestile.  I had recorded this on 8mm tape and stumbled upon the tape recently.  I dumped it to my Mac and ran a soundtrack underneath, so please excuse the rough quality.

 

Gallery of images from 1999:

 

The Story of KGV

By Dr. J.V. Hurford      As published in the KGV Gazette Summer 1963

My predecessor, Dr James Watt, wrote this article in 1954, (he retired in 1948). I modified it for the issue of August 1957, and here it is again, brought upto date.

The need for sanatoria for London patients was foreseen in 1914, when sufficient land for three hospitals was purchased. Building of King George V Sanatorium, the first of these, started after the First World War, and it was finished and opened in 1922.  The two huts still in use are reputed to have housed the workmen!  (1 & 2 Salt Lane? sic).  The new Hospital was to have been called Highdown Sanatorium, but by command of’ the King, who had been invited to attend the opening but was unable to be present, the name was changed to King George V Sanatorium.

kgv aerial from sw

It was administered by the Metropolitan Asylums Board (whose crest is over the entrance to the Administrative Block), until 1929, when the London County Council took over, only to give way in 1948 to the South West Metropolitan Regional Hospital Board, With local control vested in the Godalming, Milford and Liphook Group Hospital Management Committee. Recently, this Management Committee area became merged with that of’ Guildford, and the controlling body is now the Guildford and Godalming Hospital Management Committee.

Screen Shot 2015-01-11 at 16.02.21When I wrote in 1957, my thoughts ranged back over the period from 1922 to that year, the period of the modern treatment of tuberculosis, as being mirrored in the story of K.G.V., there were so many changes.  Patients, and perhaps even doctors and nurses, entering in this “Anti-biotic Era” – when successful treatment is difficult enough, though usually achieved – know little or nothing of the strenuous methods of treating tuberculosis which preceded it.  Surgery played a great part.   The first surgeon was appointed in 1929, and the Theatre and X-Ray Department were built in 1934.  At one stage fifty per cent of tuberculosis patients had major surgery of the chest, usually very successful; now perhaps only five per cent require it.

The Hospital expanded over the years both staff and buildings.  Of the latter I have already mentioned the Theatre Block, the Canteen was built in 1936; an additional Wing to what is now the Nurses’ Home was added in 1945, the Theatre Annexe in 1953, the Respiratory Function Unit in 1955, a new Patients’ Library in 1958, a messroom exterior (now the Domestic Staff sitting room) in 1959, and Nurses’ Home No.3 in 1960.

1931 postcardAt one time, what is now the Staff Restaurant was a dining-room for perhaps a hundred up-patients. Gradually, the numbers of these shrank as methods of treatment changed, and patients were discharged earlier, until the present conversion was made two years ago.  In the immediate future it is planned to erect a large hut on the rising ground by the main car-park, to be used as a playroom for visitors’ children, and as a Staff’ club room.

KGVsmallStaffgroup'60sBut of course the most striking change is in the nature of’ the work carried out in the Hospital. From being a Sanatorium for the tuberculous, it came to treat also non-tuberculous chest conditions, hence the present name: King George V Hospital for Diseases of the Chest; and then some patients with other than chest diseases – a limited number of orthopaedic and geriatric cases – were admitted. There is a lot to be said for this departure from the restricted area of’ our disease, even were there now sufficient tuberculous patients to fill the beds, for variety is a stimulant to the interest and intelligence of doctors and nurses. ‘ It is odd perhaps that not many of our patients come from the immediate neighbourhood, which is catered for by Milford Chest Hospital “down the road”, but from beyond this area, from London, Aldershot and Farnham and sometimes as far away as the South Coast. We have the Respiratory Function (“Puff and Blow”) Unit for this Region, and are also part of the regional Chronic Bronchitic Unit.

KGVaerial

KGV and St. Thomas’ Hospitals in 1973

I wonder when another revision of this article will be called for, and if I shall write it. It is certain that “K.G.V. ” will go on for many years and probably it will change in many particulars as time goes by.  There has always been something human and genuine in the atmosphere of the Hospital; let us hope that nothing changes that!

KGV Gazette Summer 1963

HISTORICAL NOTE   By Dr. J.V. Hurford

As published in the last ever KGV Gazette Summer 1968 upon the closing of the Hospital


The Highdown Sanatorium which started at Hydestile in 1922 was soon, by gracious permission, allowed to take the name of “King George the Fifth”… However, it is told that his Majesty, when asked if he would condescend to come to the opening {in 1924) said: “Not on your life – visit a T. B. hospital – I might catch it ” – or words to that effect. These fears were felt by dwellers in the locality, even by their G. P. s, who met the choice of site with as much opposition as now would be offered to an aerodrome for jumbo jets.  Though the sanatorium was modern for the time (incorporating an early form of re-inforced concrete in its pavilion walls), the money which the authority {then the Metropolitan Asylums Board – crest over the entrance to the administrative block) was prepared to spend on it ran out before the plans could be fulfilled, so that the main entrance was from a narrow lane (Salt Lane) rather than by a more imposing approach from the Hambledon Road.

KGV Aerial 1928

There are aerial photographs which show the site in the early twenties. Though surrounded apparently by forest (the Hare’s Grove which gave a name to the Medical Superintendent’s house) the actual grounds were quite bare.  The beautiful limes and birches and ornamental trees and shrubs may be credited to Dr. James Watt – a canny gardener as well as a towering medical figure – and grew up during his reign. The hospital really was in the country (in 1935 when I first saw it as a member of a visiting D. P. H. class from London, I half wondered if we should ever find our way back) and in its building workmen were accommodated in wooden chalets, used for many years as staff quarters, and plans and materials stored in two wooden huts which still do service though very decrepit.

pavilion1930s copyIn 1949 the wards were still without heating, other than the thin pipes under the windows designed, so it was said, to reduce condensation – in itself unlikely since windows had to be kept open.  A few years later this was remedied, but the previous absence of heating was symptomatic of an age, the age of the “cure”, based on ‘Sanatorium principles’ of fresh air, good food, rest, graduated exercise.  This age lasted into the ‘antibiotic era’ and both were overlapped by that of minor and major surgery.  To those who know tuberculosis as a disease fairly easily treated by chemotherapy, the long periods which started perhaps with Hippocrates and died away in the fifties of this century cannot be imagined or fully understood. Artificial pneumothorax, pneumoperitoneum, thoracoplasty and so on seem almost bizarre in retrospect.

Screen Shot 2015-01-11 at 16.03.03Yet the ‘cure’ and the surgery did save lives. And what seemed spartan routine was much more vital and engrossing.  Quite apart from the attentions of the doctors and nurses a patient’s week could be filled with: occupational therapy, art therapy, typing, learning a language, woodwork, printing, concerts and whist drives, inter-ward sports – shove-halfpenny, table skittles, croquet, billiards etc. There were a silver shield and two cups to be competed for. When Marcus Patterson devised “graduated exercise ” at Frimley he used baskets of stones of various weights. At K.G.V. there were walks increasing in length and then outdoor tasks. Many a patient must have acquired there a love for gardening or even pigs!  “Teebeeland” seemed to be regarded with a wry humour.  Perhaps the uni-sexual nature of the sanatorium (women patients came only in the late fifties) was a trial and the outlook of the authorities far too monastic – rather backward looking.

But in other respects, for many years we were in the van of sanatorium work.  With its first surgeon – Mr. J. E. H. Roberts, whom I always imagine operating with a Petit Caporal hanging to his lower lip – major surgery in anew theatre started in 1933.   K.G.V. took part in all the M.R. C. Trials of the new anti- tuberculous drugs from 1949 onwards. Whilst such units were still rare in the UK a respiratory function laboratory was inaugurated in 1954.The antibiotic era which came with the fifties for some years increased the use of surgery, largely because an umbrella was provided for lung or part-lung removal.

KGV 1928 Aerial darkIn 1955, of patients admitted with tuberculosis, 58% had a major operation; the figure for 1967 was 3%.  However, what was so amazing was the decline in tuberculosis due to anti- tuberculous drugs.  The great physicians of the past – Robert Philip, Trudeau, Marcus Patterson – could never have imagined it.  K.G.V., like other sanatoria (or Hospital for Diseases of the Chest as it became) began to admit patients with other complaints. Since these stayed a shorter time, the turnover accelerated.  In 1951 there were 401 admissions (354 tuberculous), in 1967, 1358 (135 tuberculous).

Starting under the rule of the M.A .B., the hospital became a jewel in the crown of the gargantuan London County Council in 1929, and in 1948 of course entered the National Health Service. These authorities appeared to differ in administrative approach, but of course this depended on other things – the changing conception of disease, uniformity and availability of finance over the country rather than a metropol is and so on.

The War did not alter things very much, -it saw the appearance of an E.M.S. hutted hospital, at first under the aegis of K. G. V., then of the Australian Army Medical Corps, and finally St. Thomas’s Hospital, Westminster.  The expatriate staff of the latter organised their lives with the ingenuity and cheerfulness of castaways on a South Sea Island, who know that sooner or later they are bound to be rescued.  Every year they expected this to happen and, finally, after twenty-three years, it did.

K.G.V. has seemed to be blessed by the numbers of sterling people who remained on the staff for very long periods, even at this present date in one or two instances going back to the twenties.  Perhaps other hospitals have been as fortunate, but I doubt it.  Inevitably, sad little ceremonies of farewell have sprinkled later years.  Till the middle-fifties a generous and mutually useful policy had meant the recruitment of many excellent nurses – who happened themselves to have had tuberculosis, and to whom a place on the staff was offered for re-habilitation. These were known for some reason as ‘trainees’, presumably because they could complete training in the B.T.A. certificate (though many already had an S.R.N.). In the later years of the hospital, a Pupil-Nurse training school was set up in conjunction with Haslemere General Hospital, and was successful. In our ‘middle period’ a number of decorative, charming and efficient young things were very much appreciated – these were the ‘Tommy Nurses’ seconded for three months at a time to explore the countryside on their bicycles.

The staff has tended to be cosmopolitan.  At one Christmas dinner some years ago, I counted nineteen different nationalities. There were cycles of  “foreigners”  (I refer to those who were not what St. Joan called the ‘Goddam English”): early on Scots and Irish, but mostly Irish, then Italian and Polish or Baltic, then Spanish and Yugo-Slav.  (It was touching to see girls from Northern Italy trying to understand the intrcacies of Scottish dancing!)   And of course, in the last ten years many men and girls from the Commonwealth, all very welcome.

There were no tremendous events in the history of K.G. V. and smaller happenings it is difficult to select any except at random. The tennis feuds with Milford in which for so long we had an edge. The farewell party to Miss Sheenan in which those still working with her and many who returned for the occasion filled the Large Hall and a large marquee. The annual pantomime devised and written by a select few and performed by a cast which could include a chaplain, a cook or a consultant surgeon, and in which anything might happen – and usually did. The re-union fetes on August Bank Holiday, to which ex-patients returned in large numbers I(Your name escapes me I’m afraid, but I clearly remember your x-ray!’). The weather station – that curious relic of more leisurely days. The night that the safe was stolen from the Hospital Secretary’s office, taken off on a porter’s trolley and abandoned -empty – on Hydon’s Ball. But why recall only these?

Screen Shot 2015-01-11 at 16.10.05Perhaps one of the more important landmarks was when a prefabricated building (The Cedar Hall) was added in 1964 and a thriving staff social club became possible. Swinging Hydestile~

Traditionally the hospital had its ties with London and in later years the link was with Aldershot and Farnham through the chest clinics. It was not wholly unregarded, however, in the immediate neighbourhood, and kind and ever present help was found in the W .V .S and its own League of Friends. Nor must we forget the ‘Not Forgotten’ Association, to which successive generations of patients owed much. And, of course, the Red Cross picture library, that opener of windows not made of glass.

I hope that I have recalled something of the forty seven years of a hospital and with little hint of any sadness that they are finished. And the story is not finished – neither of K.G.V. nor Hydestile. The sanatorium may have gone the way of Trudeau and Schatzalp and the National, Ventnor, and many others, but there is still work to be done of another kind.

Good luck to all who remain – or come – to do it in this very pleasant spot.

Tower

KGV in 1994

 

 

Gallery of images donated by former staff and patients:

Gallery of scans of publications from staff and patients:

 

Obituary 1958: JAMES WATT, M.D., D.P.H.
James Watt, for many years medical superintendent
of King George V Sanatorium, Godalming, Surrey, and
chief medical officer of the London County Council’s
medical tuberculosis service, died at the country branch
of St. Thomas’s Hospital at Hydestile, Godalming, on
October 4. He was within two weeks of his 75th
birthday.

Dr. James Watt was born in Aberdeenshire on October 17,
1883, the son of William Watt, J.P., and was educated at
Robert Gordon’s College, Aberdeen, and at Aberdeen Uni-
versity, where he graduated M.B., Ch.B., with first-class
honours, in 1908. Outstandingly successful as a student, he
held the John Murray scholarship in 1908 and the Anderson
scholarship in 1909-10. He took the D.P.H. in 1911, and
proceeded to the M.D., with highest honours, five years later.
After graduation he was an assistant, first, in the department
of pathology, and then in the department of medical juris-
prudence in Aberdeen University. From 1912 to 1922 he
held a number of appointments in different parts of the
United Kingdom: as deputy medical officer of health for the
City of Aberdeen; senior resident medical officer at the
Royal National Hospital for Consumption and Diseases of
the Chest, Ventnor, Isle of Wight; medical superintendent
of the Bradford City Fever and Infectious Diseases
Hospital; and medical superintendent of the Downs
Sanatorium, Sutton, Surrey. From 1922 to 1948, when he
retired, he was medical superintendent of the King George
V Sanatorium, Godalming, and chief medical officer of the
medical tuberculosis service under the old Metropolitan
Asylums Board and subsequently under the London County
Council. Dr. Watt was president of the Society of Superin-
tendents of Tuberculosis Institutions in 1924 and 1925 and
of the Tuberculosis Society in 1926-7. A founder-member
of the Joint Tuberculosis Council, he later became its chair-
man. To his widow and family we tender our sympathy.

We are indebted to Dr. G. LIssant Cox for the following
appreciation: The old guard of the original tuberculosis
service is thinned again through the death of James Watt,
late superintendent of the King George V Sanatorium at
Godalming. He was of the pre-1914 vintage, big in body
and in mind, contemporary of Ernest Ward, Sir Henry
Gauvain, and Jane Walker. Lloyd George’s Insurance Act
of 1911, with its special financial arrangements for “sana-
torium benefit” and for Exchequer grants for sanatoria and
dispensaries, stimulated local authorities to provide buildings
and the medical staff to run them. Of those very early in
the service, James Watt was one. A brilliant student of the
Aberdeen school, he was on the high road to a distinguished
academic career when he contracted pulmonary tuberculosis.
Fortunately, he made a good recovery, and, like several other
medical men and women so affected, obtained, a junior post
in a sanatorium and finally emerged as the well-known head
of the large new London County Council sanatorium
which has been visited by nearly all who have come to
England in order to see some of the best work in tuber-
culosis. Watt had a clear, lucid, logical mind, and took a
prominent part in tuberculosis affairs. One of the two
remaining founder-members of the Joint Tuberculosis
Council, he later was one of its outstanding chairmen and
did valuable work in the chair and on many committees,
work both pioneer and advisory in the tuberculosis field.
He was a very keen horticulturist, and this hobby was a real
solace and interest in his retirement, especially after a
serious motor accident had left him grievously lame, though
still cheerful and uncomplaining when I last saw him in
London. He was the fortunate possessor of the three im-
portant qualities, a clear head, a warm heart, and a stiff
back, and he used them to the full.

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Ways to Improve Our Village Bus Service? Parish Council To Hold Talks

Hambledon Parish Council is to hold talks with Surrey County Council and Waverley Borough Council to press for a review of the way the village bus service operates in the hope it can be made more commercially viable.

Suggestions from villagers would be welcome, either by leaving a website comment on this article or posting suggestions in the Forum section.

The 503 route, which is the only public transport service available to residents, connects the village with Milford, Godalming and Guildford and is especially important to the elderly and infirm wanting to visit shops, banks and surgeries. It is shown here in the picturesque setting of the farm buildings at the Hydestile Crossroads as its leaves the village headed for Milford.

Village bus 5 503 Sept 2012 1 - Copy

It is operated by Stagecoach but is heavily subsidised by Surrey County Council. Recently it faced the axe, only to be reprieved after the parish council and residents lobbied for it to continue.

The council is keen to see if changes can be made to increase revenue and prevent another cost-cutting exercise threatening its existence the next time SCC reviews its subsidised bus operations.

Currently the 503 operates on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, twice in each direction, beginning at Lane End at 9.15 and 12.15. Although a vital service for older residents its timing and infrequency means it is of no use to school children or commuters, despite its route taking it past Milford Station and local schools.

Surrey County Council has indicated that it is prepared to discuss the route with the parish council and others and it is hoped this will happen soon.

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A “new town” for Dunsfold? Council meets to consider Local Plan

 

A “new town” of 2,600 houses at Dunsfold Aerodrome is among proposals in the new draft Local Plan to be considered by Waverley Borough Council tonight (Tuesday July 19).

The airfield site is already subject to a planning application for 1,800 homes and this total will inevitably rise if the new Local Plan is adopted. Dunsfold Park, owners of the site, has suggested that eventually up to 3,400 houses could be built.

Hambledon Parish Council has objected to the application and has joined with other parishes in the area in arguing that narrow country lanes will not be able to cope with the additional traffic.  The only major road near the site, the A281, is already at a standstill at peak times. To avoid this new home owners will be forced to “rat-run” by using single-track rural roads such as Markwick Lane, Salt Lane and Vann Lane to reach Milford and Witley stations, schools, shops and places of work.

POW protest

If Waverley adopts the new Local Plan, efforts to fight the Dunsfold Park proposals will be seriously undermined. In 2009 Waverley refused a similar housing application for the site, upheld by a Government inspector on appeal. Today, although reasons for objecting remain the same, Waverley is under central Government pressure to build more than 500 new homes across the borough every year to 2032.

Waverley’s executive has already recommended the new Local Plan be formally published and the full council meets tonight at 7pm to consider endorsing this recommendation. If this happens there will be a minimum six-week for representations before the plan is submitted for examination by a Government Planning Inspector.

Protect Our Waverley, a campaign group set up to fight the proposals, will be staging a demonstration outside Waverley offices before tonight’s meeting.

 

 

Surrey County Council Confirms 503 Bus Reprieve

Surrey County councillors have formally endorsed the recommendation not to withdraw the 503 bus service.

At a meeting of its Cabinet on Tuesday (May 24th) members approved the recommendations arising out of the council’s Local Transport Review, which originally proposed scrapping the 503, Hambledon’s only public transport service.

503 bus under threat again, January 2016 (2)

After public consultation and a campaign by Hambledon Parish Council and supported by residents, the review recommended retaining the 503, which operates three times a week, twice in each direction, and connects Hambledon and Hydestile with banks, surgeries and shops in Milford, Godalming and beyond. The 523 Godalming to Milford Hospital service has also been reprieved.

Both services are operated by Stagecoach but subsidised by Surrey County Council. SCC has been looking to make savings on the money it pays in support of rural bus services and the review has achieved this aim without necessitating the withdrawal of the 503 and 523.

There may be some alterations to the service, subject to further discussion (see earlier news item).

In the meantime the current timetable can be found on this website under the “Home” page link and then clicking on “Travel Info”.

Hambledon’s 503 bus reprieved

Hambledon’s only bus service, the 503, is set to be reprieved by Surrey County Council, reversing a decision to scrap the route as a cost-cutting measure.

This is a victory for the campaign mounted by Hambledon Parish Council and local residents to save the service.

Following the SCC Local Transport Review earlier this year, aimed at finding savings on council-subsidised rural routes, the 503 was one of a number of services to be scrapped, subject to public consultation.

The parish council vociferously opposed the proposal and many villagers raised objections during the consultation process.  SCC has listened, and at a meeting of its Cabinet on May 24th, members are expected to endorse the review team’s recommendation that the 503 continue.

The parish council argued that it was wrong to withdraw the only bus route serving the village, leaving residents without any public transport. The 503 is a lifeline for a number of elderly or infirm residents who rely on the bus to get to shops, supermarkets, banks and surgeries in Milford, Godalming and beyond.

village bus

Agenda documents for the May 24th meeting, available on the Surrey County Council website, state that the council recognises “the important role that bus services play for our residents”, adding: “To address some of the concerns expressed during the public consultation exercise it has proven possible to recommend some enhancements to the original proposals.”

These include reversing the decision to scrap the 503. The 523 Milford hospital service from Godalming has also been reprieved.

Currently the 503 operates on Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays, twice in each direction, beginning and ending at Lane End. The recommendation is for the service to continue on at least Wednesdays and Fridays and possibly on another day to be determined.

The parish council has asked to meet with SCC planners to discuss ways of increasing passenger numbers, perhaps re-routing the service to take in new areas of development. In the documents the council states that it is “working to stimulate patronage on bus services and reduce the need for council funding.”

The 503 is operated by Stagecoach but subsidised by Surrey County Council. The transport review examined services across the county. Faced with cuts in Central Government funding, SCC is looking save £2 million on its transport budget by next year.

The recommendation to be voted on on May 24th will enable SCC to achieve the required savings needed from the review, documents state.

 

 

Parish Assembly – Ideas for new Parish Plan

The annual Parish Assembly, held on Thursday evening at the village hall, was well attended and produced a number of ideas to be included in the proposed new Parish Plan.

The Parish Plan is a formal document taken into account by public authorities such as Waverley Borough Council when considering issues that involve Hambledon, especially planning and highways. It is also a point of reference for Hambledon Parish Council in its work to help fulfill the aims and ambitions of village residents.

Following a report of the parish council’s activities over the past year as well as those of various village organisations, the assembly heard ideas from residents on what they would like to be included in the new Parish Plan.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

High on the list was a request, led by Hambletots, for a small play area for children, ideally somewhere close to the village shop.  This idea had a lot of support.  It was pointed out that play equipment need not be made of intrusive coloured plastics and could be made of wood to suit the rural environment of the shop, pond and cricket green.

Other suggestions included improved drainage for the cricket pitch, a public toilet for the use of visitors to the shop and its cafe and provision of a bike rack, as the shop is regularly used by cyclists. On the issue of cycling, it was pointed out that the village was on the route of many organised cycle events. The poor state of road edges presented a danger. It was suggested that, given the number of events, maybe external funding could be found to carry out improvements.

There was also support for the retention of the 503 bus service, currently under threat (see earlier news items) and concern that car parks at the two nearest railway stations, Witley and Milford, were now at capacity. It was recognised that any new development at the Dunsfold Aerodrome site would only add to the problem, along with associated traffic problems on the narrow, rural village roads.

The Parish Council is currently gathering ideas for the new Parish Plan. It is likely that a steering group made up of councillors and villagers will be established to take the plan forward.

Tomorrow (Saturday) is the annual village clean-up, this year tied in with Clean For The Queen in recognition of Her Majesty’s 90th birthday. Villagers are asked to gather any litter and bring it to a collection point at the shop where, starting at around midday, a free barbecue will be held for volunteer litter pickers.

 Village clean-up 2011 4

In the afternoon a jumble sale will be held at the Village Hall to raise funds for its maintenance.

 

 

 

THE 503 BUS – WHAT HAPPENS NEXT

The fate of Hambledon’s only bus service, the 503, will be decided by Surrey County Council in May and, unless the proposal to axe the route is overturned, it will cease operating in September.

However, SCC has acknowledged the strong opposition to the proposal by Hambledon Parish Council and residents and indicated that it may be prepared to meet to see if there is an alternative to outright closure. The parish has suggested that the 503 could be merged with the 523 Milford Hospital service, which is also under threat, and rerouted to take in new housing developments.

In its latest Local Transport Review SCC – faced with having to make budget cuts -has been examining rural routes in West Surrey with the aim of reducing the level of subsidy it pays to operators to keep the services running.  Under this review it proposed scrapping the 503, which runs three days a week and connects Hambledon with Milford, Godalming and Guildford.

The 503 is important to the village and its immediate neighbourhood, and especially to some of its older residents and those without cars. Starting and ending at Lane End it connects Hambledon and Hydestile with supermarkets, banks and surgeries. Most of its users have bus passes but face losing the only bus they can travel on.

Village Bus 3 - Copy

Under the review SCC is also proposing scrapping the 523, which operates twice a week to Milford Hospital from Godalming via Busbridge.  Both services are operated by Stagecoach on behalf of the County Council, using low-floor buses suitable for the elderly and infirm.

SCC has been consulting on the proposed changes to these and other services. In its submission Hambledon Parish Council urged the county to keep the 503. It also suggested that the 503 and 523 could be merged to serve the new 100-plus homes being built beside Milford Hospital, other areas of new development and be re-timetabled to make it more widely available.

MORE HOMES…NO BUSES?

new bus stops 003 - Copy

Hambledon residents have until this weekend to write in support of the village’s threatened bus service, the 503. The consultation period ends on Monday (March 14th) at 9am.

Surrey County Council, which subsidises the 503 and other rural bus routes, wants to hear the views of villagers before making a final decision on the fate of the service. It is reviewing all bus routes in the county as it looks to make cuts to its budget.

Details of the Local Transport Review can be found at https://www.surreysays.co.uk/e-i-directorate-programme-group/ltr

Hambledon Parish Council strongly opposes the proposal to axe the 503. It is asking Surrey County Council to reconsider the issue and perhaps look to amalgamate the service with the 523 Milford Hospital service, which is also under threat. With more than 100 new homes being built beside the hospital, and a proposal to build affordable homes at Lane End, Hambledon, the council believes Surrey County Council should examine how to better integrate the service before making a final decision.

Here is Hambledon Parish Council’s submission to the Surrey County Council review.

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Possible Roadworks in Hambledon Road/Clockbarn from 15th Feb

As part of the resident-funded installation of broadband to Hydestile, Openreach and their contractors have been working hard this week in Home Farm Road, Busbridge, at the Crossroads and at Hydon Heath.
Technically there have been some challenges in Hambledon Road and an underground duct will need replacing – we are told there will be roadworks next week, and a possibility of emergency road closure of Hambledon Road (north of Clockbarn Lane).  This is because of the very narrow parts of Hambledon Road which prevent safe working.  The closure will be short notice and hopefully for a short time.   We have leveraged our good relationship with Surrey CC Highways to expedite matters and have been negotiating to reduce the inconvenience but safety trumps most arguments.  So please be understanding if you should encounter a Road Closed sign – it will be for a very valid reason.

More detail at www.GU8Superfast.co.uk

Superfast Broadband – for those haven't got it… yet

Screen Shot 2015-05-06 at 17.12.32Update from Webmaster, Paul Osborne.

Superfast broadband should be covering all of Surrey by now – that was the ambition of Surrey County Council back in 2014 – with promises of 99.7% being able to get 15Mbps or above.    That promise had a caveat that wasn’t mentioned by Surrey Council… that they aim to enable only cabinets –  not all residents‘ homes.  Those living more than 2km from a cabinet won’t be getting Superfast. That leaves large numbers of residents of Surrey discovering that they can’t get Superfast broadband and there is no plan for them to be enabled in the immediate future.  In our area there are homes to the East (Vann) and North of Hambledon (Merry Harriers area) that are beyond 2km from the cabinet on the Petworth Road – Superfast Surrey (Surrey County Council) say they are reviewing this (see letter below).  Areas of Milford are also excluded.

Screen Shot 2015-03-23 at 15.07.02Residents of Feathercombe, Hydestile and Hydon Heath are also too far from their cabinets and specifically excluded from Surrey CC intervention.  Those residents have clubbed together to pay Openreach a substantial amount to install new cabinets to bring the promised Superfast to those hamlets… in Spring 2016.  Their self-funded superfast project website is here: www.GU8Superfast.co.uk

So the Surrey CC dream is not quite reality.  There is a faint glimmer of hope for those left behind. Surrey County Council have announced their OMR (Open Market Review) – a plan to see who is left behind without Superfast capability.   One could ask how they commissioned many millions of pounds worth of broadband expenditure without knowing the scope of their intervention.

In response to one of our determined residents, Superfast Surrey sent this letter below. That resident also urges everyone to spend 30 seconds filling in the form to tell Openreach that they haven’t got Superfast capability: http://www.superfast-openreach.co.uk/faq/contact-us-form.aspx

Surrey County Council has now finished the main phase of its Superfast Surrey Broadband programme to bring fibre broadband to those areas in the county not included in commercial roll outs.
In December 2014 it was decided that before any further decisions could be made with regards to the outcome of slow speeds review, the Superfast Surrey team had to focus on the completion of the main phase of the contract and identify options for using any remaining funds to enable a decision to be made on the future scope of the programme.
Options were developed that not only acknowledged Openreach’s analysis of premises with slow speeds in the Superfast Surrey deployment area but also took into account feedback from residents and businesses in the commercial rollout area that were not covered by the fibre network or who were on slow speeds.

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Superfast Broadband coming to Hydestile and Feathercombe

Updates to the website will chart the progress of Openreach in the privately funded project to build two new fibre broadband cabinets at Hydestile and Hydon Heath. We’ll have some news on Openreach’s next steps in the near future.

The campaign team has also produced a number of viral videos:

Paul Osborne, GU8 Superfast Community Project

Superfast Broadband

SUPERFAST BROADBAND CAMPAIGN – AN UPDATE

Enton and Rake Lane now have fibre Broadband

Following our Campaign in February, Openreach reversed their decision not to upgrade the street cabinet no.26 next to Milford Station.  This cabinet went live last month and is now Fibre enabled.   Residents that suffered speeds of less than 3MBps are now enjoying real speeds of upto 70MBps.    The campaign success was undoubtedly achieved because of the strong resident support that we received, with over 90% of the 140 Enton/Rake Lane area households and businesses who will now benefit having signed up to our campaign.  Community power does work. We are thankful too for support from Peter Martin, Deputy Leader of Surrey County Council.

Phase 2 of the campaign

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Superfast Community Action is a success

Our First Success!

Following our intervention, Openreach recently agreed that they will fibre upgrade street cabinet no.26 at the junction of Rake Lane and Station Lane. This is a complete reversal of their earlier decision not to do so. It has undoubtedly been achieved because of the strong resident support that we received, with over 90% of the 140 Enton/Rake Lane area households and businesses who will now benefit having signed up to our campaign.  Community power does work. We are thankful too for support from Peter Martin, Deputy Leader of Surrey County Council.

So what now?

There are a further 80 households and businesses currently served by cabinet 26 that are simply too far from it to benefit from the upgrade when it happens later this year. In addition, there are another 59 properties served by street cabinet 48 (located towards Busbridge, and which is already fibre-enabled), that have seen no benefit. Properties beyond about 1.5 to 2 km from their street cabinet see little or no advantage from fibre upgrade as any speed benefits are lost on the final “journey” from the street cabinet to the front door as data passes along copper or aluminium wire.

Our campaign focus is getting a solution for these 139 households/businesses spanning 13 different GU8 post codes. So far, we have an average of 68% of those households/businesses signed up to our campaign. This is a significant achievement but we are making efforts to increase it.

Where are we with BT/Openreach?

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Village debate following recent power loss and snow-blocked roads. What can be done?

ImageFollowing the recent heavy snowfall, which led to lengthy power cuts, Hambledon Parish Council has written to Southern Electric (Scottish and Southern Energy) requesting it gives serious consideration to replacing overhead with underground cables and, in the meantime, trims back branches beside powerlines on a more regular basis.

Many residents have expressed their concern about the electricty supply as well as the failure by Surrey County Council to grit or clear village roads, all of which were unpassable for several days by anything other than four-wheel drive vehicles.

Several residents have asked what measures could we take as a community to prevent such lengthy disruption in the future.

It has been suggested there should by a village-wide campaign to urge Southern Electric to install underground cables as a matter of urgency. It has also been proposed that we recruit local contractors, ground workers and farmers to use their equipment to clear roads on our behalf.

This, of course, raises issues of cost, practicality, insurance and liability.

The Parish Council, at its last meeting on January 12, 2010, resolved to consider establishing a village emergency plan and would like to hear the views of residents by promoting a debate on this website. What are your suggestions?

So what do you think? What were the problems and what could be done to minimise the disruption next time? Please post your comments here on the forum.