Activity update for January 2023 as College Ward’s Residents Association Councillor by Cllr. Nigel Collin
CWRA held its monthly meeting on 4 January where a full agenda was discussed. Reports from Cllr McCormick and myself were considered together with plans for the forthcoming election which included the establishment of relevant sub committees. CWRA’s business model with reference to road representatives was discussed at length and the Cttee noted that there was a necessity to encourage more people to volunteer. The AGM date was set for 15 March at the race course and the Cttee was pleased to note that Kevin Webber had agreed to be the guest speaker.
In December a delegation of Councillors and residents attended the Christmas Market in Chantilly selling a variety of wares from Epsom /England and continuing the relationship with our friends in Chantilly. We also met friends from Watermael Boitsford and Uberlingen, two towns that Chantilly are also twinned with.
On 5 January the Twinning Association held a 12th night soiree at the Epsom club with some 20 members attending. Canapes, wine and French songs were all enjoyed as was the traditional French Galette des Rois.
On 9 January a Members Briefing on the Environment Act 2021 and Biodiversity, focused on Epsom Common was well received. The act’s requirements have been set out but require more clarification and time lines. An interesting statistic is that 3.5% of the Borough’s greenhouse gas emissions are absorbed by the Borough’s trees, some of the trees in the common are 500 years old.
On 11 January the RA group held its monthly meeting with a very full agenda. Finalisation of the local plan was debated at length and, after a vote, the process was agreed. Progress of the climate change action plan was discussed, and members noted that the priorities identified for implementation by 2035 required significant funding.
Reports from the policy chairs were considered and reports relating to the Waste strategy and the constitution work group were discussed. Members were advised that a short list of four candidates had been drawn up for the post of Chief Executive with interviews arranged. A verbal offer had been made for the position of Head of legal services and monitoring officer and a Head of IT services had been appointed and was in post.
On 18 January the Audit and Scrutiny Cttee call over meeting was held. The audited accounts were still unsigned pending Surrey’s provision of the pension fund information, it was not known when this would be forthcoming.
On 19 January I sat as a substitute on the Licensing and Planning Policy Cttee. Some 15 questions were raised by residents attending in respect of the Local Plan. Once responded to, the sole item on the agenda related to the proposed fees for discretionary services in 2023/24. Members noted that the fees proposed were at a justified level. A member suggested that it might be appropriate to introduce a licensing arrangement for dog walkers.
On 23 January the RA group held an extraordinary meeting to consider the implications for EEBC of a letter which had been sent by SCC’s Leader to Michael Gove pursuing a County Deal. The Leader, Tim Oliver had sent the letter without the approval any of the 11 Districts and Boroughs and its content was construed as taking control by stealth. After discussion, it was unanimously agreed that the RA would respond to contest the contents.
On 24 January I participated in a people’s panel meeting to discuss the group strategy for the St Georges, Epsom and St Helier hospital group. Access, waiting times and bed blocking concerns were all tabled as was the need for better adult social care provision.
On 24 January the Twinning Association held the first meeting of the year where plans for the year were discussed and agreed. It was agreed that an informal link with Watermael-Boitsfort, a town already twinned with Chantilly, would be established.
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