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Statement from Councillor Stephen Cooksey, Leader of Mole Valley District Council

Councillor Stephen Cooksey, Leader of Mole Valley District Council, said: “The latest coronavirus statistics, published on Wednesday 20 October’, shows that Mole Valley’s infection rate is increasing significantly, alongside the vast majority of other areas in Surrey. These figures are indeed concerning and we must all individually take responsibility to do our utmost to help reduce those numbers. Continue to do the simple things such as wearing face coverings indoors and practicing good hand hygiene. Please also continue to take regular lateral flow tests, self-isolate if required, and get your vaccinations; including the booster jab if invited to.

“I have written to The Right Honourable Priti Patel MP, Secretary of State regarding my concerns for the welfare of those refugees currently being temporarily housed in a hotel to the south of our district.  I am unhappy that they are staying in what I believe to be unsuitable hotel accommodation so close to a small, rural village without the infrastructure or facilities to support them. I am in close contact with relevant community groups and the parish council as we seek to remain welcoming and understanding, whilst we cope with the natural challenges of supporting displaced people in an unfamiliar and unsuitable setting.

“With our draft Plan having been published at the Regulation 19 stage and available for residents to view and comment on until 7 November 2021, a letter has been sent to the Secretary of State this week to seek clarification on the government’s position concerning development on the Green Belt. The National Planning Policy Framework, under which our Local Plan has been prepared, remains unchanged. Should national policy change once our Local Plan is under Examination, the Inspector will have to ask us to consider what that policy change means for the Plan.

“Another landmark moment as part of our vitally important green agenda was reached at this month’s Council meeting when it was agreed that Mole Valley District Council would take a stand against existing and future extraction of fossil fuels in the district, holding those parties responsible to account.

“It’s that time of year where communities gear up to celebrate Halloween. Leatherhead’s well-established spooky celebration takes place once again. Always a huge draw for the town’s residents and visitors alike, Halloween has a ‘Wizards and Witches’ theme this time around. Running from 11am to 4pm on Saturday 30 October at the Swan Centre, families can look forward to enjoying a bit of half-term magic; and all for free. You can also enjoy the High Street’s Halloween Goodies and Ghouls Market from 10am to 4pm.

“I have been very concerned to see an increase in illegal fly posting blighting our town centres in recent weeks. We have a zero tolerance approach when it comes to unwanted paraphernalia glued on to walls and street furniture and we endeavour to remove this unsightly mess as soon as possible. Please help us tackle this unsightly anti-social behaviour by reporting any fly posting that you see online via our website.”