Transforming People’s Lives

Last week, I visited Transform, a Walton-based charity that provides housing and support in Elmbridge, Runnymede and beyond to the homeless and vulnerable.   Transform has been going for over 40 years – formerly known as the Surrey Community Development Trust – and helps people who have hit rock bottom, because of family issues, drug […]

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Volunteering at Anchor House

Iain Duncan Smith’s brilliant think tank, the Centre for Social Justice, has a program called the ‘Inner City Challenge’, enabling MPs – from across the political spectrum – to engage in poverty-fighting projects. I jumped at the chance to spend three days volunteering at Anchor House, an award-winning charity that helps homeless people get back […]

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Austerity on the Frontline

Of course, the media would have us believe that everyone in Elmbridge is loaded. The reality is very different, with diversity across the borough and pockets of relative deprivation. Over the last week I have been dropping in on our Citizens Advice Bureaux (CABs) in Walton and Esher (pictured below, with Linda Wheatley and her […]

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New Homes Bonus

The government has just announced the allocation of funding under the new Homes Bonus, granting £1.25million of tax recvenue back to Elmbridge. You can see the geographic allocation of funds here. The idea is to replace top down targets with a financial carrot for communities able and willing to build new homes – especiably affordable […]

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Stamping Out Boredom

This morning, I joined Elmbridge Housing Trust (EHT) for the presentation of their awards to the youngsters who took part in this year’s Stamping Out Boredom Project (as pictured, below). The scheme gathers children from across the borough and gets them involved in a range of activities over 3 weeks – including drumming, football, archery, […]

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Affordable Housing in Elmbridge

Development is one of the thorniest local issues. On the one hand, we are blessed with 57% greenbelt in this borough – and we want to protect our open spaces. On the other hand, there is an acute shortage of affordable homes. The government’s answer is twofold. First, to scrap the top-down housing targets (such […]

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Planning and Local Democracy

Planning is a red hot local issue in Elmbridge, a borough which is 57% greenbelt. I have regularly posted comment on the need to protect the greenbelt, but also address the lack of affordable housing locally. The South East plan imposed top-down targets of nearly 6,000 new housing units in Elmbridge. The newly elected government […]

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Getting on the Housing Ladder in Elmbridge

The new government has taken decisive steps to preserve our greenbelt and open spaces from concrete – scrapping the South East Plan and announcing plans to put communities (not Whitehall) in charge of planning policy. But there remains considerable demand for affordable housing in Elmbridge – households on the local authority register for social housing […]

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