Mole Valley District Council

  1. Jack has left the car park...

    ...and been allowed inside to hear some district council results.

    Good news for BBC Surrey's political reporter Jack Fiehn, who has spent the day reporting from a car park outside the venue in Dorking because of Covid restrictions.

    Count for Mole Valley local elections
  2. Investigation into councillors 'professional homosexuals' comment

    Rebecca Curley

    Local Democracy Reporter

    An internal investigation has been carried out into a district councillor's comments duing a debate about a rainbow pedestrian crossing.

    At a full Mole Valley District Council meeting in July Patricia Wiltshire said people should celebrate their achievements and not their sexuality and made references to how she felt uncomfortable when watching “professional homosexuals” on television.

    During the debate she stressed she would always protect people from being “castigated because of their sexual orientation”, but if people “flaunted it all the time” they would be “bound to come up against prejudice”.

    Ms Wiltshire, who is deputy chairman of the council, said it was the word “celebrate” in the motion that she said had a problem with and that people should “celebrate human diversity”.

    According to information released in a Freedom of Information request, an internal investigation was carried out by Mole Valley District Council’s deputy monitoring officer.

    The council would not comment on the outcome of the internal investigation.

    Ms Wiltshire said she was satisfied with the outcomes of the investigation.

  3. Conservatives lose Guildford in Surrey defeats

    The Conservatives have relinquished their grip on Guildford in local elections.

    Earlier they lost of Tandridge council, a stronghold which has been blue for almost two decades.

    The Tories also saw the Liberal Democrats take Mole Valley, where the Conservatives were previously the largest party.

    It has left the Tories suffering their worst defeats in Surrey for over 15 years - senior party members have blamed Brexit and housing plans on the greenbelt.

  4. Councillors divided over highways budgets

    Rebecca Curley

    Local Democracy Reporter

    Councillors in Surrey are divided over moves to encourage them to pool funds earmarked for road and pavement repairs in their own patches.

    Each member of the county council receives £7,500 to allocate for minor works in the districts they cover, but because of a reduced budget for highways in the coming year, they are being asked to pool £6,000 of the allocation so that larger-scale gangs of workers can be engaged to carry out necessary work.

    Five of the six county councillors representing the Mole Valley district agreed at a local committee meeting to share the cash.

    But the failure to persuade all six to do so concerned one member. Chris Townsend said: "I find it really distressing."

    Hazel Watson, who opposed the pooling plan, said: "I want to ensure that residents of Dorking Hills have fair use of the money, and I've already made commitments to local residents for the use of that funding."

    Councillors on other local committees in Surrey have also voiced concern over giving up their individual allocations in favour of a broader fund.

  5. Cash to help migrants in Surrey

    Money to help Syrian refugee families settle in Surrey could be on the way.

    More than 200 refugee children and adults have already been helped and supported in the county since 2015.

    And this could continue if an application by a multi-faith group to secure official status gets the backing of Surrey County Council.

    The group in Mole Valley is applying to be recognised as a "Community Sponsor" by the Home Office, which would mean more government funding would be forthcoming.

    The group is one of several in the county which has helped refugees with speaking English and with education, employment and health needs.

    If successful in its application to the new Home Office Community Sponsorship Scheme, money wouldn’t go to the local volunteers, but to local schools and NHS services to meet education and health needs.

    Then, after the first year, funding would divert to Mole Valley DC which would support the families for up to five years and receive Home Office funding of £20,250 per person over that time.

  6. Concerns over future of Leatherhead High Street

    Rebecca Curley

    Local Democracy Reporter

    Traders have threatened to pull out of Leatherhead and say they have no confidence in Mole Valley District Council's project to transform the town.

    They claim customer numbers have dropped so much due to changes made in 2006 to parking in the High Street, that it has now become "depressingly empty" and has hit crisis point.

    A petition signed by 99 retailers, restaurant owners and residents was handed in at a Surrey County Council local committee meeting calling for an experiment on changing times the street is open for parking and access.

    Susan Leveritt, from Leatherhead Residents' Association, told members of Mole Valley District Council and the county council's local committee something needed to be done to help attract customers back to the High Street.

    She said: "The High Street problem has persisted for so long it's become a crisis. It is depressingly empty after lunchtime.

    "We need action immediately, or a reduction in business rates. It has become an economic necessity."

    She said business owners now had "no confidence" in the district council's Transform Leatherhead project, an improvement plan for the town in partnership with SCC, Coast2Capital and the Environment Agency, to turn it into a modern market town.

    A response to the petition said officers from Surrey Highways were "very sympathetic" to the petition and the suggestion of reviewing parking and traffic in the High Street.

    They said it could be an option considered as part of a review of Traffic Regulation Orders for the town.

    Councillors agreed with the petition and consideration of the trial and unanimously voted for a motion to see if the experiment could be included into the transport study for the town.

    Petition handed to Mole Valley District Council
  7. Dorking traffic congestion 'absolute hell'

    Rebecca Curley

    Local Democracy Reporter

    Parked cars

    Traffic congestion in Dorking is "absolute hell" for residents and traders, according to a cafe owner, with roads becoming regularly "gridlocked".

    Business owners say HGVs are getting stuck and they are losing trade, while people were recently left "incensed" by roadworks that brought the town centre to a standstill.

    The comments were raised at a Surrey County Council (SCC) and Mole Valley District Council (MVDC) local committee meeting this week, which also received a petition calling for parking permits to stop shoppers and office workers from parking in residential streets.

    Parking sign

    Raising concerns about HGVs and delivery lorries navigating their way through the town centre, businessman Adam Moreve, who owns Musette Cycle Cafe, told the meeting traffic lights at Pump Corner were becoming a problem.

    He said this was highlighted even further when they failed to work for a couple of days and traffic flowed really well.

    Presenting the petition, signed by residents in Howard Road and Arundel Road, Patrick Keeble said he and his neighbours were having to use pay and display car parks because of shoppers, office workers, shop workers and pub goers parking for hours at a time outside their homes.

    "Our patience is now exhausted," he added.

    Highways officers are carrying out an assessment of both roads, while a number of traffic schemes are being considered for Dorking.

  8. Flooding blamed on blocked drains

    Rebecca Curley

    Local Democracy Reporter

    Torrential rain and flash flooding is not being helped by a backlog of gullies needing to be cleared, councillors have claimed.

    Members of Surrey County Council (SCC) and Mole Valley District Council Local Committee said recent rains were made worse because of blocked drains.

    More than 14,000 gullies were cleared in the borough in 2017/18, but 2,017 were not cleaned due to cars parked over the drains.

    Speaking at the meeting on Wednesday, committee chairman councillor Tim Hall said he knew it was a problem across the whole county.

    He said: "After last week's torrential rain you could have have boated down Kingston Road in Leatherhead."

    Blocked drain
  9. No Ukip left in Surrey

    Ukip now has no councillors in Surrey after losing their single remaining seats on Mole Valley, and Reigate and Banstead councils.

    Correction 13 July 2018: An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported that UKIP fielded no candidates in either Tandridge, Runnymede, Woking or Elmbridge.

  10. Mole Valley Tories lose overall control

    The Conservatives have lost overall control of Mole Valley District Council after only successfully defending five out their six seats up for reselection and thereby losing their one-seat overall majority.

    UKIP lost their only representation on the council while the Lib Dems gained one seat.

  11. Centenary Wood to mark World War One

    Rebecca Curley

    Local Democracy Reporter

    Artist's impression of Woodland Trust visitor centre at Langley Vale Wood, near Epsom

    A £9m woodland project to mark the centenary of World War One with a base in the Surrey countryside is nearing the final stages of planning.

    The Woodland Trust hopes to attract around 110,000 visitors a year to Langley Vale Wood, near Epsom.

    Plans for a visitors' centre, car park, memorial park, playground and paths have been submitted to Mole Valley District Council.

    The trust has an ambitious project of planting 200,000 native trees at the 640-acre site including beech, rowan, hawthorn and oak.

    Thousands of trees have already been planted by local schoolchildren and residents.

    The site contains a significant proportion of ancient woodland in the form of Sheep Walk, Downs View Wood, Gilletts Wood, Little Hurst Wood and Great Hurst Wood, which will be incorporated into the wider Centenary Woodland area.

    The trust is creating four World War One Centenary Woods across the UK with Langley Vale being England's centre.

    It is hoped three million native trees will be planted across the four sites in memory of the millions of lives lost and affected by the war that lasted from 1914-1918.