LATEST UPDATE: Tuesday 7 April 2020
This statement is an update on the position of Woking Borough Council in respect of our activities in light of the Coronavirus and the emerging national picture.
Underlying what we do is the safety and wellbeing of the community and the safety and wellbeing of our staff in meeting the needs of local people. Whilst we aspire to ‘business as usual’, the reality is that it cannot be.
The Government continues to publish advice on what individuals should do to protect themselves during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. It is important that individuals follow this advice and take necessary steps to protect themselves, their families and others.
Woking Borough Council service updates
In light of the Prime Minister's instruction to stay at home, the Civic Offices are now closed to members of the public. We are continuing to deliver our services, which can be accessed by the public via this website.
This includes access to services provided by: Woking Borough Council, Surrey Police, JobCentrePlus and Surrey County Council Adult Social Care. View contact details for each organisation.
The Government has updated it business rates support for retail and other business sectors. It has expanded its ‘retail discount’ to 100% discount on business rates. This discount now covers, all retail, leisure, hospitality businesses plus estate agents, letting agencies and bingo halls.
The Government has announced business grants of £10,000 or £25,000 to qualifying small businesses and some businesses in receipt of business rates retail discount. We are writing to businesses which qualify.
We will review across our corporate estate where tenants may need a flexible approach from us about delaying rent payments. Where possible we will delay the obligation to pay if that enables a business to survive and retain employees.
Guidance for food businesses providing takeaways and deliveries
The Government has set out measures so that pubs and restaurants can operate as hot food takeaways to serve people having to stay at home.
Businesses offering new takeaway and delivery services must think about any new hazards and ensure updated control measures in place to eliminate risks. Additionally, your business can only offer these additional services if it’s a registered food business with us.
Business advice and support
Community and living well
Brockhill Extra Care
Brockhill Extra Care remains open for residents. Day centre services have closed.
Surrey County Council is coordinating a county-wide helpline and support services for vulnerable residents and those struggling to access the right services, finances and food supplies.
Community meals service
The community meals service remains open.
The service is taking new referrals only. This covers residents who have come out of hospital, those who are unable to shop for meal requirements or have no alternative arrangement in place for shopping
We are working with our existing network of community support, including Woking Community Transport, to reach more people and will continue to extend this network.
Careline personal care alarms and sensors service
Careline is operating business as usual service. However, all routine follow-up visit will now be conducted by phone.
Careline's fall responder service is also operating a normal service.
Centres for the Community
Our Centres for the Community (Moorcroft, Parkview, St Mary’s and The Vyne) are closed to the public. Instead, these will be used as hubs to coordinate support to vulnerable residents.
For those residents who usually use our centres for support and/or meals, alternative support is being arranged including providing meals through our community meals service, social contact will be maintained through regular phone calls, and visits and essential shopping will be provided through our home support services.
The handyperson service is currently available to residents who have been discharged from hospital only.
Returning home after a stay in hospital
Our Homesafe Plus service is not operating in its usual format due to staffing capacity at local hospitals. Hospitals will continue to refer patients to relevant council services where possible.
The social prescribing service is operating a reduced service. Client visits have ceased, whilst phone calls to clients continue.
Woking Food Bank
Help is available between 10.30am and 12.30pm, Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.
Anyone wishing to volunteer their time to support vulnerable people within their community are asked to register their interest by visiting the Volunteer Plus website.
Local businesses wishing to volunteer, for example, by diverting their resources to support the community or providing help in any other way, can register their interest with us.
Vulnerable people known to us are being supported and the engagement with community networks is being developed. We will be redirecting further colleagues, including staff of partner facilities we have closed, to support this activity.
Council tax payments
Council Tax payments will be taken as usual.
Anyone who is struggling to make payments, should contact us to agree a revised payment plan.
The Government is introducing a Council Tax hardship fund targeted at those in receipt of Council Tax support.
Council and democracy
Council and Committee meetings
Full Council, Executive and Committee meetings have been suspended. This includes the borough Planning and Overview and Scrutiny Committees.
Freedom of Information (FOI) and Data Protection requests
We have suspended Freedom of Information (FOI) or Subject Access (Data Protection) requests during this time. The suspension will be reviewed at the end of May 2020.
Bidding for choice based lettings (CBL) properties
Bidding for properties via our choice based lettings (CBL) system has been suspended until further notice.
Tenancy information for New Vision Homes tenants
New Vision Homes is making all efforts to keep its services running with as little disruption as possible.
Tenants experiencing financial difficulties
We and ThamesWey are working positively with tenants in financial difficulties to avoid the risk of homelessness.
We are working positively with the York Road Project to ensure our rough sleeper community has accommodation during the Coronavirus crisis.
Private sector housing
The Government has published non-statutory guidance for landlords and tenants in the private and social rented sectors.
Leisure and culture
HG Wells Conference and Events Centre
HG Wells Conference and Events Centre has closed and will not reopen due to the scheduled closure in July.
Leisure centres (Council owned)
Woking Leisure Centre, Pool in the Park and Woking Sportsbox are closed. If you are a member, your direct debit payment will be suspended and no further payments will be taken whilst the centres are closed.
Playgrounds, outdoor gyms, multi-use games areas and skateparks (Council owned)
All play areas and playgrounds across the borough are closed. The closures also include outdoor gyms, multi-use games areas and skateparks.
Parks and green spaces (Council owned)
Our parks and green spaces remain open for informal exercise.
Tennis courts (Council owned)
Our tennis courts across the borough are closed.
Public toilets (Council owned)
Our public toilets around the borough remain open.
Licensing and permits
Taxi and private hire operator licences
The licensing team are continuing to offer renewals, but are no longer accepting new licence applications until further notice.
All enquiries should be emailed to: email@example.com
Temporary changes to our parking operations
- All council owned car parks will remain open and operate free of charge until further notice.
- All permit holders, both car park and on-street residential, will have their permits automatically extended to cover the period where parking is provided for free.
- We will not be processing new car park or residential parking permit applications until further notice.
- Our civil enforcement officers will only enforce parking in the interests of public safety.
For further parking enquiries, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Planning and building control
Pre-planning advice service
Pre-planning application meetings are cancelled. Written advice will still be provided by email email@example.com
Waste and recycling
Community recycling centres
Community recycling centres, run by Surrey County Council, are closed.
Waste and recycling collections
Joint Waste Solutions is running a normal waste and recycling service at present.
From Monday 30 March, the textiles and small electrical items collections will be suspended under further notice.
Over the coming weeks, Joint Waste Solutions is expecting more demand for its services and it has issued advice on how residents can assist collections during this busy time.
Residents are requested to put out their bins for collection the night before their scheduled collection.
Read Joint Waste Solutions waste and recycling advice for residents
Joint Waste Solutions has issued specific advice for residents who are self isolating. This involves double bagging your personal waste and isolating it for at least 72 hours.
Read Joint Waste Solutions waste and recycling for residents who are self isolating
Our employee working arrangements
Wherever possible, appropriate adjustments are being made to enable staff to work from home and continue to deliver services for residents.
Non-essential staff are being redeployed to ensure front-line services can remain open to the public.
Staff are encouraged to find alternative arrangements for external meetings and consider if face-to-face meetings are necessary.