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Your Monthly update from your LibDem Borough Councillors - for October 2021

October 29, 2021 5:50 PM

Dear friends, welcome to our Update covering events during October.

If, after reading this, you feel you would like to get more involved with the local community and/or the local LibDems, or feel that you can be as lucky as SG and TM (see the end of our Update) please let us know.

Borough Council updates:

  • The planning application from Guild Living for the large towers on the Epsom Hospital site, rejected by the Planning Committee earlier this year, have been approved on appeal by the Planning Inspectorate. Details of the proposals are available here.
  • The problems with the workflow in the Planning Department continue but steps are being taken to try and reduce the backlog.
  • In addition, new arrangements to manage complaints around breaches of planning control are being put in place. Residents are also encouraged to use an App to record issues around noise, details here.
  • The proposed changes to the Borough's Wards are now public with details here and consultation open until 13 December 2021. A new Ward of "Horton" is proposed, along with a small reduction in Councillors and some minor changes to other ward boundaries as shown in the maps.
  • As we said we hoped in our last Update, the Council meeting on Thursday 30th September increased the support to the national Afghan Local Employed Staff scheme over and above that being proposed by the officers. Many thanks to the Epsom & Ewell Refugee Network for helping to achieve this.
  • Last May we proposed a Motion to the full Council to clamp down on idling cars - particularly outside schools. At the time this got kicked into the long grass but was finally adopted at the Environment and Safe Communities this month.

Other Borough news:

  • Details for the various Remembrance Day events are available here.
  • The local Foodbank has launched its appeal to help vulnerable people over Christmas, please see their Facebook page for further information.

County issues:

  • In our last Update we mentioned the vague Transport Plan proposed by Surrey County Council. The LibDem response to this document is available here, highlighting the need for more practical steps.
  • SCC is intending to award a 10 year contract for Highway maintenance to one of three firms (Kier, Ridgeway or Amey) all of which have poor records in serving Surrey. Surrey LibDems say "Kier is currently responsible for maintaining Surrey's roads, which has resulted in the county being the pothole capital of the country. Ringway used to run the roads in the West of Surrey, their contract ended in 2011 and they had to pay £250,000 in compensation to the County Council. Finally, 4 out of 11 Surrey's Borough/Districts are struggling with no or limited garden waste collection under Amey."
  • In our regular calls with our LibDem colleagues in other Surrey Boroughs it is apparent that there is a desire to work more closely together to achieve greater efficiency. Our Council does not seem to be a leader in this, and Julie & I will keep on pressing for more collaboration.

National issues:

Our take on the main national news of sewage, the Budget, fishing, and general Tory ineptness….

  • It was shocking that the Chancellor's Budget speech did not mention the word "climate", instead encouraging short-haul domestic flights and continuing to freeze petrol duty. The LibDem response is here.
  • More detailed analysis of the proposed tax changes by the IFS, Rowntree Foundation and others show how, taken as a whole including the increase in inflation, there are hard times ahead, despite the cheer-leading from the government and its supportive media.
  • It seems that the government intends to resolve the dispute with France over fishing by making our waters too putrid for any fishing to take place! Awful video here, as well as the ongoing debates in Parliament.
  • The government's lack of ability to plan long-term has been evident over its decision to reduce our national capacity for gas storage (making the nation susceptible to short-term price volatility) and its failure to learn from the exercise in 2016 around a coronavirus "war-game"
  • For those who like facts and detail, the Health & Social Care Committee of the House of Commons published their report into some lessons learned from COVID this month. The 5-page Executive Summary is worth reading, if not the whole 145 pages!

Julie and David

Stay safe

Friday 29th October 2021

  • Our 200 Club winners in October were SG (won £47) and TM (won £16) with £61 going to help our campaigning. If you would like to help fund our activities while having a chance to win prizes, join SG and TM. Half the donations are returned as prizes details here or email Julie at jorrisam@aol.com
  • Encourage others to subscribe to these Updates at https://epsom-ewell-libdems.org.uk/en/subscribe-by-email, andfollow us on our website, Facebook or Twitter,