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.

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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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Dunsfold “New Town”? Draft Local Plan Gets Go-Ahead For Next Stage

Waverley Borough councillors have overwhelmingly supported a recommendation that its new draft Local Plan be published.

The plan, which sets out a strategy for housing up until 2032, allows for 2,600 homes to be built on the site of Dunsfold aerodrome. Local parish councils, including Hambledon, have expressed grave concerns that unless sufficient infrastructure is in place, a “new town” development at Dunsfold is not sustainable.

A meeting of the full Waverley council on Tuesday night was picketed by protesters who chanted and waved banners in protest at the Plan as members arrived at the council offices in Godalming.

They were being asked to agree to a recommendation by the council’s executive that the draft Plan be formally published to allow it to move on to the next stage – a minimum six-week period for representations to be made before it is submitted for examination by a Government planning inspector (see previous news item).

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Three councillors abstained. Many others thought it flawed but voted in favour to prevent central Government taking it over and imposing its own targets.

To avoid this outcome the Plan has to be in place by early 2017. Waverley’s earlier attempt at a Local Plan was rejected by a Government inspector for not having met new housing targets.

The owner of the airfield, Dunsfold Park Ltd, is currently applying to build 1,800 homes on the site, potentially rising to 3,400.

Hambledon and other local parishes in the area are concerned about the impact such a significant new housing development will have on narrow, rural lanes that surround the airfield site. The only major road in the area is the A281 which is already heavily congested at peak times in the Guildford direction.

It is argued that people will look to “rat-run” on unsuitable single-track country lanes such as Markwick Lane, Salt Lane and Vann Lane to reach Witley and Milford stations, schools and surgeries, all of which are already stretched to meet existing local need.

Hambledon Parish Council has objected to the current Dunsfold Park application on the basis of a lack of supporting infrastructure. It accepts the need for new homes but said the current proposals would put “severe and unacceptable pressure on an already overstretched transport network”. The council has suggested that the planners and developers should consider reinstating the former Guildford to Cranleigh railway line – with a spur to Dunsfold – as a light transit system to help alleviate road congestion, if development goes ahead.

If you would like to read what comments Hambledon Parish Council has made to Waverley on the Dunsfold application so far, please follow this link ,- and then click on Dunsfold Park. Further comment is likely when final plans are known.

In the meantime parishes and the campaign group Protect Our Waverley (POW) will be keeping up the pressure on councillors when they come to consider the planning application and during the representation stage of the draft Local Plan.

 

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.

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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.

 

 

 

MORE HOMES…NO BUSES?

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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

Dunsfold – last chance to support or oppose development

The Dunsfold Aerodrome planning application for re-development of potentially 3400 homes has a deadline for comments to support or oppose the scheme.  All comments must be submitted by 4 o’clock this Friday 5th February. Do make your views heard on this important issue by completing the simple form at the Waverley Planning website:

Link to comment on the Planning Application.

 

Note:  You will also find supporting documents and reports on the Planning website, notably the applicant’s consultant’s Traffic Assessment – part of which makes curious reading – notably about the road links (page 7 onwards) and “potential” commuter bus shuttle services to Witley and Milford rail stations and it’s impact on projected car journeys (page 99).

Hambledon 503 Bus service under threat… again

Surrey County Council is proposing to axe the 503, Hambledon’s only bus service.

Having won a reprieve in 2012, once again the county council is making further spending cuts including the subsidy that keeps the 503 operating.

This time the village faces a big battle to keep its bus, even though the need for the service remains as great as ever.

If you want to comment on the proposal then please complete the Surrey Council questionnaire online at www.surreycc.gov.uk/transportreview or fill in a paper version available in libraries and local council offices.  Or you can request a copy in the post by calling 0300 200 1003. The deadline is Monday March 14.

SCC will then consider responses to the consultation and final proposals will be debated on May 24. The outcome will be announced in June and changes will come into effect in September.

If you care about the future of Hambledon’s bus, which provides the only public service link to shops/banks/surgeries in Milford, Godalming and Guildford then please take part in the consultation. SCC is suggesting the bus could be replaced by a dial-a-ride service.

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Many older residents in the village rely on the 503, which currently operates on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, twice in each direction.

A handful of residents join the bus in Hambledon and others board as it stops the in Manor Fields and Chapel Lane estates in Milford.

Because of its importance to these passengers, the Stagecoach-operated service is subsidised by Surrey County Council to keep it running. But continuing cuts in funding to local authorities by Central Government are taking their toll.

And this at a time when the need for public transport, and the energy and environmental savings it brings, could not be more important.

Additionally, an affordable housing development at Orchard Farm is currently under consideration. The 503 starts on its doorstep at Lane End. The bus also travels close to the new 100-homes development off Tuesley Lane. Continue reading

Dunsfold Aerodrome – transport review

Screen Shot 2015-03-21 at 17.08.09EIGHT rural West Surrey parishes – including Hambledon – have united to commission a transport review to examine the impact any significant new development at Dunsfold Aerodrome would have on narrow local roads and lanes.

The review, carried out by Guildford-based road and transport consultants Motion, was published this week and concludes that the site is unsustainable for any substantial housing. (A report on this appears in this week’s Haslemere Herald March 5th edition)

The Motion study confirms that the reasons why Waverley Borough Council rejected an “eco-town” proposal for the site in 2009 – a decision supported on appeal by the Secretary of State – remain sound when assessed against the key principles of current Government policy.

The parish councils of Dunsfold, Alfold, Bramley, Busbridge, Chiddingfold, Hambledon, Hascombe and Wonersh, reacting to concerns of villagers, asked Motion to examine two recent traffic assessments, one by Surrey County Council and the other conducted on behalf of the aerodrome’s owners, DAL.

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HGV Warnings Signs For Hambledon's Narrow Roads

ImageAdditional road signs warning heavy lorries not to use Hambledon’s narrow lanes are to be erected by Surrey County Council at Milford and Lane End.

The “Unsuitable for HGVs” signs will be placed at the entrance to Station Lane at its junction with Church Road and on the Petworth Road facing traffic approaching from both directions.

The decision to erect the signs follows pressure from Hambledon Parish Council, reflecting the concern of residents that HGVs were using the village as a cut-through.

The majority travel from Milford and, faced with existing HGV signs (pictured) at the Hydestile Crossroads in the Godalming direction, attempt to use Salt Lane or Hambledon Road.

At a site visit, parish councillors told SCC engineers that the existing signs gave the impression that Salt Lane and Hambledon Road were wide enough for HGVs when, in reality, both were as narrow as in the Godalming direction.

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Lorry stuck again – come on Surrey Highways!

ImageTuesday 2nd Feb:   Salt Lane was blocked again this morning by a lost 40 tonne HGV.    The driver, like most of the stuck lorries, had come from the A3 via Milford heading for Cranleigh.  He gets to the Hydestile crossroads and sees the signs stating “Unsuitable for HGVs” if turning North to Godalming…. so his natural, and not unreasonable, inclination is to go  another, unprohibitted way –  East up Salt Lane (or South into Hambledon) – both are near impassable, yet there are no signs indicating this.    300 yards up Salt Lane he wisely tried to turn around (with help) and travel back to the A3, and caused a log jam of traffic which was cleared by two residents marshalling the cars that were reluctant to back up.    

So the question is what can be done to avoid this?    The problem is the Highways Department signs.  At Hydestile it is far too late to telltrucks to turn around and return to Milford (there is no route for themto proceed down other than turn around). Currently the half-baked and confusing crossroads signs contradict each other.

 Ideally the signs need to be at a point early enough for them not to need toproceed any further, and where there is  a turnaround space.  I thinkthat is the junction of Station Road and Tuesley Lane, OR at the Milford Crossroads before they enter Station Road.  GPS is not entirelyblameless, but proper signs would probably over-ride any drivers thatblindly follow their GPS.

Can we lobby the highways department?

Paul Osborne, Hydestile

 

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.