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Effingham Eye: Conservation Area Under Threat, Special Needs Centre…

Published on: 15 Jan, 2021
Updated on: 17 Jan, 2021

Chris Dick writes about: a threat to the conservation area and Neighbourhood Plan, a new special needs centre, one local club that is facing an uncertain financial future and, quite separately, a win for the golf club.

Special needs centre for Effingham

Plans have been submitted to Guildford Borough Council to change the use of the former, now boarded-up, Effingham Royal British Legion club to a special needs centre.

The premises are situated next to the Roman Catholic church off Lower Road Effingham.

The former Royal British Legion club premises that may become a special educational needs centre.

The application states the hours of operations will be Monday to Friday, 7.30am to 6pm and that once in full operation it will provide 20 full-time jobs. The centre will be run by Poppyfield.

As its blurb says: “Poppyfield Primary Academy is committed to providing an appropriate and high- quality education to all the children living in our local area. We believe that all children, including those identified as having special educational needs, have a common entitlement to a broad and balanced academic and social curriculum, which is accessible to them, and to be fully included in all aspects of school life.”

Neighbouring residents appear to quietly approve of this change of use. As one resident said: “It only functions during the day and not at weekends. It could not be more different from what we had to put up with before, with the late-night drinking and noisy behaviour.”

Both Effingham Parish Council and Residents’ Association have, while not actually objecting, raised concerns about vehicle parking and access on to Lower Road as well as the general need to soften the view of  the 1.8 metre high fencing.

How one club faces an uncertain future

Effingham Playing Fields Association on the right-hand side of the car park. Readers may note new security hoops to prevent vehicle access to the playing fields.

Some readers may be unaware that the King George V recreation grounds and playing fields are also home to the village hall, rugby club and the Effingham Playing Fields Association’s (EPFA) club room.

The latter, known locally as EPFA, is a working men’s club affiliated with the CIU.

The CIU is the Working Men’s Club and Institute Union. It is a voluntary association of private members’ clubs in Great Britain and Northern Ireland with about 1,800 associate clubs.

Unfortunately, as a result of Covid-19 restrictions, the club was closed more last year than it had been open.

Club chairman Alan Brown explained that it was not eligible for the business rates grant nor was it deemed suitable for a loan as it has no assets.

Mr Brown said: “We have bills owing that we cannot pay. We operate and manage the club with volunteers. We requested help from our landlords to relax some of our ongoing costs such as the quarterly rent and utilities bills. This is so that we can get going again when we have the all clear from Boris. [the prime minister] It is important that we do re-open as we provide much needed income for the whole place.”

The club welcomes donations and new members. Membership is £12.50 per year and as Mr Brown put it: “You will not get a cheaper pint.”

To support the club, prospective new members can apply by calling 07885 624048 or email for further details to:

A win for Effingham Golf Club

It is a pleasure to report that having completed a 10-year programme, in just five years, Effingham Golf Club has won the national Syngenta Operation Pollinator Award at this year’s Golf Environment Awards 2021.  (See previous Guildford Dragon NEWS articles about the club’s ecology programme here and here)

Effingham Golf Club’s course manager Jon Budd (left) with greenkeeper Darren Paintin, part of the eight-strong team looking after the grounds.

Course manager Jon Budd said: “Winning Operation Pollinator 2021 has been a major achievement for Effingham Golf Club, not only for the green staff but also for the club and every member.

“We have managed to receive this award by dedicating time, space, and funds to areas of the course where we could successfully establish wildflowers and grasses which benefit the insects and pollinators both of which play such an important role in the ecology of the course.

Effingham Golf Club wins pollinator award.

“At Effingham we are blessed with having a large site but this is not the reason we entered the environmental awards.

“You can establish a wildflower area with as little as one square metre of land! Do not be put off trying to produce an ecology area on your golf course, sports pitch, or garden.

“This can be done in most cases with nothing more than elbow grease and a packet of seed.

“A major attribute to winning this award has been the educating of the members on the importance of ecology and why we should be doing all we can to improve the course for the flora and fauna here at Effingham Golf Club.”

Effingham braces itself for long-term building programme

Berkeley Homes sign goes up in front of former Effingham Lodge farmland.

Effingham residents are getting ready for many years of construction traffic, congestion, noise and pollution as Berkeley Homes announces its intention to start work in early 2021.

Guildford Borough Council’s document regarding the new school.

Many will be pleased that future pupils will have a shiny new school with its own sporting amenities on site to replace the current hodgepodge somewhat dilapidated Howard of Effingham secondary school, off Lower Road, Effingham.

Others, even some of those supporting the development, are disappointed with its unimaginative design. It appears brutally simplistic in design, being dominated by what looks like glass building blocks. As one former student put it: “It looks like a prison.”

Shortly before his sad and untimely death last year, Tony Pidgley, the then chairman of Berkeley Homes, told the parish council that because there was insufficient funds, generated by the 295 homes, to fund the school building they would need to build a further 55 dwellings.

Then at the January 5 (2021) parish council Zoom meeting, councillors heard that Berkeley Homes was discussing a pre-application with borough planners. The details were not made public but all present assumed this related to those 55 additional houses.

Neighbourhood Plan under threat

Effingham Parish Council, local resident associations and residents are currently holding their collective breath over whether the Effingham Neighbourhood Plan (NP) will stand up to a developer’s plan to exceed the allocated number of homes in the NP on the Church Street site.

The adopted NP provided for up to nine homes on the site. However, the developer has submitted plans for 17.

It should be noted that the parish council’s letter of objection sets out the case against granting approval in the clearest of terms. It is well researched and referenced.

Neighbourhood Plans nationally may be affected by our borough planners’ decision. Perhaps a clear message to all developers will go out via a firmly worded refusal. Or maybe not…

Funds raised for security measures at car park

It was good to see Effingham Residents Association had collectively raised funds to help the King George V trustees cover the cost of the new security measures for the car park – which has at last reopened.

Apart from a £300 donation from the committee, individual members of the association also generously made private donations taking the total to over £450. The exact amount is not known as some of the donors were anonymous. Well done!

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test 2 Responses to Effingham Eye: Conservation Area Under Threat, Special Needs Centre…

  1. Jim Allen Reply

    January 15, 2021 at 3:06 pm

    There can be no justification for going against the Neighbourhood Plan. There is a five-year land supply in the borough and if the NP designates no more than or maximum of nine then there can be no moral argument from developers.

  2. Derek Tanner Reply

    January 16, 2021 at 3:10 pm

    Regarding the application submitted for the old British Legion, if approved and I’m sure it will be, will the new Howard school be under no obligation to supply these needs? If so, that will be music to their ears as they have always been more concerned about results and percentages than pupil well-being. Call me a cynic but I smell a rat.

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