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Update from your LibDem Borough Councillors - Friday 14 May 2021

May 14, 2021 8:23 PM

Dear friends, welcome to our latest local Update.

We've kept the relevant links to the COVID information at the bottom of the Update for your ready reference, but we are sure you are aware of the main thrust which is "we can do more, but let's not be stupid since variants keep on popping up". You will see from the data that the number of cases locally seems to have stopped falling.

The County elections on 6 May:

  • We were naturally extremely disappointed in not winning the two Divisions (Epsom Town & Towns, and Epsom West) where we campaigned. Many thanks for your vote if you did vote for us, and please let us know what more we could do if you didn't!
  • The results also illustrated the difficulties with our First Past The Post (FPTP) system. In Epsom West, the winning Conservative had 33% of the vote, meaning 67% of those who voted did not vote Conservative. In Town & Downs, the winning RA candidate received just 29% of the vote (we nearly doubled our share to 26%).
  • The LibDems are committed to having a more representative system for all elections. Have a look at the Electoral Reform Society and Make Votes Matter for the national argument although the principles apply more widely.
  • Many people used postal votes but we understand that a large number were received too late to be included in the count. Please remember that if you don't get round to posting your forms in good time (we recommend at least a week before) then you can always drop them off at the polling station on the day.

Other Council news:

  • We have now adopted "hybrid" meetings, so that us Councillors have to be present in person, but you can watch us online. I doubt we will challenge Line of Duty (the early series…) for drama and intrigue but if you want to see local democracy in action keep an eye on the calendar of meetings here where you can click through for the agendas and log-in details.
  • As we mentioned in earlier Updates, there is an intention to reduce the number of Borough Councillors down from 38 to 35. This would be accompanied by potential changes to the current Wards. The Electoral Commission has launched a public consultation and you can take part by following the links here.
  • Recent Planning Committee meetings have rejected the Guild Living and Multi-Storey Car Park applications on the Hospital site, approved a development on the old Organ Inn site (London Road/Kingston Bypass junction), and deferred deciding on the West Hill/Station Approach site pending receiving more information.
  • At the Strategy & Resources meeting on 12th May funds were approved to support a Surrey-wide Transit Site for Travellers. It was also announced that the Planning Department (which many of you have had difficulties with) will be reviewed by the Planning Officers Society. We hope this will lead to improvements in the service to you.
  • David has recently launched a petition to get Surrey County Council to install a pedestrian crossing at the traffic lights by Epsom College. Please see here.

Wider issues:

  • The Queens Speech this week was very disappointing (but not surprising). Namely the requirements for Photo ID, the clampdown on the right to protest, the introduction of FPTP for mayoral elections, the lack of anything on adult social care (despite Johnson saying he had a bill ready…), well, everything really !
  • Returning to the problems with FPTP, at the next General Election, would you support a simple Conservatives v "Make Votes Matter" choice with the latter's manifesto being to introduce proper representative voting and then have another General Election under the new system? So that if you support Green, Labour, LibDem you can in the future vote as you believe with no worries about tactical voting?
  • The government has finally succumbed to pressure, led by Ed Davey, to have a full enquiry into the handling of the COVID crisis. However, they have cleverly delayed its launch so that its findings are very unlikely to be made public before Johnson calls another General Election.

COVID - useful links:

Up-to-date information is available on the following links:

  • Latest statistics on cases around Surrey are available here.
  • This page from Surrey Heartlands gives up-to-date information on the vaccination roll-out.
  • Information about council (Borough and County) services is available on their websites here and here.
  • And the national government page with restrictions etc is here

Julie and David

Stay safe

Friday 14 May 2021