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Effingham Eye: Parish Council Meetings – You Don’t Know What You’re Missing

By Chris Dick

Parish council meetings might sound like dry old affairs but the recent meeting of the Effingham Parish Council was very informative, so this Effingham Eye is a summary of some of the subjects covered.

Wisley appeal hearing

Effingham Parish Council (EPC) chairman Arnold Pindar and Effingham Residents Association chairman Vivien White both gave presentations at the Wisley Appeal which, for the most part, took place in the Guildford Borough Council chamber at Millmead.

The five-week appeal hearing closed almost a month ago and the development could have a major impact on Effingham.

In a short overview of the final week of that hearing, where much of the evidence focused on  the appellant’s transport and planning witnesses, Wisley Property Investments Ltd (the appellant) addressed matters relating to how the movement of local traffic was viewed by their specialist and what benefits the development would bring to the area.

The Wisley Appeal Hearing

During the five weeks of evidence it became clear that there were some significant outstanding issues between the appellant and Highways England (HE) the agency responsible for England’s major roads network.

In his closing comments the HE representative said: “Highways England’s major concern is with the impact of the development on the northbound A3 between Ockham and M25 Junction 10. Mr Harwood’s [the QC representing the Wisley Action Group which objects to the application] evidence is that this section of road has one of the highest numbers of collisions of any part of the strategic road network (SRN) and operates under considerable stress…

“It is therefore common ground that the development is unacceptable in planning terms unless the impact on the SRN can be adequately mitigated. On this, the appellant acknowledges Highways England’s objection and is seeking to resolve it by the submission of further evidence.”

It was accepted that the applicant had tried to address these issues. However, there had not been enough time for HE to assess whether the solutions offered would mitigate all their concerns. These concerns included objections regarding a trigger point of 1,000 new homes before the north facing slip roads onto the A3 at Burnt Common would be built. It appeared that HE was dispelling any hope of reaching an agreement on the scheme with the appellant before the conclusion of the hearing.

As a result, two of the parties supporting the GBC decision to refuse the planning application, Wisley Action Group (WAG) and Ockham Parish Council, made a claim for full costs to be awarded against the appellant for, in their view, bringing the appeal without any reasonable prospect of achieving anything other than a refusal.  Apart from Guildford Borough Council the other Rule 6 parties followed this initative.

The KGV Hall and playing fields

Since the appeal closed, as previously reported, our parish council held a two and half hour-long meeting on Tuesday, October 31, 2017. Apart from the decision to cover the King George V (KGV) £16,000 deficit other important decisions were made:

Children’s playground in the KGV.

Children’s playground

The parish council agreed to support a complete rebuild of the children’s play area. The small fenced-off playground is in the KGV just East of Barnes Wallis Close. The full cost of the project was estimated to be £30,000. Around seven or eight thousand pounds would be available from the parish community fund, more from the EVRT charity and the rest from public fundraising. Everyone present welcomed the project and expected work to start by March 2018.

Parish Communication Group

On behalf of the EPC Communication Working Group, Parish Cllr Cliff Hackett gained council’s approval for £2,500 seed capital to start up a local magazine. Cllr Hackett outlined plans for a  32-page magazine that would cover Effingham and Little Bookham. He said that it would be run by a non-profit making group in much the same way as the Ripley and Send Community Publishing Association have produced almost 100 editions of Ripley and Send Matters. The seed capital is to enable the development of the style and typesetting of the first edition and an initial print run and distribution.

Neighbourhood Plan

The Effingham Neighbourhood Plan will be going to a village-wide referendum on February 22, 2018. If approved by the residents, as it is expected to be, it will carry weight in future planning decisions made by EPC and the borough council. It is good to see that Effingham Residents Association, who over the past two years rightly voiced concerns about some of the proposed development sites, now feel able to support EPC.

With so much ground covered, in what was a well-run meeting, it was a pity that so few residents were there. The issues raised were important and residents will inevitably be affected by the issues discussed.

Next Parish Council Meeting

The next parish council meeting will be held in the KGV Main Hall at 8pm on Tuesday November 28, 2018. At this meeting, councillors will make further important decisions about spending your money.

The “king” wearing his bedspread, front left, is no other than HRH Me, Chris Dick.

St Lawrence Church Living Nativity

It’s that time of year when royalty, in the form of three kings, revisit Effingham to take part in the Living Nativity Play. It was a success last year and included two donkeys pooping in the aisle much to everyone’s amusement.  The Haig Public House provided free nibbles at the end and have kindly agreed to do the same this year.

Bookham Colts

Good news for the KGV is that Bookham Colts Football Club are hoping to raise funds to build a new all-weather pitch on the playing fields. In conjunction with Effingham Village Recreation Trust they are asking everyone to vote to secure £10,000 funding through the Aviva Community Fund. If successful, it would turn an old, worn out and underused hard tennis court area into a state-of-the-art 3G pitch for use by the communities of West Surrey which includes Effingham, Great Bookham and Fetcham, for a range of healthy sporting activities and pastimes.

Youth groups including primary and senior schools, scouts and guides and local community youth projects will be encouraged to use the facility. It will be a community asset for all that will add to the recreational use of the whole King George V Playing Fields, and provide a much needed new revenue stream for reinvestment into the infrastructure of the site, providing fresh opportunities to make more use of the 31 acre facility.

Mike Creffield of Bookham Colts said: “Why should people vote? – It’s a truly local community project, driven by volunteers turning a worn out resource into a much needed useable asset for people of all ages, active and inactive.  Although in the early stages, Bookham Colts have the support of Surrey FA and hope to have sufficient funding in place to begin the project in Autumn 2018″

If you would like to vote for this great local initiative follow this link to the Aviva website.

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One Response to Effingham Eye: Parish Council Meetings – You Don’t Know What You’re Missing

  1. Simon Bisson Reply

    November 21, 2017 at 9:12 pm

    I remember when the hard tennis courts on the KGV were first proposed (and were supposed to be used for five-a-side football etc as well). One of the concerns was that these facilities have a limited lifespan, require maintenance and eventual refurbishment. We were assured by the then trustees that this had been taken into account and would be looked after. Well it wasn’t and the result is the dismal state of affairs that we see there today.

    I wish the Colts well in their venture but would gently remind everybody that these facilities do require ongoing care and the money for that has to come from somewhere.

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