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COVID-19 update from your College Ward LibDem Councillors – Friday 17th April

April 17, 2020 7:22 PM

Welcome to three more weeks (at least…) of lockdown. Here are the key updates from the Council and related sources from Julie & myself:

Council and health services:

The pedestrian gate at Long Grove Park has reopened as well as the main gates at Bourne Hall Park. The Council are encouraging safe use of these areas with social distancing. The skate park in Long Grove Park however remains closed.

Public Health England has recently launched a new awareness campaign, Looking out for each other, (https://coronavirusresources.phe.gov.uk/Looking-Out-For-Each-Other/overview/ ) about the things that they can do to help support their friends and neighbours who need to stay at home because of Coronavirus.

There was a moving piece on Channel 4 news filmed at Epsom hospital - available here: https://youtu.be/rLM8oZONUrc

Good progress is being made with contacting all our local shielded and vulnerable people - lovely stories of everyone rallying around to help those in need.

Guidelines for allotment holders have been made clearer, with social distancing a priority and bonfires banned

Other local issues:

On Friday 10 April, officers were called to Box Hill, after receiving reports of a number of cyclists ignoring road closures and social distancing restrictions. Officers intervened with riders cycling along the Zig Zag Road before re-establishing road closures.

Surrey County Council is likely to restart work on the next phase of the town centre refurbishment concentrating on the northern part of the Market Place and High Street. Works are due to commence on April 27th.

The Council is accessing the support for local businesses that the government has announced. We shall have to see how effective these are in helping local business survive.

The Foodbank is doing wonderful stuff with delivering food to those in need. Donations can be made here: https://bit.ly/3cskVW9

Wider issues:

The confusion about access to sufficient PPE and testing continues with a disparity between what the government is saying and what front line carers are seeing.

There is also ambiguity about how to exit from the lock-down.

A virtual meeting with Lib Dem councillors in other boroughs has registered concern that planning applications appear to be a priority for decision and the potential for inappropriate development to be rushed through has probably increased.

That same meeting suggested that Council Tax direct debit payments, normally made over 10 months, could be delayed for two months.

Also, some councils across the country are heading toward bankruptcy if government promises of reimbursement are not increased, particularly those dependent upon tourism as an income.

All matters that will need to be addressed and lessons learned.

Stay safe, help each other,

Julie & David