Claire Coutinho MP - February newsletter
Parish Newsletter February 2024
I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas with your loved ones and a joyful celebration to see in the New Year.
I’ve hit the ground running this year taking up issues on behalf of local residents. Over Christmas I was working on behalf of villagers in Tatsfield, who are set to face 3 months of disruption because of Thames Water's planned maintenance works in Ship Hill. This closure is going to have a severe effect on residents in and around the village, and I am particularly concerned for children unable to get the bus to school and for families whose are going to be diverted into the Mayor of London's new ULEZ charge.
In the second week of January I chaired a public meeting with Tatsfield Parish Council to bring Thames Water and TfL representatives to the village to hear how families are going to be affected. I renewed our pleas to delay the works to the summer holidays, but also to have a proper plan in place for alternative transport around the village and to local schools.
I’ve raised concerns over highways planning with Surrey County Council and I’m pressing Metrobus to engage with Surrey and the Parish Council to find a solution for the 595 and 695 buses. TfL have done a good job given the circumstances and they are looking at sourcing a shuttle bus to go via Rickets Hill Road. Ultimately, villagers need works to be delayed for at least a few weeks, if not until the summer, so that proper plans can be put in place.
A huge thank you to everyone who made their way to the WI hall to make their voices heard, and thanks to Jason, David and Simon at Tatsfield PC for all their help convening the meeting. The more information I can share with Thames Water about how severely residents will be affected, the more I can apply pressure on your behalf. If you would like to share how the closure is affecting you, please contact me on email@example.com.
It’s now been over a year since I first wrote to Royal Mail about poor deliveries in and around Caterham, Warlingham, Oxted and homes around Tatsfield. Despite a number of reassurances from head office, it is clear that deliveries have not improved, so in December I visited the team on the ground at Caterham Delivery Office.
They have new structures in place to improve efficiency and more staff joining the team, which should improve service - but I also raised your concerns about the narrow two-hour collection window in the mornings. This is a decision made by head office and I will be raising this with them in writing. Please let me know if your service does not improve.
Finally, I know many of you are concerned about shoplifting and antisocial behaviour, particularly those of you who do your shopping in Oxted. Following my meeting in Oxted at the end of last year, Lyndsey Whatley, our Borough Commander, has put a renewed focus on tackling shoplifting. In just one day in December local officers made 20 arrests, charged 8 people with 23 offences, and visited 135 shops to offer advice on preventing crime. I will continue to work with our local neighbourhood teams and our Police & Crime Commissioner to make sure crime is tackled across East Surrey.