Dear friends, welcome to our latest monthly update on local (and some wider) news covering events during March. This will be our last update until after the local elections on Thursday 4th May (see more on this below) as, although some Council activities will continue during April, we don't expect big news to break during this "purdah period" (however we are expecting a new planning application from Aldi for the old dairy site very shortly).
We will continue to post any breaking stories on our Facebook page as well as our Website.
Council & Borough updates - the Local Plan:
- At a Special Council meeting on 22nd March the Council voted to "pause" the draft Local Plan. It would have been paused anyway when the public consultation ended on 19th The intention is for Officers to get more detail about the development potential for brownfield sites, rather than consider building on Green Belt. Further guidance from central government on the target number of homes and the protection for greenfield sites is also awaited. Your Lib Dem councillors suggested this "pause" back in December 2022. Instead, the ruling RA group decided to use our idea as an election platform in March and perform a U-turn on their previous policy.
- You can read our own submission to the Consultation here (which is a short summary that also gives a link to our full 9 page response).
- David's speech at the Special Council can be read here.
Local elections on Thursday 4th May:
A few points to remember about the elections (other than obviously please vote LibDem!):
- If you vote at a Polling Station, remember you will need to take a photo ID with you (such as your photo-driving license). Details as to what documents are acceptable are on the Council website
- However please sign up for a postal vote if you haven't got one already. Download a form here. IT'S SO MUCH EASIER THAN HAVING TO REMEMBER TO TAKE PHOTO ID TO THE POLLING STATION.
- You can apply for a Postal Vote up to 5:00 on Tuesday 18th
- The count of the vote will take place on Friday 5th
- Our College Ward Focus introducing our candidates is here.
Other Council & Borough updates:
- Julie spoke out against council proposals for some preferential hire rates for certain types of sporting clubs. Surely the council supports sports equally, for both young and old, male and female etc. and it is a slippery slope to single out a particular sport?
- At the Strategy & Resources Committee David spoke against the Annual Plan for 2023/24 both because it seemed undemocratic to commit the new Council (post the May elections) to goals which they have not considered, and because there were no firm targets on crucial items such as the housing waiting list.
- Julie and David laid a posy at the Covid memorial bench on 23rd March, three years from the first lockdown, to remember all those who passed away and still suffer from Covid.
- The newly refurbished playground in Alexandra Rec should be open by the time you read this newsletter.
- We expect work to begin soon on demolishing (and replacing) the old Martial Arts portacabin in Alexandra Rec.
- The Police have been active in and around Downs Road after reports of speeding and near-misses. There have also been further thefts of high-value cars from drives in College Ward - please take precautions such as keeping key fobs away from front doors.
- We have raised the continued noise and disruption from the Chalk Pit with the senior team at the Council, and intend to raise a formal question on the lack of progress at the next Council.
- Please keep on reporting the TERRIBLE potholes around the Borough - they are definitely the worst we have ever seen. The more we report the problems the more likely Surrey Count Council might do something, The link is:-Highway issue - What is the issue? - Surrey County Council (surreycc.gov.uk)
- However, our LibDem colleagues at SCC inform us that the Tories who run that council intend to further cut the Highways budget. The Tory approach to repairs seems to be "patch and pray".
- A reminder that, as part of their "power-grab", enforcement of on-street parking regulations (including the issuing and collection of fines, and issuing Residents Parking Permits) becomes the responsibility of SCC from 1st April.
- The Tory's Budget may not have been as catastrophic as that of the Truss/Kwarteng regime, but it still did not focus on the crucial issues facing our country including climate change and the cost of living crisis. For example removing the cap on the Pensions Lifetime Allowance was just a gimmick benefiting relative few, wealthier people with other cheaper, more targeted solutions to the problem it was trying to solve readily available (ask David for details!).
- The LibDem response to the Illegal Immigration Bill was discussed and agreed at the Spring Conference with details here.
And Finally !
It has been a privilege for the two of us to work for you over the last 4 years. As you will have seen from the Election Focus David has decided not to stand for re-election due to other pressures. Julian and James are wonderful candidates and will bring fresh enthusiasm and insights to representing you - while Julie is also standing again and would bring her vast knowledge and experience to the team. So please use all 3 of your votes to support us on 4thMay.
All the best
Julie and David
Thursday 30th March 2023
- Join our 200 Club and help fund our activities while having a chance to win prizes. Half the donations are returned as prizes (currently £44 and £15 each month for a £1pm ticket), details here or email Bryan Shepherd at email@example.com
- Encourage others to subscribe to these Updates at https://epsom-ewell-libdems.org.uk/en/subscribe-by-email,
- Follow us on our website, or Facebook