Please see below an update on services, communication and support for the Elmbridge community.
Supporting the vulnerable
- Our customer service centre is seeing an increase in the volume of calls, emails and online forms regarding Universal Credit, council tax support and housing benefit in line with the national rise in applications ; we are supporting people as efficiently and as compassionately as we can.
- The Surrey County Council support line is: 0300 200 1008 (Financial support web page)
- Details for Council Tax Hardship, which will award up to £150 per working age council tax support recipient, have been received from central government, our software suppliers are exploring options to make an award.
- We are still awaiting information from government on the increase to the Housing Allowance, which would potentially increase the value of the Housing Benefit award.
- Our officers and volunteers continue to work on provide meals on wheels to the older and vulnerable people in the community. In addition to prioritising those who cannot cook and have no local relatives to support them, we are now offering a 3-week service to those vulnerable residents who do have local relatives, but who are in isolation and so cannot get food to them.
- Parking attendants no longer required to patrol our car parks will be helping our meals on wheel service.
- The ‘check-in’ call is also in operation for those who have requested it.
- We are very aware that our rough sleepers are vulnerable at this time and we are exploring a range of solutions to support them.
Supporting the community
- Parking: To ensure there is sufficient parking available for residents, all council pay and display car parks will be free of charge until midnight on 14 April. We will review this in line with Government guidance. Parking attendants no longer required to patrol our car parks will be helping our meals on wheel service.
- The Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) funding boards due to be held in June 2020 have been cancelled. The period for applications was due to close on 29 March 2020 but will close as of today. No further applications will be accepted. Please note that all funding due to be allocated in 2020 will be carried forward to the next spending boards. Any application that has already been submitted will be carried forward to the next spending board. Applications for the next CIL funding round and spending boards will open in February 2021.
- We are reviewing the way in which we can continue to assess proposals and would request all applications and pre-application enquiries are accompanied by site photographs which show the proposed development in context (i.e. in relation to the building/site to which it relates and also in relation to any neighbouring property). Should we require additional photographs, these will be requested during the course of the application/enquiry.
- Green spaces: we are receiving reports of people accessing the tennis courts and play areas. We are increasing signage and comms to discourage this.
- Hersham Village Hall – Following discussions with our partnering contractors, we have taken the decision to postpone the start of the refurbishment at Hersham Village Hall until further notice in order to minimise the risk of spreading the coronavirus and to protect site stakeholders, operatives and their supply chain. We will continue to monitor Government guidance and remain committed to remobilise later in the year.
- Waste collection: Services remain on schedule.
- Keeping the public toilets open is key for the crews.
- We are working with JWS on messages to residents now that the main tips are closed; we want to ensure waste doesn’t increase too much with people being at home and potentially having clear outs.
- Approximately 1,100 letters have been sent to businesses who will be eligible for the Small Business Grant (£10,000). An online form will capture the information to make the grant payment, and is on the website.
- The Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant (£25,000), letters will be sent in the coming days once we have received further guidance in relation to state aid from Government. A software update was released late last night, which will help identify the potential recipients of the grant.
- The software update, will also enable us to apply the 100% reduction to business rates for those relevant properties (subject to State Aid Clarification).
- Our local businesses rely on us for guidance and support. We are sending regular update emails on how they can access Government funding and our website is a vital resource for them.
- Ensuring the wellbeing of our employees is also important and we will be putting a place a series of virtual wellbeing sessions, as well as learning and development.
Additionally, the Coronavirus Act became law last night.
Cllr Walton South ward
Cabinet Member for Corporate & Community Development