Message from the Leader - 29th May

We continue to work on recovery in all areas of our business, including the re-opening of Dorking Halls. Thank you to all the Dorking Halls customers who completed the recent ‘After The Interval’ survey issued at the end of April. Your honest responses are useful as we plan for the future.

This week our Economic Development team will be writing to all town centres businesses in both our towns and larger villages to update them on what steps they need to take in order to re-open safely from the 15th June onwards (if they choose to). Our Planning and Environmental Health services will assist in facilitating the managed re-opening of the local economy by providing businesses with the specific advice they need to comply with social distancing and by making the regulations around changes less onerous.

We will be asking about businesses own ideas for trading in this new normal and an update from them on the challenges they are facing. We have been allocated a fund of £76,828 from the Government to establish a safe trading environment for businesses and customers on our High Streets, more details on this funding will follow.

In the future, we wish to embed some of the practices that have seen benefits to the environment during this unusual time, particularly around less use of motor vehicles and the reduction in air pollution. This provides us with an opportunity to work with our colleagues at Surrey County Council to seek to ensure that we do what we can to encourage more people to walk and cycle rather than use their cars.

In Well-being we are addressing accommodation for the homeless and rough sleepers and how best to use community transport and beginning to discuss how to open facilities such as our leisure centres. We continue our extensive work with community groups and supporting the district’s vulnerable people.  There is significant work that will continue post lockdown with those people identified as vulnerable during this pandemic.

Whilst these beautiful, sunny days continue, we do appreciate people not heading to the most famous and crowded local beauty spots. They are, as I’m sure you have all seen, difficult to navigate safely when too many people attend.  As residents you will know the less visited, equally beautiful spots where social distancing is easier. We are aware of how overcrowded some areas of our district were last weekend and are working on convening a meeting with key stakeholders to address residents’ concerns.

Finally a thank you to everyone who has experienced changes to their waste rounds in the last week, these changes went smoothly and we appreciate everyone’s co-operation.