Readers may recall that the Parish Council has set up a working group including local shopkeepers to work with a local architect to produce a plan for improving the Green which as far as possible meets the Group’s Brief of the improvements required, which include slowing down traffic, better access to the central grassed area, improved drainage, and more attractive seating and lighting, whilst maintaining the ring of trees and number of parking spaces.
Two fully worked up designs were produced by January last year, when the Group decided that they needed to be verified by a traffic assessment to confirm their viability. One design maintained the present one way traffic system while the other created a pedestrianised area on the narrowest side of the Green and introduced two way traffic on the other two – broader – sides. Both designs incorporated attractive new surfacing for both roads and pavements.
With local elections and a new parish council being elected in May there was some delay in selecting and appointing a highways consultancy to undertake the traffic assessment, but this was eventually done and the bulk of the traffic assessment including a traffic survey was completed in the Summer. Recommendations were made for various changes to improve the workability and safety of the designs, but many of these required the opinion of the highway authority, Surrey County Council, as to whether they were mandatory or optional. Accordingly a meeting was arranged in November with Surrey and our county councillor for Warlingham, David Hodge, to obtain their views.
At the start of January this year the working group met to discuss the recommendations of the highway consultancy and Surrey County Council and to decide which changes should be made. It was agreed to accept recommendations to widen the roads and pavements to meet Surrey’s preferred widths and to amend the parking arrangements to address safety concerns as well as other more minor adjustments. Some recommendations of a more cosmetic nature were rejected as detracting from the appearance of the schemes, given that one of the core aims of the Project is to make the whole area more attractive.
The architect will now amend the designs as agreed and the highways consultant will then complete his work by checking that predicted traffic flows through The Green can be accommodated – the capacity assessment. Once any further changes are made as a result of the capacity assessment, and assuming one or both of the designs is confirmed as fully viable, the Parish Council will organise a public consultation, probably including the display of the plans in one of the village halls or the library. Comments received will then need to be assessed by the working group and the architect and any further changes agreed, following which the plan or plans will need to be costed and funding identified before they are voted on by the residents of Warlingham.