Leader of the Council column

The Leader of the Council writes a monthly column for the CR3, CR6, RH8, RH9, TN16 series of magazines, as well as for the Tandridge Independent.

You can view the columns from the last few months below.

CR3, CR6, RH8, RH9, TN16

Tandridge Business Awards – entry deadline 4 August

Tandridge District Council has launched the awards to give local companies an opportunity to showcase their strengths and achievements, differentiate themselves from their competitors and gain recognition for their hard work and dedication. 

Winning a business award, or being shortlisted, can bring many benefits to a company: 

Increased exposure and visibility through media coverage and social media promotion which can attract new customers and investors.  

Enhanced reputation and industry recognition. The awards are being judged by professionals and the winners will receive promotional material that can be used by your business whether it’s for a shop window, online or in print. 

Morale boost for staff bringing greater job satisfaction and loyalty and attracting new skilled and motivated employees.

Demonstration of expertise which can help open up opportunities for new business and also help to retain existing customers.  

Opportunity to connect with other businesses, exchange ideas and form new partnerships. 

The awards are free to enter for all business with a trading address in the Tandridge District. You can enter up to three out of nine categories which are: 

Small Business of the Year (less than 10 employees) - sponsored by Champ Consultants. 
Business of the Year (more than 10 employees) - sponsored by East Surrey College. 
Employer of the Year - sponsored by My Club. 
Rising Star of the Year - sponsored by North Downs Hospital. 
Customer Service Award - sponsored by Love Oxted. 
Sustainability Award. 
Community Service Provider Award - sponsored by Ann Summers. 
High Street Business Award. 
Hospitality Award.  
The closing date for entries is Sunday 4 August. The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony on Thursday 3 October at the Lingfield Park Resort.  

So why not give it a go and show just how good your business is? Full details about the awards are at www.tandridge.gov.uk/awards. 

If you have any comments or questions, please just get in touch at Cllr.Catherine.Sayer@tandridge.gov.uk 

Councillor Catherine Sayer, Leader of the Council  

Priorities for the year ahead

Following the May council elections, a larger Residents Alliance administration is continuing to run the Council and so, as the new Council year begins, I thought it might be good to summarise our main priorities:

Finances: first is to build on the work done during the last three years to put the Council back on a stable financial footing. We have had to embark on a programme of changes to reduce the Council’s operating costs to achieve the high level of savings needed to stay solvent. We are continuing with the programme for another year but going forward, we realise it can’t all be about savings and are working on generating income, for example by investigating opportunities to sell the Council’s expertise in particular areas.

Local Plan: As you are probably aware, the Tandridge Local Plan that was submitted by the previous administration has now been found unsound. It is imperative we develop a new Local Plan as soon as possible because, without one, the district is at a much higher risk of inappropriate development. We need to deliver a new plan within a tight budget that focuses on bringing forward infrastructure while also providing affordable and key worker housing. This is not going to be easy because we want to balance delivering new housing with protecting the district’s character and beautiful landscapes.

Council houses: We want to build more council houses and so far have plans to build 200 more to add to our existing stock of 2,580. We are also working with housing associations, developers and landowners to build affordable homes which include rented and shared ownership homes.

Open spaces and public toilets: We are investing in the district’s parks, open spaces and children’s play areas. When many councils have closed public toilets to save money, we have allocated £859,000 to refurbish them.

● Supporting local businesses: We are keen to do our best to support existing businesses, work to attract new businesses, and reduce the number of vacant shops in our towns.

Recycling performance: We are now the second best council in Surrey and eleventh in England for recycling performance. We want to keep this up and hopefully improve on it.

Sharing services: We aim to increase cooperation and the sharing of services with other local authorities, in particular with our neighbours in East Surrey. With the continuing reduction in core funding from central government to local government and the need to reduce duplication and become more efficient, this is one of the major opportunities to deliver high quality services to residents in the future.

If you have any comments or questions, please just get in touch at Cllr.Catherine.Sayer@tandridge.gov.uk

Councillor Catherine Sayer

Leader of the Council

Budget headlines

The Council’s budget for 2024/2025 has just been agreed and I thought it might be worth setting out here some headlines from it.

First and foremost is that the Council is solvent, the budget balances, we’ve kept the Council Tax as low as possible, and we haven’t had to cut services.

You will probably have seen the news headlines about the growing number of local authorities facing major financial problems with some declaring bankruptcy and others battling to avoid it. Our neighbour Croydon Council has declared bankruptcy three times and  fellow Surrey council, Woking, is also bankrupt with an eye-watering £2.6 billion pounds of debt. It is, of course, residents who bear the consequences with some struggling Councils imposing a 10% Council Tax rise.

Through a combination of strict financial control and the continued implementation of the Council’s transformation programme, we have delivered £5.5m savings over the last 3 years which represents around 15% of the Council’s budget, each year, for that period.  We have had no choice but to make these savings because when we took over the administration in May 2021, the Council was close to bankruptcy.

In the face of such savings, there has been only minimal loss of services to residents. It is true that some services have sometimes not performed as well as required but this has been more the result of operational issues than cost reduction.


Our reserves stand at £2.8m, one of the lowest locally even taking TDC’s smaller size into account – this is the figure we inherited. A £111k surplus generated in 2022/23 was carried forward. For the current year of 2023/24, we are forecasting a £360k surplus. We could take this into reserves but plan to hold it as a contingency until we have full confidence that we will not need to draw on it.


The increase in Council Tax for 2024/25 has been agreed at 2.99%. We are very aware of the pressures on household costs and this rise is below both current and projected inflation rates. The figure of 2.99% means an increase of £7.11 per year for a Band D property – or 14p per week.

Although Tandridge District Council is responsible for collecting all of the Council Tax, we keep less than 11p out of every pound collected. About the same amount goes to the Police with the bulk of the rest going to Surrey County Council.

Car parking charges have been held and the current free parking provisions around the District are being maintained. The increases for other fees and charges are generally around 5% and we have tried to ensure the charge for a service more closely reflects the cost of providing it.

It will require another year of the transformation programme to complete our changes. The  programme has brought us today to a much stronger position and I am confident of its successful completion and another year operating within budget.

If you have any comments or questions, please just get in touch at Cllr.Catherine.Sayer@tandridge.gov.uk.

The Handyperson Scheme

Keeping on top of repairs and maintenance in your home is a challenge throughout the year, but it is no surprise that statistics show it’s the winter, when the cold weather strikes, that makes the likelihood of problems occurring in your home, a lot more likely. 

And so, this month, I thought it might be worth drawing attention to the Council’s handyperson scheme. This is a subsidised service for minor repairs, improvements and adaptations to the home and garden, for elderly (over 60 years) or disabled residents.

The service carries out the sort of things which can be too small for general contractors to price for but are too difficult for older or disabled residents to tackle on their own. It offers a  mixed variety of trades to assist with urgent repairs and small alterations aimed at making daily living easier for residents.

Subject to budget, the handyperson service can also install key safes, small ramps and grab rails free of charge for qualifying residents, whether you own or rent your home.  However, the service cannot do any electrical repairs or installations which require certification.

The handyperson is fully trained, has passed security checks (known as DBS) and can also offer advice on home safety and security options.
The cost is £29.50 plus VAT, plus the cost of materials.

To provide the service, the Council is working with Millbrook Healthcare Ltd as part of the East Surrey Home Improvement Agency which aims to support independent living. The company is based in Brockham and is now contracted to Tandridge, Reigate & Banstead and Mole Valley Councils with the service available to anyone living in those Council areas.

The company also offers:

  • Help with identifying the work required to adapt, repair or improve a home.
  • Help with Disabled Facilities Grant applications for adaptation works; case workers carry out checks for eligibility for Council Grants.
  • Help for homeowners with accessing funding and arranging for small works and essential repairs to their home in line with criteria set by the Council.
  • Technical officers design, arrange labour and monitor the quality of work carried out by experienced and approved contractors. All works are subject to final check for both suitability and quality before submission to the Councils for payment.
  • Assisting with Housing Options – help and information about moving home and what housing options are available to meet needs. The advice and support given is free, although costs will be incurred for services such as removal companies, solicitors, etc. The service may be able to access funding or grants to help you with these costs.

For more information, please email eastsurreyhia@millbrookhealthcare.co.uk or call 03301 243 758 and select option 2 for home improvements.

If you have any comments or questions, please just get in touch at Cllr.Catherine.Sayer@tandridge.gov.uk.

The Council is keen to hear from anyone who has previously developed land available in the District, known as brownfield land, where new homes could be built.

We are updating our register of brownfield land and are conducting a brownfield Call for Sites consultation. To submit a site for consideration, please visit www.tandridge.gov.uk/brownfield and complete the Site Submission Form. Please e-mail it, with a plan showing the boundaries of the site, to brownfield@tandridge.gov.uk by Monday 15 January 2024.   

We want to ensure as many brownfield sites as possible are put forward which have the potential for the development of new homes. We will prioritise the development of brownfield land in line with our adopted development plan policies and I would encourage anyone who may have suitable land available to submit it to be added to our register.  

Brownfield land, that is land which is or was occupied by a permanent structure and perhaps now sits derelict or vacant, provides a valuable resource in the protection of greenfield land from development. A greenfield site refers to land which hasn’t been previously developed, for example ancient woodland, grassland, or agricultural land. 

What is the brownfield register? 

Since 2017, local planning authorities have been required to keep up-to-date, public records of brownfield sites in their area which have the potential for housing development.   

To be included in the register, sites must be: 

  • An area of at least 0.25 hectare or capable of supporting at least five dwellings. 
  • Suitable for residential development. 
  • Have no legal or ownership constraints. 
  • Achievable in the opinion of the Council, the land is likely to be developed within 15 years of being added to the register. 
  • Meet the definition of previously developed land (PDL) in the National Planning Policy Framework.  

 The PDL definition excludes land:  

  • That is or was last occupied by agricultural or forestry buildings.  
  • Developed for minerals extraction or waste disposal by landfill, where provision for restoration has been made through development management procedures. 
  • In built-up areas such as residential gardens, parks, recreation grounds and allotments 
  • Previously developed, but where the remains of the permanent structure or fixed surface structure have blended into the landscape. 

Does all the land included on the brownfield register automatically get planning permission? 

No. Interested parties still need to submit a planning application for the site and the application will need to be assessed to take into consideration the impact on the natural and built environment and to make sure it is in accordance with the Council’s adopted development plan policies.  

If you have any comments or questions, please just get in touch at Cllr.Catherine.Sayer@tandridge.gov.uk. 

Councillor Catherine Sayer 

Leader of the Council  

Rural economy grants for Tandridge businesses and communities – apply now

Grants of up to £50,000 are now available for projects which help the growth of jobs, rural business and communities in Tandridge District.

Businesses, charities and community groups in rural areas can apply for up to 50% of capital costs for projects which create jobs or grow the local rural economy such as farm diversification, food and drink produce, business development, community cafés and shops.

The money comes from the Rural England Prosperity Fund run by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

Tandridge has been awarded a total of £400,000 for the financial years 2023/24 and 2024/25. The money is being distributed by Surrey County Council and applications for a grant can be made at www.surreycc.gov.uk/ruralprosperity.

We drew up for DEFRA an investment plan for the money which aims to address challenges faced by Tandridge rural communities and businesses, to tackle inequality, and to provide resilience for this sector.

We explained that new businesses are often incubated in rural homes, farm buildings and isolated business parks. Many of these businesses need to grow. As of 2022, 98% of Tandridge’s businesses employed 49 or fewer people. With a highly qualified workforce and increasing demand for local products and services, there is significant potential to increase the number of start-ups and also to grow existing companies.

We also explained that agriculture makes a significant contribution to the Tandridge landscape, economy and environment. Tandridge has the potential to supply local markets not only within Surrey but also into London and other neighbouring areas. This can help to reduce food miles and promote the consumption of affordable local produce. There is scope for developing local supply chains through farm shops, farmers markets, box schemes and cooperative marketing initiatives. In addition, the funding offers the opportunity for farmers to diversify and secure new income.

Our investment priorities include:

  • Small scale investment in micro and small enterprises in rural areas.
  • Growing the local social economy including community businesses, cooperatives and social enterprises.
  • Support for improved digital infrastructure (a lack of reliable digital infrastructure presents a barrier for rural businesses’ resilience and growth).
  • Developing and promoting the visitor economy such as local attractions, trails, tourism.
  • Active travel enhancements (rural areas have poor public transport provision).
  • Creating and improving local rural green spaces.
  • Funding for existing cultural, historic and heritage institutions and for local arts and creative activities.
  • Funding for volunteering and social action projects.

We are delighted to have secured this funding and would like to encourage all eligible organisations to apply for a grant.

If you have any comments or questions, please just get in touch at Cllr.Catherine.Sayer@tandridge.gov.uk.

Councillor Catherine Sayer

Leader of the Council

Good news on Tandridge District Council’s finances

At a time when many Councils are struggling to stay solvent and a number have declared bankruptcy, I wanted to reassure you that Tandridge District Council is not in that position and is doing ok. Having received a number of emails from residents who have read the news headlines about other Councils, some of them in Surrey, this seems a good time to set out TDC’s improved financial position.

On 12 September, the Council received a letter from the Government’s Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) stating: “The department recognises and commends the Council’s efforts to grip and manage its budget pressures, and the successful steps taken to deliver the transformation and savings programme in 2022/23 and in 2023/24.” 

We have been in discussions with DLUHC because, in May 2021, when we took over as the administration, we found that the Council was itself threatened with bankruptcy and a £920,000 annual hole in the budget was discovered due to a pension costs error.

The Council’s reserves had been run down to a low level and so, in August 2022, when the Council sold a property it owned in Nutfield, we asked DLUHC for approval to use the money to bolster our reserves. 

In its letter, DLUHC refused that request basically because we are doing too well, stating: “This decision reflects the department’s assessment of your overall financial position, including your current levels of reserves, and the steps taken and underway to transform the council and meet the budget pressures faced.”

 Although disappointing that our approach to using our own resources to increase financial resilience has not been supported, it is good news that the Council’s successful efforts to turn around the finances have been recognised.
The Council is aiming to make savings of £1.7m in the current financial year (2023/24), a major challenge when you consider the revenue budget for the year is £11.9m.

To protect services to residents and to avoid using our modest reserves, a programme has been established to develop and implement a series of changes enabling a significant reduction in the Council’s own operating costs – the Future Tandridge Programme. This is aimed at ensuring that expenditure no longer outstrips income. We have also brought in stricter accounting and reporting rules to improve the Council’s financial management.

Figures for the first quarter of the year (April to June 2023) show savings delivery on track with just over £1m of the savings target already achieved or confident of being achieved soon. 

We are also on track to balance the budget with no need to call on the reserves. However, we are aware of continuing risks around inflation, temporary accommodation costs, and planning appeals that need to be factored in and managed.  Future Government funding for Councils is uncertain, and so we are taking steps now to ensure that our financial position remains as strong as possible.

If you have any comments or questions, please just get in touch at Cllr.Catherine.Sayer@tandridge.gov.uk.

Councillor Catherine Sayer
Leader of the Council 

Rental properties wanted – no fees or commission

If you are a landlord interested in letting your property in the Tandridge district then the Council would like to hear from you. We offer a completely free lettings and support service with no fees, commission or other charges.

Landlords only need to pay for gas and electrical certificates, which is a legal requirement.
The Council is looking for properties in the private rented sector for tenants from the housing waiting list who may not be able to access the rental market independently because they cannot raise the deposit or pay rent in advance.

What sort of properties are needed?

We need one to four bedroom homes available for at least 12 months, although longer lets are good because many tenants would like to rent for a long time. Accommodation must be self-contained, in a good state of repair and have all the necessary safety certificates.

The Council works together with private landlords to get properties rented quickly. We can:

•    Draft the tenancy documents and inventory report for you (free).
•    Provide a Guarantee Bond as a deposit for the length of the tenancy to cover any damages and/or arrears. This is equivalent to five weeks’ rent.
•    Help set up housing payments through Universal Credit.
•    Offer continued support to you and your tenants to ensure the tenancy runs smoothly.
•    Find new tenants when necessary to reduce the amount of time your property is empty.
•    Assess the housing history of anyone we put forward for a property, but the final decision is always yours.

We also support tenants as they claim any Housing Benefit or Universal Credit they may be entitled to. We have specialist employment and training advice for tenants to help them keep their tenancy in the long run.

How much rent can I charge?

You can set the rent based on what you think the market is able to pay. Tenants are usually in receipt of some benefits even when working and so, to be affordable, rent payments need to be around or slightly above the Local Housing Allowance rates.

Housing officers can estimate what would be a reasonable rent for your property. They will pay the first month’s rent to the landlord at the beginning of the tenancy and help tenants set up their future rent payments to be paid directly to the landlord.

To find out more and complete our enquiry form, please visit www.tandridge.gov.uk/landlord.

A housing officer will get in contact to discuss the scheme and any questions you have. They will visit the property and if it is suitable, arrange for prospective tenants to view.

If you have any comments or questions, please just get in touch at Cllr.Catherine.Sayer@tandridge.gov.uk.

Tandridge Independent

The Council’s first net zero carbon homes are about to be completed. These six new homes at Auckland Road and Windmill Close in Caterham on the Hill are a step towards reducing the Council’s carbon footprint and promoting environmentally friendly living.  

The new homes will soon be occupied by people from the Council’s housing register and most importantly for those residents, the zero carbon measures should help to keep down their energy bills.  

The homes feature: 

  • 100% low energy lighting: Ensuring efficient and sustainable lighting. 
  • Low-emissivity (Low-E) glazing: Minimising heat loss and maximising energy savings. 

  • Mechanical ventilation heat recovery (MVHR): Improving air quality and energy efficiency. 

  • Enhanced building fabric: Providing superior insulation and thermal performance. 

  • Air source heat pumps: Offering a renewable energy solution for heating and hot water. 

  • Photovoltaic panels: Using solar energy to power the homes. 

This is just the start. All the new council homes we are building are being designed with the aim of being net zero carbon. We use energy consultants to work with the architects to achieve this and so far, we have not had any problems with delivering them as net zero. We have a current approved programme for 200 new council homes and aim to build more. These will be added to the Council’s existing stock of 2,580 homes.   

Funding for net zero carbon homes 

There is no specific funding in relation to net zero carbon for new build homes. However, when the Council bids for grant money from Homes England (the government's homes and regeneration agency), we highlight net zero carbon as a benefit to justify the higher build costs and therefore grant levels requested. We have recently received confirmation of a Homes England grant for £130,000 for Auckland Road and £195,000 for Windmill Close.  

As for upgrading and retrofitting our existing stock, in March this year the Council made a successful bid to the government’s Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund and was awarded £849,000 of funding.  

 This fund was set up to improve the energy efficiency of socially rented homes. It covers several upgrades to heating, including new heating systems, energy efficient doors and windows and upgraded insulation.  

 If you have any comments/questions, please just get in touch at: Cllr.Catherine.Sayer@tandridge.gov.uk 

New Household Support Fund opens

On Monday 3 June, from 10am, residents on low incomes who live in Tandridge District, can apply to the Council for a grant through the Government’s Household Support Fund to help with the rising cost of living.

The fund aims to support households most in need, anyone who is vulnerable or cannot pay for essentials. You do not have to be getting benefits to get a grant. If you get benefits, they will not be affected if you get a payment from the fund. You can apply if you have received a household support fund grant in the past, although we will give priority to people or families who have not received a grant before.

Who can apply:

Applicants must:

  • Be over the age of 16.
  • Live in Tandridge District.
  • Be struggling to meet the cost of essential items like food or energy or water bills for themselves or their dependants.

How to apply:

From 10am on Monday 3 June, you can apply online at www.tandridge.gov.uk/supportfund 

If you don’t have access to the internet, you can call 01883 722000. To assess applications, the Council needs to ask for some information, most importantly bank statements from March-May 2024. Having these ready, will help speed up the process.

How much are the grants:

The Council has been awarded £124,469 for the Fund and eligible households with children will receive £375, eligible households without children will receive £175. There can only be one application per household.

The money is limited, so it’s best to apply quickly as the fund will close when all the money has been allocated.

Other help with financial hardship:

If you are concerned about whether you are receiving all the benefits or tax credits you are entitled to or are stressed about debt or worrying about how to make your money stretch, Citizens Advice has teamed up with Surrey County Council to offer tailored financial advice to check that your finances are in the best shape they can be. If you are interested in finding out more, and how you might be able to maximise your income, please contact Surrey’s Welfare Line on 0300 200 1008 and ask to be referred for Household Support Fund advice services.

If you have any comments/questions, please just get in touch at: Cllr.Catherine.Sayer@tandridge.gov.uk

Tandridge’s public toilets to undergo a revamp

Public toilets across Tandridge district are about to get a lot more convenient. Over the next four years, the council is investing £859,100 in refurbishing them.

Three sites will be refurbished over the next six to nine months. They are at Godstone, Warlingham and Oxted, with more refurbishments to follow as all the facilities in the district are reviewed.

It is a much needed makeover. The district has had some temporary toilet closures due to low investment in the last 25 years and facilities coming to the end of their life. The toilets at Godstone have been a particular difficulty because of an intractable problem with legionella which has led to their temporary closure. They will be the first to be revamped in this new programme.

The provision of public toilets is not a statutory service that councils are required by law to provide. In addition, they are costly to maintain and clean and can often attract antisocial behaviour.

These factors have combined to make austerity-hit councils cut expenditure on them. Recent research shows the number of public lavatories that local authorities have funded and maintained fell from 3,154 in 2015/16 to 2,556 in 2020/21 – a drop of 19%, which comes on top of reductions in previous years. Many councils, including a number in Surrey, have permanently closed public conveniences due to financial pressures. 

But public toilets are essential infrastructure and the Kings Fund, a health and social care charity, reports that “at an individual level, there are physical and mental health consequences when adequate public toilet facilities are not available.  There are also social impacts, where people are forced to plan ahead and restrict their outings to places they feel confident they will find a toilet. Others simply don’t go out, putting them at risk of social isolation”

The council is keen to make Tandridge’s towns and villages as attractive to visitors at possible and to boost footfall for local businesses and we hope keeping a good standard of public toilets will help with that aim.

If you have any comments/questions, please just get in touch at: Cllr.Catherine.Sayer@tandridge.gov.uk

Spending the Community Infrastructure Levy 
The Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) is a charge which can be set by local councils on new development to raise money to help fund infrastructure, facilities and services needed to support new homes and businesses. 
CIL is applied as a charge on each square metre of new building and is payable by most residential and retail developments in the Tandridge District.  
The Council collects the levy and distributes it to projects in the district. This is done via a bidding process which allows applicants from the Tandridge District to make their case to be awarded funds.  
The bids are initially assessed by council officers before going before a working group of councillors to make the final decision. The working group is made up of councillors from around the district to ensure overall balance in the distribution of the money. 
The most recent round of awards made by the Council’s Planning Policy Committee, approved funding of over £2 million for various infrastructure projects. They included support for: 

  • Queens Park in Caterham, to improve the park and its public amenities, including better toilets and the widening of pathways for disabled access and also to implement flood alleviation measures.  
  • Station Avenue in Caterham to improve its public space and implement flood alleviation measures, with the aim of attracting shoppers, visitors and new businesses and boosting economic growth. 
  • Hurst Green Community Association for the design phase to renovate and extend the Hurst Green Community Centre. 
  • St Mary’s School in Oxted to upgrade the swimming pool for the school and local community to use. 
  • Lingfield Sports Association to install a drainage system so the Godstone Road playing field can be used throughout the year. 
  • Oxted’s Business Improvement District to support improved signage around the town centre. 
  • Felbridge Parish Council to upgrade the village playground with a new surface and equipment. 

We have now allocated all the current income generated from CIL so this year will be focused on making sure the projects are taken forward and delivered as agreed. More details about the CIL process are on www.tandridge.gov.uk/cil

If you have any comments/questions, please just get in touch at: Cllr.Catherine.Sayer@tandridge.gov.uk.

District’s swimming pools get £197,000 share of government support fund

After a successful application to Sport England, Tandridge District Council has been awarded £197,000 to help keep public swimming pools and leisure centres open in the face of increased operating costs.

It was a competitive application process and not all applicants received funding and not all facilities were successful. I am delighted to say that the Council has secured the funding for Caterham’s de Stafford Sports Centre and Oxted’s Tandridge Leisure Centre. 

The Council had to provide information on the operational status of the pools together with evidence of the risk of closure, of the need for the funding, and of future strategic plans. This evidence included:

  • monthly utilities usage and cost.
  • monthly chemical costs.
  • average weekly operational hours of swimming pools for public swimming.
  • participation data on swimming lessons and swimming activities each month.
  • evidence that the facility was at risk of closure in the form of any Council minutes or correspondence between the local authority and the leisure provider.
  • evidence of why the provision is of particular importance to community use.
  • steps taken to reduce energy usage and other costs.
  • how the funding will be used to support the provision in the short term and what will happen to the facilities once this funding has been used.

 The Council is working with Freedom Leisure, which operates the centres, to ensure they remain open and continue to provide essential swimming and leisure activities.

It has been a very challenging time for the centres with Freedom Leisure stating that, as a result of the energy crisis, they have seen their energy bills more than double. They emphasise that although the additional funding will help, it remains a challenge to maintain swimming pools across the UK and they would like to encourage as many residents as possible to continue to use and support their local community swimming pools.

The £60 million Swimming Pool Support Fund was announced in March. The first £20 million has been allocated to local authorities in England for 196 public swimming pools and leisure centres most at risk of closure or significant service reduction.

If you have any comments/questions, please just get in touch at: Cllr.Catherine.Sayer@tandridge.gov.uk

Funding for voluntary groups – apply by 30 November for small grants

Every year, the Council allocates grant money from its budget to local charities and voluntary groups and a key part of this process is making sure the money is distributed as widely and fairly as possible.

For the year 2022/23, a total of £249,143 was allocated in grants to community and voluntary organisations. This splits into two parts: £221,348 on major awards to voluntary sector organisations such as Tandridge Voluntary Action and Tandridge Citizens Advice Bureau and £27,795 in smaller grants to 20 organisations from the money raised by people buying tickets for the Tandridge Together Lottery.

To try to ensure the grant funding goes to the most suitable applicants and projects, in December 2022 criteria were drawn up against which applications are assessed.  

For the major community grants, the criteria that applicants are scored on include the number of residents supported by the service, evidence of need for the service and of financial stability, working collaboratively with volunteers and demonstrating how success will be measured.  

For the smaller grants of up to £2,000 from the Tandridge Together Community Fund, the money is for initiatives which will directly benefit residents in the district through one or more of the following activities:

  • Support people to be able to live independently for as long as possible.
  • Support people to improve their emotional and physical health.
  • Target services at under-represented and / or hard to reach groups.
  • Effectively safeguard people from abuse, neglect or poor treatment.
  • Reduce social isolation.
  • Help reduce reliance on alternative, higher cost state interventions.
  • Support and enable carers to carry on caring for as long as possible.
  • Support youth provision projects.

The Council is now inviting voluntary groups to apply for these smaller grants. The deadline to apply is Thursday, 30 November and details of how to do so are here www.tandridge.gov.uk/communityfund.

The allocations will be decided in January 2024 with £24,000 available to be distributed from the proceeds raised from lottery ticket sales. The Tandridge Together Lottery was launched in 2018. Tickets are £1 and there are weekly draws with a top prize of £25,000. 

So if you fancy a flutter, are aged 18 or over and want to support a local good cause, please do buy a ticket at www.tandridgelottery.co.uk

If you have any comments/questions, please just get in touch at: Cllr.Catherine.Sayer@tandridge.gov.uk.

The long awaited improvements to Croydon Road, one of the key shopping streets in Caterham Valley town centre, are moving closer with the Council awarding the contract for the works to Walker Construction. 

The aim is to make Croydon Road a greener and nicer place to spend time and money, to attract new businesses to Caterham and to boost economic growth and employment opportunities.

The works include:

  • Extended pavement space to encourage people to stay longer - providing useable outdoor space near cafes and restaurants.
  • More greenery and seating in the town centre.
  • Improved safety for pedestrians and cyclists, widening some parking bays and clearly separating the road and parking areas by using contrasting materials.
  • Planting trees and introducing rain gardens and pocket parks. The rain gardens will absorb water running off the road and are being planted where they can have most impact on reducing flooding. There are currently a number of places in the street where rainwater accumulates during periods of high rainfall.
  • Encourage more active travel like walking and cycling and redress the current imbalance which favours car users.

How is it being funded?

The Caterham Business Improvement District (BID) kick started the idea, recognising the need to improve the area which has been in decline for several years, and to bring in local people and visitors to shop and spend leisure time there. The Council has allocated £950,000 of Community Infrastructure Levy to the project and has worked with the BID on the plans and to secure the rest of the funding. These organisations are contributing to the project:

  • Caterham BID (Caterham Valley for You)
  • Caterham Valley Parish Council
  • Tandridge District Council
  • Surrey County Council
  • Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership

Walker Construction won the contract after a two stage process with the invitation to tender scored on price and quality. The quality questions focused on the traffic management plan, access management, parking arrangements and the ability to minimise business disruption.

The Council, together with the BID and Surrey County Council, is now working with Walker Construction to prepare for a start on site in January 2024. The project is scheduled to take 9 months to complete.

If you have any comments/questions, please just get in touch at: Cllr.Catherine.Sayer@tandridge.gov.uk.