Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Horsell Civic Space saga now a blame game and safety risk

The latest twist in the saga of Horsell Civic space came last week when a Planning Inspector ruled against Woking Council's request for a footpath diversion order. The Council had wanted to divert the footpath which runs between the side of the Village Hall and the rear of the Bowls club.  A diversion would have taken the path across the top of the gardens and then between the bowling green and the edge of Queen Elizabeth Gardens.

Waiting for a decision on the request to divert the footpath has been the Council's reasoning for not removing the infamous mound and finishing the landscaping in the area.

The Council's press release on the outcome of the footpath diversion application referred to a resident's challenge leading to the refusal of the order. The press took this further putting the blame on the resident in their article.

What the Council failed to mention in their press release was that the diversion order was refused because it did not meet the criteria required under the relevant order.  The Planning Inspector pointed out that for the order to be successful the diversion had to be necessary for the planned work (in this case the new scout hut and an extension to the Village Hall).  The Council did not show this and so the order had to be refused by the Inspector.

Safety Risk
Once the order was refused the Council seem to have removed the fencing that cordoned off the 'mound'.  This is rather puzzling as the barrier was there in the first place as a safety measure.  I was concerned when I saw this had happened last week but my concern grew when I was given the photographs below, taken after local schools let out today.

Is the mound stable?

This picture show young children playing on the mound. Is is stable enough to allow this to happen?

Could a child fall into
the drainage ditch

The next picture shows a drainage ditch, created to stop run off water from the mound going into neighbouring gardens. A child could easily fall from the mound into this ditch.

Exposed drainage
The final picture shows exposed pipework in the drainage ditch.  This could hurt a child who falls in or trips in the ditch.

I have emailed the Council's Chief Executive raising my concerns about this tonight.

Apparently contractors removed some of the wrong pieces of barrier and left some of the wrong pieces.  The Council is now putting this right.

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