So Eric Pickles has decreed that for five families to remain permanently in a field between the cemetery and the River Lane football ground will cause "substantial harm" to the Green Belt.
This is the same Eric Pickles that last November refused to call in the decision of MVDC to allow the development of a luxury hotel complete with spa, health club, restaurants, golf course with clubhouse and an underground delivery depot. This issue was not, he said, of national importance and should be considered locally. I assume also he does not consider this significant development, with the loss of 200 acres of chalk grass land, will cause substantial harm to the Green Belt.
Consider the piece of Green Belt where the five families currently live. It is bounded by the cemetery, the River Mole, River Lane and Randalls Road. On the other side of River Lane is the Leatherhead Youth FC ground, and beyond that we have the Leatherhead Community Recycling Centre and Transfer Station. It is not, I suggest, your typical Green Belt land and I find it difficult to see how the five families are causing "substantial harm" by being there.
Indeed, with pressure being put on MVDC from central government to look again at the Green Belt for sections where housing might be built, this is surely one of the sites that is likely to be re-designated. Maybe that is the reason the five traveller families cause "substantial harm"; it prevents a developer putting housing there. Nor, if the Council are considering moving people from allotments they have tended for more than forty years, is it at all surprising that they will evict families who have been in a place for a mere thirteen years, even though the families have integrated into the local community.
There appears to be one rule for developers and another for ordinary families.
I am also minded that although Keith Taylor, the Green MEP for Surrey and the South East, urged Eric Pickles to call in the Cherkley Court planning application, it was Sir Paul Beresford, our Westminster MP for Mole Valley, who urged Mr Pickles not to call in the application; it was the same Sir Beresford who, on the other hand, urged Mr Pickles to call in the Randalls Road travellers’ site application.
Let the Barnett Wood Lane allotment holders not be in any doubt; Mr Pickles’ decision concerning the Randalls Road travellers’ site does not mean the Green Belt by Junction 9 is safe from developers – far from it!
Firstly, it’s important to understand that ‘the message’ and how it’s presented to 100,000 residents is of vital importance. Mole Valley DC promotes a deliberately straightforward and hassle free message when communicating what items we can accept for recycling.
In practice, this means we keep the message as broad as possible, and purposely shy away from giving residents huge great lists of items which we can accept. It also means we deliberately do not publish the Recycling Identification Codes (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recycling_codes ). Research shows that you’ll gain the highest yield of plastics for recycling when you keep the message simple, as it is understood the ‘average recycler’ will be put off by always having to check the code on every article they’re disposing of, or
having to check a long list of products/materials.
So, in Mole Valley, we try to give the consistent message that as far as plastics go we will accept:
ANY TYPE OF PLASTIC BOTTLE (LIDS REMOVED AND PLACED INTO THE BIN SEPARATELY) PLASTIC FOOD TUBS, POTS AND TRAYS (RINSED)
And that’s it.
So, when considering whether a plastic item is fit to be put in the recycling, firstly, if it is a plastic bottle of any kind, it is accepted for recycling. Secondly, if it is a plastic tub, pot or tray that held any kind of food substance, it is accepted for recycling.
For those diligent recyclers who wish to know what codes can be accepted, the codes we can accept are:
- 02 (but not plastic carrier bags)
- 03 (but only in bottle form)
However, some plastic items may have one of the above codes, but will be of the hard plastic variety. We cannot accept what are known as ‘rigid plastics’. Therefore a good rule of thumb is that if you cannot bend the plastic by hand, it is not suitable for recycling via the green bin (plastic kitchen utensils and children’s toys are good examples of this). Conversely, some plastic items may have one of the above codes, but be ‘flimsy’. The second rule of thumb then is that if you can crush the plastic in your hand and it stays in that shape,it is of too low-grade to be recycled (plastic bags or cling film are good examples of this). Lastly, if you think the plastic item could fall in between rigid and flimsy but you’re still not sure, the test is that if it is pretty hard plastic that still bends, but you can snap it in your hand, then it’s not accepted for recycling (flower pots are a good example of this) I hope all that will be of use. I’m always happy to answer any further questions you may have, so please do not hesitate to get in touch. I’m sorry I could not make the meeting.
Mole Valley District Council
Other information from correspondence:
Thanks for the information. I only have one question, which is, what happens if we put an item in the recycling bin, which should not be put in there? Does this invalidate the whole contents of the bin, or is it just a nuisance because it has to be fished out?
When our crews notice something in a recycling bin that is not accepted for recycling, they will reject the bin and leave a ‘contaminated bin’ sticker on it, to inform the resident. The onus is then on the resident to fish the errant item out and present their recycling again next time round. Sometimes things are only discovered once the load is delivered to the recycling facility. This will then have to be handpicked out by one of the ‘pickers’ at the site.
We’ve had bad instances in the past where people have put things in their recycle bin so bad that it has meant the whole vehicle load has been rejected at the recycling facility. For example, someone once tried to dispose of a whole massive tin of cooking oil via a communal recycling bin. This burst inside the compacter in the vehicle and… well, you can imagine the mess. A similar thing happened when a resident tried to dispose of a bottle of engine oil. Not good!
Mole Valley District Council
I wanted to inform you of a new scam that is being used mainly in and around supermarkets whereby elderly and vulnerable people are being targetted by thieves who watch them pay for items with cash or card and then approach them with a £10 note asking if it is theirs and whether they have just dropped it or asking for change for a £10 note. When the person takes out their purse or wallet to check the thieves snatch it and make off. Another option is to ask for directions and whilst the person is occupied another will take the purse out of their bag.
If you are aware of anyone who would benefit from this information would you please pass it on, and of course, should you, or anyone you know be the victim of this type of crime please report it to us using the 101 telephone number.
If you need to contact us in the meantime, you can reach us on
On Monday April 8th, about 100 people, including 3 councillors and a MVDC officer, gathered at Letherhead Institute for the LRA’s largest AGM to date. Local Green Belt issues, proposed developments, and the possible loss of the Barnett Wood Lane Allotments had clearly aroused interest.
Three eminent speakers with diverse backgrounds shared their experience and brought a common thread to the fast moving evening; ‘We all need to engage with our community and the council to ensure decisions are not made over our heads and in ignorance of our thoughts and feelings on matters that concern our environment’.
John Howarth, Director of ‘Action for Market Towns’, and Leatherhead Area Partnership(LAP) chairman, talked of potential developments planned in the Green Belt near Junction 9 of the M25: ie a hotel complex, housing, a shopping mall, or a luxury retail outlet similar to Bicester Village in Oxfordshire.
John questioned whether developments such as Bicester Village, should be regarded as opportunity or threat to neighbouring towns. Some evidence suggested the latter, as he found considerable traffic and parking problems at Bicester and, and nearby, the original Bicester ‘dead’.
John suggested we should be gathering as much retail information and data as possible concerning the Leatherhead area in advance of such planning applications, with a view to either preventing development altogether, or ensuring that its financial benefits would spread to existing retailers and the wider community.
Lucy Quinnell, owner of the Fire and Iron Gallery, updated progress at Teazle Wood. Her account of how she had galvanised the community into supporting her bid to secure the future of Teazle Wood was heartfelt and heart warming.
She described the erosion of the countryside with the coming of the M25 motorway in the early 80s and the consequent destruction of large areas of grassland and woodland. She showed evidence of destruction of nearby woodland and grassland as recently as winter 2013. Thanks to Lucy, a 57 acre wooded site is now safe.
Andy Smith, Surrey Branch Director of the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE) explained the origins of the Green Belt and the reasons why it had come under threat, particularly in Surrey.
Andy expressed concern that too little was being done to ensure that brownfield sites were prioritised. His passionate appeal was that the Green Belt should only be considered when
all other possibilities had been exhausted. He firmly believes in MORE Great Belt as a result of
MV’s Boundary review, not less.
He commented on John Howarth’s, “nightmare vision of a retail village . . . It would destroy Leatherhead High Street once and for all. Defending the Green Belt, saving the Barnett Wood Lane Allotments and thwarting plans for a retail village are all part of the same thing. This really is a question of saving Leatherhead from developers!”
The mood and applause of the audience showed an appreciation of the three speakers and their messages.
Whilst we don’t know what the future holds for the Barnett Wood Lane Allotment/Merton College Green Belt site, this AGM showed us just how many threats there are to the future of Leatherhead. Please join the LRA in our efforts to continue to support the preservation of the Green Belt and the allotments and to ensure a future for Leatherhead as a viable market town.
If you have a pressing issue that you need to speak about on the night of any closed meetings
please come to the door at 7:20pm to pass on your concerns.
May 13th – Closed meeting
June 3rd – Open meeting
July 1st- Open meeting-speaker-possibly the Police Commissioner who has asked to visit us
August- Closed meeting
Many of you may remember this article that appeared on our blog a couple of years ago:
The Ashtead & Leatherhead Local recently featured an article on the restoration of the locomotive and the preservation society’s progress on getting the engine back to its former glory. The website for more information is http://www.hl3837.org/
There is also a video on the web showing the loco being moved..
- Apologies for absence (1 min)
- Minutes of AGM 28th May 2012 (2 min)
- Matters arising from the Minutes (2 mins)
- Chairman’s Committee Report 2012/13 (2mins)
- Treasurer’s Report and Statement of Accounts(2 mins)
- Election of Officers: Chair, Vice-Chair, Treasurer, Secretary (2 mins)
- Election of Auditor (1 min)
- Election of Committee members (3 mins)
- Leach Grove Wood – Request for Evidence of Use forms (3 mins)
- Refreshments (10 mins)
8 p.m. Panel of 3 Speakers
Each presentation to be followed by Q & A session of 5 minutes.
- John Howarth (20 mins)
- Lucy Quinnell (20 mins)
- Andy Smith (10 mins)
- Final Q & As (10 mins)
Request for more LRA helpers
Have copies of meeting schedule & our contact details
More views and opinion on this site