At Elmbridge Borough Council, we have been working hard for our community, delivering solutions to problems and actively improving the lives of people living and working here. You can read more about our achievements here.
Last autumn, we surveyed Elmbridge residents about the changes they’d like to see in their local area after the pandemic. Here’s what they told us.
Providing more social support
During lockdown, 61% of respondents turned to family and friends for support and 48% to neighbours for support. The community response has been fantastic and Elmbridge Borough Council, jointly run by the Lib Dems, has also stepped up to help those in need (for example, providing funding for local food banks to provide food parcels to shielding families when the central government-run scheme ended last summer) and backed our businesses and our local high streets. But the response of the Conservative-led County Council has been woefully lacking: it has failed to invest adequately in services for the most vulnerable in our community and let down the carers, the vulnerable and the community as a whole. Its own lockdown survey, in November last year, found that 71% of people who needed to find out information on what was available in their local community couldn’t find it (SurreyI data set, Nov 2020).
Liberal Democrat councillors want to change that: we want to invest in our local services and build a stronger sense of local community within Elmbridge. You can read more on how we’ll do that in Our Vision, including our plans to:
- Put more money into supporting social care provision
- Ring-fence more funding for young people’s mental health in the Surrey budget and invest in the childhood and mental health services that the community needs.
- Do all we can to support our communities and make decision making more local.
- Create more opportunity and improve support for our young people.
Protecting and preserving our green spaces
Forty-five percent of respondents to our survey wanted to see green spaces in Elmbridge better maintained. This pandemic has highlighted the importance of access to open space and fresh air for people; now more than ever we need to make sure that our green space is properly maintained and protected from development. Too much has already been used for development; as Hersham candidate Chester Chandler said “it’s vital that new developments work for residents … more needs to be done to protect green spaces.” Simple things will make a big difference: effective waste management systems, giving people access to public bins and easy recycling to reduce the amount of fly-tipping and littering in public spaces is essential to ensure the long-term preservation of these important community areas. Residents are concerned about the long-term health of the environment we live in. Green spaces also offer us an opportunity to increase the biodiversity of the local area, through planting more trees and rewilding some areas we can only reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions and enhance the natural beauty of the area.
Liberal Democrat councillors and candidates are committed to the following priorities, on which you can read more in Our Vision:
- Continue to develop the Borough Council’s Emergency programme to the next stage.
- Champion innovative climate action and sustainable business practices among local enterprises.
- Launch and promote the Elmbridge Climate Watch Scheme.
- Increase and expand our capacity
Properly maintaining pavements, cycle paths and roads
Our survey showed that 61% of people want to see more road and pavement repairs and in many of our local communities, unsafe pavements are making it difficult for those with mobility issues to get out and about in their local area. Making sure that our roads and pavements are safe and practical for pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles is essential. That’s why earlier this year the Liberal Democrats called for road safety to be a priority in the budget.
Our Vision shows how we will:
- Work together towards better facilities for cyclists and pedestrians
- Manage our road network, its maintenance and the traffic that uses it for the benefit of all the community.
Local champions for local communities
These three key areas are just some of the diverse range of responses we had to our survey. As Liberal Democrats, we are listening to what residents tell us and we will work with local people to develop practical, simple solutions that work for everyone in Elmbridge. Our achievements at the Borough Council show what we can do when we have the opportunity to lead with care, compassion and competence. The Conservative-led County council have heard the same messages from residents about their concerns and their priorities, but they haven’t listened and they haven’t acted.
Elmbridge residents have waited long enough. Vote Lib Dem in May: we will protect and improve the environment we live in and strengthen our sense of community, providing support to those who need it. Our candidates from all walks of life – teachers, nurses, home-care leaders, students, Chief Executives, parents – are committed to making Elmbridge the best place it can be, for everyone.
It’s Time to Care.