Today the Tories who run Surrey County Council have announced their plans to try and abolish all the District Councils in Surrey and hoover them up into a single monster Surrey Council running everything from planning and refuse collection through to schools and roads- all from Kingston. Details are currently limited and no details of how such a change would be implemented were given, other than it is anticipated that all District Councils will cease to exist.
Cllr Chris Botten, leader of the Liberal Democrat group at Tandridge District Council says “It is clear that central government cuts mean that smaller District Councils can no longer deliver for residents, but this does not mean that an oversized Surrey wide single monster council is the way forward.”
Chris goes on to say “Surrey has shown itself to be arrogant in its approach. We saw only this week in Reigate with the imposition of a cycleway. This was installed with no local discussion and 3 days later they had to remove it. Surrey County Council is too far away based in Kingston, unable to communicate with its residents and quite simply not very good at what it is meant to do.
“Our group supports the development of single authorities as it is the most cost effective way forward, but a Surrey wide monster is not the answer. What do councillors from Weybridge know about planning in Oxted, how can a member representing Woking understand litter collection in Smallfield?”
“Surrey needs new councils that are the ‘Goldilocks councils’. Not so big as the Surrey monster authority which is remote and unaccountable but not so small as Tandridge where they don’t have enough money. This current Tory Plan will result in residents being more remote from decisions that affect them.”