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County Council Climbs Down Over Newlands Corner Play Trail

Surrey County Council has decided to drop plans to install a controversial play trail at Newlands Corner.

The decision comes in the wake of a Planning Inspectorate decision that a public enquiry would be required before the scheme could proceed.

However, the introduction of car park charges is going ahead.

In a short statement County Cllr Mike Goodman (Con, Bagshot, Windlesham and Chobham), cabinet member for the environment, said: “As the Planning Inspectorate has now told us a public inquiry into the educational play trail is needed, we have decided not to pursue this proposal at the moment.

“While we fully intend to revisit our plans for the trail at a later date because of its recreational, health and learning benefits, we are not prepared to spend around £30,000 of taxpayers’ money on an inquiry at a time when our budgets are under such severe pressure from the rising need for the likes of children’s services and adult social care.”

Campaigner Valerie Thomson said: I am delighted that the Children’s Play Trail at Newlands Corner is not going to be constructed.

“There were angry scenes at Holy Trinity Church when it was discussed at a public meeting some time ago, when SCC made an elaborate presentation, paid for by Surrey residents, about the wooden structures they proposed to build at Newlands Corner .

“Most people present objected to the whole project, saying it was a waste of money and totally unnecessary, as children could get as much pleasure and exercise from tree-climbing, rolling down the slope, playing hide and seek and kicking balls around, as our children have done for decades.

“They were also against a cafe and visitor centre being built right on the edge of the scarp. All of these proposals have been deferred, and hopefully abandoned for ever. Sadly, the action group lost the fight against car-parking charges.”

See also: SCC Cabinet Member Shouted Down Over Newlands Corner Proposals

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8 Responses to County Council Climbs Down Over Newlands Corner Play Trail

  1. Jules Cranwell Reply

    September 8, 2017 at 8:28 pm

    I suspect that SCC was only ever interested in the parking revenue, so it is rather a pyrrhic victory, but jolly well done to the campaign team.

  2. Dave Middleton Reply

    September 8, 2017 at 10:33 pm

    Excellent news, Common sense has prevailed at last!

    Perhaps, now that there is no need to fund an unwanted and unnecessary play trail and an entirely inappropriate visitor centre, coach park and retail complex, SCC can revisit the whole parking charges issue and at very least, reduce the proposed parking fees by at least 50% or, better still, scrap them altogether.

  3. Frank Phillipson Reply

    September 8, 2017 at 11:50 pm

    Cllr Mike Goodman’s statement “we fully intend to revisit our plans for the trail at a later date because of its recreational, health and learning benefits” deviously makes no mention of SCC’s intention for the play trail to create increased income from parking charges from the additional visits they hope the trail will attract. Furthermore, Newlands Corner provides all the recreational, health and learning benefits that are needed just as it is.

  4. John Powell Reply

    September 9, 2017 at 10:23 am

    When Surrey County Cllr Mike Goodman can’t even find the light switch before making a video it is not a good start. Then he gets even more confused by going on to say he would like to throw thousands more of taxpayers money pursuing a flawed unnecessary scheme after bad.

    Cllr Goodman is responsible for the environment. Surrey County Council and Surrey Wildlife Trust really should be looking after and protecting the countryside and wildlife rather than damaging it. SCC has rejected charitable proposals that would look after Newlands Corner at no cost to the taxpayer.

    Let’s see if Cllr Goodman is a big enough man to have a different sort of light bulb moment and realise this was, and is, a very bad idea.

  5. K White Reply

    September 9, 2017 at 10:35 am

    As SCC will no longer be paying for the play trail and its upkeep, I’m sure we can expect a reduction in the proposed car parking charges to bring the income into line with the reduced budget!

  6. Sue Reeve Reply

    September 10, 2017 at 6:32 am

    This is a good decision not to go ahead with the play equipment. As has already been said children can have just as much fun climbing trees, playing hide and seek and rolling down the hill.

    If we as a population constantly provide “stuff ” for kids where on earth are they going to learn to develop their imagination and learn to amuse themselves. We need future adults who develop skills to think for themselves.

  7. John Oliver Reply

    September 10, 2017 at 6:18 pm

    The public lost the fight against SCC’s application to install parking charge equipment at Newlands Corner. However, it does not mean that the Save Newlands Corner Campaign Group has given up the fight over the charges themselves.

    The loss of the play structures in itself helps to cast doubt over the viability of the parking charge scheme. But there is still a lot to be explored about the legality of what is happening about charges. They were supposed to be introduced in March last year. After “over the summer”, the latest is “in the autumn”. So, there is obviously uncertainty surrounding them.

  8. Dave Middleton Reply

    September 10, 2017 at 7:28 pm

    It would also be interesting to know what Cllr Goodman’s position would be if SCC wanted to implement parking charges and build play trails and visitor information, cum cafe, cum shop complexes on the car parks on Chobham Common in his own electoral district?

    I suspect that the good people of Bagshot, Windlesham and Chobham would have his telephone ringing red hot!

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