Fringe Box



Traffic Damaging Shere’s Historic Buildings – ‘Too Many Cars and Oversized Lorries’

Published on: 22 Mar, 2023
Updated on: 23 Mar, 2023

Cuckoo Corner in Shere Google Street View

By Emily Coady-Stemp

local democracy reporter

Historic buildings in one of Surrey’s most picturesque villages are being damaged by lorries.

A county councillor for Shere, the village which featured in the 2006 rom-com The Holiday, said in one building they were “fed up with their roof being taken off or damage to their walls” as roads that were too narrow tried to cope with modern traffic.

Cllr Bob Hughes

Cllr Bob Hughes (Con, Shere) told a meeting of Surrey County Council on Tuesday (March 21), that the two villages of Shere and West Clandon suffered from “too many cars and oversized lorries in very narrow roads”.

He said with the benefit of hindsight, the land-owning Onslow and Bray families might have built the roads in the area “rather differently” had they realised what would happen to traffic on the roads in the area.

Cllr Hughes added: “In Shere many historic buildings have been damaged by manoeuvring lorries.

“Those at Cuckoo Corner, which is part of what’s famous in films from Shere, are really fed up with their roof being taken off or damage to their walls.”

He was speaking in relation to a motion put forward by fellow Conservative councillor John O’Reilly (Hersham) calling for the county council’s Healthy Streets for Surrey guide to be adopted by the district and borough councils.

The guide, adopted by the cabinet in October, would aim to create “beautiful, resilient and popular streets that will ultimately require less long-term maintenance”, according to the motion.

Cllr Hughes said parish councils also needed to be part of the process, pointing to the guidance which said communities were more likely to engage if involved in the process early on.

He added: “Car transporters can’t safely drive through village roads if those roads are to be, and I quote from the principles behind this guide, safe, enjoyable and efficient to walk on with pleasant pavements and safe cycle routes.”

Restricting lorry sizes and access in the villages was important for “safety and to protect the historic buildings”, he told the meeting, also calling for traffic calming measures.

Cllr Hughes added: “Local villagers must be listened to.

“For the people I represent, that’s what ‘healthy streets’ means.

“They want their streets to be healthy, and they can be.”

Cllr Trefor Hogg

Cllr Trefor Hogg (Con, Camberley East) also spoke on the motion, reading an imaginary letter from a street to a car with the message that “things have got to change”.

Saying streets had put up with the cars’ “overbearing ways for well over 100 years”, Cllr Hogg said “enough is enough”.

He said: “Sorry car, but we need to talk about things because our relationship really isn’t what I want.

“I’m afraid I don’t feel about you the way I used to, I’ve changed and I’m no longer in love with you.

“We can still be friends, we could even be friends with benefits.

“But as a street I need to feel nice and comfortable and healthy, with real space for people.”

Cllr Liz Townsend

Cllr Liz Townsend (Lib Dem, Cranleigh & Ewhurst) put forward an amendment to the motion, which was accepted because she said district and borough councils, responsible for planning, could not “simply pick this up and adopt it”.

She said the guide would need to be inspected against national and local planning policies, planning documents and neighbourhood plans, as well as going through a consultation process.

Following the amendment, the county council will look to consult with the 11 districts and boroughs in Surrey on incorporating the guide into their design codes.

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