• Woking accepts support
    Article: May 25, 2023
    The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) has today (25 May 2023) published the report of its non-statutory review into Woking Borough Council's finances, investments and related governance.

    This report follows the Department's earlier letter in October 2022 announcing an external review into the council's finances.

    Read the full report

    In response to the report, the Minister, Lee Rowley MP, has written to the Leader of the Council to formally announce a series of measures that outline the next steps for Woking Borough Council. This includes confirmation of government-appointed commissioners who will work with the council's leadership team to address the authority's ongoing financial challenges.

    Read the Minister's letter to Woking Borough Council's Chief Executive

    Responding to the announcement of the report's publication, Cllr Ann-Marie Barker, Leader of Woking Borough Council, said: "I am committed to openness and transparency and will continue to keep residents up to date on progress as we deal with the council's finances.

    "I welcome the letter I have received today from the Minister and the recommendations being proposed by the team that undertook this review.

    "I am pleased that there is acknowledgement of the strong collaboration between officers of the council and the review team on the progress that has been made to address the council's financial resilience.

    "My administration is very clear about the huge challenges facing the council due to the legacy of both the extraordinarily high and disproportionate levels of debt that we have inherited from the previous administration. We are also very clear and focused on the significant risks that the council is now facing up to as a result of that debt.

    "We also recognise that these challenges are so significant that the council and its officers cannot deal with these on its own. We therefore fully acknowledge and accept the findings of the report and welcome the support set out by the Minister in his letter.

    "I know that councillors and officers will work at pace alongside the government-appointed commissioners to address the issues identified in the report and achieve best value for the public purse through the preparation and delivery of an action plan.

    "When my administration gained control of the council last May, I pledged to take on the challenge of major change and embed affordable, responsible and sustainable principles into how the council conducts its future business and this remains my priority.

    "As part of this pledge, we have taken steps to control borrowing, made changes to the governance of our commercial investments and I have instigated independent reviews of all the council's borrowing and investments.

    "I recognise we need to deliver our plans for recovery of the council's finances with greater pace and urgency and we face difficult decisions in the months ahead. I will work with my officers to ensure, with the support of the commissioning team, we have the capacity and experience to deliver the improvements needed.

    "I remain committed to keeping residents, businesses, and community partners fully informed as we progress through this process and develop the detailed plans for recovery with support and oversight from the commissioning team."

    Find out more about the process online

  • Woking Towers
    Article: May 19, 2023

    • Professional valuation confirms worst fears of new administration

    • Investment write-down exceeds £490 million after audited accounts published

    • Uncertainty on further funding for Victoria Square project beyond May with imminent reports into financial implications for Woking Council itself

    Woking Borough Council faces the prospect of a £490 million write-down in the valuation of Victoria Square Woking Limited (VSWL). This adds to potential financial losses on the loans the Council previously made to the company.

  • Perlious
    Article: May 2, 2023
    • Full extent of further financial problems looming in imminent reports
    • Woking may need to 'set aside' as much as Surrey County Council
    • Imminent Victoria Square valuations expected to confirm previous Liberal Democrat fears of at least a £300 million black hole.

    As Woking prepares for local elections on 4th May, the Liberal Democrats, who won control last year, warn that the borough is approaching a precarious stage of their recovery plans.

  • Will Forster and Leslie Rice
    Article: Apr 27, 2023
    • Conservative MPs block new tough measures on water companies discharging massive quantities of sewage into our rivers, lakes and on our beaches.
    • Liberal Democrats called out and voted against the scandalous decision by the Government to block the bill.

    On Tuesday 25th April, Conservative MPs, including the local MP for Woking, Jonathan Lord, voted to block the bill which would have introduced automatic fines on water companies breaking their permitted sewage dumping limits.

  • Burglar alarm on wall of house (The Blowup @unsplash.com)
    Article: Apr 12, 2023

    1,412 burglaries went unattended in Surrey last year, stark figures uncovered by the Liberal Democrats have shown.

    Of the 2,768 burglaries reported, police only arrived at the scene in 1,356 instances - accounting for just 48.99% of cases.

    Nationally, almost four in ten burglaries in the country did not result in a visit to the scene by a police officer. The figures were based on data provided by 19 police forces in England. Another 14 forces refused to provide the figures.

    The Liberal Democrats are calling for a new "Burglary Response Guarantee," which would create a guarantee that all domestic burglaries are attended by the police and properly investigated.

  • Letter to WNM on JL
    Article: Apr 4, 2023

    Dear Editor,

    It is immensely disappointing that Woking's MP, Jonathan Lord, has started a petition objecting to the reduction of free parking from 3 to 2 hours at Woking Park. Woking Borough Council's Executive is entirely sympathetic to the impact of the charge, fully recognising the importance of health, leisure and wellbeing and made this decision with huge reluctance against an economic backdrop that made it necessary.

  • Martin Sulivan at Lakers
    Article: Mar 29, 2023

    Lakers Youth Centre in Goldsworth Park, Woking was gutted by fire in January 2018 and in spite of a petition from supporters and pressure from local councillors since that time, the building was left empty and unused until its demolition in 2021.

    Surrey County Council has taken its time to review options for the site and finally presented plans for its re-development at its meeting of the Cabinet on Tuesday 28 March.

  • Candidates LE23
    Article: Mar 21, 2023

    Introducing the brilliant Lib Dem candidates standing to join our team on Woking Council this May!

    These candidates are ready to help turn Woking from being a failing bank to a council, focused on delivering services. Selected for their skills and experience, they will strengthen our team.

    Cllr Ann-Marie Barker, Leader of Woking Council says:

  • woking Rail Hike
    Article: Mar 4, 2023
    • Liberal Democrats call for fare freeze as cost of living crisis continues
    • Annual season ticket from Woking to Waterloo forecasted to reach £3,336

    With a rail fare increase of 5.9%, the cost of an annual season ticket for Woking commuters will rise despite the cost of living crisis worsening.

    Annual season ticket prices between Woking and London Waterloo will rise by a staggering £204.

  • energy fuel poverty
    Article: Mar 4, 2023

    Councillor Will Forster, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Woking, is demanding the Government cancel plans to hike the average household energy bill by £500 in April, and bring in a tax on the "bonanza bonuses" of oil and gas bosses.

    The party is calling for cuts to people's bills instead, combined with a new energy support package for businesses, leisure centres, schools and hospitals across Woking.

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