Published Thursday, 10 January 2019

Waverley Borough Council submitted its response to Surrey County Council’s consultation on five proposals designed to help reduce the council’s large budget gap.

The five-page detailed response, from Councillor Julia Potts, Leader of the Council and Tom Horwood, Chief Executive, said it was vital the two organisations worked together with other partner agencies to find solutions to provide ‘sustainable quality services at less cost.’

Councillor Potts said: “We fully appreciate the county council has a severe and urgent funding gap and we are committed to working with them to find ways of maintaining sustainable services for our residents. 

“Many local authorities are in a similar position, including Waverley; our projections, based on what we currently know, show we will have to reduce our budget by more than 25% over the next four years. But by working together, learning from each other and sharing our problems we can find shared solutions. Being inventive, pooling resources and coming up with creative solutions could help to bridge the gap.”

The council’s response pointed out that Waverley is the county’s largest borough and has a strong rural character, which poses specific challenges in terms of isolation, infrastructure and support to vulnerable people. It also highlighted specific concerns about the proposals, which included cuts to community recycling centres, children’s centres, concessionary bus travel, libraries and cultural services. These concerns included:

  • By closing community recycling centres, the borough could experience more fly tipping at the borough’s Bring Sites and green spaces and, due to residents having to travel further to get to a recycling centre, this would have a negative impact on traffic congestion, volume, accident levels and air pollution. There was also concern it may affect the borough’s recycling levels and that planned development in both Cranleigh and Dunsfold will increase demand for a recycling centre in the area.
  • Reducing the number of children’s centres would have a detrimental impact on residents living in rural areas, who need the services. Due to the low level of public transport in the area, families would struggle to reach other remaining centres and become isolated.
  • Cutting concessionary bus travel would impact some of the most vulnerable people who rely on the service to get to work and around the borough, including disabled people.
  • Rather than closing library services, which could cause isolation and put pressure on other public services, the council would like to see the facilities used as an opportunity to work with partner organisations, including parish councils, to create community hubs.

Waverley Borough Council also welcomed the county council’s new strategy and focus on special educational needs and disabilities, agreeing there is not enough support in this area.

Councillor Potts added: “We hope that the county council will take all our concerns on board and we will continue to engage with the county, parish councils and other public and voluntary services to help find solutions.”

To see the full response visit: www.waverley.gov.uk/consultationresponses

Notes to Editors

The consultation feedback will be used to shape recommendations to be considered by Surrey County Council's Cabinet on Tuesday 29 January.

For further information contact:

Tel: 01483  523296

Web : www.waverley.gov.uk

Email: communications@waverley.gov.uk