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Effingham Eye: Supermarket Reopens, Theft From Allotments, Sticky Problem With Car Park Gate

Published on: 12 Oct, 2020
Updated on: 14 Oct, 2020

Chris Dick offers some observations from the parish council’s latest meeting including reports of theft from the allotment, noisy audiences and trouble over the village hall and recreation grounds car park … and much more.

Supermarket reopens

Thursday, October 1, marked the welcomed reopening of the Village Supermarket and Post Office, The Street, Effingham.

David and Ange Putland visit the Village Supermarket.

Following the devastating fire six months ago the supermarket and post office have been fully refurbished and modernised to a high standard.

Sadly Bevans, the butcher’s next door which had also suffered fire damage, is currently unable to give a date for its shop to reopen. Staff, who had been deployed at the firm’s other outlets, were reluctant to provide any sort of update.

Effingham Parish Council Meeting

Effingham Parish Council (EPC) held its monthly public meeting via Zoom on Tuesday, September 29.

Before coming onto matters of import such as EPC deciding to write to the Government about something or other that totally passed me by, let’s look at what caught my attention. I confess that, having seen Game of Thrones twice, I’ve now become hooked on Sudoku.

Anyway, I started to pay attention when the clerk reported the theft of produce from the allotments. I can’t recall it verbatim but it went something like this:

Clerk: “We’ve had some reports about thefts from the allotments.”
Cllr A: “We need to find out if it’s human thefts or just animals.”
Clerk: [Was he being serious or just having some fun] “We could install a CCTV camera.“
Cllr A: “Well you can tell if it is animals or humans, as animals tend to eat where they get the food from. Strawberries are a favourite but that tends to be humans as they take them away.”
Cllr B: [Who speaks very quietly] “Well …. once I saw a squirrel running away with one of my strawberries.”

Nobody found this slightest bit amusing which sort of made it even funnier. Happily my camera and microphone were switched off so nobody could hear me laughing.

Actually members of the audience – all two of us – have our microphones disabled by the clerk as apparently we might have distracting background noise. But how much noise can playing Sudoku actually make. I mean for most of these meetings there are no more than a couple of us in the audience.

My pathetic protest is to leave my camera off so I cannot be seen or heard. Come to think of it, that’s what they wanted … damn!

Anyway, back to the theft of allotment produce. The clerk was given approval to find out how much a CCTV camera would cost. And then, if the purchase were to be approved, councillors thought it could monitor the wildlife. At this point I’d lost all interest in playing Sudoku.

Working groups report back

Of more interest were the two working groups (WG) whose chairmen updated their colleagues … and my blank screen.

If readers have something they might wish to say about either groups’ remit it is well worth engaging with them via the clerk. (For more information on these WGs follow the link below.)

The highways WG chairman Cllr Bronwen Roscoe responded to an email I had written. Her response was engaging, positive and professional.

Similarly the climate change WG chairman Jerome Muscat held an open Zoom meeting the day before and produced a useful ease-to-read set of minutes which captured a raft of useful ideas including practical ideas for improved safer cycleways..

Both these relatively new councillors are showing great potential for the future and deserve support from residents.

Finally, the meeting ended just after 9.30pm, which is something of a record. So … well done EPC!

Residents revolt over locked car park

Gates to King George V playing fields remain closed.

It seems some residents have become frustrated with local roads jammed by visitors to the King George V playing fields (KGV), Browns Lane because they cannot use the car park. And, because of the KGV trustees’ policy of opening the gate for some groups but not others.

Bollard locking mechanism glued.

There had been plans to open the car park at weekends but recent events have put pay to that idea. Somebody glued the bollard locking mechanism.

Effingham Village Recreational Trust (EVRT), [aka the KGV trustees] issued a statement on its website: “Arrangements had been put in place to have the car park open on Saturday and Sunday this weekend.

“Unfortunately this will not now be possible since a person or persons unknown has damaged one of the retractable bollards whilst it is in the upright position, meaning that it cannot be lowered, and therefore the gate cannot be opened to vehicles.

“Trustees will contact the manufacturers on Monday to find out how the damage can be rectified.

Might it not be simpler and cheaper to buy some Super Glue remover?

“It is hard to understand what the motivation behind this could be – sheer mindless damage, or deliberately meant to disrupt further the lives of Effingham residents and users of KGV. Either way, anyone who may have information about who was responsible should please contact the trustees, the police, or Crimestoppers.”

Effingham Residents Association (EFFRA) wrote to say: “EFFRA is in close contact with the trustees to offer support, and any help we can give. The KGV Playing Fields are a fantastic facility for the village, and the trustees, who are voluntary and unpaid, are doing their best to manage them in the best interests of residents and users.”

The volunteer trustees are indeed doing a great job for the village. But questioning the motivation behind the application of Super Glue as: “sheer mindless damage” misses the possibility that direct action was taken to underline a simple point. A point that several residents have raised with me.

Some say it is unfair that the car park might be opened for Bookham Colts Football Club or the Effingham & Leatherhead Rugby Football Club but not for the local residents who actually pay towards the upkeep of the KGV in their rates.

Also, residents do not understand why, when the opportunity to install the bollards sufficiently far apart to permit cars and vans access but not wider vehicles such as caravans, was not taken up. Rather like the way Hammersmith Bridge used to operate .. with appropriate warning signs and disclaimers notices.

The results are cars parked, or abandoned on the verge the length of Browns Lane and restricted access for local residents – not the best look for a conservation area.

Unfortunately, unless the car park is opened for everyday use, it is likely that both bollards will be superglued next time.

As one resident, who did not wish to be named, said: “They’ll open the car park for Bookham Colts and the Effingham & Leatherhead rugby teams but not for people who actually contribute in our rates to use the facilities. It’s not right.”

Loobabells suffers with a lack of trade whilst car park remains closed.

This confusion is having a detrimental effect on one trader in particular. Loolabells cafe is suffering with a lack of footfall as passing trade believes the cafe is closed. Let’s hope a solution can be reached soon.

And finally, saving the best till last

From time to time we are all plagued by unsolicited mail through our letterboxes or emails which most of us either delete or swiftly bin them in irritation.

However, recently one came our way from Effingham Parish Council which was surprisingly worth reading. It was the Chairman’s Autumn 2020-2021 Report. And with a title like that you might be forgiven for binning it without further ado.

But it was actually a really good read. It covered just about every topic you could hope for. It was well written and clearly set out.

For example, on planning the chairman Ian Symes said: “One disturbing characteristic of all these planning applications is the number of houses proposed. In each case too many dwellings are being proposed by the developer, which if allowed would cause overdevelopment of the sites. We would urge developers proposing to build in Effingham to study and abide by the policies in the ENP [Effingham Neighbourhood Plan], which are now part of the Development Plan for Guildford borough.”

It also provides further detail on the WGs mentioned above.

If you would like to read it click here.

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test 2 Responses to Effingham Eye: Supermarket Reopens, Theft From Allotments, Sticky Problem With Car Park Gate

  1. Jeremy Palmer Reply

    October 13, 2020 at 4:27 pm

    I’d also like to mention Effingham Local History Group’s online exhibition for Heritage Open Day 2020. This is advertised on the last page of the Chairman’s Autumn 2020-2021 Report (above).

    This exhibition was originally planned as a live event but had to be reconfigured and re-imagined as an online exhibition, as so many other Heritage Open Day 2020 events had to be. It drew together many months and in some cases, years of research into the changes that affected Effingham between the wars, changes which are particularly resonant for our own times and concerns.

    It also provides detailed biographies of the notable figures from a wide variety of fields who resided in the village during this period. It’s fair to say that many of these people had extraordinary lives but have all but disappeared from view now, so this is a significant attempt to tell their stories.

    Such was the amount of material that we have decided to keep the exhibition available for a little while longer. It can be viewed at:
    https://elhg.org.uk/elhg-exhibition-2020/

    • Neil A Pennington Reply

      October 29, 2020 at 12:52 pm

      Regarding more houses in the planning application than designated in Effingham’s Neighbourhood Plan, this is a standard tactic employed by developers. They hope to wear down local resistance and undermine confidence in the local planning department (GBC’s in this case) and its ability to stop inappropriate planning applications. This, in effect, pushes the responsibility onto the local residents.

      As for the sticky problem with car park gate, presumably uncontrolled access stops just anyone using this facility and reduces the risk of spreading Covid to local people. Controlled access by football and rugby youth teams will have less impact on infection? As a local, I can walk and have no need for vehicular access.

      And cycle lanes area good idea. They are long overdue between Effingham Schools and local train stations.

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