A major aim of the multi-million pound bid is to alleviate the flooding which has caused such problems over so many years, most recently in October 2021, when there was serious flash flooding, including in the town centre.
I believe the issue is of such a scale that it needs government help. The Levelling Up Fund says it aims to 'provide infrastructure to improve everyday life, to help local businesses, and to bring investment'. Tackling the flooding problem ticks all those boxes, as well as helping to regenerate the town. The fund plans to achieve its aim by focusing on:
• Town centre and high street regeneration, including remediation and re-purposing of vacant and brownfield sites
• Improving local transport connectivity and infrastructure, including upgrades to local bus, road and cycle infrastructure
• Maintaining and regenerating cultural, heritage and civic assets.
The government has developed an index of priority places for the funding and has placed local authorities into categories 1,2 or 3, depending on their identified level of need, with category 1 representing places deemed in most need of investment. Tandridge District is in category 2, with the rest of Surrey in category 3 (area of least need).
Liaising with other areas
Other areas in the south east were successful in the first round of bidding last year (including some in categories 2 and 3) and the council has been liaising with some of them to ensure we submit the best possible funding application for this second round.
In particular, we are concentrating on the economic case to justify the funding. At the minute, progress on revitalising the town is inevitably hampered by the flooding problem. We really do need to tackle that now by slowing down the flow of surface water after heavy rain and preventing huge volumes of water cascading through the town, overwhelming the drainage system.
It is very encouraging to see the level of support for this bid from a wide range of parties including Caterham Business Improvement District, the Caterham parish councils and Surrey County Council. And I would like to especially thank the Local Enterprise Partnership, Coast to Capital, for their financial contribution, and East Surrey MP Claire Coutinho for such positive help in taking this forward.
Our bid has to be in by 6 July and it’s not yet known when the successful applicants will be announced. Fingers crossed…
If you have any comments/questions, please get in touch via: Cllr.Catherine.Sayer@tandridge.gov.uk
Councillor Catherine Sayer is the council leader and leader of the Independents and OLRG Alliance, which runs the council with a minority administration.