My Labour colleague George Wilson suggested to me (as the portfolio-holder for parking) that we should make Waverley’s car parks free of charge for carers, NHS staff and other essential workers.
I was initially sceptical because the council is staring into a financial pit with everything that’s going on, but on reflection, I agreed that it made sense not to charge the very people who come to our area to help us. In addition, my LibDem colleague Paul Follows said that in many areas people were actually struggling to park on-street because everyone’s at home! – so it really makes sense to welcome these vital visitors to our car parks.
John Ward, the Farnham Resident council leader, pointed out that it would avoid endless bureaucracy and hassle if we simply made them free till further notice to anyone who needs them. The other Executive members swiftly agreed, as did the leader of the Conservative Opposition, Julia Potts, so it will take effect from tonight – a nice example of cross-party cooperation at this challenging time for us all.
Best Wishes Nick.
It is something we here at the Waverley Web have been calling for – Free NHS Staff car parking.
All over Surrey NHS staff are working flat out in a bid to save lives from the Coronavirus, but every day, every year 24/7 they work tirelessly to care for a mounting number of patients in our hospitals.
We have heard here at the Waverley Web that staff in local hospitals serving the borough of Waverley are STILL working with inadequate protection, some without even the basics – gloves and masks. Every day they fight for parking spaces, and some receive fines, even when they have valid parking tickets!
Staff car parking is at a premium, and although the general public are unaware, car parking charges are deducted from gross pay before calculating National Insurance and Pension Contributions – which may in the short-term cost less, but in the long-term has an adverse effect on their pensions.
Following growing calls from the public the Government has NOW instructed Trusts to cease charging.
The Department of Health and Social Care has announced that trusts would be given the “financial backing” to “provide free car parking to NHS staff for the duration of COVID-19”.
The Waverley Web believes this should remain in place in perpetuity as a tribute to health workers, some of whom will lose their lives in a bid to save ours!
Local authorities will also provide “free car parking to NHS workers, social care staff and volunteers during the coronavirus outbreak.”
Some trusts have already stopped charging staff to park while staff unions had led calls to abolish the charges outright.
The DHSC statement explained: “NHS Trusts are responsible for setting car parking charges locally, and the Health Secretary is urging all Trusts to immediately make use of government funding to abolish parking charges for their staff during the Covid-19 pandemic.”
It added that the surge of returning staff, trainees and volunteers who have been drafted in to help hospitals combat the crisis meant “some hospitals may also require additional car parking capacity.”
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government announced that “key workers will also be able to use council parking bays without time restriction or charge… The changes will apply to all on-street parking and open, council-run car parks including pay and display and will suspend charges for health workers, social care workers and NHS volunteers.”
Local authorities will be responsible for setting out the “suitable evidence” key workers “can display in their windscreen to ensure they avoid parking tickets.”
NHS England chief executive Sir Simon Stevens said:
“Free parking will make a big difference for hundreds of thousands of frontline staff, but this is just the start, and we will [be] setting out further support offers over the coming days and weeks, to ensure the NHS looks after those who look after all of us.”
Despite the current Coronacrisis – and, no, it’s nothing to do with the beer! – our team here at the Waverley Web remains active, and all are now working from home. Not on the train, standing in an overcrowded corridor, or perching on the loo, hoping no one notices and a queue isn’t forming outside! It’s an ill-wind and all that …
In the absence of council meetings, either at Waverley or Surrey County Council, much of what we thought was an inexhaustible source of material is no long available. Whoever would have thought it? Certainly not us!
So there you have it, dear readers, for the first time in the Waverley Web’s existence, our correspondents have time on their hands and we’re twiddling our thumbs! Therefore, if any of our readers want us to highlight or cover any particular items of local interest or to investigate any burning issues or topics, please don’t hesitate to let us know. We’re raring to go.
We know there’s a lot of craziness and uncertainty around the borough – not to mention the rest of the world – right now, but, remember, in 1665 when Cambridge University closed for a year because of the Great Plague of London, a young scholar named Isaac Newton was sent home.
While at home, he discovered Calculus and refined the ideas that later became his theory of gravity.
In 1606, Shakespeare wrote Macbeth, King Lear, and Anthony and Cleopatra while quarantined at home.
We may not be Newton or Shakespeare, but during this enforced change of lifestyle (we are still doing the take out the two hour commute, at either end of the day, and that’s a lot of spare time to fill) we could all be stronger when all of the craziness passes away. Our priorities will certainly be different.
Although we all currently remain well, our contributors are made up of the young, middle aged and those who now wear the badge ‘vulnerable, elderly,’ a tag which has not gone down too well here! But we are all becoming acutely aware that we are ALL vulnerable, as Government statistics now spell out for us on a daily basis. Even the heir to the throne!
We cannot stress enough how important it is to do the Government and the`NHS’s bidding. We have already received messages to our e-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org informing us of a selfish minority who continue to ignore the rules and are putting the lives of health-workers at risk. Staff of 111 in the borough of Waverley are already suffering, and so are GP’s and nurses. So for heavens sake – lock down now rather than be knocked down later!
Prior to the latest lockdown, a new craze was sweeping dinner parties in Well-to-do-Waverly. Instead of Bring a Bottle, it was Bring-a-Bog-Role! The mind boggles …! Before we know it, bidets will be back in fashion!!!
Our information is sent to us through The Health Service Journal.
Seventy-two trusts had recorded at least one coronavirus death on Sunday, an increase of 15 on Friday.
However, the death toll is concentrated in relatively few trusts. Thirteen organisations have reported a total of 130 coronavirus related deaths to date (see table below). Nine are in London and a tenth (Frimley) is situated near to the capital.
Despite this, deaths at London organisations are actually falling as a proportion of the overall total. They account for 42 per cent of the total, down from 45 per cent on Friday.
The pandemic appears to be picking up pace in the North East and Yorkshire region, which has now seen 10 trusts record a coronavirus death, half for the first time over the weekend. In the North West region, the total is 11, with Stockport — one of the four reporting deaths for the first time — recording four fatalities over the weekend.
The Midlands remains the region with the second highest number of deaths with 47. However, the South East region is now closing the gap with 39.
The East of England and South West regions remain relatively untouched — with just 24 deaths between them. However, a mini-hotspot appears to be developing at Royal Cornwall which went from zero to five deaths over the weekend.
|Region||Organisation||Number of deaths|
|London||London North West University Healthcare Trust||15|
|London||St. Georges University Hospitals Foundation Trust||15|
|South East||Frimley Health Foundation Trust||13|
|London||Barts Health Trust||11|
|Midlands||Royal Wolverhampton Trust||11|
|London||University College London Hospitals Foundation Trust||10|
|London||Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals Trust||9|
|London||Imperial College Healthcare Trust||8|
|London||King’s College Hospital Foundation Trust||8|
|Midlands||Dudley Group Foundation Trust||8|
|South East||Portsmouth Hospitals Trust||8|
|London||Croydon Health Services Trust||7|
|London||North Middlesex University Hospital Trust||7|
HSJ analysis of government figures
March 2020 updatd. Today
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.
There are men and women all over the borough of Waverley who are risking their lives in a bid to help save ours. All we can do now is reward them by heeding the advice they are appealing for us to take – for all our sakes. We owe it to them to heed their warning.
Without our dedicated professionals in the NHS we cannot beat Covid-19, with them we can. How about when this dreadful chapter in our lives is over we reward all our health-workers by giving them FREE & PRIORITY parking on their hospital sites?
With best wishes for all our readers’ health and wellbeing from the Waverley Web team.
In the midst of mayhem – there is often a positive – and every pothole has a silver lining.
All of us who have regularly travelled Surrey’s roads needed no confirmation from a recent Freedom of Information request that Surrey has been voted the ‘Pothole Capital of England.’ Countrywide there is now even a National Pothole Day. In Surrey and our borough of Waverley – every day is Pothole Day.
Road Closed signs are a regular occurrence, where no actual maintenance works are taking place, sometimes for weeks, if not months. Irritated motorists are ignoring them in and around the borough and county. Many motorists are just driving through, on the opposite side of the road, to avoid craters.
A total of 37,578 relevant claims were made across the country
Surrey received 3,533 claims and paid out a whopping £323,22 in compensation from January 1, 2019, to October 17 2019. Countrywide councils compensated motorists with an eye-watering £3,520,538,38 in total.
Hampshire finds itself with the dubious honour of being in second place.
Let’s face it, most of us don’t have the time to make the onerous claims to Surrey County Council, take photographs and then make appeals for new tyres and wheel damage. We Just Curse and Carry On! So the above figure is just the tip of the iceberg or the bottom of the pothole.
We discovered recently that it takes 1,300 years for Lego to decompose in the sea. How about a very clever manufacturer coming up with a material made of the same composition to resurface all our roads. Pothole problems solved forever!
Surely there’s enough of this composition around to recycle and turn it into a useful and environmentally friendly surfacing compound?
So where’s the silver lining? Our cars are locked away safely into our garages unless we are doing essential work – air quality is improving as we speak, particularly here in Farnham, and we can now dodge the potholes more safely as it is more than likely there is nobody coming in the other direction. And, of course, we can practice our scuba diving skills on empty roads.
EMPTY CHAIRS AND EMPTY TABLES?
Surrey’s leader Tim Oliver told a depleted council meeting this week that it was looking at ways to hold meetings online, as this may be the last public meeting to be held in person,
There were only 34 of the 81 councillors present at County Hall, Kingston – and some including Godalming councillor Peter Martin said he would soon be self isolating.
A sombre Cllr Oliver said: “We are setting up an emergency helpline number for concerned residents and are working closely with the district and boroughs, the local resilience forum, to ensure we co-ordinate in the most effective way with the voluntary and charitable sector.”
This would not be a medical helpline, but one to offer practical help in the community.
“The council is a public service and it remains on high alert with teams working tirelessly to support schools, care homes and health partners. Our priorities at this time are to ensure that we do everything we can to reduce the pressure on the NHS, to protect our most vulnerable communities and support our staff and residents.”
The council voted through changes to its constitution to allow future decisions to be made by a delegated cabinet member or council officer.
Protocol around other democratic procedures such as questions to the council and petitions is being developed.
Staff are looking at how to hold meetings online, but Cllr Oliver said they were committed to meeting their public duty as a council.
He added: “The challenges being brought by coronavirus are not going to go away any time soon, we will be tested further in the coming weeks and months almost certainly, but it is during times like these that we must all pull together.
“Our residents must be assured that we will continue to deliver the vital services they rely on.”
Details of the helpline are being finalised as SCC makes sure it has staff in place to operate it and will be announced later this week.
Anyone looking for medical advice or information from public health must still go to nhs.uk.coronavirus or call 111 if they are suffering from severe symptoms. The advice is not to call 111 if you have mild symptoms but to go online instead.