Hazel Watson

Divisional Member for Dorking Hills

Hazel has been the divisional member for Dorking Hills on the County Council since 1993. She is also the District Councillor for the Dorking North ward on Mole Valley District Council, having previously represented the Leith Hill ward. She is Chair of the Select Committee Chairs and Vice Chairs Group overseeing Scrutiny at the County Council, a Governor of The Ashcombe School, a Member of the Norbury Park Community Forum, a Member of the Advisory Group of the youth support organisation Belong, and a Member of the Children & Young People Advisory Committee of East Surrey YMCA.

Hazel has previously served as a member of the Surrey Police Authority and the Police & Crime Panel for Surrey where she was the Vice Chair, as a Board Member of the Mole Valley Housing Association, Age Concern Surrey, and the Surrey Hills AONB, as a Governor of the Surrey Hills School, and has Chaired the Projx Streering Group which sought to support young people in the Mole Valley area. She has also chaired the County Council's Adults and Community Care Select Committee and was Vice Chair of the Corporate Management Select Committee.

Hazel led the Liberal Democrat Group on the County Council from 2004 to 2018 and has led a number of high profile campaigns across Surrey, including campaigns to implement appropriate speed limits across the rural areas of the Dorking Hills, to implement Resident Parking Schemes in Dorking, to address the anti-social behaviour issues at the Beauty Spots created during the pandemic, to prevent oil drilling on Leith Hill, to keep the smaller Community Recycling Centres - such as the Dorking and Cranleigh Tips - open, to save the Performing Arts Library from closure, to keep parking in the Countryside Estate Car Parks - such as at Norbury Park and Newlands Corner – free for users, to stop the County Council purchasing commercial buildings across the country as investments, and to oppose a massive hike in the County's Council Tax.

Hazel's guiding principle is that the Dorking Hills is a beautiful area and that we must ensure that it remains so. She also believes we must provide the services that residents need, in the way they need them, cost effectively, to ensure that all residents can enjoy living in our beautiful area and have a decent standard of living.

Her priorities for the Dorking Hills are:

The Green Belt and Housing: To protect the Green Belt from inappropriate development, only considering development in the Green Belt on land that no longer serves Green Belt purposes and where there is local support for such development, to protect the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty from unacceptable oil drilling and mineral extraction, to ensure appropriate planning enforcement action is taken where planning rules are breached, and to prioritise the building of social housing for rent and smaller homes that local residents can afford on brownfield sites.

Anti-Social Behaviour: To work with the Police, Youth Services and other relevant agencies to prevent anti-social behaviour and to provide support to local communities in addressing the consequences of such anti-social behaviour.

Speed Limits, Parking, and Road Etiquette: To introduce appropriate speed limits on our roads to improve road safety, to support residents parking schemes in roads where a majority of residents want such schemes, to ensure fair parking charges for residents, retailers, and workers, and to promote "DriveSmart" and "CycleSmart" to balance the rights of residents to live in and cyclists to ride through the area.

Road Repairs and Drainage: To enhance the programme to improve both roads and footways, to use quieter road surfaces close to where people live, to introduce shared use cycle tracks on the A25 and across Dorking, to ensure that all drains are mapped and to improve the regular jetting programme to prevent blockages, and to improve flood defences.

Social Care and Youth Services: To support voluntary organisations that provide vital social services, to ensure that there is adequate respite care for carers, to increase the opening hours of our Youth Centres such as The Malthouse in Dorking and to develop youth provision in our rural areas, and to provide holiday activities for children and young people.

Waste Services and Broadband Provision: To reinstate the opening hours and to permit the deposit of all household waste at the County's smaller Community Recycling Centres (Tips), to increase the use of CCTV cameras to prevent fly-tipping in rural lanes, to remove charges for dumping all residential waste, and to provide superfast broadband to all homes in the county.

Buses, Trains and Airports: To improve bus services and to ensure that transport is provided for children in rural areas to get to the school of their choice, to oppose new runways at both Gatwick and Heathrow whilst promoting travel by train, and to develop the Demand Responsive Transport [Mole Valley Connect] to enable residents to access essential services that are outside Mole Valley.

School Places: To provide school places for children with special needs within the county and to provide the additional school places in the areas where they are needed to ensure children can attend schools close to home.

Hazel is married to Michael and has two adult children. Before entering politics, she initially worked for the Confederation of British Industry where she developed Education and Training Policy and then qualified as a solicitor specialising in intellectual property litigation. She has also served on the Quaker Council for Social Responsibility and Education.

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