Author Archives: Councillor Jonathan Essex

Recycling or incineration? Surrey’s waste turning point

Would you put a bit of effort into separating out your recycling if it meant less need for incineration? Do doorstep collections work best or should residents be asked to take recycling to centres? Do you agree that we might need to build a new waste facility on the Green Belt? Choices we make now […]

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Surrey County Council plans 15% council tax hike

Surrey County Council wants to raise its Council Tax by 15% in the next financial year. The proposal will be tabled at the annual budget-setting meeting on 7 February. Any Council Tax increase of more than 2% must be put to residents to vote. So if this is agreed, a referendum will take place on […]

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Tackling homelessness locally – our response

Reigate and Banstead Borough Council recently consulted on its proposed new Homelessness Strategy. The Council’s review highlights two underlying problems that are making homelessness worse in Reigate and Banstead: increased termination of private rented tenancies, and rising rent prices and a persistent lack of affordable homes. We responded, welcoming the measures set out in their […]

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The Autumn Statement: my response

I had hopes for the Autumn Statement. The Local Government Association and Surrey County Council had talked up the massive funding gap to local councils and social care, which is making 4% a year council tax rise the new normal. And the UK government had, just a week ago ratified the Paris Climate Change Agreement. […]

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Climate Local: which way will Conservative councillors vote?

Tonight Reigate and Banstead Borough Council will vote on a recommendation by the Executive NOT to sign up to the ‘Climate Local’ initiative. Climate Local is an initiative run by the Local Government Association and the Environment Agency to encourage and support local Councils to take action on climate change [1]. I introduced a Motion suggesting […]

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Earlswood Lakes: how was decision to allow boating made?

Many residents have contacted us about their concerns over recent developments at Earlswood Lakes. The Council is awarding new contracts for catering at the Lakes, including the reintroduction of boating on the top lake. Boating was stopped years ago and since then the lake has been managed for wildlife.  It is part of a Local […]

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Reigate and Banstead can choose to invest to make our services better and living here more affordable

This is the speech I made in response to Reigate & Banstead Borough Council’s budget proposal at last night’s Council meeting. (Please see the footnotes for references and further information.) I will start by thanking officers for their work preparing this financially sound budget. Yet our strong financial position includes money not yet used, which […]

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The Government should not force Surrey to make frontline cuts

Today was the annual budget-setting meeting for Surrey County Council.  This is the speech I made. I cannot support this budget.  As an opposition member here in Surrey I only get to vote on the budget envelope rather than on what’s inside. This budget hides all the details which could mean deeper cuts to care […]

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Marketfield Way: why no affordable housing?

At the Reigate & Banstead Borough Council Executive meeting last Thursday, the Conservatives announced the next phase of plans to develop on Marketfield Way car park in Redhill. The latest proposals added a few extra storeys to the plans previously unveiled – it will now be up to ten storeys – and included agreement that […]

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Greens oppose Airport City Gatwick plans

I am supporting residents opposed to the construction of a 172-acre business park to the east of Horley. Although I serve on both Surrey and Reigate and Banstead Councils, the first I heard about this was when the proposal for ‘Airport City Gatwick’ came to Reigate and Banstead’s Executive last week for agreement – you […]

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