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

Councillor Stephen Cooksey, Leader of Mole Valley District Council, said: “January has already seen a number of changes to COVID rules implemented by the Government, and there are more to come from 27 January. Employees who have been working from home are no longer required to do so and, as of last week, the length of time people with COVID have to self-isolate has been reduced to five full days, as long as they test negative on both day five and six and do not have a temperature. From tomorrow (Thursday 27 January), face coverings will no longer be required by law in any setting, nor NHS COVID Passes when attending events or venues.

“Moving away from Plan B can certainly be seen as a positive step forward in our battle against coronavirus. We are however still in the midst of a pandemic. Despite face coverings no longer being required by law from 27 January, public health guidance remains in place. People are being advised to wear a face covering in crowded or enclosed spaces. The rates in Surrey are still a cause of concern and, while the number of people who have received their booster jab are very encouraging, there are still people yet to receive one. Please do come forward for your first, second or booster vaccination.

“We are pleased to be administering a one-off Government-funded Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant scheme open to eligible Mole Valley businesses to help support them over what has been a challenging past couple of months. The deadline to apply for this grant is midday on 14 February 2022. In other business news, we recently published a revised Statement of Licensing Policy. We set out to strike the right balance between the commercial interests of the licenced trade and those communities they serve and, following a public consultation, we are satisfied that this policy achieves that.

“The next step in our efforts to get our Local Plan, Future Mole Valley, adopted is now just around the corner. An Extraordinary Council meeting will be held on 3 February when Members will consider whether our Plan should be submitted for examination by a Planning Inspector.

“Several Cabinet Members were privileged to have joined invited guests in the grounds of The Ashcombe School in Dorking on Monday 24 January to plant a native oak tree; one of 80 The Association of Jewish Refugees (AJR) is planting around Britain to mark the 80th anniversary of Holocaust Memorial Day. Locations for the trees have been chosen as part of AJR’s 80 Trees for 80 Years campaign, with each tree acting as a platform for telling the story of Britain’s Jewish refugees. Dorking’s newly planted tree is in honour of Sir Eric Reich, who was given refuge in the town and fostered by a Dorking couple in 1939.”