Sale of West Lodge goes to Secretary of State

Representatives from St Martha Parish Council and Chilworth2gether attended an Executive meeting of GBC on Tuesday February 20 when the future of West Lodge was on the agenda.

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Selling West Lodge on the open market has always been Guildford Borough Concil’s Asset Department’s preferred route, and unfortunately the combined forces of St Martha Parish Council, the Chilworth Gunpowder Group and Chilworth2gether, in a Working Group formed by the Parish Council, have been unable to come up with a suitable proposal that will meet GBC’s demands for full commercial viability.

Residents in the west of the village will be interested to note that it was their elected Borough Councillor, Councillor Illman, who led the GBC’s recommendation that West Lodge should be sold. Describing the Grade 2 listed building “a bungalow”, and failing to mention the scheduled status of the Gunpowder Mills, Councillor Illman recommended the sale of West Lodge should be presented to the Secretary of State. It transpires that there are covenants applying to West Lodge at the moment that would inhibit its sale, and these need to be removed.

Our other local Councillor, Councillor Billington, also argued that residential use would be the best option for West Lodge, relying on its listed status to protect it from unsuitable development.

Both St Martha Parish Council and Gavin Morgan spoke from the Gallery.
St Martha Parish Council confirmed their regret that restraints placed on the Council by GBC meant that they were unable to come up with a community based solution to secure the future of West Lodge, warning that “once it’s gone, it’s gone” and that the most intact and usable building on the Gunpowder Mills site would be lost for ever.

Gavin Morgan sees West Lodge as another example of GBC seeking to rid itself of many of its cultural and Heritage assets, like the Guildford Museum and the Electric Theatre. He is supportive of further action to find an alternative use, and continues to challenge the Asset Department on its policy.

The St Martha Parish Council working Party will continue to monitor the situation and is likely to make representations to the Secretary of State. It will be closely watching for planning applications, should the sale go through, to ensure that the constraints applied to the Council’s proposal are applied to others consistently.

The two roomed Lodge is valued by GBC at £185,00 with a further £100,00 minimum spend needed to bring it up to basic residential standard. It is Grade 2 listed and subject to other restraints.

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GBC Hearing date – soundness of Local Plan from June 5

Guildford Borough Council – Local Plan

I am contacting you as a duly made representor to the Local Plan i.e. you submitted comments to a Regulation 19 consultation on the Submission Local Plan.

As you are aware, an examination will be held to consider the soundness of the plan. The Secretary of State has appointed an independent Inspector, Mr Jonathan Bore MRTPI, to conduct the Examination.

Programme Officer Role

I have been appointed as the independent Programme Officer working under the Inspector’s direction. The Programme Officer is responsible for managing the day to day arrangements of the examination process before and during the period of the examination, recording all documents submitted, arranging for the inspection of sites by the Inspector and dealing with correspondence on his behalf to those who have made representations, including requests for and exchange of all statements.

This will include any communication or correspondence between the Inspector and the Local Planning Authority.

For more guidance on the examination procedure and my role, The Planning Inspectorate has produced a booklet ‘Examining Local Plans Procedural Practice’. A copy of this document is available for viewing or to download on the Planning Inspectorate’s Planning Portal web site:

http://www.planningportal.gov.uk/uploads/pins/dpd_procedure_guide.pdf

Hearing Dates and next steps

The examination hearings will open on 10.00am, Tuesday 5 June in the Council Chamber, Millmead House, Millmead, Guildford, Surrey GU2 4BB.

The Inspector will publish Matters, Issues and Questions plus Guidance Notes for participating in the hearings including the procedure for submitting written hearing statements. We will also publish a hearings programme, with details of what matter will be heard on which days and liaise with parties who wish to take part in the discussion.

Examination Updates and Documents

All pertinent updates are published on the examination webpage:

http://www.guildford.gov.uk/newlocalplan/examination

Check here for details of the examination programme and any new documents submitted to the Inspector. A full set of paper examination documents can be found in the reception area at Guildford Council Offices. If you require any assistance accessing documents relating to the Local Plan, please contact me.

Email is the preferred method of communication; it’s cost-effective, traceable and an accepted method for formal communication. Should you wish to be added to our list for examination updates please contact us at bankssolutionsuk@gmail.com with your preferred email address. It is helpful to quote your unique reference on all examination correspondence. This can be found at the top of this letter.

My usual working hours are between 9am and 5pm but happy to deal with a reasonable level of queries outside of those times, I understand some people may not have the opportunity to contact me during work hours.

Yours faithfully

Chris Banks signature

Chris Banks

Programme Officer

The Chilworth2gether Annual report of activity 2017

We are delighted to report that our accounts for 2017 have been examined and signed off as being accurate, so we are now able to publish our annual report of activity for the year.

This information has also been sent to both Parish Councils.

Chilworth2gether Annual report 2017

Activity this year has been targeted on more substantial projects, which have taken more time and effort to fulfil, but which we believe will have a lasting impact and benefit to the village.

To start with the bad news; it is regrettable that we have to report two instances of vandalism targeting equipment Chilworth2gether has previously installed for the benefit of the village.

The first of the three defibrillators installed strategically throughout the village was broken into, and the locking mechanism damaged. This has meant that the whole machine has had to be decommissioned, whilst a compatible replacement lock has been ordered and installed. We are pleased that thanks to volunteer support, the machine is now operational again and is recommissioned with the Emergency Services. All three machines C2G has provided for the village are accessed by phoning 999 – the emergency services will provide the code for accessing the defibrillator. Luckily, the defibrillator itself was not taken when the box was vandalised. This equipment was subject to a recall by the manufacturer; Chilworth2gether arranged for its collection and repair.

We also have to report the attempted theft of the Memorial Bench, donated to the village by Chilworth Massive, and situated on the verge of the main road at the Hornhatch end of the village – well used by visitors to the Fish and Chip Van. We think thieves attempted to winch the bench out of the ground, but fortunately were thwarted by the security devices and concrete below ground level. The bench has been removed for safe keeping and volunteers will reinstall it when new security clamps have been ordered, and the weather improves. Shalford Parish Council has kindly offered to pay for the new fixings, an offer Chilworth2gether has accepted.

In contrast to these disappointing incidents, Chilworth2gether has been delighted to complete the major project made possible by a generous donation from one of the Pimms and Picnic evenings 2016. A complete new audio visual system has been installed in the village hall, with an electric screen and surround sound. This equipment has been gifted to the village hall. All the public meetings held in the hall now benefit from the improved equipment.

As a result of this, Chilworth Community Cinema has been created, with the same values as Chilworth2gether. Reliant on volunteers, and underwritten and strongly supported by Chilworth2gether, the new cinema meets once a month and is a runaway success story.

Although Chilworth2gether has handed the running of the Duck Race over to the PTA of Chilworth Infant School, Chilworth2gether still had a presence providing the Duck Race Barbeque in 2017, the proceeds from which help to finance Chilworth2gether activities.

Chilworth2gether, and the Forest School, donated the funds for the giant Stag Beetle sculpture, now erected by the Countryside Wardens in the Picnic area of the Gunpowder Mills. Its intention is to draw visitors, and especially young people towards the “Bug Hotel” created by Chilworth2gether and Gunpowder Mills Group volunteers for Forest School, with the intention that Chilworth C of E infants will be able to help conserve nature and encourage insects.

A free BBQ was provided for the regular volunteers who give their time to help in the Gunpowder Mills.

Chilworth2gether also ran the Heritage Weekend special event in partnership with the Gunpowder Mills Group and GBC. Splendid stag beetle biscuits were on sale, together with a BBQ and children’s activities.

It was a special year for the Gunpowder Mills Group, that has tirelessly acted in a “advocate” role, bringing specialist expertise on the archaeology and conservation of this scheduled site. At the annual meeting they were thanked by St Martha Parish Council; Chilworth2gether provided a toast, as well as the usual refreshments.

St Martha Parish Council also invited a representative from Chilworth2gether to sit on the Working Group trying to stop West Lodge, the historic building at the entrance to the Gunpowder Mills site, from being sold off by GBC. Despite exploring many avenues, the restrictions of the building prevented the Group from being able to find a viable commercial alternative, as required by GBC, and it is likely it will revert to a sale.

To close the year, Chilworth2gether again worked with the Wrigley Family, who generously donated two Christmas trees for the village. Chilworth2gether added Christmas tree stands and a few more strings of lights to its collection, and erected the tree at Hornhatch and the obelisk structure on the railway triangle.

We also arranged for a third donated tree to be delivered to Chilworth Brownies, who spent their last meeting before Christmas decorating it with butterflies. It was displayed at the end of Blacksmith Lane.

Chilworth2gether has funds available for 2018. It has set £500 aside for another year which it hopes will contribute towards the refurbishment of Hornhatch play area, which Shalford Parish Council recognises needs upgrading.

Further funds are earmarked for further training, if needed, on the audio visual equipment, and to underwrite the Community Cinema if necessary as it goes through its first year of screening. Chilworth2gether is committed to working closely with the Community Cinema, providing back up and support through advertising and other volunteering efforts. We have indicated we are willing to provide a loan, should the Cinema need to purchase any further equipment.

Chilworth2gether will continue to host a village website, and hopes groups and individuals will be inspired to contribute items to it, and advertise local events and fund-raisers.

Local information – contacts at Surrey Wildlife Trust

This information has been passed to us by a Wildlife Trust volunteer, M. Williams.

See also Surrey Wildlife Trust website for all details of personnel and their activities – click here to go to their website –
Surrey Wildlife Trust

Following the Surrey Wildlife Trust reorganisation in 2017, the following contacts may be useful to people in Chilworth
– Enquiries about River Search still go to Glen Skelton.
– Our liaison person is John Wiltshire, he handles queries about trees etc. I met John about 12 years ago when I was working for Surrey Wildlife Trust and he was a volunteer in the Guildford area, he is very well respected by everybody.
– The best contact if you want to purchase a study, e.g. into bats, dormice, snakes etc is Jamel. Many of us know Jamel from his sterling work on really difficult reserves such as Thundry Meadows and Vann Lake, his regular informative walks and his management of volunteer work groups. Also many people know him through the Surrey Reptile and Amphibian Group (SARG). I am delighted that he has been promoted to the role of Environmental Consultant for SWT.
– Our local Ranger, Leo, is sorely missed by those of us who visit Chinthurst Hill, especially those who enjoyed watching the pigs do practical and innovative conservation work. Leo left for a management role in Natural England. I visited one of his reserves last week, it is sad that there are so few within a 20 minute drive of us. I am sure that you will join me in wishing him continued success.
Finally the SWT “What’s On” guide is available both on-line and in the traditional paper format.

M. Williams
Surrey Wildlife Trust volunteer”

Invitation to prayer and healing February 17 Chilworth Abbey

Dear Friend,
You are warmly invited to the next Chilworth Day of Prayer and Praise, around the theme ‘The Kingdom of God is at Hand.’ given by Laurence O’Keefe O.S.B. on Sat, 17th of February 2018.
The day begins with Mass at 10.20 am. Two talks will divide the Day, with refreshments and lunch, the Divine Mercy Devotion, with Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, concluding with the Sacrament of Healing and departures at 4.20 pm.
Come to part, or all of the day, as it suits you. Bring a packed lunch, and, if you can, a friend. Tea and coffee is provided. St Augustine’s Abbey, Sample Oak Lane, Chilworth, Near Guildford. GU4 8QR Online information:www.chilworthbenedictines.com

Yours sincerely,

Fr John Seddon OSB.