Local elections 2021: Meet our candidates

Local elections are coming! Borough and County Council seats are up for election on 6 May this year.

We have some excellent candidates standing in and around Redhill and hope to increase our team of hard-working, independent-minded Green councillors on both the Borough and County Councils. The Conservatives have a strong majority on both Councils and that’s not likely to change this year. A strong Green opposition will mean better Council decisions.

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Wildlife-friendly public spaces: progress but more urgency needed

Cllr Stephen McKenna

In September 2019, after Surrey County Council had adopted a policy for improving biodiversity in open spaces, Green councillor Stephen McKenna formally proposed that Reigate & Banstead Borough Council should adopt similar measures. These are important particularly to benefit pollinators, which are in serious decline.

His motion called for the timing and frequency of grass cutting to be reduced at public open spaces to enable recovery of wildlife. He also proposed that the use of the toxic herbicide glyphosate be ceased.

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Redhill Aerodrome: hard runway allowed, but Green Cllr wins important condition

Cllrs Steve McKenna & and Jonathan Essex with Green MEP Keith Taylor and residents campaigning at Redhill Aerodrome

Residents living around Redhill Aerodrome – which sits between South Nutfield and Earlswood – have fought destructive development plans for decades. The threats have included a hard runway – which would allow an intensification of flying at this rural location, with more and larger planes and year-round flying, which is currently impossible on the grass runway. Recently, there was a proposal to replace the aerodrome with a ‘Garden Village’ of circa 4,000 new homes.

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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.

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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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