Monthly update from your Borough Councillors - end September 2021
Dear friends, welcome back to our Updates.
We started writing these to keep people updated on COVID matters, in particular local implications, and it has been a while since our last edition back in May. After a summer recharging our batteries, we will now send these Updates monthly and will be concentrating on Borough and County matters. Although COVID is still a huge concern, we don't think we can add much through these letters.
As before, we would welcome your thoughts on these Updates, including what you would like us to include or exclude.
Borough issues - at the Council:
- Committee and Council meetings are back to "in person", but you can still follow the events on-line with details available on the Council's calendar here. The relevant GoToWebinar details are published on the Agenda page for each meeting.
- Residents (including Julie and I!) continue to be extremely frustrated at the huge back-log within the Planning Department. Following a Strategy & Resource meeting at the end of July (the public Minutes can be read here), there will now be a review of the service by the Planning Officers Society as well as additional resource to help.
- The next stage of the Ward review in the Borough are expected to be public in the next few weeks. A new Ward of "Horton" is expected to be created along with some minor changes in other ward boundaries.
- At the Council meeting on Thursday 30th approval a decision will be made on how to take part in the national Afghan Local Employed Staff scheme. At a briefing for councillors on Monday 27th Jo Sherring of the Epsom & Ewell Refugee Network spoke brilliantly on the topic - Julie and David will be trying to get the Council to be offering more support than the base recommendation from the officers.
Other Borough-wide news:
- The Horton Chapel Project is nearly ready to open. This will be a fantastic new venue for the Borough, and a great centre for the neighbouring community. Details are on their website https://thehortonepsom.org
- A group of local residents continue their admirable efforts to keep the Wells Centre as a locally-run community centre, rather than being demolished for housing. If you have experience with such centres and can help they can be contacted through this website
- The issues with the Chalk Pit site continue. Following on from a question David asked at a recent Council meeting as to why the Borough is not doing more to control the activity, he has written to the Chair of Surrey County Council's Planning Committee pointing out the deficiencies in the information going to that Committee. They meet on 13 October to consider the application from the site user.
- Julie spoke at a meeting on local environmental issues held at St Martin's Church this month, which involved leaders from other local political groups (see Sustainable Epsom & Ewell). Particularly interesting was what Greenway Terracycle (a public Facebook site) are doing to recycle things the council won't deal with.
- Many boroughs in Surrey have suspended their green waste collection - we are still OK in Epsom & Ewell.
- SCC have issued their Local Transportation Plan for consultation. We had a presentation on it from SCC and it was extremely vague with no real details on how to tackle our dependence on cars. Please review and make your comments via this link. The consultation is open until 24 October.
- Mole Valley has issued their Local Plan for consultation. We note that they have not adopted the government's standard target for new homes but are aiming for a lower level.
- This year's successful Liberal Democrat conference discussed and created policies on many topical issues, including support for the people of Afghanistan, helping small businesses, reforming corporation tax so that big companies can't get away with paying minimal amounts of tax, restoring educational and cultural ties with Europe and protecting our healthcare data and ideas for a more balanced, federal UK. You can find more information on these and other Lib Dem policies decided by our conference
- One of the best speeches (actually a video, with rather too much music) was this one.
- It was disappointing that, despite massive support from individual members and local parties, the Labour Party at its conference has rejected moving away from the un-democratic First Past the Post system for elections to Westminster.
Julie and David
Tuesday 28th September 2021
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