Today I wrote to the Surrey Advertiser:
In your newspaper last week, you featured the closure by Waverley of the public toilets in Farncombe and Godalming. I would like to commend Steve Cosser and the members of Farncombe Initiative and their mission to keep them open and I am pleased to add my voice, along with all those who have contacted me, to theirs.
The current severe budget cuts to essential local services made by Conservative-led councils at Waverley and Surrey are hurting us. Councillors who voted for these deep cuts know what public services cost, but they do not comprehend what the services are worth. We need good quality services – street lighting, decent roads and pavements, effective waste disposal, reliable education and health services. Most recently, we have been reminded just how much we rely on our police and fire services. These public servants are more than essential, they are vital.
All cuts hurt. Austerity as a policy has failed us and the costs will be high to repair the wounds to our society.
We have seen the havoc cause by deregulation followed by outsourcing of services. Something has gone badly wrong with the provision of services in our country, we must rise to the challenge and build a better way of life that is fair for all.
Surrey County Council has just launched a consultation on ‘Shaping Surrey’s Community Recycling Centres -2017‘. Please submit your views at this online survey here.
The main changes are:
1. Ending the free daily allowance of non-household waste
2. Closing CRCs on two weekdays so all sites are open for five days a week
3. Ensuring CRCs in Camberley and Farnham are only used by Surrey residents
4. Permanent closure of four smaller CRCs – Bagshot, Cranleigh, Warlingham and Dorking
5. Restricting users of vans, trailers and pick-ups to larger CRCs only
There is no doubt that the increased traffic to the Witley Recycling Centre will impact on Godalming users (not to mention the daft increase in pollution), with longer queues in and out of the site and more traffic on back roads and A281. With at least 1500 new homes planned for Cranleigh at the moment (without Dunsfold Park’s 1800+) it seems there is no lack of demand for the facility in Cranleigh!
The Lib Dems on Surrey have issued this press release, rightly highlighting the environmental issues. Cllr Stephen Cooksey said: “These proposals are a green light for flytipping in Surrey. The Conservatives at County Hall are making it harder and harder for people to do the right thing and dispose of their waste responsibly. The environmental consequence of discouraging the use of Recycling Centres would be very significant. Furthermore, these plans are being pushed by the Conservatives because of the financial crisis at County Hall caused by their failure to persuade their Conservative central government to provide a better funding settlement.”
I attended a wonderful community get together on Sunday at North Street Farncombe. The street shared food, played egg and spoon races, piggy back and three legged races. The more daring tried egg catching and flour diving!
I attended the Waverley area local committee meeting for Surrey County Council on Fri 23rd June in Haslemere. The Full Agenda can be found here. The forward work plan for Godalming North had identified £120,000 of road improvement works, as shown in the table below:
I was informed by the officers that the budget for Godalming North had been slashed to a mere £10,000. There really is no money left. I was also told I had to allocate this money to a project at this meeting. There was therefore no chance to consult more widely about what the community might prioritise.
Having been sprung into this I chose to fund the Farncombe Hill Footway resurfacing, to improve pedestrian access in to Farncombe, and Farncombe Hill.
Interestingly Peter Martin (Godalming South) had a similar concern about choosing a project immediately, and interestingly he had a much larger projected budget:
Last weekend there were thousands of Great Get Together events across our nation on the anniversary of the death of Jo Cox MP. These were inspired by her words, “far more unites us than divides us”.
At St John’s Church in Farncombe the Great Get Together event took the form of a Father’s Day tea-party. We also planted a cherry tree which was dedicated by Rev James Rattue and held a short service.
Local people and local businesses made kind contributions. Our new bakery, Loaf, gave a gorgeous chocolate cake. Gorringe &Son gave an engraved brass plaque to mark the occasion. Godalming Choral Society sang for the service which added to the feeling of harmony.
It was an inspirational and emotional time of togetherness and using words from one of the readings at the service – words said by Robert Kennedy after the killing of Martin Luther King, “Surely, we can learn to look at those around us as fellows and surely, we can begin to work a little harder to bind up the wounded among us and become in our hearts, brothers and sisters again.”
Let us work a little harder – together!