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Save Newlands Corner

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February 2016

SCC Public Meeting About Newlands Corner

Come to the meeting on 9th March 2016 and make your views known!!

Wednesday 9th March 2016 from 7.30pm to 9pm

Holy Trinity Church, High Street, Guildford, GU1 3RR.

Campaigners and local residents have been pressuring Surrey County Council to hold public consultations on the desirability and nature of any changes to Newlands Corner.  We understood that this had been agreed by Cllr Mike Goodman at the Albury drop-in session on 9th February, however, it was announced at the SCC Cabinet on 23rd February, in response to a question from the campaign group, that an information meeting would be held in Guildford on 9th March 2016.  This is apparently to take the form of a short presentation on the proposals, followed by a question and answer session to members of the Project board.  A subsequent SCC poster states that the meeting is to ‘find out more about the changes and improvements’ at Newlands Corner.  SCC and Surrey Wildlife Trust appear to be trying to make this a PR exercise and not the public consultation needed for a development of this nature. 

The SCC poster also states that the online consultation for parking charges and the play structures under Phase 1 closes on 8th March, the day before the public meeting!

Our group asked a series of other questions to the SCC Cabinet on 23rd February 2016 and we will post a report on the meeting here soon.  We are keeping up the pressure on your behalf!!

 

 

Questions Asked at the SCC Cabinet Meeting of 23rd February 2016

Various members of the campaign group attended the Surrey County Council Cabinet meeting of 23rd February 2016 and presented questions to the cabinet.  These questions were in addition to those that we had submitted to the Cabinet meeting of 2nd February 2016.

You can read the questions asked, and answers submitted by SCC on the day, by clicking on the link below.  We feel the SCC responses are not adequate.  Rest assured that they will be followed up.

Questions to Cabinet – 23rd February 2016

 

Drop-in session Merrow – 24th February 2016

Surrey County Council held a second drop-in session to view the play structure plans for Newlands Corner 24th February at Merrow Village Hall.  More than 200 residents came along to view the plans for the ten play structures and to share their thoughts on the proposals with Surrey County Council/The Surrey Wildlife Trust.  There was overwhelming opposition to Phase 1 proposals for parking charges and the ‘play trail’, with an estimated 85% of the visitors opposing play structures in the woodland.

It was good to see some of our local councillors in attendance, listening to the views of the Surrey residents.  As with the drop-in session in Albury, many strong views were shared in opposition to the plans.

Campaigners and local residents have been pressuring SCC to hold public consultations on the desirability and nature of any changes to Newlands Corner.  SCC appear unwilling to arrange such consultations but have announced a Public Meeting.  (See SCC Public Meeting about Newlands Corner).

 

Submit Your Views on the Play Structure Plans

The two play structure drop-in sessions are now complete with well over 250 of you attending in Albury and Merrow to share your views.  Over 85% of those who visited were against the trails!  

View the proposals here.  The architects web site will no longer aceppt comments but you can still write to others to make your views know.  Please see the link below to the How Can You Help the Campaignpage for more suggestions.

Every single voice counts, so please do write if you can.

Thank you!

 

Press Coverage

Our group is working hard to keep the message regarding the high level of opposition to the Newlands Corner proposals in the press and public eye.  We have been been very successful in spreading the word and have been on local radio, BBC radio and have received extensive coverage in the press.  Please click on all the links in our ‘In the Press’ section on the right of the web site to read the articles.  We are continuing to keep up the pressure both behind the scenes and in public!

 

 

Report from the Drop-In Session at Albury – 9th February 2016

Report on the Surrey County Council (SCC)/Surrey Wildlife Trust (SWT) Drop-in Session on 9th February 2016

Over 80 people attended a ‘drop-in session’ from 3pm-7pm on 9th February at Albury Parish Hall. This session was called by SCC to enable the public to express views on the Phase 1 Play Trail designs.  Councillor Mike Goodman, Lisa Creaye-Griffin and Keith McKain attended for SCC, with Richard Hunt and Karen Guest for SWT.  Adam Hunt for Davies White (the designers of the play trail) presented the designs for the 10 climbing elements that make up the Play Trail.

Anger was expressed that the meeting had been called at less than a week’s notice, in working hours and with little publicity.  Also that the meeting was intended to comment on design details for the large play trail only, when the public had received no opportunity to comment on whether or not the parking charges, play trail or other parts proposals should go ahead at all.

Widespread opposition was expressed towards a Play Trail in the unspoiled surroundings of Newlands Corner, especially given the lack of any evidence of demand for it. The plans shown depict large climbing areas that would clearly negatively impact on the surroundings. Click here to see more details of the plans and click here to feed back your thoughts to the designers.

We look forward to seeing you at the next drop in session on Wednesday 24th February, from 3pm to 6pm at Merrow Village Hall. As soon as we have information about the public event that Councillor Goodman mentioned, we will let you know and also add a post on this site.

Shown below are some brief notes on items of information that emerged from presentations and from discussions with SCC/SWT/the design teams. We will, naturally, be following these up as appropriate!

  • Cllr Goodman announced that in response to public demand a public meeting on the proposals would be held before 8 March.
  • They stated that changes were needed at Newlands to pay for upkeep of the countryside. There would be no charge to the Council/taxpayer from Phase 1 because the £400,000 cost would be paid back over 8 years by the Newlands parking charges.
  • Finance was being sought for Phase 2 and its future and nature were uncertain. Cllr Goodman said that the published Phase 2 masterplan submitted to Cabinet on 27 Oct 2015 was indicative not final.
  • The cost of the Play Trail sites would be £210,000 plus the cost of re-surfacing the trail itself.
  • The Play sites were also aimed at wheelchair users, people with dementia and adults to share with their children.
  • They say there would be no restrictions on dogs and no interference with bridleway access.
  • For safety, a ranger would be at the play trail sites in working hours.
  • SCC are targeting young families with children so they state that there should be no increased traffic pressure because children’s usage would be after school from 4-6 pm.
  • Play site designs will be adjusted in the light of public comments. There was a lot of negative feedback during the drop in session about the size and volume of the 10 climbing structures.
  • Consultations on the Play Trail will close on 8th March. Public comment until then was welcome. Click this link to go to the consultation pages.
  • Ecological studies would be carried out from 1st April, focussing on intended play sites, and Commons consent would be sought.
  • The play sites should be finished by September 2016.
  • Parking charges would not be applied until the play trail was ready to use.
  • Differing views were held about planning permission requirements for the play trail sites.
  • Assurances were given that the play sites would not be fenced in and no charge would be made in the use of the trail or sites.

We will be following up on these and other points and look forward to seeing you at the next drop in session on Wednesday 24th February, from 3pm to 6pm at Merrow Village Hall. As soon as we have information about the public event that Councillor Goodman mentioned, we will let you know and also add a post on this site.

 

 

Further Notes on the Cabinet Meeting of 2nd February 2016

Surrey County Council (SCC) Cabinet Meeting of 2nd February 2016

Approximately 25 people who are opposed to the SCC/SWT (Surrey Wildlife Trust) proposals for Newlands Corner attended the SCC Cabinet meeting at County Hall on 2nd February 2016. Cabinet is the Surrey County Council 10 member group with executive powers.

The group had requested that the petition be officially presented to the cabinet. This was undertaken by Sally Blake who made a permitted three minute speech, summarising the points of opposition on the petition.

Further questions regarding the proposals had been submitted to the Cabinet by Allen Johnson, Julie Brown and Sue Darling with written responses circulated by SCC just before the meeting. You can find the text of the questions by following this link.

Julie and Sue also asked follow-up questions:

Julie asked whether a week’s notice of the proposed 9th February drop-in session was adequate for a public consultation.

Sue pointed out the negative effect that parking charges would have on those of low income and the elderly and asked the Cabinet to confirm or deny that their policy was to develop the countryside as a revenue stream, including sponsorship at Newlands Corner.

 

 

Share Your Views at Two Drop in Sessions

Surrey County Council has, at very short notice, announced that they will be holding two drop-in sessions on their development proposals for Newlands Corner.

These will be held on:

  • Tuesday 9th February, from 3pm to 7pm, at Albury Village Hall
  • Wednesday 24th February, from 3pm to 6pm at Merrow Village Hall

Please do go along and let SCC and the Surrey Wildlife Trust know what you think of their plans.

They will be showing more detail about the large play trail proposals at these sessions.

If you cannot make it to either session, there is a link to the play trail proposals here and also a link here to a comments page.

 

 

 

 

SCC Cabinet Meeting of 2nd February 2016

As you are aware the campaign group presented the 9,158 signatures strong petition to the Surrey County Council Cabinet meeting of 2nd February.  Thank you to all of you who were there to support us.  We are in the process of writing a full report of the proceedings and will soon post it here.  In the meantime please find links to three documents of interest below:

 

The first is the speech given by Sally Blake to formally present the petition and the main points of objection.  We were only permitted three minutes to speak, which is not much time to get the various points across.  We were then not permitted any further questions or comment after the council spoke.   Click here: Speech for the Petition 2-2-16.

 

The second document contains three public questions raised by Julie Brown, Allen Johnson and Susan Darling.  Click here:  Public Questions to the Cabinet Item 4B

 

The third is the SCC response to the petition.  Click here:  SCC response to the petition Item 4C

 

The Surrey Advertiser were present at the meeting and have covered the story in their latest edition.  Just pick up a paper to see the article in full, along with some letters from concerned local residents in the letters section.   Click here to see the link to the article on Get Surrey.

 

 

 

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