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Surrey County Council are currently working on producing a new Rural Strategy for Surrey and would like our views.  The consultation is based on an on-line questionnaire (an empty PDF version available for download is attached to this article). Originally the deadline for completion was set to 4 January 2016 but because of the intervening Christmas and New Year period, the county council have conceded to requests from the public to extend the period to give greater opportunity to submit responses.

Each subject in each section is accompanied by a "Vision" statement and a number of examples of how the "Vision" might be fulfilled are provided. These examples are not definitive and you might have your own ideas but they show the direction of the county council's thinking. Respondents are given the option to "Agree", "Neither Agree nor Disagree", "Disagree" or "No comment" and one must be selected to move on to the next question. The questionnaire provides areas where you can add your own comments.

Consultations like this are intended to help policy makers check if they've missed anything obvious; they are not a referendum and weight of comment or criticism might or might not not change the minds of the policy makers. The county council was visited on 29 December 2015 by the Prime Minister who congratulated them on saving £330 million over the last 5 years against their annual budget of some £2 billion and it looks as if the rural community is being asked to 'foot the bill' outside the urban centres. Once the consultation closes, a strategy will be developed and presented to the county's constituent local authorities for support and enablement.

As you work you way through the questionnaire it becomes increasingly obvious that the county council is attempting to replace services it has supplied directly to the community from council tax resources with voluntary activity sourced from within social enterprises, resident volunteer groups, resident associations, parish councils etc., in fact anyone, as long as the cost doesn't appear in the county council budget. Under such a regime, some services might just wither and disappear altogether. 

Please complete the ‘survey monkey’ questionnaire. You can complete the whole survey or select the sections that are most relevant to you. The survey closes on Saturday 16 January 2016.

Download this file (SCC_A-Rural-Strategy_December-2015.pdf)SCC_A-Rural-Strategy_December-2015.pdf[Surrey County Council A Rural Strategy Questionnaire (Blank)]168 kB
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