LRA Bulletin for the end of March 2021

Dear Member(s),

1. I am sure you will all be delighted to know that I had a truly excellent response to the request I made in early March for people to write in with their personal evaluation of the 7 Local Green spaces in Leatherhead.    Although it was not specifically asked for, I am sure it can have done no harm for our Councillors to hear (again) that we do not want these and one or two other sites developed and that we have not “forgotten” about them.    Unfortunately, we are unlikely to hear the result of our lobbying until July.

2. And now another item which I think will become more desirable, if not essential, as the years go by and more housing is squeezed in at the expense of our existing trees.    The company known as CGI , who occupy offices on Springfield Drive, have offered to provide, completely free of charge, a number of native trees for us (Residents of Leatherhead) to plant or have planted wherever we like, providing, of course, that their siting does not cause  a nuisance.    This, sadly, is the case with trees planted on verges as all manner of lines (telephone, electricity, computer) are located just below the surface.   I was thinking more of some spots in the 7 Local Green Spaces and on some of our school grounds. It might also be possible to put some in gardens belonging to flats, albeit they would have to be visible by the Public and  hence of benefit to the Community .    I do have the list of offered trees, but I would like to hear from some of you about where you think additional trees would look nice.   CGI offered to help with the planting, but would also expect some of us to lend a hand.

3. As I think we all know, litter has become a major problem since the start of Covid-19.    I find it difficult to believe that those dashing outside to run or walk in order to avoid putting on weight are those very same who take out cans of calorie-rich drink and bars of chocolate!   I put the blame firmly on waste bins that get too full, open topped rubbish lorries (not the Suez ones) and general sloth on the part of a minority !   One of our members has told me that he had spent three hours clearing a small patch at the end of his road!   We have had Litter Picks twice this year, but I am looking forward to the ones where we can all meet  to collect rubbish together – such a satisfactory sight – and where we finish with tea and biscuits and a chat.      Perhaps we should be grateful that none of our parks has been used for a huge and rowdy public gathering!

4. As seems to be generally well known, our revised  draft Local Plan , will be revealed in July.     We have to hope that the heaviest of the burden,  proposed in the previous draft and falling on Poors Allotments and the adjoining land (550 dwellings),  and the Red House Gardens (450) , can be substantially mitigated.    Also, according to outline documents recently made public, Bull Hill, (the road between Kingston Road, and Leret Way) remains intact and there are no plans for shops in the Red House  Gardens.   While comments on the new draft will be sought, these will merely be forwarded to the Inspector along with the Draft.    Alterations to the Draft will only be made if they are based on a legal flaw in the Draft, or are the result of the Traffic Survey.

5. At a recent meeting I attended with MV, we were told that the Council has plenty of CIL money but has not yet decided how to spend it!    (C.I.L = Community Infrastructure Levy paid by developers and intended for use by the Council to improve the quality of life around the new houses etc.)

6. A Boundary review for MV is being considered.    This would be likely to impact on the number of Councillors representing us and could result in the dead “Purdah” period only occurring every fourth year instead of yearly as at present.

7. The window boxes outside the NatWest are definitely past their prime and were not helped by that section of the pavement being closed off.     I am prepared to collect them and return them, but urgently need someone to do the job of replenishing them with something bright and cheerful.    Planting expenses are, of course, re-payable.

8. A member has complained to me about the unpredictability of some cyclists using the Swan Centre and, I would add, the High Street, too.   They seem to ride in both directions and, unfortunately, are not audible.    I did spot one notice saying that cycling in the Swan Centre was not allowed, but it was not very visible and no one enforces it.    If anyone else has a problem like this, do contact the Centre Manager, Mr. Richard Keele, or write to me.     However, I shall take a week or more to see how many people write to me before passing on any complaints.

9. Finally, and it seems a long way ahead at the moment, I am trying to collect articles for a proper Newsletter to come out in about August or September.    If you have any little story, funny or sad,  about Leatherhead (with a picture if possible), do let me have it  so it can be stored away until about July when we will start the drafting process .

10. In case you have forgotten, subscription renewals were due on 1st January (for all 1 year members and those 3 year members whose membership expired at the end of 2020)    You can pay online via our website http://www.leatherheadresidents.org.uk   Look under “Membership.”        (1yr. = £2.50;  3 yr. = £6)

Meanwhile, I wish you all a Happy Easter and hope that it wont be quite as cold as the forecasters are predicting!

With very best wishes,

Caroline Brown, (Chairman )

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