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Newsletter - Sun 14 Apr, 2024

By David Grantham

In this issue there’s an update on Beech House, an office building in Reigate that the borough council purchased in 2017 to generate rental income, but which has been vacant since July 2021 and is now estimated to be worth rather less than its purchase price. The council is looking at how the building should be used in the future, which could include up to £3m on refurbishments.

But first, a round up of news in brief.

In brief
More events at Reigate Castle

Two more productions have been added to this summer’s programme at Reigate Castle Grounds: Romeo & Juliet (Opens in a new window) on Wednesday 26 June, and Gilbert & Sullivan’s Gondoliers (Opens in a new window) on Sat 7 September.   More local events can be found on the What’s On page (Opens in a new window).


It was announced yesterday that the Redhill-Tonbridge line will reopen from Monday (15 April) at 7am, after being closed for a couple of weeks because of repairs to a landslip.  Southern says (Opens in a new window) that a temporary speed restriction between Edenbridge and Penshurst could cause delays of up to 5 minutes, and is asking people to leave enough time if connecting to other services.

Police move to Wray Park begins

Surrey Police began their move to Wray Park on Monday (8 April) from their former eastern divisional HQ at Reigate police station, where reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC) was found last year.

St David’s House at Wray Park will be a temporary base for around 18 to 24 months, while the force considers longer term plans for police services to the borough and eastern division, which includes Tandridge, Epsom & Ewell and Mole Valley.

The public counter that had previously been open at Reigate police station will continue to be located at Caterham police station, where it moved to in October, as the force says there is no suitable space at Wray Park.

Wray Park already has fire and ambulance services on site.

Surrey Police’s eastern divisional commander, Chief Superintendent Graham Barnett, said: “We are very grateful to Surrey County Council’s Land & Property service and Surrey Fire and Rescue Services for offering us temporary use of the vacant building at Wray Park. 

“We are committed to providing a policing presence in the borough and this prime location, not far from our former Reigate base, enables us to continue to support the residents of East Surrey with the excellent police service they have come to expect.

“While this is a temporary base for us, we also see this as an opportunity, bringing the three emergency services together in one location to enable closer collaborative working with our blue-light partners.”

Stripey Stork wish list

The April wish list for Reigate-based baby bank charity Stripey Stork is online, along with donation dates.   Items being sought include equipment, clothes and furniture, for older as well as younger age ranges.  Details are here (Opens in a new window).

New chief executive for Surrey
  • Terence Herbert (image via Surrey CC)

Surrey County Council has appointed (Opens in a new window) a new chief executive, Terence Herbert, who is currently performing that role at Wiltshire County Council.

Herbert is expected to take up the position this summer.   He said: “ I’m looking forward to working with the leader, members, staff and our partners to build on Surrey’s significant track record and lead the organisation through the next stage of its transformation in what continues to be a challenging time for local government.  

“Having spent much of my earlier career in children’s services and mental health, I am passionate about delivering quality services for the most vulnerable residents across our communities. I know the importance of retaining a motivated and ambitious workforce with a focus on celebrating the success of our staff, so this is an area that will be a key priority for me.”

Herbert is replacing Joanna Killian, who left the county council in March (Opens in a new window) to become chief executive of the Local Government Association.

Lists of candidates published

Candidates were announced this week for the borough elections taking place on Thursday 2 May.  One seat in each of the borough’s three-member wards will be up for election, except in Tattenham Corner & Preston where a vacancy means there will be two seats up for grabs.  The list of candidates in the 15 wards is here (Opens in a new window).

Also taking place the same day is the election for the Surrey Police and Crime Commissioner - the list of candidates for that is here (Opens in a new window).

Information on voting and elections, and voter ID requirements, can be found on the borough council website (Opens in a new window).

In detail

Estimated value of Beech House drops again

  • Beech House is at London Road, Reigate

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