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General => General Discussion => Topic started by: Leafy on January 04, 2013, 01:23:12 PM



Title: The Lime Tree
Post by: Leafy on January 04, 2013, 01:23:12 PM
No, not the cafe/deli.....luv ya Shazza !


Title: Re: The Lime Tree
Post by: Leafy on January 04, 2013, 01:23:40 PM
Great to see the Lime Tree on the cover of the Winter 2012 'Thames Ditton Today' and the display of xmas lights has looked lovely, but in the 'cold light of day' the environs immediately around the tree look a bit shabby. I'd really like to volunteer a proposal and share it with the residents.....how do I do that? 

There could be more than the annual xmas lightshow, what about a bench, new permeable surface or ground cover planting,  permanent ground-set up-lights and seasonal community 'tree-dressing' ....... we could even reconsider the shape and area of the traffic island, make a more generous space for the tree to occupy and more substantial focus at the heart of the village.

Anyone know if there are other residents who would be interested in talking about this? Any local expertise we could draw upon re: design, funding, consultation and public participation?


Title: Re: The Lime Tree
Post by: craigvmax on January 04, 2013, 01:29:27 PM
Something like this?

[img width=500 height=375]http://www.oceanteak.co.uk/product_uploads/1298297015_original_1.jpg[/img]


Title: Re: The Lime Tree
Post by: Admin on January 04, 2013, 02:04:08 PM
Leafy - I suggest you get in touch with Andrew Roberts (our Highways convenor) who has been looking at the same thing and can tell you where he's got to, and (with him) with Peter Hickman (Surrey Highways might have to be involved).  The way forward might involve Elmbridge too (e.g. for small works, like refixing paviours and painting the galvanised colum concealing the Christmas  lights electrics) their Street Smart team)

Personally, I doubt a bench would be a good idea for an island surrounded immediately by roads, but perhaps  planter barrels?  Certainly the above-mentioned things need to be smartened up.  It might also be worth considering how best to reduce future damage done by thoughtless 4 x 4 drivers driving over the kerb there as they park or manoeuvre round the hexagon.  Raise the kerb and provide a step?....

Do keep us posted here: I'm sure there will be several ideas and opinions but all will agree it needs smartening up.

Another thing you might like to take forward could be the provision by EBC of some hanging baskets.  I don't know whether the new lamp columns will support them, but assume they will.  I have some past correspondence with EBC which might help you get something done, if you'd like to email me about it.



Title: Re: The Lime Tree
Post by: Leafy on January 04, 2013, 05:28:49 PM
...planted barrels.....hanging baskets.....sorry mate, it's not all 1977 pub gardens and not very sustainable either ! See http://www.gardenersworld.com/blogs/plants/summer-bedding-plants/3146.html


Title: Re: The Lime Tree
Post by: Keith on January 04, 2013, 05:57:21 PM
Prettier, though.


Title: Re: The Lime Tree
Post by: Isabella on January 04, 2013, 06:02:12 PM
Maybe if we covered the whole thing with crocheted yarn saying "Transition Town Thames Ditton"?


Title: Re: The Lime Tree
Post by: Dittonian on January 04, 2013, 08:18:12 PM
I would like to see it tidied, the stones set properly, the unattractive galvanised column painted, and some attractive ground cover around the base of the tree.

I don't think a bench would be appropriate, inviting pedestrians to cross the road to sit there.

I can't think of a good way to stop the 4x4 problem which Admin mentions, though it does seem to be a problem particularly with big vehicles that they break down the kerb stones.


Title: Re: The Lime Tree
Post by: BlueSky on January 04, 2013, 10:03:52 PM
Craigmax - your idea seems good, but a little dangerous on a roundabout. How about a round seat on the green on corner by the cricket club.

How about a knee high kerb or bricking to deter parkers with signage to show car park and state no waiting.

Can we not get some yellow crossed hexed lines around the tree to stop parking also.


Title: Re: The Lime Tree
Post by: craigvmax on January 04, 2013, 11:07:14 PM
Bench idea based on what leafy said, ie, did they mean that. That said, we're not talking about Piccadilly circus here. I don't think a bench would be a major hazard if done well.

Agree be better if people didn't park right on it but I think aesthetically yellow lines would look terrible.


Title: Re: The Lime Tree
Post by: rudi on January 05, 2013, 07:51:43 AM
What about slightly enlarging the 'circle' that the tree sits on, facilitating space for a bench, safely, and also deterring the inconsiderate double parkers and the ones who refuse to observe the double yellow lines around it. Will also slow traffic racing through the village.


Title: Re: The Lime Tree
Post by: craigvmax on January 05, 2013, 08:28:11 AM
If its possible that's great idea


Title: Re: The Lime Tree
Post by: Leafy on January 05, 2013, 10:12:15 AM
Quote from: Admin on January 04, 2013, 02:04:08 PM
I suggest you get in touch with Andrew Roberts (our Highways convenor) who has been looking at the same thing and can tell you where he's got to, and (with him) with Peter Hickman (Surrey Highways might have to be involved).


Thanks Admin. I think it seems much more in-keeping with contemporary practice and a spirit of inclusion  to conduct the conversation here in the public forum, so that others can participate. Quite a few people seem to be interested.

....I assume all TD&WG RA officers are Registered on the Forum and look forward to joining Andrew Roberts and Peter Hickman in the conversation here.


Title: Re: The Lime Tree
Post by: Admin on January 05, 2013, 10:43:01 AM
That's what this forum is for, and why I set it up and toil away maintaining it.

It would seem sensible for you to talk to Andrew and see where he's got to on the matter of putting the hexagon in order, with all the ins and outs of councils, contractors etc. and if you'd then like to lead on it to put a summary and some proposals in here for discussion, based on the practicalities of what can be achieved and funded.


Title: Re: The Lime Tree
Post by: Ratty on January 05, 2013, 03:08:06 PM
Why not be completely radical and lose one of the Ashley Rd junctions so that the pavement extends right out to the lime tree making it a peninsular rather than an island? This would create quite a sizeable community area in the heart of the village suitable for seating and meeting.


Title: Re: The Lime Tree
Post by: Leafy on January 05, 2013, 04:06:00 PM
Quote from: Ratty on January 05, 2013, 03:08:06 PM
Why not be completely radical and lose one of the Ashley Rd junctions so that the pavement extends right out to the lime tree making it a peninsular rather than an island? This would create quite a sizeable community area in the heart of the village suitable for seating and meeting.


Excellent idea !


Title: Re: The Lime Tree
Post by: Leafy on January 06, 2013, 06:09:42 PM
Quote from: Isabella on January 04, 2013, 06:02:12 PM
Maybe if we covered the whole thing with crocheted yarn saying "Transition Town Thames Ditton"?


Isabella - what do you mean 'Transition Town' ?


Title: Re: The Lime Tree
Post by: BlueSky on January 06, 2013, 09:26:28 PM
I support these ideas either enlarging the island or closing off one side.

In terms of logic, I would propose the road next to lodge brothers be closed off, there will be less loss of parking ( it may even great some on the Ashley Road side and make a quaint little corner closer to the existing shops; ideal for the Fishman (who I haven't seen recently!) and some fixed chairs or water feature or just open space / planters.

Admin - yes, funding will be key to any proposal as I doubt council have much to offer.


Title: Re: The Lime Tree
Post by: Highways Contact on January 07, 2013, 11:50:29 PM
I think there is a merit in a circular seat around the Lime Tree. The soil is very shallow and the shade means that very little will grow under the treee.  Even if its not used day to day, the nice bench woulld have it's own asthetics and I think there is much less pakrign around the tree. I'm chasing costs on this and will get back to you all when we have progress.  I had also hoped to get a much smaller electrical box installed. 

Andrew - Highways Convenor. 


Title: Re: The Lime Tree
Post by: craigvmax on January 08, 2013, 08:58:11 AM
great thx HC


Title: Re: The Lime Tree
Post by: Leafy on January 08, 2013, 11:22:43 AM
Quote from: Highways Contact on January 07, 2013, 11:50:29 PM
I think there is a merit in a circular seat around the Lime Tree. The soil is very shallow and the shade means that very little will grow under the treee.  Even if its not used day to day, the nice bench woulld have it's own asthetics and I think there is much less pakrign around the tree. I'm chasing costs on this and will get back to you all when we have progress.  I had also hoped to get a much smaller electrical box installed. 

Andrew - Highways Convenor. 


Hi Andrew - Thank you for your post - its great that you use the Forum openly.

I too think there is room for some seating, particularly on a reconfigured island or junction as described elsewhere in this thread, but costs on a " nice bench", already !  Sorry, but I ordered a large hot-tub before Xmas to go around the tree and there won't be any room for a bench !

Shouldn't we have a fuller conversation about the tree environs ?


Title: Re: The Lime Tree
Post by: Dilys on January 08, 2013, 02:55:28 PM
Yes I agree with leafy. What costing? What design? Who when and what was agreed? Community is the key word here! Are a community or are we being run by a committee? I talk from experience and have worked in design for many years both public and private domains. I would never place something in the community realm without consultation. 
Sorry, i am not being pedantic but I feel this takes the biscuit.


Title: Re: The Lime Tree
Post by: craigvmax on January 08, 2013, 03:02:32 PM
I think you're both jumping the gun and to conclusions somewhat. If you read what Highways Contact has said, "I'm chasing costs on this and will get back to you".

There's no harm whatsoever in investigating costs and as I see it, its HC's remit to do so without answering to anyone. It doesnt mean any action will be taken and he has qualified it by saying he will come back to us.

I investigated some basic costings on a bridge over to Cigarette island. Have I done any harm by doing so? No.

chillax gang.


Title: Re: The Lime Tree
Post by: Dilys on January 08, 2013, 03:10:36 PM
I do agree in some respects but to do a costing you have to have thought of some design ideas. That's logic no! As I said coatings on what?


Title: Re: The Lime Tree
Post by: craigvmax on January 08, 2013, 03:18:01 PM
a bench and new ground surface isnt all that complex. I dont see any harm in investigating basic costings and assume anything more elaborate will increase the cost.

Going back to Leafy's (and I guess your point) that everything should be conducted on forum. is that really the ideal way forward? You'll never get people to agree, you dont know who anyone is, or even if they are residents, people can encourage others offline to agree with them and then post. How would you vote or indeed come to any conclusion that people are happy with.

At some point you do need a person or persons who are trusted to make the best decision for the community to take the initiative and make a decision. As the saying goes, you cant please everybody all of the time. (or in my case, anybody any of the time)  ;)


Title: Re: The Lime Tree
Post by: Dilys on January 08, 2013, 03:43:35 PM
Quote from: craigvmax on January 08, 2013, 03:18:01 PM
a bench and new ground surface isnt all that complex. 


That is exactly my point. Actually good design process is complex. It begins with a brief from an analysis and context to the required situation or environment. I can see Leafy's point about the hot tub. 


Title: Re: The Lime Tree
Post by: craigvmax on January 08, 2013, 03:59:26 PM
It's as complex as you make it. I don't have a broad knowledge on materials and surfaces for commercial/public applications but I'm assuming and trusting that the people involved do (or will investigate until they do).

If you start from the most basic surface that is (a) aesthetically acceptable and (b) won't harm the tree and (c) is applicable in a public area. Get the costs for this and you have a starting point without committing any funds or any risk.

I'm also assuming that HC and whoever else is involved did start with a brief or will be doing so when this becomes more of a serious consideration..

Equally, if done intelligently then it can only look better than it does now.


Title: Re: The Lime Tree
Post by: craigvmax on January 08, 2013, 04:06:12 PM
to add. I do think discussion like this is good and clearly we all want the best for the village so ultimately its all good.


Title: Re: The Lime Tree
Post by: BlueSky on January 08, 2013, 04:37:40 PM
Yes, fine - just as long the debate doesn't go round in circles.

Is it possible to have some sort of voting system, either via 

1)post 
2)on here 
3) in a box tied to the tree
4) discussion in a pub re design ideas etc

Presuambly, like the government we need to gain a consensus for a change taster by committee.Leafy does say he ordered a hot-tub before Xmas and there's room for a bench - he is the one who has jumped the gun. Why doesn't he try it there first? And test opinion.



Title: Re: The Lime Tree
Post by: Deborah on January 08, 2013, 04:54:08 PM
I think its an excellent idea and good that someone is taking the initiative to think about it and cost it. Not sure why we need a voting system. Haven't we elected members of the community to make decisions on our behalf? I can think of better things for us to have heated debate on, like the rotting Home of Compassion!

Whilst talking about making our village a more sightly place, has anyone walked down Ash Path recently (by the railway bridge). The whole path is covered in rotting, soggy leaves creating an accident waiting to happen. I keep meaning to complain to SCC and never getting round to it (will do it now).


Title: Re: The Lime Tree
Post by: Leafy on January 09, 2013, 07:00:28 AM
Jokes and squabbles aside, I thought it might be useful to gather some of the ideas represented here and explore them further to keep the conversation going:

RATIONALE :
From everyone's discussions, the premise for making more space around the Lime tree seems to be based on a desire to :
- Provide the best conditions to secure the longevity of the celebrated tree
- Create a ‘new frame’ around this village centre motif
- Reduce vehicular congestion and parking in the heart of the village
- Support safer pedestrian access between different sides of the road
 
ACHIEVED BY :
The above, could be achieved with the implementation of either of the following basic configurations:
- An enlarged island (perhaps taking up some of the space currently used by cars illegally parked)
  OR
- A peninsular of paving extending from the development occupying the AC Cars Site or The Rose/Lodge Bros. side to  incorporate the island
(actually CraigVMax that is entirely similar to what was done at Piccadilly Circus !)

ADDITIONALLY :
Both options additionally offer:
- A visual ‘full-stop’ for pedestrians and vehicles moving either direction along the High Street or from Ashley Road
- A space for gathering, particularly in morning sunshine, which the pavement on the other side do not offer
- An enlarged area as a focus for  Summer & Christmas fairs and other events
- An opportunity for al-fresco dining, whether it be a cappuccino or a chicken pasanda !
- Informal trading space for ‘The Fishman’ et al
- Even space for a Wake !

The more expansive of the two basic configurations also offers :
- A dominant, safer, single 'launch point' for crossing just one carriageway to the other side of the High St.
- Opportunity for revising the overgrown, dull and unsightly planting that masks the seemingly irreconcilable   basement/ground floor of the office buildings and suggests considering a new paved ‘apron’ to make a space in front of the buildings that reflects their scale and grand elevations (and moderates their unfriendly demeanour).
- There could even be a more celebratory memorial to the significant role that AC Cars played in the history of the village.

CONSIDERATIONS
Of course the complexities of reconfiguring roads and pavements are mulit-fold, but the solutions for subtle arrangements of designations and carriageways using surfaces, levels, kerbs and furniture/lighting to control access and enhance spatial experience are well-practiced in urban environments and in Conservation Areas too. The peninsula could mean losing one road altogether or allowing restricted access across a continuous surface outside the times of the day when it will be used by pedestrians.

.....and then there's the aphid 'honeydew' to consider. (Which is probably why that 'nice bench' wouldn't work....sticky bottoms and all that).
 
ENHANCED WITH :
The basic reconfigurations could be enhanced with the following:
- Permeable surface (above new soil) around the tree to aid watering and breathing !
- Seats, benches, etc
- Bollards to restrict car-door opening (deterring illegal parking).
- Lorry and 4X4-proof kerbs
- Year-round lighting for safety and celebration of the village landmark.
- Arts/education installation/events celebrating the Lime Tree, including tea, honey and herbalist uses. 
  See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tilia_cordata
 
AND WE CAN PICK UP :
The electrical junction box and irregularities with drainage, road marking and the untidy the signage in the process !

....and encourage more people to use the Ashley Rd car park.

PROCESS :
The preparation of a sketch proposal or options could :
- Draw on ideas from school children or Esher College students
- Build awareness of the ‘public realm’ and the opportunities that exist
- Test public consultation process and media
 
The resolution of the design, fund-raising, project management and delivery could :
- Draw on existing skills and build community capacity
- Offer opportunity to emergent business, (including artists and crafts- practitioners)
- Act as vehicle for study, training or volunteering.
- Showcase sustainable construction practices.
 
…not to mention inclusion, collaboration, shared sense of achievement, etc. Have I over-looked anything ? Got it wrong ? Stimulated any more ideas?


Title: Re: The Lime Tree
Post by: nurseryparker on January 09, 2013, 08:51:20 AM
Leafy - an excellent summary of the discussion and points made in the previous posts.

My personal view on the expansion of the area around the lime tree etc. is that the peninsula should come from the old AC cars side and not lodge brothers / the rose as that would make a bigger area, there is not the issue of the access to hawkes Yard and also the general access into Ashley Road.  I donl;t think making the island round the tree larger is an option as that would in effect mean you have to make it one way on each side?


Title: Re: The Lime Tree
Post by: craigvmax on January 09, 2013, 09:02:20 AM
yup good work and well spotted ref picadilly circus ;)


Title: Re: The Lime Tree
Post by: BlueSky on January 09, 2013, 09:06:19 AM
Yes, excellent.

Also agree with nursery Parker that the peninsular should come from the AC car side - having driven and thought about it, I have switched sides.


Title: Re: The Lime Tree
Post by: Rhodrich on January 09, 2013, 10:41:02 AM
Well done Leafy on this excellent idea! I guess raising money for such a scheme would however be challenging in these straitened times.

Would there be room on the site for some village stocks?  ;D


Title: Re: The Lime Tree
Post by: craigvmax on January 09, 2013, 10:57:30 AM
ha, I'm in if so!


Title: Re: The Lime Tree
Post by: BlueSky on January 09, 2013, 01:44:17 PM
Interesting photos of old factory. They are beautiful cars, perhaps the park bench could resemble one??

Also interesting connection with Le Mans, perhaps we could source some cobbles from them.

http://www.accars.co.uk/



Title: Re: The Lime Tree
Post by: craigvmax on January 09, 2013, 02:14:10 PM
yup I think its a shame more isn't made of the AC connection (although I'm unashamedly a car bore)

There is the plaque on Ferry Works but be nice to have something central


Title: Re: The Lime Tree
Post by: Juninho on January 09, 2013, 02:21:39 PM
I think I find myself in agreement with BlueSky for the first time ever! 

It would be brilliant to make more of the AC car connection in our village !

(although I too am unashamedly a bit of a car bore as well).

Now why am I worried BlueSky is going to throw in a curve ball somewhere on this thread???


Quote from: craigvmax on January 09, 2013, 02:14:10 PM
yup I think its a shame more isn't made of the AC connection (although I'm unashamedly a car bore)

There is the plaque on Ferry Works but be nice to have something central


Title: Re: The Lime Tree
Post by: Thames Dittonite on January 09, 2013, 02:37:18 PM
Have you all gone soft?
Benches in the shape of Cobras indeed.
It's Thames Ditton, not Tinseltown.


Title: Re: The Lime Tree
Post by: craigvmax on January 09, 2013, 02:50:22 PM
how about a helter skelter? ;)


Title: Re: The Lime Tree
Post by: Juninho on January 09, 2013, 03:48:00 PM
Hmm good point... it looks a little scary ...

[img width=450 height=600]http://gallery.seloc.org/albums/userpics/43126/exotic-chair-design-ideas.jpg[/img]

Quote from: Thames Dittonite on January 09, 2013, 02:37:18 PM
Have you all gone soft?
Benches in the shape of Cobras indeed.
It's Thames Ditton, not Tinseltown.


Title: Re: The Lime Tree
Post by: Dilys on January 09, 2013, 03:54:05 PM
EXCELLENT summation leafy. I think you should stand for a job at the council. You get my vote  :)


Title: Re: The Lime Tree
Post by: Keith on January 09, 2013, 04:12:48 PM
I like the ideas.  They go a long way from simply putting the existing hexagon in order and planting round the base of the tree (but that might be an immediate aim).

To make progress you will need to take SCC traffic & Highways people along with you, get the retailers' views, and consider the all-important question of funding.


Title: Re: The Lime Tree
Post by: BlueSky on January 09, 2013, 09:59:55 PM
I would worry about funding last, get support from all stakeholders first.

Some resourceful and fun fundraising can always been done


Title: Re: The Lime Tree
Post by: Leafy on January 10, 2013, 08:23:31 AM
Quote from: Keith on January 09, 2013, 04:12:48 PM
I like the ideas.  They go a long way from simply putting the existing hexagon in order and planting round the base of the tree (but that might be an immediate aim).

To make progress you will need to take SCC traffic & Highways people along with you, get the retailers' views, and consider the all-important question of funding.


Thanks Keith, you seem to have some insight into getting a conversation started with Surrey County Council

I'm sure there's no need to be so 'short' on ambition ! Is there any precedent for successful Residents Association involvement in a project like this ? 
Quote:
Reply #3 on: January 04, 2013, 02:04:08 PM »
Leafy - I suggest you get in touch with Andrew Roberts (our Highways convenor) who has been looking at the same thing and can tell you where he's got to, and (with him) with Peter Hickman (Surrey Highways might have to be involved).  Admin 


I see from elsewhere on http://residents-association.com/contact.php[/url] that Peter Hickman is our Councillor for Surrey County Council and you tell me that Andrew Roberts is the Convenor of the Sub-Committee for Highways and Drainage

Perhaps they would advise on the following :


    • What would be the most effective way to engage our public authorities in the conversation?

      How can we influence their strategies for spending, renewal and repair in the village area? 

      And how do we raise the aspiration of those 'charged with managing public infrastructure' to make the most of the collaborative opportunities with residents available to them?

      How do we ensure that our streets, pavements and open spaces  meet contemporary standards for public realm?
      (see 'Public Realm' thread at  [url]http://residents-association.com/forum/index.php?topic=828.0[/url] )



A project like this could be invaluable in demonstrating our capacity for 'taking the lead' and making the most of the new strategies for 'community right to challenge' (see [url]https://www.gov.uk/government/policies/giving-people-more-power-over-what-happens-in-their-neighbourhood[/url] ) that the 2012 Localism Bill affords and allocation of Community Infrastructure Levy funds (replacing Section 106 Agreement), as described by BlueSky elsewhere, coming in to force 1st April 2013 see [url]http://www.elmbridge.gov.uk/planning/policy/cil.htm  

I'm sure that the Residents Association  Councillors, Officers and Sub-Committee Convenors know something about this and can advise on how to maximise these opportunities for the project via Surrey CC and Elmbridge ?

Have there been any other discussions taking place about this area, prior to this thread on the Residents Association Forum and had conversations been initiated with Surrey Highways or Elmbridge Planning? Has anyone already spoken to any residents, retailers or business people (as Keith suggests should be done) who could become key players in supporting a shared-vision for the Lime Tree?



Title: Re: The Lime Tree
Post by: Dittonian on January 10, 2013, 09:55:41 AM
I don't want to be a party-pooper, I like the idea, but first I would like to see the existing thing put in order.  The kerb stones are displaced, the little paving blocks are loose and irregular, the galvanised column for the lights has been left unpainted for two years now (and the wires up the tree look ugly in the daylight when there are no leaves on the tree to hide them), the area around the bottom of the tree is scrappy.

The idea to cut off one of the entrances to Ashley Road and make it into a communal area is interesting, although except on Saturday mornings in summer I  think it's hard to believe that, really, there will be anyone sitting or congregating there.  It seems to me to be a nice idea but there's more to it than that.  It has been suggested that the pavement by the offices should be extended but that is heavily parked up, often used by delivery vehicles for those offices (every day, not just Saturdays) and we would lose yet more parking places in the High Street.  There would be less of a parking loss if the other side were extended.  In either case the views of those most affected should be sought.

It seems unlikely to me that with all the spending cuts and with the state of maintenance of the road surfaces and other parts of "the public realm" in a bad way Surrey will find the money to do such a scheme that could not really have priority over repair and maintenance here or elsewhere.  I hope that pursuing this idea, superficially attractive, does not distract people from getting the place put in order which I think is a more realistic aim until the economy improves and public spending goes up.  Unless a benefactor offers the money, many thousand pounds I guess.


Title: Re: The Lime Tree
Post by: mg on January 10, 2013, 10:08:48 AM
I second Leafy's questions.  

There seems to be a non-intentional "gulf" between the RA representatives and the residents.   Maybe the gulf is merely a divide between the people who know how the whole bureaucratic system works and those of us who don't.  The mere fact of our representatives becoming knowledgable about the inner workings of Council business  automatically sets them apart from the people they represent. (Catch 22 situation I think!!!)

The RA Open Meetings seem a too "formal" place to raise ground level "ideas".  So as Leafy says (and other residents have said this recently) how do these initial "ideas" ever make it to the first rung on the decision ladder?  ( eg Lime tree idea, Bridge to Island idea )

Like Dittonian - I am not too sure about the practicality of extending the hexagon - but would like it to be made good and planted with flowers etc.  



Title: Re: The Lime Tree
Post by: BlueSky on January 10, 2013, 10:22:36 AM
Newsnight last night had half of its programme on this exact subject, S106 / SIL local community led payments. Nick Boles, the planning minister explains the way forward.

I.e. let the builders get on with building their projects in exchange for £100k's of local infrastructure works such as village hall roofs, children play areas etc

Everyone should try to watch via ipad/other if you can.

There are a number of development schemes in the village, which have been blocked by residents, these community led payments will apparently make it easier for us to accept.  Nick Boles, did mention that the community needed a plan, do we have one?





Title: Re: The Lime Tree
Post by: Leafy on January 13, 2013, 10:37:50 AM
Amongst all of this I've had to take a moment to remind myself of how I ended up here on the 'Lime Tree / Designs' threads on the forum.

As evident on other threads, there is dissatisfaction with the configuration, materiality, maintenance and program of renewal for the roads, pavements (and some public spaces) across our area, that comprise our 'public realm'. The original statement on the 'Lime Tree ' thread , and subsequent conversations here have been provoked by the (pending) threat of a shoddy proposal for a 'communal piazza'  between Lunch and Maison Bleu, that if built, would, in my estimation, have further lowered the quality of the village environs.

In this wider context, the selection for the Lime Tree site for my interest is purely coincidental.  It seems that the current focus on 'Speed Bumps', 'Station Access and Bridge Environs' or 'Bridge to Cigarette Island'  that has caught the collective attentions of forum users' at the moment are all equally important and offer a diverse spectrum topics for discussions (....and of course there's a whole host of other streets and spaces that need attention). Thankfully there's clearly a lot of good ideas out there too !

As described previously, however, I think the TD & WG area would benefit from generating and executing a model of 'good practice' in the public realm to which all future interventions can relate. The Lime Tree, as a site, is Ian's good as any in this respect.

Ratty, your sketche on the  'Lime Tree Designs' thread are  very impressive! Thank you for making time to do that - What a great help this is in taking the discussions further! 

Admin and  Highways Contact have offered some useful support on behalf of the RA. however, as Highways are the responsibility of Surrey CC, it would, as you have suggested Admin,  be good to have input from Cllr. Peter Hickman here too, to offer a SCC perspective.

Admin, would you kindly invite Peter Hickman to join the conversation ?


Title: Re: The Lime Tree
Post by: Admin on January 13, 2013, 02:39:23 PM
First of all, congratulations to Leafy who has energised discussion on a number of subjects in 'the public realm.'   I have followed with great interest the reactions and contributions of other posters, particularly those that combine vision with a focus on practicalities.   This is excellent and just the ticket.  Leafy has flagged up three areas or potential projects.  Each of these will take a great deal of work and time to explore, consult, clear with authorities and fund.  They won't be achieved by soapboxing or by expecting others to do the work.  They will have to be carried forward by a person or persons with the time and commitment to make a project their own thrust and do it the right way.  I'm just going to comment on the Lime Tree / hexagon area here.

Conservation/maintenance:
In the last few years those of us who have taken an active interest in the hexagon have been more concerned with getting the authorities to put the existing piece of the realm in order, along with resurfacing the dreadful High St and adjacent tarmac.  This is something that requires no additional permissions and that they should do anyway.  Andrew (a volunteer resident like the rest of us) and Peter (who is extremely busy firefighting all kinds of problems we residents have with the creaky Surrey machine) have been pressing hard and repeatedly.  However, funds are short, the High St is way down SCC's list of priorities and nothing seems likely to happen imminently.

It occurs to me that Elmbridge's Street Smart team (just two workmen, in reality, who tour the borough trying to put bits of it back in shape) might be gently coaxed into taking on the immediate maintenance of the hexagon.  That is: replacing the displaced kerb stones, re-bedding the paviours, and painting that awful galvanised housing for the lighting electrics.

What can be done to prevent vehicles breaking down the kerb is another practical consideration.  In its present form, I can think only of siting barrels at various points round it, sited at the edge.

It will take some resident to take this on, drive it through, if there is to be progress.  That person will have to deal with both SCC and EBC.  Councillors will support (but cannot necessarily take on that work as well as all the other stuff they do).  No permissions are required nor is consultation officially required to put it back in shape, though I am always a fan of consultation/information and would publicise it here and in the mag.  In other words, the way is clear.  Who's going to take that on?

Enhancement of hexagon:
Basic ideas in addition to the above are
-  to plant around the base of the tree.  Hitherto, when this has been done it has been done by a volunteer at own expense and labour.  Thank you Andrew for doing this yourself.  It may not be the height of RHS fashion, but the bedding has been pretty (as it has around the Fountain, where Francine Brooks does the planting and she, Andrew and Paula of Maison Bleu have done watering - public-spirited all).  It seems to me, and also to Peter Hickman, who is a very experienced gardener, that suitable perennials for shade planted as ground cover would do better and require less maintenance.  So - who's going to see about that, and water/maintain them?
- to alter the configuration in order to prevent vehicles from breaking down the kerb.  Low railings - with a break to allow pedestrian access? ( Planters around the edge of the hexagon, as above?)  Raised kerb with steps?  These things would require a bit more money but that should be easily manageable - I'm sure the RA would vote some, the High St fund-raisers would probably do the rest.
- bench.  Here, we might well need the opinion of the authorities (I don't know), for the proposal is to induce people to sit under the tree on a fairly small roundabout.  The traffic is not that heavy, usually, but the bench would be a draw for people with takeout lunches crossing over the High St between  parked vehicles, or for villagers perhaps accompanied by children, and I am sure a traffic safety expert opinion would be advisable or required.

I suggest that whoever takes up and drives the maintenance issues would be the best person to explore this while he or she is doing that.  Who is volunteering?

Plaza
I very much liked Ratty's thoughtful and visionary idea of abolishing one of the entries to Ashley Road and extending the pavement to the hexagon to make a small, but very central, pedestrian island.  I was interested to see others' responses, noting that this would raise other questions (loss of parking being a main one; I would add questions of turning for large articulated vehicles who see the High St is a trap for them and need to turn).  

Very clearly, as Andrew (Highways Contact) has pointed out, this would need consultation, permissions, funding.  To take this forward, and I suggest the ideal person to adopt this as a project and drive it forward would be either Leafy or Ratty or both, the action pathway would be:

-  get this put on the RA agenda.  I will do this at the next meeting, suggesting (Ratty/Leafy - please confirm) as protagonists who will explore the matter.  They could then do so in the name of the association.  In what follows, I assume that is agreed and they have volunteered)

1. Take preliminary soundings from:
(a) Surrey Highways - Peter H will I am sure facilitate a visit by a traffic/highways engineer to suit Ratty/Leafy & walk the area with you and him, and discuss 
(b) the retailers (I suggest you ask Tricia Bland in her capacity as Chair of the Retailers Assoc to raise this and report back)
(c) the businesses on either side of the two junctions High St / Ashley Road
(d) the Conservation Area Advisory Committee - in general terms.  This is chicken-and-egg in that it isn't worth producing a detailed plan until people have been sounded out on their views; and people may not give definitive views until they have seen a detailed plan; so the protagonists will have to steer sensibly and pragmatically between them.
    Naturally I hope you will keep us informed here.

2.  If all lights are green, after that, prepare a draft plan and we can put it to residents at an Open Meeting, online here and in the mag more widely.  It would then have to be put to EBC and SCC officials for preliminary discussion of any necessary permissions.

3.  Get the permissions

4.  Cost and fund it.  On the face of it, SCC/EBC are most unlikely to provide public money.  I'm sure the Association as a body, and its members, would chip in soomething, but we are taking about the need to raise many tens of thousands of pounds.


Title: Re: The Lime Tree
Post by: Keith on January 13, 2013, 04:27:03 PM
Quote from: Leafy on January 10, 2013, 08:23:31 AM
Is there any precedent for successful Residents Association involvement in a project like this ? 

Yes, several.  The Association was behind the drive both to prevent the demolition of Ferry Works and build a tall block of flats over it, and encouraged and helped through the architect and planning applications to get the restored ferry works complex, and to try to sort out some parking for it.  heavily involved in what emerged at the old Milk Marketing Board site, with public spaces and provision for sporting and medical facilities; supportive of efforts by the council to put Albany reach in order in ?1970s?; very heavily involved in what replaced the AC cars factory in the High St; &c. &c. - read the potted history.
Quote:
What would be the most effective way to engage our public authorities in the conversation?

If you want real results rather than a 'conversation' with the public authorities leading to endless study pieces and prevarication, the best way is to get on with it!  that is, one or a few residents make something their own project, do the legwork and drive it along pragmatically.  The Association's facilities and councillors are a framework within which to operate, which will amplify and foster initiatives that can be shown to gain traction with residents (not just a wishlist)

Now that's all very well, you may say, but surely we should have a plan for the area, agreed goals etc etc.?  Well, that is the world where you have five hundred pages of worthy platitudinous statements as in many of the planning guidelines.  Our councillors are very heavily engaged in making sure that the Elmbridge planners' documents in draft fairly reflect the interests of TD.  Last year it was the Supplementary planning docs, which you know well; this year it is the SHLAA and the SID (Settlement Investment Development plans) which, to answer Bluesky's (I think it was) question, is the EBC Administration's answer to the neighbourhood plans of the localism act.

The tussle over what went into the Community Infrastructure Levy was last year, and I am not aware of any EBC document building on the levy to plan out what money is spent where, although I do know they were looking at some aspects like road widening elsewhere etc.  An issue with that is that these funds are mostly destined for infrastructure, that is, drains, roads, schools, other facilities, which are SCC's responsibility.  So Elmbridge would have to commission them from Surrey and pay Surrey for them from the CIL funds.

In the one workshop on the CIL I went to, substituting for Graham Cook, I tried as you know to get them to write in the conservation areas as a factor in the levy: i.e. that conservation was a factor in the attractiveness of Elmbridge, and therefore reflected in developers' profits, and therefore that part of the levy should be used for a budget for the public realm in conservation areas.  But even that, despite my following up with the planning staff, was not included in the final docs.

The Elmbridge administration did set aside a small pot for local businesses in the borough to suggest small improvements; the response from businesses was not great and I think money remained/remains unspent there (that could possibly be a source of funds for the hexagon...?)

In summary, I don't think there is a plan of positive visual enhancements for the public realm quite along the lines you are thinking;  it would be necessary to talk with the planning staff.  One of our councillors is going to write on the current state of play with planning, in the next mag, and I'll ask her to find out and mention it.
Quote:
How can we influence their strategies for spending, renewal and repair in the village area? 

It's not really a question of strategies, it's more a question of no money.  Our councillors bat hard, but it is very hard to get money even for essential repairs, clearing drains etc. let alone resurfacing the High St, and the many other roads which are in poor and unsightly condition.  While Elmbridge is quite good, and has some money, Surrey is often a shambles, and doesn't. 

Quote:
And how do we raise the aspiration of those 'charged with managing public infrastructure' to make the most of the collaborative opportunities with residents available to them?

I think the best way, rather than talking of 'aspirations' is to identify, as you have been doing, some practical things which can be pushed forward.  To explore their feasibility and whether they have local support.  To ask qualified local people, architects, landscape architects, traffic engineers, to work pro bono to shape particular proposals so that they stand a better chance of clearing the regulatory hurdles.  To raise funds or get them wherever they can be found.

Each of these projects takes one or two individuals prepared to put in the sustained time and effort in a practical, not a polemical, way.  It's a lot of work even to get Surrey to clear a drain - it took Tannia and Peter H ten years to get EBC, SCC, Network rail and riparian landowners to identify the blockages and clear them out in the two mile drainage system from Esher Station bridge!  So, realistically,  enhancements are not likely to be top priorities for council officials hard-pressed to keep the place running at all, whatever the documents might loftily say.  As so often, we have to make the running ourselves.
Quote:
How do we ensure that our streets, pavements and open spaces  meet contemporary standards for public realm?

We bang on about it all the time, chasing down officials and companies to carry out their responsibilities.  A few months ago Peter Hickman, after a lot of pressure, got SCC to restore the low wall and railings on Station Road in front of the Old Manor House.  This was part of the public realm singled out as deteriorating in the Conservation Area Appraisal.  He had to fund it from the small councillor's allowance for the area, I think.   Also see lately the two months of effort by resident Andrew Pratt to get Thames Water to fix the leak in Church Walk.  Church Walk is another place where the public realm is seriously degraded; the lights have not been replaced and the surface of the walk is a shocker.  And so, I will take that on and will press for resurfacing as soon as the new street lights are in and the drains for the Guide Hut / St Nicholas Mews have been dug out and replaced.  At the right point I will get Peter H to lend support.  But I know that there are many other road surfaces in Surrey in an even worse state, and no money to fix them.

Not what you may want to hear, I know; nor pessimism (for if I were not an optimist I would not make the effort); but the voice of reality and experience!

Quote:
A project like this could be invaluable in demonstrating our capacity for 'taking the lead' and making the most of the new strategies for 'community right to challenge' (see https://www.gov.uk/government/policies/giving-people-more-power-over-what-happens-in-their-neighbourhood[/url] ) that the 2012 Localism Bill affords and allocation of Community Infrastructure Levy funds (replacing Section 106 Agreement), as described by BlueSky elsewhere, coming in to force 1st April 2013 see [url]http://www.elmbridge.gov.uk/planning/policy/cil.htm  



I'm sure we are all more than happy for you to use your qualifications and take a lead in exploring these things.  That's how the Association works.  It's an association of residents - you, me, and many others, who are prepared to put some work in.


Title: Re: The Lime Tree
Post by: Flex on January 13, 2013, 09:01:11 PM
Quote from: Admin on January 13, 2013, 02:39:23 PM
suggesting (Ratty/Leafy - please confirm) as protagonists who will explore the matter.  They could then do so in the name of the association.  In what follows, I assume that is agreed and they have volunteered)


Good idea.  Seconded.


Title: Re: The Lime Tree
Post by: Leafy on January 13, 2013, 10:24:23 PM
Quote from: Flex on January 13, 2013, 09:01:11 PM
Quote from: Admin on January 13, 2013, 02:39:23 PM
suggesting (Ratty/Leafy - please confirm) as protagonists who will explore the matter.  They could then do so in the name of the association.  In what follows, I assume that is agreed and they have volunteered)


Good idea.  Seconded.


Thanks Admin for sharing so much information.
As you know, happy to support initiatives in any way I can.


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