Elmbridge Borough Council

Election results for 2019

    Elected in 2019
    Elected in 2019
    Elected in 2019

Most Recent

Conservative councillor defects to Brexit Party

Rebecca Curley

Local Democracy Reporter

Mike Bennison

A long-standing Conservative councillor in Elmbridge has defected to the Brexit Party.

Mike Bennison, who represents Hinchley Wood, Claygate and Oxshott on Surrey County Council, said he would continue to serve his constituents to the “high standard” he feels he has shown. He becomes the county’s first Brexit Party councillor.

He said he had no choice but to leave the Conservative Party after he was told he would not be re-selected for the next local elections.

Mr Bennison, who has been a councillor for 20 years, also represents Cobham and Downside on Elmbridge Borough Council.

He said he was “absolutely dumbfounded” when he was told he had been turned down to represent the Tories in the borough elections next year and county elections in 2021.

Elmbridge remains under no overall control

Elmbridge has remained under no overall control after the Conservatives lost three seats and ended up with 21 - four short of the 25 needed for a majority.

The Lib Dems gained one and independents gained two.

Land still sought for traveller sites

Rebecca Curley

Local Democracy Reporter

An attempt to find two sites in Surrey to act as permanent transit bases for the travelling community is a “work in progress”, according to one borough leader.

James Browne, leader of Elmbridge Borough Council, said council leaders were also trying to identify two more temporary sites that could be used in a similar way.

In an update to members at a full council meeting on Wednesday, he said the injunction order the borough had obtained last year banning unauthorised encampments and fly-tipping had been a success.

Surrey’s council leaders have had several meetings with the county’s Police and Crime Commissioner David Munro to discuss the issue of finding transit sites.

Mr Browne said: “There is an ongoing work in progress looking for two permanent sites in Surrey – one to the west of the county and one to the east.”

'Slum boats' damaging riverbank

Rebecca Curley

Local Democracy Reporter

Molesey riverbank

More enforcement is needed of “slum boats” along the Thames Path and the riverbank should be covered by the same protection order for unauthorised encampments in Elmbridge, say residents.

Members of community group Friends of Hurst Park said there were powers available for harbour masters and environment officers to take action.

They have called for more joined-up thinking between Surrey County Council (SCC), Elmbridge Borough Council and the Environment Agency to tackle the problem.

They said over the years the riverbanks through Molesey had been “appropriated and damaged by unauthorised mooring” with councillors adding that slum boats and tramp boats – boats moored illegally or without authorisation – were “frustrating residents”.

Concerns were raised at SCC and Elmbridge Local Committee on Monday.

Jill Sanders, of Friends of Hurst Park, asked for towpaths and river edges to be included in the projection injunction Elmbridge has for unauthorised encampments.

In her question to the committee she said: “We now have not only slum boats, tramp boats and abandoned boats, but also land-grabbing of our public realm along the Thames Path, with fences, barricades, keep out notices, and stripping away of vegetation.”

Her concerns were echoed by councillors who said they received emails from lots of people worried about the illegal moorings and that it was a “flagrant disregard for residents”.

SCC leader Tim Oliver said he would raise the matter with the Environment Agency.

Demolition of Esher council building 'undemocratic'

Rebecca Curley

Local Democracy Reporter

An Elmbridge Borough Council building in Esher that's used for various charities - including marriage guidance - is set to be demolished.

But there's concern that the proper council procedures have not been followed before that happens.

Harry Fletcher House in Community Walk, Esher, is used by Relate West Surrey and Esher Citizens Advice Bureau.

At a meeting of Elmbridge Councillors, several said that plans to demolish the building and use it on a short-term basis as a car park, had not been discussed by the council's overview and scrutiny panel first. One, Cllr Roy Green, said that without that happening, the process was undemocratic.

Cllr Tim Oliver, who is also the leader of Surrey County Council, said the building was at the end of its life and that the borough had "bent over backwards" to help the CAB find alternative accommodation.

Council leader James Browne has now promised that the building will not be demolished before overview and scrutiny has had a chance to consider the situation.

Plan to help Walton high street

Rebecca Curley

Local Democracy Reporter

Business ratepayers in Walton-on-Thames are to be balloted over a proposal to turn the town centre into a Business Improvement District.

A Business Improvement District is funded by business ratepayers who pay a 1-1.5% levy into a pot which can be spent on extra activities and campaigns for the high street, to increase footfall.

Business ratepayers will be able to vote on a business plan. Elmbridge Borough Council cabinet members agreed to put forward £40,500 in a mix of grants and loans to the Walton-on-Thames Trading Alliance to help the project.

If approved and adopted, the Walton BID could raise around £898,000 over five years based on the 1.5% levy.

A full campaign setting out the benefits and costs of the BID with a ballot for ratepayers is expected to take place over three months starting in September.

Slow progress on hospital refurbishment plan

Rebecca Curley

Local Democracy Reporter

The future of Molesey Community Hospital is still uncertain, as councillors slam the length of time it has taken for a decision on a refurbishment as "appalling".

Residents were consulted on the future of the clinic and health care facilities at the site in 2016 with a decision made a year later to keep hospital beds at the location.

But councillors said they were "still waiting" to hear what will happen with the site.

Speaking at an Elmbridge Borough Council overview and scrutiny meeting on Thursday, Julian Wilmshurst-Smith, head of contracting for Surrey Downs Clinical Commissioning Group, said funding for a business case has been secured and it could take up to eight months to finalise details of whether it will be a rebuild or a refurbishment.

Plans on the table include bringing two GP practices on site as well as speaking to Surrey County Council about providing more adult social care services and talking to Kingston Hospital about out-patient facilities.

Pets' 'poop bins' to be scrapped

Dog walkers in Surrey can throw their pets' "poop bags" away with other rubbish, rather than using special bins.

It comes after a successful trial of scrapping the dog poo bins at Esher Common in Elmbridge.

Countryside officers now want mixed-use bins used across all their open land in the borough.

A report by the council's Countryside Consultative Group to go before councillors on 17 January says dog walkers can now even throw away the poo bags in their own black bins at home.

It's because national guidance has changed and it is no longer necessary to separate dog waste from other types of household waste.