Bulletin for March 2024

Dear Members
I mentioned in last month’s bulletin the up-coming public meeting on 29th February, when our Council were to introduce their development partner for the Transform projects at Bull Hill and the Swan Centre (Kier). I know that a number of LRA directors were present, and I hope that a number of you, also, managed to attend. I think most attendees left a little disappointed, having hoped to see some visual indications of what is proposed, when all that was available were some visuals of other towns that the team had been involved with. However, the good news is that between now and the summer Kier are proposing to engage in a public consultation as to what residents would like to see from the project. Whilst most of you are probably in “consultation overload“, this may be your last chance to influence the effect that this radical project will have on our Town. The LRA will certainly make its views known and we commend you to do likewise. Whilst not part of Kier’s brief, the other part of the Transform project, Claire and James House, also progresses at long last. We are told that the existing buildings will be demolished by the owners (our Council) in September, with the aid of a Government grant. The Council’s development partner (yet to be revealed) will then proceed with construction thereafter. Whether they will build out the planning consent that the Council granted themselves or apply for another is currently unknown.

The other big news is that our Council have decided that they will proceed with the Inquiry into their draft Local Plan, which was paused at the end of 2022. In order to do this, the Inspector must consult on the modifications that were identified during the hearings as being necessary in order to make the plan sound. These can be found on-line at www.futuremolevalley.org or hard copies are available in the District’s libraries. There is much to read, some on district wide policies and some relating to specific development sites. Notable MM’s (Main Modifications) relevant to Leatherhead are shown in the table below. The LRA will be making a representation but individual responses from residents are valued and must be submitted by 23rd April.
MM4 Leatherhead Town Centre
MM71 Claire and James House
MM67 Land at Bull Hill
MM72 Land at Clare Crescent
MM68 The Swan Centre
MM73 The Railway Station
MM69 36-39 Randalls Road
MM89 Local Green Spaces

And now on to other matters: Don’t forget our Litter Pick on 14th April from 2 pm till 4 p.m. We will meet in the Randalls Road side of the car park opposite Oaks Close at 2 p.m., finish at 4 p.m. and will have a good supply of materials like bags and gloves. If it would be more convenient for you, do the litter pick earlier and just bring the full bag. Some members have already written to me about Common Meadow which was particularly bad with drinks bottles and tins but, in any case, they think they have “done” it for the time being. I have also noticed that the bottom of Gimcrack Hill and the alleys in the Town have got the same sort of items liberally spread around.

Mentioning the Town brings other things to mind!! In particular, the Planters, of course. As
promised, some 15 of them have been removed from the High Street and, hopefully, will brighten up the interior of the Swan Centre. However, some are placed under a roofed area and so it is difficult to see how they will get either light or water. Perhaps another location, seeking to cheer up their outside area, would like to make an offer for some of them??

The LRA has also been contacted by some residents who would like to see our membership spread more evenly across the Town. They call themselves “TLC 2030”. Some of these people have been instrumental in getting “The Hub” (located in the Kingston Road Rec.) up and running. The café there is warm and friendly and the chief caterer, Rachel, has a wonderful selection of cakes and buns etc. available to brighten anyone’s coffee morning. Also located there, but behind the café, are rooms with quality sewing machines available for hire by the hour and another dedicated to painting. There
are further plans for the premises, but decoration is needed.

And now a word about the Waterway Road mural. It is actually sited underneath that part of Waterway Road which carries the road across the River. I recently visited it to see how it was faring following its completion. I am delighted to report that although there is one tiny graffiti word in black on the outside of the arch, overall, it is in very good shape and particularly bright and interesting.

If you have received a hard copy of the March Bulletin with a Membership Renewal form attached, it is a polite reminder that your membership for 2024 is due for renewal.

2024 is likely to be a momentous year for our Town, with the final consultation on the Mole Valley District draft Local Plan in progress (the LRA appeared before the Inspector at the public hearings that took place in 2023) plus the appointed developer to the Transform Leatherhead project about to further consult Residents as to what they wish to see from the Project.

As a recognised, local consultee, the LRA will be party to both exercises and we hope you will support us in this, and our other work, by renewing your membership.

Two final matters. First, an apology for quoting the wrong day when I gave you the date for the Post Office scandal film. it is to be shown in our cinema on Thursday, 18th April (NOT Monday!) and, second, please don’t forget our next Members’ meeting which will be on Monday 13th May in the usual location and at the usual time. Our speaker will be talking about computer scams and how to deal with them.

With all best wishes for a happy and warm Easter,
Caroline Brown (Chairman).

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