A sparkling Christmas tree shone over proceedings in the Village Hall as the Parish Council met for its monthly meeting on Monday 9 December. Several new people were among the regular group of residents gathered to hear proceedings and take part in the question and answer session at the end of the meeting.
The agenda followed its usual format. The police report for the previous month showed very little criminal activity in the area recently. The Home Office has recently issued a new consultation on strengthening police powers to tackle unauthorised encampments. There is always a risk of unauthorised encampments in rural areas such as ours and Newdigate Parish Councillors will take part in this consultation on behalf of residents.
The proposed outdoor gym was on the agenda and it was reported that this will be up for discussion by the Community Centre trustees at its meeting next week. It will be necessary to get the views of residents as to whether they think an outdoor gym would be a good idea. Nearby villages have outdoor gym equipment which was funded from several different sources. The project to improve Newdigate Brickworks Nature Reserve is ongoing with several meetings taking place. An indication from the current District Council as to their thinking on the subject of making pockets of land available for low cost housing development is awaited. The English Rural Housing Association will be asked to attend the February meeting to give a presentation about how rural housing can be developed.
The subject of Parish Council support for a proposed judicial review by a local resident into Surrey County Council’s decision to permit drilling at Horse Hill was again on the agenda. The Parish Council wrote to Surrey CC in April asking them to halt drilling at the Horse Hill site and refuse a planning application until the reasons for the earthquakes could be established with scientific certainty. Mole Valley District Council also wrote to Surrey CC in February asking them to consider several matters, including the potential impacts on surrounding residents and communities. However, Surrey CC approved the application for four additional wells at Horsehill. £25,000 is needed to launch the judicial review and the Parish Council decided by a vote of 5 to 4 to contribute £250 towards the cost of the judicial review, which is being undertaken on the basis that proper consideration for residents’ concerns was not given by Surrey CC before it made its decision. No doubt the varying opinions will be aired at great length and expense by the lawyers on the day.
A very good response to the Road Safety Survey has been received from residents. There is a lot of support for a reduction in speed limits in some areas to 30 mph and 20 mph, as well as support for other traffic calming measures. A full report is currently being prepared and it is hoped this will be available at the next meeting. Councillors have been attending meetings regarding the Gatwick flight path consultation and the planned expansion of airport activities. Even without using the emergency runway, a significant increase in flights using the main runway is planned and arrangements are under way. The meeting ended with several questions from residents, followed by festive mince pies and cups of tea. Best wishes to everyone for a happy and prosperous New Year.
The next Meeting of the Parish Council is on Monday 13 January 2020 at 8pm in the Village Hall.
12 December 2019