Drop-in surgery

My next drop-in surgery for Godalming North will be held on Saturday October 14th, 11:00 am to midday, in the Church Room of St John’s Church, Farncombe.

True measure of society?

Letter to Surrey Advertiser dated 15th September 2017
In your front page report last week about the return of parking fees for the holders of blue badges David Beaman, Chair of South West Surrey Disabled Alliance Network, said that he was, “disappointed but not surprised” that Waverley Borough Council’s Executive Committee decided on 5th September after no debate to approve the introduction of parking charges for blue badge holders.
I am also disappointed, maybe not surprised but certainly sad that we have come to this, or more exactly that this is what a council dominated by one party can do in our name.
Waverley is following the lead of our national government. A government which is failing in its duties to the disabled, in education, work and housing, in health, transport and social security. One million disabled people now have to live without the social care they need to wash, cook, or leave the house. Last week the UN described the treatment of disabled people in this country as a “human catastrophe”.
There is a public outcry and I add my voice. We must speak out to those we have elected “to do unto others as they would have done unto themselves”. Especially, in these times of inequality, of the widening gap between the richest and the poorest, of food banks, pensioner poverty, student debt, of zero hours contracts, we must heed the words of Mahatma Gandhi, “The true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its most vulnerable members”.
If this is the true measure of our Waverley Borough Councillors, would you give these elected representatives your vote next time?

Repair the Boarden Bridge

The Boarden Bridge comes under Surrey County Council’s Countryside Team, who I met with this week to see what we could do about progressing repairs. We are looking to a variety of County, and local sources for funding and I hope to have some news on this soon.

In the meantime it has been fascinating learning about this historic piece of Godalming:

Until 1870 Borough Road was just a short stretch of road between the parish church and what is today the former vicarage, extending as far as the animal Pound just past the bottom of the churchyard. The road then narrowed to a track way down to the River Wey and the wooden Boarden Bridge was the only means of crossing the river on the western side of Godalming. More Here.

Children at The Boarden Bridge in 1906, from Francis Firth.


Lib Dems highlight ‘unsafe’ care homes in Surrey

Liberal Democrat county councillors have expressed their concern after it was revealed that 6 care homes in Surrey are rated as “Unsafe” by the Care Quality Commission and have contracts with Surrey County Council. The information was revealed following a question tabled by Cllr Hazel Watson, Leader of the Liberal Democrats on Surrey County Council, to the Conservative Cabinet this week.

Read more on the Surrey Lib Dems website here.

Annual Day Trip to Worthing

I’ve been involved in supporting this annual Godalming coach trip, organised by Churches Together since 1996. It was a ‘Grand Day Out’ despite the weather!

From left to right: Gillian Martin; Gwen Wheatman; Derick Randell; Jackie Tickner; Penny Rivers; Pam Powell; Barbara Stokes.

Save Surrey’s Tips – petition

We the undersigned call upon Surrey County Council to reverse its decision to close Community Recycling Centres (CRCs) at Bagshot, Cranleigh, Dorking and Warlingham, and oppose its plans to significantly reduce the opening hours of all other CRCs across the county by two days per week, and introduce further charges for the disposal of waste.

“We believe that the closure of these amenities and reduced opening hours of others could lead to an increase in fly-tipping leading to further costs for boroughs, districts and landowners as well as the blight to the environment.

“We call upon the County Council to ensure that all sites remain open, with no reduction in opening hours or increase in charges”.
Click here to sign the Petition

Waverley Local Committee: Decisions

Details of Surrey County Council’s Local Committe for Waverley, with agenda, minutes and decisions, can be found here.

The Highways Update (Item 74) is particularly interesting where the budget has been cut by 90%

Onstreet Parking fines have generated a ‘surplus’ of £63,637 which is delegated to the Local Committee to spend. There was much parochial lobbying for this money, particularly from the Farnham Councillors, from where most of these fines were generated. The officers recommendation was not to spend it on roads at all, but a vegetation gang to keep highways clear of overhanging foliage. After much debate this was eventually agreed,

Government Rates U-Turn impacts Surrey

Surrey County Council set to overspend by £24 MILLION – see Lib Dem news here.
“The new government has also dropped plans to allow councils to retain their business rates next year, which the Conservative administration anticipated as a potential lifeline for the county council when the budget was set in February.” This is incredibly significant for the Council going forward. The Local Government Finance Bill never made it to the Queen’s Speech.

George Osbourne promised Councils in 2015 that they could keep the £26billion raised in Business Rates in lieu of the Block Grant. He billed it as “embarking on the biggest transfer of power to our local government in living memory.”

Now there is not only no power, there is no money either.

A link to the Council’s budget monitoring report can be found here: