New Local Plan Puts the Environment and the Next Generation First
Mole Valley District Council published the final stage of the Local Plan on 7 September, prior to its debate in Council on 15 September 2021.
District Councillor, Margaret Cooksey the Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Planning said,
"We listened to residents' comments on the previous, draft Local Plan and have revised it, so far as the Government will allow, to produce a Plan that protects what makes our area so beautiful and puts the next generation first."
Local opposition is growing to the plans of South Western Railways to restrict services on the lines from Mole Valley to London Waterloo. Over 1500 people have signed the on-line petition.
Train frequencies across all routes were reduced during the pandemic; the current proposals would mean that while other suburban routes are restored close to their pre-pandemic levels, the routes to Epsom, Ashtead, Leatherhead, Bookham and Dorking remain at 50% of their pre-pandemic levels.
Mike Hebberd, who stood in the recent local elections as a Conservative candidate for Dorking North, has joined the Mole Valley Liberal Democrats.
Mike who was only with the Conservatives for a short while said, "I realised quite early on that my values for local community matters matched the Liberal Democrats much more closely. Whilst the Conservatives are always knocking the Lib Dems about the Green Belt, it was misrepresentation really. It seemed to me that protecting the Green Belt whilst providing more affordable homes is more likely with the Lib Dems than the Conservatives. The local Lib Dem Councillors have also taken local action to mitigate climate change with lots of initiatives, such as electric vehicle charging points. They also seem to be a hard-working group, helping residents all year round. I was told on doorsteps, more than a few times that Conservatives only put in an appearance at election time."
Epsom and Mole Valley Liberal Democrats have launched a petition to restore South Western Railway (SWR) rail services via Epsom and Mole Valley to pre-pandemic levels, and to abandon proposals, published "in partnership" with the Conservative Government, to make pandemic cuts to these services permanent from December 2022.
You know how serious the threat of climate change is and the potential consequences for our planet if action is not taken. That's why it's vital that MP's back the UK's recent Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill, soon to be debated in Parliament.
The Bill provides a framework of policies to reduce both the UK's entire emissions and its ecological footprint. There are three areas to the bill:
• Tackling the climate emergency, restricting the rise in global temperature to 1.5°C. In the UK, we need to take into account all our emissions based on production and consumption including those goods manufactured abroad.
• Reversing our ecological crises with strict targets so that nature is visibly and measurably on the path to recovery by 2030.
• Making the transitions in a fair and sustainable way so vulnerable communities don't bear the brunt of the changes
As Liberal Democrats, we have pledged to be greener, fairer and more caring in the way we serve Mole Valley communities. This Lib Dem Council administration cares about community and understands the importance of listening when local residents express genuine concerns about issues that are important to them. During the course of the last few weeks, for example, there has been much discussion over the future of the Dorking BMX Track, with new and varying concerns coming to light from local people and users of the track. Consequently, we have decided to withdraw the current BMX report and recommendations from consideration by the Cabinet at its meeting on 22nd June. This will allow more time to explore all the views and discuss a future course of action on what is clearly an important issue to members of our community.
Due to necessary social distancing requirements, the Annual Meeting of Mole Valley took place, not in the council chamber, but in the Large Hall of the Dorking Halls. It reminded everyone of an exam room with each councillor sat at a separate table. But the atmosphere was lively as everyone was freed from their virtual zoom squares and back into the world of reality.
This is quite a historic and welcome occasion - the first meeting in person of Councillors for over a year. I have certainly missed the interaction of debate and discussion between members which cannot be replicated in a virtual environment. I would like to thank our officers for making this possible - the establishment of a safe and secure meeting place was no easy task, but as with the elections, and the challenging circumstances that we have experienced over the past year or so, they have found and implemented a way forward and we are very grateful for the work that they have done.
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