Information and news for the community of Badshot Lea Village, Surrey
Approximately 80 people attended the meeting including councillors Gillian Beel, Jeremy Rickets and guest speaker Carole Cockburn. The full BLCA committee of Mike Probert (MP), Michael Blower (MB), Georgina Fry (GF), Paul Allamand (PA), Gavin Lathey (GL)and Cliff Watts (CW) were also present.
Apologies were received from eight members including David Attfield (DA) our FTC councillor.
1. Opening Statement
The chairman (MP) opened the meeting by welcoming the members and thanking the committee for all the work they had done over the previous twelve months during his absence due to ill health. He then outlined the agenda, the need to re-elect the committee and elect some new members, and welcomed our guest speaker Carole Cockburn who would explain the need for and makeup of the Neighbourhood Plan.
2. Election of Committee
The existing committee members Michael Blower, Georgina Fry, Paul Allamand, Gavin Lathey (vice chairman) and Cliff Watts (secretary) were duly re-elected.
The following volunteers were also elected on to the committee:
Christine Cole Proposed by Georgina Fry, seconded by Martin Finlayson
Alan Flavell Proposed by Michael Blower, seconded by Nial Donnelly
James Hill Proposed by Fiona Lathey and seconded by Ian Mackey
3. Adoption of 2011 AGM Minutes
The minutes of the last AGM were agreed and adopted.
4. Review of the past year and anticipate year ahead
The secretary (CW) then outline the associations activities of the past year as follows:
a) Farnham Quarry Restoration. We have attended the liaison committee along with representatives of Hansons (the site owners), Surrey County Council, Waverley Borough Council and Farnham Town Council. The restoration had begun over the winter and was now due for completion by the end of December 2012. The final plan includes improved footpath access and possibly equestrian access and a bird hide. The exact details of this are still unclear due to the huge variation in the water levels on the site over the last few years.
b) Litter Pick. We were fortunate to have very nice weather on the 24th March when over 20 volunteers helped to remove huge amounts of litter and general rubbish across a wide area of the village.
c) Low Lane. We had been promised some action from SCC regarding the traffic management along Low Lane. They had also said that nothing would be implemented without local consultation. When their proposal was made public the overwhelming response from local residents was not favourable. The plan was withdrawn and the current proposal is now simply to paint `SLOW` signs on the road. We do not think this is adequate and will assist our town councilor (DA) in trying to get some form of traffic calming in place.
d) Footpaths. We are lucky to have a number of footpaths around the village but many are allowed to get overgrown and unusable. We have made a number of complaints to SCC but had little success in this time of budget cutbacks. We will continue, along with a recently formed local action group, to demand that SCC keep our paths properly maintained.
e) Consultation with Waverley Borough Council (WBC) and Farnham Town Council (FTC). We have responded to the Core Strategy and the Shaping Farnham’s Future consultations. In both cases we emphasized that although Badshot Lea is currently a very nice place to live it has a number of aspects that need to be addressed if any large scale development is proposed. These include a lack of shops and services, narrow roads, a dangerous crossroads, a lack of school places, poor public transport etc. We have also written twice to Jeremy Hunt, our MP, to bring this to his attention. We are currently working with FTC to ensure that Badshot Lea is treated fairly within the Neighbourhood Plan.
f) The Website. At last years AGM our SCC councilor Denise Le Gal promised some funding to cover the setup costs for our website. Thanks to this funding we now have our website, badshotleacommunity.co.uk, up and running.
Over the next twelve months many of these issues will continue but the easily the most significant of them will be the adoption of WBC’s Core Strategy and the completion of FTC’s Neighbourhood Plan.
5. The Neighbourhood Plan
Councilor Cockburn firstly explained the relationship between the Neighbourhood Plan and the Core Strategy. Waverley’s Core Strategy will cover a wide range of subject areas including transport, education, leisure, environment, employment and housing. It must be robust and comprehensive enough to be acceptable to government via an assessment by the government planning inspectorate. Councillor Cockburn felt that the current Core Strategy was weak in a number of areas. It did not demonstrate that WBC had worked sufficiently with neighbouring councils in Rushmoor and Hart, it had not given enough protection to the environment within the Special Protection Area (SPA), it had failed to reassess the full potential for residential development at Dunsfold Aerodrome, and had not consulted over the allocation of the additional 1000 homes to be built in the borough over the fifteen year review period. Farnham and Badshot Lea could easily be threatened with excessive development as a result.
Councillor Cockburn then explained that the Core Strategy will set the number and allocate the areas in which development will take place e.g. it has allocated an additional 450 houses to the Farnham area over and above that agreed through the consultation process. The Neighbourhood Plan can decide where within the FTC area these dwellings will be built. It could agree to more housing but it cannot reduce this number. Therefore it is of vital importance that the local community decides where it will accept development and what open spaces it wants to protect.
This was followed by questions and a general discussion which included the need for more housing, especially social housing, the lack of infrastructure, the possibility of using surplus MOD land within the borough, potential problems associated with social housing, the dangerous crossroads at the centre of the village, the need to maintain the gap with Weybourne, the worry that the `floodgates` would open if the current development application is successful, the need for more support for bio diversity, the danger that developers would take advantage during this period of change in the planning system, the importance of feedback from the local community and the need to impress all of this on our local councillors.
During this session a number of points were raised by Jonathan Simons. It was then suggested that perhaps Mr. Simons would like to join the committee. He agreed to do so, was nominated by Brian Crowhurst and seconded by Paul Allamand, and was duly elected on to the committee.
6. The Website.
As previously mentioned the website was made possible through some setup funds from SCC. A skeleton version of the website had been running for a few weeks but GL explained that it was now in its final form and ready to play an active part in village life.
The activities of the association will be online together with links to other organizations and activities within the village. Maurice Hewins has also given permission for his books on local history to be available on the site. GL encouraged members to register online for the `news letter` and asked for any comments and suggestions about the site to be sent to himself or the secretary (CW).
7. Closing Session
During the closing session the chairman (MP) thanked those that had contributed to the War Memorial restoration fund and then invited a lad, who had waited patiently with his mother, to make his point about the traffic lights at the centre of the village. He explained that they were dangerous because of the phasing of the lights and the inability, at some points, to see the actual traffic lights. Many of the members present agreed with this and it was suggested that any development in the village should fund improvements at this junction. A vote of thanks to the committee was then proposed (by Brian Gravestock) and agreed and the meeting duly closed.