I am writing to you with an update about Coronavirus issues and other local matters.
Firstly, I have been asked by a number of people about the current rules for travel outside the UK and returning here. To find out what the rules are for entering any other country, you should look at the Foreign Office Travel Advice, which will tell you what the entry requirements are at the moment in each country.
For re-entering the UK, all of the current advice is here.
South Western Railway & Network Rail Timetable Consultation
South Western Railway and Network Rail have launched a consultation about their plans for the post-Pandemic timetable from December 2022 onwards. This consultation is based on an assumption that considerably fewer people will be commuting going forward. The proposals represent a significant downgrading of the pre-pandemic timetable for our line into London Waterloo. They are intending to reduce the number of trains from Ashtead and Epsom in the peak from six trains an hour to four. This would be done by scrapping the services that start at Epsom and making the previous semi-fast service stop at Ewell West and Stoneleigh instead, as well as at all stations further in. At the same time they would make the current reduction in off-peak services permanent.
They will also at the same time introduce the new generation of trains onto our line, which are ten coaches with all of them connected to create an open plan route right through the train. Their argument is that the new trains will have significantly more capacity and will be able to carry as many people as before even with a reduced service. I do not buy that argument. I have met the company to raise my concerns about the plans, and I think it is much too early to judge what passenger numbers will be in nearly eighteen months time. This level of service would have been completely unworkable with pre-pandemic passenger numbers. I would encourage everyone to take part in the consultation and to make your view clear. The details are at here.
Epsom & Ewell Business Awards 2011-2021
This year’s Epsom and Ewell Business Awards have just been launched for online entries and nominations. This will be the tenth year of the awards, and it’s a great opportunity to nominate your favourite local business, perhaps because of what they have done for you during the pandemic or because they just always look after you really well. Details of how to enter or nominate an entry are here. Please do get involved.
Volunteering in the Local Community
I know that many people locally put their names forward to volunteer in the community during the pandemic, and either have now finished that work or did not find the right opportunity to do so. If you are someone who is motivated to get involved or frustrated because your help wasn’t needed, I am planning a volunteering event to match potential volunteers with a small group of local charities who need extra help.
The event will be at St George’s, in Barnett Wood Lane in Ashtead on Friday 10th September from 4 until 6.30pm.
I will be sending out more details a few days before, but if you are interested please make a note in your diary.
I hope that you manage to enjoy something of a break this summer and that the weather improves.