2015 Weybridge CIL Funding Applications – PPDRA Responses

The 2015 Weybridge Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) round includes some very significant applications for funding. All such applications require very careful consideration, and the committee of PPDRA has had extensive discussions over which to support in the Elmbridge CIL consultation.

Three applications in particular stand out, for different reasons.

Two (Broadwater Path and Broadwater) are for projects which have received a lot of support from local residents over the past ten years, and in our view clearly merit funding.  A third (Weybridge Point)  is for a proposal which provoked  some strongly voiced local opposition when residents heard about it, mainly because it would significantly reduce the number of parking spaces in the car park at the bottom end of Thames Street.

On 22 May the Officers of PPDRA submitted a formal consultation response to Elmbridge, giving our views and rationale. In summary our responses were:

Weybridge Point

We do not feel that this scheme is appropriate for CIL funding as proposed

We recognise that the ‘Weybridge Point’ Car Park and its short length of riverside Thames Path could benefit from some sympathetic improvement.  However, the scheme proposed in the current CIL application is highly controversial, as it would reduce public amenity in ways which greatly concern some local residents and frequent visitors.

See attached PPDRA CIL response for the reasons, and constructive suggestions.

Broadwater Path

We agree that the full amount should be awarded to this scheme

PPDRA has long supported the proposals for properly establishing the Broadwater Path (a path which has become impassable in places for much of the year).  We would like EBC to give full support for this path, with cycles allowed to use it as well as pedestrians – the proposed surface is as per mixed use cycle/foot paths elsewhere in the Borough, and the need is plain.  Putting a proper surface on this scenic path between Weybridge and Cowey Sale will create a wonderful asset for the community. It will take on extra importance with the proposed closure of the very popular Thames Path alongside Desborough Channel for a number of months at some point as part of the Lower Thames Flood Strategy works.


We agree that the full amount should be awarded to this scheme

We feel that the works to help maintain the Broadwater lake are much needed.

PPDRA comments submitted to Elmbridge CIL Consultation

The following comments were submitted to Elmbridge Borough Council on 22 May 2015

 A)    Weybridge Point

We do not feel that this scheme is a priority for CIL funding

We recognise that the ‘Weybridge Point’ Car Park and its short length of riverside Thames Path could benefit from some sympathetic improvement. However, the scheme proposed in the current CIL application is highly controversial, as it would reduce public amenity in ways which greatly concern some local residents and frequent visitors.

The officers of Portmore Park and District Residents Association (PPDRA) believe it would be inappropriate for Elmbridge to grant public CIL funding for the current Weybridge Point proposal to proceed as proposed. Any proposal for improving the area which would result in loss of amenity requires more thinking and more meaningful local consultation.

PPDRA heard of an earlier version of this scheme after an application had been made for CIL funding, and we publicised it locally. Subsequently, PPDRA committee members received comments from local residents and frequent visitors to this part of the riverside – all previously completely unaware of the proposals – expressing strong concerns and opposition to some of the basic aspects of the proposed scheme.


In summary, the concerns relating to the current proposal are:

Practical and safety issues

1)   Loss of parking space: reduced from approximately 17 to 11 (or 9 or fewer standard sized spaces?). This would increase pressure on on-street parking in proximity to the slipway and loading / unloading of boats.  It is a car park much used by people visiting the riverside. The current informal layout allows small vehicles to be put into tight spaces.

2)   The re-routed path design, around two sides of a triangle, is in conflict with the desire line – people will continue to cut through the car park, hence the design would not achieve its intended separation of parking from pedestrians.

3)   The proposed path past the viewing platform is narrow with a sharp new bend, causing potential for cycle/pedestrian collisions.

4)   It may encourage speed of cyclists past the boat house, where very long competition standard rowing boats frequently have to be lifted, turned, and manoeuvred.


5)   Excessive street furniture and fencing seem out of keeping with the rest of the towpath in the area, and would make the waterfront appear more like a cityscape waterfront.

6)   The new viewing platform and re-routed path would intrude upon the current water-level viewing platform, which is at present very tranquil and fully separated from cars, pedestrians and cyclists.


In our view the current proposal fails ‘To create a well designed space’, which is one of its primary stated objectives.

The re-routing of the footpath and cycleway as an unbound path around two sides of the space ignores the psychology of footpath design: the desire line is across the middle of the car park, which is where people currently walk and cycle. Some would continue to follow that line.

The re-routed dual use path is relatively narrow and introduces a sharp right angled bend by a viewing platform – difficult cycling, and a potentially dangerous cause of collisions between cycles and pedestrians admiring the view.

At present, there is a handsome and tranquil viewing platform down at water level, separated from the car park by vegetation and by the difference in level. It is accessible yet feels remote, entirely sheltered from road noise from Thames Street. It is an attractive place to contemplate the rivers and the weir, imparting a sense of involvement with the surrounding water by its proximity. It would be intruded upon and loomed over by the proposed high level viewing platform, re-routed path and excessive steel fencing. Meanwhile the new viewing platform would be subject to road noise and proximity to the car park, pedestrians and cyclists.

We are concerned that the sketched plans may not represent reality on the ground very accurately. The plans show 11 car parking spaces plus a 2 metre width of footpath, in a space where 9 cars currently fit (if passengers are to be able to open the doors easily), and state that one of those space will be taken by a viewing platform. It can currently accommodate 17 cars in two rows, and it is full at various times most weeks. It was full on at least one evening last week, and it is not even fishing season.


We would urge a revised proposal for a simpler design based on combined use of space, rather than trying to dedicate separate space to path and to car park.  By definition, vehicle use to access the small car park is limited and there is evidence, for example, in urban areas that combined use does lead to sensible behaviour.

We are aware of no discussion so far of other options, which might reduce cost and create a less cluttered area: for example, putting car spaces on the boundary and not trying to segregate car park manoeuvring space and towpath. A small grassed area closest to the point with a short path might be another idea.

We would like the matter opened up to proper public discussion, involving local residents, users of local riverside recreational facilities, and users of the Thames Path, so that a funding application can be made for something that the community supports and wants to see achieved.

We have great respect for Thames Landscape Strategy, and most of the work they do. However, for the reasons set out above we feel the current proposals are in need of significant revision.

B) Broadwater Path

We agree that the full amount should be awarded to this scheme

PPDRA has consistently strongly supported proposals for properly establishing the Broadwater Path, in communications and meetings with Councillors over more than ten years.

We commend the proposal to put down a durable surface and at last establish this path formally. It has been informally used by local people for as long as anyone can remember, when ground conditions allow, but can become excessively boggy and obstructed in places. The path passes through beautiful and tranquil scenery and connects north Weybridge to Cowey Sale and Walton bridge.

It will be a lasting asset for our local community and visitors alike for this path to be formally established, and usable in all weathers and seasons.

PPDRA also strongly supports a proposal that bicycles should NOT be barred from using the path, as it offers a safe and convenient route from Weybridge to Walton Bridge. We feel this should be a condition of funding. Allowing civilised dual use would be in keeping with the principles of Policy CS14, and the surface type proposed is appropriate for cycle use (as made clear in the final section of the proposal). To do otherwise would be a missed opportunity.

The Broadwater Path becomes even more significant with a proposed temporary closure of the Thames Path (footpath and cycle route) alongside Desborough Channel, for works associated with the Lower Thames Flood Relief Strategy.

We believe that its use by cycles will alleviate the pressures of dual use of the Thames Towpath by providing an alternative route to Weybridge, and through proximity to a national cycle route. In addition, some cycles continue to use Walton Lane because of the condition of the Thames Towpath.

PPDRA has for many years supported the various proposals for properly establishing the path along the north of Broadwater. We hoped it had it had finally been secured with the 2005 Section 106 Agreement to establish a footpath, but that made only partial progress.

We urge Elmbridge now to enable establishment of this path to become reality. It would be a lasting and entirely appropriate use of CIL funding. We support this application being fully funded.

C) Broadwater Lake

We agree that the full amount should be awarded to this scheme

This work is much needed, and would be a good use of CIL funding.

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