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Present…

NameBusiness
Ian MatthewsKingston Smith (Chair)
Cllr Jonathan Essex
Phil JonesRedstone Rotary
Andy BrownBrown’s Traditional (Secretary)
Angie AustinBorough Commander, Police
David HayMcDonald’s
Justin DraytonRethink print and marketing
Marc HansenMartin and Co
Simon PitherProperty and Tenant Manager
Diane Dunkley Reigate and Banstead Council
Chris LawrenceReigate Rotary
Paula EdwardsGeneration Redhill Twitter account

The last meeting overran which prevented us addressing a couple of points. Notably, homelessness. Andy Nash, who was unable to be at the current meeting for personal reasons, had been at a meeting of councillors, police officers and other parties to address the number of people rough sleeping in the town centre. The Renewed Hope Trust is a charity that meets in Three Central specifically to care for homelessness. The issues are complex, often provision has been made but clients are unwilling to accept the prohibitions on things such as illegal substances and pets. Sometimes it is difficult to move people on because they are not on public property, such as the area outside Sainsbury’s. However, progress has been made now and we are grateful to the multidisciplinary approach in the area. Four rough sleepers now receiving support and there are a lot of success stories. In the next few days the Winter Night Shelter is about to start. Previously, single men were not required to be housed but now they are, which is better for providing help but does increase pressure on the council. Councils are now using less bed and breakfast, but private rent is going up so truly affordable housing required.

Angie Austin from the police updated us on a few local problems. A prolific shoplifter who had been participating targeting Sainsbury’s had been caught and banned from Redhill for two years under a Criminal Behaviour Order. Another criminal had been caught and convicted of robbery and violence, and given a 14 months prison sentence. Both of these represent a lot of police work but have made significant steps to making the area safer.

A Public Space Protection Order was granted for Redhill in 2017. The area it covers are limited by the ring road and the Memorial Park. Prohibited behaviours include: 

  • Harassing or intimidating 
  • Threatening 
  • Urinating in an open public place
  • Littering or spitting 
  • Wearing clothing to conceal identity for crime or anti-social behaviour
  • Cycling, skateboarding, or hover-boarding in pedestrianised areas
  • Acting, inciting, or being a group acting in a manner likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress
  • Consumption of alcohol following a verbal warning by an authorised person to stop

More details are available here: http://www.reigate-banstead.gov.uk/info/20093/community_safety/879/redhill_town_centre_-_public_space_protection_order_pspo 

Angie pointed out that obtaining a PSPO involved a lot of work, and that in order to be able to justify its continuance it was important that contraventions are reported. The current Order is due to expire in October 2020.

Begging: many businesses support begging for poverty and homelessness, but economic begging is often linked to organised crime. Businesses and residents are encouraged not to give to them and support this. 

Yesterday (5th Nov) there were three burglaries in Redhill. Several suspects have been identified and investigations are continuing. Angie encouraged businesses to use Immobilise: the national property website that helps police identify and return stolen property. Full details here: https://www.immobilise.com 

One of the local police team Patrick McCann is raising funds for the charity that cared for the whole family when the youngest child developed a rare inflammation of the brain and spinal cord. More details, including how to give, can be found here: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-display/showROFundraiserPage?userUrl=PatrickMcCann&pageUrl=1 

A question was asked about the much-reported extra 20,000 police jobs being created by the Government. Surrey, apparently has been allocated 78 of them.

Jonathan Essex, a local councillor from the Green Party was with us and told us about the newly created Surrey Climate Commission which aims to stimulate and channel collective efforts through communities and organisations and was launched by Professor Chris Rapley, Professor of Climate Science at UCL, Professor Richard Murphy, Director of the Centre for Environment & Sustainability at the University of Surrey and Joy Aloor, Head of Sustainability at Siemens, among others. He showed a short video about the launch, visible here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-wbQH7orduQ&feature=youtu.be . “We have huge opportunities in Surrey to show what can be done,” says Sarah Jane Chimbwandira of the Surrey Wildlife Trust in it.

Jonathna pointed out that in the area the council has 500 employees, while the hospital has 3000. So although efforts can and should be made by the council to improve its carbon footprint, it is by no means the most significant employer.  

There are moves to make Reigate and Banstead a Fair Trade borough. This initiative has been running for 25 years now and requires a growing number of shops and cafes to have fair trade products as an option. 

Housing: protecting green belt is still a priority and efforts are being made to ensure urban spaces are used for essential development if housing is to remain affordable. This inevitably increases urban housing density. Part of the solution involves the prevention of land banking by investors purchasing land without using it which creates more pressure on rural land. 

There are two meetings about this next week, interested parties should contact Jonathan for details.

The Centre for Environment & Sustainability at the University of Surrey is currently running a survey to identify what is being and one and what needs to be done

The advice for transport is: avoid the necessity of travel if possible, shift to reduce distance, improve to create for example charging points for electric cars. Surrey has a strategy for improving charging points but no money has been allocated, so funds would need to be raised by local enterprise partnerships.

There is no further update on the Marketfield development or the station development which fell through when the new Sainsbury’s went up and Waitrose pulled out.

The Reigate and Banstead Business Awards are going ahead and growing next year Diane Dunkley, Economic Prosperity Officer, told us It will include 10 categories next year. One of these will involve the four local business Guilds in the category, High Street Hero. This will celebrate independent business on the High Street. It will work by encouraging Independent stores to apply to their local Guilds who will then nominate two for a public vote.

The Christmas decorations in town are going up this week. Generous funds have been given but only a third of the cost has been made so far.  Advertising requests need to get in quick, it doesn’t need to be a large amount, £300-400, starting rate.

The Guilds Christmas drinks will be in the first week in December, at the Junction, which is run by one of our members. Further details will be published later.

Phil has sent invoices for membership subs now, so please ensure you have received them and paid.

Ian is now enterprise advisor for Warwick School. Mock interviews being held this Friday at 9 and volunteers still required.

This is our last meeting with Ian as Chair. He has chaired the meeting with clarity, equanimity and equality, giving space to the interests of individual members while keeping us on focus, and successfully oversaw the transition from being run by the Council to becoming an independent organisation. Even though he is no longer a local resident he has given his time and experience generously to ensure the Guild continues on a good basis. He has hosted team meetings, arranged Guild meetings and been out in public promoting the Guild. He is a great example of leadership that is inclusive and supportive, and we will miss him. We thank him and his family, and Kingston Smith for allowing us to benefit from his skills and wish him well for the future. Please make sure you come to our Christmas drinks to say goodbye to him.  

The next meeting will be on the 8th of January.