As I drove along the dark winding country roads toward the Village Hall on Monday 13 January, carefully avoiding all the new potholes and large puddles of water, along with numerous tree branches scudding across the road in the high wind and torrential rain, it occurred to me that attendance at the first meeting of the Parish Council in the new decade might not be so well attended as usual. I underestimated the hardiness of Newdigate residents – there was a very good crowd indeed!
The first meeting of the evening was the planning committee which considered the several new planning applications received since the December meeting and this was followed by the normal Parish Council meeting. Villages in Bloom was on the agenda. At a meeting last year a resident had suggested that if Newdigate wished to take part in the Villages in Bloom scheme then very early planning would be needed. However, there was no interest shown by anyone at the meeting in taking on this project.
The draft emergency response plan was agreed by the Council and this will be available on the website shortly. Assisting recovery to normality in the aftermath of an unusual event is largely a matter of common sense, but forward planning is needed so that responders know what to do should the need arise.
An important item on the agenda for the Council this month was to agree the precept request for the coming year. It was decided to keep this as low as possible and a 5% increase will therefore be requested to cover expenditure for the year 2020-21.
Mole Valley Local Plan has been published for consultation and residents are encouraged to make their views known. The only site proposed for housing in Newdigate is the area behind the Six Bells pub. Gatwick expansion plans continue, with further meetings and plenty of opportunities for the public to express their opinions. The flight routes review is continuing. Changing the routes to better suit one area may well impact badly on a neighbouring area, so it will not be possible to make everyone happy. However, the Parish Council has taken part in this consultation and suggested the wider swathe route which will create the least disturbance to residents.
The results of the road safety survey have been analysed and an initial report has been produced. I can email this to anyone who is interested and it is also available on the website. Further meetings will now be held between Parish Councillors and Surrey Highways to decide how best to proceed in light of the findings in the report.
The next Meeting of the Parish Council is on Monday 9 February 2020 at 8pm in the Village Hall.
15 January 2020