Fringe Box



The Effingham Eye: A Round Up of Effingham News

Published on: 11 Apr, 2017
Updated on: 12 Apr, 2017

By Chris Dick

Police attempt to justify misleading crime statistics

For the first time in about six months two police officers attended the February 2017 parish council meeting. They explained that they would not be attending further meetings, as their time would be better spent catching burglars rather than attending meetings.

Whilst nobody would disagree with that sentiment – apart from the burglars – it was worrying to see on the meeting agenda that crime statistics had showed an increase in serious crimes. But was this accurate reporting?

Councillors voiced their concern that the level of crime reported were causing distress to local residents. In our small parish there were four counts recorded of criminal damage and arson and three counts of violence and sexual offences.

‘Lies, damn lies and statistics.’

The police sergeant explained that one offence of robbery was actually not in Effingham and that there had been no actual offences of sexual assault or of arson – “it was just the way the Home Office recorded their statistics”.

This revelation did not go down well. Our councillors voiced their concerns about this false information and wanted it stopped. The sergeant initially said that there was nothing she could do about it as it was, “a Home Office matter”.

However, after discussions outside the meeting the officers agreed to raise the matter with their senior officers. Let’s hope that they have enough time to do that as well as catch Burglar Bill.

Surrey police officers – an endangered species?

And where have all the policemen gone?

It is interesting to see that police presence in the village has fallen away to practically nothing. There was a time when we had local police we could speak to. Then they were replaced by a PCSO and regular monthly visits to the parish council meetings. But all that has gone.

We have no police officers, no detectives and no crime prevention officers unless you head for a town like Guildford, Reigate or Woking. There are apparently two PCSOs patrolling Shere through to Ripley but they do not work nights and understandably are rarely spotted as much as Gregor was say a year or so ago.

All this is because Dorking, Leatherhead, Cobham, Esher, Walton, Hersham, West Horsley and Ripley police stations and offices have all closed. The police seem to have retreated to impersonal divisional hubs relying on CCTV and geographic response units. With so much of our local taxes going to police our area we seem to be getting a raw deal.

Ready, Steady, er… Wait…  for the Communication Strategy Committee

Anyway – back to the parish council meeting. Cllr Cliff Hackett put forward the idea of a new, and in my opinion much needed, communications committee. This new EPC (Effingham Parish Council) Communication Strategy Committee would look at how the parish communicates with residents regarding; leaflet distribution methods, notice boards, press releases and branding on assets such as the parish grit bins.

Councillors noted that their website needed to be more up to date with items such the Berkeley Home Howard Appeal date that had shifted to May 16 (2017) but was still shown on their website as starting in March.

Cllr Hackett cited the recent Effingham Eye article about the lack of information on the council notice boards and commented that single impromptu notices were read more than the large style notice boards. Several councillors felt that there might be an information overload with leaflets from both the council and the residents association “EFFRA”.

After a short discussion between councillors, all of whom were beginning to lag at the end of a long meeting, the motion was agreed and councillors fell over themselves to communicate their desire to join the new committee.

So it was disappointing, and a little sad, to discover that this initiative has now been shelved until sometime later in the year because of the work needed to fight the Berkeley Homes Howard of Effingham planning appeal.

Perhaps those councillors not directly involved in the appeal could join the communications committee instead of the same people who volunteer for everything and then realise that they may have bitten off ore than they can chew?

Dirtham Lane/ A246 Guildford Road

Road works on A246 at the junction Dirtham Lane

Recent roadworks to improve the layout and sightlines for traffic exiting Dirtham Lane caused temporary road closures to protect the workers and permit some trees and shrubs to be taken away.

Building the six new pitches at Calvert Road gets under way

This work was associated with the new six pitches for gypsy/ traveller use, which is being funded and managed by Guildford Borough Council. The pitches are now well under way and should reduce local overcrowding.

Verges versus juggernauts – the GBC draft Local Plan

The latest version of the Guildford Borough Council (GBC) draft Local Plan is now (April 10) with the GBC councillors prior to committee discussion and further public consultation. We can expect large housing developments but many residents are concerned about our infrastructure, roads, congestion and damage to verges.

Another massive lorry becomes stuck in Church Street

Attempts to ask SCC about the cost of repairing recent damage to one of our verges (pictured above) and question who would be responsible have been acknowledged but so far gone unanswered.

Hopefully, more thought will go into the 7.5 ton weight limit on The Street that forces these large lorries down our alternative and inappropriate narrow lanes before development traffic starts for real.

Church Street Effingham verge in a conservation area damaged by lorry

Neighbourhood Plan

As previously reported in The Guildford Dragon the parish council’s draft Neighbourhood Plan (NP) is out for consultation. You can find it on their website or click on:

The 134 page plan contains some excellent work with, in particular, the environmental section being a masterpiece, by anyone’s standards.

The Residents Association’s (EFFRA) concerns about the council’s choice of development sites have become somewhat muted as these village groups rightly come together to resist the Berkeley Homes planning appeal regarding 295 new homes and a new school.

As the (EFFRA) chairman Vivien White wrote in her April newsletter concerning three, out of the four, proposed development sites; “We are relieved that this will now be resolved by planning professionals and ultimately the Examiner…”.

It is good to see both EPC and EFFRA working together again for the good of the village.

The live story of Easter

And for those of you who enjoyed the Christmas Living Nativity, which included two donkeys that did exactly what you would expect them to do in church (ugh!), why not join the amazing Living Easter event.

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Responses to The Effingham Eye: A Round Up of Effingham News

  1. James Nicholls Reply

    April 11, 2017 at 10:58 am

    Your latest Effingham Eye item is a fine piece writing. It holds us all to account. It is reporting like this which stops people like myself, of no consequence, becoming little Hitlers.

    I hold my hands up, I am a member of the human race, which means sometimes getting it wrong. When we get it wrong, we must stand up and admit it.

    Good reporting and accountability go hand in hand.

    James Nicholls is an Effingham parish councillor

  2. Des Tanner Reply

    April 11, 2017 at 7:47 pm

    It seems that everyone is whinging about doing a job and not having enough time to do it: well don’t take the job on, is the answer. They can`t all be working on the Berkeley Homes sham (I think the deal has already been sanctioned higher up the tree and they are just going through the motions).

    Other local issues have to be dealt with as well or they will get buried as per usual. James Nicholls talks of accountability. When at the last meeting with EVRT, I asked the question that if I disagreed with a decision they had come to, who are they answerable to. I was told no one.

    That’s not a committee, that’s a quango and they run the biggest single chunk of Effingham and huge chunks of other people’s money. I cannot be the only person reading these articles.

    People need to respond to a toothless parish council and the EVRT quango. Too few people are running things without being questioned and that breeds complacency.

    If they make bad decisions and something goes, then it`s gone for good.

  3. Jeremy Palmer Reply

    April 13, 2017 at 10:34 am

    I raised the question of the verges outside the Catholic Church car park, which were destroyed by builders’ traffic while the new Catholic Hall was built. Nothing was done and the verges are still in the same state. It’s this gradual degradation of the village which is the most disheartening thing to see.

    The 7.5t limit extends all the way along Effingham Common Road and through the village. The only reason lorries should be using it is for unloading. It is self-evident that this limit is utterly ignored, and lorry drivers using this route are well aware it is unpoliced and they stand next to no chance of being either cautioned or prosecuted. Couple this with the epidemic of speeding through the village, and one might conclude that Effingham has been abandoned by the forces of law and order.

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