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East Horsley Road Closure During Christmas Trading ‘Beggars Belief’

Published on: 28 Nov, 2021
Updated on: 29 Nov, 2021

By Hugh Coakley and Martin Giles

Residents and traders in East Horsley are furious at a proposed 12-day closure of Ockham Road North in East Horsley to make utility connections to one new house in the area.

They say it will hit vital Christmas trade and are calling for it to be delayed to January. Local councillor, Catherine Young, said: “The lack of joined-up thinking beggars belief.”

The Ockham Road North Road is planned to be closed from November 29 to December 10. The suggested diversion is shown on the SCC website.

A petition, “Save Station Parade shops this Christmas”, said to have been signed by over 1,600 people, says shops will lose up to 50% of their trade, around £140,000, as a result of the road closure and it questions whether developer’s interests are being put ahead of the needs of locals.

One resident said: “I am pee’d off! It’s already causing disruption everywhere in the village. I am very angry. Words fail me.”

There have been calls to delay the closure to January. But there is no indication the closure from East Lane/Drift Junction up to the railway bridge, planned for Monday, November 29 to Friday, December 10, will not go ahead as planned.

The B2039 is planned to be closed for utility connections to be made to infill development behind existing properties adjacent to the road.

The diversion which is shown on the SCC website appears to be about 12 miles long, running between East Horsley, Ripley, West Clandon and Burnt Common.

SCC cabinet member for transport and infrastructure, Matt Furniss (Con, Shalford), is quoted in the petition as saying: “We‘ve spoken to the developer and asked if they can re-plan these works to the new year but due to the residents financial and logistical issues, they won’t be able to.”

The petition responds with “We ask why this is more important than the survival of our local shops, restaurants and cafes?”

Cllr Catherine Young said the plans “beggar belief”.

Catherine Young (GGG, Clandon & Horsley) said she had corresponded with SCC leader, Tim Oliver and Matt Furniss and understands “the road closure is because one family want to move into their new home before Christmas and their utilities have to be connected.”

She stressed she was trying to find a practical solution to mitigate the impact on the retailers and residents and said: “The lack of joined-up thinking beggars belief and tensions are running high. I have asked for some creative thinking to either move the date, use traffic lights or a stop-go system, anything to help our shopkeepers.

“I have asked that signs be put up which clearly state businesses are open as usual, and I have challenged them (SCC) to compensate for the losses that will be reported.

Business liaison lead for East Horsley Parish Council, Colin Carmichael, said: “The first two weeks of December is a crucial part of the retail year. They have had an awful time during COVID last Christmas, and this is a great opportunity for them to try to catch up and make a little bit of money.

“We’re looking for a compromise that will allow the residents to get what they need and the shops to carry on trading freely.”

Roshini and Rammeash Ratnasingam run the East Horsley Post Office. Roshini said, “News of the road closure was a big shock”.

Roshini Ratnasingam, who runs the post office with her husband Rammeash, said she received a notice about the road closure just over a week ago. She said: “The post office is already struggling to survive on its own and it’s subsidised by the retail.  We are a community hub. People come for help for almost everything.

“News of the road closure was a big shock for me. It’s made me really sad and upset to see that our peak period of business is going to be shattered. With the cold weather and darkness, people will be reluctant to walk to the shops if the road is closed.”

Terri Wood who runs the gift shop, Daisy Maison, said the businesses had the support of the residents.

Terri Wood, who runs the gift shop, Daisy Maison, said she had organised the petition the day after they heard the news about the proposed closure. She said: “Over 1,600 people out of a total population of just over 4,000 residents have signed. They are so concerned for the businesses. We have so much support.”

Cllr Young said she was, “hopeful we can get this changed. I suspect that some of us will be at the proposed works early tomorrow [Monday] morning to talk to the engineers to ask them, untethered by the leaders at SCC, if they themselves can help with a better way of managing the traffic.”

The Dragon has asked SCC for a comment.

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test 8 Responses to East Horsley Road Closure During Christmas Trading ‘Beggars Belief’

  1. David Roberts Reply

    November 28, 2021 at 10:07 pm

    Cllr Furniss confirmed to me by email last week that the only reason the road was being closed now was so that buyers of a new house could occupy it before Christmas. He could not have been less concerned. SCC leader Cllr Tim Oliver has not even bothered to reply to emails.

    We are used, however, to SCC/Surrey Highways always putting other interests before those of the public.

    • Gary Bewick Reply

      November 29, 2021 at 8:27 pm

      I wonder if the lack of engagement or caring from SCC leadership has anything to do with Horsley daring to elect a non-Tory county councillor?

  2. Roshini Ratnasingam Reply

    November 28, 2021 at 10:14 pm

    Thank you Dragon for bringing this matter to light. We hope SCC will change their mind and listen to the shopkeepers’ cry.”

  3. Margaret Read Reply

    November 29, 2021 at 7:53 am

    It is a stupid disruption to allow the service connections for one house. The road is forever being dug up for one reason or another. It seems there is no coordination between the planners and the utility companies.

  4. Nigel Watson Reply

    November 29, 2021 at 1:59 pm

    Quite apart from the chosen time of year and the excessively long diversion, why on earth does it take so long to carry out the work? Did the council query this?

    Surely a sensible timescale for this kind of job would be: Day 1 – close the road and set up a traffic diversion, dig the hole; Day 2 – connect the utilities; Day 3 – time to allow pipe etc connections to cure, also a contingency over-run; Day 4 – fill in hole, restore road surface and revert road use to normal.

  5. Graham Vickery Reply

    November 29, 2021 at 2:52 pm

    The inaction of SCC councillors Oliver (leader) and Furniss (Transport & Infrastructure) is unbelievable and smacks of clear intent to place developers above residents and taxpayers. It is inexplicable, and certainly not explained to the residents and businesses of East Horsley, why they (SCC) put the interests of a small-time developer above the entire local business community, the protests of 1,600+ local people and the appeals of two SCC councillors.

    Cllr Young’s comment on this news “Beggars Belief” is truly and entirely appropriate. The planning juggernaut at SCC is surely led by donkeys.

  6. Bibhas Neogi Reply

    November 30, 2021 at 9:48 am

    If you have the misfortune of driving through Woking, the road signs are totally inadequate. Has anyone in SCC and its contractors heard of Chapter 8 of the Highways Manual?

    Last week I followed the A324 from the A322 near Brookwood and I did not spot any advance warning signs nor any on the roundabouts until I reached the A320 that prevented me from turning right towards Guildford.

    I was forced to turn left and drove to the roundabout and turned around only to find that past the Peacocks Centre junction I could not turn left in the Guildford direction! I had to turn right and follow the road back on the A324 a couple of miles before I saw the diversion signs.

    Yesterday, I had to drive to same route and avoided Woking road works mayhem completely by taking the B380 from the A322 to Old Woking via the A320.

  7. Valerie Thompson Reply

    December 1, 2021 at 9:27 am

    Over 50 roads in Surrey have roadworks at the moment. Returning on Monday from choir along the A246 I encountered a “road-closed” notice, not having observed such a warning on my way to Guildford. It necessitated a 10-mile diversion to get home to the A246 end of West Horsley.

    The same notice was still in place on Tuesday morning, though the road was not, in fact, closed, so some people were turning around and taking a different route to their destination. Actually, the road was closed for footpath works.

    Surely it was not necessary to close the whole road for work at one side? There is no “joined-up” thinking regarding these endless road closures.

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