Woldingham Parish Council Chairman’s Update
December was a short month and given the Christmas Holiday the Parish Council did not hold a meeting, but work nevertheless progressed on a host of issues, from gritting to safety and security, planning and coronation celebrations.
While review of planning activities has been taking place, we obtained response extensions on any major applications until the January meeting, which will of course have taken place by the time most of you read this. We continue to track what is happening with the Chalkpit quarry and their proposals, information about which we shared with you late last year, to build a large tract of housing in place of the quarry. As yet, no application has been made, and it is unclear whether this is solely the responsibility of Surrey County Council, as it regards minerals resources, or whether Tandridge District Council also have jurisdiction, because it involves housing. I am sure if and when an application is submitted, this will be resolved. We are tracking it to try to ensure we get a chance to review and comment.
Having been hit by early snow and ice, we had our contractors, Church Farm Services, out many times to grit all our private roads. We have bought more grit than ever before, and Ollie is fantastically responsive. We expanded coverage to every private road, and we think we have covered the roads but if you have spotted any issues, please email us soon as possible at email@example.com. We quickly replenished our stocks after the late 2022 freezes, which has cost thousands, and have been gritting through the very cold snap in mid-January. As ever, please ensure the roads are clear for the tractor to get through.
Safety and Security
Sadly, except for the pandemic blip, crime has been on the rise everywhere in the UK. And of course, we are no exception in Woldingham. The Parish Council meet periodically with the police, and they alert us when there are specific issues of which we should be aware. We met last month, and they highlighted current issues to me.
The latest criminal initiative has been a gang specifically focussed on entry through back gardens directly to the first floor. Tactics have been honed and are quite specific, which was one of the drivers behind the Parish Council organising the police talk on security and safety on the 23rd of January (taking place after this update has been submitted). The criminals at times have telescopic ladders but also easily use pergolas and similar structures to gain access to the first floor. These gangs block wireless device signals and knock them offline, so wired security is the best option. They are in and out very quickly, one instance was 90 seconds, so they are rarely able to be caught in the act, but footage is often vital to catching them. They typically head straight for the dressing room or bedroom where valuables are kept, so rethinking where you keep your valuables and considering professionally installed, anchored safes are also recommended security strategies. Gardens should ideally be protected by thick thorny hedging as fences can be scaled.
On a positive note, there has been little keyless car theft activity in Tandridge over recent months because at least six of the culprits have been apprehended. Although not all our ANPRs are in place, there are ANPRs just outside of Woldingham in every direction, and ANPR data certainly played a role in helping to catch these criminals. At the time of writing, a number of our cameras were live, and the remains hopefully will be live by the end of January. Power installation has been the greatest cause of delay, as UK Power networks have not been timely available. All information, from these cameras or cameras at our homes, help to identify and catch criminals. With the state of crime, we need to continue to be vigilant.
Save the date for Coronation celebrations 6th May!
The date for the Coronation has since been set, but the details are not yet known. We have begun planning the celebratory festivities, which will take place on The Glebe, so save the 6th of May for great fun! We have conservatively planned for the merriment to begin at 5pm, but the plans could change and expand as we learn the timings of the Coronation. As it stands, the bar, run by our very own Woldingham Village Club, will be open from 5pm. From 530pm we will hold a Barn Dance with Moves Afoot, a four-piece band with caller. Music will include tunes from the Scottish, Irish, English and American folk traditions, with a folk-rock style and some funk and reggae rhythms thrown in for good measure. And after a few hours of folk dance, we will cap off the evening with local rock and indie band Parallel Sky. Food will be available for sale throughout most of the event, including hog roast, spit roast chicken, giant pigs in blankets, jacket potato and gravy and a variety of South Asian bao buns. Vegetarian food available. As we get more information about the Coronation timings, we may be able to expand the festivities to earlier in the day. But please save the date!
Chairman Deborah Sherry