Tag Archives: shbc

Borough Council Elections 2015

Voters in Surrey Heath have chosen their new Borough Councillors, to represent their area at Borough level.

Following the election on 7 May 2015, 40 councillors were elected to cover the borough’s 16 wards.

The council’s political make up is now 36 Conservative councillors, 2 Independent, 1 Labour and 1 Liberal Democrat.

As the majority party, the Conservatives will run the council for the next four years.

The first meeting of the full council will take place on Wednesday 20 May in the Council Chamber at Surrey Heath House.

To view the council election results, go to: www.surreyheath.gov.uk/council

Council secures prosecution against hotel over food poisoning

SHBCA hotel in Camberley has been ordered to pay a total of £72,000 in fines and costs for food safety breaches following a successful prosecution by Surrey Heath Borough Council.

The council’s environmental health team carried out an investigation into reports that 46 of 89 guests at a wedding party at Frimley Hall Hotel suffered food poisoning after consuming chicken liver parfait served by the hotel on 28 May 2011.

The hotel operator Macdonald Frimley Hall Limited pleaded guilty at Guildford Magistrates’ Court on 12 February 2013 to two charges which included serving chicken liver parfait despite it being in an unsafe condition and harmful to health.

The second charge related to a failure to identify potential food safety hazards that could arise from the parfait so that steps can be taken to reduce or eliminate risk.

Tim Pashen, the council’s executive head of community, said: “Chicken liver is a well-publicised potential source of Campylobacter food poisoning and it is essential that such high risk products are cooked to a sufficient temperature and held at that temperature long enough to reasonably eliminate safety risks.

“In this case, the parfait had been cooked at too low a heat and there was no recording system in place to check how long it had been held at the necessary temperature. The recipe was new to the hotel and no regard had been given to clear and publicised warnings from the Food Standards Agency concerning the need to undertake rigorous checks.”

The judge commented that the failures had resulted in an ‘entirely foreseeable outcome’.

Macdonald Frimley Hall Limited was fined £15,000 for the first charge and £2,000 for the second. The company also agreed to pay Surrey Heath Borough Council £55,000 in respect of its costs of bringing the prosecution.

Cllr Vivienne Chapman, community portfolio holder said: “The council takes food safety very seriously. It will take the necessary enforcement action where there are breaches of legislation, especially when detrimental to people’s health. The efforts of our environmental health team led to this successful prosecution which resulted in substantial fines.”

Awards for sports success! – Photo blog

The winners of the Surrey Heath Sports Awards were announced at a special ceremony this week (23 October).

Organised by Surrey Heath Borough Council, the awards honour people from all over the borough who have excelled in sports including football, judo and netball.

Nominations were put forward by local clubs, coaches, schools and National Governing Bodies (NGBs).

Held at the Camberley Theatre, the awards ceremony was attended by hundreds of players, coaches and volunteers, as well as the Mayor of Surrey Heath, Councillor Tim Dodds who presented a number of awards.

Councillor Dodds said: “We’re delighted with the outstanding level of talent highlighted at the awards which is a great way to celebrate the success of the borough’s sporting stars. I would like to congratulate all the winners who are fantastic role models. They should all feel very proud of their hard work and achievements.”

All award winners will be automatically entered into the county-wide Surrey Sports Awards which in 2010 saw Surrey Heath land five category winners.

The Surrey Heath Sports Awards were kindly supported this year by the Arena Leisure Centre, Catch Telecom, Dayla, Lifestyle Fitness Lightwater, Multisports 4 Schools, Pennyhill Park Hotel, HigherGround Flooring and the council’s Greenspace team.

List of winners:
Young Sports Team: Surrey Heath Scorpions under 14s (Netball)
Sports Team: Camberley Judo Club Elite Team
Sports Club: L&G Acrobatic Gymnastics Club, Camberley
Disability Sports Award: Natasha Hall (R-U-Able2)
Young Volunteer of the Year: Chloe Balcombe (Netball)
Coach of the Year: Gemma Evans (Gymnastics)
Young Sports Personality: Jessica Carl (Judo)
Sports Personality: Alistair Rice (Gymnastics)
Outstanding Service: David Dimsdale (Cricket)

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Deepcut plans move forward

deepcutThe future development of Deepcut village took a major step forward last week when the Executives at Surrey Heath Borough Council and Guildford Borough Council agreed to adopt The Deepcut Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) as interim planning guidance.

The SPD is a joint document developed between Surrey Heath and Guildford Borough Councils in close consultation with residents; its primary purpose is to provide guidance on what type of development is best for Deepcut and set out design principles for the new settlement.

Surrey Heath Borough Council’s Head of Planning, Development and Homes, in consultation with the Built Environment Portfolio Holder, was authorised to approve the wording of those changes to the document agreed at the meeting. Guildford Borough Council’s Head of Planning Services, in consultation with the Lead Councillor for Planning and Development was also authorised to make any minor amendments to the guidance as required.

Surrey Heath’s portfolio holder for the built environment, Councillor Liane Gibson said: “The Deepcut development will be the largest single development that Surrey Heath has ever seen.

“We need to make sure that the new settlement accommodates existing residents, meets the Council’s Core Strategy and fulfils the Governments housing expectations for Surrey Heath”.

Lead Councillor for Planning and Development at Guildford Borough Council, Councillor Jenny Wicks, says: “We are working with Surrey Heath Borough Council to plan a development that meets the needs of local people and takes account of their views.”

For more information on the Deepcut SPD see: www.surreyheath.gov.uk/deepcut

There is also a Facebook page (Deepcut Development) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/deepcutdev) where you can get all the latest news and developments.

Let’s pay councillors properly

Councillors Heathscene Summer 11Flicking through my free local-paper-knacking “Heathscene” the other day, I gazed upon the serried ranks of our proud elected members. I was moved to do some extremely basic analysis – it’s based purely on looks, so I apologise in advance if any of it’s wrong.

Of our 40 Councillors, 26 (65%) are male and 14 (35%) female. This is slightly better than the national average (68-32), which is positive (and unexpected) for Surrey Heath.

Less positive is the representation of BAME (black and minority ethnic) members. Again, I’m only going on visuals here, so apologies if I get this wrong, but it appears that only one member (and a Lightwater one at that) is from a visible minority. You might be surprised to learn (or maybe not) that nationally 96.6% of members are white (it’s 98.5% in Surrey Heath), so we’re not too far off the mark there. 95% of the population of Surrey Heath (as of 2001) were white, so this isn’t quite as bad as it looks.

What really made me look twice was the age balance. Every single Councillor is (or, at least, looks) over 40; I estimate that 22 (55%) are over 60. Again, that’s not surprising; the average age of a Councillor in England and Wales is just short of 59.

So, you might think that Surrey Heath was doing well; very much an “average borough”. But are a bunch of 59 year olds truly representative of the local people? The mode age of Surrey Heath is 38 – but as we’ve seen, there aren’t ANY 38 year olds on the council. Why not?

Well, to be a Councillor is quite a commitment. Although some work harder than others (as with anything), there’s still a whole load of committees, documents, decisions to be made – not to mention providing a range of advice and advocacy for local people. And your reward for this? A mighty £4,752, which is supposed to cover Councillor’s expenses (I would be surprised if it does). Most people who are Councillors do it when they’re retired, yet still sprightly enough to offer something to the role; which is good of them, but do we instead need a more dynamic, forward-thinking, dare I say “professional” Councillor?

A regular moan from the right-wing press is about the size of “council chief’s salaries”, a usual whinge being that some earn more than the PM (none get a massive house in Westminster and a stately home in Bucks, nor chauffeurs and security, nor an enormo-pension, nor lucrative publishing/speaking deals afterwards, but hey ho). Personally I think that if we value public services we want the best people doing them; and to attract the best people, we need to pay them a decent salary.

And that counts for Councillors too. We’re asking them to make some extremely significant decisions; essentially to decide the direction of million/billion pound organisations, and paying them tuppence ha’penny. If you’re an intelligent 38 year old with a family, political skills, and managerial nous, why would you choose to be a Councillor on £4k instead of a manager on £75k?

So my proposal is this. Pay Councillors somewhere in the region of £75k per annum, more if they’re in the cabinet. Make their jobs full-time. Realise the savings as the brightest and best compete to work as a Councillor (and the really good ones become MPs). Elected Police chiefs will earn £130k – why not elected Leaders? Ditch all the old duffers, set in their ways, devoid of energy and creativity.

Now you might think that we can’t possibly afford this. So why not put these Councillors – who are elected to make the difficult decisions about public service – in place of some of those “highly-paid council officers”? In the USA elections are held for most senior posts in local administrations – what could be more democratic? Don’t like the way local parks are run? Vote for a new head of Leisure!

Maybe we should be asking ‘what drives someone to become a politician?” I have a horrible feeling it’s the drug of power, and money is irrelevant; this then attracts the power-hungry rather than the more measured individual we might need to make a success of a senior management post.

Whatever, one of big democratic deficits in this country, and exemplified in the recent riots, is the disconnect young people feel with the democratic process. They feel disenfranchised and distant from the political process; and this is only exemplified when the see all their Councillors are old and grey. Maybe the promise of a proper reward – not to mention some decent role models blazing a trail – would encourage more young people to take note of local democracy, and ideally begin to get involved.

Our guest blogger is Chris Williams creator of the leftoflightwater blog

Further planning consultation on housing targets – Surrey Heath

SHBCSurrey Heath Borough Council is asking people for their views on revisions to the proposed housing numbers in its Core Strategy, the
planning blueprint for the borough for the period up to 2028.

Following a recent public examination of the Surrey Heath Core Strategy, the Planning Inspector expressed concerns that the current allocation of 147 new homes per year is too low, being below both the South East Plan allocation and the identified level of need. He indicated that there is a significant risk the Core Strategy will be found unsound if the housing allocation is not increased.

The Council is now seeking people’s views on proposals to address the
Inspector’s concerns by increasing the housing allocation to 190 new
homes each year.

Surrey Heath’s portfolio holder for the built environment, Cllr Liane Gibson said: “This is an important opportunity for people to express
their views. We undertook a consultation about the Core Strategy during 2010 on which many people commented, but I want to emphasise that this time we are asking for people to comment on the revised overall housing numbers to be delivered in the borough and their broad locations.”

The consultation takes place up to 11 July 2011. A comments form for
responses and the consultation documents can be downloaded from the council’s website at: www.surreyheath.gov.uk/corestrategy

Should you require a paper copy of either the comments form or the
consultation documents, email planning.policy@surreyheath.gov.uk or call 01276 707222.

Surrey Heath’s newly elected councillors get down to business

Following the election on 5 May, the council’s political make up is now 35 Conservative councillors, 2 Independent, 2 Labour and 1 Liberal Democrat. As the majority party, the Conservatives will run the council for the next four years.

The first meeting of the full council took place on Wednesday 18 May in the Council Chamber at Surrey Heath House.

First on the agenda was to appoint a new Mayor. Councillor Tim Dodds was sworn in for the ensuing year, receiving the Mayoral robe and chain of office. He succeeds Councillor John May who carried out duties as Mayor of Surrey Heath during the past year.

Councillor Moira Gibson was appointed for a four year term of office to chair an Executive of six Conservative councillors under new strong leader and cabinet model of executive arrangements. They will make many of the decisions of the council on key services such as leisure, housing and environment.

In addition councillors have been appointed to a number of other council committees, such as those that make decisions on planning applications or which carry out studies into major topics.

For information on committees and councillors’ contact details visit http://www.surreyheath.gov.uk

New Mayor appointed for Surrey Heath

39th Mayor of Surrey Heath - Cllr Tim DoddsSurrey Heath’s 39th Mayor has been named as Councillor Tim Dodds at the Borough Council’s Annual Meeting on Wednesday 18 May 2011. He has lived in Lightwater for over 25 years and has been a Councillor for the Lightwater ward since 2007. He was last year’s Deputy Mayor.

Councillor Dodds is married to Janina, who will support him as Mayoress in his mayoral duties.

Councillor Dodds was born in Wolverhampton and moved to the south when he was in his 20s. Now retired Tim used to work for a number of companies in managerial roles in marketing.

He has served on various council committees, including Leisure and Environment Scrutiny Committee, Standards Committee, Local Development Framework Working Group and Fairoaks Airport Consultative Committee.

The new Mayor said: “It is a huge honour to have been elected as Mayor of Surrey Heath and I have a hard act to follow in last years Mayor, Councillor John May.

“I want to be a digitally aware Mayor, by tweeting, using Facebook and continuing with my blog, with the aim of connecting with the whole community, including young people and silver surfers.”

The Mayor’s charities this year, that he will be raising money for are Home Start Surrey Heath and Christopher’s Smile.

The new Deputy Mayor of Surrey Heath is expected to be announced at a later date.

Further information on The Mayor of Surrey Heath and his nominated charities can be found on the Surrey Heath website – www.surreyheath.gov.uk

Alternatively call 01276 707331, or email mayor@surreyheath.gov.uk

Tim Dodds blog is: lightwater.wordpress.com and his twitter address is @timdodds

Heatherside community space – Works begin in weeks

SHBCWork to create a new village green community space at Heatherside Recreation Ground is scheduled to start in the last week of February and is expected to open in April.

The new family-focused space will feature an outdoor gym, skatepark, a seated area and a brand new children’s play area following removal of the existing playground.

Residents in Heatherside were closely involved in helping to shape the space. Following consultation in 2009, the community said their preference was for a new Village Green area with skateboarding facilities.

The artists’ impression below gives an idea of how the layout will look after the work is completed.

Heatherside Play Area