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Effingham Eye: Councillors Remembered, Parish Councils Latest, Highways and Dog Poop

Published on: 1 Dec, 2020
Updated on: 3 Dec, 2020

Chris Dick writes about: the tributes paid to two highly respected former councillors, the most recent parish council meeting as well as some detail on the highways and climate change working groups, the ongoing village car park problems, how to report owners that don’t clear up after their dogs … and of course much more.

The deaths of Tony and Jessica Page

It was sad to see the brief note on the Effingham Parish Council website in early November announcing the deaths of Tony Page and then only a couple of weeks later that of his wife, Jessica.

This news was swiftly followed with a tribute in The Guildford Dragon NEWS from both our borough councillor Liz Hogger and parish council chairman Ian Symes.

Their contributions were followed by a heartfelt letter from former parish councillor James Nicholls and then a further tribute at the start of December’s parish council meeting where Ian Symes spoke warmly about both of them having been past chairmen of the parish council as well as borough councillors and so much more.

Effingham Parish Council’s latest meeting

Effingham Parish Council’s public meeting via Zoom on November 24, 2020.

Effingham Parish Council held its regular monthly Zoom meeting, to which the public have access, although to apparently “reduce background noise” with limited ability to speak, on Tuesday, November 24.

Following Clr Symes’ tribute the meeting became bogged down for over 30 minutes with mostly non councillors wishing to speak about Orchard Walls, a late planning application which was not on the agenda and then regarding a cycle path by Effingham Common Road to the station which Surrey County Council did not appear to be supporting.

The reason for this lack of support was that the road runs through commonland and is therefore fraught with restrictions.

On the subject of the Orchard Walls planning application, and by analogy any other planning application not on the agenda, one councillor asked why time was being wasted discussing it at all.

Then there was a long debate about whether to keep the Zoom recordings after the minutes had been approved. After a vote it was decided to seek advice and resolve the matter in January.

Apart from the idea of it being of possible historic interest, there is no policy in place to record the parish council’s public meetings as a general practice and therefore the reasons for retention were unclear.

Of more interest was an application for funding new security measures at the King George V (KGV) village hall car park.

The KGV car park.

Effingham Village Recreational Trust trustee Robert Hope told the councillors about plans for new security bollards, hoops and a gate to secure the car park.

Although these arrangements would not stop incursions onto the car park, where it is apparently easier to evict them, it should prevent access to the recreational grounds and fields.

The trustees were hoping to secure funding for £3,000 from the parish. They also hoped to raise the necessary additional funds via donations.

Following discussion, the council agreed to grant £3,000 and to match-fund to a maximum of a further £2,000.

Subject to possible manufacturing or contractor delays, the installation should start in mid December.

Effingham Parish Council’s climate change working group

The group held its second Zoom meeting on November 19.

Readers wishing to know more about possible new cycleways to Effingham Junction railway station, recycling, electric charging points and more can read the minutes on the parish council’s website.

Of particular interest was the success neighbouring Bookham had had in reducing the number of times the local authority cut the roadside verges.

This simple measure had given wildflowers the chance to bloom and reseed between cuts. And in turn this had provided invertebrates the opportunity to thrive and multiple.

Those attending the meeting hoped that Guildford Borough Council might also be willing to emulate this process to the benefit of residents, who could then also enjoy the flowers, as well as the broader ecology.

Before taking a closer look at the Highways working group it is worth noting that the next public meeting of the parish council via Zoom will take place on January 5. Details on how to take part can be found on the agenda a few days before the meeting.

Effingham Parish Council’s transport working group

The group, currently chaired by Cllr Bronwen Roscoe, has become more relevant since planning permission was granted to Berkeley Homes to build around 300 homes and a new secondary school.

These projects, covering three separate sites, will inevitably involve a significant increase in traffic and people in and around the village. The parish council hopes that the working group will, working with developers, Surrey and Guildford Borough Councils be able to manage these issues.

The group has already discussed a range of possible projects such as: a 20mph speed limit near local schools, policing of HGV movements within the parish and the provision of dropped curbs throughout the village for better access to shops.

Cllr Roscoe said: “Transport initiatives, from safer cycling routes to road safety measures and parking improvements play an essential part in rural communities. Improvements to roads and pavements have a tremendous effect on our everyday lives, our health, and the quality of our environment.

“We want to work with the community to address the challenges we face and tackle the issues that matter most.”

Readers wishing to get involved are invited to email the group via the parish clerk or call on 01372 454911, Monday to Thursday, 9am to 4.30pm.

King George V car park

Following comments in October’s Effingham Eye about the problems associated with the closed car park, I contacted the chairman of Effingham Village Recreational Trust, Howard Manton.

He said: “The gates have to remain locked for the time being, to prevent trespass. Trustees are monitoring the situation closely and continually.

“As the trustees have explained on a number of prior occasions, we know that the shutting of the car park has inconvenienced everyone and it has caused considerable additional strain on the trustees themselves; but we have a duty to protect the assets and cannot afford the costs of any further evictions.”

Possible solution to secure the car park’s perimeter.

Since then the trust’s website has been updated “… a decision has been taken about installation of additional barriers to obstruct vehicle access to the fields. The work has been commissioned in order to get it underway as soon as possible.”

In the meantime, and following Robert Hope’s Effingham Parish Council presentation, the trustees have launched a website to raise the necessary funds. They are seeking to raise £2,000 from public donations which will be match-funded by the parish council in addition to the £3,000 grant money mentioned above.

Readers wishing to donate may do so here by clicking here.

Dogs poop and the duty of owners

The King George V grounds that is used by dog walkers.

It’s good to see dog owners with their pets enjoying the 30 acres of the King George V woods, recreation grounds and playing fields.

But, the trust’s trustees, who manage the area, are now warning dog owners that they must take care not to endanger the health and enjoyment of others using the grounds.

Guildford Borough Council has a public spaces protection order, which is due to be extended for a further three years, that prohibits the leaving of dog waste in public spaces anywhere across the borough.

This order means that picking up after your dog and depositing the bagged waste in one of the bins provided is obligatory.

As the trustees make clear on their website: “It is not acceptable to ‘flick it’, or imagine that it does not matter if the waste is left to lie in the woodland areas, or to drop the bagged waste on the ground, or hang it on trees / bushes.”

It is worth remembering that some dog, cat or fox faeces may contain roundworm parasites. Roundworm parasites (including hookworm and whipworm) larva can migrate throughout the body to the brain, lungs, kidneys, liver, heart, or eyes. Roundworm larva can cause blindness and usually affects young children.

If you see someone who does not pick up their dog mess or does not dispose of the bagged waste properly, you can use an anonymous online form to report this to Guildford Borough Council’s dog warden service. The form can be found here (scroll down to the Dog Fouling section).

The dog warden service advised Effingham Village Recreational Trust that “people should not take photographs of offenders”.

But hey, I say if they are not children, it’s good evidence and might just encourage responsible behaviour.

And finally, what a strange month November has been…

Effingham Junction railway station car park midweek during lockdown.

Local roads and free car parks were crowded with cars and cyclists, yet Effingham Junction railway station was virtually empty with just nine cars and one bicycle in the car park at midday on Wednesday, November 11. It was the same most days.

The North Down lanes were pretty much unusable.

The danger of hitting or being hit by one or more of the many cyclists travelling downhill, sometimes at over 30mph, in the centre of the road, was disconcerting. The risk of meeting one or more of these fast-moving cyclists made overtaking the slower groups travelling uphill equally risky.

That said, they were clearly enjoying themselves – apart from the rainy days – and willing to accommodate passing traffic often with a polite acknowledgement.

It was interesting to note that some cyclists had caught onto the French way of acknowledging an early horn warning from cars coming up behind them, with a polite hand wave.

Also, it seemed strange to drive through Effingham and East Horsley and see that most public benches had people drinking takeaways, yet the cafes were either closed or did not have their tables and chairs out.

Let’s leave the other strange events such as the US presidential election and Number 10 departures to others to report … after all, it’s Christmas time.

Happy Christmas to all you wonderful Effingham Eye readers, see you next year!

[Ed: Chris, I’ve got to read this stuff, but do you really think anyone else will?]

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