Fringe Box



Opinion: Is Effingham Going Backwards?

Published on: 17 Nov, 2016
Updated on: 20 Nov, 2016

Effingham EyeBy Chris Dick

In an earlier article (Hello and Goodbye) about the closure of the Effingham Royal British Legion Club in Lower Road, one reader, Des Tanner commented: “It will probably suit a few NIMBY councillors and residents. No village day. No fireworks. No Legion. Effingham is going backwards.

So I spoke to Des and also contacted various groups and individuals about his comment to see if they thought Effingham was indeed going backwards. Here are some of the responses.

Des Tanner outside the Village Bar, Effingham

Des Tanner outside the Village Bar, Effingham

Des Tanner, President of the Effingham Playing Fields Association, said: “The KGV (King George V village hall and playing fields) is the heart of Effingham but, whilst money has been spent on the fields and other parts of the building, our club room on the ground floor has seen no maintenance since we resolved our dispute with the Management Committee.

Opinion Logo 2“Both sides agreed at arbitration that the Management Committee would be responsible for the club’s furniture, fixtures and fittings but they haven’t done anything positive since they took over 18 months ago. Holes in the ceiling, where they removed the air filters, together with worn carpets, poor paint work all show evidence of this neglect.

“Following arbitration we accepted that on Monday nights our club room would be hired out to other users. But nobody has hired it in the past 18 months. Yet still we can’t use it. We used to have meetings with the Management Committee trustees but those meetings were cancelled. We need better communications between the Management Committee and us the users so these joint meetings should to be reinstated.

“When we brought in new members, such as those that used the Royal British Legion clubroom, the Management Committee objected and questioned their membership.

“Worse still, following the sad death of a prominent local resident, we sought to extend our hours by opening an hour or two earlier than normal for the wake. We were refused.

“As I wrote, no fireworks, no village fête and now even the British Legion has closed. So yes Effingham is going backwards.

Liz Hogger

Liz Hogger

Liz Hogger, Secretary of the Management Committee, wrote: “…Regarding the Village Room, it is indeed our intention to improve the condition of the room and to bring it into wider use, but progress towards this is dependent on the availability of funding, other ongoing projects and on discussions with potential users.

“We are optimistic that a recent grant application will be successful and will allow improvements to the Village Room to be continued early next year.”

Richard Kern, a longstanding resident of Effingham, said: “When the original (management) committee chaired by Sir Barnes Wallis set up the KGV it was very positive and forward looking despite the austere times. The initial monies were spent forming the main cricket/rugby pitch. An expensive and some said pointless act but their vision was for the future.

King George V playing fields in Effingham

King George V playing fields and Village Hall in Effingham

“My father was surprised to hear the objections to the tennis court when it was proposed as he had sat on the committee with Sir Barnes Wallis from the start and a tennis court was always envisaged.

“They also had plans for squash courts and a small bore rifle range amongst other things! The KGV was the secular centre of the community with a mission to encourage and facilitate people to organise clubs and events.

“I feel the mantra now is more control and object. Few people will give up their time for the community if all they meet is a wall of negativity.

“Effingham is not going backwards as the past was far more positive.”

Rev Mandy MacVean

Rev Mandy MacVean

Rev Mandy MacVean, the Rector of St Lawrence and All Saints Churches, said: “It may be my optimistic personality, but since I arrived in March I have been constantly encouraged by what I witness in this community. The number of people who attended the celebrations for the Queen’s Birthday in June, took my breath away.

“This is a village where people still want to celebrate together. Yes, the fireworks haven’t happened this year, which is a shame, but I also believe that everything has a season (in fact it says so in the Bible) and maybe a new chapter needs to begin – a break this year – something related, but different next year?

“There are a number of young families who have started to connect with the church including a group that are currently planning a ‘Living Nativity’ on December 22nd in collaboration with the Douglas Haig and Loolabell’s Cafe, we are hopeful that everyone will want to join in. Our new TGIS (Thank God It’s Sunday) service is also attracting new vitality to the church.

“Effingham is not going backwards, it is evolving towards a new chapter. I am delighted to be part of that process.”

St Lawrence Church, Effingham

St Lawrence Church, Effingham

Ian Symes, Deputy Chairman of the Parish Council summed up some recent events to show that Effingham is going forwards. He said: “We had our most successful Effingham Commoners Day in October 2016 with a record attendance. 

Ian Symes

Ian Symes

“The Parish Council is also taking a lead in producing a Neighbourhood Plan of which the Environmental Policies being agreed by over 90% of respondents. And we are also taking a lead in resisting the appeal by Berkeley Homes to build around 300 new homes in the village.

The Effingham Village Recreational Trust are making good progress in getting the KGV back into a solid financial position. Effingham Residents Association organised and staffed, with dedicated volunteers, a very successful and enjoyable Heritage Day, with funding from the parish council. The Effingham History Group is holding a World War One Exhibition, on the 3 December 2016.”

Julie Iles

Julie Iles

Julie Iles, Effingham resident and prospective Conservative Surrey County Council candidate, said: “Effingham benefits from having an active Residents Association. I know the value of their road wardens’ network having run it myself for a number of years.

“Far from being backward looking the parish council’s Neighbourhood Plan aims to accurately reflect local needs balanced with sensitive and appropriate development. The sense of community is strong here as evidenced by the recent attendance at Commoners Day.”

As for me, Chris Dick, Effingham Eye columnist, I was disappointed not to hear back from the Residents Association, Liz Hogger (in her role as our borough councillor), the chairman of the parish council or the Rugby Club but as someone who once served on the KGV Management Committee I will add my own two-penneth.

Effingham is not going backwards but perhaps the KGV Management Committee, who are actually doing a good job overall, could address and better manage the expectations of users such as those of the Village Bar.

Grant monies for a new kitchen for the main hall and extravagant KGV 50th Anniversary Celebrations might be better allocated to more urgent maintenance projects.

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