Sam's Snapshot

17 DEC 2014

Road safety update: speed limit to be reduced on Titsey Road, Oxted

I am pleased that Surrey Highways have set out proposals to reduce the speed limit on Titsey Road from 60mph to 40mph. The 40mph speed limit would extend from the existing 30mph limit north of Bluehouse Lane up to and including the roundabout at the Titsey Hill/Limpsfield Road/Clarks Lane junction.

The collision that took place earlier this year (see previous blog here) was an unthinkable tragedy that demonstrated, in the worst way possible, the need for better safety precautions along this stretch of road. Having visited the site I welcome the action that is being taken, which is a testament to the efforts of both the families involved and Cllr Nick Skellett. I hope that the lower speed limit will be in place as soon as possible.

However, this remains a much wider issue, both in East Surrey and across the UK, where three people die each day on average on country roads. That is simply not acceptable. We need to do more to raise awareness amongst drivers of the dangers of rural roads, and greater action from local authorities to ensure that speed limits are appropriate and potential hazards well sign-posted.

Photo: at the site of the accident on Titsey Road with Cllr Nick Skellett, David and Patricia Sanders and Madeline Palmer, campaigning for the speed limit to be reduced. Photo courtesy of Kevin Black

12 DEC 2014

Road safety in Nutfield

Improving safety on our rural roads must be a key priority if we are to prevent further tragedies from occurring in our community (see previous blogs here).

The Mid Street junction on the A25 is an accident waiting to happen. I fully support the campaign to reduce the speed limit between Redhill and Nutfield to 40mph, as well as the relocation of speed signs and other measures to slow vehicles before reaching the busy Mid Street junction.

Having recently met with the local Traffic Action Group, TAG-A25, to discuss this and other traffic concerns, I would urge Surrey County Council to listen carefully to the issues that they and other local residents have identified. In the meantime, I would appeal to all motorists to reduce their speed when using the A25 and other local roads.

11 DEC 2014

Securing AAC equipment for MND sufferers: response from NHS England

A few weeks ago I and 13 other MPs wrote a joint letter to the Chief Executive of NHS England, raising urgent concerns about the difficulty experienced by constituents with MND securing Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC equipment). You can read our letter here.

MND is a truly terrible disease that kills five people a day in the UK. It is a progressive disease that attacks the motor neurones in the brain and spinal cord, leaving people unable to walk, talk or feed themselves. Many sufferers of MND rely on using Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) equipment to communicate with friends and family, so it is vital that they receive this support.

The response of NHS England can be read here. I note the assurances that these issues are being addressed and that sufferers should already be experiencing an improved service, and I will be working closely with the MND Association and others over the coming days to determine whether this is the case. If you are aware of anyone who is currently experiencing difficulty securing this equipment I would encourage you to contact the MND Association, to help us build up a clear picture and ensure that AAC support is available for all who depend upon it.

09 DEC 2014

Backing Portley residents against Greenbelt development

On Saturday I met with around 30 local residents in Portley, Caterham-on-the-Hill, who are rightly concerned about a proposed development on Whyteleafe Road approved by the Planning Inspector last week.

Having made the concerns of the community clear to the Inspectorate this was a disappointing result, and one which could reduce the ability of the local community and Tandridge District Council to resist inappropriate development, and be used as a precedent to support future applications.

No-one can deny that we need new houses to be built. But developments should be part of a balanced and strategic approach that takes account of the pressure placed on local infrastructure including roads, schools and hospitals. It must be driven by the needs of the community, not the interests of developers.

I will continue to fully support residents in their fight against further developments that would threaten the Greenbelt and the character of our area.

I would like to thank Clive Manley, head of the Portley Residents Alliance, which has around 350 supporters, for organising the event on Saturday.

08 DEC 2014

Love Oxted Christmas Festival

On Saturday I was honoured to officially open the Love Oxted Christmas Festival, one of many events taking place around the country to mark Small Business Saturday, a national initiative to encourage people to shop local and support firms within their community.

The day was a huge success in Oxted, and it was great to see so many people out enjoying themselves and supporting local shops. I would like to congratulate Elements Lifestyle, the Oxted Chamber of Commerce, and everyone else involved in organising the day and making it such a success.

We are fortunate to have so many thriving local businesses, and this event was a great platform to showcase how much Oxted can offer. That is why I fully support the campaign to make Oxted a Business Improvement District and ensure that the town continues to go from strength to strength.

Photo: calling in on Howard Cundey estate agents during the Christmas Festival.

08 DEC 2014

Woldingham Pantomime: get your tickets now!

It was great to drop in on the cast of Woldingham pantomime rehearsing for this year's play Aladdin, which will be performed from Monday 29 December to Saturday 3 January. While the pantomime is a proud tradition in Woldingham that dates back to 1948, this year, for the first time the schedule will include a 'relaxed performance' taking place on Monday 29 December.

This performance is aimed at families who have children with autism, tourette's or any condition that might make it difficult to attend a performance. In short, your children will not be frowned upon if they are noisy or need to move around the auditorium during the production.

If you haven't already bought your tickets, either for this special performance or the other dates, you can do so via the website at

This year's pantomime promises to be one of the best yet, so make sure you don't miss out!

03 DEC 2014

Autumn Statement 2014

This afternoon the Chancellor delivered his final Autumn Statement ahead of the General Election next year, in which he set out further detail on what our long-term economic plan means for East Surrey. Amongst other announcements, the Statement detailed:

  • A growing economy and stronger public finances. This year the British economy is expected to grow by 3%, the deficit will be halved, employment is up and unemployment down – with over half a million new jobs forecast.
  • Support for small businesses and more help for the high street. The Government is again extending the doubling of small business rate relief and continuing to cap the inflation-linked increase in business rates at 2%. The £1,000 discount for shops and cafes on the high street will increase to £1,500.
  • Support for hospices and search and rescue organisations. VAT paid by hospices, such as St Catherine's Hospice in Caterham, and search and rescue organisations will be refunded, as well as more money for the Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance.
  • More help for savers. The amount you can save in an ISA will increase to £15,240 from next year, and when someone dies they will now be able to pass on their ISAs to their husband or wife tax-free. The Chancellor also confirmed that unused pension pots can be passed on to loved ones tax free.
  • Overhauling stamp duty, so that nationally 98% of those paying stamp duty will pay less tax when they buy their home.
  • An extra £2billion every year to the frontline of the NHS

You can read the full statement here.

02 DEC 2014

Financial fraud: industry-wide declaration published

Having campaigned for greater action to protect customers from fraud, I welcome the joint declaration issued today by banks, building societies, card companies and supported by the police, on how to avoid becoming a victim to the latest telephone scams. You can see the declaration here.

Sadly, this type of fraud is becoming increasingly common. The latest statistics from Financial Fraud Action UK, also published today, show that over the past year there has been a 17% increase in the number of people receiving suspicious calls, and a trebling of losses owed to vishing scams.

Today's action is a welcome step, but it is clear that there is still a long way to go to stop more people in our community falling victim to these pernicious scams.

02 DEC 2014

Aircraft noise: letter to Gatwick

Further to my previous blog on this subject, click here to read the letter I sent to Gatwick earlier this month regarding the misery being caused by aircraft noise for local residents, and calling for them to think again on the new P-RNAV system.

02 DEC 2014

Opening new flats at the Orpheus Centre

On Friday I was delighted to be at the Orpheus Centre in Godstone to officially open 4 new flats at Manor House.

The Orpheus Centre was founded by Sir Richard Stilgoe in 1998 as a residential care home for young disabled adults with ad hoc performing arts and life skills sessions. Today the centre provides supported housing and a diverse curriculum of performing arts, independence, functional and life skills to around 50 young disabled adults every year, of whom 30 are residents at the Centre.

Raising £200,000 to convert these flats is a fantastic achievement, and I would like to congratulate everyone who has been involved in making this happen. These rooms will make a big difference for years to come, helping young disabled adults on their road to independence.

Photo: Sam with Sir Richard Stilgoe and Orpheus students Sally, Daisy and Jessica. 

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