News

Don’t forget, you can pick up a copy of The Ashtead & Leatherhead Local magazine from Ashtead and Leatherhead libraries, as well as the customer service desk of Sainsbury’s Leatherhead.


WHAT'S GOING ON IN NOVEMBER? Click here...

PITSTOP CHARITY LAUNCHES £70K APPEAL TO SECURE 'FOREVER HOME'.

The Pitstop day centre – a charity established for the homeless, vulnerable and socially isolated people of Mole Valley – is launching an urgent ‘Forever Home’ appeal to acquire, refit and furnish a building ready for use.

  “The floods last Christmas literally washed away our old premises which was devastating for the charity and a real upheaval for the clients who rely on us” explains Richard Langtry, Chairman of the trustees. “But since then we’ve seen a renewed spirit and real commitment to continuing this vital support and providing a welcoming base for our clients. We were lucky to be offered temporary accommodation at Fetcham Village Hall and thereafter the URC in Leatherhead, but we knew that this would only be available to us until Christmas and that we’d have to put a hold on any of the additional services we want to offer.”

  “The great news is we are ready to secure and refit our own building. It’s a huge challenge, but if we succeed we’ll be able to offer a safe, warm and practical ‘forever’ home for Pitstop – kitted out to provide a fully-staffed day centre facility. And as soon as possible!” he added.

  The charity wants to offer an extended range of practical and counselling services, a daily hot lunch, showers, refreshments, IT services, space for its clients to relax and socialise, a food bank, a second-hand clothes wardrobe and a furniture recycling project. The fundraising campaign will focus on raising a much-needed £70,000 by end of October/beginning of November to allow work to begin. The Pitstop team are asking local businesses, Foundations, Charitable Trusts, organisations and individual friends of the charity to help.

  “We know it’s a financially difficult time for many but we’re urging everyone to think about those in their own community who are homeless, who have no friends or family, who are suffering from mental health or addiction problems or who are poverty-stricken,” says Richard. “The Pitstop is a lifeline for them and we are desperate to make this permanent Pitstop home a reality while the opportunity is there. If we can raise the funds to adapt a building to make it our long term home we will be able to ensure our clients feel supported, make friends, get good advice, recharge their batteries, learn new skills and generally feel more confident and better equipped, both practically and emotionally, to improve their lives for many years to come.”

  The Pitstop needs to raise £70,000 and relies entirely on donations from its local community and Supporters.

  Any individual, company or organisation willing to help or donate should contact Wallace Whybrow, The Pitstop Centre Manager on 01372 363003 / 07860 310179 pitstop.leatherhead@btconnect.com or go to The Pitstop website www.thepitstop.org.uk


UPDATE ON TESCO SITE IN ASHTEAD.

After many months of talking with Tesco about the site their new representative, Jack Pearson, recently met with representatives of SAVE, Transition Ashtead and the Ashtead Residents’ Association. As a result Tesco agreed to make the front 40% of their derelict site in the middle of Ashtead Village available as a community space/garden, until they start building. Tesco have agreed to:

  1. Fence off the front 20 metres of the site for public use
2. Level the site and clear weeds
3. Remove the gates and chain linked fence at the front of the site
4. Retain and repair the brick planter across the frontage to act as a barrier
5. Provide seven new, raised planters with compost ready for planting by Transition Ashtead and other local groups
6. Install two x 3-seater benches in front of the planters, with probably a wood chip pathway

  Tesco have not given a date for when they intend to start building the store, but it seems that it will not be for several years and it appears that the date keeps getting pushed back. Numerous comments have been sent to the SAVE website making the case for the site to be used instead for housing/small retail units. This could only happen if:

  1. Tesco sold the site on to a developer, or
2. The site was compulsorily purchased by the Council for another developer.

  SAVE’s official position supports either of these options. Please continue to make your views known to us via the website www.saveashtead.co.uk. However unlikely both these options may once have seemed, given Tesco’s currently diminishing fortunes, we can only conclude that the future of this site is still far from clear, and surely anything could happen?

  In the short term, however, we hope that Tesco will proceed to develop the community space asap.


ASHTEAD RESIDENTS' ASSOCIATION. WHERE DOES THE TIME GO?

Everyone leads such busy lives these days. Working parents are constantly juggling their time and have you ever heard a retired person say that they don’t know how they ever had the time to hold down a job? Weekends and evenings are precious times with the family but also often the only time available for managing the essentials of daily life. Small wonder that most people have little spare time available to involve themselves in running community activities.

  Ashtead is blessed with a huge number of local clubs, societies and associations which all rely on people giving up their spare time to organise, be Chairman, Treasurer or a Committee Member. Without people willing to donate their spare time, many of these organisations would falter. The Residents’ Association, for example, relies heavily on its army of Road Stewards; a band of selfless people of all ages who twice a year are willing to go out in all weathers to deliver the Association’s magazines and collect the annual subscriptions. Without this group of people, the Association could not survive and a similar reliance on volunteers applies to a great many clubs and societies in Ashtead.

Talking recently with a retailer in Craddocks Parade, she said she had been a long time Ashtead resident and felt that people’s community spirit had waned with fewer people wanting to be that “someone” who made a difference. But, do you remember the bad snows of three years ago when community spirit came to the fore? It was striking how many people were out and about locally helping neighbours, pushing cars out of drifts, etc.

  That sense of community is ongoing and manifested in online communities such as the Ashtead Parents group on Facebook or the popular website streetlife.com. Commensurate with people’s busy lives, communication is immediate and action can often be taken quickly to resolve something. But that action still usually relies on a volunteer stepping forward to be the “someone” who does “something” about it – even if it’s finding out what everyone needs to do and passing on the information.

  The Residents’ Association aims to represent all views from within our village and while we can join in with the online communities for the more immediate issues, the Association does a lot of work that requires a degree of people’s time and for that we do need help from busy people. We’d love to have greater input to our work from all over Ashtead and particularly from young working families, be it as a Road Steward, Committee member or Friend.

  So it all comes down to asking a busy person to be the “someone” who makes a difference. To paraphrase a famous line, “Don’t ask what your village can do for you, ask what you can do for your village.”

  ARA Autumn Meeting: 7pm for 7.30, Thurs 6th November, Ralli Room, APMH

  The speaker in the first half of the meeting is Linda Kemeny, Surrey County Council’s (SCC) Cabinet Member for Schools who will talk and take questions about the planned expansions of Ashtead’s infant and primary schools. Also attending will be Nick Wilson, SCC’s Director of Education.

The second half of the meeting will begin with a brief update from Ashtead Community Vision on the work being done on Ashtead’s Neighbourhood Development Plan. This will be followed by a Q&A session with Ashtead’s District Councillors and County Councillor. We hope to see you there.  


ASHTEAD RESIDENTS' ASSOCIATION.

Guest Speakers Illustrate How Our Heritage is being Protected in Leatherhead.

The LRA is trying to get the balance right between the number of open and closed meetings. Since the April AGM, new Chair, Caroline Brown and committee have planned to hold three types of meetings: open meetings with speakers (4), closed committee meetings(4), and open committee meetings(4). A few people miss the opportunity to attend all 12 meetings, but there has not been a great deal of feedback on the subject.

  For those who do participate fully in the monthly meetings, you will have been delighted with the two meetings with speakers so far this year. Mid summer our guest was St. John's Headmaster, Martin Collier, who turned the tables and invited us to visit his school. He impressed us with a tour of the development of various buildings on a campus full of Grade II listed buildings. Of particular interest was the refurbishment of the Old Chapel and the beautiful new modern structure, immediately adjacent serving as its entrance. They sat together quite comfortably in their space.

  In September, Peter Mills, MV Historic Environment Officer, was our special guest speaker. His stunning photos of Leatherhead's historic buildings left us with a feeling that we are lucky to be surrounded by buildings of special architectural interest. The listing of buildings seemed well worth the effort Central Government takes to act upon the recommendation of English Heritage. Mr. Mill's work with Listed Building Consent places him in a position to advise, suggest alternatives, and, ultimately, to make recommendation to refuse permission to carry out work that affects the 'special interest' of the listed building.

  During a more recent visit to St John's School by Environmental Subcommittee members, Martin Collier directed our attention to a new ramp just installed. He said that Peter Mills had recommended the wrought iron railings and design of the path. We replied that we were very impressed with Mr. Mill's work as illustrated in his visit to the recent LRA meeting. This gave the Headmaster the opportunity to say just how invaluable Peter Mills had been in steering their building design over the last few years. Well done to both of our guests.

  Our meetings can be informative, entertaining, and educational. Even the open committee meetings keep you abreast of what is topical in Leatherhead. Please feel free to come along to the next open committee meeting November 3rd.(7:30 at the Institute)

  Support your Local Litter Pick in a Small Way.

A Leatherhead wide litter pick was organised and carried out in late October. There is time for you to support the effort. We encourage everyone to spend 20 to 30 minutes this autumn clearing up some part of the Mole Valley. Even if that spot is your own back garden, clearing rubbish will keep our wildlife safe. Simon Cowell of Wildlife Aid, who supports our year long campaign, has reported that a large proportion of the animals who come to their Randall's Road site have been injured or trapped in litter. Email a photo of your effort (however large or small) or tell us about it in a few words. litterphotos@thecargills.org

  Public Hearing.

The Public Hearing for Village Green Status for Leach Grove Wood will not occur until early 2015.  Thirty written statements, and 25 witnesses are needed for the hearing. Your help with this, and the £1000 legal fees still outstanding is welcomed. Send Statements and Donations to Leatherhead Residents’ Association, The Leatherhead Institute, High St or emailed to leachgrove@thecargills.org

 Cheryl Allen


ASHTEAD COMMUNITY VISION. PLANNING AND THE ART OF THE POSSIBLE.

Writing planning policies – the heart of the Neighbourhood Development Plan (NDP) – is ultimately where the Ashtead Neighbourhood Development Forum needs to get to in order to put forward an NDP to Mole Valley District Council MVDC) and Ashtead residents for adoption.

  It is therefore worth getting to understand what the NDP can and can’t achieve so that we can start to manage expectations. This is particularly important for Ashtead because the reality is that there is very little land available for development, unless of course, MVDC propose a change to Ashtead’s Green Belt Boundary in their forthcoming review, which would then allow more development.

  So while my colleagues at Ashtead Community Vision (ACV) continue with their Doomsday book for Ashtead – the pulling together of base evidence in their Baseline Sustainability Appraisal - their thoughts also now turn to what we’re going to recommend to the wider world.

  But dear reader don’t get overly excited as I’m not in a position to reveal which way things will go – at least not at this point – as we’re not ready. However, what I can hope to impart is what could be the art of the possible – or not.

  The first point to make is that NDPs do carry significant legal weight when decisions on planning applications are made as the plan will be part of the broader MVDC planning policy and so it is central to planning decisions in our area.

  The key test that will be applied to the Ashtead NDP is whether (in Government speak) it provides, “a practical framework within which decisions on planning applications can be made with a high degree of predictability and efficiency”.

  As pointed out there’s little point in an NDP addressing policies already satisfactorily covered by MVDC, rather it needs to fill in any gaps or deficiencies – something local residents are well positioned to do given their local interests and knowledge.

  Specifically, NDPs are aimed at those developments that need planning permission and there are other limits to its influence. For example, an NDP cannot influence minerals or waste issues and it MUST have regard to National Planning Policy such as that for the Green Belt.

  There are other specific limits on NDPs. For example you cannot require MVDC to make designations on things like tree preservation orders or listing assets for community value. Conservation orders cannot be extended nor compulsory purchase orders made. That said, the NDP can help support the justification for exercising any of these powers but will not be able to compel MVDC to use them.

  The key then to the 'art of the possible' is to understand that it can “only influence development which requires a planning application”. To further understand that I would suggest looking to the literature widely available on the internet. My top tip for those interested would be to download, “Writing planning policies” by expert Tony Burton. It can be found at:- http://mycommunityrights.org.uk.

  For further information concerning the Ashtead NDP, either go to the website at: www.ashteadcommunityvision.org.uk or email ashteadcommunityvision@gmail.com. You can also find us on Facebook and Twitter @AshteadCV .

  John Morgan ACV member  


DROPPING LITTER CAUSES INJURIES TO SMALL ANIMALS.

An injured hedgehog brought into the Wildlife Aid Foundation (WAF) veterinary hospital in Leatherhead had to be put to sleep once the true extent of its injuries was realised. The little creature had got itself caught up in a discarded elastic band. The wounds caused by the elastic band tightening around the animal’s neck had become infected and were riddled with maggots by the time the hedgehog was brought into the hospital.

  WAF founder and chief executive Simon Cowell MBE says: “Wounds caused by carelessly discarded items such as rubber bands, netting, wire, tin cans and other small items of litter can be a major problem for wildlife; animals can become caught or entangled in such things which can be fatal to small animals and birds. For instance, if a young hedgehog gets itself caught up in an elastic band, as he grows the elastic band digs into his skin, his skin gradually grows over it and becomes infected.”

  Tragedies like this occur all too often. WAF is asking members of the public to take particular care not to drop items like rubber bands. “Taking that bit of extra care not to drop litter in any circumstances is a good way of preventing unnecessary injuries to wildlife”, says Simon. WAF is also running a “Save Harry” campaign to promote protection of hedgehogs which have in recent years become an endangered species in Britain - their numbers having plummeted from 30 million in the 1950s to under a million today. If you would like to support the charity’s vital work to safeguard hedgehogs and other British wildlife, please visit the WAF website, www.wildlifeaid.org.uk to join or donate. You can also see online video footage of recent animal rescues on YouTube at TheWildlifeAidTV.  


MOLE VALLEY POLICE.

Distraction Burglary? With winter approaching, opportunist “rogue traders” see a good opportunity to take advantage of people’s vulnerabilities and the desire to have their homes safe, secure and watertight for the coming colder months?

  Surrey Police continues to work alongside a number of partner agencies, developing initiatives to help all members of our communities be and feel safe in their own homes. As part of this ongoing work, your Neighbourhood Teams are focusing particular attention on providing guidance, support and awareness to members of the community on how to spot and deal with cold callers, rogue traders and distraction burglars.

  You should know, however, that you have a right to refuse to deal with anyone who comes to your door uninvited. You can always refuse to answer if you have any concerns about the caller. If you have a door chain and do intend to answer the door, then put the chain across before opening the door. We would not recommend that you agree for any work to be done without checking that the business offering this service is totally legitimate and reputable.

  Many areas have directories for businesses that have received positive customer feedback. Also, Trading Standards and Consumer Direct can offer advice on businesses and service providers who should be trustworthy, reliable and who will carry out work for a reasonable price. In many cases, nothing can beat personal recommendation. It is never a good idea to allow someone you don’t know to carry out work for you. They may not be qualified or competent to do the work and what may sound like a cheap price could turn out to be an expensive choice, particularly if you end up paying out again to have bad work put right!!

  Additionally, distraction burglaries can be particularly upsetting as they prey on people’s trust in “authority”. For example, a person may call, saying that they are from a utility company, calling to check on reports of “faulty” water pipes, gas leaks or problems with the electricity supply. Once they gain entry, they will distract the resident by asking them to keep an eye on a tap or meter, while others go elsewhere in the house to “carry out checks”. Many people have been distressed to find they have had money, bank cards, jewellery or other items taken in just a few moments. Please insist on seeing appropriate identification for anyone claiming to be from a utility company. You can also telephone the company to find out if they are operating in the area. In fact, even if a uniformed police officer calls at your door they will be perfectly happy for you to ask to see their warrant card to identify themselves, or you can even phone us on 101 to confirm an officer’s details to your satisfaction.

  Finally, if you are ever put in a position of feeling in any way vulnerable or frightened by unwanted callers, please call the police on 999.

  Neil Clarke, 13363. Crime Reduction Advisor - Eastern Division, PO Box 101, Guildford, Surrey GU1 9PE.

neil.clarke@surrey.pnn.police.uk. Tel:  101 Extension 30809

  For more crime prevention advice visit www.surrey.police.uk

  If you need to contact your local policing team, you can always email us at molevalley@surrey.pnn.police.uk or call 101 and ask for extension 39635 – direct dial is 01483 639635.

  For all other non-emergency issues, please contact 101 or, in an emergency – or if you see a crime actually taking place – always call 999

   Call independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 if you have information about a crime and don't want to leave your name  


FIREWORKS DISPLAYS 2014.

SATURDAY 1ST NOVEMBER

  Cranleigh Lions Bonfire & Fireworks
The Common, Cranleigh, GU6 8LE
1pm funfair opens; 6.30pm torchlight procession; hog roast, refreshments available. 7.15pm bonfire; 8pm fireworks. Free event but voluntary donations welcome.
www.cranleighlions.org

Effingham Fireworks Spectacular
George V Playing Field, Browns Lane,
Effingham, KT24 5ND
Fun fair, food & bar. Gates open 6pm, torchlight procession 7pm, fireworks 8pm. £4 in advance, £5 on gate (under 12s free). Tickets from 01372 451925 / managerkgv@tiscali.co.uk

Lingfield Park Firework Display
Racecourse Road, Lingfield, RH7 6PQ
5pm doors open for funfair and refreshments, bonfire lit at 6.45pm, 7.30pm fireworks. £5 adult / £2.50 under 17s (family ticket £12.50 in advance from website). Free parking in main car park.
www.lingfieldpark.co.uk/events/fireworks-night

Reigate Rugby Club Fireworks & Bonfire
Colley Lane, Reigate, RH2 9NB
Bar & food from 6pm, fireworks 7.30pm. Adults £6/ children £5, or in advance (£2 less) from Reigate Rugby Club, and Holborns in Redhill and S. Nutfield. Parking for blue badge holders only. Allow time to walk to ground.
www.reigaterugby.co.uk

WEDNESDAY 5TH NOVEMBER

Guildford Firework Fiesta
Stoke Park, Guildford, GU1 1ER
Free but voluntary contributions welcome. Torch-light procession 7.45pm, fireworks start at 8.30pm.
www.guildfordlions.com

FRIDAY 7TH NOVEMBER

Kingston Fireworks Display
Kingsmeadow Stadium, Kingston, KT1 3PB
Gates and funfair open 6.30pm, fireworks 8pm. Adults and children £5.
www.kingstonfireworks.co.uk

  SATURDAY 8TH NOVEMBER

  Brockham Bonfire 2014
Brockham Village Green, Brockham, RH3 7HP
Brockham Bonfire, is a traditional family night of fun and celebration. Timings for the event: 4.30pm car parks open; 6.15pm torchlight procession; 7.45pm bonfire; 8.15pm fireworks. Buses will run from Dorking. A voluntary donation is asked to support the various local charities and societies
www.brockhambonfire.com

  Carshalton Park Fireworks Display
Carshalton Park, Ruskin Rd, SM5 3DD
Organised by Wallington & Carshalton Round table. Gates open 5pm, fireworks 7pm, bonfire 7.30pm. Tickets on the gate £7.50, under 5s free, profits to charity.
www.carshaltonfireworks.org.uk

  Chiddingfold Bonfire
Chiddingfold Green, Chiddingfold, GU8 4TX
5pm park & ride from Witley Stn (small charge). Burgers, hot drinks, refreshments. 7pm torchlight procession, 7.30pm bonfire, 8pm fireworks. Free event but voluntary donations welcome.
www.chiddingfoldbonfire.org.uk

  Epsom Fireworks Display & Funfair
Hook Rd Arena, Epsom
Funfair and food from 5.30pm, fireworks 7.30pm. Free park & ride - Chessington Garden Centre or Longmead Ind Estate Tickets £7.50, or £5 in advance from selected retailers in Ashtead and Leatherhead.
www.epsomfireworks.com

  Woking Fireworks Extravaganza
Woking Park (near Woking Leisure centre), Kingfield Road, Woking, GU22 9BA
Food stalls & funfair open 6pm; 8pm fireworks Tickets on the gate: Adult: £6; Child: £4 (age 5–16): Family: £15 (2 Adults & 2 Children)
www.wokingfireworks.co.uk

    SUNDAY 9TH NOVEMBER

  Meath School Bonfire Night
Brox Road, Ottershaw, KT16 0LF
Meath School is a special needs school run by the charity I CAN. Refreshments/hot food available. Gates open 5pm, bonfire 6pm , fireworks 6.30pm. Gate prices: Adult £7, £4 children/OAP. Family tickets £20 (2 adults & 2 children)
www.meathschool.org.uk Tel: 01932 872302