Fringe Box



Effingham Eye: Two Certainties, Housing Developments and Taxes

Published on: 24 Nov, 2018
Updated on: 26 Nov, 2018

In this month’s Effingham Eye, Chris Dick gives his personal report on: the October council meeting, updates on Commoners’ Day, local charity appeals, more plans for housing and some local invertebrates. 

A family wedding delayed this eagerly anticipated, wonderful roundup [What? Are you still under the influence of the nuptial celebrations? Ed] of Effingham’s snippets, but now here it is…

Another housing development for the village

Three Millgate Homes representatives (pictured top left) answer audience questions about proposed housing development during Effingham Parish Council meeting in the cramped village hall on October 30, 2018. 

The Effingham Parish Council (EPC) monthly meeting took place on Tuesday, October 30, 2018 in the old village hall in the King George V building. Whilst the room-divider was not usually a problem, around 25 residents had turned out to hear representatives from Millgate Homes, a Reading-based development company, answer questions about their plans to build 23 dwellings on the former St Lawrence School playing fields off Church Street and Lower Road.

The main sticking point was about the housing numbers. During the question and answer session it became apparent that the developers had decided not to be guided by Effingham’s approved Neighbourhood Plan (NP) that stipulated ‘up to nine’ new dwellings on this site. Instead, the developers had based their numbers on those contained in the emerging draft Guildford Borough Council (GBC) Local Plan.

Once the representatives had departed, councillors debated the application.  Their objections to the development were based on the policies contained, not surprisingly, in the adopted NP.

At the time of submitting this article, there were 21 documents in favour of the development and 81 against. It is interesting to note the range of letters available on the GBC website. Tim Harold, Chairman of CPRE Surrey Guildford District, had opposed the plans. [CPRE stands for the Campaign to Protect Rural England.]

Effingham Residents Association had written to GBC planners raising concerns that some of those in favour of the development, and at the same time, in one instance, accusing their opponents of being NIMBYs, had apparently not disclosed their financial interest in the outcome of the application.

Parish Council raises local tax

EPC moved on to consider a further contribution to the Effingham Village Recreational Trust (EVRT), a local charity.

Jerome Muscat, one of the EVRT trustees, gave a short presentation about the trustees’ growing workload. He explained that the trustees were all volunteers, some of whom had full-time jobs and that a full-time manager for the hall was needed to manage the accounts as well as the day-to-day management. EVRT were asking EPC for an additional £22,000.

Another lengthy debate ensued resulting in a vote of 7 to 2 in favour of the new funding. This increase would effectively raise the EPC/ EVRT contribution 75% taking it from £34,000 to £56,000 pa.

Committing a potential 50% of the entire parish council budget for four years to EVRT was, judging by the reactions of some of those in the audience, contentious.

But councillors were reasonably confident that residents would not object to the increase as there had been a negligible response to two letters from the EPC chairman circulated throughout the village regarding previous rises in the local tax. EPC chairman, Cllr Ian Symes, told the Guildford Dragon that his most recent circular had produced just one solitary email critical of a proposed increase.

The parish council was unable to provide figures to show how this increase would affect council tax bills.

Readers may recall in January the Guildford Dragon ran an article: Effingham Eye: Parish Council Responds To Questions On Additional Charity Funding. That article was followed by a letter from by Simon Bisson; Effingham Must Wake Up On the Issue of Playing Field Funding.

Local pub sold

The General Sir Douglas Haig public house has been sold. There are currently no plans for a change of use in the short term.

A natural error

Ivy Bee pictured in St Lawrence Churchyard

The previous edition of this publication referred to there being Sand Wasps (‘Bembicini’) in St Lawrence Churchyard. This was an error that Harry Eve, an expert on invertebrates, kindly pointed out on a subsequent visit to the St Lawrence Church graveyards. He identified them as Ivy Bees by their distinctive bright clear stripes (pictured above).

Harlequin ladybirds seen on St Lawrence Church’s flint walls.

Harry’s visit coincided with thousands of Harlequin ladybirds on the move.  They were in the air, all over the church walls and on us. We had to curb the desire to brush them off for fear of injuring them. This variety has pretty much taken over from our native two spotted ladybirds. Sadly the latter are relatively rare.

Shield bug and hoverfly photographs taken in St Lawrence Church grounds.

Harry’s brief visit revealed a variety of beautiful invertebrates such as a shield bug, a moth chrysalis, hoverflies, honey bees and even a highly active wasps’ nest in one of the graves.

Uninvited, but most welcome, St Lawrence School kids and their mothers, on their way home, stopped and asked questions. They were intrigued by the insects which, until the moment Harry pointed them out, they nor I had noticed.

Further info on Commoners Day

Ian Symes (EPC chair) has told the Guildford Dragon that attendance numbers were up on the previous Commoners’ Day event, 541 against 478 in 2016.

There was a more inclusive feel to the event which was sponsored by EPC and GBC. This time parking facilities had been provided. Some say, people only value what they have to pay for and had there been a small charge for parking perhaps even more people might have attended.

The cricket club excelled itself; providing the parking facilities, cafe, cakes, refreshments, BBQ and open crickets nets. They encouraged children and youth players to take up the game.

The free of charge climbing wall, local interest group displays, face painting, St Lawrence school art competition, guided nature trails and the grazing sheep and horses all came together with volunteers to make the day a success in exercising commoners’ rights.

St Lawrence School had a green ecological art competition which the mayor and mayoress judged. They had the virtually impossible task of picking one winner from some amazing entries.

Quiz Night

Residents enjoy quiz night at KGV

Over 100 residents attended the Mtandika [Tanzania] Quiz held in the KGV Village Hall on Saturday, November 17. The event raised £1,865 which will go to help educate African Trade School students who are orphans or from very poor families.

African Trade School students

These kids are sponsored through generous regular donations from long-term sponsors as well as from events like the quiz.

If you would like to help Michael & Mary Agius and Penny & Gordon Osbourne you can donate to: ‘Action in Africa’ Sort Code: 30-93-08, Account No. 01926014.

St Lawrence Church Lighting Appeal

How Revd Mandy MacVean and her team would like St Lawrence Church to look … Unfortunately, this is St Andrews Church, Cobham which has already had improved lighting installed.

Finally, having run out of space for no more than the teaser above, let’s leave this piece for another time.  But in the meantime, if anyone would like to donate, the details are: St Lawrence Lighting Appeal, a/c 51599763, Sort code 40-27-07.

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Responses to Effingham Eye: Two Certainties, Housing Developments and Taxes

  1. Jenny King Reply

    November 25, 2018 at 5:37 pm

    I would like to thank Chris Dick for such an interesting and clear account of the happenings in Effingham village.

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