Letter from the Chairman:
August was somewhat quiet as holidays took precedence for many. Although the Parish Council does not hold its regular meeting in August, we continued to work on a number of issues.
Biggin Hill Airport
While Councillor Peter Holbrook and Councillor Leanna McEwan lead on our air traffic initiatives, Biggin Hill Airport also held a meeting for Chairmen and Vice Chairmen of Parish Councils, which Councillor North and I attended. There was a robust Q&A with the representatives from almost all the areas impacted by air traffic from Biggin Hill. One of the key points CEO David Winstanley and his team demonstrated was the robustness of the technology tracking planes. They also shared data on flight paths, as the data of every flight is tracked. Given the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) refused the instrumented approach that Biggin Hill proposed, which would have moved the planes south of Woldingham, planes can continue to make a manual approach over our village and may fly as low as 500 feet above ground when making this approach. Mr. Winstanley informed us that they have a new proposed instrumented approach to undergo consultation, which they believe the CAA will approve, which would move all Biggin Hill Traffic on a fixed flight path below Woldingham. He is also starting a community Noise Action Group, on which Woldingham will sit.
Chalkpit Quarry Housing Estate Proposal
We received an email from the owners of the quarry, Southern Gravel, in August, saying they had submitted their minerals license and housing application to Surrey County Council (SCC). Once again, we have requested from Southern Gravel data that they promised to share, but none has been forthcoming. SCC have not yet validated the application, so we have yet to see the details.
And while County Councillor Becky Rush did indeed request a copy of the legal advice that SCC were given stating they can assume jurisdiction over housing proposals, SCC withheld the advice on confidentiality grounds. They did however share logic of the legal advice, which in essence states that because County Councils have jurisdiction over minerals licenses ‘where the operations or use would conflict with or prejudice compliance with a restoration condition or an aftercare condition’, that they held the opinion that as a housing proposal would conflict with this, they have the right to determine it. We believe Tandridge District Council (TDC) does not agree with this. And we have yet to find a precedent anywhere in the country of a County Council usurping a District Council’s housing jurisdiction when determining minerals licenses variations. We note that that earlier housing proposals from Southern Gravel for the quarry site were rejected by TDC in 2014.
We also made a Freedom of Information Request to SCC for materials related to pre-application advice with respect to this license variation. Although TDC standardly releases such information, SCC wrote back saying it was confidential. We are hoping once the application is validated, and we make further requests that SCC will provide the transparency that TDC and other District Councils provide.
Grant Applications Reminder
Please remember that grant applications are considered every November and the deadline to submit is the 20th of November. Application forms are available on the Grant Scheme Application Form page.
At the writing of this, we have had four people trained for Speedwatch. We need a minimum of 6 people before the police will let us kick-off Speedwatch, so please let us know if you can volunteer. We anticipate this will only take a few hours of time every few weeks, so please email Councillor Alex Foulds at email@example.com if you can spare a few hours.
Woldingham Village Connections, 30 Sept Village Club 12-6pm Village Club
Many of you will get this issue just before this takes place, so save the date and come and join us. Whether you are new to the village, recently retired or have been here for years, this event will be a chance to learn about what’s happening in the village, clubs and organisations in the village and services beyond, and even from commercial services in the village. Come and have a drink and meet your friends and neighbours.
We hope to see many of you there!
Chairman Deborah Sherry