Runnymede & Weybridge MP VOTES DOWN sewage sickness compensation scheme

Our protest against dumping raw sewage

Local Liberal Democrats have slammed Dr Ben Spencer for VOTING AGAINST a compensation scheme for swimmers who get sick from sewage.

The amendment to the Victims and Prisoners Bill, tabled by Liberal Democrat MP Tim Farron, would have allowed anyone who gets sick, as a result of illegal sewage dumping, to claim compensation from water companies. However, it was voted down in the Commons this week after Conservative MPs, including Dr Ben Spencer, voted against it.

It comes despite a recent report which found a staggering 1,924 cases of people getting sick due to suspected sewage pollution over the last year, nearly triple the number of cases reported in the previous year.

Ellen Nicholson, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate for Runnymede & Weybridge, said:

“It’s shameful that Ben Spencer and this Conservative government have once again put water companies’ profits before people’s health.

“It is a complete slap in the face to all those in Runnymede & Weybridge who expect their MP to stand up and fight for them, instead of for massive companies who have dumped filthy sewage into our rivers and lakes.

“It is a sad state of affairs when swimmers are falling seriously sick from sewage while water company bosses trouser millions in bonuses.

“The Liberal Democrats have exposed the sewage scandal and will continue to hold these polluting firms to account even if Dr Ben Spencer refuses to.”

Our MP votes against improving GP and ambulance wait times

The Runnymede & Weybridge Conservative MP, a qualified doctor, has been criticised after voting against a Liberal Democrat amendment which would have committed the government to improving GP and ambulance wait times.

The amendment also called on the government to build the 40 new hospitals that had been promised and bring in measures to address the crises in the NHS and social care.

The Liberal Democrats have set out a clear plan to fix local health services, including giving people the right to see a GP in a week or 24 hours if in urgent need. 

Ellen Nicholson the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate for  Runnymede & Weybridge said: 

“Dr. Ben Spencer has shown a callous disregard for patients waiting in pain. As a medical professional himself, this is deeply concerning. Runnymede & Weybridge deserve local health services that provide the care people need, instead of being forced to wait for weeks on end for a GP appointment or hours for an ambulance to arrive. They also deserve an MP that will be a strong local champion and stand up for our health services.

“This Conservative government has run our NHS into the ground. Communities like ours have been taken for granted for far too long. Voters know that with the Liberal Democrats they will get much better, just as they deserve to.”

Elmbridge Parking Review

SCC have proposed some changes to parking restrictions in the Borough and would welcome feedback to the proposals. The closing date for feedback of this review is 22 December.

Street notices have been put out where changes are proposed and residents of properties fronting the proposals have been notified in writing of changes planned in their area.

Full information and a link for feedback is available on SCC’s website: Elmbridge parking review 2023 – Surrey County Council (surreycc.gov.uk)

The proposed orders are also available for inspection at Esher Civic Centre, the Highways Depot in Merrow, plus libraries across the borough.

Meet our Parliamentary Candidate Ellen Nicholson

A new opportunity for Runnymede and Weybridge as the Liberal Democrats select Ellen Nicholson to represent them in the upcoming General Election.

Runnymede and Weybridge Liberal Democrats are delighted to announce Ellen Nicholson as their candidate for the upcoming General Election. Ellen has years of experience as a registered nurse for the NHS, and now works as a Patient Safety Lead. She lives in West Byfleet, is currently a borough councillor in Woking, and sits as a Governor for Ashford & St Peter’s Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Ellen is a passionate advocate for quality healthcare, lifelong learning, and environmental standards. In addition, she believes campaigning on electoral and voting system reform are an essential part of restoring transparency and integrity in politics.

Commenting on her selection as the Prospective Parliamentary Candidate, Ellen Nicholson said: “I am honoured to have this amazing opportunity to represent the Liberal Democrats in Runnymede and Weybridge.

“For too long people across Surrey have been abandoned by the Conservatives, with our public services cut to the bone, fluctuating police numbers, and many residents having difficulty accessing timely healthcare. The people of Runnymede and Weybridge need a proactive champion who is vocal, addressing the issues they care about – not more Conservative chaos, creating invisible enemies to distract from their many failures.

“Liberal Democrat victories in recent local elections across Surrey are a signal that the Conservatives’ dominance of Surrey is coming to an end. Surrey is ready for change and it is time to show this appalling Conservative Government: their time is up.”

Lib Dems are the clear opposition to the Conservatives going into the next General Election

The parliamentary constituency boundary changes have had a significant impact on the Runnymede and Weybridge (R & W) constituency. The three Runnymede wards of Virginia WaterEnglefield Green East, and Englefield Green West are now part of the Windsor constituency while R & W will gain the two Elmbridge wards of Cobham & Downside and Oxshott & Stoke D’Abernon.  

This means that the LibDems have nine councillors in the re-shaped constituency compared to only two Labour councillors. This places the LibDems as the clear opposition with a good prospect of beating the Tories in this ‘blue wall’ seat at the coming General Election.

New constituency boundaries for the next General Election

Across the UK, a re-drawing of boundaries for parliamentary constituencies has been underway as the Electoral Commission seeks to make all constituencies similar in size by population. Surrey, for example, has seen a surge in population overall, and in some constituencies like Esher & Walton, there were too many voters, whilst elsewhere there were too few.

New boundaries were recently agreed by parliament after a consultation process and changes are set to become operational at the next general election. The main proposed change for our area will be the reshaping of boundaries for Esher & Walton constituency and the adjacent Runnymede & Weybridge constituency. Effectively, the residents of Weybridge Riverside ward will not experience any change as they remain in the  Runnymede & Weybridge constituency, but our constituency is set to include the Elmbridge wards of Cobham and Oxshott and all of Weybridge St George’s. The Oatlands area will join Esher & Walton constituency.

Surrey Police Crime Commissioner spends £3 Million while officer numbers are slashed

Through several Freedom of Information requests, the Liberal Democrat Party has discovered that Surrey’s Conservative Police and Crime Commissioner (PPC) has cost the taxpayer £3.2 million since 2019, paying out huge sums for social media and office costs as community police officers were removed from patrolling streets and dealing with crimes.

Since 2021, Surrey Commissioner Lisa Townsend has had three staff members to run her social media presence and has increased her office costs by £180,000 – the equivalent of seven community police officers (PCSOs). Yet since Townsend was elected, Surrey has slashed 39 community officers from the streets!

In April, Liberal Democrat Leader, Ed Davey, called on the Government to scrap commissioners amid falling community officer numbers. Since 2019, England and Wales have lost 1,284 community police officers, despite tens of millions spent on PCCs. The costs of the country’s PCCs could have funded an additional estimated 3,830 community officers on an average salary of £26,634. It is shocking to see a local Conservative politician waste so much money on social media and office costs whilst officer numbers are slashed.

According to discussions with the office of the PCC recently, the recruitment of PCSO’s by Surrey Police ground to a halt last year to hit savings targets. Whilst recruitment has now resumed, it will take some years to return to previous levels.

Our MP visits Weybridge Rowing Club

Our local MP, Dr Ben Spencer, accepted an invitation to row at Weybridge Rowing Club on the 6th June. A former college rower (he’s in the blue t-shirt in the middle of the boat), he was accompanied by Cllr Judy Sarsby, a member of the rowing club, as he rowed around Desborough Island in an eight. It was a good opportunity to point out some of the problems experienced by river users, including the illegally moored boats along the Desborough Cut, which a few weeks earlier had again caused the cancellation of the much-loved Weybridge Ladies Regatta, and sewage discharges by the water companies. He was talked through the key location for the future flood-relief channel into the Thames (the River Thames Scheme) and where the ‘Row Paddle Run’ charity event takes place to raise money for The Grâce Dear Trust for young people’s mental health. He experienced a busy morning of residents using the river for sport and pleasure.

Local Election results

LIB DEM SUCCESS IN MAY LOCAL ELECTIONS

The latest local elections were a resounding success for the Lib Dem party in Elmbridge as Lib Dems gained six new council seats and held on to three. Of Elmbridge’s total number of 48 councillors, the LibDems are now the biggest party with 19, whilst Conservatives have 12 and Residents associations in various groups count 17 councillors.

In a big win, Weybridge Riverside councillor Ashley Tilling was re-elected after serving four years and was also elected to Surrey County Council, the first Lib Dem from Elmbridge! At Surrey, Ashley will represent the Walton South and Oatlands division.

The vote counts for Elmbridge Borough Council for Weybridge Riverside ward were as follows:
Ashley Tilling, Lib Dem 1094 votes; Conservative 754 votes; Labour 220 votes.

Thank you to all who voted, whichever party you supported – the Lib Dems are here to represent all!

Whilst the election was a boost for Lib Dems, the turnout was disappointing at 39.6%, in part as the need for new photo identity proof led some people to turn back without voting. Without a doubt, it was shocking to see a uniformed policemen turned away at St Mary’s School Oatlands polling station as his warrant card with photo was not considered by the presiding officer as proof enough to vote! Those who used a postal vote did not need to provide proof of identity. Do contact Elmbridge Borough Council offices to get on the postal vote list if you need to. Ring 01372 474 474.

Elmbridge’s Vision 2030 – public event 7th March

Elmbridge’s Vision 2030

On 8 February, Elmbridge Cabinet recommended to Council a new Elmbridge Vision 2030; a Vision that encapsulates Elmbridge’s sense of community, that understands how our residents care about their environment, how they care about supporting each other and how they care about the vibrancy of their towns and villages.

The 2030 Vision has been co-created with our residents, businesses, colleagues, and Councillors, who all understand more than ever that Elmbridge has the potential to grasp the future, to be an enabler for growth and opportunity, that we should be ready to adapt to future working life, future high streets, and future living.

On 7th March, residents, businesses, and local partners are invited to the Civic Centre in Esher to hear more about our Council’s Vision 2030 and our aspirations for Elmbridge.

Timings:

6-7pm arrival and networking
Meeting some of our partner organisations such as Surrey Police, The River Thames Scheme and our waste partners Joint Waste Solutions.

7-8pm Vision 2030 launch
Hear from The Leader, Cllr Chris Sadler, the Deputy Leader Cllr Bruce McDonald and the Chief Executive, Adam Chalmers. There will also be time for questions and answers.

Register your attendance at the launch event via Eventbrite