Cherkley Court: we listened to everyone & excluded no one.

On page 23 of the Leatherhead Advertiser of the 22nd December there is a short articled titled “Access Denied” which claims to give “clarification.” Sadly, it does not clarify things but rather adds further misinformation in what we are very concerned had become a ‘war of words’ which may be having a divisive effect on the community. I make the following points:

1. No one was denied access to the LRA meeting on the 3rd of December, which was was an open Committee meeting. Anyone, whether a member of the LRA or not, could attend as an observer.

2. The Longshot proposals had been favourably reported at some length at LRA meetings in the July and September, as the minutes show. Also the Summer edition of our Newsletter contained an article largely supportive of these proposals; the Autumn Newsletter also contained reports on the proposals. All minutes and Newsletter are available online:
www.leatherheadresidents.org.uk/meetings.shtml
www.leatherheadresidents.org.uk/news.shtml

3. It should also be pointed out that all Committee members had attended at least one of the impressive and professional presentations given by Longshot’s representatives at Cherkley Court.

4. Therefore, it was felt that the offer from one of Longshot’s representative to give yet another presentation at the 3rd of December meeting was superfluous and, in view of the intention to keep the meeting short, it was politely declined. But there was no exclusion on anyone’s attending the meeting. Indeed, some future presentation may be made, and this will be discussed at the January meeting of BLeAF (Chairmen of the Bookham, Leatherhead, Ashtead and Fetcham Residents’ Associations).

5. After Longshot had formally submitted its application to MVDC, our Planning Subcommittee met and spent some considerable time pouring over the lengthy documentation submitted in support of the application. The Subcommittee produced a report, which had been available on line since 27th November, and this report was presented to the 3rd of December meeting.
Planning_Cherkley_2011.pdf

6. At the 3rd December meeting, one of our own LRA members was allowed to give a ten minute presentation on behalf of the Cherkley Campaign. This was a very modest ‘balance’ to the extensive pro-Longshot representations the Committee has been receiving over the past six months.

7. The vote that took place was made after having received several reports and presentations made on behalf of Longshot, a report on the actual submission made by our Planning Subcommittee, and a ten minute presentation on behalf of the Cherkley Campaign. It should also be pointed out that the vote was by secret ballot, i.e. each member was voting individually without influence of fellow members.

Press: Ashtead & Leatherhead Local

Summary:

In this months article, a Committee member writes about:

  • the Expansion of the LRA
  • The Leatherhead Conservation Areas
  • Neighbourhood Watch


The Leatherhead Residents Association (LRA)

As a residents’ association the LRA could be described as the ‘New Kids on the Block.’ Although we know that many of our members have been actively working for the betterment of Leatherhead for very many years, we are aware that we are in our early stages of development as a residents’ association. Luckily we are surrounded by some of the best and most active residents’ association in the country. Ashtead, Bookham and Fetcham have reason to be proud of their excellence in serving their members. We have made no secret of the fact that we have looked to emulate these wonderful groups. When asked, our neighbours have freely shared their experience and advice. By studying the constitutions of these groups we learned that simplicity was the key. Although our own constitution is modeled more closely to a constitution with links to the Civic Trust, it is streamlined like that of our neighbours. The large memberships of each of the local residents associations is enviable. Our membership committee is mainly based on the road steward system of Bookham. We know that hard work by a dedicated team of volunteers is a major factor in achieving large numbers. Paula Sabine has organised our most recent membership drive that resulted in thousands or membership forms and newsletters being distributed in a matter of days. This was done by our own dedicated team of volunteers. As we continue to aspire to the strength and large membership of other local residents’ associations we are encouraged as Leatherhead residents continue to join weekly. A cordial welcome to our new members who are invited to our open meetings at the Letherhead Institute on the first Monday of every month at 7 p.m.

Neighbourhood Watch and LRA work together

We think our members will be very happy to hear that we are forging a close link with
Neighbourhood Watch. Both Neighbourhood Watch and the LRA have common goals of making Leatherhead a safer and better place to live. With common aims it makes sense to share the leg work as well. To this end Alan Berridge, the MVDC Neighbourhood Watch Coordinator, and our own road stewards and volunteers have leafleted selected streets that have proven more difficult to reach. Neighbourhood Watch needs volunteers to drop police reports on crime and safety into the letters boxes of their neighbours once a month. There is no financial obligation. The LRA needs a large, active membership. With our very affordable subscription fee (£2 annually or £5 for 3 years) this provides for an inexpensive team working to communicate with all and being there when a helping hand is required.
We look forward to Alan Berridge’s campaign to bring ‘NO COLD CALLING’ to Leatherhead. Some of us were disappointed when Leatherhead was not included in the last campaign which brought Ashtead, Bookham and Fetcham on board. In the new year we will be hearing more about this campaign that is closely linked with Trading Standards.

Conservation Area Appraisal

About 3 years ago the Leatherhead Society Committee (now incorporated as the LRA) had the opportunity to meet with the Head of Planning of the MVDC. Planning Committee Member, Richard Eckersley, boldly ask if Leatherhead could have a Conservation Area Appraisal. At that time, we were told that such a study was not forthcoming. Well things change and how wise Richard was to foresee such a need. The LRA has recently been asked to comment on the appraisal format. The MVDC has commissioned consultants, Forum Heritage Services, to draft the conservation area appraisal and a management plan for the Leatherhead Conservation Area. All those people who live or work in the Leatherhead Conservation Area will be ask to fill in a questionnaire. Completed questionnaires should be returned by Monday the 14th of December. They can be posted to the Council or returned to the Help Shop at 25-29 High Street, Leatherhead.

Best wishes for a happy and peaceful holiday season. Submitted by Cheryl Allen

Article from the Ashtead & Leatherhead Local

The Leatherhead Residents Association have had two more monthly open meetings since our last report. At the first we were given a set of drawings for the modifications to the Knoll Roundabout, details of the revised parking restrictions (double yellow lines) on residential roads. We were also given a list of future works which are proposed to be financed by the Section 106 fund. This money is a contribution made by developers in respect of the increased demand which their project will make on the infrastructure.

The Knoll roundabout works have come about as a result of a parent whose daughter was nearly knocked down whilst walking round the corner by Pegasus Court. This was rather a blind corner, and one where vehicles turning left were often tempted to drive over the kerb whilst squeezing past those which were queuing to drive on into Ashtead. In the past promises had been made by Highways to install high kerbs or cast iron ‘bell’ bollards, but nothing was done (no money, being the reason given). The LRA supported Sally Edward’s campaign to get something done. When Section 106 funds became available as a result of Unilever’s new head office, scheme was rushed out, perhaps with undue haste. Some of the work appears to be rather wasteful. For example a new footway down the side of the bypass to the footbridge which links Linden Gardens to Grange Road, in Ashtead. Since crossing the bypass has never been much of a problem, this footway does nothing to avoid the Pegasus Court Corner, which still has to negotiated. Members who frequently use is roundabout found a few other matters where some improvements might be helpful – mostly in terms of signage and road markings. These are being reported to Highways. But in general the scheme met with approval and gratefulness that it was being carried out at last. All credit must go to Sally for her tenacity, in the matter.

At our last meeting we were delighted to welcome Rod Shaw, who is the Senior Planning and Conservation officer in Mole Valley Council. Rod explained how the Council’s Planning policies were applied to the Conservation areas. In particular he listed the many buildings in Leatherhead which need to be conserved, together with their settings. At a time when there is much controversy about the future of the central streets of the Town, this was a very informative talk.

In addition to our monthly open meetings, the committee have been very active in attending and contributing to other meetings held by related organisations including the Campaign for the Preservation of Rural England, and the Public Examination of the Council’s proposed Local Development (Planning) Framework. The former Leatherhead Society derived much benefit from its membership of the Civic Trust. This organisation has been undergoing some trauma , but at least in this part of the country, it is re-emerging, and our representatives will be attending a meeting in Guildford on behalf of our members.

The Chairman

Press: Leatherhead Advertiser 12th-June-2008

Articles

  • Front Page: Leatherhead residents protests as contractors start on the riverside path.
  • Page 11: “Have your say on the web” MVDC promotes the Viewpoint website.
  • Page 13: Charitable Trust taking over the running of the Leatherhead Leisure Centre, claims that prices will not rise.
  • Page 26: Bikes to work.

Letters

  • Councillor Sharland explains the changes to the running of the Leisure Centre.
  • Councillor Dickson defends MVDCs approach to the Riverside Project.
  • Letter regarding press bar on the meetings between residents and MVDC on the Riverside project.

Press: Naturists give advice to MVDC over the Riverside Project !!!!

Leatherhead Advertiser 12-June-2008

MVDC is really making great efforts to consult widely on all projects. In Councillor Dickson’s letter to the Editor of the local rag, she states “Advice was sought from expert naturists, an ecologist and fisheries officer, a rights of way officer and many others”.

Either this is a typo or life by the river is to change radically !!

Press: Leatherhead Advertiser 5th June 2008

Articles:

  • A whole page was devoted to the on going debate about the River Mole Project. Most of the page was taken by LRA protesting about the improvements. A small section at the end of the page was given over to MVDC to defend their position. This information was already available on the LRA Blog.
  • Page 6 carried an item on plans by Unilever to temporarily use temporary town centre parking spaces. Comments from both MVDC and the LRA were given.

Letters:

  • Three letters were published regarding the River Mole Project.
  • Two letters were published regarding the Leatherhead Leisure Centre.

Press: Leatherhead Local : May 2008

Dave Smith’s Article from this months LL:

The Leatherhead Residents Association continues to increase our number of members and as this happens improvements to our operations also continue. Our first newsletter to members has been issued and we are hoping to start work on the second ready for Summer. Web site address www.leatherheadresidents.org.uk

To become a member please complete the details at the membership form and return to us with your fee of £2 for a year or £5 for three years. We will then issue you with a membership card and further information on how you will benefit from joining.

Thank you to all who attended the St George’s Day celebrations in the town and those who signed up for membership to the LRA.

No news yet on the Town Centre Forums from MVDC and as reported last month most projects’ have been put on hold in favour of spending large sums of money on our roads. I am sure you have noticed!

Surrey County Council advise that 35 major maintenance schemes are planned for Surrey and they have a FREE email service for notification of when these will start.

You can also comment on any concerns you have with MVDC by going to http://www.molevalleyviewpoint.co.uk and letting them know, particularly about the new proposed waiting restriction schemes due to take effect in Leatherhead. They seem to be interested which is good news.
Our way of increasing membership is the very important role of Road Steward and Leatherhead has many roads. The fairly straightforward role is described below.

The network of road stewards is the main way of maintaining a high level of membership, which is vital if the Leatherhead Residents’ Association is to represent the views of the residents to such bodies such as the local council.
The duties we ask of the Road Stewards are as follows:

1. Introduce yourself as our Road Steward and collect subscriptions (we will provide letters).
2. Deliver a newsletter 2 – 3 times a year to members of the Leatherhead Residents’ Association.
3. Maintain details of members in your road(s) on the form provided.
4. Forward money collected to the Treasurer.”

If you would like to give it a go please contact

membership@leatherheadresidents.org.uk

Thank you.
David Smith