TOILETS FOR ASHTEAD RECREATION GROUND?
Ashtead’s Independent councillors are restarting monthly surgeries at which residents can meet their County and District Councillors to discuss any issues of concern.
The surgeries will be at Ashtead Library (Woodfield Lane) from 14.00-16.00 on the first Saturday of each month, starting on 4 March 2023.
At least two Councillors will be present each time, and the Library Service is making an office available so any discussions can be in confidence.
No booking is necessary and there is on-site parking, just drop in anytime during the two hour slots.
We are grateful to Surrey County Council and the Ashtead Library for making this venue available to us.
Your Latest Newsletter from the Ashtead Independents can be found here: Newsletters (ashteadindependents.org)
TOILETS FOR ASHTEAD RECREATION GROUND?
The desire to have on-site public toilet facilities on our Recreation Ground has been on Residents’ wish lists for several decades. It was included as something to be desired in the Ashtead Neighbourhood Development Plan (NDP) of 2016, an initiative in which several of our current Councillors were involved; that suggested ”either at the Old Pavilion off Greville Park Road or near the Youth Centre”.
The issue has always been not so much the capital costs but the costs of opening, closing, and cleaning. The proposal of a café with public toilet facilities could be one way of addressing the issue of on-going costs, but is having a cafe at the Old Pavilion site the answer, and what would happen were that not to prove viable and we were left with unopened toilets?
Read more HERE
BRIGHTER FUTURE FOR ASHTEAD POND
During the heat of last summer, the water in Ashtead Pond virtually disappeared, leaving fish gasping and floundering on the surface of the black silt. Then worrying growths of blue-green algae colonised the exposed silt and the whole surface became smelly and toxic.
The greatest worry was that children could fall in and drown in the sloppy deep mess. I therefore insisted that the Council cordon off the area and dredge the basin so that we could get deeper water back into the pond. Over 200 tons of silt were removed but it was not possible to take it all away with the budget allowed.
Read more HERE
While the trees around the pond, photographed here last April, may look nice, they did considerable damage by dumping tons of leaves into the pond over the years and sucked scarce water out of the pond, particularly during the dry season. The Council has since cut back the trees and pollarded others to avoid future problems.
SWIMMING IN THE RIVER MOLE –
DIPPING INTO THE POLITICS
Some look back to the halcyon days of children paddling in clean rivers, but these are flawed memories. The waters of the river Mole have consisted mainly of treated sewage since at least the late 1960s. These days, our population is much higher and the amount of domestic and industrial building on the flood plain has increased greatly. Not only that, since 1970s, farmers have been encouraged to apply huge amounts of fertilisers and pesticides to their fields, and these seep into the river in the groundwater runoff. This results in unnatural levels of phosphate, nitrogenous, and other compounds which, in turn, lead to elevated levels of microbial and algal growth.
Local people, including all the elected councillors in MVDC, are deeply distressed at the filthy state of the river Mole and, at last, Government
Agencies have started to take notice. Most of our local rivers are unclean and unsafe, and except for controlling the building on the flood plains, all the local Councils can do is complain and lobby Central Government and local MPs for remedies. It will require a gargantuan effort and vast financial resources by the main governmental agencies to remedy the state of most of the rivers in the UK.
Continue reading HERE
LibDems plan to spend £ 8-11 Million on Dorking Halls vanity project!
It was made public in the papers presented to the Mole Valley District Council’s Scrutiny Committee on 24 January 2023 that the LibDem Administration plans to spend £ 8-11 Million on Dorking Halls.
The money is to be used to cover works such as strengthening the roof so it can support solar panels and internal refurbishments with over a £1 million goings to consultants.
This is one of several Dorking capital projects in the 2023-24 budget, which it is planned to partly pay for by selling property assets, information on which has been released to Councillors but has yet to be made public. Continue reading HERE
WORK CONTINUES AT ASHTEAD PARK
Work on clearing Ashtead Park started at the end of November when a voluntary working party met under the guidance of Alex Bagnall, Mole Valley District Council’s Tree and Countryside Officer.
It was really encouraging that some 30 people turned up, including local Councillors, some of the Deepdene Volunteers, Ashtead Common Volunteers, representatives of the Ashtead Residents Association and the Leatherhead and District Angling Society.
Good progress was made clearing bramble and saplings around veteran oaks. Such so-called “halo release” is necessary to ensure that those trees that developed, not in woodland but in open parkland or pastures, are maintained in good condition. Continue reading HERE
Ashtead Independent raises concern
about delays to local plan decision
The Government is in the process of finalizing a revision to the National Planning Policy Framework, the document that governs all planning decisions. Many of the changes are welcome but especially important for Mole Valley are directives that local authorities should determine their own housing needs, and that unmet need should not be at the expense of developing on designated Green Belt land.
Our new Local Plan is at the Examination Stage, which means it is in the hands of the Planning Inspector. She finished the public hearings before Christmas but has yet to report.
At an Extraordinary Council Meeting on 16 January 2023, Council agreed to ask the Inspector if the Green Belt sites could be removed and a new housing target be used rather than that derived from the formulaic Government-imposed calculation that had to be adopted in what was presented to the Inspector.
Council currently awaits a response from the Inspector, but if this can be accepted as a ”Main Modification” to the Plan that would immediately exclude 31 Green Belt sites in the District from development – including Ashtead’s Ermyn Way Fields.
The Ashtead Independent Councillors are most excited by the prospect, but at the meeting Cllr Hawksworth cautioned that the delay in finalizing the Plan would extend the window in which developers can put in proposals for building on any Green Belt sites in view of the theoretical “unmet housing need”. It also delays application of the new policies in relation to protection of our environment and both our historic and natural heritage included in the Plan. We therefore hope that a decision can made by the Inspector as soon as possible so the Plan can take the next step towards final acceptance.
NEW PARKING RESTRICTIONS FOR ASHTEAD PROPOSED
Surrey County Council (SCC) notices have been popping up around Ashtead advising residents that parking controls are being proposed in a number of streets.
Last summer the County Council did a review of parking in Mole Valley and pulled together all the issues that had been brought to the Council’s attention by the public, police, councillors and highway officers.
Since then the parking proposals have been agreed by county councillors and so a 28 day consultation started from 19 January encouraging residents to look online at the proposals. Those properties immediately fronting streets where proposals for change have been made should have received a formal letter or a flyer notifying of the proposals that affect them. Continue reading HERE
Surrey County Council
RECREATION GROUND PROPOSALS – LATEST DEVELOPMENTS
The strength of public feeling amongst Ashtead Residents has led to a delay in any decision being made by Mole Valley District Council’s Cabinet over Ashtead Football Club’s proposal to install an artificial pitch surrounded by 4.5 to 5 m wire fences which would cross the ground behind the club buildings almost to the footpath near the hedge (see “Public debate on artificial pitch hots up”).
Following an open public meeting held in St George’s church on 24 August, attended by 230 people, which included a presentation by the Football Club, a public petition was organized by concerned resident Steven Kershaw to request the Council not to proceed with the proposal. With the assistance of the Ashtead Independents, 1,166 signatures were obtained in just nine days – well in excess of the 800 required to have the issue debated at full Council; this was only the third instance of a petition gaining the required number of reports in the last 15 years.
Click here to read about the rising concerns surrounding the safety of artificial pitches
Representing the three Ashtead Wards on Mole Valley District Council and Surrey County Council ... ... and with good reason!
Ashtead Independents are registered with the Electoral Commission to enable them to be identified and use a logo. Our Constitution and Rules make clear each vote independently with no whip.
We, the majority of Ashtead residents and the Ashtead Residents’ Association consider that National party politics has no place in local councils. It creates unnecessary antagonisms and divisiveness, and tends to prevent a proportion of members of the Council from being able to exercise full influence on behalf of their constituents.
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