Message from the Leader - January
Happy New Year!
Cllr Michael new
2018 was undeniably a year of rancour and division in national politics, a year when the country seemed more divided and less tolerant than ever and, as we enter 2019, I am pleased to see that many commentators are urging us to set our differences to one side and come together in the national interest. Since becoming Leader of MVDC, I have consistently called for District councillors of all political parties (and of none) to work together in a spirit of collaboration. I believe that this approach is not only in best interests of our communities but it's what our residents both expect and deserve and I firmly believe this sort of constructive approach is more important than ever in these uncertain and financially challenging times.
The MVDC Cabinet that I lead includes both Conservative and Independent councillors and we are showing that collaboration really does work as we continue to pursue the policies that have made MVDC one of the country's top performing local authorities.
A summary of our achievements and objectives for the future can be found on the council's website
MVDC councillors have taken this a step further in recent weeks by unanimously supporting a Motion expressing our concern about Surrey County Council's consultations on the future of Children's Centres (CCs) and Community Recycling Centres (CRCs) in the District. I have now written to SCC's Leader, Councillor Tim Oliver, on behalf of the Council to detail these concerns and our view that both consultations are seriously flawed.
A copy of my letter, agreed with the other Group Leaders at MVDC, Cllrs David Hawksworth and Stephen Cooksey, can be found on the council's website.
MVDC strongly opposes the closure of the Leatherhead CC, any significant reductions in funding for children's services in the District and the proposed closure of the Dorking CRC.
The proposed closure of the Leatherhead CC completely ignores the fact that there are a significant number of children in need in north Leatherhead, children whose families would find it difficult if not impossible to access support further afield. In the longer term there may well be an innovative solution which enables a wide range of services to be delivered and even improved at a reduced cost but, in the short term, the proposals will undoubtedly result in significant gaps in provision with a detrimental impact on many families and the loss of key staff who have spent many years building up the trust of the communities in which they work.
We recognise that SCC needs to make significant savings but these significant decisions regarding the future of the CCs and the CRCs have been taken without any prior engagement or consultation with MVDC. We want to engage positively with SCC to explore how best to mitigate the results of changes being contemplated in all five areas. In particular, we want to identify ways in which we can retain adequately funded CCs in Leatherhead and Dorking as well as the Dorking CRC. As I said at the beginning, I'm a firm believer in collaboration and it's needed now more than ever.
Councillor Vivienne Michael
Leader of the Council
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