Have your say on the Earlswood Lakes Crematorium!

The plans for a crematorium have been submitted by Reigate and Banstead Council to be built on public access fields opposite Earslwood Lakes. The proposed construction site is a dynamic, bio-diverse patch of Greenbelt popular with dog walkers and local wildlife alike. There is no substantial evidence supporting the claim that a crematorium is needed here, nor any indication that other locations were at least considered. In recent years, local initiatives have encouraged the endangered yellowhammer back into the area among other wildlife by planting hedgerows. The construction of the site will not only destroy this habitat but also contribute to the traffic issues on the adjacent road. If you want to have your voice heard on this issue, follow this link: Reigate and Banstead Borough Council.


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Harlequin Hosts Fantastic Charity

Cllr Sue Sinden from Redhill East supporting Stripey Stork

Councillor Sue Sindon from Redhill East has been helping at the Harlequin which, in a year without a panto, has turned to other means to continue spreading the Christmas cheer. The Harlequin’s auditorium is now home to Stripey Stork, a charity dedicated to making sure everyone can experience the joys of Christmas. Stripey Stork re-homes unwanted toys and delivers them to families who are struggling. This year has been particularly hard for many families and Stripey Stork provides some much needed levity in these long winter months, embodying the Christmas spirit. Each year Stripey Stork provides gifts to thousands of local children who wouldn’t otherwise be able to experience the joy of opening a present on the 25th of December. The charity relies totally on volunteers so if you live in the local area and want to help out or donate some of your own toys follow this link to find out how: StripeyStork.com

The window for donations closes on the 18th December so be quick and don’t miss out on your opportunity to do your bit this year.

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Councillor Hal Brown Steps Down

Hal Brown, councillor for Earlswood & Whitebushes, has stepped down due to the pressure of work and a young family in the pandemic. We are very grateful for Hal’s 2 years of service as a ward councillor and wish him well. Councillor Ruth Ritter continues working on behalf of Earlswood & Whitebushes residents, supported by County Councillor Jonathan Essex (for North Earlswood). Please direct any questions to Ruth or Jonathan.

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Council plans new crematorium on Green Belt

Photo of Cllr Jonathon Essex and Cllr Ruth Ritter at the proposed site.

Reigate and Banstead council is proposing to build and run a crematorium opposite Earlswood Lakes. Following the Council’s Zoom consultation, Green councillors are calling for proper assessment of wildlife and Green Belt impacts, improvements to junctions with A23 and A217 and a pedestrian crossing to Earlswood Lakes as part of the scheme – and asking why the Green Belt here is considered better to build on than elsewhere.

Let us know your views in a comment down below or send a message to your Councillor via email or Twitter. We will keep this section updated with information.


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The government’s planning proposals: wrong answers based on wrong assumptions

I am compiling a response from the local Green Party to the Government’s ‘Planning for the future’ policy proposals – please send me your thoughts before Thursday, 29 October and I will try to include all useful contributions in our response.

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New planning rules a cynical attempt to assist big housebuilders

Recent changes to planning law brought in by Conservative governments mean that our Council is losing control over developments in our towns. ‘Permitted development rights’, which allow office blocks (not just empty ones) to be converted into flats have led to some becoming modern-day slums which have had a detrimental effect on the mental and physical health of their occupants.

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Summary of Jonathan Essex’s questions at County Council meeting

Surrey County Council’s big transport investment plans fly in the face of Climate Emergency

Despite declaring a Climate Emergency last year, Surrey County Council’s coronavirus recovery plans seem to have ignored climate and other environmental considerations while applying for much-needed government funding. Green Party Councillor Jonathan Essex (Redhill East) raised the issue at a council meeting this week, questioning why £42m in road infrastructure investments did not include a formal environmental or sustainability report, as mandated by the council’s Climate Change Strategy.

Jonathan also sought to affirm the council’s commitment to promoting reuse and retrofitting, rather than new builds, via support for the #RetroFirst campaign from the Architects Journal (see https://www.architectsjournal.co.uk/news/retrofirst). The Climate Change Strategic Board has pledged to consider this at their next meeting.

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Green Councillors respond to call for food bank donations

During this period of lockdown, food bank donations have decreased while demand for donations has reached record levels. Throughout this time of hardship more and more people have found themselves relying on food banks to support themselves and their families, but as money gets tighter, fewer people have been able to do donate resulting in a crisis at food banks.

Green councillor for Earlswood and Whitebushes, Ruth Ritter

Green councillor for Redhill East, Sue Sinden

Green councillors Sue Sinden (Redhill East) and Ruth Ritter (Earslwood and Whitebushes) have stepped up with others to support Reigate and Banstead’s call for donations to the central food bank at The Harlequin. By setting up collection boxes in their gardens, it allowed people who were less mobile/higher risk to donate without having to travel into Redhill town centre.

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Three green things to keep you entertained this lockdown season

1. Hope for the Future’s Webinar Series

The webinar series from Hope for the Future brings together the views of environmental, climate, health and social experts on the impacts of COVID-19. The series covers how we can move forward with an environmental perspective; the role of UK politicians in recovering from the crisis; and the alternatives to COP26 climate talks following its postponement. It encourages interaction from those participating and provides a space where your questions can be answered by experts. The live shows are free to participate in and will continue through to July.

The series is available live on https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/hope-for-the-future-17742422623. If you cannot make the live broadcast, it is recorded and available on their YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHF4s9laXn3sgn7RVN3yh9A

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Green Councillor makes emergency cycling and walking investment proposals

New cycle lanes on London’s Park Lane. Source: Redhillandreigatelife.co.uk

As part of the coronavirus emergency response, central government has made money available for local authorities to make changes to the road network to make it easier for people to walk and cycle.

East Surrey Green Party consulted our members and local cycling campaigners and sustainable travel champions and pulled together a set of recommendations of how this could be done in Reigate & Banstead.

We have submitted this to Surrey County Council.  Green County Councillor Jonathan Essex will work with council officers and others to push for these improvements to be made.

Link to submission: http://redhillgreens.org.uk/downloads/cycling-and-walking-proposals-to-scc-3june20.pdf

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