Covid-19: Joint statement from Waverley’s political leaders and the chief executive
The political leaders and the chief executive of Waverley Borough Council have agreed to use its resources to prioritise the immediate health, wellbeing and safety of local residents – especially the vulnerable – in its plan to support the community through the Coronavirus challenge.
The council’s benefits, community meals, support to local businesses, homelessness, critical housing tenant support, and waste collection services will be prioritised to ensure that those who are most in need are supported during this difficult time for the borough, and for the nation.
We recognise the hardship facing our borough’s struggling businesses and will implement the new scheme for business rate relief as soon as we have the Government’s criteria.
We will also prioritise our support to the National Health Service and to Surrey County Council, with its responsibilities for adult and child care services. We welcome Surrey County Council’s decision to establish a single contact centre for vulnerable people. We will work with them and the voluntary sector to ensure its effectiveness – ensuring those people who kindly offer their time and support to help those in need do so in a safe and coordinated way.
To do all this, those aspects of the council’s business that do not directly support this immediate objective will be suspended or scaled-down, so that staff can be deployed to our critical priority services.
This means our work on Part 2 of the Local Plan, leisure centre refurbishment plans and formal committee meetings will be deferred until 30 June.
While the council remains hard at work, with many of our staff working from home, the offices at The Burys in Godalming will be closed to the general public from Monday, 23March, with special provision for homelessness and welfare visits. The Memorial Hall in Farnham and the Borough Hall in Godalming are also closed.
Further detail and decisions about council services and support will follow in the coming days. Check our website for the latest updates: www.waverley.gov.uk/coronavirus.
The council’s Executive and Opposition leaders will continue to teleconference regularly with the senior officers as we implement our response and recovery plans.
We are conscious that our staff members and our councillors are also personally feeling the impact of the virus and the national recovery plan, just as our residents are. As a consequence, our capacity is reduced and will face further challenges in the coming weeks. We are proud of our staff and councillor team and grateful for the diligent, hard work they have already put into tackling Coronavirus and supporting the people of Waverley.
Cllr Julia Potts, Leader of the Opposition, Leader of the Conservative group
Cllr John Ward, Leader of the Council, Leader of the Farnham Residents group
Cllr Paul Follows, Deputy Leader of the Council, Leader of the Liberal Democrat group
Cllr Maxine Gale, Independent Councillor
Tom Horwood, Chief Executive
Cllr Nick Palmer, Leader of the Labour group
Liz Townsend, Independent Councillor
Cllr Steve Williams, Leader of the Green group
All retail, leisure and hospitality companies will be exempt from Business Rates for the 2020/2021 tax year. You won’t need to take any action – we will issue new bills this week with the relief applied.