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COVID and other updates from your College ward councillors - Friday 31 July 2020

July 31, 2020 4:29 PM

Welcome to our latest update, responding to developments since Friday 17 July - but we're not going to attempt to summarise the latest government guidance since it will have changed by the time we've typed this up….

Borough and County update re COVID-19:

  • The latest case numbers for the Borough from ONS stand at 339, up from 336 since our last update 2 weeks ago. Just 3 new cases in that period is very good compared to the UK as a whole where the daily new case numbers have increased from 560 on 23rd July to 846 on 30th July
  • Surrey County Council is FINALLY sharing information with the Borough on a weekly basis.
  • At the Council meeting on the 21st David asked about the plans to spend the £72k from the EU Regional Development Fund - which is earmarked for public safety improvements. Sadly the RA response consisted of negative comments about the EU and no clear plans. We will keep pushing.
  • Those of you in Ewell may have been aware of the County's plans to install a "Bus Gate" to restrict cars in the High Street and encourage pedestrians. But it was very badly thought through and Andrej (the third member of our College Ward Focus team) organised a petition whereupon SCC backed off.
  • With the fall in cases, the Council has "stood down" the Community Hub which was providing dedicated support to those affected by the virus.
  • We have previously highlighted the Council's role in ensuring local organisations get the grants available to them. Unfortunately, this doesn't always seem to be working as required and Julie is helping one Church that has been poorly treated. Let us know of any other similar cases.

Other local updates:

  • Over the last two weeks Julie and David have attended a full Council meeting, 2 Planning Committee meetings, a Strategy & Resources committee and an Environment & Safe Communities committee. We'd be happy to discuss in detail but in brief:
    • Council: We tabled a Motion about idling cars, but it was not discussed. A short Statement about the County's plans for a single Unitary Authority for Surrey was agreed.
    • Planning: One meeting was about the development on the Atkins site. A decision was deferred pending more information. The other meeting was about the draft new "Local Plan" setting out how we manage future development. This will be going out to public consultation later this year - with a key issue being what target level of new homes it should be based on. The Conservative government wants a target of 579 homes pa whereas the latest ONS projections would imply only 215 homes pa are needed.
    • Strategy & Resources: A very high level "Strategic Asset Management Plan" was agreed although David did press for greater emphasis on carbon emissions and financial viability.
    • Environment & Safe Communities: Julie asked the Chairman a question about leaving some grass verges long for wild flowers next year and it was confirmed there are plans to trial this. She is also helping the council show people round vacant allotments on the Alexandra site.

Wider issues:

All the best, and please stay safe

Julie and David

Friday 31 July 2020