Effingham Common SANG

An article by Chris Dick

When land is designated as a SANG it does not immediately provide a green light to development. It is only when there is a proper car park that the SANG opens up the possibility of development several kilometres away.

Part of Effingham Common is designated as a SANG but there is no official car park on it as yet and therefore it does not currently provide that green light for development.

However there is a move afoot to close the informal Cricket Club car park at Effingham Common.

Whilst building a car park on a Common requires Secretary of State approval it is made easier here because GBC own a significant part of Effingham Common.

The Cricket Club is a private club on land owned by the village and administered by EVRT a charity which has Effingham Parish Council as the Custodial Trustees. EVRT was set up by the Charity Commission and the King George V Association for the benefit of the village residents. This means that as Custodial Trustees the parish council holds the deeds on behalf of the residents of all Effingham – the same as they do for the KGV.

For over 40 years the cricket club car park has been open to all. It is even named as a car park in a published book on local walks.

The lane passes over Common Land and should probably not even be tarmacadamed. It does not say that is a ‘private road’ and, at its junction with Effingham Common Road, the name of the lane actually has a new council sign naming it as “Effingham Common”.

It is a complicated matter subject to EU regulations and Open Spaces Society interest and probably CPRE if they were invited to comment.

To state that it is a private car park and effectively close it after all these decades of constant use by residents is a bit heavy handed, legally questionable and not in the interests of residents in the village. They will obviously have legal rights that have built up over time and an expectation of access in perpetuity. To say otherwise seems somewhat premature.

As a response to a bit of fly tipping this intention to close the car park amenity seems disproportionate and unnecessary. But worst of all it goes a long way towards removing an obstacle to development at Wisley and elsewhere.

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