WELCOME TO MY WEEKLY UPDATE NO.242.
This week has been a total nightmare for many residents in Surrey because of a water outage that started on Saturday afternoon. At time of writing, supply has resumed (except for parts of Bramley I’m afraid) but the impact on businesses, schools and families was horrendous. As I wrote in my Herald this week and spoke about on BBC Surrey (at 1hr 50mins), I was in close contact with Al Cochran, CEO of Thames Water. There are now several questions for Thames Water as we just cannot allow this to happen again. Away from Surrey a big week in Westminster with the State Opening of Parliament and the King’s Speech as I explain in this video.
WHAT’S GOING ON IN WESTMINSTER
KING’S SPEECH I have witnessed many State Openings but this was genuinely historic: the first King’s Speech for seven decades – and tinged with great sadness at the loss of her late Majesty. There were some truly historic announcements (not that the media was in a mood to credit the government) such as the legal framework to make Britain one of the first countries to allow driverless cars and the end of smoking for anyone 14 or under. We should remember that even though Surrey is one of the safest areas of the country there is a lot of public worry about crime so there were a lot of law and order bills. Total crime (including burglaries) has halved since 2010 and we want to keep going in the right direction.
GROWING THE ECONOMY Lots too for the Chancellor to celebrate on the economy, including strong messages about supporting the Bank of England to bring down inflation. We have decarbonised faster than any other G7 economy but there is still lots more to do so there will be a number of measures to attract investment in renewables and make sure we keep the carbon footprint of fossil fuels we do use as low as possible by using our own ones rather than imports - something that is also critical for energy security. We will also give lots more support (and watch this space in the Autumn Statement) for our fastest growing industries as we did at the AI summit last week.
REMEMBRANCE SUNDAY Ahead of Remembrance Sunday when I will be with the Prime Minister at the Cenotaph, I had the solemn and important duty this week of planting a cross in the Parliament Remembrance Garden to honour local veterans and the sacrifices they made. It feels to me wholly unnecessary to disrupt Armistice Day with protest marches and like many I am really disappointed at the lack of respect involved. After all, the only reason we enjoy freedoms such as the freedom to protest was because so many of our forebears made the ultimate sacrifice.
WHAT’S GOING ON LOCALLY
WATER SUPPLY As reported on Sky News, BBC, The Telegraph, and The Times, after a nightmare of a weekend for the thousands in Surrey left with little or no water, thankfully the issues appear (in the main) to have been resolved. However, as I also wrote in this week’s Herald, I think there are some big questions Thames Water need to consider for the future. Firstly, why did this happen? There was a massive impact on schools, pubs and other businesses so how can we stop it happening again? Secondly, on how the water stations worked: it took an age to get the second one at Artington (and then the Sainsbury’s one) up and running so the centre of Godalming was overwhelmed in the meantime - and why did we close the Crown Court water station overnight? Thirdly communications: I was in close contact with Al Cochran, CEO of Thames Water, and I know he was working through the weekend night and day on the issue but initially we didn’t know what had happened and the deadlines by when things would be fixed were constantly shifting. My comments on BBC Surrey here. I have invited Al Cochrane to Surrey for a public meeting to discuss further and will let you know details when time and date are fixed. In the meantime, if anyone does experience any further difficulty please do get in touch with my team and we will do what we can to help. Finally, I must say a massive thank you to everyone who helped and looked out for the vulnerable and elderly in our community.
A POSITIVE FESTIVE NOTE Ticket sales are ramping up for the Friends of the Cancer & Surgical Innovation Campaign's next musical event, 'A Positive Festive Note'. This fun and entertaining evening will feature singers from: Weydon School, Farnham & Bourne Choral Society, Harmonix and The Royal Surrey Choir. It takes place at 7.30pm on Friday 8th December at The Medici Theatre, Weydon School. Doors open at 7.00pm and there is both a bar and a raffle. With tickets at just £10.00 each, why not book your seats now and invite the whole family to this jolly, festive evening of music and song? Visit https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/royal-surrey-charity to buy your tickets. I hope to see you there!
GREEN SPACES - LITTER PICKS Great community spirit in Farnham last week – made even better by a coffee at the wonderful Barista Lounge in Farnham’s Downing Street – even if the amount of litter picked up was depressing. As I wrote in last week’s Herald, I have lots of litter picks coming up across the local area. Please do email my office if you are keen to join this week’s one in Godalming, or my December one in Haslemere.
GOMSHALL FLOODING Ironically, whilst Storm Ciaran caused disruption to water supply in some areas, in others there has been flooding. I am aware that the A25 in the centre of Gomshall is repeatedly floody and needs to be addressed. Councillor Bob Hughes is working hard on this and I will also take it up with the Environment Agency to seek a solution.
ASH VALE PHARMACY Great to see Ash Vale Pharmacy doing so well as outlined here!
REMEMBRANCE WEEKEND There will be services on Remembrance Sunday in Holy Trinity Church in Bramley, St John’s Church in Churt, St Nicolas Church in Cranleigh, St Mary’s Church in Frensham, Godalming Parish Church, St Bartholomew’s Church in Haslemere, and St John’s Church in Wonersh. For more details see here.
CHRISTMAS SHOPPING A reminder that the Artisan Christmas Fair in Albury will take place on Farley Green on 11th and 12th November– more details can be found here. A Christmas Craft Fair will also take place at the Tongham Community Centre– there are details here.
SOCIAL MEDIA If you would like more regular updates of my work locally and nationally, do follow me on Facebook, X (Twitter), or Instagram.
JOIN ME Want to get more involved locally? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to join my growing team supporting our work in our community.
AND FINALLY…For fellow fans of classical music, do catch up on my appearance on Classic FM with Moira Stewart on Sunday night…I had to choose some favourite pieces of music in an interview that was much more personal and less political than normal. I have been a lifelong Classic FM fan (that is to say for Classic FM’s life not mine– I am rather older) and it was one of the more enjoyable interviews I have done - thank you Moira.