I hope this Bulletin finds you warm and in good (or reasonably good!) health. I keep expecting to see a white lawn in the morning, but so far, so good!
You will be aware of Gatwick Airport Limited’s (GAL) application to bring the existing emergency runway into regular use. Mole Valley Council has submitted their views on this and has, therefore, secured their future involvement in this process. There are wide ranging concerns about this proposal, and they will be addressed at a public examination likely to be held early next year.
Still on the Planning front, I have heard within the last week that it seems highly likely that the Planning Inspector will announce his decision in respect of the proposed residential development on Headley Road (east) by the end of this month. Assuming that is the case, I will let you all know in the next Bulletin.
Another item of general interest is that of the Railway Ticket Offices. I am pleased to report that, as a result of the public outcry, Train Operators have withdrawn their proposals to close all ticket offices across England and that would, of course, include Bookham, Ashtead, Dorking and Leatherhead.
Some Residents will be relieved to hear that the Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPO) have been extended for another three years. These orders help to deal with low-level anti-social behaviour including alcohol consumption and dog fouling.
I am also informed that our council has been making strong efforts to press Royal Mail to return postal service levels to normal for residents of Dorking and Leatherhead. An answer is expected any day soon. Meanwhile, I would like to remind you of the seasonal entertainment available on our doorstep: Robin Hood is being staged in the Leatherhead Theatre and Snow White in Dorking Halls. Appealing perhaps to a different audience, our local “Moodswingjazz” group has hired the Mezz Bar in the Leatherhead Theatre on Tuesday, 5th December and have a special guest, Stacey Dawson. Stacey has played privately for Tony Blair, Barack Obama and Prince Charles. His music degree was obtained at Guildford
and he plays in all the top London venues, including a regular slot at the Dorchester. (Tickets are £10 which includes £1.50 towards the Theatre Restoration Fund).
Many of you will, I am sure, remember Mr. Bill King who came to talk to us last August about the very old Royal Arms painting hanging in St. Mary’s Church in Fetcham. Efforts to raise funds for the cleaning of the painting (on wood) have now received a major boost. The Surrey Churches Preservation Trust has given £2,000 towards the Appeal target of £10,000 which is the estimated cost of cleaning off years of dirt and varnish. Local people have also donated around £1,700. And for those who missed the talk, a little of the background history: This large picture of King Charles II’s Royal Arms is dated 1660, the year he was restored to the English throne after more than a decade of Commonwealth rule under Oliver Cromwell. Sadly. no records have come to light to show exactly when it was acquired by the Church. Many people have asked how rare the painting is. After the Restoration, churches were required to display Charles’ royal arms as a symbol of supremacy over the Church of England. But the practice died out as royal arms changed and only one or two similar pictures have been located.
Returning to the subject of the L.R.A. and our next meeting, I am pleased to be able to tell you that this will be on Monday, 15th January 2024 at 7.30pm, in the Leatherhead Methodist Church. One of our new Directors, Tony Russell, has bravely offered to organise a quiz and there will be prizes!
So, with that I will now thank all my Directors – old and new – and wish you all a very happy Christmas.
With all best wishes for next year,
Caroline Brown (Chairman).
*Further donations would be much appreciated. “St. Mary’s Fetcham Parochial Church Council.” Sort code: 20 29 90 A/c no. 00774715, and ref. “Royal Arms.”