New Year Message.
I admit ‘Getting things mended’ is becoming an obsession (writes EVRA Chair Brian Angus). I recently wrote to Roads and Maritime, Sydney Australia asked why they keep repainting their bridge when the Forth Rail Bridge people applied a finish that lasts decades ?! I got a friendly and interesting reply which isn’t always the case when, nearer home, I find myself continuously asking people please “Make this safe”, “Mend that” or “Don’t damage the grass”. If you have read my Christmas ‘Thank you’ you know I appreciate the many people who regularly and voluntarily pick up litter that other people drop, report graffiti and potholes and generally ‘look out’ for the village.
It’s not the sexiest of topics but delayed maintenance quickly leads to an area spiralling down and an even-greater bill to put things right. Look at the state of our roads, the area around Bourne Hall and the health centre and you see what happens if maintenance funding is cut for a month or a year.
In a post-Christmas bid to cure my obsession, I ask “What should I be doing differently ? What causes individuals and organisations to neglect the maintenance of their assets ?”
Around Ewell we see plenty of excellent examples where businesses and residents have had the confidence to invest in improvements to their premises and homes. Elsewhere nearby we spot buildings and environments where owners and landlords need ‘encouragement’ because people are living in unattractive, even sub-standard conditions.
The companies and authorities who look after our infrastructure have ever-more difficult choices to take. Our Councillors will tell you that ‘Austerity’ has never been more challenging and Police and Health Authorities will agree.
In a ‘Hope-they’ll-miss-it” announcement just before Christmas, the Government will allow local authorities to increase taxes by 6% whilst cutting central funding to local services. Assuming that includes Police as well as Surrey County Council and Epsom & Ewell, the average tax–payer already contributes £123 per week in taxes, and fees like car parking.
I for one would find that kind of an increase challenging, and it’s not all about money so, for the moment, I’ll stick with offering people my words of “Encouragement !!
Happy New Year.
Chairman – Ewell Village Residents’ Association
Representing 2,100 households in Ewell village
Getting things mended since 1927 !