Letter from the Chairman:
The wet, wet weather of October certainly has not slowed activity in the village nor around the county. I had the pleasure of attending the Surrey Association of Local Councils annual conference in October. We had an array of speakers, from the Police Commissioner, to planning experts, to Surrey County Council. Remarkably, or perhaps not at all so, our village concerns were shared by all other villages across Surrey. I happened to be sitting at a table with a number of people from Tandridge parishes as well as parishes further afield. Just listening to them speak, and to the room and the participants in our workshops, the shared concerns were clear: Policing and crime, road safety, protection of the Green Belt, protection of the character of our areas and a wish for more consistent planning decisions and better enforcement.
And speaking of planning, I had the great pleasure of meeting with the new Chief Planning Officer of Tandridge District Council, Helen Murch, who joined TDC in August. District Councillor Carole North organised a meeting and drive through Woldingham for our new Chief Planning Officer, me (your Chairman) and Woldingham Association Chairman David Shelley. We were able to share our concerns regarding planning and enforcement. We understand that Ms. Murch is working hard in her new role to fill vacancies in the department, address the backlog and deliver a great and more consistent service. We note that the pressure on the Tandridge planning teams has not abated as the uptick in planning applications that we observed in September continues apace.
Quarry application update. On the 20th of October, we submitted a joint objection to Surrey County Council regarding the Southern Gravel Chalkpit Quarry application to vary the minerals license and build 75 houses. We worked with Oxted Parish Council, The Woldingham Association, The Oxted and Limpsfield Residents Group, and the Woldingham Action Group. I have been advised that Limpsfield Parish Council, Tatsfield Parish Council and Chelsham and Farleigh Parish Council have also all objected. Tandridge District Council have submitted an objection and have also commenced a judicial review of the process, as they believe, in our view quite rightly, that Surrey County Council’s jurisdiction over the minerals license does not extend to the housing application. The impact of all this on the timing of the application process is at this stage unclear, but it will clearly lengthen the overall process significantly.
As a reminder, the proposal is to build not only in Green Belt but in the AONB, which would cause great harm to the beautiful countryside, and there is a lack of infrastructure in Oxted and Woldingham to support hundreds of additional people. While we did finally receive a response to our requests that Surrey Country Council grant an extension and ask the applicant to submit critical missing documents regarding feasibility and other key planning requirements, SCC declined to do either. We also did finally receive an acknowledgement of the WPC’s renewed Freedom of Information Request, stating that due to the complexity of the request, SCC would take 60 rather than 30 days to respond. I note that the request was fairly straight forward, and interestingly despite us needing to review 150 documents for the Quarry application, SCC declined to offer us, even when directly asked, a short extension, although they did grant themselves such an extension.
A growing problem with traveller’s sites harming the Greenbelt: The WPC also recently worked closely with Chelsham and Farleigh Parish Council, Tatsfield Parish Council and Warlingham Parish Council to address the growing number of transgressions of sites on the Green Belt. Just above the northeastern boundary of Woldingham, there have been a growing number of infractions on Traveller’s sites nearby two plots that had permission granted only on appeal. There also appear to be potential infractions on the sites that were granted permission. We have grave concerns over the harm to the Green Belt and the precedent this would set for all our area. We note that while provisions need to be made for traveller’s sites in appropriate areas, the Planning Policy on Traveller’s Sites is clear that Green Belt policy still holds. Woldingham, Tatsfield and Warlingham Parish Councils met with Chelsham and Farleigh Parish Council and worked on and endorsed a letter to TDC to ensure the issues are addressed.
Parish Elections in May: I remind you that local elections take place this May, when the whole of Tandridge Council is up for election, as is the whole of Woldingham Parish Council. We know we will have vacancies, and we always welcome as many people as possible to run. There are all sorts of activities to engage in, from organising events for the village to commenting on planning, helping beautify the village, working on security and safety and representing village views in consultations and other matters. We need to identify potential volunteers by January. If you may be interested in hearing about the work involved in being a Parish Councillor, we would be happy to speak with you. Please email our Clerk at: email@example.com.
Police Meeting 1830 on the 26th of March: The Woldingham Parish Council have organised a meeting with Surrey Police and Crime Commissioner Lisa Townsend and Sergeant Wayne Stephens on the 26th of March 1830-1930, at the Woldingham Village Hall. Topics will include car break-ins, thefts and house break-ins, apprehension and conviction rates and Q&A. All are our welcome. Let us know in advance if you have specific questions at Parish.Clerk@woldingham.com
Carols in the Crescent, 9th December, 6pm
Please see details in this magazine. The Parish Council delight in organising this lovely community event every year and more voices than ever will be raised this year. It is always heart-warming and well attended so please join us!
As ever, remember to check Woldingham.com for the latest news! And let us know if you have any feedback or requests at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chairman Deborah Sherry
The Future Airspace Strategy Implementation – South (FASI – South)
In last month’s magazine we mentioned the consultation relating to changes to the airspace around London Biggin Hill Airport (LBHA). You may also be aware of the second runway proposal at Gatwick Airport and their public consultation relating to airspace change proposals put forward. This month we wanted to outline how these are all related, the Parish Council involvement to date and what’s to come.
In 2018, the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) published an Airspace Modernisation Strategy (AMS or the CAA Strategy) to initiate the major overhaul of a key piece of national infrastructure. The AMS responds to the Government directing the CAA to ‘‘prepare and maintain a co-ordinated strategy and plan for the use of UK airspace up to 2040, including modernisation’’.
The Airspace Change Organising Group (ACOG) was set up to prepare the airspace change masterplan. The masterplan is a single coordinated implementation plan for airspace changes in the UK up to 2040. The changes that make up the masterplan will upgrade the UK’s airspace and deliver the objectives of airspace modernisation.
Airspace modernisation is expected to support the Government’s objective to increase capacity, including through the development of a northwest runway at Heathrow as outlined in the Airports National Policy Statement, and other airports making best use of their existing runways subject to environmental issues being addressed – hence the second runway proposal at Gatwick Airport. It sets out the ends, ways and means of modernising airspace through 15 initiatives that will upgrade the design, technology and operations of airspace, initially focusing on the period until the end of 2024.
Of these 15 initiatives, two are known as Future Airspace Strategy Implementation – South, and Future Airspace Strategy Implementation – North (known as FASI- South and FASI-North respectively). These are complex airspace design programmes that require coordination between the different ‘sponsors’ of airspace.
FASI – South consists of the following airport participants or ‘sponsors’ – Biggin Hill, Bournemouth, Farnborough, Gatwick, Heathrow, London City, Luton, Manston, RAF Northolt, Southampton, Southend and Stansted.
Biggin Hill: In the main Councillors Holbrook and McEwan have attended various meetings with the CEO at Biggin Hill and are involved in the on-going ACP consultations. The consultation has focused on introducing a new satellite-based Area Navigation Instrument for both Approach and Missed Approach Procedures with 3 arrival options and 1 missed approach option to be considered. We will continue to participate in this specific consultation ongoing.
Gatwick – second runway and ACP: The window to register interest to comment on the Northern runway proposal closed on the 29th of October, but again Councillors Holbrook and McEwan as well as Woldingham Parish Council have registered their interest and will take part in on-going consultations.
With regards to the review of arrival and departures options at Gatwick as part of FASI- South, Councillors Holbrook and McEwan have been involved with the Initial Options Appraisal public information sessions.
The process has now moved to Step 3A where the Preferred Proposal Options will undergo detailed design development ahead of the Stage 3 Full Options Appraisal. The Stage 3 Full Options Appraisal (FOA) is the second stage in a three-phase appraisal of airspace change options. It is required to provide more rigorous evidence, typically through quantitative evaluation, of the options compared against the ‘do nothing’ pre-implementation scenario.
The outcomes of the Full options Appraisal are used to inform the public Consultation and at this stage a preferred option will be identified. Councillors Holbrook and McEwan have registered their and Woldingham Parish Councils’ interest to take part in the public consultation starting in Q1 2024.
Councillors Leanna McEwan and Peter Holbrook