Agenda item

Leader's and Portfolio Holders' Updates


41.1     The Leader announced that Cllr David Beaman would be standing down from the Executive to allow him more time for his role as Chairman of Western Planning Committee and to continue his commitments outside of the Council. Cllr Beaman had joined the Executive in May 2019 and taken on a wide-ranging portfolio. The Leader thanked Cllr Beaman for his work as Planning Committee chairman, as Executive Portfolio Holder, and for his support for the Administration. Cllr Beaman would be replaced on the Executive by Cllr Michaela Martin, with the portfolio for Health, Wellbeing and Culture.


41.2     The Leader and Portfolio Holders gave brief updates on current issues not reported elsewhere on the agenda:

·         The Covid situation changed daily, but Waverley had now gone to Amber alert, along with Elmbridge, Runnymede, Spelthorne and Woking. This had been a government direction, reflecting a range of metrics that showed a worsening trend in cases in Waverley. Whilst there were no additional restrictions, communications were being increased and were emphasising the need for a everyone to be vigilant about observing precautionary measures.

·         Whilst the government had announced that the Devolution White Paper had been delayed to the spring, it was understood that Surrey County Council was continuing with its work to prepare a bid for a single Surrey unitary council. The Boroughs and Districts were also continuing their work with KPMG, and held the first of a number of joint workshops this week. This had been a valuable session to explore different perspectives and ambitions about future ways of working.

·         The first of three claims had been submitted to the government under the income loss grant scheme, for the period April – September 2020. The maximum compensation under the scheme was 70% of eligible losses, and the best estimate was that only around 50% of the forecast £6.6m budget shortfall reported in August would be covered by government grants.

·         The public survey on the Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan was open for a further two weeks, to Friday 16 October. The Strategy and Action Plan would be submitted to the Executive and Council in December.

·         Waverley Officers were continuing to support tenants, housing repairs had resumed and the housing development team were progressing schemes to provide new affordable homes in Waverley. Cllr Rosoman was meeting regularly with the Tenants Panel over Zoom, and the Tenants Panel AGM was scheduled for later in the month, also over Zoom.

·         Cllr MacLeod reported on the recent Brightwells Project Board meeting, attended by the new Crest Nicholson team, and the Leader and Deputy Leader from Surrey County Council. Crest Nicholson were targeting July 2021 for the opening of the retail element of the scheme, and August 2021 for the cinema.

·         Cllr Palmer reported that car park usage continued to increase gradually, although it could be very variable from day to day. He was discussing with the Chambers of Commerce what Waverley might be able to do to support high street businesses in the period leading up to Christmas.

·         A huge amount of work had taken place to make The Burys a Covid-safe place to work for Waverley staff. The new Customer Service Centre had been launched and The Burys was now open to the public on an appointment basis. The Waverley enquiries desk in Farnham was moving to the Memorial Hall, and would also be open for appointments. The Council Offices at The Burys was now a base for more than forty Police officers and staff, and they were exploring options for renting more space from Waverley.

·         Cllr Beaman thanked the Leader and Executive colleagues for their kind words on the occasion of standing down from the Executive. He would still be Chairman of Southern and Western Planning Committee and an active back-bench Member. He would still be one of two Independent Councillors on the LGA Environment, Economy, Housing and Transport Board, Chairman of the South West Surrey Disability Empowerment Network, and Trustee of Creative Response, and of The Bus Archive, amongst other roles and commitments.

·         Cllr Follows advised that Waverley was working with Town and Parish Councils to help plan and support events to mark Remembrance Sunday next month within the constraints of Covid restrictions.