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Effingham Eye: Councillor Restores Calm, Visitors Outstay Their Welcome, Some Fishy News

Published on: 17 Aug, 2020
Updated on: 17 Aug, 2020

Chris Dick offers some views on local matters; a long-awaited new market opened, some residents have a moan, a councillor restores calm, visitors outstay their welcome, some fishy news and a brief round up.

Opening Effingham Village Market

The much-awaited Effingham Village Market opened with around a dozen stalls in St Lawrence Church Hall gardens on Saturday, July 25.

Thankfully the rain held off and residents turned out for what seemed to be the first local village event of the year.

Early visitors to the market.

Stallholders seemed delighted with the venue and people’s willingness to enjoy some retail therapy. The sweets and pastries stallholders both sold out and said they would be back on August 22 when there would be six more stalls.

There is no doubt that the July market was a success, but success and more stalls may result in more people and less space. No doubt the organisers will cater for social distancing at future events and perhaps introduce a one-way system.

Effingham Village Trust criticised

In July some residents complained on social media about the King George V (KGV) car park remaining closed long past the relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions.

Empty KGV car park and cars parked along Browns Lane which can been seen between the two fields.

This meant that cars, which would normally have been parked in the KGV car park, were parked outside along Browns Lane.

At certain times of the day this obstructed the lane and consequently on one occasion a fire appliance was briefly unable to reach a dustcart which had caught fire. Nobody was hurt but residents became frustrated with the continuing closure.

Ironically, the day before the KGV trustees had decided to reopen the gates, James Nicholls, a former parish councillor, took matters into his own hands. He purchased a disk cutter and removed the three chains holding the gates closed. See previous story Angry Resident Cuts Chains That Kept Effingham’s KGV Car Park Closed.

The gates were then open for just one day before being resealed to give the new bollards installation time to harden.

Some local residents aired their criticism of the trustees using the residents’ association’s website to vent their ire. However a statement, issued by the trustees and some sensible words from Effingham Parish and Guildford Borough Councillor Liz Hogger, restored calm.

Liz’s words are worth reproducing in full as they represented the views of many residents who appreciate the work of these volunteer trustees:

Cllr Liz Hogger.

“How about these complainers taking a few moments to think about the many hours of work the volunteer trustees of EVRT [Effingham Village Recreational Trust] do, completely unpaid and mostly unthanked, to keep these facilities safe and available to the whole community of Effingham? Throughout this coronavirus crisis, the grounds have been open, well-maintained and much enjoyed by our local community, and it’s great that the playgrounds are open again and available to local children.

“The security measures, including closing the car park, were clearly intended to avoid another traveller incursion, as happened a few years ago. Doubtless if an incursion happened again, the trustees would get the blame for the lack of security.

“Now the trustees have to deal with an act of criminal damage to the charity’s property, the day before the security bollards were due to be installed so that the car park could be safely opened again.

“I do hope the EVRT trustees know that most people in our community are very grateful to them for taking on this very onerous responsibility, and they should take no notice of the nasty critical comments on this site from the very few discontented.”

 St Lawrence Church Hall gardens incursion

Early August saw the KGV gates closed and the new bollards raised yet again because travellers were reported in the area and some had stopped in Effingham.

Gypsy encampment trailers in the church hall gardens. Photo taken Sunday August 9.

A total of six trailers and sundry vans moved on to the St Lawrence Church Hall gardens in Browns Lane. They began to arrive at the start of the hot spell, Thursday August 6, and remained until Wednesday, August 12. See previous story: Gypsy Trailers and Trucks Moved From Effingham Church Gardens Amid Water Standoff.

As uninvited guests go, they were polite for the most part and, apart from their generators, reasonably quiet.

Unfortunately, the status quo changed as the temperatures remained high and the Parochial Church Council (PCC) decided to shut off the water supply to the gardens after the Gypsies delayed their departure by 48 hours.

St Lawrence Church Hall gardens with bagged-up plastic waste bins and other rubbish.

The PCC had acted comendably swiftly to order them off the site. But with the incursions seen around Effingham and nearby, even the best of them tend to leave some rubbish as well as commercial garden waste.

During their stay in Effingham these Romany Gypsies appeared to respect the neighbours and to have done no damage, leaving the garden pretty much as they had found it although what was out of sight was not investigated.

The PCC is currently engaged in long-term plans to secure the property against further incursions.

Wet fish stall

New fresh fish stall for Effingham.

Readers may be interested to know that a new Grimsby Wet Fish van comes to Effingham every Tuesday morning. Effingham is apparently the first stop Garry Sewell makes, so there is no shortage of fresh fish, crab, prawns and lobsters. But it is not cheap.

Gary arrives around 1130am to 11.45am and parks outside Layla’s Cafe. He is happy to take telephone pre-orders and offers home deliveries.

Other news

Work is progressing on restoring the Village Supermarket in the Laurels shopping parade.

The owners of Bevans the butchers shop have applied for an extension beside their shop in the same parade but it appears that restoration work has yet to commence.

Effingham Residents’ Association (EFFRA) is keeping people up-to-date with the development plans for the Haig public house and Church Street field sites.

Those wishing to comment on the plans can go to the planning applications section of EFFRA’s website and click the relevant planning links to Guildford Borough Council’s website, but note the deadlines for submitting comments.

It may be worth noting that the prospective developers of the Church Street site have put in plans for 17 homes. Should this be approved it will no doubt raise questions nationally about the value of Neighbourhood Plans (NP).

This is because the adopted Effingham NP stated that development of this site, which is in the Conservation Area, should not exceed nine dwellings.

And finally…

Due to other items, this edition has not covered a second visit to Effingham Golf Club, a chance meeting with someone who had a novel approach to lockdown activities and nor does it include some fairly average garden photos.

However, with some reasonable weather and enough time these topics and more will be revealed in the next edition …. how exciting is that!

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