Action on Anti-Social Behaviour

The Liberal Democrats have called on Surrey Police to provide extra resources to address the increasing problems caused by visitors to our beauty spots during the lockdown and by the excessive noise emitted from vehicle exhausts on our local roads.

The call came after large crowds – which left substantial quantities of litter and other waste – gathered at our beauty spots, dangerous parking occurred on local roads, noisy vehicles continually roared along our roads, and after the A24 near Denbies was used as a car meet for two weekends running with little police interference.

We have asked the Police to use the powers they have under Section 35 of the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 to issue dispersal orders to disperse any groups likely to cause harassment, harm or distress by their actions – with anyone dispersed and who returns to the area within 48 hours being liable to arrest and prosecution – and under Section 59 of the Police Reform Act 2002 where warnings can be given to drivers of vehicles which are driven carelessly or inconsiderately – with a repeat offence within 12 months allowing the police to seize and crush the vehicle.

Future Mole Valley: The New Draft Local Plan

In February and March Mole Valley District Council consulted residents on the draft of a New Local Plan which, when adopted, will set the ground rules for potential development in our area up to 2033.

The District Council received over 4,000 responses to the consultation and we would like to thank everybody who took the time to make their views known.

The consultation asked three initial questions and the results of these questions were:

We have taken a ‘brownfield first’ approach, with the need for new development being met within built up areas or on previously developed land as far as possible. Do you agree with our ‘brownfield first’ approach?

The Response: Yes 90% – No 10%

We have sought to make more efficient use of land of brownfield land through: town centre redevelopment; limited reallocation of employment land; mixed-use redevelopment; and increasing densities in opportunity areas. Do you broadly agree with these approaches?

The Response: Yes 79% – No 21%

However efficiently brownfield land is reused, there is still an unmet need for housing which can only be met on land that has not previously been built on. Do you agree with the use of a small amount of undeveloped, greenfield land for this purpose?

The Response: Yes 26% – No 74%

These responses give a strong indication of views within the community.

The District Council will now take a qualitative approach to reviewing the comments made and is currently working its way through thousands of responses that provide much greater detail on the opinions held by the community. This, together with refining the evidence used to put the draft Local Plan together, will take several months.

The key themes in these comments include the principle of development on greenfield sites, the distribution of future development around the District, infrastructure capacity and improvements, the conservation and enhancement of existing areas, and landscape and biodiversity concerns.

When we launched this consultation we promised that it would be a genuine consultation and that it was not a “rubber stamp” exercise. We will now be taking account of these responses before bringing a Revised Draft Local Plan forward and in preparing this Revided Draft the District Council will look at how it selects sites for development and will take account of your views.

Let’s Bring Our Community Together

Our community is at its best when we pull together. As well as looking after our friends and family at this time, many residents are doing what they can to support vulnerable neighbours too.

If you are also looking to volunteer and help in our wider community during this crisis, please e-mail the Central Surrey Voluntary Action at admin@csva.co.uk The CSVA are collating this information and putting together a vetting process to safeguard both those providing the voluntary services and the parties receiving them. The District Council and the County Council are working with the CSVA to set up a scheme which will allow those vulnerable people who need assistance to be put in touch with those able to provide it. 

Coronavirus is the biggest peacetime crisis our country has faced in generations and the situation seems to worsen by the day. It is clear that older people and those with existing health conditions could be particularly vulnerable at this time. If you are concerned about a neighbour or you yourself need community support, you can call the Surrey County Council Coronavirus Helpline on 0300 200 1008. Please note that this is not a medical helpline, but one to ask for practical help from the community.

If you require more information:

  • The latest information from Public Health England on Coronavirus or COVID-19 can be found on the Public Health England website: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus
  • The latest advice on what actions to take if you feel you might be suffering from the symptoms of Coronavirus can be found using the NHS 111 Coronavirus service: https://111.nhs.uk/covid-19

Register NOW for FREE and Fun Holiday Activities

We are delighted to announce a new initiative that we have introduced through Mole Valley District Council: anyone aged 5 – 16 can take part in free holiday activities from 6 – 17 April with the events running at Meadowbank Park, Dorking [8, 9, 16 and 17 April] and Kingston Road Rec, Leatherhead [6, 7, 14, and 15 April].

Register for your place now at www.molevalley.gov.uk/holidayactivities

There is a fantastic range of outdoor events to choose from: Play football, rugby, table tennis or golf. Try out stoolball, yoga, skateboarding, dance fitness or mini karting. Or get out and explore with orienteering and outdoor fitness.

The events are provided by Dorking Rugby Football Club, the YMCA, Leatherhead Theatre, Ezee Sport, Fusion, Team Rubicon, Belong, Xplorer, Dorking Stoolball Club, Go4Goal, Kiddi Karts and the Dorking Wanderers FC Academy and  these free activities provide a wonderful opportunity for the young people of Mole Valley to get active and have fun on their Easter Holidays. 

Free of charge, children can enjoy their favourite sports or try something completely new.

We hope as many children as possible can take part so please book up as soon as you can.

Mole Valley Local Plan

Liberal Democrats believe that any development in the Green Belt should only be on sites that no longer meet the Green Belt criteria and where the development is supported by local residents.

The Draft Local Plan was originally put together by the previous Conservative administration that ran the District Council and it shows how the 6,735 homes required by the Government can be achieved through developing sites in the Green Belt.

We have amended the Draft Local Plan to promote the construction of more affordable housing and greater energy efficiency in the new homes that will be built but the risk of inappropriate development in the Green Belt remains.

The Draft Local Plan has now been published. It will be formally issued for consultation shortly and then residents can let the District Council know their views on its proposals, including potential development in the Green Belt, and help build the case that the numbers of houses to be built in Mole Valley must be reduced.

Countryside Estate Car Parking Charges Withdrawn

In January 2018 Surrey County Council agreed to introduce car park charging in fifteen of the thirty car parks across its countryside estate with a view to generating new investment in Surrey’s countryside.

After a strong campaign involving the Liberal Democrats, the County Council’s Cabinet agreed, in July of 2018, that a review of the impact of car park charging would be undertaken after 12 months and that the decision would be reconsidered if the charges had not delivered a significant financial contribution to the countryside.

In the first year of the charges, the County Council raised £144,000 in parking charges with a cost of collection of £83,000, resulting in net income of £61,000. It also cost £300,000 for equipment and signage to set up the scheme.

This promised review has now taken place and has concluded that the small surplus has not delivered the significant contribution to the countryside and that charging to park in the County Council’s Countryside Estate should be withdrawn from 1 April 2020.

Joint Enforcement Team Tackles Anti-Social Behaviour

The Joint Enforcement Team set up by the District Council this year has quickly established itself as an invaluable resource in Mole Valley District Council’s efforts to address anti-social behaviour and low-level crime quickly and effectively.

The Team’s three enforcement officers have responded to a wide range of Anti-Social Behaviour cases since April, most of which have involved abandoned vehicles and fly-tips.

In an effort to further address and put measures in place to prevent Anti-Social Behaviour, the District Council will soon be introducing 15 cameras at identified fly-tipping hotspots to deter individuals from illegally dumping waste and potentially capture footage of perpetrators who choose to do so regardless.

We are delighted at the very positive feedback we have received from local communities about the way in which the JET has been in responding to and investigating reports of Anti-Social Behaviour and believe that it is important that residents feel that they can report anti-social behaviour to the District Council and have the confidence that something will be done.

Mole Valley Refill Scheme Achieves Sign-up Milestone

Mole Valley District Council joined forces with City to Sea, the founders of the Refill Campaign, in September to tackle avoidable plastic waste with a local initiative, Refill Mole Valley.

This has resulted in an increase in the public availability of drinking water as businesses across Mole Valley have signed up to support the scheme – the 50th business to become a Refill Station being Tanhouse Farmshop at the Leith Hill Tower.

The development of this infrastructure of Refill Stations offering free drinking water means that residents and visitors to our area can easily find somewhere to fill up their re-usable bottles rather than having to purchase single-use bottled water.

The Refill Stations can be found either by coming across an establishment displaying a Refill sticker in their window, or by locating businesses on a map hosted on the Refill app, which can be downloaded for free from a device’s app store.

Sam Gyimah MP and Popular Local Campaigner Paul Kennedy Launch the Liberal Democrat General Election Campaign in Mole Valley

East Surrey MP Sam Gyimah and popular local campaigner and Parliamentary Candidate Paul Kennedy have launched the Liberal Democrat snap general election campaign in Mole Valley at the Barn Hall in Bookham.

The Mole Valley seat is expected by experts to be a close fight between Paul Kennedy and the Conservatives after the Liberal Democrats took control of the District Council and topped the poll in the European elections in May.

Sam Gyimah said, “We will be fighting the election as the strongest party of Remain. We are excited to be taking our positive, pro-European, liberal vision to the country and are real contenders to win the Mole Valley Constituency having topped the poll here in the European elections in May.

“We continue to support a Peoples’ Vote now that electors know the detail of the Withdrawal Agreement but if we secure an overall majority we will regard this as a mandate to revoke Article 50.”

Paul Kennedy added, “We also have a clear programme to stand up for Mole Valley residents:
• to protect our Green Belt from development except on land that no longer meets the function of the Green Belt and where residents support the development;

• to oppose additional runways at both Gatwick and Heathrow with the flightpaths for both airports routed over the area;
• to provide fairer funding for our health service, schools and the police;
• to build affordable housing for local residents to buy or rent;
• to take urgent action to tackle climate change; and
• to promote the local economy to boost jobs and businesses.”

Paul Kennedy, who is a senior member of the Liberal Democrat team on Mole Valley District Council, has also played a leading role in a number of successful campaigns in our area over the last year including our campaign to keep the Dorking Tip open and reopen the Leatherhead Tip on Fridays, to save the Performing Arts Library from closure, to maintain services at all our local hospitals, and to prevent unacceptable development in the Green Belt.

Dorking Tip Saved Following High Profile Campaign

The County Council announced yesterday, with the publication of the papers for the Cabinet Meeting on 29 October, that the Dorking Tip is to be kept open three days a week but that it will only accept recyclable materials and wood.

The campaign to save the Dorking Tip was launched by County Councillor Hazel Watson as soon as the County Council announced in the Autumn of 2018 that the Tip could be closed and she presented a petition to the County Council in January 2019 with more than 2,000 signatures calling for the Tip to remain open.

Following the presentation of the petition, the County Council has reconsidered its proposal to close the Tip and looked in depth at the waste disposal services provided across the County. In addition, the County Council has listened to public opinion which clearly called for the Tip to be kept open.

Whilst it is excellent news that the Dorking Tip will remain open, the Tip is an essential service and it really needs to be open for 7 days per week and to accept a wide range of waste so that residents can dispose of their waste in one trip, locally. We will continue to press for it to open seven days a week and to accept black bag waste.