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General => General Discussion => Topic started by: mg on November 03, 2013, 05:41:58 PM

 



Title: Councillors and Officers posting on this Forum
Post by: mg on November 03, 2013, 05:41:58 PM
Hi - I am interested to know how the Thames Ditton Resident Association Councillors and Officers post on this forum.  Do they do so anonymously, ie under a pseudonym, or do they post under their own names? 


Title: Re: Councillors and Officers posting on this Forum
Post by: Admin on November 03, 2013, 09:22:21 PM
Hi, mg

Forum members who choose to post anonymously may do so.  Admin may not know in every case who a poster is and I regard forum anonymity as a matter for the poster.  See forum rules.

Of RA officers or members of the executive committee, nearly all of them are active readers of the forum, they tell me  At least three are forum members in their own (first) names including myself as Keith, chairman Rhodrich as Rhodrich, and planning convenor Graham Cooke as Graham, and the fourth in his declared function as Highways Contact (the association's Highways Convenor).  I have no doubt others prefer to contribute their own views as residents like you rather than in any official capacity.

At least one councillor, Karen Randolph, is a forum member (as Karen) and has contributed posts.  The late David Lowe was also a member.; 

As the forum rules state: "This forum is above all for the exchange of views, questions, and stories by the residents of Weston Green and Thames Ditton, whether they are members of the Residents' Association or not.  Views expressed here are those of the individuals who express them alone."

It is not the primary means by which association business is carried out, either way.

I hope that answers your question.



I appreciate that a person may prefer to comment for themselves as a resident like any other and not as a spokesperson representing some Association view - all the more so as views in the Association vary quite a lot and there is usually no "Association view" other than those discussed/approved by members at Open Meetings where reports from councillors are heard and discussion takes place.  I have frequently taken it upon myself to communicate residents views here to association officers or councillors by email when substantive new posts or positions are made, and I have also done my best to keep forum members and website readers (as well as magazine readers) informed of current developments.

To distinguish between my posts as Admin of this site and posts with my own views I try to keep posts in my own name separate from those as Admin - but it is difficult, sometimes, to do that.


Title: Re: Councillors and Officers posting on this Forum
Post by: mg on November 03, 2013, 10:37:13 PM
That's great Keith - thank you.

I wonder whether the Forum is a perfect vehicle for communication between residents and RA Councillors and Officers.  They could acknowledge that they had read the views of the posting resident, and if they are able to act on the views in any way, they could say what they are able to do and the time span that might take ie they would get back to the Forum thread in, say two weeks, to update the residents on anything they have been able to do, find out, discuss etc. 

I know that there are open meetings, but surely there should be other ways to feed residents' views to the people that represent us.  In this day of fast, generally accessible,  computer two way communication (I know not everyone has got computers, especially the elderly ie my 93 year old mum - but she couldn't go the evening meetings anyway)  there must be a viable way to filter information up/down via a vehicle such as this Forum.  It would be a modern/speedy way to get issues, which are troubling residents, onto the table quickly.  Also, because this Forum is only accessible by people who have registered, it would mean that Forum posters would not be able to be insulting or offensive in any way to Councillors/Officers who respond to their problems, because everyone posting is easily identified by Admin.




Title: Re: Councillors and Officers posting on this Forum
Post by: Admin on November 04, 2013, 08:57:50 AM
The idea behind the forum is that it's for collective discussion, rather than formal debate, among residents themselves.  It's not intended to supplant the more formal existing mechanisms of local government, which include not only open meetings but emails and telephone calls to councillors.  The latter operate primarily within the context of Elmbridge Borough Council, once elected.  They report to residents at open meetings.  This forum is a supplementary source of information both ways.

As I've stated more than once, the forum administrator can't identify a registered forum member if the member chooses a username and supplies an email that do not definitively identify a member. 



Title: Re: Councillors and Officers posting on this Forum
Post by: craigvmax on November 04, 2013, 09:21:35 AM
I think the anonymity is a good thing if users want it, otherwise councillors or representatives could end up in constant debate/argument with people pro & con certain issues.

The councillors emails are all transparent if you wish to raise issues with them but this isn't neccessarily the place for anything more than conversation or light hearted debate and sometime a little banter.


Title: Re: Councillors and Officers posting on this Forum
Post by: mg on November 04, 2013, 10:36:52 AM
So the best place to discuss an issue with a Councillor or an Officer is by email and telephone call.  I had thought that our reps read this Forum and would, obviously, take note of what issues are raised.  I hadn't realised that this Forum is just a jokey, lighthearted, social gossip type place - I thought it represented Thames Ditton & Weston Green Residents' Association.  I am now disappointed at this representation of our Association.  Ah well - life is often one big disappointment!! :-[


Title: Re: Councillors and Officers posting on this Forum
Post by: craigvmax on November 04, 2013, 10:45:50 AM
MG I'm sure they do read it as Admin has said a few times, I (respectfully) think you're reading a bit too much into this.

I was at the last open meeting and many issues were aired openly and constructively, some with success, some without such as the yellow line issue.

I think the councillors will be aware how residents feel about certain issues from reading the forum and I'm sure if it's something pertinent and enough feel strongly about it then a concise well worded email to them asking for it to be raised at an appropriate meeting would be sufficient.


Title: Re: Councillors and Officers posting on this Forum
Post by: Rhodrich on November 04, 2013, 10:00:10 PM
Quote from: mg on November 04, 2013, 06:10:57 PM
I am sorry if it came across that I was being unfair to Admin - I do realise that he just Admins the Forum and is not responsible for the running of the RA. 

I have only been trying to emphasise how unfair the Thames Ditton RA representation is for many of the residents in Thames Ditton.  I did post a small list of people that it seems unfair to - but I am sure readers can think of many groups of people that are unable to make an evening meeting in order to discuss an issue that they have.  I don't really agree that someone would make the effort to go to the meeting if they feel really strongly about something - work has to come first for lots of people.  Also, single parents would have an issue with childcare, its OK if there are two parents and one can stay in and look after the children.  Also, elderly people do not like to go out of their houses when it is dark, especially if they live on their own and have to walk back to their homes in the dark.

I did like the suggestion by Craigmax that a list of the top 2/3/5 issues could be compiled from the Forum and discussed at the meeting.  Therefore residents who are unable to attend evening meetings for whatever reason could be represented.  I think I have also suggested previously that some meetings should be held during the day and some at the weekend - giving as many people as possible a chance to attend at least one a year.

According to their website, "About Thames Ditton" is delivered to 5,700 houses in our area so if there are on average 2 people per household, that means about 11,000 people. (rough guestimate of population of Thames Ditton and Weston Green I know)  I seem to remember someone saying that 85 people had attended a meeting - I wonder what the average attendance is? 

Maybe changing the time/day of the meetings would encourage some of the above mentioned people to attend the meetings or maybe a way  forward would be to set up a pathway whereby residents can channel problems via a computer to the RA.  This  would widen the input of the residents.


Dear MG

I thought I'd follow up on your suggestion above here, rather than in the other thread, as it seems a better place for it.

As Keith mentions above, I, along with many of the other RA officials read this forum on a regular basis.  I certainly believe that it represents an excellent forum for discussion of local issues, and in my experience, many issues that are raised here get resolved directly via information and suggestions from other forum users.  Many others get discussed and acted on by the councillors and executive committee.  Nevertheless, as Keith says, the best way to get a personal response to any individual issues of concern would always be to phone, email, or write to a councillor and/or RA officer directly.  This is why all our contact details are published both on this website, and in Thames Ditton Today.  I have yet to hear of any problems that any residents have had in being able to contact any of us.

You, and and everyone who lives or works in Thames Ditton or Weston Green are most welcome to attend open meetings too.  I can understand that raising questions in front of other people might seem daunting, but I, the councillors, and other RA officers are always around after the meeting if you'd like to raise anything in person. 

With regards to the timing of the open meetings, I'm afraid you have to understand that all RA officers are essentially volunteers, many of whom have full time jobs (for what it's worth, I work 'long city hours', and have 2 children under the age of 4, so know exactly what it's like to have little spare time - it's often a challenge for me to get to the meetings too).  Weekday evenings therefore, whilst not being suitable for everyone are the most convenient time for most people to be able to attend.  Those that are unable to attend are always free to raise issues directly via the channels mentioned above, and indeed, issues are often raised by councillors and RA officials at open meetings on behalf of those who are unable to attend. 

Regards

Rhodri Richards
Chairman



Title: Re: Councillors and Officers posting on this Forum
Post by: mg on November 06, 2013, 05:30:51 PM
Thank you Rhodrich - when the Christmas vacation comes around , I will try and follow all those things up.  I don't really get to see the traffic, and therefore the problems, apart from weekends (when there is not too much commuter traffic) and non-term times.

I would be pleased if you can raise the issue of cars/vans driving on pavement along Station Road at the next Resident Association meeting.  If nothing is done by Christmas I will try and get the PC to come and look as was suggested by a previous poster.


Title: Re: Councillors and Officers posting on this Forum
Post by: Rhodrich on November 06, 2013, 08:05:05 PM
By all means. 

Incidentally, there will be a police panel meeting at the forthcoming open meeting on 19th November, so I or one of the councillors will raise the issue with them then.



Title: Re: Councillors and Officers posting on this Forum
Post by: Rhodrich on November 20, 2013, 11:13:15 AM
As promised, our Surrey County Councillor Peter Hickman brought up the subject of people driving on the pavements in Station Road at the Police Panel Meeting last night (which actually consisted of one officer - PC Ian Madelin).  PC Madelin's area of expertise is in traffic offences, and he confirmed that this is illegal, and should be subject to enforcement action.

Other residents at the meeting had other suggestions for the police team to focus on over the coming months: people illegally right turning into Speer Road from Station Road, people illegally turning right onto the Hampton Court Way from Summer Road, Anti Social behaviour in the High Street over the winter period, and (if I remember correctly), the issue of lorries speeding on the Woodlands in Weston Green on their way to the Industrial Estate. 

Whilst PC Madelin promised to look into all the issues raised, given the number of different concerns that residents had, the question of what should be given the highest enforcement priority over the coming months was put to a vote, in which anti social behaviour in the high street over the winter period was adopted.



Title: Re: Councillors and Officers posting on this Forum
Post by: Juninho on November 20, 2013, 12:03:44 PM
Quote from: Rhodrich on November 20, 2013, 11:13:15 AM
people illegally right turning into Speer Road from Station Road,


I am prepared to give some people the benefit of doubt on this one that its not that clear that its a round about under the tunnel and I have seen a few people do this. I even told someone (as they happened to end up on my road and I was on my bike) and the person just missed this.
Quote from: Rhodrich on November 20, 2013, 11:13:15 AM
people illegally turning right onto the Hampton Court Way



This one is inexcusable -  as its well sign posted but I remember almost doing this myself as I was following sat nav (this was before we had moved there) so must have been a change in the last 6/7 years! Still it was pretty clear and one does not have to blindly follow sat nav...

To be fair I have only really seen this done early morning and traffic would generally preclude this- so I don't see this as a big issue.  In fact bit of darwinism on this - as often its exactly there that they put one of those unmarked vans!!!


Title: Re: Councillors and Officers posting on this Forum
Post by: mg on November 20, 2013, 04:34:51 PM
Thank you Rhodrich for representing me at the meeting last evening.  Hopefully if  PC Madelin keeps an eye on people at the junction of Speer Road and Station Road, then he/she is in the right area to spot people driving on the pavement along Station Road and if P C Madelin is also watching people in the High Street, he/she is also in the right area to see people driving on the pavement outside of the Dentist.  Many thanks.


Title: Re: Councillors and Officers posting on this Forum
Post by: Admin on November 21, 2013, 09:13:21 AM
Quote from: mg on November 20, 2013, 04:34:51 PM
Thank you Rhodrich for representing me at the meeting last evening.  Hopefully if  PC Madelin keeps an eye on people at the junction of Speer Road and Station Road, then he/she is in the right area to spot people driving on the pavement along Station Road and if P C Madelin is also watching people in the High Street, he/she is also in the right area to see people driving on the pavement outside of the Dentist.  Many thanks.


The Neighbourhood police team has formally to state priorities after consultation with the neighbourhood (via the Panel meetings). l have no doubt that enthusiastic PC Madelin will take a look at both the Station Road problems raised. They tend to occur at different times of day from the annual winter focus on antisocial behaviour & petty crime in central Thames Ditton. I think the driving-on-pavements problem is during heavier daytime traffic when cars in the outbound direction go past the parked cars by the Old Manor, and cars coming the other way and already committed to the open road on their side take to the pavement to avoid a jam, especially if neither party can reverse.  The combination of the road's bend plus parked cars there means that drivers coming from the High St end can't always see cars committed in the opposite direction (to take the most charitable view).
The simple answer is to put yellow lines by the Old Manor, so that at that bend both sides of the carriageway are free, but Station Road residents rejected that in SCC's consultation.


Title: Re: Councillors and Officers posting on this Forum
Post by: mg on November 21, 2013, 01:24:23 PM
Another cheap option would be to have a Priority Over Oncoming Traffic sign and appropriate white road markings, for waiting traffic to sit behind, at end/start of the problem area outside of the Manor House.  Like the one by Esher BR Station or by the BR bridge in Long Ditton.  In addition to this,  appropriately placed bollards  placed where cars drive on the pavement, would also stop drivers from even attempting to proceed if they can see another car coming, because they wouldn't have the option of driving on the pavement. 

Maybe if residents of Station Road were asked again about double yellow lines outside of the Manor House ,  their views might have changed from the last time they were asked.  The last time we were asked, nobody was parking down Station Road anyway.  Personally, now the road is full of parked cars anyway, I would much prefer Manor House residents to park their cars down Station Road, than free-loading commuter parkers.


Title: Re: Councillors and Officers posting on this Forum
Post by: Admin on November 21, 2013, 01:37:36 PM
Quote from: mg on November 21, 2013, 01:24:23 PM
Another cheap option would be to have a Priority Over Oncoming Traffic sign and appropriate white road markings, for waiting traffic to sit behind, at end/start of the problem area outside of the Manor House.  ...


That's not a bad idea for consideration; also a new one in this particular context.  Which way would have priority?  The High St side perhaps - as both High St and Watts Road traffic would otherwise get backed up?

I know that in the past the idea of bollards has been mooted to prevent cars getting past each other by using the pavement in such circumstances, but my feeling on that one is that at times of heavy use (e.g. rush hour) it would cause rather frequent complete jams backing up along High St, Station Road and watts Road as cars stuck at the Old Manor attempted to get those behind them to reverse so that they could reverse out of the jam themselves.


Title: Re: Councillors and Officers posting on this Forum
Post by: mg on November 21, 2013, 02:28:53 PM
The priority would certainly be "against the norm"  ie priority from Watts Road end.    For the first few weeks, I agree that people would turn around when they saw the waiting queue - but if they kept on seeing these queues, drivers would soon realise that it is quicker to stick to the main roads going around Thames Ditton. 

It is very unnerving, giving way to traffic at that point on Station Road,  and having van drivers (usually van drivers, but not always) sounding their horns angrily behind you.  A big PRIORITY sign would stop them sounding their horns.  I have never had a driver sounding their horn at the Long Ditton Priory point although other people might have.


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