town centre

WOKING town centre’s first car park charge increase since 2009 has caused a major rift within the council.

A 10p per hour price increase for stays of up to four hours was voted in at the meeting of the full executive on Thursday, December 6, with the new rates due to be rolled out in April.

Lib-Dem leader Denzil Coulson has already aired concerns that a hike in fees could undo the hard work done by councillors to make Woking more attractive to shoppers.

WANTED FREEZE – Lib-Dem leader Denzil Coulson had hoped the council would vote in favour of a price freeze

WANTED FREEZE – Lib-Dem leader Denzil Coulson had hoped the council would vote in favour of a price freeze

His party shared the view that town centre economic growth, recently given a £150m shot in the arm with Surrey County and Woking Borough Council’s approval for the new Bandstand Square shopping complex, will be hindered by the rise in parking costs.

Horsell West ward councillor Ann-Marie Barker highlighted that a rise in charges will lead to an increase in commuters and town centre users
parking on residential roads in and around Horsell.

She said: “Parking has already gone so far out that I have seen somebody park in Horsell, take a folding bike from their boot and cycle into the town centre.”

But Leader of the Council John Kingsbury (left) has hit back, labelling Lib-Dem plans to keep prices as they are as disappointing.

The Tory chief also described plans to implement an unfunded price freeze as irresponsible.

In order to raise the £400,000 necessary to keep parking prices from rising, Cllr Kingsbury took a swipe at the Lib-Dems and suggested they shut down one of the town’s day centres.

He added: “Perhaps they will get that money by cutting grants to the voluntary sector, which we fund each year to help those people in our society who need it the most.

“Either way, the Lib-Dems need to say what they would cut if they are going to freeze car parking charges.

“I am very disappointed that there appears to be some politicking about this — a feeling that the election campaign for 2013 has started even earlier than usual.

“It is the usual Lib-Dem story, opposing everything that they think might be unpopular in order to try and win votes.

“Woking Conservatives would rather make the decisions that will secure this council’s financial viability.

“We believe this approach offers residents the best deal in the long term.”

TOUR DE FORCES – after the parade starting from Commercial Way, the standard bearers representing a variety of organisations line up in Woking town square facing the war memorial

TOUR DE FORCES – the standard bearers representing a variety of organisations line up in Woking town square facing the war memorial

NEARLY 400 people gathered in Woking’s town square on Saturday for the annual Armed Forces and Veterans Parade and service.

More than 100 people took part in the parade, with 25 standards from various organisations, marching bands, 60
veterans, and representatives from the  Royal Navy, RAF, Marines and Army.

Organiser of the event and veteran Rod Fraser, of the Royal Naval Association Woking branch, saw to it that everything ran smoothly.

He said: “The parade started at 10amwhile the service took place at 11.30am around the war memorial. And because our RNA branch has a new standard, it had to be dedicated, which the association’s padre Barry Grimster (Rev of St Peter’s Church in Old Woking) included in the service.”

Woking mayor Michael Smith attended the ceremony with mayoress Anne Murray.

In his speech Cllr Smith said: “Armed Forces Day is a significant date in the calendar and gives people in Woking borough and across the country the chance to show their support and appreciation for the courageous men and women who
have served, and currently serve, in our armed forces around the world.”

Despite the massive redevelopment project being carried out in the town Mr Fraser said: “I liaised with the Kier Group, who are responsible for all the building work, and the boss and his team worked incredibly hard.

“They cleared the area right from Commercial Way through to the town square to make sure we had a good day. They bent over backwards – even concreting over holes to make sure the area was safe for marching. I really cannot thank them enough.”

The day was particularly poignant for Eleanor Shurville, 66, of Woking.

Eleanor, originally from Holland, saluted the veterans and said: “They saved my country.”

A specially-designed flag was raised at ceremonies across the country to mark the week of events leading up to Armed Forces Day.

In Woking the flag remained flying above the civic offices until Monday.

CLOSURES - the Tour Series will mean road closures across Woking

CLOSURES - the Tour Series will mean road closures across Woking

ROAD closures will hit Woking as the penultimate leg of the Halfords Tour Series returns to the borough.

The town centre will be closed to traffic on Tuesday, June 12 from 10am until midnight but residents and shoppers will still be able to access car parks within Peacocks and Wolsey Place shopping centres via Lockfield Drive.

The routes affected include:

  • A320 Guildford Road from the Sovereigns Pub to Lockfield Drive (including Victoria Road)
  • Goldsworth Road from A320 Victoria Way to Coign Church roundabout
  • Church Road West from Coign Church roundabout to A320 Victoria Way.

Diversion routes will be in place while the road closures are in operation and motorists using the Monument Way diversion are advised to follow the diversions already in place.

Woking Borough Council’s Tour Series Project Manager Geoff McManus insisted the early closure of the town centre was paramount to the smooth running of the event.

He said: “The roads need to be closed at 10am to allow for the Tour Series course to be built by a specialist technical team.

“Once complete, some of the key routes around the Town Centre will be transformed into a high-speed professional circuit; ready for the Community Races starting at 12.30pm and the action-packed professional races starting at 5.15pm.

“Last year 12,000 people lined the streets to watch the penultimate leg of the Tour Series unfold.

“Motorists are advised to plan ahead and check whether or not they will be affected by the road closures and also to leave a little extra time when travelling into and out of the Town Centre.

“Visitors to the town are urged to use trains or public transport, or in the spirit of the event, travel by bike.”

For more information about the Tour Series, visit  www.cyclewoking.org.uk/tourseries