Parish Council votes to close local common car park


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”.

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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.

6 thoughts on “Parish Council votes to close local common car park”

  1. Various random thoughts:

    – I thought GBC had given up on trying to create a new car park on Effingham Common and were looking at Horsley instead?
    – doesn’t every resident of Effingham pay something through their Council tax towards the upkeep of land owned by the village, of which the cricket club forms part? Apologies for the vague terminology. And if so, doesn’t this mean I can no longer use something I’m paying towards?
    – trying to take an alternative view, perhaps closing this area may reduce the number of dogs on the Common and so help ground-nesting birds?
    – I’m not sure of the feasibility of parking anywhere on the lane leading to the Cricket Club – I believe it’s owned by one of the properties down there?
    – er, won’t sealing off the cricket club just make fly-tippers dump in the approach lane?

  2. It is such a shame that this car park will be blocked off. The dogs and I enjoy walking there. Will I go there with the car park shut? I am too old to walk from Effingham so the car park was essential so probably not – another green space out of bounds! Shutting the car park to stop fly tipping is unrealistic. I agree with Jeremy that fly tippers will just abandon their load in the lane, in peoples drives or in front of the new bollards. Hopefully this was considered at length by the parish council. The cricket club are not the only ones to use the common. Shame others seem to have been penalised.

  3. Fly tipping is likely to be an increasing problem, as Surrey County Council are changing the way that their waste transfer stations or so called “recycling centres” operate. Opening hours have already been reduced and now they propose to limit access to Surrey residents using trailers, as well as other restrictions on trade waste. So fly tipping will increase.

    I too was at this tightly controlled meeting, and was disappointed that the club president reported that the police were not interested in prosecuting fly tippers who were identified from photographs. This surely is the first step in prevention – prosecuting known offenders – and without this nothing will prevent fly tipping, not even the bollards.

    But the fear about GBC deciding there is a need for an “official” car park is real and this could well be the first step towards them finding a reason to provide one.

  4. It is my understanding that the track belongs to the owners of Hooke Farm. Were they consulted about this closure? Parking on/beside the track is not feasible but this closure will, as others have said, simply make the track itself vulnerable to fly tippers. Who will pay for clearance? EPC I trust, not Hooke Farm owners.

    I was interested to read that residents attending the meeting were gagged. That is outrageous but I have experienced the same attitude at a public meeting on the Neighbourhood Plan, about which I intend to write more. D. J. King

  5. This has everything to do with fly-tipping and absolutely nothing to do with SANG! The Cricket Club, run by volunteers of course, are fed up with paying out to have fly-tipping removed – the tippers like to drive behind the pavilion before dumping where they can’t be seen from the road. The owners of the track (Hooke Farm) and other neighbours fully support the idea of bollards and the Parish Council has simply agreed to provide the funding out of the Community Fund. The Cricket Club have agreed to leave enough room in front of the bollards for informal parking for two or three cars. So this is not ‘the parish council closing the car park’. It’s the parish council helping out our cricket club.

  6. Time will tell if the fly tippers will have the same view. Parking in front of the bollards denies access to the cricket club so I don’t see how that works. I personally would like to see the community fund go to supporting non sporting things in the village. For years an old peoples drop in day centre or youth club was muted at the KGV. Nothing ever came of the ideas! With regard to the SANG – I’m not as confident as the borough councillor. Again watch what happens in the future!

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