News

News Release Issued by Waverley Borough Council Council approves Covid contingency budget

Published: 13 Aug 20

Leisure centres will reopen and services will continue after Waverley Borough Council approved a revised contingency budget in response to the coronavirus pandemic. At an Extraordinary Full Council meeting on Tuesday night, 49 councillors supported the Executive’s recommendation to approve the contingency budget, which was brought before councillors to address the council’s £6.6 million projected shortfall in its in-year budget. The council, like many other individuals and industries, was subject to being significantly adversely hit by the crisis. Throughout the lockdown period, key income sources from leisure centres, car parks and other fees and charges were (and continue to be) affected by enforced closures or reductions in usage. This happened at the same time as the council’s emergency response, where it invested money and resources to support vulnerable residents, the homeless and businesses, as well as coordinating the response of local volunteer organisations and facilitating the payment of support grants. The council will receive a government Covid-19 support payment of £1.4 million, but the contingency budget was necessary to agree how the council will find the remaining £5.2 million shortfall. The proposals included spending cuts, savings on staff salaries through a continued recruitment freeze and the use of over £3m of the council’s reserves. The contingency budget was put together using only the confirmed amount of government financial support. On 2 July the government announced it would give compensation for some lost income from fees and charges. The details of the precise amount that Waverley may receive is still not known. Councillor Mark Merryweather, Portfolio Holder for Finance at Waverley Borough Council, said: “What we have managed to achieve in the past few months has been a true community effort. We are incredibly proud to have supported this borough through this emergency and will continue to do so in the future. I am pleased that people will be able to get back to visiting our much-loved leisure centres from 17 August. Although there will be some changes to usual operations to ensure visitors’ safety, it is a sign that some normality is returning. “However, we cannot ignore the financial impact this pandemic has had on our finances. The estimated effect just for this year is over £6 million which is a vast portion of our budget; for context, the shortfall is equivalent to just under half of the council’s net annual budget for 2020/21. A huge amount of work is going into managing this, and it's not over by any means. We’ve acted sensibly and responsibly and that is why we're making sure we're prepared to mitigate the projected shortfall. It is beyond a shame we still don’t know any more about the government support funding announced over a month ago now, other than that it will not cover the whole of our shortfall. This is very disappointing after we were promised that councils would not be left short of funds.” During the meeting, which was held via Zoom, councillors agreed that a full revision of its medium term financial plan, which sets out the council’s spending plans over the next five years, be undertaken and reported back in December. Councillor Merryweather added: “Before the coronavirus pandemic we were already looking to make total savings of more than £5 million per year by 2023/24, to compensate for planned cuts to our funding by government. “Now, on top of the impact of coronavirus and other uncertainties that lie ahead, it is inevitable there will be many more difficult decisions to make. However, we will make sure we keep the interests of this borough’s residents at the heart of everything we do and any future decisions we make.” Notes to editors •To watch the council meeting visit the council’s YouTube page. •The full agenda papers can be found on the council’s website. •A total of 49 councillors voted for the contingency budget recommendations, with one councillor voting against. Read More...

News Release Issued by Waverley Borough Council Have your say on Waverley Borough Council’s Climate Emergency Act

Published: 13 Aug 20

The views of Waverley’s communities are being sought in a consultation that will help shape the council’s Climate Emergency Action Plan. Launched this week (Wednesday 5 August 2020), the online survey closes on 16 October 2020 and can be accessed here. The council’s draft Action Plan can also be viewed here. Waverley Borough Council declared a Climate Emergency in September last year with its Executive approving the first draft of the Action Plan in March 2020. The Action Plan sets out how the council can become carbon-neutral by 2030. It also recognises that across the council, all strategic decisions and budgets need to be aligned with the goal of achieving a shift to carbon-neutral. The council is now seeking to understand what the wider community thinks of the targets and actions it has set itself and to play an important role in how the council will fulfil its commitment going forward. Councillor Steve Williams, Waverley Borough Council Portfolio Holder for Environment and Sustainability, said: “I would urge everyone in Waverley to get involved and give us their thoughts on this critical issue and where we should focus our attention going forward. The information gathered from our residents, businesses and other key groups in the borough will offer valuable insight into what we as a council can do to reduce carbon emissions but also highlight what we can all do as a community to help achieve the goal of being carbon-neutral by 2030.” Waverley Borough Council has already set to work on cutting back its carbon emissions and supporting the move towards a net-zero carbon Waverley borough by 2030. It has allocated £300,000 directly in support of the Climate Emergency Action Plan, and is now looking at building zero-carbon homes, making Waverley buildings more energy efficient, supporting community energy hubs, promoting walking and cycling and sustainable transport and harnessing solar energy in strategic locations.” Members of the public have until 16 October 2020 to complete the survey. Read More...

Playground & Gym OPEN

Published: 10 Jul 20

Following a successful RoSPA Inspection, Frensham Parish Council are delighted to re-open the playground and gym. Due to the pandemic, opening is subject to Government guidelines and as such, new rules for use are in place. These are clearly displayed and available below. Failure to adhere to the new rules means we sadly may have to close the area. Read More...

Cricket Club

Published: 9 Jul 20

We are pleased to announce a return to Cricket following Government guidelines on Hollowdene Recreation Ground. Practice matches will commence on 11th and 12th July with the first I'Anson League matches commencing from 18th July. Read More...

Applications open for discretionary grants for small businesses affected by COVID-19

Published: 11 Jun 20

Applications are now open for small businesses in Waverley that have suffered losses due to COVID-19, to receive grants from the Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund. The Government has given £1.6million to Waverley Borough Council, to support eligible small businesses that have not been able to receive other COVID-19 grants. Businesses have until 9am on Friday 19 June to apply. Councils have been asked to prioritise businesses in shared spaces, regular market traders, small charity properties and bed and breakfasts that pay council tax rather than business rates. However, the government has also given councils discretion to make awards to other businesses that have experienced financial difficulties as a result of the Coronavirus. Full information on the eligibility criteria and how to apply is available on the council’s website: www.waverley.gov.uk/discretionarygrants This latest round of support is in addition to the £21 million in Small Business and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure grants the council has already distributed to businesses across Waverley. Councillor Liz Townsend, Waverley Borough Council Portfolio Holder for Economic Development, Parks and Leisure, said: “We know there are many small businesses in the borough that are really struggling as a result of Coronavirus and have not been eligible for any Government financial support up to this point. “This is an opportunity for us to direct more funding to local businesses in need and help them to survive these challenging times. “It’s incredibly important to protect our businesses now, so that they can be there for our communities long into the future, providing services, offering employment and ensuring economic prosperity for our borough.” Councillor Mark Merryweather, Portfolio Holder for Finance, Assets and Commercial Services at Waverley Borough Council, said: “The £1.6million of funding from Government is helpful but does fall short of what we’d like to be able to distribute to small businesses. “Councils have been allowed some discretion to consider local circumstances when awarding funds, as demand is expected to be higher than the total amount available. We have been working with councils Surrey-wide, to ensure a fair and consistent approach to the way we prioritise applications across the county. “We’ll be working hard to distribute this money as fairly as possible, to maximise the benefit to our local businesses and communities.” Read More...

Frensham and Churt Parish Councils are working jointly

Published: 2 Jun 20

in an effort to find a short, medium and long term solution to the vast influx of visitors to our natural attractions within the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Read More...