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Effingham Eye: Parish Holds A Discussion, Developer’s Green Light, Verges’ Mow Is A No-No, Wildlife In Focus

Published on: 5 Jun, 2021
Updated on: 7 Jun, 2021

Chris Dick, Guildford Mayor’s Award winner 2021 for services to the community through journalism, offers his personal views on new arrangements for parish meetings, an access road takes form and verges gain some protection.

Effingham Parish Council meets … or does it?

The June parish council’s meeting was held under a different heading. It was not a regular meeting as such but a discussion with no decisions made.

With Zoom meetings no longer legally permitted for official parish meetings the councillors had decided to continue their virtual meetings as discussions.

The council is required to hold four physical meetings a year, so any decision flowing out of these Zoom discussions will be deferred to the chairman and clerk. The latter have been granted permission to make decisions out-of-committee.

One advantage for continuing with Zoom, although not said out loud, might well be the absence of certain individuals who in the past had earned a reputation for disrupting the smooth running of normal meetings in the village hall. Indeed the entire audience on Tuesday thought that reason enough.

Mmm … that said, I was the only person actually in the audience, unless you count our newly appointed Surrey County Councillor Colin Cross.

To be fair there were much better reasons for using Zoom than, tongue in cheek, the one I offered above. The main reason mentioned was simply to do with Covid and avoiding unnecessary risk of infections.

Using virtual meetings / discussions as a means to conduct parish business does seem to result in shorter meetings but residents are either not keen or not interested enough to join them.

Newly elected Surrey County Councillor Colin Cross.

Having introduced himself, Cllr Cross told those present that he had been put on the county highways committee and spoke a little about issues likely to be of interest in the coming months that included the Local Plan review and the uncertain future of the former airfield at Wisley.

Developer gets green light

Berkeley Homes has commenced work on an access off Effingham Common Road on to the former Effingham Lodge Farm – where 159 homes are due to be built. That said, plans have been submitted for a further 110 homes on the same farmland.

Work starts on Effingham Common Road access.

However, of more interest, at the above parish meeting it was explained that contracts between Berkeley Homes and the Howard of Effingham Partnership had been exchanged regarding the new school.

Indicating a degree of confidence on behalf of the developer, the contract is apparently conditional on Berkeley Homes receiving planning approval for the further 110 homes on the selfsame farmland.

Countryside verges make welcomed return

Protected verge in neighbouring Bookham along A246.

Through the parish council’s Climate Change Working Group some volunteers have started a project to protect roadside verges in Effingham from excessive mowing.

The initiative, supported by the National Trust and RSH Wisley, follows the successful efforts of Bookham residents. The latter sought and gained permission from local authorities to place blue heart signposts on verges they wish to protect against mowing through the summer months. The hope is to encourage wildlife invertebrates and reintroduce wild roadside flowers.

Kay Palmer pictured here on the verge of A246 Guildford Road, Effingham with blue heart signs.

Effingham volunteer Kay Palmer explained that there are about half a million kilometres of rural road verges in the UK but that more than 97% of ancient wild flower meadows have been destroyed since the 1930s.

She said: “Road verges are a vital refuge for many bees, butterflies, birds, bats and insects.

“The Effingham Grass Verges project is just one of a number of projects now under way as part of the Effingham Parish Council Climate Change Group.”

Kay explained that the group had come about from a desire by the council to actively promote ideas and ways to combat climate change within our community.

She added: “We have been helped enormously by the advice and support given by Steve and Diane Poole who started the Bookham grass verges campaign in 2020, with support from their local county councillor.

“They had already identified a number of verges along the A246 in Effingham that could benefit from not being mowed and together we were able to identify other verges in Effingham that would be suitable, including some along Effingham Common Road.”

The group has already approached Guildford Borough Council and gained permission to place the blue hearts signs.

Anyone wanting further information or wishing to get involved can do so via the parish clerk. Email:

Wildlife photographer revisits Effingham Golf Club 

Guildford Dragon’s Birdwatcher’s Diary columnist Malcolm Fincham.

Once again Guildford Dragon NEWS columnist Malcolm Fincham visited Effingham Golf Club to seek out and photograph a range of insects and birdlife.

As some readers will know, Malcolm has written 233 articles for the Guildford Dragon under his Birdwatcher’s Diary column.

Having the pleasure of his company for a couple of hours last week was a revelation. For example, at one point Malcolm spotted a tiny dot in the sky about a mile away. It took me ages to even see the thing. But without hesitation Malcolm identified it as a sparrowhawk.

“How do you know it’s a sparrowhawk, surely it’s too far away to identify?” I asked.

Malcolm explained: “The sparrowhawk turns in tighter circles than other raptors, it glides and then uses its wings and then glides again. You get familiar with these things but I learn more every time I come out.”

Sure enough the bird, clearly hearing our conversation and noting my incredulity, came directly over us in a flypast. Of course it was a sparrowhawk and hopefully will soon feature in one of Malcolms Birdwatcher’s Diary articles.

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Responses to Effingham Eye: Parish Holds A Discussion, Developer’s Green Light, Verges’ Mow Is A No-No, Wildlife In Focus

  1. Keith Francis Reply

    June 7, 2021 at 1:31 am

    Effingham Lodge Farm hadn’t been used as a farm for years.

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