2018 web site posts
Christmas Lights in Bookham
Original Post: 5th December 2018 by BRA Publicity
Christmas Lights have been erected in the High Street and Church Road. The lights are a joint initiative lead by and funded by the Bookhams Residents’ Association (BRA) with grants from MVDC and Bookham Traders (BRaBA). The lights are installed by a Bookham company DVI who do an excellent job!.
Lights at the top of the High Street
Question Time Report
Original Post: 21st November 2018 by BRA Publicity
On the 8th November Bookham Question Time was held at the Old Barn Hall. Hosted by the BRA it gave an opportunity for residents to ask questions of Bookham Councillors.
Also at the event David Harper, Planning Policy Cabinet Member for MVDC gave a presentation and answered questions on the MVDC Local Plan. For David Harper’s presentation and Q&As he answered, please click here.
For further information on the MVDC Local Plan please visit the MVDC web site:
Tree Felling on Lower Road / Bookham Fields
Original Post: 21st November 2018
Peter Seaward – BRA Chairman.
Tree Felling Lower Road Recreation Ground / Bookham Fields
Some of you might have noticed some tree felling taking place on the southern side of the Lower Road Recreation Ground. This land is part of an area known as Bookham Fields and spreads from the edge of the recreation ground to the A246 south, The Lorne in the east to Rectory Lane in the west. This land has 4 or 5 owners.
At the recent BRA Question Time event David Harper, who is the Mole Valley Councillor responsible for strategic development, outlined the way the new Mole Valley Local Plan was headed. (Click here for David Haper’s presentation). Across the District, MVDC must build, according to Government, up to 450 homes per annum. That is up from the 188 in the last plan.
Over the next fifteen years some 4,100 houses can be built within the existing areas on brown field sites or by extensions of various kinds, greater density housing, taller buildings and so on. This will leave 2,500 dwellings to be built elsewhere. The present broad strategy by MVDC, according to David Harper, is some modest expansion of the villages in the south, the possibility of larger extensions to one or two as yet unspecified villages in the south, and with the rest having to be built on green field sites in the built-up areas of Dorking, Leatherhead, Fetcham, Ashtead and Bookham.Click here to read more of this report
In Bookham we know from work on the Neighbourhood Development Plan that Bookham Fields, Preston Farm (land behind Little Bookham Street) and some other sites were identified and put to MVDC by a variety of developers. For the new plan MVDC asked again for people who wished to propose similar areas to put them forward for consideration.
MVDC councillors and the BRA were approached by a firm called TFP who said they represented developers who wished to develop Bookham Fields. These approaches were simply acknowledged.
The trees being felled are in an area belonging to one of the owners of a parcel of land in Bookham Fields.
MVDC have made no decision about what areas of greenfield they may release but it is reasonable to assume that Bookham Fields maybe an area under consideration.
Mole Valley has difficulties in that it no longer has what is known as a “five-year land supply” which it is required to have under Government rules. With or without this supply a developer could challenge MVDC refusal to build on an area such as Bookham Fields and could go to an independent Inspector for a decision. Similar cases have occurred in other Local Authority districts in Surrey. The important point is that without a five-year land supply, experience shows that such appeals by developers have a very high chance of succeeding.
Presently there are some 100 dwellings completed, under construction or in the planning stage in Bookham. This annual figure has increased over the past years without any planned or additional infrastructure of any kind.
Before any further development, especially of a large scale, our infrastructure needs should be assessed, solutions proposed and implemented. Until this is done any further development should be delayed.
This briefing is to make sure that you have as much information as we, in the BRA, can glean and would try and persuade you to keep in touch with the local plan as it evolves within MVDC.
For more information please see the MVDC website:
As we gather more information, we will circulate it as quickly as we can.
This is not a rallying call to action… yet. However, please be ready to lobby the Council and your local Councillors to make sure we get a fair deal for Bookham.
National Remembrance Day Sunday 11th November
Original Post: 13th November 2018 by BRA Publicity
On Sunday 11th November Bookham villagers assembled to pay their respects to the service men and woman who have died for their country and those from Bookham in particular. Following the two minute silence at 11.00 the Third Bookham Scouts walked to the Friendship Tree in Eastwick Park Avenue. Pat Morrish lead a short service and wreaths were laid.
The Friendship Tree was planted after the 1939-45 war in memory of those Canadians who were based on Great Bookham, many of whom landed, and died, on the D-Day landings on 6th June 1944.
In addition to the Remembrance Day events in central Bookham a new Commemorative Copse has been planted on Bookham Common. Frances Fancourt one of the BRA Tree Wardens has been coordinating the planting. Frances reports:
Briefly, we planted eighteen trees, thirteen of which were grown locally by the tree wardens, two grown by the children, and three supplied by Ian Swinney, National Trust Warden. Ian also made the barbed wire wreath as this is a memorial copse for those lost. Particularly pertinent now as a WW1 commemoration. The copse was inspired by Councillor Jim Smith who passed away in 2016. He always saw to the preservation and remembrance of the war memorials and those lost in combat.
The copse consists of oaks, birch, holly, hawthorn and spindle. Not only a memorial, the copse will also serve to soften the outlook of the new footpath and housing along Church Road approaching the station.
A bench and a few more trees will be added over the next month.
We will remember the fallen and the many volunteers who have served Bookham well over the years.
What is a Car Club?
Original Post: 18th October 2018 by BRA Publicity
By joining a car club you get all the convenience of owning a car without the hassle or costs of repairs and parking. You may be familiar with Zipcar in central London.
The BRA and Transition Bookham are working together to establish if there is interest in a car club and how residents might use such a car club.
What are the benefits?
Convenient car use
The convenience of a car without the hassle of owning one – no more servicing, insurance, parking, MOT or repairs.
Cars are accessible to members at all hours and typically would be used for local journeys for several hours at a time. Bookings would be made through a mobile phone app or web site with the vehicle being centrally located in Bookham. (Note: this isn’t a ride sharing idea).
Saves you money
According to Carplus, joining a car club could save you £3,500 per year compared to owning a car (if you currently drive fewer than 6,000 miles per year).
Protect the Environment
Car club vehicles are energy efficient and cleaner than the average car. They also reduce the need to own a car and discourage unnecessary car travel.
We have created a simple two question survey with the opportunity for you to comment on this idea:
The survey will close on 30th November 2018. Results will be published on the BRA and Transition Bookham web sites.
Original Post: 18th October 2018
Message from James Adler – Director of Land Management
I am writing to let you know about our concern over the impact of Ash die back disease on Norbury Park.
You may be aware that Ash die back disease (Chalara) is now prevalent throughout Surrey and the wider country. The disease has been spreading rapidly since it was first identified in the UK in 2012. Research highlights that over 95% of Ash trees are likely to be affected.
Infected trees unfortunately succumb to the disease from the canopy downwards. They can drop branches without warning during this process. Trees also become more susceptible to honey fungus which is capable of destroying root systems with the risk of sudden and unexpected tree failure. This year Surrey Wildlife Trust (SWT) has already removed 80 failing Ash trees across the estate we manage.
This means that Ash dieback is now creating an enhanced health and safety risk within our woods. We need to deal with this situation and keep people as safe as we can. Therefore I need to advise you that woodland operations will need to take place this winter in Norbury Park.
Once work is underway, pathways will only be closed if it is required for health and safety reasons and signage will be clearly displayed during this time. Pathways will be reopened as soon as possible after the works.
We are hosting a guided walk for residents and members of the public to talk through the planned work and the impact of the disease in more detail.
The walk will be held on Saturday 3rd November at 09.00 to 09.45am. This will give local people the opportunity to ask any questions. If you would like to attend the walk please let us know in advance by contacting us on firstname.lastname@example.org or 01483 910 087 and we will be happy to provide you with the details.
For more information on Ash dieback please visit the Forestry Commission website: www.forestry.gov.uk/ashdieback
Original Post: 9th September 2018
Centre News from David Cox.
Our landlords, Surrey County Council, have extended the lease of the Centre to 31st August 2019.
It is likely that centre will be CLOSED at this time as the building is old and the costs of bringing it up to modern standards will be extensive. It is easier to build a new one.
CORRECTION of LIB DEM article
In the Summer publication being distributed (September 2018) Cllr Elizabeth Daly (South Bookham) states that the Centre “needs to be rebuilt because of asbestos.”
Unfortunately this statement is incorrect. As this may be cause for concern amongst existing & potential users, we wish to make it clear that there are NO SAFETY ISSUES with asbestos.
If there was any safety issue to do with asbestos SCC would close the centre immediately rather than extend the lease.
Potential replacement centre on site
In the meantime, SCC are drawing up plans to provide a new youth orientated community facility on the site. This is not guaranteed at this stage as various financial & planning approvals will be required.
Once there is more definitive news we will ensure the community is made aware.
War Memorial Refurbished
Original post: 25th September 2018 by BRA Publicity
The War Memorial in St Nicolas churchyard was erected after WW1 and now being 100 years old has become rather dilapidated. Peter Seaward, (BRA Chairman) and Arthur Field (BRA Projects Manager) took on the task of identifying suitable restoration companies, dealing with St Nicholas Church Wardens and MVDC to get the memorial restored to its former glory.
Following the initial clean using techniques specifically for old stone work, the second stage of the restoration, the re-painting of the engraving has been completed. The photos in the gallery do not give full credit the skills of the restoration company, Stonewest, so next time you are in the village take a moment to have a look at the memorial and remember those from this village that gave their lives for this country 100 years ago.
In addition to the restoration work at St Nicolas, the memorial at All Saints, Little Bookham has also been cleaned. There are four names on the memorial and church records show another seven individuals who should be commemorated. Discussions are taking place on how this may resolved.
Original Post: 5th September 2018
Today the petition which was submitted by the BRA to SCC to provide funding to investigate and then resolve the flooding issue in the centre of village in the roads leading in to the Squareabout was heard by the Local Committee at Pippbrook.
The petition was accepted and agreement was given to allocate £30k for the investigation phase that the petition requested. At this stage there is no commitment to the resolution phase. For the full petition response, please click here.
Original Post: 5th September 2018
Footpath 75 – Application to Restrict Pedestrian Access at Certain Times: Rejected
At the Local Committee Meeting at Pippbrook the request from the Howard of Effingham to restrict access Footpath 75 was heard. (This footpath runs across HoE grounds). The Committee heard well balanced presentations from Effingham Residents Association, Effingham Parish Council and the Rector of All Saints on how this would affect a large number of residents and cause safety issues. Julia Dickinson presented the background to the request from the Howard.
The request for closure was rejected by the Local Committee. Click here for the report and recommendations by Debbie Prismall, SCC’s Senior Countryside Access Officer
Original post: 26th August 2018
This is a copy of the open letter from Chief Constable Nick Ephgrave QPM, to the Editor of the Surrey Advertiser, regarding unauthorised encampments across the county.
This summer has seen an unprecedented number of unauthorised encampments, no part of the county has been unaffected and as the summer has passed, the amount of ill feeling and anger about a perceived lack of action by police has been palpable.
The disappointing thing is that all of this was predicted and there is a practical solution available that would help. It has been successfully implemented in a number of surrounding counties, but has yet to be implemented in Surrey, leaving the local authorities and police with limited powers to deal with those intent on trespass.
Before I come to that solution, let me make it clear that there are two related but separate issues that need to be addressed. The first is the issue of an unauthorised encampment. This is of itself not a criminal matter and the lead agency for implementing eviction is the local authority, working with the land owner supported where necessary by the police. In this regard, it is absolutely the case that we in the police and our colleagues in the Boroughs and Districts have significantly upped our game this year and now have well-rehearsed and effective procedures for assessing and evicting unauthorised encampments in accordance with the legislation currently available to us. The shortcoming is that under the only legislation that we can utilise, there is nothing to stop those evicted from simply moving 100 yards down the road and setting up camp there. We then have to go through the whole rigmarole again and this is exactly what has happened this year, with repeated encampments as we follow groups round the county, creating further upset and disruption far and wide.
The related issue is that of criminality associated with some encampments. My clear direction to officers is that where there is criminality and where there is sufficient evidence to take action against identified perpetrators, then we will do so swiftly and firmly. The frustration comes when it is not possible to attribute a criminal act, for example criminal damage, to any one individual due to a lack of witnesses or other evidence to implicate them. This is no different to any other crime. One cannot simply arrest whole groups of people because ‘one of them must have done it’.
So, what else might be done? Under the legislation, if a designated transit site is available, the police are enabled to direct encampments to move immediately to the transit site, with far fewer criteria necessary to act. If those on the encampment refuse, or return to camp unlawfully elsewhere within three months they are liable to immediate arrest. Currently, Surrey has no transit sites and so none of these powers are available.
An increasing number of surrounding counties have created designated transit sites and their experience has been that this significantly addresses the issue of unauthorised encampments. Surrey, without any such sites, remains vulnerable to those who know the legislation and understand that the powers available to police are more limited, no doubt making Surrey an attractive venue for those who wish to set up unauthorised encampments.
To conclude, I recognise the frustration and anger of local residents and businesses affected by unauthorised encampments. We will deal with criminality as and when it occurs and continue to support local authorities in their actions, but the options available to my officers are limited and given other demands, I can ill afford the enormous resource and energy my officers put in to dealing with this. The provision of even one transit site will make an enormous difference to our ability to respond to unauthorised encampments, but it is not in my gift to make it happen – that is a difficult political decision that sits with our local leaders who I know have the issue under active consideration.
Original post: 26th August 2018
Proposal for HS4AIR High Speed Rail Line Between Gatwick an Heathrow
A new high speed rail line which would allow people to travel between Heathrow and Gatwick in just 15 minutes would see tunnels dug under the Surrey Hills and a train line built alongside the M25.
The proposal, named HS4Air, would cut through a large swathe of Surrey, running from just north of Heathrow to Gatwick and then east to Ashford in Kent.
There would be three sections of tunnel, running under part of Mole Valley, Gatwick, and under Staines and Heathrow.
The rest of the route would be overground and after leaving Gatwick travelling east, it would would cut across the A22 between Newchapel and Blindley Heath, past Lingfield to Edenbridge where it would head along the existing railway between Tonbridge and Ashford, to connect up with the forthcoming HS2 line.
Engineering firm Expedition and architects Weston Williamson have submitted the proposal in answer to a call for private sector projects by the Department for Transport (DfT).