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.



“I wanted to write to update you on our planned new store in Ashtead on The Street.

  As you will have read in the media, our performance as a business has fallen significantly short of where we would want it to be. As a result the financial resources we have available for new investment are severely constrained and we have had to critically review all current and future investment decisions.

  My absolute imperative has to be to protect the future of our business for the c. 300,000 colleagues we employ in communities all over the UK. In recent weeks we have had to face up to some very tough decisions which affect many hard-working people. I don't do that lightly and so it is with a heavy heart that I am announcing today that we are unable to proceed with 49 new planned store developments across the country, including our planned store in Ashtead.

  I am very sorry that we have not been able to deliver the investment that we intended. I know this news will be a real disappointment to many people in your community and we are extremely grateful for the support we have received for our plans.

  I am very aware of the importance of the site to the local community and I am determined that we will work closely with you and the Council to find the right solution for your community. In the meantime we have consulted with local community groups and created a garden on the site as a temporary measure.

  If I can be of any further assistance, please do let me know.

  Yours sincerely

  Dave Lewis Chief Executive Officer”  


Fully Functional Fetcham and Leatherhead Flood Forum Realised this time last year, Cllr Tim Hall initiated a series of meetings after the winter floods. These meetings brought local residents together with the various organisations that sought to find a way forward for flood victims. At each meeting, the idea of a local Flood Forum was recommended. By working with representatives of the Leatherhead Residents' Association (LRA) and Fetcham Residents' Association (FRA), and all the agencies concerned, Cllr Hall now chairs a Local Flood Forum.

  Our Flood Forum is one of about 70 forums throughout the UK which work with the Environment Agency (EA). Many were formed as a result of the 2013/14 floods. Apparently a Flood Forum works best when it is driven by residents and supported by their councillors. Flood victims from Fetcham and Leatherhead were both affected by the River Mole, so it is fitting that they banded together to form the forum. The resilience and fortitude of the affected residents has been tested thoroughly as some were homeless until December 2014 (a few people are still not back in their homes).

  On December 18th a meeting of representatives from the FRA and LRA, the Environment Agency, Surrey County Council (SCC), Mole Valley District Council (MVDC), Thames Water (TW) and a few flood victims met. Earlier in the year a list of 29 local flood issues had been drawn up. Once a Flood Forum is in place all the area locations which flood, for whatever reason, can be investigated.

  Sometimes the main objective is to see what is causing the flooding and who is responsible for mending the fault. During the course of the meeting it became clear that Network Rail (NR) should have been invited. They and other riparian parties have some responsibility for maintaining river banks where they are located.  

The local drainage and sewage systems are extremely complex. Sometimes it is not clear who has responsibility. Sometimes there is joint responsibility. SCC, TW, and MVDC have been very busy dealing with the 29 locations mentioned above. Having all organisations sitting around a table to report what they have done/or are going to do will be very beneficial to Leatherhead and Fetcham.   The work has resulted in pipes being replaced and rerouted, roots and blockages cleared from pipes, gullies repaired, curbs raised, carriageways reshaped, etc. Find full listing of 29 sites on LRA website (see report submitted to the January 5th Committee Meeting). If you know of a site which floods, that is not listed, please let us know.

  Environment Agency Model of the River Mole Nears Completion. As a result of last year's floods, the EA received funds to create a model of the Mid Mole River Catchment Area. The data for this model is now safely stored in computers which are busy analysing the result. The EA's recommendations, based on the model, will be available later this year. Detailed designs will appear by 2016-17, and construction will be underway by 2018-19.

  The LRA is in a unique position to help co-ordinate this work with Transform Leatherhead which has a similar timetable.

  Welcome to All. February 2nd open meeting at the Letherhead Institute at 7:30. At 8pm speakers Usman Nawaz and Jade Brelsford will explain how the Surrey Downs Clinical Commissioning Group (SDCCG) works. James Blythe, a SDCCG Director in charge of the 2015-16 review of hospital services, may also attend.  


I received the following letter from Mr Deric Brock a few days’ ago asking for help with information on Douglas Charles Paterson. I am sure that any help you can give Mr Brock would be greatly appreciated. Zen George, Publisher

   Dear Miss George,

  I am writing to seek the assistance of your readers in helping to contact the family of an airman who is buried in St. Giles’ Churchyard, Ashtead.

  AC2, DOUGLAS CHARLES PATERSON was killed on April 15th, 1941 when the wartime airfield at RAF Carew Cheriton near Tenby, Pembrokeshire was attacked in an early morning bombing raid by German aircraft based in France. Twelve airmen were killed in this raid when the sickbay received a direct hit.

  I would like to include a brief history, and if possible a photograph of AC2 Paterson in the Parish Records at Carew. His sacrifice has never been forgotten by the older generation of Carew.

  May I thank you for your time, and I hope that you can help in some way.

  Yours sincerely, Deric Brock

  I can be contacted either via email at:, or via post to:30 Milton Meadows, Milton, Tenby, Pembrokeshire, SA70 8PL  


The LCA has started 2015 with a new programme of events covering a wide-ranging number of topics. ‘Tea and Talks’ have an afternoon about the fabulous Fabergé Eggs on 13 February, on 13 March there is a talk on Lavender Fields, not a subject often covered, and on 10 April there is to be a guided tour of one of Surrey’s prettiest villages - Shere. There is no charge for any of these visits. Table Tennis and Snooker are available every Monday afternoon and Scrabble can be played on each second and fourth Wednesday of the month.

  All these events are open to non-members, but the Members programme is even more interesting. Visits take place monthly throughout the year and to mention just a few - there is a visit to the Bank of England, a tour of the Houses of Parliament, a visit to Bletchley Park, and even a day at the races. Members can also take advantage of the many plays and operas that are shown at the Leatherhead Theatre, and they can also join one of the many and varied walks, both long and short, that are arranged every month.

  Why not consider becoming a member of the LCA, it is only £5 a year and it will offer you a very wide range of events covering numerous different interests. If you join now your membership will be valid until 31st March 2016. For full information please phone Sarah on 01372 360508, visit our website, or call into the Letherhead Institute, on the left at the top of the High Street and pick up a newsletter which has all this information and more. On Tuesdays to Fridays you could also have a cup of coffee in the newly decorated library.  


Affected by macular disease, or know someone who is? Consider joining our group! Our parent charity, The Macular Society, set up our local support group and we’ve just celebrated our 5th birthday! Macular disease affects central vision and can be very isolating and frustrating. Although people rarely lose all their vision, they may be left with just peripheral, patchy or blurry eyesight – sometimes, leaving them unable to see faces of friends and loved ones, get about with confidence, read correspondence etc.

  Our friendly, welcoming group meets 2-4pm on the 2nd Monday of each month in the Leatherhead Institute. We get together over a cuppa and cake, share hints and tips, listen to speakers on amusing, interesting or informative topics – or just socialise, with pub lunches and outings too. A great way to make new friends! You’re not alone and it’s good to meet others who understand what living with macular disease is like. We’re sure there must be others in Leatherhead and surrounding villages who may not know us, so anyone affected in some way by central vision loss is welcome, including carers, partners or friends – and if anyone has a couple of hours spare to help, please come along!

  For more information, call Trudie Allibone on 01372 454077


Surrey Police detectives are continuing to urge members of the public to remain vigilant following several recent incidents where fraudsters have attempted to con Dorking residents into handing over cash or bank cards.

The first incident occurred in a road off Holmesdale Road at around 12.40pm on 30 December, when a woman was contacted by a man requesting her bank details and asking her to go and get money out from her bank.

The woman rightly had concerns about the authenticity of the call and contacted Surrey Police.

Another incident took place at the Nat West Bank in the High Street, Dorking at around 9.50am on 31 December when a woman went to the front counter and stated that she had received a phone call asking her to take out £10,000.

The bank quickly phoned the police and the fraudulent request was prevented.
Surrey Police continues to investigate a series of offences across the county where fraudsters have been obtaining bank details, cards and cash using bogus telephone calls and couriers.

On some occasions victims report they have received telephone calls from someone claiming to be either a police officer or bank worker who then tries to convince them to hand over large amounts of cash and bank cards.

The victims are often told that their bank cards have been used by somebody who is in custody and the fraudsters then ask the victim to phone the bank to cancel the card and say they will send a courier round to collect the card.

Meanwhile the fraudster stays on the line and obtains the victim's bank details whilst they think they are phoning the bank. A courier then calls at the victim's address saying they have been sent by the police to collect a parcel - the envelope containing the cards or cash.

Richard Hamlin, Inspector for Mole Valley Safer Neighbourhood Team says: "Thankfully on both occasions in Dorking recently, the victims did not fall foul to these fraudsters and did not hand over any cash. But we would like to highlight the fact that people should never give out their personal bank details over the phone or believe they need to get money out of their bank account at the request of a telephone caller.

  "It is concerning that we are seeing continuing fraudulent attempts to con people to hand over their cash across the county and we are again urging residents to report any suspicious calls from people claiming to be a bank worker or police officer as a matter of urgency.

"The callers will often sound very genuine and the version of events they describe might seem plausible but I would like stress that these requests are not genuine and that no police officer or bank would operate in this manner and would never require a customer to confirm their PIN details or withdraw money over the phone.”

People are reminded to protect themselves using the following advice:

  · Never give out any personal information about your bank account to anybody over the phone.
· If someone calls claiming to be a police officer, ask for their identification number, police force and their telephone extension. Hang up the call, and advise that you will call them back using the 101 number.
· Use a different phone line to call back if possible, i.e: a mobile phone if the call was received on your landline.
· If you have given out information which could compromise your bank account security in any way, call your bank up to cancel your cards as soon as possible.
Never hand over money to someone at the door to be sent off elsewhere.
· If someone comes to your door claiming to be a police officer or staff member, always ask for identification and make note of their identification number.

  If you have any information relating to these or similar incidents in Dorking please call Surrey Police on 101 and quote ref: 45140110325.

Alternatively please call independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or you can report the incident online by visiting:


Monday 2nd February - Letherhead Institute

One of our most loved and respected workers in the Mole Valley Community (and wider) has sadly taken a permanent rest, As a shining example of GP service, caring not only for the patient but their family and friends, young and old from all stages of life and those with a wide range of health and social problems, we have had no finer example that Dr. Margaret Birtwhistle.

For years one of her many concerns and that of her husband Dr. Meynen, has been the work of the League of Friends of Leatherhead Hospital, raising money for the benefit of the patients and staff and facilities at our Leatherhead Community Hospital.

This central focus of community health service, providing in-patient post operative care, respite for carers whilst they had much needed break from 24 hour nursing care at home, rehabilitation and assessment prior to return home or onward transition to Nursing Home or Hospital, and temporary accommodation for other hospital or hospice services during refurbishment – has suddenly reached a crisis point – through shortage of qualified nursing care and now Leach Ward is empty, and its use is subject to review in the Spring.

Tea and Talk was a delightful afternoon held each month at the Methodist Church, hosted by Margaret and her willing team of helpers, An event enjoyed by local retired and elderly residents, in a welcoming, and comforting environment, social and entertaining, and looked forward to – long may it continue.

  But if the work of Leach Ward is to continue, we need to understand the reasons for its closure and for those who commission and maintain its administration to understand our need for our local community ward, not one at a far distance, which is almost impossible to reach and visit.

On Monday 2nd February the open meeting of the Leatherhead Residents Association will be held in the Abraham Dixon Hall, at 7.30 followed by a talk at 8 p.m. from the Communication and public engagement officers of Surrey Downs Clinical Commissioning Group - Usman Nawaz and Jade Brelsford. Their role is to explain to the public how the Clinical Commissioning Group works. Hopefully James Blythe, the Director of Commissioning and Strategy, who is in charge of the review of services in 2015-16, will also accompany them. Our Surrey County Councillor Tim Hall will chair the meeting and after the presentation there will be an opportunity to ask questions and express concerns.

Members of the staff of Leatherhead Hospital, Friends of Leatherhead Hospital and local residents are invited to attend for a slightly different, but welcoming “Tea and Talk”.

    Hilary Porter, (carer)


“Hook, line and sinker”, “Cold fish”, “something fishy”, “fishing for compliments”: the British language is peppered with colourful expressions that celebrate our traditional love of fishing. Catching fish with a rod and line may have been a matter of survival for our ancestors, but these days it is mainly regarded as an enjoyable hobby or sport.

If you’ve longed to try your hand at fishing, here’s a quick guide to get you started:
What is angling? By definition “angling” is any kind of fishing that uses an “angle” or fish-hook. Over time this activity has evolved into three different types: coarse fishing, game fishing and sea fishing. “Game fishing” is limited to catching of trout and salmon, while “Sea fishing” applies to any species of fish that lives in the sea. The term “Coarse fishing” is used for any freshwater fish apart from salmon or trout.

What’s it like to go fishing? Angling can be hobby, a competitive sport or the focus of a relaxing holiday. It can also be a gateway to learning about, and caring for, the environment.

What does it cost? It’s possible to start out on a relatively modest budget and upgrade over time. You can buy a basic coarse fishing kit, with nets, rods and accessories, for about £60.

Do I need permission to go fishing? If you are older than 12 you will need a licence to fish with a rod and line for salmon, trout, freshwater fish, smelt and eel in England (except the River Tweed), in Wales and the Border Esk region of Scotland. You can buy your rod licence at Post Offices, over the phone (telephone 0844 800 5386) or online. An annual licence currently costs £27 (or £72 if you want to fish for salmon and sea trout).

When can I fish? The “close season” is between 15th March and 15th June each year and during that period fishing is not allowed. The coarse fishing close season applies to all rivers, streams and drains in England and Wales but not most stillwaters (although there are exceptions). Where can I fish? You’ll discover thousands of urban and rural locations online. You can find information at and or join the Environment Agency’s page on Facebook to discover waterways that have recently been cleared.

What do I do once I’ve caught a fish? The anglers’ website states that a fish should always be returned to the water after it has been caught. Fish should be handled as little as possible or they will lose their protective, slimy coating. Never throw one back into the water: instead you should slowly immerse the net and let the fish swim away. Many anglers like to measure their catches, weigh them or take photographs before putting them back.

Anyone who has listened to anglers’ tales about “The one that got away” will know that patience and skill play a large part in fishing and it may be helpful to learn from an experienced angler when you are starting out.

As an island nation, it’s hardly surprising that fishing has become embedded in our language and our culture. Angling is growing in popularity, so don’t be a fish out of water: it won’t be long before you are well and truly hooked!

  Our local angling club is the Leatherhead & District Angling Society, email:, website: