In a surprise move, to prevent fly tipping at the Cricket Club, Effingham Parish Council decided to close the car park with bollards
CopyrightTypical view of cricket club car park
At a well attended but tightly muzzled public meeting (19/2/16) Parish Councillors narrowly voted to close the only parking area that gives residents access to Effingham Common. Public participation was totally prevented as Councillors granted the cricket club c. £4,300 to install retractable bollards to “prevent fly tipping”.
The move was clearly seen by some as a backdoor effort to create a SANG car park – a Suitable Alternative Natural Green open space – required under EU law before development at Wisley can go ahead. One councillor thought that there might still be some parking on the approach lane for perhaps two or three cars but these would probably be in the passing places.
Residents commented that this could lead to hundreds of new homes within a five mile radius.
Last Tuesday over 30 residents listened in stunned enforced silence as by the narrowest of majority the decision was taken to grant funding for bollards along the front of the club some of which would be retractable. The Council may have sealed the future fate of Wisley and removed residents access because the car park will only be open for cricket club purposes.
There are many more obstacles before the developers and borough council can build on Wisley’s old airfield but the EU requirement for a SANG is a significant obstacle.
The village common is a mile from the village centre next to Effingham Junction Railway Station.
Of course, after “consultation” the Borough Council who own the common may step in to “provide the residents with much needed parking facilities”. They will no doubt provide 12 parking spaces, a number the governing body Natural England have acknowledged will meet the legal requirements for large housing developments within a five mile radius.