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Dear constituent

I am writing to you with a further local update.

A few people have asked me why I do not use these bulletins to address national issues, and clearly there are some controversial ones at the moment. But I have always kept these updates as ways of informing you about local issues or ones that directly affect our area and will carry on doing so. If you want to raise national issues or political matters with me, you are always free to email separately.

Some of you are also receiving one of these updates for the first time because you have contacted me for the first time recently. I hope you will find them helpful. But please unsubscribe using the link at the bottom if you do not want to receive them.

Firstly a couple of matters related to the pandemic.

International Travel

Many of you have been concerned that children aged between 12 and 15 will not have access to vaccine passports for overseas travel at half term, or because the system cannot show that they have recently had the virus. This should now be sorted next week, with the vaccine passports being updated to allow travel. However you should also check the rules for the country you are going to as some, including Spain in particular, have tight rules which may still make travel difficult. All of the details about individual countries are on the Foreign Office travel advice pages at: www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.

Care Home Visits

A number of you have also raised the issue of care home visits. This has been a particularly difficult matter for many families. The guidance for care homes is now being changed and the restrictions on the number of visitors allowed are being removed from Monday. You will be able to find full details of the new rules on the gov.uk website from then.

South Western Rail Services

Those of you who use the railways will be aware of the continuing frustration about the reduced level of service because of the pandemic and because of the number of staff off work with the virus. While South Western Railway is now back to offering four trains to Waterloo between 0700 and 0800, it is still only running a train every 30 minute after that. I am pushing hard for this to be changed as quickly as possible.

As passenger numbers build back up again, I am also renewing pressure on both Ministers and SWR to increase the number of peak time trains beyond their current plans. I am hopeful that we will get at least some further trains added to the timetable during the year.

Please do keep me in touch about any particularly overcrowded services as I am generally travelling before or after the peak at the moment.

Southern Rail Services – Tattenham Corner

For Southern users from Tattenham Corner, the company has told me that they will reintroduce the faster direct services to London Bridge as well as additional Victoria services after the 19th February.

Parking on Epsom Downs

If you are a regular user of the Downs, the Downs Conservators and the Jockey Club have asked Surrey to close the road that leads to the upper car park overnight and during the mornings. There is a public consultation on this which closes next week. If you want to express a view the link is here:

www.surreysays.co.uk/environment-and-infrastructure/old-london-road-epsom-prohibition-of-vehicles-prop/

I hope you are keeping well.

Best wishes

Chris Grayling