Local Manifesto - Surrey Heath
Below is a summary of our aims and policies for local government.
It should be noted that today, local councils have no real power, they are following what central government and the EU tell them - and looking out for the interests of their local communities comes last. For more on this issue, take a look at the video "The Hidden Local Issue" on the Video page of this website.
The UK Independence Party is prepared to take the steps necessary, to ensure true local independence can be returned to local councils. We believe local communities know best how to serve themselves and wish to give that power back. UKIP believe in allowing local people to call a binding referendum for major local issues, for example, when 5% of the local electorate have petitioned on a particular issue.
Ultimate withdrawal from the EU would allow the wasteful bureaucracy and unhelpful regulations that are widespread, to be removed; and the billions of pounds Britain currently contributes to the EU every month, can be invested in our own communities instead. We need to dismantle the unelected regional government and return powers to our county and borough councils.
In the past, there were plans for Surrey Heath to amalgamate with neighbouring local authorities to form a large unitary authority, which was suggested following something of a financial crisis in Surrey Heath. However, the cost benefits from this will be short lived, but the democratic deficit will be long lasting, with local residents most adversely affected by this proposed change. UKIP are opposed to making Surrey Heath into a larger unitary authority, for this reason, and are pleased that - to date- this position has been accepted by many others. We are mindful to guard this situation, should the suggestion repeat itself. We value and support local democracy.
We are prepared to make a stand now for delivering local services that will benefit the local residents, even if that is not on Westminster's or Brussels' agenda. We actively seek to serve the local community, not hide behind the institutions of the EU, many miles away. So, whilst other parties may offer some attractive ideas to the local electorate, it is because they are not prepared to untie their hands from the grip of the EU, that they can never deliver many of them fully. We may not guarantee immediate success, but, unlike others, we are prepared to take the steps necessary to make it possible.
- Health services There are constant threats of cut-backs and closures to hospital services - including pressures on Frimley Park, or at our neighbouring Royal Surrey or St Peter's. Any closure puts additional pressure on those that remain. UKIP believe in trying to ensure such closures do not happen.
- Housing Audit Commission independent inspections for Surrey Heath's housing reflect the council could do much better. UKIP believe in identifying the weaknesses and establishing strong stakeholder partnerships in order to provide adequate housing in response to needs.
- Youth aspiration UKIP believe in providing adequate youth sport and social facilities across the borough, and direct investment into neglected areas. This will encourage positive activities and engender greater community spirit. One option UKIP is looking at is the creation of an ice skating facility in Surrey Heath.
- Social care UKIP will work to achieve a year on year improvement for our social care service provision, which currently is poor.
- Retired Surrey Heath has an ageing population and we need to make preparations to cater for this growing need. UKIP believe improvements can be achieved by adequately supporting close working partnerships between the council and groups that have proven experience in elderly service provision, and then implementing the necessary measures to meet the demand in time. Additionally, directing funds to an actual need, and streamlining bureaucracy.
- Environment and Waste Management Surrey Heath possesses a unique heathland environment, which must be protected through strong local planning and management control. UKIP support the ability for the local council to decide on planning, and to oppose outside influence from regional quangos or national government in these matters. The EU landfill regulations are making unacceptable demands on local waste services. UKIP do not support fortnightly waste collections locally, all year round, particularly whilst adequate recycling services are still not in place.
- Transport infrastructure Local public transport services require adequate funding, to make them affordable and reliable for residents. We would seek to ensure public transport receives adequate funding, and to increase the choice of routes across the borough and beyond, that are available. Our roads have suffered in recent years from a lack of regular maintenance, despite their heavy use. Surrey Heath has one of the highest levels of car ownership in the country, and could do much to improve the use of road space to make traffic flow smoother. A range of measures to make a real difference to safety and to easing traffic flow would be a priority for UKIP. We do not believe in taxing the motorist at every turn, particularly the recent unreasonable introduction of further parking fees in our village centres. In terms of air travel, and flight paths, we oppose attempts to move more flight paths over Surrey Heath, which has significant housing relatively close to Heathrow, and already provides its fair share for flight paths.
- Regeneration and Revitalisation Whilst we have seen some regeneration of areas within the borough, there are still pockets that require investment. Those parts that have already been 'regenerated' have not always been for the benefit of the local residents. As elected representatives, we would work hard to listen to local views, to ensure any future regeneration is undertaken with full local community and business consultation. Any regeneration must be carried out in a sensitive and sustainable manner, this includes plans for the Deepcut development. We support further regeneration of Camberley town centre, but with local resident's having a say.