LATEST UPDATE: 11 August 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 this cannot be the case.
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.
View the Government's current Coronavirus advice, guidelines and support measures.
Woking Borough Council service updates
In light of the Prime Minister's continued instruction to stay alert and stay at home if you can work from home, the Civic Offices remain closed to members of the public. We are continuing to deliver our services, which can be accessed by the public via this website.
The Civic Offices closure also includes access to services provided by: Surrey Police, JobCentrePlus and Surrey County Council Adult Social Care.
View contact details for each organisation.
Council facilities reopened for public use
In line with the Government's safety guidelines, the following council owned facilities are open to the public:
- Woking Leisure Centre - open for booked activities only
- Children's play areas
- Outdoor gyms
- Tennis courts (Woking Park courts require membership and pre-booking)
- Multi-Use Games Areas (MUGAs)
- Skate parks
- Angling at Goldsworth Park and Brookwood Lakes (membership required)
We ask visitors to enjoy these facilities responsibly and follow this advice:
Be prepared – wash your hands in advance, wear a mask and carry hand sanitiser and/or wipes.
Be sensible – limit your contact with others and keep your distance.
Be mindful – follow the measures in place to protect you and others.
Be safe – stay at home if you or anyone in your household has symptoms.
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.
Discretionary grants fund
Financial support for Woking’s small and micro businesses which operate with fixed property-related costs and which did not qualify for previous Coronavirus support business grant funding schemes. Grants are capped at £25,000 and successful applications will be awarded different amounts depending on the financial circumstances.
The application process is now closed.
Small business grants
The Government has provided funding for business grants of £10,000 or £25,000 to qualifying small businesses and some businesses in receipt of business rates retail discount. There are three grant amounts available:
- A grant of £10,000 for eligible small businesses which are in receipt of the small business rate relief or rural rate relief.
- A grant of £10,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with a rateable value up to £15,000.
- A grant of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses operating from smaller premises, with a rateable value over £15,000 and below £51,000.
The closing date for grant applications is midnight on Thursday 28 August.
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 to residents only. Day centre services have closed.
Community support and helpline
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 suspended until further notice.
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 has resumed offering its services to all eligible residents. All works will be conducted following the latest social distancing and Protective Personal Equipment (PPE) requirements.
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 been suspended, but phone calls to clients continue.
It operates a delivery service six days a week. Emergency helpline number: 07309 115 862.
Since the outbreak of the Coronavirus, our volunteering team has been overwhelmed with hundreds of pledges of support from local volunteers. Due to the high level of volunteers coming forward, all of our volunteering roles have been allocated at this time.
We’re aware of a number of local volunteer projects which are currently recruiting volunteers and may welcome your help.
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 has introduced 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 resumed from Tuesday 12 May 2020. All meetings are hosted virtually via Zoom.
The Mayor and elected members
Cllr Beryl Hunwicks, the 46th Mayor of Woking, and Deputy Mayor, Cllr Saj Hussain, are to remain in office for another year.
The process to formally request the Mayor's attendance at civic events is suspended until further notice.
The council’s annual meeting and Mayor-making ceremony, scheduled to take place in May, has been postponed until May 2021 meaning all existing councillor appointments remain in force.
Young People's Civic Awards 2020
The winners' Civic Reception has been postponed until April 2021. Winners have been informed by post.
Housing - choice based lettings
Bidding for properties via our Choice based lettings (CBL) system resumed on in June. The first bidding cycle started on Tuesday 9 June and closed on Friday 11 June.
We are working positively with the York Road Project to ensure our rough sleeper community has accommodation during the Coronavirus crisis.
Our housing advice team are conducting homelessness assessments by telephone. If you are homeless or have been made homeless due an emergency situation, phone 01483 743 834.
Our housing needs team are still managing phone calls, letters and emails.
Housing register applications are still being accepted by post and processed. Until further notice, we have suspended verification visits until further notice. Unfortunately, this may delay some allocations.
Many properties are still being allocated but there is a delay on repairs due to contractor staff shortages. Some removals are taking place, but only in very special circumstances.
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.
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 2020.
Leisure centres (council owned)
Woking Leisure Centre reopened on Saturday 25 July for booked activities only. In order to control the number of people within the centre and to limit contact between visitors and staff, all activities, including the gym, racquet sports and outdoor 3G football pitches, must now be pre-booked and, in some cases, are time-limited.
Pool in the Park and Woking Sportsbox remain closed until the autumn.
Playgrounds and outdoor gyms (council owned)
All play areas and playgrounds and outdoor gyms across the borough reopened to the public from Saturday 4 July 2020.
Parks and green spaces (council owned)
Our parks and green spaces remain open for informal exercise.
Celebrate Woking events
Events organised by us as part of the Celebrate Woking programme of events have been postponed until 2021.
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
Charges and civil enforcement will resume on the following dates:
- Monday 15 June: single yellow line restrictions have been reinstated in Woking town centre.
- Monday 29 June: single yellow line restrictions have been reinstated in residential areas. On-street pay and display machines will be in operation.
- Wednesday 1 July: Council-owned car parks across borough resumed charges.
Applications for parking new permits reopened on Monday 15 June 2020.
Planning and building control
Building control applications and site visits
We are still accepting electronic building regulation applications and conducting some visits.
Pre-planning application meetings are cancelled. Written advice will still be provided by email firstname.lastname@example.org
The planning service is still accepting and processing planning applications.
Protected tree works
Applications to undertake works on protected trees are still being processed and photographs are requested to illustrate the proposed works.
General site visits have been suspended until further notice.
Waste and recycling
Community recycling centres
Some Some community recycling centres (CRC), run by Surrey County Council, have reopened with new social distancing rules. The reopened sites includes Martyrs Lane community recycling centre in Woking.
Waste and recycling collections
Joint Waste Solutions is running a normal waste and recycling service at present.
The textiles and small electrical items collections resumed on Monday 1 June.
Due to advice to stay at home, Joint Waste Solutions is experiencing 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 have been made to enable staff to work from home and continue to deliver services for residents.
Non-essential staff have been redeployed to ensure front-line services can remain open to the public.