Residents Report October 2020 – Cllr. Jeff Harris

Dear Residents

Covid-19 – It would be quite wrong of me not to again highlight the dreadful disease which has affected so many, and even more will suffer lasting effects after recovery. I can only send them my best wishes for a full and speedy recovery.

There is a lot of information available and sadly, some are spreading quite malicious and mendacious rumours. You may have your own views on the numbers of people who have contracted the virus, but the simple fact remains, we can all contribute to keeping it at bay by:

  • Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds
  • Where possible keep 2 metres apart
  • Where necessary wear a face mask/covering

I don’t think its too much to ask, and it may even save a life of a loved one.

Winter 2020-As I write this the leaves are falling, and the days have got so much shorter, winter is coming. (Christmas is only 11 weeks away!). Time to check the central heating-not just yours, but how about a vulnerable neighbour who cant manage? Checking simple things, such as radiators that aren’t getting hot, could make a huge difference to their comfort and quality of life.

By the way -Surrey County Council, in partnership with every District and Borough bid for, (that’s the way of the world!) and are to receive over £6 MILLION to be used to insulate homes, especially those who are vulnerable or in our deprived areas-excellent news!

But there’s also a Government Scheme for those who own their own homes and Landlords who can apply for upto £5000 towards making their homes more green and energy efficient – its worth a look:

Flooding– Everyone will remember the couple of enormous rainstorms in the last couple of months and sadly, homes have been flooded across my Division. I’ve been working hard to try and see what Surrey County Council can do to prevent this happening again.

I’m really pleased to announce that three schemes have either just been completed, or will be undertaken in the next couple of months:

  • Ballards Green, Burgh Heath
  • Chipstead Lane, Lower Kingswood, and
  • Kingswood Road/Ashurst Road, Tadworth

Hopefully, when these are completed, many residents lives will be improved and safeguarded from flooding.

However, we can all play a part in preventing these traumatic and costly events..

We can report any blocked drains and gullies – 0300 200 1008 or via the interactive map on SCC Website.

We can make sure that if we have a concrete/tarmac drive installed, there is ample drainage provided-especially if we live on a hill. The water has to go somewhere!

Trick or Treat plus Fireworks and Bonfires: This year may be slightly different with no public displays and bonfires, but some people will still want to celebrate. Can I please make a strong plea about perennial issues:

Trick or Treat-can really frighten vulnerable people. If its possible within the current guidance, then stick to people you know, friends and relatives..’cold calling’ can be upsetting for some. And it’s a children’s thing…a group of youths doing the same is intimidating and bordering on criminal behaviour.

Fireworks-Please remember that not only dogs and cats get scared by loud bangs and flashes of light-people do. So think about where and when and how you are using fireworks-and prevent injuries, or worse – stick to the code!

Bonfires– Apart from the pollution and dangers caused by irresponsible burning of ‘stuff’, many small animals, and certainly hedgehogs will start to hibernate in these piles. If you are having a bonfire-especially if its been in situ for sometime-please check for ‘furry’ and ‘spikey’ friends. Have a check and maybe help preserve a species.

Hyenas-Regular readers will know I use this term to describe those who prey on the vulnerable. This time of year sees them doing their worst. A few tips;

  • Don’t leave keys or fobs for your cars in view of the front door/letterbox.
  • Don’t leave the car running on cold misty mornings just to warm up-if its unattended and gets stolen, you my not be insured, and WAIT until the scree is completely clear of frost/mist, etc. The sun is low and you could be blinded just as a child runs out…..
  • Online Scams-So many to report…..Basically Don’t open any attachments, or links, if you cannot be absolutely certain of the organisation sending the message, and even if it comes from a friend or contact-if in doubt -DON’T….check with them first.
  • Telephone calls-Unless you have asked to be called back, or are absolutely sure of the caller, don’t even confirm your name. Don’t be afraid to hang up…

Homelessness-Given the mention of Christmas is coming and the generosity of our residents, this will come as a surprise for some. The local authorities and charities have put enormous effort into successfully finding shelter and homes for people who for whatever reason find themselves without a roof over their heads as winter approaches. We have one such person in the Lower Kingswood area, who has been offered shelter and assistance by the Council, but has refused. Councillors are fully aware of his circumstances, but would ask residents not to give him food or money. I can assure you from a lo of experience elsewhere, it does not help the situation.

And finally……Out and about-On a more positive note – Hopefully everyone noticed the wildflowers sown on sections of the central reservation of the A217 this year. It does cost a lot of money, but if people like the idea, please let us know and we can see about repeating the exercise annually.

I’m sure everyone has noticed how clean and tidy our roads, pavements and public areas have become over the last month………That’s because we’ve had dozens of volunteers, supported by Councillors and equipped by Reigate and Banstead Borough Council, collecting hundreds of sacks of rubbish across the area-and I can’t thank them enough…..Well done everyone!

(You’re probably not surprised to hear that most of the rubbish along the roadside came from occupants of vehicles….or abandoned roadworks cones, notices, and things best not asked about!!)

Hopefully in the next week or so you will see dozens of poppies on lampposts around the area, and ‘Silent Soldiers’ on the roundabouts on the A217. These are all put there by volunteers from our Residents Associations (who are always looking for new members and organisers-so have a look at their websites!!). Remembrance Sunday will be different this year, with no formal parades and ceremonies, but please – Lest We Forget – we owe a huge debt to our service personnel over the years.

I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy and once again, thank you all for your support.

Kind regards,

Jeff. Harris

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

October 2020

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