Fringe Box



Effingham Eye: Parish Council Standing Up to New Planning Application

Published on: 6 Oct, 2018
Updated on: 8 Oct, 2018

In this month’s Effingham Eye, Chris Dick gives his personal report on: the latest council meeting, footpath problems, the bi-annual Commoners’ Day, the shopping parade project, Heritage Day, a new book and the tennis courts that are nearing redundancy.

Parish Council Snippets

Effingham residents can be reassured that their parish councillors are still, despite their defeat by Berkeley Homes, willing to challenge planning applications for inappropriate developments. The issue came to light at a meeting of Effingham Parish Council (EPC), held on September 25, 2018. It was attended by eight residents, double the number at previous meeting.

Provoked by a question from a Church Street resident, councillors were united in their response to rumours of an imminent planning application for around 20 new homes on the former St Lawrence School playing field off Church Street.

Although they could not comment before the plans had been submitted and considered they referred to their Neighbourhood Plan, (NP). The plan approved by referendum was adopted by Guildford Borough Council (GBC) planners. Councillors recalled that the field in question had been allocated for up to nine new dwellings.

Another local resident Simon Bisson remembered that, in the initial indicative plans, Berkeley Homes and the Howard of Effingham School had allocated 300 onsite parking spaces for students, teachers and staff. However, in the latest designs confirmed by EPC, there was no longer any parking for sixth-former students.

Cllr James Nicholls said that, on a normal school day, he had counted the number of cars in the school car park together with those directly outside in Lower Road. Discounting those in Church Street, which he could not confirm were associated with the school, the total was 279 cars.

Cllr Tony Jones pointed out that according to the NP general policy on parking it said: “All new developments within the Plan Area are required to provide parking within its site boundary, or nearby, off the public highway, to meet the expected demand of the development, without requiring the use of public roads as overflow parking.”

Mr Bisson later told The Guildford Dragon NEWS: “Berkeley Homes and the Howard of Effingham school appear to have no intention of honouring previous commitments about all parking associated with the school being on site ie off-road. This is in flagrant breach of Effingham’s Neighbourhood Plan, as identified at the meeting.

“The school size will increase by 25%, so, pro rata, the original proposal for 300 spaces is hopelessly inadequate and the true requirement is around 375 spaces.

“If this situation is not successfully challenged, and changed, we will actually be in a far worse state than we were before. We will have even more cars parked all over the place, in particular on our local roads.”

Footpath Complaints – followed up from last month’s article

Footpath 75: The short path that runs north-south from King George V playing fields (KGV) and recreational grounds to Lower Road crossing the Howard of Effingham School’s playing fields to the east.

Following the outcome of the Footpath 75 decision, at the joint Mole Valley District Council and Surrey County Council (SCC) hearing, to keep the path open, the parish councillors expressed disappointment that there had been no representatives from the Howard of Effingham School at the hearing.

Only one, of a possible five individuals, had spoken in favour of the closure. Comments were made at the EPC meeting about the waste of time and money spent needlessly on fighting the closure. It was hoped both sides will reach out and attempt to repair this important symbiotic relationship between school and village.

The closed off permissive footpath runs north-south between Effingham Place and the Howard of Effingham School, The path used to connect King George V (KGV) recreation grounds with Lower Road.

The closed path

EPC councillors discussed the path’s closure and agreed that they would try to have it reopened. Whilst statements of historic usage would be obtained some councillors would also attempt to meet with the property owners and see what solutions might be available.

One problem that will need to be overcome, if the path is to reopen, is that at the northern end it turns north-west onto a private communal driveway to the houses at Effingham Place. And, to be made into a public right of way, the Ramblers Association state, on their website that “Use must follow a linear route.”

The Laurels Parade Project

The Laurels shopping parade, The Street, Effingham

Towards the end parish council meeting it became clear that councillors had not yet made contact with Surrey County Council to ask permission or with the shopkeepers at the Laurels shopping parade to see if they might sponsor part of the project.

The matter was debated for several minutes and included some heated exchanges between councillors. It remains to be seen whether the project to tidy up this area will go ahead when the lifetime costs are taken into account.

Heritage Day marked a quiet book launch

Methodist Chapel, Chapel Hill, Effingham

Numbers were up again for those who attended Heritage Day on Saturday, September 15. The Effingham Methodist Chapel provided teas and cakes and an extraordinary display of dinosaur artefacts all wonderfully explained by David Putland. His display unusually included fossilised dinosaur’s poo.

The Tithe Barn World War 1 display in Little Bookham was very popular attracting over 200 visitors. It was accompanied by live music themed on the WW1 era. Teas and cakes were provided and paid for by donations. At the same time, at the entrance to the barn, a quiet book launch took place with Effingham Residents Association Chairman Vivien White taking the opportunity to offer her first book entitled: “Little Bookham in World War 1”

Little Bookham in World War 1 by local historian Vivien White pictured outside the Tithe Barn on Heritage Day 2018

The book may be purchased for £8 at: Barton’s Bookshop, Leatherhead. Tel: 01372 362988, Leatherhead Museum Tel: 01372 386348, Wishing Well, Great Bookham tel: 01372 459969. I can also be ordered by post. Email: (please include £2.60 pp). Cheques should be made out to Leatherhead & District Local History Society. Prices for overseas orders are available on application.

St Lawrence Church sand wasps visible in graveyard centre-right bottom of picture

For those who like a bit of nature, there was also an opportunity to see the activities of the sand wasps (‘Bembicini’) in St Lawrence Churchyard. These wasps showed not the slightest interest in the human comings and goings on around them.

This year there were more than 80 visitors to St Lawrence Church which was good for the organisers, stewards and visitors alike.

What a difference from the first year when there were only seven visitors all day. And of course, there were teas, coffees, cakes and stewards more than happy to welcome all-comers.

King George V (KGV) tennis courts nearing end of useful life

KGV tennis courts

Earlier in September, a concerned local dog walker reported broken glass in the all-weather tennis courts in King George V (KGV). Instead of an expected immediate tidy up the entrance was sealed off over the weekend with cable ties until cleaners were able to able to attend the following week.

The apparently obsolete locking system

With the locking mechanism seemingly out of use and no news on the delayed Bookham Colts project, to replace the courts with an enlarged 3G solution, I contacted the Effingham Village Recreational Trust trust.

The  trust chairman Chris Iles commented that the clean up would be resolved as soon as practical and added: “There are currently no maintenance plans for the courts for two reasons. Firstly, … we are in discussion with Bookham Colts to re-purpose the facility. Discussions and grant applications are on-going.

“Secondly the cost of maintaining the tennis courts, considered against demand and available trust funds renders the facility largely redundant in its current form. We are supportive of the Bookham Colts plans and will see them through to a conclusion before making any alternative provision.”

Commoners’ Day

Guildford Mayor, Mike Parsons (right) and EPC Chairman, Ian Symes pictured at Effingham Commoners’ Day

Sunday, September 30, was marked by the Mayor of Guildford, Mike Parsons and his wife Jean attending the biennial Commoners’ Day event on Effingham Common. Cllr Ian Symes and his wife Mary showed them around the various displays which included a scything demonstration by John Bannister and Roger Gates.

John Bannister (right) and Roger Gates demonstrate scything at Effingham Commoners’ Day event

John Bannister explained that they were both members of the Guildford Environmental Forum (GEF), a group dedicated to introducing all generations to wildlife, countryside activities and the impact of global warming.

Recently they had been working on a project to protect a pair of breeding peregrine falcons in Woking town centre. The project had been a success with four juveniles raised by the pair.

John told The Dragon: “Our forum was created 25 years ago by a group of residents and councillors to address the environmental issues discussed at the 1992 Rio Conference, the so-called Earth Summit. The big ticket items then were lead in petrol, the ozone hole, climate change, and the Kyoto Principle designed to ensure avoidance of climate change, and environmental degradation.

“GEF is working at the local level by engaging with schools, installing renewable energy, undertaking projects such as the Puttenham Camping Barn, running a community garden, publishing a quarterly newsletter, installing nest boxes for swifts and peregrines, providing recommendations on climate change, apple pressing, scything, etc.” Click on the following link for further details

Up and coming GEF events:

  • Apple pressing, Saturday/Sunday, October 6/7 from 10 am at the Cranleigh Showground
  • A talk entitled: “Can we and will we avoid dangerous climate change” by James Smith, the former chairman of the Carbon Trust and Shell UK. GBC Offices, Millmead on Thursday, October 11 at 18.30 hours. Those wishing to attend should reserve their free places by contacting or calling 01483222687.

Meanwhile, back at the Commoners’ Day event – visitor numbers were up on 2016. Sheep, horses, ice-cream van, local societies, cricket club, climbing wall, local farmers, GBC, EPC, the Surrey Hills organisation along with Effingham Local History Group were all present.

And here are a few images of the day…

And finally, a thank you to Revd Mandy MacVean and her team for organising a village litter pick. See picture below:

The litter pick team


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Responses to Effingham Eye: Parish Council Standing Up to New Planning Application

  1. Harry Eve Reply

    October 6, 2018 at 5:38 pm

    Great to see that you still have some nature in Effingham despite Berkeley Homes and the Howard. However, I think you should take a closer look. I think the insects visible are bees rather than Sand Wasps – and they look very much like Ivy Bees – as seen in the recent Birdwatchers Diary. Does the author have any close up photos that might confirm it ? There are many mining bees that look very similar from a distance.

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