News

Mole Valley District Council supporting The Great Big Green Week 2021

The Great Big Green Week takes place between 18 – 26 September 2021. Mole Valley District Council (MVDC) is supporting the initiative and encouraging local businesses and residents to join in.

The Great Big Green Week is the largest event for climate and nature ever seen in the UK, with thousands of initiatives celebrating community efforts to tackle climate change.

MVDC is encouraging residents and businesses to make a pledge to do more for the environment . The pledge can be found on the MVDC website

MVDC’s website already hosts a range of Climate Change and Sustainability pages with information about what people can do to reduce their carbon impact, where they can find out more and details about how Mole Valley District Council itself has started its journey to becoming carbon neutral by 2030. 

MVDC has also facilitated the opening of a Mole Valley Climate Hub in the Swan Centre in Leatherhead, during September and October. The hub, which is operated by local volunteers, aims to engage a wider audience by hosting a range of educational events promoting the benefits of living a lower carbon lifestyle.  There has already been a positive reaction since it opened and has provided an opportunity for many local people to understand more about what they can do to have a positive impact on the environment.

Cabinet Member for the Environment, Councillor Claire Malcomson, said, “I’m really pleased to be supporting the Great Big Green Week.  If we all make our own pledges and make even small and simple changes to our own lives, we can have a massive impact on the environment.  We all need to take our own personal decisions about what we can do to have a positive impact on our environment.  A suggestion is to join in with our Mole Valley Lottery and choose to support our Environment Fund, or have a look at our Mole Valley Go Green pages for ideas.  ”

More information about getting involved can be found on the MVDC website as well as on The Great Big Green Week website.

 

Afghan Refugee Resettlement

Councillor Stephen Cooksey, Leader of Mole Valley District Council

Leader of Mole Valley District Council, Councillor Stephen Cooksey, said: “Mole Valley District Council is looking forward to welcoming Afghans who have been displaced from their homes and has pledged to resettle at least two households.

“We have previously resettled a number of Syrian refugee families under the Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme and are now set to support Afghans who have supported the UK military in Afghanistan and who put themselves and their families at considerable risk in doing so.

“We are now seeking offers of accommodation from private landlords who want to assist and who have properties that are ready to let in Mole Valley within the next few months. Properties need to be self-contained with 2, 3 or 4 bedrooms, in good condition with the required and health and safety certificates, within walking distance of local facilities and public transport and rents that are close to the Local Housing Allowance.

“You can also help by volunteering to assist Afghan families resettle into their new homes and, if you are interested, please email:[email protected]

“Translators who speak Farsi/Persian (Dari and/or Pashto) are also sought and, if you can help, please email:[email protected]

“A further way to help is by making donations to charities working with refugees such as the Red Cross, Refugee Action and Refugee Council. Furniture donations can also be made to Besom, while toys and clothes can be given to local charity shops.”

Council responds to South Western Railway consultation

Serious concerns highlighted

Epsom & Ewell Borough Council is formally responding to the South Western Railway (SWR) consultation on changes to its timetables due to come into effect in December 2022.

SWR has stated that, after the pandemic, overall passenger demand would recover to around 76 per cent of pre-Covid levels. The company has therefore proposed to provide 93 per cent of the capacity it had before the pandemic struck, resulting in service cuts at peak and off peak times.

The council is responding to the consultation raising significant concerns with these proposals.

The council believe the proposed changes will have a negative impact on the environment, as by reducing the frequency of train services at Epsom, Stoneleigh and Ewell West stations, travellers will be left with less sustainable transport options. This could lead to increased car use with the negative consequences relating to carbon emissions, air pollution, congestion on roads, noise and borough residents’ health and wellbeing.

The proposals fail to take into consideration the transport need created by future housing growth both within Epsom and Ewell and the surrounding areas serviced by the rail stations within the borough.

The claim that the proposals will see services return to 93% of pre covid capacity does not apply to services running through Epsom. According to the consultation document, services to Epsom will be significantly lower. The reduction in frequencies at Epsom, Stoneleigh and Ewell West is therefore vastly disproportionate compared with the rest of the South Western Rail network.

The borough’s excellent connectivity is a major contributing factor for local businesses and a reason that many choose to base themselves here. By reducing the frequency of services, the council is concerned that this will make businesses less likely to locate in Epsom and Ewell.

One of the justifications for reducing services through Epsom is because Epsom station is also served by Southern Rail. Southern Rail also reduced their services during the pandemic and there are no certain plans that these services will return. Southern Rail only run services into London Bridge and Victoria. There will be a disproportionate impact on many of this borough residents who travel to Waterloo and other transport nodes on this route, including Wimbledon and Clapham Junction. Further, Ewell West and Stoneleigh are not served by Southern Rail and will be impacted more significantly than Epsom Station in terms of reduced frequency of service.

As trains are being phased out under this proposal, there will be no capacity should passenger numbers require an increase in services.

To read South Western Railway Timetable Consultation Click Image Below. You have till Sunday 19th September to have your say. 

CLICK IMAGE FOR MORE DETAILS

Publication of Mole Valley’s Draft Local Plan Approved

Mole Valley District Council has agreed to publish its Regulation 19 draft Local Plan from 20 September to 7 November 2021.

Following discussion at an extraordinary Council meeting on Wednesday 15 September 2021, the Council agreed to publish its draft Local Plan. This version of Mole Valley District Council’s (MVDC) draft Local Plan, Future Mole Valley, has been updated to incorporate feedback received during a comprehensive public consultation from residents and key stakeholders in early 2020 in the Regulation 18 stage of the Local Plan process.

Changes to this iteration of the draft Local Plan include, but are not limited to, working to a lower overall housing target in the district and almost halving the amount of Green Belt, while in turn increasing the amount of brownfield land allocated for development. The publication of its draft Local Plan at the Regulation 19 stage is the next step in MVDC’s ambition to adopt a sound Local Plan that sets out how development in Mole Valley will be planned over the next 15 years and identifies locations for new homes and other development, whilst continuing to protect the countryside.

The seven-week publication of the draft Local Plan is not a formal public consultation, but still presents the opportunity for anyone to view and comment on the Plan and supporting documents. The Plan is available to view on futuremolevalley.org, as will instructions about how to submit a comment from Monday 20 September 2021. Hardcopies will be available at MVDC’s offices in Dorking, the HelpShop in Leatherhead and libraries in the district. For more information, please call 01306 885001 or email [email protected].

Following the seven-week publication period, the next stage will see MVDC make a final decision early next year whether to submit the Plan, supporting documents and comments received to the Planning Inspectorate for examination.     

Councillor Margaret Cooksey, Cabinet Member for Planning, said: “I cannot stress the importance of agreeing and adopting a Local Plan for Mole Valley. Without one, we risk losing control of where and how much development takes place in the future; the government will take away our responsibility. It is vital that we are able to dictate development and protecting our countryside on our terms. Do take a look at the Regulation 19 draft Plan and supplementary documents. Any comments you make will be reviewed, together with the Plan, by the Planning Inspectorate. You have until 7 November 2021.”

Mole Valley Community Lottery – support your community

Sign up and support your local community today and not only will you be in with the chance of winning weekly cash prizes up to the £25,000 jackpot, but, if you enter before 30 October 2021, you could win £1000 of John Lewis vouchers!

The Mole Valley Community Lottery is a lottery for the people, by the people of Mole Valley. It’s a fun way to help local good causes without giving up precious time. Tickets are £1 in the weekly draw where you get to choose exactly which local group you would like your money to go to.

50p of your ticket is paid directly to the cause you choose to support, with an additional 10p going to an Environmental fund run by Mole Valley District Council which benefits climate change initiatives in Mole Valley. 20p covers the prize fund and the remaining 20p covers the administration costs associated with running the lottery.

Unlike larger lotteries, 60p of your ticket purchase comes back into your community and the odds of winning a prize are much better, at just 50:1. It really is a win-win, even if you don’t win a prize you can be content in knowing that you are making a real difference to where you live.

Councillor Claire Malcomson, Cabinet Member for Climate Change said: “Since its launch in July, the Mole Valley Community Lottery has raised more than £2,755.20 for local charities and so far, 44 local groups have signed up. If you know of a local group that would like to raise more funds, please see the website for how to take part.”

To buy tickets go to www.molevalleylottery.co.uk.  There is a draw every week, on a Saturday.

The draw, including the John Lewis vouchers, is on the 30th October and the results will be announced at 8pm on the lottery website.

Beauty & The Beast at The Epsom Playhouse 2021 – Panto is back!

PANTOMIME SEASON HAS OFFICIALLY STARTED!

All panto cast were back on stage in full costume last week as The Epsom Playhouse launched its festive pantomime production Beauty & The Beast. A lively day that included a whistle-stop tour through Epsom Town Centre. With an experienced cast and expert production team you can expect a spectacular modern adaptation on the much loved classic tale. The perfect Christmas treat for young and old alike.

With the return of live theatre welcomed by all, get ready for the ‘Beauty’ of all Pantomimes, taking you on a magical journey packed with comedy, great music, dazzling stage sets and of course, a fabulously talented cast!

The host of talent includes former EastEnder Ricky Groves along with an impressive array of performers from local dance schools and Theatre & Performance Arts Colleges including renowned Laine Theatre Arts.

 

 

Once again staged by Spillers Productions, the company behind past record breaking pantomimes Cinderella, Jack & The Beanstalk and Peter Pan, which was awarded the title of ‘The UK’s Best Panto 2019/20’  by The Great British Pantomime Awards. A prestigious industry accolade to be incredibly proud of. 

Panto 2021 is back and promises to be bigger and better than ever!

Beauty & The Beast runs from Sat 11th December 2021 to Monday 3rd January 2022 at various times. *Relaxed performance Tuesday 14th Dec at 1.30pm.  

Tickets start from £15.50 up to £23.50, now on sale at the Epsom Playhouse.           

For further show information or to book tickets please visit The Epsom Playhouse Website:

www.epsomplayhouse.co.uk                                                         

For telephone & group bookings (10+) please call The Box Office: 01372 742555/742227

PLEASE SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL THEATRE.

Celebrating Surrey’s Rivers

From 18th to 26th September, Surrey Wildlife Trust will be championing blue nature super-highways in the run up to World Rivers Day on the 26 September 2021. From recent beaver introductions to restoring stretches of river in Surrey with volunteers, the Trust welcomes you to dive into the world of rivers and its wildlife with free online talks and assemblies.

Rivers Week also coincides with the Climate Coalition’s Great Big Green Week, which seeks to encourage and empower communities and individuals to take action for nature and climate change in a national week of events. So what better way to get involved than to learn about the vital role of rivers in flood management and climate change adaptation?

On Monday 20th September, Marc Anderton, a Trust ecologist, will talk about bats and why our rivers and waterways are a vital habitat and feeding ground for so many species of bat, from common or Nathusius’s pipstrelle to Daubenton’s bats.

On Tuesday 21st September, explore the creatures of the deep in an online talk with Ben Siggery who will be exploring our aquatic environments and the incredible diversity of species that live within. Using a digital microscope, he will be getting up close and personal with pond life and increasing our understanding of the role they play in wetland habitats.

Between 21st and 23rd September, schools have a chance to sign up for Surrey Wildlife Trust’s live streamed assemblies for key stages 1, 2 & 3 on rivers. The Trust will be premiering its new animated film about healthy rivers and the impacts of climate change.

On Wednesday 22nd September, Glen Skelton, wetland projects manager, will explore the chequered history of rivers and how they have been adapted over the years and why they need to be transformed back to their meandering natural course to benefit wildlife and help prevent flooding.

On Thursday 23rd September, influenced by ‘Ratty’ in Wind in the Willows’, Surrey Wildlife Trust’s principal ecologist, Rob Hutchinson, will share his fascination with the wonderful charismatic water vole in an online talk. This adorable chestnut brown, furry, river rodent eats more than 150 species of plant and also climbs trees.

On Friday 24th September, find out why people should get excited about beaver reintroduction projects on a live online talk with the naturalist and science communicator, Sophie Pavelle. After an absence of more than 400 years, beavers are making a comeback across the British Isles as a natural solution to increasing biodiversity, the health of rivers and reducing flooding.

Glen Skelton, wetland landscapes officer at Surrey Wildlife Trust, said: ‘Rivers are an incredible natural resource.  By working with nature in the way we manage our rivers, we can create river catchments that can not only protect us against the effects of climate change and provide us with clean drinking water, but also support thriving wildlife populations. A healthy river catchment is good for both people and wildlife.’

Surrey Wildlife Trust takes a strategic role across Surrey’s waterways hosting the River Wey and River Mole catchment partnerships. Over the last five years, these partnerships have delivered multiple river restoration projects to connect local people back to the river, training over 200 volunteers who have been involved in monitoring over 110km of river and restoring a further 5km.

For more information on Rivers Week events, online talks and free school assemblies or to book visitwww.surreywildlifetrust.org.uk

Development partner to be considered for Claire House and James House

On the 14th and 28th September 2021 respectively, Mole Valley District Council’s (MVDC) Scrutiny and Cabinet committees will consider the appointment of a development partner for Claire House and James House in Leatherhead, a key project in the Transform Leatherhead masterplan.

Following the launch of the phased marketing campaign in March 2021, MVDC has worked in conjunction with new property advisors Vail Williams to secure a suitable development partner for the riverside site, on the basis of ensuring that development is in accordance with the Transform Leatherhead masterplan objectives.

Upon completion of the redevelopment MVDC recommends the transfer of its freehold interest to the developer, whilst simultaneously entering into a sublease of the ground floor café and community space for a 999 year term at a peppercorn rent.

MVDC would agree the final terms of disposal prior to the execution of the associated legal agreements.

Outline planning approval for the site was previously obtained in June 2019 and provides for 35 residential units on upper floors in addition to the community facilities and café on the ground floor.

Eleven developer bids were initially submitted, of which five were invited to attend interviews and submit best and final offers, with due diligence checks undertaken to determine the suitability of each bidder from a financial and deliverability perspective.

Councillor Keira Vyvyan-Robinson, Cabinet Member for Projects, said: “The appointment of this development partner would be a significant step in implementing the recommendations of the Masterplan for the Riverside Quarter, helping to create much needed market and affordable housing for the district whilst simultaneously improving the south-western gateway to Leatherhead.”

For further information on the Riverside Quarter please refer to the Transform Leatherhead website.

 

Statement from Leader of Mole Valley District Council

Councillor Stephen Cooksey, Leader of Mole Valley District Council

Councillor Stephen Cooksey, Leader of Mole Valley District Council, said: “With the summer holiday period now at an end, children across the country are returning to school. It was announced in the past few days that the government is considering further advice concerning vaccines for 12 to 15 year olds. Albeit a slightly older age group, the latest Surrey statistics shows the effects that the festival and event season has had on the 15 to 20 year old age group, with an increase in COVID cases being seen across the county. It is vital that young people who have attended a big event and returned back to school or college keep testing and reporting their results to the NHS.

“In more positive news, it has recently been reported that 62.1% of teenagers aged 16 and 17 have had their first COVID jab in Surrey, just five weeks after the green light was given for this age group to receive the vaccine. This is a really encouraging start. We took action to target the under 40 age group in Mole Valley – of which over 20% have yet to receive their first dose – in an initiative we ran using £5 cinema vouchers for Dorking Halls to raise awareness about vaccinations. They were handed out on Friday 27th August in Dorking and Leatherhead ahead of a blockbuster film line-up at the venue this month.

“In national news, the government will be proceeding with plans to offer a third vaccine to people aged 12 and over with severely weakened immune systems. This is different to the booster programme which the government has said will be announced separately, expected to be later this month.

“We are now in a position to consider the draft Local Plan once again. You will recall that we carried out a comprehensive public consultation in 2020 as part of the Regulation 18 stage of the Local Plan process. The comments we received during that period were analysed and have helped shape this version of the draft Local Plan. Extraordinary Cabinet and Council meetings will be held on Wednesday 15th September and a decision made as to whether the draft Local Plan will be published for a seven-week period, the Regulation 19 stage. If agreed, the Plan would be published on 20th September. While this next stage would not be a formal consultation, anyone can still comment on the Plan and supplementary documents.

“If you are one of our garden waste collection customers, it is with regret that, due to the unprecedented national shortage of HGV drivers, we have been left with no option but to suspend this service for the foreseeable future. Letters are being sent to customers to confirm this and should be arriving imminently. We can only apologise, but the national situation is not expected to improve for some months. Please do sign-up to our MyAlerts service to receive the latest waste service news by email.

Alternatively, you can visit the Mole Valley section on the Joint Waste Solutions website, which will be regularly updated too.

“England’s largest festival of history and culture, Heritage Open Days, takes place from 10 to 19 September this year. This wonderful annual event provides a unique opportunity to see hidden places and try out new experiences, all for free. There are more than 40 in-person and online events for all ages taking place across Mole Valley, including talks, walks, tours and lots more. This year’s theme is ‘Edible England’ and the diverse line-up is reflected in the brochure listing for Mole Valley.” 

Proposal to Publish Draft Local Plan, Future Mole Valley

At an Extraordinary meeting on Wednesday 15 September 2021, Mole Valley District Council’s Cabinet will consider a report recommending that the draft Local Plan is published. Should Cabinet agree to proceed, that same report and recommendation will be considered by all Members at an Extraordinary Council meeting later that evening.

Mole Valley District Council (MVDC) conducted an extensive Regulation 18 draft Local Plan public consultation in 2020. Comments received at that stage helped inform changes now reflected in this iteration of Future Mole Valley; the ‘Proposed Submission Version’. If agreed by Members, MVDC’s Regulation 19 draft Local Plan and other submission documents will be published for a seven-week period, Tuesday 20 September to 7 November 2021.

Key stakeholders and individuals who commented during the 2020 public consultation would be notified of the publication of the Regulation 19 draft Local Plan. This stage would also be open to anyone else to comment during this seven-week period if they wish. MVDC is not required to make changes to the draft Plan based on comments received. Instead, comments will be forwarded on to the Planning Inspectorate who will consider them as part of their examination of the Plan. The main changes between this Regulation 19 draft Local Plan and the previous Regulation 18 version are:

  • A 44% reduction in the amount of Green Belt allocated for development
  • A significant increase in the amount of brownfield land being allocated for development
  • A lower overall housing target to create a fair balance between meeting the housing need and protecting Mole Valley’s landscape and character
  • Stronger climate change, biodiversity, affordable housing, character and heritage policies
  • Stronger infrastructure policies and more infrastructure allocations

Councillor Margaret Cooksey, Cabinet Member for Planning, said: “Having carefully analysed and scrutinised the comments received as part of the Regulation 18 public consultation in 2020, we listened and are confident that we are bringing a more rounded draft Local Plan in front of Cabinet and Council. This Draft Plan better reflects what our residents and key stakeholders told us was important to them.

“I would like to stress that, while this Regulation 19 stage is not a formal consultation, it is no less of a vital step towards a sound Mole Valley Local Plan being adopted, we hope, in early 2023. By successfully progressing to a point where we have a Local Plan in place, we will be in a position to manage new developments providing, high-quality housing to suit local need, delivering infrastructure and protecting non-allocated areas from speculative housing and other development.”