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Surbiton neighbourhood matters!

June 27, 2014

The latest edition of Surbiton Neighbourhood Matters is available on line at this link.

Ex Lib Dem Cllr convicted of benefit fraud

June 13, 2014

Today the Surrey Comet website carries the story of the conviction of a former Lib Dem councillor for Canbury ward for claiming social security benefits to which he wasn’t entitled.

The report states that ‘(his offences) include failing to declare £18,000 in Premium Bonds, 123 shares in a Barclays premium account and rental income from a lodger.

He also failed to notify the council he was receiving councillor’s allowance after being elected in May 2010.

He has since repaid the council in full. ‘

Did the Lib Dem Council really run on the principle that ‘the right hand knoweth not what the left hand doeth’? Why did no-one at RBK notice that this recipient of benefits from them was also being paid BY them and somehow concealing the fact FROM them?

You really couldn’t make it up!

cornerHOUSE in June and July

June 11, 2014

Fri 13 : ‘cH social evening ‘ – it’s summertime, the bar is open, the company is good, the books are out, the fun and games are down to you; join us for a chat and an inexpensive drink. Just come along from 7.00. No pressure !

Sat 14 : Crafty Afty – another cooperative session from the crafters of KT6. Bring your latest project and work on it with kindred spirits. Knitting, appliqué, card-craft, weaving, metalwork, whatever inspires you. Tea and cakes for when you flag. ( Flags and banners – now there’s an idea ! ) Just drop by between 1.00 and 5.00pm

Tu 17 : Gala – Sandra Sullivan – come and meet Sandra, the artistic spirit behind our June exhibition. Discuss her work and enjoy a drink in her company. From 7.00 pm. Sandra’s work is on display throughout the month.

Thu 26 – Sat 28 : Hay Fever ; the Green Theatre returns to the cornerHOUSE with a Noel Coward revival. This exciting young company wowed us with their stunning Noises Off, and gave us a radical view of the work of A.A. Milne. Lets see what they make of this classic drama; just three performances so don’t you dare miss this. To book tickets ( £8 – £6 for concessions ) call: 07462 751682 or e-mail:

Sun 29 : Film Club – two stunning and award winning international films this month. Details are being mailed to members but if you are not on the list you can join now ; e-mail Just £10 gives you free admission to all club screenings till May next year.

…plus put these July dates in your diary in

Tu 8 – Wed 9 : Kingston Junior Drama’s latest : Conversations in a Time of War

Sat 12 : Crafty Afty

Tu 15 : Art Gala

Fri 18 : ‘cH social evening ‘

Thu 24 : Comedy – Mark Watson – as seen on TV – full pre-tour show – tickets on sale already

Sun 27 : Film Club

For more of July’s eventsdetails see the cornerHOUSE website ) or next month’s newsletter.

Don’t miss a thing, though; join us on Face Book and Twitter !

cornerHOUSE, 116 Douglas Road, Surbiton, Surrey, KT6 7SB – Tel 020 8296 9012

e-mail =

The Douglas Centre Trust ( a registered charity no. 1047038, limited co. no. 3057887 )

Premises provided by the parish of St Matthew and St George, Surbiton and Tolworth


Syed Kamall returned as MEP

May 26, 2014

Syed Kamall in the European Parliament

Syed Kamall in the European Parliament

Our local MEP, Syed Kamall, was safely returned to the European Parliament in the small hours of this morning. London was the last of the English regions to declare its result. It seems that the whole process was held up by counting problems in the East End of London, especially Tower Hamlets. Long serving Conservative MEP, Dr. Charles Tannock, was also elected. Lib Dem Sarah Ludford joined all but one of her MEP colleagues in losing her seat.

Congratulations to Syed and Charles!

Dust not finally settled

May 25, 2014

Mike Head and Howard Jones on the campaign trail.

Mike Head and Howard Jones on the campaign trail.

It must be unprecedented in the history of RBK that, three whole days after the polls closed, we still don’t know the final outcome of the Borough election on Thursday. At the time of writing, Norbiton STILL has not been finally settled.

We do know that there will be an overall Conservative majority of eight seats, the first time this has happened since the recapture of Tudor Ward in a bye-election in 1987!

It’s a matter of personal sadness to me that Surbiton Hill failed to return a single Conservative, considering that Janet Bowen-Hitchings, Jane Smith and I were returned in the first ever election under existing boundaries in 2002, albeit by majorities ranging from only 60 to roughly 100. In that election the Lib Dems won 30 seats out of 48, reducing the Tories to 15 and Labour to three, all in Norbiton. In 2006 Janet, Nick Kilby and I were returned in a similar turn out election to 2014 with majorities from 550 to 600. The 2010 election was untypical, given that it coincided with a General Election and a turnout of over 70% including numbers of students, recently registered and promised by the Lib Dems that their tuition fees would be abolished.

Of course, the existing Surbiton Hill ward contains large tranches of the old Tolworth West ward, where Tories regularly came third, behind Labour and the Lib Dems. It also has a substantial chunk of the former Tolworth South which went Labour in 1990.

Given this history and seen against the backdrop of the results in neighbouring Alexandra, Berrylands and St. Mark’s, I am at a bit of a loss to understand the outcome in Surbiton Hill.

P.S. Labour have won two seats in Norbiton, unseating the current Mayor Penny Shelton and David Ryder-Mills. They lost the third seat by three votes to a Lib Dem newcomer whose surname is Brisbane. The defeated Labour candidate’s surname is South. Yet another case of the political significance of initial letters of surnames determining the position of the candidate on the ballot paper and, just possibly, the outcome of elections…..?


Tory majority at last

May 23, 2014

I shall be commenting more at length on the local election results tomorrow, when I hope we’ll have the full result.  However the Conservatives gained six seats net across the Borough to give them 28 Councillors and an overall majority of eight seats. The Lib Dems have at least 17 seats, down from 25. Norbiton ward still has to declare its full results. There are obviously some fierce recounts happening there, probably between Labour and the Lib Dems, The final outcome of those will determine whether RBK has a Labour Group once again.

In Surbiton Conservatives  won all three seats in Alexandra ward for the first time in its history. Congratulations to Richard Hudson and Chris Hayes and a special mention to Ian George, who lost his seat in 2010 and has now won it back again! Mike Head won a seat in Berrylands, where he fought a good campaign in the bye-election last year, following the death of Frances Moseley. Andy Johnson also  gained a seat there, giving the Conservatives two out of three. It’s my opinion that the practice of listing candidates’ names alphabetically from top to bottom of the ballot paper may well have helped Lib Dem Cllr. Abraham keep her seat while Conservative Emma Wright narrowly failed to make it a clean sweep for her party.

This Lib Dem survivor in Berrylands, coupled with the Conservative defeat in Surbiton Hill (albeit by a narrow margin of 20 votes in the case of Peter Kelk) and the Lib Dem retention of all three seats in St. Marks, means that the Lib Dems will still control the Neighbourhood Committee by 7 seats to 5.