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weekly COVID-19 update from your LibDem College Ward councillors - 8 May 2020

May 8, 2020 7:18 PM

Welcome to our latest weekly update. We are writing this on Friday and of course there is meant to be an announcement by Mr Johnson on Sunday so the position may change by the time you read this.

Borough and County update re COVID-19:

  • The recycling/refuse tips will be reopening on Monday 11 May with strict rules - details here https://www.surreycc.gov.uk/waste-and-recycling/community-recycling-centres/epsom before planning your visit
  • The council staff continue to do a good job. 30 of them still work from the Town Hall following strict health guidelines.
  • They have found accommodation for 93 residents who would otherwise be homeless, unfortunately this is often outside the Borough (as far as Wembley) due to high fees requested by local hotels.
  • Headley Court opened on Tuesday as expected - with its dual role as Community Hospital and additional mortuary space
  • There appear to be no problems with the processing of grant applications for small business and retailers. However, the funds from central government are clearly going to be insufficient.
  • We have asked how many local residents have applied for support on Council Tax but don't have the answer yet.

Other local updates:

  • On Tuesday the Downs Conservators will be considering a proposal to run the Derby and the Oaks later in the summer behind closed doors. Relevant links to the papers, how you can watch the meeting on-line, and an extract of an interview David did with BBC Radio Surrey are here:
  • There is a plan to restart the cutting of grass verges which should make our jogging easier!
  • The Planning Committee will have its first virtual meeting on Wednesday 13th. Details on the council website. Although not on the agenda, revised plans for the large tower block on the corner of West Street and Station Approach have also been submitted.
  • The Foodbank continues to impress. Last April 2019 they fed 386 people, this April 2020 1,035 - so an acceleration of the trend seen in March. Some roads are putting boxes out for collections, a good idea for centralised collecting of small items.
  • We hope you commemorated VE Day in whatever way you felt comfortable with - the Council issued this special edition of the local magazine https://insight.epsom-ewell.gov.uk/ve-day-special/this-issue/ve-day-special
  • The production of Peter Pan at the Epsom Playhouse has won a national award, details here https://bit.ly/2W7HR7P
  • Many thanks to a couple of our readers who have told us that bread flour is available at Lidl and the mini-market on Upper High Street

Wider issues:

  • A disability group is taking supermarkets to court for not making enough on-line delivery slots available. Please shop in person if you can - it can be quite a Zen experience to queue for 30 minutes in Sainsbury's car park!
  • Nationally, there is increased focus on key questions such as:
    • Why didn't the UK learn from lessons from other countries, and lock-down sooner?
    • Why has the PPE issue been so hard to resolve?
    • Why have we failed to develop a functioning test and trace programme?

As LibDems, a core value is evidence-based policies and complete transparency. We are not getting this from our current government.

  • It seems that criminals are increasing their efforts around cyber-crime. Tips for spotting/dealing with phishing emails or messages can be found at https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/guidance/suspicious-email-actions
  • And finally, With the Welsh Government announcing today that garden centres will be open from Monday, Mr Johnson might do the same … unless we wants a very congested M4

All the best and we hope you can enjoy the weather,

Julie & David