SCHOOL DECISION DELAY
Fourteen years of effort by local residents and councillors have gone into getting agreement and funding for the Broadwater Path, along the edge of Broadwater Lake. As well as being a magnificent facility for the community, the path will help ensure the future of the lake itself. But there is an unexpected last minute obstacle.
Just as Surrey County Council was poised to complete formal dedication of Footpath 40 (Broadwater Path) in April 2016 and to begin work on laying the surface (with CIL funding agreed by Elmbridge BC), local residents were dismayed to learn that St George’s Weybridge had decided to oppose dedication of the path across its newly acquired land, despite a previous Deed of Planning Obligation.
So everything is on hold, except the continuing decline of the lake.
Broadwater Lake is progressively silting up and desperately in need of substantial dredging works and maintenance. Formalising public access to the lakeside will do more than simply give walkers a better path: it will open the way to public funding for maintaining this historically significant lake and exceptional local natural environment.
Strong local opinion
Local community groups have lobbied the school, seeking a change of mind. On 21 April 2016, PPDRA Chair Miles Macleod, presented a comprehensive case for permitting the dedication – you can download a copy of the PPDRA Broadwater Path Submission to School Governors here. You can also download the maps and plans. As you can read in the submission, the path may possibly be formalised with or without the school’s agreement, but school consent would greatly reduce the unexpected delay.
Subsequently the school has informally suggested a possibility of permitting a re-routed path. This would involve a diversion away from the lakeside before the school land, and along the paved lane from the health club.
In sounding this out, we have heard some strongly expressed views that the school should permit the original lakeside route. At our May PPDRA Committee meeting, after extended consideration of matter and of the school’s alternative route proposal, the view of the committee was strongly in favour of continuing to press for dedication of Broadwater Path along its original proposed route. We also agreed to continue seeking further views from the local community.
The path alongside Broadwater has been used informally and unopposed for as long as anyone can remember. Formalisation of the path alongside Broadwater Lake would bring benefits for the school as well as the community.
What are your views? Please do take a look at the facts set out in our submission.
Note: The picture on this page shows the new land purchased by the school in red, the Broadwater Path (proposed Footpath 40) in green, and Footpath 36 (which separates the old and new school land) in yellow.