As with any other local neighbourhood, the policies and actions which affect the character and future of Lower Sunbury are generally framed and implemented by a combination of local and national government, along with the vested interests and market forces which operate within those frameworks. Lower Sunbury is by no means unique in being under threat from a creaking infrastructure brought about by rapid urban development, the growth of traffic, and other pressures affecting the quality of life and the character of the area.
Working with the local authorities, we see it as the responsibility of residents’ and amenity groups such as LOSRA to address the underlying issues which fundamentally affect their members’ lives, as well as the minutiae of everyday life with which such groups are often concerned.
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Having featured Age UK Runnymede and Spelthorne on this site (see article of 21st October) and in our autumn newsletter, it is with regret that we must now publish the following press release:
A spokesperson for Age UK Runnymede and Spelthorne said: “It is with great sadness that Age UK Runnymede and Spelthorne (AUKRS) will have to close and will cease trading on 31st March 2017, discontinuing services during the preceding months.
Tony Docker, Chief Officer stated “AUKRS have faced significant financial challenges over the last three years with annual reductions in public sector funding. Although we have explored many options, the difficult decision to close has been taken by Trustees as we cannot sustain ourselves financially for at least the next two years. By making the decision now, we are able to help our many clients find alternative service providers as we know they rely upon us. The ongoing wellbeing of our existing clients is paramount and all of my team are committed to finding alternative, suitable providers, where possible; but the charity will close by the 31st March 2017. Over the coming weeks we will be talking to all of our service users to discuss options available to them.
“I also feel for our brilliant staff and volunteers who have given so much to AUKRS and care deeply about the people they work with”
If anyone wishes to contact AUKRS with any concerns they can still call on: 01784 444 200. Age UK Runnymede & Spelthorne is an independent charity, although part of the Age UK network. The Age UK network comprises around 155 local Age UKs reaching most of England.
Council Leader Ian Harvey has announced that a ‘windfall’ grant of £20,000 per Ward (£260,000 total) is being made available as a result of Spelthorne Council’s improved finances following the recent purchase and lease back of the BP Sunbury International Campus and other investment initiatives.
Cllr Ian Harvey said: “I am delighted to announce this grant, which will bring an early and tangible benefit to the residents of Spelthorne following our recent ground breaking purchase of the BP campus in Sunbury. Local community projects and voluntary organisations will benefit from this. It reverses the trend of councils cutting non-essential funding. My vision is that this should be used to fund modest community or voluntary sector capital projects which can make a real difference to our Borough.
We are especially encouraging applications which have an element of ‘match funding’. Organisations or groups interested in applying should contact their local ward councillors. I very much hope this brings some welcome pre-Christmas cheer”.
Further to the article published here on 7th November, follow the most recent developments by the Campaign group Save Our Thames Side. If you wish to make representations regarding the application and have not yet done so, there is still an opportunity as the expiry date for submissions has been extended to 23rd December. Click here for the latest news.
Legal proceedings never come cheap and the Group has published an appeal for funding which we are pleased to reproduce here.
Spelthorne Borough Council has launched a unique new rent guarantee scheme for private landlords in and around the Borough called ‘Spelthorne Rent Assure’.
The scheme allows landlords to rent their properties through Spelthorne Council to people in genuine need of a place to live. Rents are guaranteed and will be paid monthly in advance by the Council, for up to two years. Payments will be made directly to landlords at full local market rent.
This couldn’t come at a better time for local landlords, with the Autumn Statement announcement that lettings agency fees are set to be banned.
The scheme is designed to take away risks around the uncertainty of regular rental payments as well as features such as free tenancy agreements, an independent property inventory and a six week repair bond which will make working with the Council as attractive and straightforward as possible for prospective landlords.
All tenants accepted on the scheme will have undertaken training, and support will be provided to both landlords and tenants for the duration of the tenancy. The landlord will have the final choice of tenants.
Homes in the Spelthorne area with two bedrooms are currently most in demand
The scheme is perfect for landlords because renting properties with the Council gives them a reliable source of income to offset any risk of ventures into the private rented sector. It also means that the Council takes responsibility for finding and supporting tenants.
Cllr Jean Pinkerton, Cabinet Member for Housing and Transformation, said: “The scheme is a great deal for landlords across the Borough. I would urge them to get in touch and find out how they can reap the benefits of hassle-free letting”.
Crest Nicholson's proposed amendment to their Park Avenue scheme is progressing through the planning process and will holding a resident 'drop- in’ session at Crest's sales and marketing suite from 6 - 8pm on Monday 5th December.
Members of the Crest team will be there to answer any questions people have and the invitation is open to all residents. Invitation letters are being delivered to ward councillors, people living immediately adjacent to the proposed change; and to those who have objected to the application.
Sunbury Cricket Club’s next Friday Music Night, and the last one of the year, is next week Friday 9th December , when the Club welcomes back THE MERSEY LEGENDS for their now traditional ‘60s night to kick off the Christmas party season in earnest. This is always a really enjoyable night with a top class professional show and non-stop beat era classics, so it’s one that you should not miss.
The band are led by Yanni Tsamplakos, a Liverpudlian who had a band called The Seftons in Liverpool during the ‘60s and played at The Cavern on the night it re-opened in 1967, and we know that Yanni and the guys really enjoy coming back every year to give us a great evening of wall-to-wall Mersey era hits.
Put a party of friends together and come along and enjoy a fabulous fun occasion. There’s more information at www.merseylegends.co.uk We look forward to seeing you there.
For the last two years LOSRA has been campaigning for the installation of an air quality monitoring station to be installed at this location so we are naturally delighted to receive the following press release from Spelthorne Council:
“Spelthorne Borough Council has commissioned environmental consultants Ricardo-AEA to reinstall an air quality monitoring station near Sunbury Cross for an initial period of 12-months.
“The monitoring station, which has been funded jointly by Spelthorne Council and Heathrow, will contain equipment that continuously measures levels of the common pollutants emitted by vehicles.
“The monitoring station complements the ten diffusion tubes measuring Nitrogen Dioxide in and around the Sunbury Cross area. The information will help the Council understand how pollutants behave and their relationship with the weather and enable it to make informed policy decisions. The monitoring results will be uploaded in real time to the Heathrow Airwatch website http://www.heathrowairwatch.org.uk/ so anyone who is interested will be able to view and download the data.
“The data collected from the monitoring station will be compared to results collected previously. Its continued use will be reviewed after the 12-month period”.
The following email extract from the Assistant Head of Planning, John Brooks, is self-explanatory. LOSRA shares his misgivings regarding the true purpose of the leaflet to which he refers.
“I am writing to make you aware of a survey on housing need being undertaken by Curtin and Co on behalf of Redrow Homes. I attach a copy of the leaflet that is being circulated by them. It was brought to our attention yesterday (Thursday) afternoon by a concerned local resident. The Council has not been contacted by either Curtin and Co or Redrow Homes about this survey.
“As many of you will be aware Redrow Homes are seeking to promote the development of up to 1500 houses on part of Kempton Park Racecourse which is located in the Green Belt.
“The leaflet fails to explain Redrow Homes aspirations regarding Kempton Park and to that extent the leaflet is arguably misleading in the way the information provided by residents might be used.
“I want to bring this to your attention so you have the relevant background should you wish to let you group members know.
John Brooks BSc DipTP DMS MRTPI MCMI
Assistant Head of Planning (Policy)
Spelthorne Borough Council
Tel 01784 446346
The following self-explanatory email has been received from Surrey Highways Authority:
For your information can I advise of emergency works being carried out by Thames Water on Thames Street, Sunbury on Thames near the junction of The Avenue.
These works are to make repairs to a damaged sewer which is now causing major customer flooding. Thames Water have requested the duration of works to be from Monday 28th November until Friday 9th December.
The traffic management that will be placed on Thames Street is a road closure. Due to the width of the carriageway, Thames Water will not be able to maintain traffic flows. We have also requested extended hours of working 07:00 - 19:00. The buses have been informed of these works.
I hope you find this information useful.
Natasha Haider Network Coordinator – Runnymede & Spelthorne Network Coordination Team Network and Asset Management Group Surrey Highways
Ant Law’s love of guitar was kick-started by SRV (Stevie Ray Vaughn), bolstered by The Beatles and Stones, then shaped through classic blues, and the stadium rock and virtuosos of the 80s. It’s an unconventional route to jazz, but one that has imbued the composer, touring artist and author’s playing with a rare and captivating feel.
The recent release of his second album, Zero Sum World, confirms Ant Law’s place as one of the most original jazz-guitarists in a generation. Aside from writing, touring and recording with his own group, Law collaborates with a who’s who of the UK contemporary jazz scene and is also a published author.
He will be appearing at the Riverside Arts Centre on Sunday 11th December with Terence Collie, piano; Richard Sadler, bass; Paul Cavaciuti, drums and special guests. Mulled wine and mince pies will be served to complete what should be a very enjoyable festive night out.
The performance starts at 7.30pm. Tickets at £10 may be ordered on line via the website: www.moodindigoevents.co.uk or £12 on the door.
With the party season approaching, Spelthorne Council is warning residents to take care and only use licensed cabs.
Licensed taxi and mini cabs drivers will have undergone a series of background checks. Unlicensed drivers could have criminal records and if you’re involved in an accident in an unlicensed vehicle you might not be covered by insurance. Look for a licence plate or sticker at the back of the vehicle.
Only taxis are allowed to wait at taxi ranks or stop when hailed in the street. Mini cabs must be booked in advance; they are not allowed to pick up unbooked customers. Unlicensed drivers sometimes hang-around busy areas hoping to pick up a customer but they may represent a danger to the public.
These are the Council’s top tips:
Those of you who have read the November edition of Sunbury Matters will know that a new dimension to the music scene in Lower Sunbury is being launched on Sunday 27th November with the first Sunday Lunchtime Jazz event at Sunbury Cricket Club, between 1pm and 4pm.
Performing at the inaugural gig are ‘A’ TRAIN, a quartet which features the fine vocalist Debbie Bracknell, who also works in the current incarnation of the British hit-making jazz funk band Shakatak. Also in the band is well-known local bass player Roger Harding, along with pianist Andy Walls and Drummer Alan Cottrell. There is full information about the band at www.atrainband.co.uk.
Tickets are £5.00 on the door (no advance sales), and for those wishing to have lunch, there will be a bistro-style lunch menu available before and during the show. The event is open to non-members, and the organisers are hoping that the presentation of top class accessible mainstream jazz during the winter months will attract sufficient support to make it a regular occasion.
The Environment Agency is holding small-scale residents' ’surgeries’ to update progress on the River Thames Scheme. These surgeries will be on a much smaller scale than previous River Thames Scheme public drop-ins you may have visited in the past. Your local community resilience adviser and one of the engineers working on the design of the scheme will be present.
Residents can come and ask questions, or simply find out the latest information. This includes the options being considered for the route of the flood relief channel in 4 areas of uncertainty: Wraysbury II Lakes, Thorpe Hay Meadow, Sheepwalk and Desborough Cut.
Maps will also be available showing the locations of enhancement opportunities that were suggested at various events. The River Thames Scheme welcome your thoughts and comments on these options and opportunities.
To see the schedule and locations of drop-in sessions click here
Those of us who are patients at the Sunbury Health Centre in Green Street will be fully aware of the difficulty in securing an appointment on the day and may well have resorted to queuing up outside at the crack of dawn.
We heard from Dr Gill at the LoSRA AGM of the many logistical problems they face providing health care services to a patient population of over 18,000 in a building designed to cope with a third of that figure. The annual patient survey confirms the high quality medical care and services provided by the dedicated staff at the Centre but the battle for better facilities will run for some time to come.
In the meantime, the Health Centre staff, supported by the Patient Participation Group (of which LOSRA is an active member), have been working hard to make changes to the appointments system to obviate the need for queuing to get an appointment on the day. The new changes will come into effect from the 28th November and relate to how and when 'on the day' appointments are released for booking.
In essence, on-line booking and automated telephone booking will be available from 6am Monday to Friday and will be the best way to book. Reception will not open until 8am. The changes will be fully detailed on the Health Centre and PPG websites and in leaflets to be made available in the surgery.
To see an advance copy of the leaflet, click here