Fringe Box



The Effingham Eye: Looking Backwards and Forwards

Published on: 27 Jan, 2017
Updated on: 30 Jan, 2017

By Chris Dick

Before we leave January perhaps I could take a quick look back at 2016 and look forward to 2017, what happened and what we might have to look forward to…

Well my fan mail increased … although perhaps “fan” mail is not always the way to describe it.  Some found my articles unhelpful and too critical of local organisations. But others thought the same articles were too biased in favour of those self same organisations. In particular, the article that questioned whether Effingham was going backwards raised a few hackles.

But anyone who puts their head above the parapet can expect to draw fire, both me and our representatives who often, let me say, do a thankless task.

A privilege we enjoy in this country is free speech. I will continue to give my opinions honestly but, unlike some, I will not claim them to be alternative facts just my point of view.

Everyone else has theirs, so please do send them in as comments and letters, comments, letters and responses.

It was good to see the responses to the article about the display boards. As one reader correctly pointed out there was one council display board I had missed out – the one in the parish allotments.

I intended the article to be a bit tongue-in-cheek although some readers thought otherwise. Shortly after that publication I attended a really good parish council meeting and confess that I did come in for a bit of lighthearted and well deserved banter from some of the councillors about the notice boards. But, as I say, it was a good meeting with the chairman clearly keen to listen to what the audience had to say.

Some articles never actually get to press as the matters are quietly sorted out and forgotten or resource constraints apply. Anyway, I will continue to report as best I can and at least hope that it will stir up increased interest in local affairs. Controversy is not necessarily bad.

So what might be in store for Effingham in 2017? Here are a few events that, will in all probability, have a significant effect on our village.

Residents may lose this view across Effingham Lodge Farm looking towards Our Lady of Sorrows Church and the Howard School. This is the main proposed site for the enabling development

Berkeley Homes’ Howard of Effingham planning appeal is due to be held at Millmead council offices, Guildford, beginning May 16. It is expected to last three weeks, with a site visit on May 17. If the original Guildford Borough Council (GBC) decision to refuse permission is overturned then, as I understand it, we will see around 295 new homes spread over three sites and a new 2,000 pupil secondary school with a possible addition of 25 spaces for pupils with autism.

Browns Field regularly used for children’s mini rugby games but under threat as a further development site for Berkeley Homes

Building work would take place over a five to six year period and no doubt create a strain on our infrastructure. In particular, during busy periods, we can expect more road congestion and inadequate car park facilities at the station. This will be a feature both during the build period and on into the future until other solutions can be found and implemented. The new parking restrictions along Effingham Common Road will make parking even more of a problem for commuters.

Agricultural fields, at the former WW2 Wisley airfield, that are under threat from developers

Just three miles north of Effingham, off the busy commuter link through Effingham to the A3, is the old World War 2 Wisley airfield (Three Farms Meadows) with a public enquiry due to be held in September 2017.

If the developers are successful a further 2,100 homes will be built there. Some local roads, most notably the Effingham commuter link road (Old Lane) to the A3 could be closed with further overcrowding and pressure on other roads, rail transport, parking and infrastructure. Also up for possible closure is the back road to Cobham from the Black Swan pub (Plough Lane).

Old Lane Wisley looking north towards junction with A3. Due for closure?

Junction 10 of the M25/A3, also at Wisley, is due for a major redesign taking up to 17 hectares of common land. And again the Effingham to A3 link (Old Lane) is under consideration for closure. Planning work and consultation is due to continue in 2017.

Some parish councils may work together to present a united front. But here in Effingham there is understandably some concern that this might cause too much work for some of our busier councillors, who, it should be remembered, are also preparing for the Berkeley Homes planning appeal.

At the same time Effingham Parish Council will be pushing through its Neighbourhood Plan for more houses than even the borough council considers that we need. Whilst still in draft their Neighbourhood Plan suggests we need some 65 new homes instead of what GBC suggest which is only 43 new homes.

As these figures refer to building needs over the next 15 years it is not that significant a difference.  But it is unusual for a parish council to seek to build more than their borough council propose and the Residents Association has raised this point on a number of occasions and never received a clear reason for this difference. And, if the Berkeley Homes appeal were successful would these new homes be on top of the 295 new homes?

And for those living in our parish but on the other side of Effingham Common (East Horsley, in all but name) they also face an estimated additional 12,000 lorry movements over a nine-month period as part of the major Drift Golf Club expansion including with temporary passing bays and traffic management measures.

It is likely we will see more fly tipping throughout 2017 as our cash strapped councils charge more for taking our waste.

Fly tipping on Elm Lane at the entrance to Wisley Airfield

Hopefully 2017 will see a new a new shop in Effingham where the old post office used to be and, personally, I hope that 2017 brings back community based events to our village so that we can build a sense of community.

This year will be significant across the whole borough on the planning front and we should all be prepared to make our views known to help our elected representatives properly represent our views in these planning decisions. If we don’t say we can hardly complain.

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Responses to The Effingham Eye: Looking Backwards and Forwards

  1. Des Tanner Reply

    January 28, 2017 at 5:13 pm

    Chris Dick seems to have ruffled a few feathers with some of his reports and opinions to which some people would like to be kept quiet or left in house.

    With regard to the planning appeals going on in the parish and close by (he forgot about the one going in Preston Cross Farm), I hope, before it all kicks off, that all interests are properly declared.

    In 2017 I, like Chris Dick, will be letting my feelings known.

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