Interview published with permission of “Help the Elmbridge Road” Campaign

Here’s an interview with Matthew Stones, whose house is on the single track priority road system on Elmbridge Road, Cranleigh. He lives there with his wife, Andrea, and two children and like other residents has had to put up with car crashes and incidents of road rage on a daily basis.

Help Elmbridge Road Campaign: Matthew, thank you for agreeing to be interviewed as part of the Help Elmbridge Road campaign.

We have a few questions to ask you about the single track priority road system.

We would like to begin by asking you about the road’s history.

Before the pavement was installed, the road was obviously wider but now it is single track. Can you give us the background to the pavement?

We believe in the past pedestrians had a right of away through your garden?

Matthew Stones: Yes. When we moved here 10 years ago the previous owner let the general public walk across his garden.

We couldn’t allow this as we had young children, dogs, cats, chickens etc.

We were sympathetic to the “problem” this caused and we did offer for free a strip of our land to the Surrey County Council so that that they could build a pavement alongside the road which would have avoided narrowing the road. But the Council politely declined the offer back in October 2004.

Help Elmbridge Road Campaign: What kind of day to day incidents happen outside your house, along the single track?

Matthew Stones: Well, a few times every day there will be altercations between angry motorists refusing to give way.

The swearing and the horns beeping are irritating for all.

There have been a few late nights caused by serious crashes and having to help victims and marshal traffic as we are normally the first on the scene.

We are on first name terms with several of the firemen!

When the monthly car crashes and road closures happen, as we cycle or walk mostly, we can still get to work and the children to school.

Help Elmbridge Road Campaign: And the accident that happened on Sunday 11 October, can you tell us what happened?

Matthew Stones: Well, I didn’t see it actually happen as I was in the house.

But suffice to say a Rover car ended up taking evasive action to avoid the oncoming van and in the process a vehicle smashed our fence and wall and ended up in our garden.

Many of your readers will have seen the photo in the Surrey Advertiser.

Help Elmbridge Road campaign: What other accidents and incidents have cost you financially and personally?

Matthew Stones: Most of the damage has been covered by the driver’s insurance so hasn’t cost us directly.

Luckily, and I say luckily in only one sense, most of the crashes are sufficiently serious that the driver can’t just drive off.

It is time consuming getting quotes for repairs for insurance companies etc. And I’ve had to do it many times.

Help Elmbridge Road campaign: What have you done to alert the agencies such as Surrey County Council Highways to the problems along the single track? And what has happened as a results.

Matthew Stones: When an incident or crash happens, I have emailed photographs to Surrey County Council Highways but I have never had a response.

I have emailed them on other matters such as the safety bollards that were never put completely back after one serious crash.

But again, the only response I got there, was that there was ‘no plan to reinstate, will trim bollards, currently awaiting funding for traffic lights.’ So, we are still waiting!

Meanwhile, people do use the pavement. It’s not really the Retirement Village residents as the road is horrible for the elderly to walk along, but the workers at the Village and the nursing home walk along the pavement.

And when there’s a bumper to bumper stand off along the single track, cars invariably mount the pavement in order to resolve the problem. A pavement is for pedestrians.

Help Elmbridge Road campaign: What do you think the solutions are for this long standing problem along Elmbridge Road?

Matthew Stones: There is a similar single lane segment further down Elmbridge Road at the second bridge over the disused railway line. Traffic lights seem to work well there.

There are only a few pedestrians using this part of the road so removing or shortening the pavement thereby shortening the single lane part would massively reduce the problem.

There was no major “problem” before the pavement was built. The pavement stops altogether 100 yards further up Elmbridge Road so that idea is not as radical as it might seem.

It’s just a shame Surrey County Council Highways didn’t consider the implications and alternatives before diving in and building the pavement.

Help Elmbridge Road campaign: Thank you Matthew for your time. And let’s hope we get some short term solutions for the road that can be implemented in 2016.

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