Guess what – Surrey admits Brexit is bad for us

Brexit is bad for us says Surrey County Council’s impact assessment – now that it has finally been revealed.

Thanks to Monica Harding working with other local Lib Dem members and our campaign with the Surrey Advertiser, the Information Commissioner’s Office have ordered Surrey County Council to release their Brexit Impact assessments.

And guess what, brexit is really bad.
‘No deal’ means that the UK would be treated by the EU as a 3rd country and would be subject to full 3rd country controls, including completing customs declarations and being subject to a variety of border checks.
Brexit is not included as a risk within the National Risk Assessment 2016. Although the risks associated with BREXIT can be drawn from this document
On the Surrey Community Risk Register in a no deal brexit scenario the following risks are identified:
H14 – Food Supply contamination
H60 – High consequence dangerous goods / transport accident
H24 – Emerging Infectious Diseases
H25 – Major outbreak of exotic notifiable disease in animals (including birds)
H37 – Influx of British Nationals

The following risks have also been identified in the SCC report:
Loss of cover due to industrial action by workers providing a service critical to the preservation of life (such as emergency service workers)
Local accident on motorways and major trunk roads
Public Disorder
Notifiable plant disease / Notifiable exotic invertebrate species

Within SLRF partners own risk management processes there is the risk to the supply chain where goods and products are imported from the EU main land

And the kicker – As of 20 July 2018, HMG has suggested that partners should have plans in face for a 4 week period of disruption (i.e. increased controls by EU states at ports, including Eurotunnel) plus a 2 week period to allow the impact to return to relatively normal levels of service.

Key consequences:
Surrey expect long delays in accessing Dover Ports and Eurotunnel in Kent.
Temporary closure or permanent changes to all or part of the M20 and M26 to support Operation Stack and other mitigations for port delays.
Significant reduction in the capacity of the Surrey Highway Network, with consequential increase in local and pan Surrey road journey times, impacting on local residents and businesses.
Significant long term detrimental impact on county’s economic competitiveness, attractiveness
Significant disruption to health and social care delivery within the community; for patients travelling to hospitals for treatment and for critical staff in getting to work

Significant disruption to the Food Supply Chain with delays in the exportation of food from the UK, and importation of food from EU and non EU countries.
Significant disruption to the distribution of medication around the county along with supply chain of medication from outside of the UK.

Significant economic and environmental impacts for Surrey or in other words – total chaos to our supply chains. That’s food and medicine supplies to the shops. We learn of nearly half million homeless in the UK, and one in five children living with severe food insecurity, and then Brexit contingency plans say supplies will be disrupted. Welcome to the land of hunger.

When was the government last right on a timescale? The Prime Minister couldn’t even get the date of the meaningful vote delivered, a simple vote in parliament. What hope ferries delivering vital food and medicine to the UK? How long will 4 weeks stretch on for with failing Chris Grayling, 4 months? 4 Years?

Surrey hid it from us, even though it all its contents were already in the public domain. Why?

Surrey County Council have only included in their impact assessment existing published information. Why did they try to hide it from residents? Were they ashamed of their own lack of activity, or following the minority conservative governments orders against the interests of the residents of Surrey?

Surrey County Council obviously feared the residents of Surrey would be unhappy to learn of their plans, and so decide to keep them hidden. They found the only legal argument they could to try and hide behind. To refuse to provide local residents with information about Brexit preparations, to deny FOI requests, and to keep secrets from residents. They relied upon an exception intended for cases of national emergency and public order. They relied upon the section 36(2)(c) exemption – the catch all exception – using “safe space arguments” to delay the publication of supposedly important contingency plans.

And they have been found to have done so improperly, with the ICO ordering the information be released.

A victory for Surrey residents against a secretive County Council seeking to keep the residents of Surrey in the dark.

Yet the plans are half baked, barely worth the effort of reading. What a farce of a County Council.

Surrey Residents left in the Dark again.

Brexit Withdrawal Agreement

Have you heard any MP claim that they have read Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement?  Have a look here.  How many pages can you read before you loose the will to live. How likely do you think it is that your MP has read it?  I am not expecting you to read it but do have a little look.  This is the legal document between the Britain and Europe.   If you want to have a more digestible overview then look here.

Remember that the withdrawal agreement is just a small part of the whole process.  The big decisions have yet to be made and could take many years.

If you would like to have a peek at the political declaration for the basis of the future relationship between Britain and Europe then look here.  This is not a legal document, purley an aspiration.  It is well to remember that we would have left if we are negotiating this framework.  Therefore we will be in a much weaker position because Europe is far bigger than we are.  This declaration is is the best we can get and, if it comes to this, the deals will be far worse.  If you want to have a more digestible overview then look here.

 

Reshaping Weybridge Town Centre

A community hub in Weybridge

At the recent Portmore Park and District Residents Association meeting, Weybridge Surrey County Councillor, Tim Oliver spoke about ideas for developing Weybridge town centre. Surrey County and Elmbridge Borough officers and NHS property services have already met to talk about creating a Weybridge Hub on the Weybridge Hospital site.  .

Services on the site?

So far, we have no firm idea of what is meant by a hub on this site. Current thinking includes relocating Weybridge library and Weybridge Centre for the Community to the hospital site. Of course this will be alongside the redevelopment of the site for GP practices and community health services.

And then?

Some people are also in favour of creating more town centre parking spaces by paving over the old bowling green at the entrance to Churchfields Recreation Ground (Park).

So far, there has been no mention of where the much used and highly valued Children’s Centre fits into the ideas being discussed.

We will watch and report on developments.

Let us know what you think

We also invite people to let us know how they would like to see our town centre develop.  You can do this in person and hear others’ views at our next town meeting on Thursday 11th October, starting 7.30 pm, at the Centre for the Community, Churchfields Place.

What’s happening with the new Weybridge Cinema?

Much needed town centre development

Weybridge residents are looking forward to having a new independent cinema at the site of Weybridge Hall. This might be the first of several enhancements to the life of the town centre. However, people have expressed concern over the lack of any update and apparent delay in the development moving forward.

Why the delay?

Recently published council papers (Item 6) now show that there have been unanticipated costs which which will impact the overall budget needed. These arise from removal of asbestos and the proposed approach to effective sound proofing. The cabinet will be considering this on 4 July and will make recommendations to full council.

Culture and Affordable Housing

The plan for this development is to deliver a cinema with around 100 seats, plus affordable housing units above. These will comprise four one-bedroom and one two-bedroom units. These units will be affordable for rent properties.

Clearly residents and businesses in Weybridge are keen for this development to the evening economy to go ahead. We are keen to enhance the social and cultural life of the town which is great to live in.

Keeping you informed

We will provide an update once a decision has been taken.

 

Opinion & Analysis – Targeting the ‘brexit bull’ in Elmbridge

By ‘Sam Vete’ – 12 March 2018
How does brexit affect Elmbridge? And how can Elmbridge voters help to avoid the potentially disastrous outcome of the devious brexit strategy?
Elmbridge is heavily Tory but, despite the glib rhetoric of brexit’s chief standard bearer, local MP Dominic Raab, we voted strongly to remain in the EU. Pro-EU Elmbridge residents realised that what was caricatured as ‘Project Fear’ was well-founded caution. The Government went ahead and fired the Article 50 bullet regardless of the predictable collateral damage.
Contrary to Eurosceptic pre-referendum boasts, because the brextremists’ are fixated with leaving the single market and the customs union, many businesses have already announced intentions to relocate and remain within the EU.
City jobs, particularly in the financial and scientific sectors, are at risk and the impact will be significant. Elmbridge will be one of the suburban commuting areas affected. There are also the city’s support occupations to consider; transport, administration, event management, and hospitality will suffer a knock-on effect, with Elmbridge based foot-soldiers caught in the cross-fire.
Many Elmbridge families rely on domestic support staff. EU immigrants will no longer be the source of qualified applicants. The rate of applications has already fallen.
Qualified dental, medical and care staff similarly are moving back to EU member states, increasing the strain on the NHS as well as the cost of private services. This affects the centres of excellence in Elmbridge and peripheral areas Guildford and Kingston-upon-Thames on which the Elmbridge community depends.
Travel practices will be rolled back decades. With the high living standards in Elmbridge, the once familiar short break to Bruges, Paris, Prague, Tenerife or Dublin etc. will be a distant memory. With unpredictable queuing times at customs and passport control, one BBC report expects queues of up to 29 miles on Chunnel access routes. What an incentive for a ‘staycation’ in a traffic queue on the M25!
Biting the bullet?
What can Elmbridge residents do to potentially affect the rake’s progress of brexit. Well, to all politicians, votes matter; local votes on May 3rd will translate into national trends.
Labour pro-EU voters can give their hard-brexiter leadership a much-needed close shave by voting for a pro-EU party.
Pro-EU Tory voters need to show their metal and demonstrate strong disapproval by voting for a pro-EU candidate. The Tory Eurosceptic grandees will downplay any local losses but behind the scenes they will be panicking.
Raab’s seat is one of the safest in the country and he is brexit’s ‘Golden Boy’. A significant local protest vote will force Tory HQ to take notice. Every anti-brexit vote will contribute to the fog-of-war surrounding the brexit folly. Every vote counts, so let yours help to deflect the ‘brexit bullet’!

Changes in Recyling Regulations

Recycling centres are currently free to Surrey residents using a car, for household and for non-household waste. The centre recycle over 30 different types of household waste materials.

However from 4 December there will be no free daily allowance for householders of chargeable non-household waste such as rubble, plasterboard and soil.

According to the SCC information, the following charges will apply for:

  1. Tyres from cars, motorcycles and all other motorised vehicles (including non-motorised vehicles and trailers pulled by a motorised vehicle): £5 per tyre or part tyre.
  2. Waste from construction, alteration or repair of your home and garden including:
    • Breeze blocks, bricks, rubble, soil, stones, ceramic bathroom fittings, tiles: £4 per bag or part bag of this waste (Bags no bigger than 50cm x 77cm)
    • Concrete fence post, ceramic bath, cistern, paving slab: £4 per item
    • Plasterboard: £4 per bag or part bag or per sheet of this waste (Bags no bigger than 50cm x 77cm and sheets no bigger than 120cm x 240cm). From 4 December 2017 the cost per sheet of plasterboard will increase to £12.

If these materials are loose, a charge of £50 will apply per car load.

Additionally, if you are bringing household waste in either a van, pick-up or trailer you will need to obtain a van permit before your visit.

From 8 January if you need to dispose of non-household waste (such as from DIY projects) in a van, it can only be accepted at the larger recycling centres – this includes the one at Shepperton.

Full information can be found on the SCC site

Late Night Licence Application – Weybridge

The premises,  previously Sullivan’s Wine Bar, is proposed as a restaurant/entertainment place selling alcohol.  It would be open past 11pm

There is a notice in the window asking for local objectors to write to:
Borough of Elmbridge
Civic Centre
1 High Street
ESHER
KT10 9SD

(email or phone is not sufficient – they will only take notice of written objections)

Hard Brexit will be hard on Britain

The Tories are pushing to cut all ties with the EU regardless of impact. Labour is shrugging its shoulders and saying “Oh well”. It’s up to the Liberal Democrats to make sure Brexit causes as little damage to British interests as possible.

The Liberal Democrats are determined to retain the best of the EU – and that means staying in the Single Market. It’s this market that makes most of our exports possible, brings money into UK businesses and the economy, and enables us to pay wages and invest in national and local infrastructure. What’s more, it plays a key role in maintaining our peace and security.

Andrew Davis is pro-Europe and will do his utmost to stop any government imposing a disastrous Hard Brexit on us all. And he fully endorses the Liberal Democrat plan to put any deal to the British people before it is finalised.

If leaving the EU was to be decided by the people, then they should absolutely also have a say on how we do that.

The Conservative candidate, Dominic Raab, has campaigned hard to leave the European Union and wants Brexit at any cost – wanting to leave both the Single Market and the customs union.

Andrew Davis, your Liberal Democrat candidate, will fight to remain in the Single Market.


Volunteer to help Andrew win in Esher & Walton

Maintaining your assets

The borough maintains 97 car parks across Elmbridge.  They ranging from our town centres through to our commons.

In becoming portfolio holder for transport in May 2016 Cllr Andrew Davis asked for a current valuation and maintenance programme for all the car parks.  Unfortunately, apart from Drewitt’s Court this had not been undertaken for many years.  Perhaps the previous Conservative administration thought the car parks could mend themselves.

A condition survey was undertaken in 2016 to identify the state of the borough’s car parks and the financial commitments for repairs over the next five years. The full cost to bring the car park up to standard is £13m.

The borough’s obligations relating to Drewitts Court in order to comply with the terms of the existing leases, require that a structural evaluation of the ramp be undertaken immediately and that the repairs be carried out as quickly as possible. It is likely that the full cost will be £1,500,000.

To catch up with the amount of maintenance required for the other car parks the borough plans to spend up to £6m over the next three years.

However, with the high need for social housing, the pressure to build over car parks is high. Not all car parks are suitable but those that are should not given comprehensive repairs until their housing status is known.

Naturally, the order of work and indeed what work will be done will be undertaken with full consultation with local councillors.  A full management programme will be produced for each car park for while they are being reconstructed.  Dewetts Court will take much longer so will have a special plan.  It is likely to begin in January so us not to clash with the Christmas season.

Daily Express Wrong Again

Candle Europe

The Daily Express is typical of anti European government cant.  It claim that “EU officials want control of your candles”.  This is another misleading article.  The technical changes required to bring the various rules that apply in 28 different countries to a common acceptable standard are often mundane but nevertheless necessary.

They reported here that those ‘Eurocrats’ are beavering away deciding to add unnecessary regulations to candle production. What they didn’t quite understand was that a) it’s just been proposed, there’s been no decision made and b) the safety of chemicals used in candles varies hugely and reducing the number of incidents caused is surely in everyone’s best interests.

They bang on about rules, but just making one decision now will reduce the number of hoops to jump through later down the line, improving all of our safety, and making it much simpler for all of us to trade across the whole of Europe.

No European law can be passed without the agreement of both the upper and lower houses of the European parliament.  Just as British civil servants cannot make British law European civil servants cannot make European law. – simples.

I think we’ll put this down to a rare case of smoke without fire!