At a recent meeting (on computers) Leader of Surrey County Council Councillor Mr Tim Oliver -read out the following –
“The Government has recently announced its intention to publish a Recovery and Devolution
White Paper in the autumn, setting out its plans for the devolution of powers, freedoms and
flexibilities alongside intentions to increase the number of unitary and combined authorities
and elected Mayors. Given the new and growing challenges faced by Surrey, even before
Covid-19, this presents a significant opportunity to better organise local government and local
accountability and engagement with residents in Surrey, in a more effective and financially
sustainable manner. Doing so will support the achievement of the 2030 Community Vision for
Surrey as a uniquely special place, where enabling long term inclusive growth and tackling
the inequalities that continue to exist in the county ensures everyone has a great start to life,
people live healthy and fulfilling lives, are enabled to achieve their full potential and no one is
So what does this mean? More changes ahead – this time to clear out layers of bureaurocracy and challenges – in this case – to planning scrutiny.
Surrey is not a Unitary authority – we have 3 layers – County, Borough and Parish. There are 11 Boroughs including Waverley and they have responsibility for planning matters. Except there are many parts of the planning system that are not in their power to affect especially roads and transport issues. These are Surrey’s and they rarely if ever declare a planning application will cause traffic and transport problems – which means that Waverley does not have a leg to stand on and has to grant permissions even though the impact is not wanted by its electorate.
Surrey Leader has written to the Secretary of State asking for Surrey to become a Unitary Authority: and in the letter he includes this sentence:-
“We can build more homes more quickly and develop the high streets and town centres of the future,
but to do this we need to streamline decision making on planning and infrastructure with a single clear
strategic approach. We can tackle inequality and level up within Surrey to ensure inclusive growth. We
can reach net zero carbon emissions and deliver a greener future. Our One Surrey Growth Board is
well-placed to provide the place-oriented leadership and strategic co-ordination to deliver this.”
Surrey County Council has only had one term when Labour party held the majority – since the 1880s.
New lines might be drawn on the map to change where the votes come from – maybe divide Surrey into 2 or 3.
Have a look and think – how do I feel about all this – we are hoping that the Parish Councils would be strengthened and that Surrey Would truly listen…
have a good week
best of wishes from the team