Surrey news and views - your letters - September 2014
PUBLISHED: 14:32 03 September 2014 | UPDATED: 16:50 22 September 2014
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A super summer day out
Thank you so much for your recent article ‘30 of the best summer days out’ (Surrey Life, July). It has inspired us to visit nearby places we had only heard of before, including The Sculpture Park at Churt.
We really enjoyed our visit to the park and thought you might like to see a photograph (right) showing one of our favourite sculptures.
Sue and Gerry Runciman,
Editor’s note: Dear Sue and Gerry, thanks so much for your lovely e-mail – you have made our day! And we love your photo – it’s beautiful. As a result, we are making you this month’s Star Letter! Thanks again. Caroline P.S. For anyone wanting to have a read of Matthew Williams’ feature, which is still very relevant for the autumn too, you can now find it here.
Save our countryside
The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) has launched a charter to “Save Our Countryside” with three simple aims: to promote building on brownfield (previously developed) sites instead of sacrificing our countryside; to give local people a real say in the future of their area; and to make sure the affordable housing we need is sensitively located.
New research by the CPRE shows that Coalition Government policies have weakened the democratic planning system to the extent that over a million houses are planned for open countryside, with a further 200,000 in the Green Belt. Here in Surrey, there are plans for vast swathes of the Green Belt to be given up to accommodate thousands of new houses.
This needless sacrifice of our precious green spaces should not be tolerated when England currently has suitable brownfield sites for 1.5 million new homes, which, if developed, could breathe new life into the nation’s cities and urban areas.
The CPRE is campaigning locally against the surrender of Green Belt for housing, and nationally we are lobbying for councils to be empowered to reject damaging planning applications without being overruled by the Government or unelected planning inspectors. We have found that the new planning policies are increasingly allowing developers to target profitable greenfield sites regardless of the environmental consequences or the needs and wishes of local people.
By pledging support for CPRE’s charter, people in Surrey can help us defend local democracy and protect Surrey’s countryside – add your name to the many by visiting saveourcountryside.org.uk.
Surrey branch director,
Campaign to Protect Rural England,
A role that’s not much cop…
I am prompted to write to you having just read your interview with Kevin Hurley, the Surrey Police & Crime Commissioner, in the May 2014 edition of Surrey Life.
Some of Hurley’s statements were quite outrageous. Perhaps the most glaring one is his use of the royal “we” when commenting on the police, an attitude that betrays a misconceived approach to his new job. That job, for which an insignificant number of the public voted, was designed to be independent of the police.
Then there’s the cost of running the department. Here in our borough, the Epsom and Ewell rates brochure does not give the cost of his department under Surrey Police costs.
His deputy (Jeff Harris), at this year’s Annual General Meeting of Epsom and Ewell Downs Residents Association, stated £2 million: contrast this with the £250K alleged by Hurley in your article. Harris was also asked at the time how many staff in the department were ex-police: he claimed zero, a strange response given that both he and Hurley are ex-coppers!
Recruiting ex-coppers within this so-called independent department is far more likely to protect and perpetuate the evolved culture of questionable and self-serving practices within the police force. As for Hurley to justify recruiting a deputy by stating, “The role was too important for me to go through a process of interview boards with people I don’t know. To put it bluntly, I understand the business…” – what utter arrogance.
Add to that his comment that “the failure to prosecute on a couple of issues relating to Jimmy Savile from 20 or 30 years ago” was “not a monumental failing” just beggars belief, given the alleged cover-ups involving the establishment, including the BBC, the NHS and politicians of the day, not to mention Margaret Thatcher.
Frankly, his performance in the interview only reinforces the public perception that any such department is bound to protect the status quo of police conduct and, therefore, is a total waste of public money providing jobs for retired senior coppers!
Dr Edward Willhoft,
Mighty oaks from acorns
The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity would like to thank the local community for the contributions made to the Rotary Club of Cheam over the last year.
Through various collections, including the Santa sleigh and the Cheam Fete, the club have raised the fabulous sum of £5,120 towards vital equipment for the Oak Centre for Children and Young People, based in Sutton.
These gifts ensure that the Royal Marsden can maintain its world-class status as a centre for innovation in research, treatment and care for our young cancer patients.
If your group would like to get involved with fund-raising for the Royal Marsden children’s unit, please call Janet Tobin on 0208 915 6105.
Community fund-raising assistant,
The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity,
Sutton and Chelsea (royalmarsden.org)
Castles in the air?
I found your recent article ‘Castles in the air’ (Surrey Life, August) very interesting and informative.
However, I was somewhat surprised and aggrieved that Ewell Castle was not included, especially as a former pupil of the school some
60 years ago.
Editor’s Note: Dear Mr Bowring, thank you very much for your letter. The reason for the omission was that our writer was focusing on castles in the traditional sense of the meaning i.e: “A large building, typically of the medieval period, fortified against attack with thick walls, battlements, towers, and often a moat.” As I understand it, the Ewell Castle building dates from rather more recently in the 1800s. However, we agree that’s it’s a very beautiful building so we will endeavour to weave it into the magazine soon. All the very best, Caroline
On the right note
I hope some of your readers were able to join us this summer for the first Chiddingfold Arts Festival.
Initiated by St Mary’s Church, this new venture for the village, celebrating the arts and raising money for charity, proved to be a great success.
The church was filled with flower arrangements themed on ‘Music’, while the modern church room was transformed into an art gallery.
There were also two concerts – an evening devoted to music for the Fourth of July as well as an exuberant concert performance of The Mikado with professional soloists.
The church bells pealed forth with a quarter peal and the weekend finished with choral evensong in St Mary’s Church.
We hope that the venture will now become a biennial event.