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Opinion: Does Effingham Residents’ Association Want to Know Residents’ Views? Or Not?

Published on: 9 Dec, 2020
Updated on: 11 Dec, 2020

By Chris Dick

A local residents’ association has taken unusual action when faced by adverse reader comments on its website.

The volunteer trustees who manage Effingham’s King George V hall and playing fields closed the main car park off Browns Lane, because of the risk of illegal incursions.

How new security measures are expected to look when work is complete

At busy times, this has resulted in cars being parked the length of Browns Lane and in nearby streets. The volunteer trustees have acknowledged the closure has caused inconvenience to residents.

Those most affected live in Barnes Wallis Close, off Browns Lane, a small estate run by Mount Green Housing Association.

Residents driving from this estate into Browns Lane face risks and delays. The parked cars cause blind spots, and narrow the lane to single-track. On several occasions, police have had to try to resolve these difficulties. New security measures are expected in mid-December.

Now Effingham Residents Association, faced by continuing adverse comments on its website, just wipe them out after a couple of days but leave any positive comments.

The deleted comment.

On November 30, an adverse comment was posted after an article about the new security arrangements: That vanished two days later.

Website moderators are expected to set standards of decency and legality. But for a residents’ association to censor critical comments from its residents sends an ominous message, shutting off views of residents an anonymous someone or some anonymous group does not like.

Does the association wish to know the views of the residents it purports to represent, or not?

The association is expected to support the trustees over this difficult period. Indeed, the trustee chairman is on the residents’ association committee.

But to maintain any sort of credibility, a residents’ association must offer differing points of view. To allow one socioeconomic group to dominate another is unhealthy.

A residents’ association that purveys the views of only one group and excludes others cannot be regarded as an association, but just a misnamed middle-class interest group.

Effingham Residents Association needs to decide what they represent and who they serve.

The association editor was invited to comment on whether the removal of adverse comments was a committee decision. No reply had been received at the time of posting this article.

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test One Response to Opinion: Does Effingham Residents’ Association Want to Know Residents’ Views? Or Not?

  1. Liz Hogger Reply

    December 9, 2020 at 2:56 pm

    I wouldn’t like to comment on the Residents Association’s editorial policy, but perhaps they were concerned that the deleted comment was somewhat misleading?

    Effingham residents contribute only part of the KGV’s funding needs through the Parish Council precept; the rest is paid by the sports clubs and users of the Hall. The Parish Council pays from the council tax precept for the revenue costs of maintaining the KGV facilities which are freely available to residents (playgrounds, woodland and fields, publicly accessible toilet and village hall facilities) and for part of the considerable management costs of the KGV. The council also pays £3,000 per year towards the KGV’s capital costs, which this year is being put towards the cost of the security measures, which will cost £10,000 altogether.

    It’s surely not unreasonable to seek further funds from willing residents to secure the fields for everyone to use and allow the car park to be reopened? Anyone willing to help can find out more at https://www.effinghamkgv.co.uk/news/fund-raising-starts-for-car-park-security-works.

    Liz Hogger is a parish councillor and the Lib Dem borough councillor for Effingham.

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