Chris Grayling - September Update

I am writing to update you on a number of local issues.

Firstly, the hospital, you are probably aware, thanks to the hapless management consultant who explained publicly on a train what he was working on, that  Epsom and St Helier trust has started once again to look at the possibility of building a new hospital in Sutton to take most, but not all of the services currently carried out at Epsom and St Helier. Coming only weeks after the new Chief Executive announced that there would be no changes for at least five years this was, to say the least, very surprising.

I am not opposed in principle to a smart new hospital to serve our area, but I have seen all of this many times before, and am wholly unconvinced that this project is viable. When the news first emerged, the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt made it clear that it was extremely unlikely that there would be money to build a large new hospital, and although the management believes it can raise the money elsewhere, I will take some persuading that a project on this scale can be funded in the coming years.

I would prefer to see the financial problems in our local NHS – which never seem to go away – solved by the hospital, the mental health trust, and the GP and community services pooling resources to save money. And I do not support yet another consultation about hospital services locally, particularly when I have seen no evidence that this latest effort to take services away from Epsom is either affordable or realistic.

I will keep you posted, but would be interested to hear your views.

Like many of you I had been expecting Oyster cards to arrive in Epsom this month. It seems that this isn't going to happen – and I am not best pleased. I am trying to get to the bottom of what has gone wrong, and it appears to be nothing to do with our line, but problems introducing the cards on a number of other routes outside London. It was all supposed to happen as one package, but there have been complications elsewhere, particularly on the Brighton line. I am in discussions with Southern and the Department for Transport about trying to sort things out quickly.  I am sorry about this delay, and will do everything I can to get things moving. I am assured that Oyster is definitely still on the way – it’s just a question of how long it will take.

The closing date for nominations for this year’s Epsom & EwellBusiness Awards is at the end of this month. This is the fifth year that we have organised the awards, which are designed to give local people and businesses the chance to nominate firms or businesses that have done a particularly good job for them over the past year. Please do go to the website, www.epsombusinessawards.co.uk, and nominate someone who has done a great job for you. Last year’s outright winners were Spring Electrical of Ewell. Congratulations again to them. Who will win the various awards this year? That’s down to you – they can only win if you nominate them!

Meanwhile for those involved in local businesses, I am holding the latest of our Business Breakfasts on October 8th. The guest speaker will be Peter Martin, Deputy Leader of Surrey County Council & Cabinet Lead for Economic Prosperity.  If you would like more details please email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or ring 01372277066.

I hope you were able to enjoy at least some of the summer (in between the rain).

With best wishes

Chris Grayling