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"Shalford looking ahead" meeting gets points across

Shalford Looking ahead...

A meeting was held on Thursday 19th September at the Village Hall. This was a pretty important meeting. And judging by the fact there was standing room only that gives you an indication how many of our villagers really do care about our Shalford and surrounding area. Here are the highlights from the meeting:

James Palmer, our local councillor, started the meeting by assuring everyone that, although certain areas such as the land off Chinthurst Lane has been highlighted as a possible site for building 174 new houses, no decisions have yet been made. He informed everyone that there will be many consultations beforehand and that each of us should voice our opinions (whether in favour or against) to the GBC as soon as possible. Guildford Borough Council's Executive have agreed to a public consultation on the issues and options for the borough's new Local Plan ...and there will be a “drop-in” event on the 19th October on Shalford Village Green from 11am to 2pm where you can voice your concerns and learn more about the strategy of the GBC. Full information can be found at the following website: http://guildfordlocalplan.info/

Monika Juneja, who is in charge of the GBC’s Planning and Governance, addressed the meeting with further assurances that this is not a “done deal” as one member of the public suggested, and that public consultation was to be welcomed. Everyone is encouraged to get involved. The more concrete and valid reasons against further large-scale development of the village, then the less likely that the GBC will authorise the proposals.

Bill Birkett, chairman of our local Parish Council outlined the responsibilities of the PC. They include street lighting, bus shelters, the cemetery and chapel (hopefully with help from the Lottery Fund) St. Mary’s Churchyard and wall, allotments, and four playgrounds. The funds for upkeep of the playgrounds have been used this year, and work on the crossing on King’s Road has begun (in no small part to the involvement of FOS). The signs for Shalford are about to be replaced with new ones (again in no small part to the persistence of Tadhg Bowe FOS). The benches on the common are to be improved and the ditch in Chinthurst Lane is to be sorted using next year’s budget.

Tim Harrold, Campaign to Protect Rural England, highlighted somewhat complex and controversial issues regarding the status of Shalford. Whether or not we come under the Green Belt, or as part of the Area of Outstanding Beauty or Area of Great Landscape Value were matters for further in-depth research.

Philip Oliver from the Wey and Arun Canal renovations, outlined the incredible progress they have made so far, and their visions for the future. This includes a nature walk alongside the river and the disused railway path. They also visualise making the Stonebridge site into a marina for parking canal boats. This sadly would be very much a long-term plan.

Rob Fairbanks from the Tillingbourne Valley Project talked about the historically industrial importance of the Valley. An application has been submitted to the Lottery Fund which is entered in two phases. They hope to hear in October that their first bid has been successful. If so, then a second bid will almost definitely be accepted and will provide a large sum of money towards some of the planned projects including the renovation of the Gunpowder Site in Chilworth, and the Cemetery Chapel in Shalford.

Chris Parker, from STAG, announced that the traveller’s site will most likely not go ahead. This has not yet been officially confirmed, but he was quite confident. It was suggested that soil and hardcore could be added to the toxic area to then promote a meadowland growth which would at least enhance the appearance of the site. The soil etc. would come from digging works in the town, and the contractors would be responsible for the cost of depositing the rubble on the Stonebridge site. He also approved of the Wey and Arun proposal for the future.

James Palmer concluded the meeting with thanks to everyone and it ended at 20.45.

This was a very good meeting. So now it's up to you to tell our council how you'd like to see Shalford and Peasmarsh looking ahead to the next 20 years! Make sure and have your say: http://guildfordlocalplan.info/