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Welcome to the website of the Epsom & Ewell Liberal Democrats

We are a group of local residents, not professional politicians. We work together to promote a fair, free and open society. Our funds are raised through the efforts of our own members, without any subsidy by government, unions or businesses.

We believe that the role of national governments, and of local councils, should be to provide those services that their citizens require, without seeking to impose unnecessary limits or to needlessly restrict individual freedoms.

If you agree with this philosophy, you would be welcome to join us. Contact FOCUS@epsom-ewell-libdems.org.uk

  • aldi protest
    Article: Jan 31, 2016

    It was wet and windy but this didn't deter protesters from gathering to show their opposition to the proposed location for an Aldi store in Epsom

    With objections now running into the hundreds, some 80 local residents are amongst those determined that the old dairy site in Alexandra Road, located on a hazardous 5-way junction and in a residential area, is just not suitable for a supermarket.

  • Council Tax 1
    Article: Jan 29, 2016

    Is there a future political career for Borough Councillor Omer Kokou-Tchri who was elected to serve College ward in May 2015?

    Front page of the local Guardian this week (available online) publicises how he owed over £1500 council tax when elected, has now received a Court judgement but still disputes that he should pay up.

  • Epsom Clock Tower
    Article: Jan 16, 2016

    The January 2016 issue of FOCUS has been distributed in and around Epsom. There's been good feedback but one correspondent, choosing to remain anonymous, makes the local team rather sad.

    "You're fighting a losing battle apropos Epsom. Station Approach is an eye sore. Traffic is out of control. Queues all day. Shops not inspiring - estate agents, charity shops and coffee shops. Even Waterstones bailed out. Property built any and everywhere. Closure of The Wells a tragedy. Not a dedicated police station. Save your energy"

  • Dairy junction
    Article: Jan 11, 2016

    Aldi have submitted a planning application to the borough council for a new store and 6 flats on the site formerly occupied by Dairy Crest in Alexandra Road.

    Full details are available on the council's website, searching "Alexandra Road" in the current planning applications section.

    Scores of objections have been posted online, most involving the hazardous road network (shown in the photograph). There is also concern that 65 car parking spaces isn't sufficient, evidenced by queues which cause congestion at other stores because of lack of parking capacity. A statement by Aldi seems to suggest that they wish to provide an alternative to Asda and Sainsbury, but these stores have hundreds of car parking spaces attached to them.

  • The Wells Centre, Epsom
    Article: Dec 16, 2015

    Vanessa and Jason Marchant, residents of Spa Drive, have been joined by Julie Morris, candidate in the recent county council by-election, to lodge a formal complaint against Epsom & Ewell Borough Council. This has been sent to the Chief Executive Frances Rutter, but could be escalated to the Local Government Ombudsman.

  • Article: Dec 15, 2015

    The Liberal Democrats are calling on the County Council to take into account the quality of life of local residents, including noise levels, when making decisions about different road surfaces.

    Cllr Hazel Watson, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Opposition on Surrey County Council said: "When roads are surface dressed in order to prolong their life by sealing them and to save money before a full surfacing the road becomes noisier for residents living nearby.

    "At present the County Council does not take into account the noise levels or the quality of life of residents living nearby to a road that is being resurfaced with a surface dressing. This needs to change so that local residents are not unnecessarily disturbed by noisy road surfaces when this can be avoided.

    "I am asking the Conservative administration at County Hall to change its policy to take into account not just cost but also the quality of life of local residents, including noise levels of different road surfaces when deciding on types of materials and processes for surface dressing or full road resurfacing.

    "Surrey residents should not have to suffer as a result of a noisy road surface when a quieter surface could be provided. Quality of life does matter and the County Council should be seeking to protect it for Surrey residents."

  • Article: Dec 15, 2015

    The Liberal Democrats on Surrey County Council are calling on the Conservative administration at County Hall to put more money towards improving Surrey's footways.

    Cllr Stephen Cooksey, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Highways & Transport said:

    "Surrey's footways are crumbling and need to be brought up to a decent standard for pedestrians. The most recent condition survey in 2014 showed that one-third of the county's footways were 'functionally or structurally impaired'. Since then little has been done by the Conservative administration to tackle the problem of Surrey's sub-standard footways while they have been concentrating on resurfacing Surrey's roads.

    "The condition of Surrey's footways is just as important for pedestrians as the condition of Surrey's roads is for motorists. Footways and pedestrians have not been given the priority they deserve. It is a Cinderella service in Surrey.

    "I am calling on the Conservative administration at County Hall to redress the balance by funding a programme of resurfacing and re-paving of Surrey's footways to bring them up to a decent standard. This continued neglect of our footways must not continue."

  • Article: Dec 6, 2015

    The Council agenda for Tuesday 8 December includes the proposed closure of The Wells Centre.

    This has not previously appeared as a clear proposal at any committee meeting with sufficient notice for the public to ask questions about it, so it has not benefitted from the scrutiny of public opinion.

    Instead it has been treated as so confidential that opposition councillors who leaked news of it have been disciplined.

  • Article: Dec 6, 2015

    Surrey County Council's Local Committee for Epsom & Ewell is due to meet at 2.00pm on 7 December. The following written questions have been submitted in advance by Colin Taylor.

    1. West Hill sign: Some time ago, the sign near the railway bridge over West Hill advising the number of spaces free in town centre car parks was damaged by a road traffic accident. Initially it was removed and not replaced. When I queried this it emerged that because the car park sign system came from a different budget, officers believed the highways budget could not be used to replace it. Eventually this was over-ruled and the sign was re-erected. However it has still not been connected to the necessary cabling to enable it to display the relevant information. There is a cable sticking out of the ground about 5 metres away which may be relevant. When can this useful sign be got back into action?
    2. Kiln Lane link: The agenda includes a petition and response concerning the Kiln Lane link. The response includes mention of the possible alternative of a direct link under the railway from Kiln Lane to Felstead Road, which officers seemed unaware of when I last asked about this topic. Given that the project was denied government funding in the past due to the cost of the scheme, which is far higher than for a direct link because of the extra cutting and the additional over-bridge for access to the trading estate, it seems all too likely that it will risk rejection again next time if it is submitted again unchanged, for the same reason. Why not also submit an alternative scheme for a direct link, with proposals to modify the borough council building in Blenheim Road and the car dealership in Kiln Lane, including re-locating the traveller site as proposed at one stage?
    3. Residents Parking Schemes (1): The agenda includes a proposal to advertise a proposed Residents Parking schemes in Victoria Place and another in Leith Road and Lintons Lane, but not in Portland Place and Stones Road nor in the new Winter Place. The results of the expert survey by Atkins indicate that residents in Portland Place and Stones Road believe there is a parking problem and that those who have replied are overwhelmingly in favour of being included. The only issue seems to be that lots of households did not reply. This is very likely due to either having an off-road parking space or not having a car. Whilst it is only right that no RPS should be installed where the majority of residents are against it, would it not make sense to find this out by advertising a proposal to see how many are actually against it, also covering Winter Place? These three roads (plus Middle Lane) are sure to get a lot of displaced commuter parking from the RPS areas. Middle Lane residents opted to face this consequence, but residents in Portland Place and Stones Road asked to be protected from it. The report mentions that prior requests to councillors can be taken into account when deciding where to make proposals. In this case there was a lot of correspondence when I was a councillor for that area, but I no longer have access to the relevant emails.
    4. Residents Parking Schemes (2): The agenda includes proposals to advertise proposed Residents Parking schemes in the Burnet Grove area and the Marshalls Close area, these being two of Epsom & Ewell's three old CPZs from before 2000. The report mentions that for several years permits have not been available for the marked parking bays in these areas. This is also true of the third CPZ in Hookfield and Lindsay Close, where no change is proposed. What is intended as the future policy for issuing permits for the marked parking bays in this CPZ? If there is no demand for permits, can the status of the marked bays be clarified?
    5. Pound Lane cycle path: The new shared cycle path in West Hill is well marked with white painted signs. However the other new one in Pound Lane still has none. Worse, there are still old white markings on its old route on the main carriageway. When I last asked about this, officers felt the sign posts were sufficient. However in practice hardly any use is being made of the new safer route. Can the usual white paint signs be added please?
  • railway cutting
    Article: Nov 29, 2015

    Land adjacent to Mill Road, Epsom, which already has planning permission for 10 family homes and another permission for 77 student units, cannot be developed without the adjacent wildlife sanctuary.

    Permission for family homes was won on Appeal after the council refused, but whilst the Planning Inspectorate reversed the council's refusal, it did uphold the need for the wildlife to have protection via Millbridge Wildlife Trust. Two years later, after no sign of building work, the owners applied for another kind of planning permission - for student units. The council had limited grounds to refuse this, as the design and layout of the buildings was almost the same as for the family homes, which of course already had permission. Strangely, the owners then applied for yet another kind of planning permission, this time for those same student units but WITHOUT the wildlife sanctuary.

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