Report A Pothole NOW

We need you to report local potholes NOW!!!

A first-of-its-kind audit into the mapping of potholes in England has been launched today (28 August 2020) by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, aided by data from on-road businesses such as Uber and Deliveroo, to better target improvements so that roads are in top condition as people return to work and school.

The Department for Transport will work with Gaist, a highway data and mapping company, businesses such as Deliveroo, Uber, Tesco and Ocado, alongside local highway authorities to identify ‘pothole hot-spots’.

Combining collated data on current potholes held by nation-wide businesses and the most up-to-date bank of roads imagery in the country from Gaist, the department will be able to paint the most comprehensive picture ever of where funding is most needed to make sure roads are not plagued by potholes. It will make roads as safe as possible as more commuters and students undertake journeys in the coming months. The plan will help cyclists and motorist get back to school and work.

The government has already committed £2.5 billion in funding for pothole repairs in the biggest nationwide programme ever announced. The launch of the review comes as new data reveals that highway maintenance works undertaken in the past months when roads were quieter during lockdown has led to 319 miles of resurfacing, making sure that roads are in better condition so that people can get back to work and school safely.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said:

I want our roads to be as safe as possible, so during the lockdown we’ve resurfaced hundreds of miles of road. But now I want to go further by identifying critical potholes and ensuring these are fixed as quickly as possible.

We’re teaming up with delivery companies, who know the roads well, in order to map out where remaining potholes exist and then relentlessly target them with our record £2.5 billion to pothole repair fund.

Better road surfaces benefit motorists and cyclists alike ensuring the back to school and work environment is safer for everyone.

Charlie Wren, Director of Operations at Deliveroo, said:

Deliveroo riders go above and beyond to bring people the food they love and this is a great way to make sure they and other road users are safe on the road. We’re looking forward to working with the government on this important scheme to help make the roads safer for Deliveroo riders and others.

Since 2010, the government has provided over £1.2 billion solely to help repair potholes on the local highway network, including £500 million from the £2.5 billion announced in the Budget earlier this year. Safe roads have never been more important, with the government urging commuters, parents and school children to choose to cycle or walk for part or all of their commutes to help ease demand on public transport and travel safely as the country recovers from the pandemic.

Better quality roads will also make it easier, safer and more convenient than ever for people to cycle. The government has previously announced plans to deliver a cycling and walking revolution by investing £2 billion over the next 5 years to support more people to choose active travel and through the launch of our most ambition Cycling and Walking plan ever.

With potholes posing a problem to all road users’ safety, the pothole mapping review will allow for the government to ably target the worst-affected areas, levelling up road quality across the country.

Epsom & Ewell Cllr John Beckett,who is also Surrey County Councillor for Ewell said ”  As we know many of the residential roads of Epsom & Ewell seem to have been forgotten by Surrey Highways. Surrey County Council allocates its local highways budget based on the number of County Cllrs the Borough has, which is 5. Instead of looking at road usage and the miles of roads the borough has, Epsom and Ewell Local Committee is given one of the smallest local highways budgets in the County. This is not good for the residents of the borough as we have some of the most heavily used and congested roads in Surrey.”

With this new project launched by the government it is crucial that we all report the potholes on our roads. To report a pothole to Surrey Highways  CLICK HERE 

Epsom Rotary Club Photographic Winners

THE BEAUTIFUL GARDENS OF EPSOM AND EWELL

During the last few months many of us have turned to gardening to help us through. The happy by-product is that many of us now have lovely gardens, patios & hanging baskets to be proud of! In recognition of these wonderful gardens Epsom Rotary Club ran a ‘Lockdown’ Garden photograph Competition, for the local community, during the months of June & July and the judging has now taken place.

Our judge, the MD of Garden Genies, had an extremely difficult task as the standard of entries was extremely high.  She had to be very critical, even down to who had been most careful about dead-heading the plants in some cases! 

Epsom Rotary Club would like to thanks everyone who sent in photographs of their lovely gardens. Unfortunately there can be only one winner and one runner up in the two categories and they are as follows 

Baskets and Window Boxes Category:

1st prize – “My Little Haven of Calm” by Mrs Jan Evens
2nd prize – “My Patio 2020” by Janice Pond

Gardens Category:

1st prize – “Floriferous Front Garden” by Jamie Barnes
2nd prize – “A Thistle in my Garden” by Alexandra Hendy

Is this yours?

Is this yours? Images released of items recovered by Surrey Police.

Surrey Police have  released images of items that they believe may be stolen in an effort to reunite them with their owners.

The items have been recovered as part of ongoing burglary investigations in the Epsom area.

The items include:

  • A Jo Malone box
  • A black box with a gold coloured rim
  • A black box with an image of a peacock
  • A silver coloured chain with a ‘P’ pendant
  • Two pins in the shape of a leaf
  • A ‘Coronation’ pin badge
  • A black and silver coloured watch
  • A black box with a mosaic rim
  • A James Walker goldsmiths and silversmiths Ltd receipt
  • A certificate of guarantee for Accurist
  • A silver coloured engraved tag

If you recognise any of the items and you have any further information which could help them with their investigation please call 101, quoting reference number PR/ 45200058562.


You can also give information, 100% anonymously, to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111; or through their anonymous online form: https://crimestoppers-uk.org/

Surrey Police would like to take this opportunity to remind you of the following crime prevention advice:

  • Register your valuables using an accredited property database.
  • Take photographs and keep documents like receipts related to your property so you can prove ownership.
  • \Mark your property with a forensic marking product such as www.selectadna.co.uk

For more tips on keeping your belongings safe, visit our website: https://www.surrey.police.uk/cp/crime-prevention/residential-burglary/

 

Epsom and Ewell have the highest levels of life satisfaction within Surrey

People living in Epsom and Ewell have the highest levels of life satisfaction within Surrey, recent government figures show.

The government’s National Wellbeing Measures, which are based on a survey of 139,690 participants across the UK, also show high levels of happiness within the borough.

The levels of life satisfaction are compiled for each local authority in the UK. Epsom and Ewell scored 8 out of 10. Lower levels were recorded for all the neighbouring boroughs – Sutton (7.5), Kingston upon Thames (7.6), Reigate and Banstead (7.7) and Mole Valley (7.7).

Happiness was measured as 7.8 out of 10 for Epsom & Ewell. This compared with Sutton (7.3), Kingston upon Thames (7.3), Reigate and Banstead (7.6) and Mole Valley (7.8).

Levels of stress within the borough were measured as significantly falling from previous years. This was in direct contrast to the rest of the UK which saw average ratings of anxiety increase. Across the country average ratings of life satisfaction and happiness deteriorated; within Epsom & Ewell they increased.

Councillor Barry Nash, Chair of the Community & Wellbeing Committee said “While it is fascinating to compare ourselves with our neighbours, the real purpose of these statistics is for local authorities to measure their performance over a period of years in order to continually improve the services they provide for their residents. Since these figures started being compiled by the Office of National Statistics ten years ago, this borough has seen a steady increase in levels of life satisfaction and happiness.

“There is growing evidence that volunteering and being an active citizen increases an individual’s wellbeing and self-worth. I would like to think this borough with its strong community spirit, recently demonstrated during the lockdown, is one of the factors behind these remarkable statistics.

“It will be naïve to think that these figures, which are for the year ending 30 March, won’t be significantly impacted by the global COVID-19 pandemic and how that has affected borough residents and businesses.

“As things return to a form of normality, the council’s four year plan details the steps the council will take to lead the community into an even brighter future”.

 

Note:Figures are compiled by the Office of National Statistics and cover the period April 2019 to March 2020 (published 30 July 2020). Full details can be found on the Office of National Statistics website

https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/wellbeing/bulletins/measuringnationalwellbeing/april2019tomarch2020

Link to the council four year plan

https://www.epsom-ewell.gov.uk/council/four-year-plan

Volunteering and life satisfaction

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/324988170_Dynamics_of_Volunteering_and_Life_Satisfaction_in_Midlife_and_Old_Age_Findings_from_12_European_Countries

 

Council to respond to Government proposal to increase number of new homes

Epsom & Ewell Borough Council to respond to Government proposal to increase number of new homes

Last week, the government published new proposals for determining the number of additional homes that local authority areas like Epsom and Ewell will be required to deliver.

Household projection data published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) are an important determinant of the housing target that the government sets for each local authority area. These figures will be used by the council as part of the Local Plan which determines planning policy and the amount of housing and associated infrastructure development in the area.

The latest projections (2018) published by ONS show a significant reduction in the projected growth in household numbers in the borough. Using the government’s current method of calculation, based on the 2014 ONS projections, would result in a significant reduction in the borough’s housing target – from 579 homes per year, to just 215 homes per annum.

Councillor David Reeve

Councillor David Reeve, Chair of the Licensing and Planning Policy Committee said “Our residents expect the Local Plan for the local area to be evidenced based and for the housing target to be reflective of local needs. We wrote to the government last month to ask them to adopt the latest ONS projections and accept that, based on the evidence, Epsom and Ewell should only require the much lower target of 215 new homes a year.”

Last week, the government announced proposals to fundamentally change the way they calculate the housing target for each local authority area. Their proposed changes would lead to an even higher government imposed target for Epsom and Ewell of 604 new homes per year.  

Councillor David Reeve added “We are really concerned that these latest government proposals to change the method of calculating the housing target would, if approved, lead to an even larger requirement for new homes in the borough, when the evidence using the current method of calculation together with the latest ONS data provides for a much lower housing target.” 

The council will be preparing its response to the government on its proposed changes to the way that housing targets are calculated.

Link to the government’s white paper and consultation

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/907647/MHCLG-Planning-Consultation.pdf     

The government’s consultation closes at 11:45pm on 29 October 2020.

 

Dangerous understaffing left Surrey short of fire engines during wildfires

Firefighters in Surrey have warned that it is ‘only a matter of time until lives are lost’ after a shortage of firefighters left Surrey Fire and Rescue Service with just one fire engine to cover the entire county, as wildfires tore across the county.

The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has called it a “stark warning” that understaffing can put residents and firefighters at risk.

Up to six fire engines were unavailable in Surrey at any one time over the weekend because of a lack of firefighter crews. The brigade did not meet its minimum safe fire engine availability threshold on Friday or Saturday, leaving dangerously low levels of fire cover for most of the weekend. Figures for Sunday are not currently available.

The service is required to have a minimum of 20 fire engines available during the day and 16 at night. In periods of high demand, such as during a major incident, a minimum of 25-30 fire engines is required during the day and 23 at night.

However, the service had to fight wildfires with as few as 16 fire engines available for the whole county during the daytime and just 13 at night.

Crews from London, Hampshire, West Sussex, and Berkshire had to be brought in to aid the wildfire response or respond to other emergency incidents occurring simultaneously in Surrey.

As few as one fire engine was available to cover other incidents across the county over the weekend, while most crews were fighting wildfires. Several fire engines sat idly in Surrey fire stations as there were no firefighters available to crew them.

Firefighters battling the wildfires reported dangerous conditions without proper welfare measures, working long hours with insufficient numbers of personnel. Crews worked for extended periods in beating heat without food, relief or toilet facilities.

“Terrifyingly close call”

Early on Monday, it took 25 minutes for the first fire engine to reach a bungalow fire with a person reported inside.

Reports of a resident trapped inside turned out to be incorrect, but the FBU has called the fire “a terrifyingly close call” where “someone easily could have died” due to understaffing.

Four fire engines were cut from Surrey Fire and Rescue Service in April, while changes to shift systems has slashed the availability of firefighters. The brigade plans to cut another three fire engines in October.

The county had already cut 175 firefighters and control staff since 2010, a 31% reduction in emergency response personnel.

Surrey firefighters launched a six-month industrial action campaign against the cuts in December 2019 but paused the action due to the coronavirus pandemic. Since then, they have been aiding the coronavirus response locally, while still responding to fires and other emergencies.

In May, the FBU wrote to all four governments in the UK calling for a moratorium on cuts to fire and rescue services, saying that planned cuts, such as those in Surrey, do not account for the resources needed to maintain fire cover during major incidents like wildfires.

Graham Whitfield, Surrey firefighter and FBU brigade secretary, said:

“Firefighters and residents have been left exposed in recent days, with reckless understaffing posing a serious risk to life.

“Surrey Fire and Rescue Service has failed to provide a safe number of fire engines while crews battle one of the biggest protracted incidents we’ve ever seen.

“At times we had just one fire engine covering the whole county whilst all others were deployed to tackle the wildfire. In one case, it took 25 minutes for a fire engine to reach a fire with a person reported inside. Thankfully, there was no one trapped, but had that report been correct, someone easily could have died.

“We have warned again and again that cuts to our service would put people’s lives in danger, and we are sadly being proven right. Another three fire engines are due to be cut in October, which will leave Surrey firefighters even more short-staffed.“

Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, said:

“The situation in Surrey should be a stark warning to brigades and politicians across the country of the consequences of fire cuts.

“A decade of austerity has devastated services. Major prolonged incidents like wildfires are only going to become more likely with climate change, but brigades simply don’t have the resources needed to respond effectively.

“It’s nothing short of a miracle that nobody was seriously hurt in Surrey over the weekend. If plans for more cuts go ahead in October, it’s only a matter of time until lives are lost in a situation like this.”

Virtual Epsom Open Day Showcases ‘The Home Of The Derby’

Racing Welfare is set to host a ‘Virtual Epsom Open Day’ on Bank Holiday Monday 31st August. 

The Racehorse Owners Association (ROA) has been confirmed as headline sponsor of Racing Welfare’s Virtual Epsom Open Day on Bank Holiday Monday 31st August. The FREE to access online event has been created in replacement of the usual Epsom Open Day and race meeting on the August Bank Holiday, which has been cancelled this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Virtual Epsom Open Day – sponsored by ROA – will feature video tours emulating the visitor’s perspective making viewers feel like they are really at the yard. Content on the day will also include Derek Thompson’s ‘Morning Line Reborn’ broadcast live from the Epsom Downs training grounds from 9 – 9.30am, with interviews from trainers and racing staff based within the town. A further live segment giving an insight into what goes on at ‘evening stables’ will be aired from 4pm, hosted by ITV and Racing TV’s Rishi Persad at a local racing yard. Follow Racing Welfare on Facebook to view the live features, as well as other virtual content throughout the day.

Jim Boyle, racehorse trainer at South Hatch Stables, said: “Whilst it’s incredibly disappointing not to be welcoming visitors for the annual Epsom Open Day, we’re delighted to be able to join our fellow trainers in a Virtual Epsom Open Day.  We’re very grateful to Racing Welfare and local councillor Steven McCormick for facilitating this, and hope that members of the public find the virtual tours an enjoyable and informative replacement during these difficult times.”

Running alongside the Virtual Open Day will be a national online auction, which will go live on 27th August until 24th September.  The fantastic lots on offer include a private tour of the National Stud in Newmarket complete with an overnight stay at the historic Jockey Club Rooms, and a 2021 share in a racehorse with the Hot to Trot syndicate. Funds raised will go towards Racing Welfare’s Emergency Appeal, donations to the appeal can be made here: justgiving.com/RWEmergencyAppeal.

Dawn Goodfellow, Chief Executive of Racing Welfare, said: “We are thrilled that, despite being unable to hold the Epsom Open Day in its usual format this year, we are still able to showcase this fantastic racing centre. It is an excellent opportunity to promote the home of the Derby to a much wider audience, I hope everyone enjoys the online offering with interest.”

To register for the event and receive your free online programme or for more information on the Virtual Epsom Open Day please view racingwelfare.co.uk/epsomopenday

Images From Last Years Open Day

 

Racing Welfare

Racing Welfare is the only charity that supports all of racing’s people – including stud, stable and racecourse staff, alongside those working in associated professions – from their recruitment right through into retirement. The charity provides a wide range of advice and guidance services, all of which are completely confidential and non-judgmental.  Support is available for a wide range of life’s challenges, including physical health, mental health, bereavement, careers advice, housing, money advice, illness, addiction, relationships and retirement. Racing Welfare’s services are nationally accessible with offices in all of the main racing centres and roving Welfare Officers covering the whole of the country. 

The charity owns 164 units of accommodation across the UK, with a focus on providing housing for young people working in racing and those who have retired from the industry which are managed by its housing arm, Racing Homes.

Racing’s Support Line, a multi-channel support platform, allows people to contact the charity online as well as through a 24hr telephone line.  

Website: www.racingwelfare.co.uk

Racing’s Support Line: 0800 6300 443

Online self-help resources: www.support.racingwelfare.co.uk

Racing Welfare’s Covid-19 Emergency Appeal

Due to the cancellation of planned fundraising events, Racing Welfare needs to raise £500k this year to fill the income deficit from this source. 

Donate to the Emergency Appeal here:  justgiving.com/RWEmergencyAppeal

Wildfire risk very high on Surrey’s precious heathlands

Surrey Wildlife Trust calls for no campfires, barbeques, cigarettes or litter on heathlands at any time

Surrey Wildlife Trust warns of very high and continuing risk of wildfire on Surrey’s precious heathlands. The wildfire which took hold on Friday 7th August on Sunningdale golf course and, due to strong winds, spread to Chobham Common, destroyed 30 hectares or 74 acres of rare and precious lowland heathland and wildlife habitat on the common alone. The wildfire is still being controlled by fire crews as hot spots reignite.

Chobham Common, the largest National Nature Reserve in the south east of England, is a fragment of previously extensive lowland heathland which is rarer than tropical rainforest and is home to specialist reptiles, protected ground nesting birds and thousands of species of insects which are in decline elsewhere.

When the wildfire jumped the Sunningdale to Chobham Road and reached Chobham Common, the incredible work of Surrey Fire and Rescue and Surrey Wildlife Trust’s firebreaks, where vegetation is closely managed, helped to contain the fire and protect the remaining 500 hectares of the Common.

James Adler, Director of Biodiversity at Surrey Wildlife Trust, said: ‘All Surrey heathland sites are highly vulnerable to heath fires at present. We are very concerned that climate change is leading to an increase in frequency of wildfires, which present a danger to human life, people’s homes as well as wildlife. We hope to work closely with government and other landowners to develop a climate focused adaptation programme, where the risk of wildfire is reduced through a landscape management approach.

“Wildfires are unpredictable, dangerous and particularly damaging to precious habitat, which has taken years of management to get into optimum condition for reptiles, such as, Adders and Sand lizards, as well as Woodlarks and Dartford warblers and thousands of invertebrate species. When these habitats are destroyed by wildfire, it may take many years before the area becomes suitable for them again. If a fire is too big it can wipe out whole populations of species and, due to fragmentation of habitats, it may not be possible for recolonisation to occur.’

Normally at this time of year Chobham Common is a sea of pink and purple heather, buzzing with a kaleidoscope of 29 species of butterfly, including the rare Silver-studded blue. There are 22 types of dragonfly which hover and dart above the heathland pools. One hundred different bird species have been recorded here, including the ground nesting Nightjar which migrates 4,000 miles annually from sub-Saharan Africa to breed on Chobham Common. 

There are 300 species of wildflowers, including the sweeping of purple flowering heather, several species of native orchids and the wetlands’ insect-eating Sundews and rare Marsh gentians. Chobham Common is also one of the best British sites for insects, spiders, ladybirds, bees and wasps. There are also 25 species of mammal here.

People should continue to follow fire service advice and ideally stay south of the M3. Monument and Roundabout car parks are both still closed, while Longcross car park is open. Surrey Wildlife Trust calls for no campfires, barbeques, cigarettes or litter on heathlands at any time.

For more information visit: http://www.surreywildlifetrust.org.uk/nature-reserves/chobham-common

Surrey Wildlife Trust is one of 46 Wildlife Trusts working across the UK. With the invaluable support of volunteers and members we manage over 7000ha of land for wildlife and people in Surrey. We also work with other organisations and landowners to protect and connect wildlife sites across the county and inspire local communities and young people to care for wildlife where they live. surreywildlifetrust.org  

The Wildlife Trusts believe that people need nature and it needs us. We are here to make the world wilder and to make nature part of everyone’s lives. We are a grassroots movement of 46 charities with more than 850,000 members and 38,000 volunteers. No matter where you are in Britain, there is a Wildlife Trust inspiring people and saving, protecting and standing up for the natural world. With the support of our members, we care for and restore special places for nature on land and run marine conservation projects and collect vital data on the state of our seas. Every Wildlife Trust works within its local community to inspire people to create a wilder future – from advising thousands of landowners on how to manage their land to benefit wildlife, to connecting hundreds of thousands of school children with nature every year.  wildlifetrusts.org  

Steve Backshall Visits Hobbledown

He has handled the world’s deadliest animals and travelled to some of the most remote places on earth, yet daredevil Steve Backshall was almost stumped by his latest challenge – rescuing a fairy, trapped in a castle!

The BAFTA-winning adventurer and wildlife expert took on the unusual challenge – a far cry from meeting deadly sharks and snakes – when he visited Hobbledown Adventure Park and Zoo in Epsom, Surrey this week.

Together with his Olympic Gold Medallist wife, Helen Glover, and young family, Steve visited the children’s attraction to open a new giant play castle – part of an £800,000 summer investment at the site.

Alongside the Castle, Hobbledown opened two new animal walkthroughs featuring ring-tailed lemurs and lorikeets to join the other 40 species of animal visible at the park.

After his heroic rescue, Steve said: “I wasn’t sure I could do it at first, it’s not something I’ve trained for but the other kids gave me some good advice and fortunately we made it ok. But it was a tough one!!”

During his visit Steve took time out to try out many of the play features on offer, including the High Ropes Course and Zorbing, and meet many of the animals such as meerkats, lemurs and camels.

Hobbledown is a multi award winning adventure park and zoo which opened in 2012. It is based on a story book of the same and Fern the fairy is one of its characters.

It has won a string of awards including being named a ‘Top UK attraction to take the kids to before they grow up’ by Family Traveller Magazine, and Netmums ‘Best Outdoor Play Venue’.

Play equipment includes secret underground tunnels, climbing equipment, aerial adventure courses and more. And there are more than 40 species of animal in the zoo.

To Find Out More CLICK HERE