Our recent residents' survey has revealed that only 14% of residents are 'satisfied' with the current performance of Conservative-run Surrey County Council, with a shocking 55% 'not satisfied' and 31% 'not sure'.
The news comes just a few weeks before local residents go to the polls to decide who should run the council for the next four years.
Residents' damning verdict of the council, which has been run by the Tories for over 20 years, didn't end there. When asked whether the services provided represented 'good value for money' for their council tax only 11% said 'yes', with a staggering 61% saying 'no' and 28% 'not sure'.
Criticism of the council was broad and wide ranging, but one of the top issues raised was the terrible state of local roads. Just some of the many comments received included:
"The state of the roads around Haslemere are horrendous.
Potholes are everywhere. The surfaces are breaking up
and generally drivers are having to zig zag across the
roads to avoid them."
"Road drains & gullies have not been cleaned out in decades, which causes vast puddles and rapid road surface destruction."
"The roads are appalling and full of potholes."
"Roads are in a terrible condition. I’ve damaged my car multiple times."
"Our roads in Surrey are among the worst in the country."
Another area residents think is in need of drastic improvement is how the council supports the most vulnerable in our communities:
"Children's Services and mental health organisations were already struggling with funding and only able to deal with crisis work but the pandemic has exacerbated the need for these services."
"Adult social care requires significant improvement."
"The Special Educational Needs services are awful."
"Children’s support services very much lacking and will be vital post Covid."
"Children centres need to be brought back, adult centres need looking into. Special Educational Needs and Disabilities needs to be looked into as well."
Residents also felt that council efficiency can be substantially improved, and there was strong criticism of their use and management of contractors in particular:
"Roads are shocking in our area and contractors do a poor job of repairs. They should be contracted to do a first time fix and if the pothole reappears within a year, then it is their cost, not the council."
"The council could be much more efficient and deliver more value for money by investing in technology and refocusing its efforts."
"Surrey County Council spend far too much money on consultants for their capital projects and these are almost always in boroughs bounding London."
"Repair of a sinkhole took months and when the contractors appeared, they seemed to spend most of their time sitting in their vans."
Lib Dem Paul Follows, who is standing in the Godalming South, Milford and Witley division, said:
"Our survey makes clear that there is much work to do to get the county council delivering for residents to the standard they should expect for their council tax, and the results will help us to focus on those issues most important to you as a first priority.
"We have an exciting and ambitious plan to rebuild Surrey County Council services, which have been left decimated by decades of Tory waste and mismanagement, and it seems from resident's responses that this can't come soon enough.
"Many thanks to the hundreds of residents who have already shared their views with us. If you have not done so already, please take a couple of minutes to complete the survey and let us know your priorities."
The Lib Dem plan for Surrey County Council includes action to:
Protect the vulnerable - Urgently tackle Surrey’s failing Children’s Services, to ensure vulnerable children are safe and well cared for, and provide more Council-run adult social care facilities to reduce reliance on the private sector.
Fix our roads - More investment in local road repairs with better contract management and enforcement, to ensure that pot holes stay fixed, and rolling out the road safety measures our communities need.
Invest in communities - Deliver more school places where families need them and rebuild youth services, particularly in left behind areas. Give communities more power to make decisions on spending in their local area.