What is the future of the Leatherhead Conservation Area?
Should its boundaries change?
What is special and should be conserved?

We are having an

Open Day
On Saturday 16th January
From 10.00 am to 4.30 pm

View proposals from the draft Leatherhead Conservation Area Appraisal and Management Plan
and tell us what you think.
There will be opportunities to discuss proposals with Council staff and comment on the proposals

Come and see us at
The Library, The Letherhead Institute
67 High Street, Leatherhead

The draft document will be available to view on-line at and comments can be left on-line until Monday 8th February 2010

My impressions of the recent Leatherhead-Ashtead Forum

Last Thursday evening (15th October) we had another Ashtead-Leatherhead Forum. The first item was the Chairman’s: “Stop Smoking Campaign.” The speaker spoke to the converted, there being apparently no smokers present. We had the usual statistics and learnt that whereas in England (never a mention of the situation in Scotland or Wales) 23% of the population smokes, in Surrey it’s only 19.5%. We we told the targets for 2015, among which is one to reduce smoking to 4% for 11 to 15 year olds. I could not help remembering those far off days of my youth when the target was 0% for 11 to 15 year olds.”O tempora! O mores!”

We did learn that in Mole Valley, it is 17.2% of the population that smokes – yes, we’re far better than England as a whole & are even below the Surrey average. But here’s the rub: whereas it’s only 13.5% in leafy Leith Hill, it’s a whopping 27.9% in North Leatherhead (that’s above the average for England!). There was a bit of discussion afterwards about what to do in North Leatherhead – but, as far as I could make out, nothing about the underlying social problems that give rise to the problem in the first place.

Just over half an hour later, Allan Berridge updated us on Neighbour Watch and Sergeant Simon Cox gave police reports for North & South Leatherhead and for Ashtead.

By 8.44 we were ready to listen to the presentation: “Strong Leader/ Elected Mayor – which model?” Apparently, after introducing the current ‘Executive model’ in March 2008, the 2007 Act requires up to change this to either a “Strong Leader” or “Elected Mayor” model. Wait about! Didn’t 2007 come before 2008? So if it was already known that we’d need to change to one of these two models, why did we bother to introduce the Executive model in 2008? Why not leave things as they were while we decided the model to go for?

Also, as I read the title of the talk I could not help wondering why a directly elected mayor was not a strong leader. In fact the more I heard, the more I wondered about the “strong” leader; this leader would be elected from the Councillors by the Councillors – in effect, it means, unless we have a hung Council, from the ruling party by the ruling party. Doesn’t that make the “strong” leader a creature of the Council and probably of a political party as well? The powers and functions of both a directly elected mayor & of a Council elected “strong” leader would be much the same: “determine functions delegated to other Cabinet Members, committees of the Executive or officers; determine the size of the Executive; appoint/ remove Executive members.” So who, dear reader, will be more effective: a Council elected leader or one elected directly by the people of Mole Valley?

It was also noted that the Council elected “strong” leader with his or her executive Cabinet is not so very different from the Executive model introduced in 2008. One of those present asked if in fact after the period of consultation (to conclude early in 2010 (How early?), the Council need take any notice of the findings. Could they not opt for their chosen model irrespective of consultation? There was no clear answer given. ‘Um’, I thought, ‘why was the Executive model introduced in 2008?’

After this presentation the meeting was asked to vote on whether they wished to continue the present arrangement of electing a third of MVDC each time, as at present, or to have a singled election every four years to elect the whole Council in one go. Yes, folks, you’ve read aright! We were not asked for a straw poll on the “strong leader” ~ directly elected mayor business that we’d been discussing for nearly three quarters of an hour; we suddenly had sprung on us a straw poll on a different issue. It was pointed out by several members from the floor that we had not discussed the pros and cons of the present system vis-a-vis the one-off election, so what would be the validity of such a vote? What indeed!

By this time it was fast approaching 9.30, when we got to the next item: “Public Question Time.” Our LRA planning officer was allowed to ask a question about the recent decision to allow Nos. 52-56 Church Street change of use from retail premises to restaurant. But after this had been answered, it was deemed that we had run over time and no more public questions could be asked. So much for consultation with the public!

How much consultation was there about matters to do with Leatherhead (or, indeed, Ashtead)? We learnt that more people smoke in North Leatherhead then the national average. We heard police reports that are made, in any case, at police panels in North & South Leatherhead and in Ashtead and, if I am not misaken, at the Leatherhead & District Forum. We heard about the “strong leader” ~ directly elected mayor business, which will affect the whole of Mole Valley. Then we were allowed one question only.

Which is a more genuine forum for real consultation: a Council controlled ‘area Forum’, or the Leatherhead & District Forum which has evolved from grass roots level over many years? Yet our Council refuses to recognize the latter.

If MVDC really wants to save money, why not scrap the Leatherhead-Ashtead and Bookham-Fetcham area fora, which the Residents’ Associations never wanted in the first place, and have proper consultation at the Leaherhead & District Forum?

Ashtead-Leatherhead Area Forum Agenda

The next Ashtead-Leatherhead Area Forum to be held on 15th October at 7.30pm in the Christ Church Hall, Epsom Road, Leatherhead, KT22 8ST.

If you would like to view previous agendas, minutes, presentations and information relating to the Forum, please click on the link below:-

Meeting of: Ashtead – Leatherhead Area Forum
To be held in: the Christ Church Hall, Epsom Road, Leatherhead, KT22 8ST

On: Thursday 15th October at 7.30pm

District Councillors of the Ashtead – Leatherhead Area Forum:
Sylvia Sharland (Chairman), Bridget Lewis-Carr (Vice-Chairman), Bryan Davis, Rosemary Dickson, Bob Hedgeland, Penny Hedgeland, David Howell, Chris Hunt, John Northcott, Chris Reynolds, David Sharland and Chris Townsend.

County Councillors Tim Hall and Chris Townsend, Ashtead Residents’ Association, Leatherhead Residents’ Association, NHS Surrey and Surrey Police

Chairman’s Invitees:
Ashtead Village Traders’ Association, Proprietor of Bartons Bookshop, Leatherhead Area Partnership, Leatherhead Community Association, Leatherhead and District Chamber of Commerce, Leatherhead Town Centre Manager, The Swan Centre Manager, Surrey County Council – Area Director East

1. Welcome by the Chairman

2. Minutes
To approve as a correct record the minutes of the last meeting of the Forum held on 9th July 2009.

3. Apologies for Absence
To receive apologies for absence.

4. Chairman’s Item – Stop Smoking Campaign
To receive a presentation from Helen Thurlow, who runs the stop smoking campaign for the Primary Care Trust.

5. Police Update
To receive updates from the Neighbourhood Watch Manager, Alan Berridge and Sergeant Simon Cox.

6. Strong Leader / Elected Mayor – which model ?
The Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 makes provision for new governance arrangements for all Councils including:-
– A directly elected Mayor
– Strong Leader Model
Mole Valley District Council is required to move to one or other of these two models and wishes to consult with local residents and stakeholders to seek their views. The Leader of the Council, together with representatives from Democratic Services will be in attendance to provide further information and canvass views from those attending the Forum.

7. Public Question Time
To receive public questions at this meeting. Fifteen minutes will be set aside for this purpose.

8. Dates of future Area Forums Meetings
The next meetings of the Ashtead – Leatherhead Area Forum will be held on:-
Thursday 21st January 2010, in the Ashtead Peace Memorial Hall, (Ralli Room),
Woodfield Lane, commencing at 7.30pm
Thursday 22nd April 2010, in the Green Room, Leatherhead Theatre, commencing at

If you require a copy of this agenda, any of the reports within it or a large print version of the agenda, please telephone Arabella Davies on 01306 879137 or

Ashtead-Leatherhead Area Forum Agenda

Dear All
The Ashtead-Leatherhead Area Forum Agenda for the next meeting on 22nd April is now available on the Council’s website.
Please click on the following link to view the agenda:-
(A hard copy of the agenda will be distributed to Mole Valley District Councillors on Thursday 9th April).
With kind regards,
Arabella Davies

Arabella Davies
Democratic Services Manager
tel 01306 879137

A Good use of Public Funds ?

Following this article in the local press

“Mole Valley council offices could be knocked down to build houses (Thursday, November 06, 2008, 07:00)”

Imagine then, opening Issue Seventeen of the MVNews “The Official Magazine of Mole Valley District Council” on page 5 to find an article describing the refurbishment of the Reception Area at MVDC Offices. The article states ” We will continue to provide all the facilities our residents & customers are used to..”.

Does this include “possibly” wasting public money in a recession?

Let’s hope the possible new home for MVDC is Eco friendly (zero carbon etc) and a real show piece for the area’s green credentials. Let’s also hope that any new building on the Pippbrook site is also affordable & carbon neutral.