2018 web site posts

Original Post: 18th October 2018

Message from James Adler – Director of Land Management

Summary:

Dear Resident,
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 countryside@surreywt.org.uk 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

Click here for the full briefing from Surrey Wildlife Trust


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.


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.

Dear Editor,

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.

Yours sincerely,

Nick Ephgrave

Chief Constable


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).

Click here Surrey Live article 

Click here for Expedition HS4Air