Surrey news and views - your letters - January 2016

PUBLISHED: 14:12 03 February 2016 | UPDATED: 14:38 03 February 2016

This lucky Roman snail was rescued by Surrey Life reader, Ruth Aldridge (Photo Ruth Aldridge)

This lucky Roman snail was rescued by Surrey Life reader, Ruth Aldridge (Photo Ruth Aldridge)

Ruth Aldridge

Win a meal for two at one of five top Surrey pubs by sharing your thoughts with us at

Ginetta, Gail and friend getting fit in the Surrey countryside (Photo Brighton Dog Photography)Ginetta, Gail and friend getting fit in the Surrey countryside (Photo Brighton Dog Photography)

Win a meal for two at one of Surrey’s top pubs!

If you’d like to see your letter printed in Surrey Life, write to us at the usual address or send an e-mail to Every month, the writer of our Star Letter will win a dinner for two, up to the value of £50, at one of the five Surrey pubs run by Red Mist Leisure, who are passionate about fresh food, local produce and the perfect pint. The latest addition to the family is The Cock Inn at Headley, which reopened in March after some much-needed TLC to return this lovely country pub to its former glory. The prize is available from Monday to Thursday and booking is required. For more on Red Mist Leisure, see




Star letter

Plane speaking

Dear Editor,

Gatwick Airport has led a campaign of attacking Heathrow’s proposals for expansion but has given very little consideration to what a second runway would do to Surrey, Sussex and Kent.

To this point, residents from the three counties came together recently to voice their own opinions on the subject, being asked simply, ‘what does a second runway at Gatwick mean to you?’ Although the resulting film does not have the gloss factor of a Gatwick production, it clearly illustrates the concerns of residents and how it is not just about a new runway but also about the lack of infrastructure here to support an airport larger than Heathrow. The film can be found on YouTube.

Gatwick is serviced by one road and one railway line that can’t be expanded and both Surrey and Sussex have major shortfalls in highway budgets now. With the natural growth in population, the M25 and M23 will be full by 2040 and that is without Gatwick 2. But as Gatwick says, ‘onward surface access is not their problem.’

The Airports Commission report, which cost us taxpayers £20m and lasted three years, found not in favour of Gatwick, but still the offshore owners push on, spending more millions lobbying our Government.

As I write, the Government has just postponed its decision again on whether to go forward with Heathrow, but if they select Gatwick they will be setting a precedent that independent commissions are not worth the taxpayers’ money, nor the time, and thus no independent review set up by the Government can ever be believed again.

We don’t agree with expanding Heathrow either; we feel that London already has five airports with enough capacity – if they just allowed northern airports to allow northern residents to fly locally and thus reduce the carbon footprint of every passenger.

Thank you,

Sally Pavey,

Chair of CAGNE,

Editor’s note: Thanks very much for getting in touch, Sally – and whatever people’s views on airport expansion, you make some very important points. As such, we have decided to make you this month’s Star Letter, meaning you can enjoy a delicious dinner for two at one of the fine Red Mist pubs found across Surrey. Thanks again. All the best, Caroline

GET IN TOUCH: Let us know what you think about airport expansion by writing to us at the usual address or sending an e-mail to us at


Recrafting our craft town?

Dear Editor,

Having seen your recent feature on the threat to our countryside (Surrey Life, October), I thought readers might be interested to hear about an initiative that I am leading on behalf of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) at the Farnham Maltings over the weekend of Saturday January 30 and Sunday January 31.

We are keen to examine the successful integration of housing targets on a historic town and I saw Farnham as an ideal test subject, with all of the issues surrounding Farnham highly applicable elsewhere – housing, roads, schools, hospitals, public spaces and historic settings.

The idea is to instigate a healthy and proactive discussion on how we as a community can organically grow Farnham, whilst sympathetically enhancing the town and maintaining its intrinsic character.

We are keen to put across to the local community the role that architects can have in shaping the future; and to get people to understand urban design possibilities and how places are made. We are planning to stage an exhibition and workshop about urban design, in the centre of Farnham. These would be based around revisualised places in Farnham – essentially ‘Recrafting Farnham’.

The display of revisualised spaces would form the catalyst and backdrop for the architect-led community workshop about the future for Farnham. It is our aim to cultivate considered place-making.

With best wishes,

Laith Anayi, BA (Hons) DipArch RIBA

Director, Stedman Blower Architects, Farnham


Delving into Deepdene’s past

Dear Editor,

Further to your recent article on the restoration of the Deepdene Estate at Dorking (Surrey Life, November), we would like to hear from anyone who can tell us about the estate as it once was.

You may recall the days of the magnificent Deepdene House as a hotel, or have stories you have heard locally to pass on to us. Whatever your memories, we’d like to hear from you!

As part of the rediscovering of the lost Deepdene landscape, we are working with Dorking Museum on an oral history project. This involves training volunteers in oral history techniques so we can record memories of the estate to preserve them for the future.

Works on the site are progressing well, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, with the new Deepdene Trail set to open in September 2016. More details on what’s happening can be found on our facebook page:

To get in touch with your own memories and stories, call Gail Mackintosh on 01306 885001.

Best wishes,

Liz Rice,

Mole Valley District Council, Dorking


A snail’s pace...

Dear Editor,

I was walking, recently, on the outskirts of Norbury Park near Leatherhead – and, as I knew the area was rich in chalk, I wasn’t surprised to find a Roman snail.

These are thought to have been introduced by the Romans when they occupied the area.

They thrive on chalk, but unfortunately for them, they are being poached in some areas for culinary purposes, some even being exported as they are in demand by restaurants etc.

This one was within its shell, appearing very dehydrated, and I couldn’t tell if it was dead or alive!

However, I took it home, and it soon revived when I put it on some moist edible leaves.

They really are much bigger than our native ones as can be seen from the picture on the right.

They are a part of our history, thanks to the Romans who liked to eat them!

Best wishes,

Ruth Aldridge,

Via email


Splashing out for charity

Dear Editor,

We would like to invite you and your readers to help us ‘Make a Splash’ by raising vital funds to keep our hydropool running at the White Lodge Centre in Chertsey.

Our charity supports over 2,000 disabled babies, children, young people, adults, families and carers in Surrey, specialising in care for those with a range of physical disabilities and learning difficulties.

One of our invaluable assets is our hydropool, where hundreds of children and adults with restricted movement and limbs often in pain are able to experience the support, comfort and therapeutic benefits offered by hydrotherapy.

We have to raise nearly £30,000 a year to keep the hydropool running, so your donation really will make a difference.

If you are able to help us, please donate by texting SPLA00£5/ £10/£20 to 70070. Alternatively, for more information and other ways to donate, visit our website at

Many thanks,

From everyone at White Lodge Centre, Chertsey,


A jolly good lead for dog lovers

Dear Editor,

Further to your feature on A Dog Lover’s Surrey (Surrey Life, August), I thought readers might like to hear about canicrossing, the new social way to get fit running with your dog.

It involves using specially designed hands-free equipment where you are attached to each other whilst running.

Exercising with your dog creates a special bond, you don’t have to be an experienced runner and it’s suitable for dogs of all ages and abilities.

When I took up canicrossing with my dog Coco, I found it such a social way to keep fit as you’re out running with a group. That’s why I launched Dogfit with Gail Walker, as we want to encourage more people to try it out.

Find out more information online by visiting our website at

With best wishes,

Ginetta George,

Via e-mail


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