Monthly Archives: December 2013
My thoughts are with everyone who has been a victim of the severe weather and flooding over Christmas holidays. Unfortunately many homes in Byfleet and Old Woking are still without electricity. The forecast is for more heavy rain tonight and over the weekend, and flood warnings remain in place for the River Wey and Hoe Stream.
Surrey County Council and Surrey Police were out over Christmas Eve and Christmas Day clearing fallen and uprooted trees from the roads, while Woking Borough Council’s emergency planning team has been working with Serco to provide sandbags to those in urgent need. If your property is at immediate risk of flooding you should move valuables upstairs or to the highest point in the house, and be aware of the need to switch off your electricity if there is the danger of water rising to the electrical sockets. You can call the council’s out of hours team on 01483 730872 if you need to request sandbags.
We have been informed that while many homes are flooded and some people have had to move out, it has not been necessary to open an evacuation centre. However, the council will continue to monitor the situation and respond where necessary. If you are having difficulty getting the help you need from the council or its contractors, you can find the contact details for your local councillors here.
This evening Woking Borough Council held its yearly meeting of the Executive where financial awards to volunteer and community organisations are decided. The council has sought to protect the grants budget over the past few years even as it has taken steps to cut costs elsewhere through reductions in headcount, investing in revenue generating assets and outsourcing services to provide better value for money to taxpayers.
The council has awarded some £930,000 in revenue and community funding to voluntary groups this year, which is a reduction compared to last year but still a good achievement considering that we are likely to see a further 10% cut in Woking’s central government grant.
Awards were made to replace the Lakeview Community Hall and to refurbish Goldwater Lodge, both in Goldsworth Park. The council will also provide the Old Woking Community Centre with £15,000 to employ a part-time IT worker. Grants were awarded to the Pyrford and Wisley Flower Show and to Friends of Woking Palace to continue their good work. Repeat funding was made available to Woking Shopmobility and the Woking Community Transport Fund to help meet the needs of those with disabilities and attending appointments at St Peter’s and Ashford Hospitals.
There appears to be consensus from both parties that this year’s awards have been effectively targeted. As well as money provided through grants, the council provides assistance to the voluntary sector through support in kind, such as car park passes and use of the council premises.
A list of grants made to the voluntary sector can be found on the council’s website.
It was a pleasure to welcome Marta Andreasen MEP to the winter lunch party hosted by the South Woking branch of Woking Conservatives this afternoon. Marta is one of the Conservative Party’s Members of the European Parliament and is ranked fourth on our list for South East England in next year’s European elections. She has made a name for herself as an anti-corruption campaigner, famously being sacked from the European Commission for refusing to sign off its accounts, and regularly appears in the press highlighting examples of EU waste.
Many people will know that Marta defected from UKIP to the Conservatives this year after a public falling out with Nigel Farage. She has since expressed concerns about the way UKIP is run and the views of some of its candidates. However, I was pleased that during her talk she avoided personal attacks, and concentrated on her own work in the European Parliament, noting that the Conservatives are the only party pledged to hold an in or out referendum on our membership of the European Union.
I found Marta honest and engaging. She made an effort to speak with everyone and took lots of time to answer questions. I look forward to campaigning for her and hope that the people of Woking will return her to the European Parliament as she is undoubtedly a principled advocate of our national interests in Brussels.