Parish Council – News Update February 2023
The new year heralded a flurry of critical work on consultations along with an accelerating workload on planning – 11 in January alone. And as I write this in the first days of February, applications continue to roll in. And we continue to work with the police, Keeping Woldingham Safe and Neighbourhood Watch on safety and security.
Update on Crime and Protection
As mentioned last month, I met with Simon Evans, Designing Out Crime Officer at Surrey Police and Inspector Lindsey Whatley, Tandridge Borough Commander. They escalated to me the latest concerns about criminal activity and the refined methods in use which led to the police talk on the 23rd of January. Over 50 residents attended the meeting. Simon Evans, along with PCSO Stewart Wren, spoke about how to protect your cars, your home and your gardens. Some of the tips were in last month’s magazine. The key is to make your property difficult for any potential criminal to access. If it takes long or is too difficult, they will just move on to find something easier. Three very helpful leaflets were distributed with great detail as to how you can protect your home and your property. These are available on the website at woldingham.com/security or please email: email@example.com.
Chalkpit Quarry Consultation and Housing Application
A few months ago, we reported that the managers of the Chalkpit Quarry business, owned by Southern Gravel Limited, had presented their plans to close the quarry and build a housing estate.
As a reminder of the context, the quarry license expires in 20 years and under the terms of it, Southern Gravel must restore the land to its natural state. Southern Gravel therefore wish to ensure that they vary the license timely so that they can extract more value from the land. Notably, they are owned by a developer.
The proposed housing estate, if built, would form part of the views from Woldingham and the AONB. It would also mean that hundreds and hundreds of cars would put additional pressure on Woldingham as they drove through.
We fed into the consultation on this proposal, however we understand that Southern Gravel, are pressing forward. They are currently working with Surrey County Council, as SCC have jurisdiction over minerals licenses. It is unclear whether SCC have full jurisdiction to vary the license as well as sanction the housing or whether, because it is a housing development proposal, Tandridge District Council must also be involved (although it is clear the two Councils do not yet have a shared view).
At the moment, Southern Gravel are working on technical elements of the proposal so we are not yet at full housing proposal stage. We are keeping close tabs on the situation to ensure we are properly consulted once the housing proposal is under consideration.
Ward Boundary Consultation
Why does the local ward boundary review matter to Woldingham? Because we are losing our direct representation.
Tandridge District Council (TDC) wards are being reviewed by the Local Government Boundary Commission of England as part of a periodic process. So far they have determined that the number of representatives in TDC remain the same – 42, but as a result of our election cycles (1/3 of District Councillors elected every 3 years in 4), TDC must have 14 equal Wards with 3 councillors each.
Today we are represented, as Woldingham, by District Councillor (and Parish Vice-Chairman) Carole North. Your WPC must deliver our view of how to best combine Woldingham with other civil parishes in a way that serves all our interests. The next phase of feedback on this consultation is due the 20th of March.
Consultation on Changes to National Planning
The UK government has launched a consultation on changes to national planning policy. Feedback is due by the 1st of March. National Planning policy sets the stage for our work locally on protecting the greenbelt and ensuring development that does take place safeguards the unique beauty and tranquillity of Woldingham.
And national policy can help or hinder depending upon how it is set. For example, national housing targets were part of the existing policy, until recently suspended. These targets were divided equally amongst Counties and Districts irrespective of local conditions. So if a geographic area could not sustain more housing or could sustain even more than the target, this was not take in into account. In the case of our District – Tandridge – we are 94% greenbelt. We are the district with the highest percentage of Greenbelt land in the nation. And it is no wonder that TDC struggle to meet these targets. So our input into this consultation is also vital.
Coronation plans (5th – 8th May 2023)
The Parish Council have been busy firming up its plans for the Coronation following the format provided by Rt Hon Michael Gove MP, Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities and Minister for Intergovernmental Relations.
The celebrations start on Friday 5th May, with performances of “The Fat Lady Sings in little woldie” in both the afternoon and the evening from the Woldingham Players at the Village Club.
On Saturday 6th May, the Council’s Coronation Celebration commences on the Glebe – with huge thanks to the Glebe, as ever, for hosting community events. On the evening, the bar and food stalls will be open from 5pm and the music and dancing start at 530pm. There will be a barn dance with 4-piece band and caller, followed by live, local, rock and indie band Parallel Sky, (who played the Big Lunch during the Jubilee celebrations last year). The bar will be provided by Neil and Julie from the Village Club, and there will be food stalls selling hog roast, spit roast chicken, giant pigs in a blanket, vegan sausages, roast potatoes, and a variety of southeast Asian Bao Buns.
A number of associations and residents are also planning activities across the weekend. The History Society will be displaying the Royal beasts (created by Hazel Dixon for the Silver Jubilee), along with a portrait of His Majesty King Charles III, on the Village Green throughout the weekend.
On the Sunday 7th May, there will be a 10am Thanksgiving Eucharist for the Coronation at St Paul’s Church and this will be followed by The Woldingham Association’s treasure hunt which will start at 11.30am. Designated the ‘Coronation Big Lunch’ day by the Secretary of State, residents are also invited to gather up friends and family and bring a picnic along to the Glebe in the afternoon. There will be a bar and burgers and we are in the process of sourcing a brass band, cakes and ice cream for sale on the day. Watch this space, the website and social media for more details on the Coronation Big Lunch.
Monday 8th May is ‘The Big Help Out’ community activity which will provide an opportunity to reflect on the legacy of His Majesty’s service and showcase the impact of volunteering within communities. People across the UK will be able to get involved and more detail will be available on The Big Help Out website in March. I am already aware that the Glebe is looking for volunteers for their garden projects. If there are any other community volunteering projects or, if anyone would be interested in volunteering, please do get in touch with Vice Chairman Carole North at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chairman Deborah Sherry