We attended the Surrey Wildlife Trust (SWT) AGM at the University of Surrey on 12 November.

We asked what SWT’s plans are for generating more income or cutting costs, if parking charges do not go ahead at Newlands Corner due to the Planning Inspectorate?
Roger Wild, Finance Director, said that SWT would have to go back to Surrey County Council (SCC) about how things will be managed in the future.

Later Nigel Davenport, Chief Executive, said that there will be parking charges at Newlands Corner next year, and some improvement to the facilities.  [Save Newlands Corner: Interestingly that is what SWT and SCC said would happen this year but clearly they had not considered the level of public opposition to their plans.]

His explanation for supporting the proposals to commercialise Newlands Corner was that SCC had to reduce payments due to financial constraints and SWT could have walked away or had a fight with SCC or worked with them.  They chose the last, and said he is absolutely sure it was the right decision. [Save Newlands Corner: However, this financial argument is not supported by SWT’s own annual accounts (Click link here). These show that, despite a reduction in the SCC grant, SWT still made a surplus of over £1M last year and currently have reserves in excess of £5M.]