Report to Residents March 2021 – Councillor Jeff Harris

Dear Resident

Apparently Spring has sprung! It may still be quite cold outside but happily this Spring does bring much better news than last year.

As I write there are over 20,000,000 people who have been ‘jabbed’. Amazing figures and a reflection of the efforts of our NHS, Military, Councils, and all the other partners involved.

And a huge thank you to all the volunteers, who turned out in their hundreds-I wonder if there’s anywhere else in the world that can compare with what we’ve seen in the last few months.

Please remind relatives, friends and neighbours that if they get invited to have one – take it, and if they are not I.T literate or even not on the internet-or even those who are not registered with a Doctor, they can still book a ‘jab’.

I have confirmed that which vaccine you receive depends on the supply at the time you attend, so don’t worry, and currently Epsom Race Course Centre may close temporarily for the Derby period, so if you are waiting for your second vaccination, should it do so for a short time, you will be told where to go.

Many more local Vaccination Centres are opening, including our own Pharmacy in Walton on the Hill.

The good news continues on a more local note

Speed limits through the villages:

After almost four years of ‘banging my head on the wall’ and trying, at long last I have managed to get TWO areas guaranteed funding to bring in reduced speed limits. These are:

Tadworth Street through the village, from A217 to High Street Traffic Lights

Chequers Lane and through Walton on the Hill to Mere Road.

For some reason there bit in the middle isn’t as yet included, but I’m hopeful my successor will ensure that these are joined up to give us a much reduced speed limit through both villages, and outside all our schools.

Subject to ratification by my successor, I’ve agreed a large project to deal with the flooding of Bonsor Drive, which will make a big difference to local people in Kingswood.

I’ve also just managed to get funding for the footpath between Burgh Heath and Tadworth roundabout to be widened and all the vegetation cleared back, making it much safer, and hopefully you will have noticed that the footpath from Wood Lane through and past Aberdour School into burgh Heath has been fully widened and re-surfaced.

One project I’ll hand over to my successor is my proposal to bring in Average Speed Camera Zones (ASC’s) along Dorking Road, which we all know has become much busier, and almost a second ‘Mad Mile’.

ASC’s cut the collision rate by over 50% and make the roads much safer for pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders, and the wildlife.

Talking of the wildlife, one of our residents brought a petition to the Local Committee ( County and Borough Councillors) this week asking for ‘Beware of Deer’ in Dorking Road. Unfortunately the Officers Report was not supportive………………I disagreed with the Report, (quite strongly!) and its over-reliance on Police Collision statistics, and supported by colleagues, got the Report and recommendations sent back to the Officers to look more closely at the suggestion. No one wants to see the regular deaths of Deer, and other mammals along the road, and drivers may just drive slightly slower. (Especially if we can get ASC’s!)

A second Petition brought before the Committee which was from the residents of Chipstead Lane in Lower Kingswood, to get the speed limit reduced to 20mph. The Officers again relied on out of date speed measurement, Police Collision Data, and had not taken into account the enormous increase in traffic caused by the large increase in staff at Fidelity, just off Chipstead Lane.

Together with SCC Cllr Bob Gardner, Borough Cllrs Rod Ashford and Rachel Turner we were vociferous in our support of the Petition and opposition to the Report and Recommendations, and again supported by the Members of the Committee, had it ‘sent back’ for more work. As Bob and I are standing down, our successors, whoever they may be, will continue working with Rod and Rachel to ensure residents voices are heard, (not just listened to..)

Over the last year we have seen some major drainage work completed locally to prevent flooding of residents homes, and these included the soakaway in Kingswood Road, the soakaway in Ballards Green, Pebble Close, and although there is much to be done, wherever we can, drains and gullies have been cleared and cleaned. But if you spot any that need work………you know what to do! www.surreycc/gov.uk/highways or 0300 200 1008.

There is little doubt that our rainfall is changing in terms of pattern and impact. Its really important that if residents are looking to build extensions or drives, etc, consideration is made of where the rainwater, normally falling on open ground, gardens etc, and draining naturally into the ground, actually goes. If it goes into the drains or onto the road, it doesn’t take much to overload the system, so whatever can be done to avoid this is welcomed. Both Reigate and Banstead and Surrey County Councils can give advice if anyone is in doubt.

The type and amount of rainfall, ‘freeze thaw’ of water in cracks and holes this winter and temperatures, etc, have made the problem of potholes worse than last year.

Surrey Highways will deal with all reports of defects and potholes, and over the last few months have dealt with over 400……………………….a day!

Almost finally, the Schools are returning and if anyone whose child is moving up to senior schools and wants help and guidance if they didn’t achieve their first choice and wish to appeal-give me a call.

And finally…… Don’t forget the Census is in a couple of weeks (21st). Plenty of advice on-line or with the forms. Please ensure its completed, and if vulnerable people have difficulty, there is a telephone number, to speak to a real live human-being, on the forms.

With my best wishes to you all.

Stay safe, stay healthy – wash those hands, cover your face and keep your distance….

Jeff Harris

County Councillor Tadworth, Walton on the Hill, Burgh Heath and Kingswood.

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