1. The Woodfield: Securing the Woodfield from future incursions

    Independent Councillor, David Hawksworth has followed up on the measures he instigated to secure the Recreation Ground by turning attention to the Wood Field.

    As a part of the programme of works he initiated in the summer to make Council properties more secure from potential future incursions, he wishes to advise you that it is planned to start work on the Wood Field on Thursday 6 December.

    Following work already done on the Recreation Ground, works are now to be carried out to The Woodfield itself On Barnett Wood Lane and Woodfield Lane. The rotten posts will be replaced and additional posts installed (on the Craddocks Parade Corner).

    The most obvious works, though, will be along the side of Woodfield Road (the western boundary) where, rather than replacing the large number of rotten posts along this boundary, a ‘ditch and bund’ is to be dug all along the boundary.

    The ditch and bund will be inside the current line of posts and not cross obvious footpath lines or where there are large trees. The bund will be seeded in due course, and in time it will grass over, just as the other sections of the ditch already on the site opposite the pond. It is anticipated that the works will take two to three days to complete, and the ditch digging works are to be carried out off of the road, so no disruption to traffic is anticipated.

    Cllr D L Hawksworth CBE (Cabinet Member for Well-being; Ashtead Common Ward)

  2. Woodfield Lane, the new flats

    Residents may have noticed that work has commenced on the new apartments at the foot of Woodfield Lane by the shops. At the moment the work seems to be demolition of some kind.

    Having raised this with the Council, Local Ashtead Independent Councillor and Cabinet Member for Planning Policy, David Harper reports:-

    “It would appear that not all the pre-commencement conditions that the Inspector imposed when granting planning permission have been discharged notwithstanding what appears to have been the commencement of development, (i.e. demolition).

    Given the history of the site and the sensitivities around it, a Temporary Stop Notice has been drafted. It is with the Legal Team at the moment for checking. It is proposed to serve it tomorrow (Friday). The Temporary Stop Notice lasts for 28 days during which no development should take place. In the meantime we will ask for the pre-commencement conditions to be discharged.”

    David later reported that when Enforcement Officers first went to serve the Stop Notice there was no-one on site, and it is a pre-requisite of the Notice that it must be served personally, not just left.

    If any resident sees work being undertaken on the site please let the Webmaster or Council Planning Enforcement Officials (01306 885001) know as soon as possible in order that the Stop Notice can be served.

    The other factor being viewed is the seemingly permanent position of vans within the parking bays outstaying their allotted stay time. This too has been raised with the Council’s Civil Enforcement Officers.

    We can’t stop the building going ahead as plans were agreed by the Planning Inspectorate, despite having been unanimously rejected by the Council’s Development Control Committee, but we endeavour to ensure all the requirements and conditions of the plans are fully enforced and that residents are inconvenienced as little as possible.


    (1) CLEANING UP:  It has now been established after talking with the managing director of the cleaning contractor that  they did allocate resource on the Friday night who did in fact attend. He has, however, admitted that the instructions he provided were not, in hindsight, sufficiently specific. This resulted in them only doing a superficial clean of the grass pitches omitting the woods and bushes and other areas on that night. They have apologised. I understand that this contractor has not let MVDC down before, and has acted very quickly to clean up after other unauthorised encampments. I am confident lessons  have been learnt.


    (2) SECURITY: One of the concrete blocks at the Barnett Wood Lane entrance had been nudged slightly, so as a precautionary measure an MVDC van has been parked there as well.Three more blocks have been ordered, two to go on top of the existing to prevent dragging and one to block the Woodfield Lane entrance. This will permit a mower only, but it is acknowledged that the temporary no vehicular access could be a problem if there was an emergency on the  Recreation ground. The blocks were to be placed later today or tomorrow morning. This  precaution is also being taken at several other sites in the District at Kennel Lane, Lower Road, the Chrystie Recreation Ground, Cock Lane and Cannon Court. A block is also being placed down on the Woo Field opposite the Recreation ground and top soil is being delivered to vulnerable points with a view to creating a barrier and longer term building a bund. The new secure gates are on order but are not available from stock because of the high demand this summer from the supplier.


    (3) INJUNCTION: Some residents have wondered why MVDC did not obtain a District-wide injunction from the High Court as Elmbridge BC has recently done. This is a lengthy and costly process and the order applies for just three months. This was obtained because Elmbridge had experienced a much larger number of unauthorised encampments (27 so far in 2018) and have reported a catalogue of concerns raised by residents and businesses over damage to public spaces, fly-tipping, human waste, anti-social behaviour and the daily disruption to people’s lives and livelihoods caused by the encampments. This is a possibility that will continue to be considered by MVDC lawyers, but it was felt an injunction was unlikely to be granted this year as the District has not experienced the same level of disruption as the  other authorities who have been successful in the High Court.

    Cllr David L Hawksworth CBE

    Leader, Ashtead Independents”


    David Hawksworth said, at the public meeting organized on Tuesday 14 August 2018, that he had been impressed at the speed MVDC Officers had moved, starting late on Wednesday evening, to get the Notice of Direction to Leave by the following afternoon served on the Thursday morning, perform required welfare checks, and book a slot for a Court hearing on the following Monday. It was, however, not necessary to go to the Court as the Police decided to use their powers to remove the group after the deadline had been missed; this was the only instance the Police have done this in the District when groups needed to be moved on so we were particularly grateful for that intervention. He was very disappointed that the Council had been let down by the contractors engaged to clean up the human waste in particular, and he had insisted that that matter be investigated. In addition he pointed out that he understood from the St Michael’s church clerk that the family of Michael Connors were distressed that the incursion had been linked to the coming funeral. Prior to this incursion, he had already authorised MVDC to initiate a programme of works to make its parks and open spaces more secure throughout the District, and that it was regrettable that this incident had occurred before new gates etc could be obtained and installed. As an interim measure concrete blocks had now been placed at the Barnett Wood Lane entrance, and a Council vehicle across the  Woodfield Lane entrance. As this was a widespread problem in Surrey this year, a meeting between district and borough representatives and the police had been planned for next month to see what more might be done. He urged residents to contact their Independent Councillors if they had further concerns or issues to raise, and that their contact details were  on the brochure being distributed to all Ashtead addresses this month.


    The local government elections on 3rd May 2018 resulted in a hung Council in Mole Valley. The Conservatives secured 20 seats, the Liberal Democrats 14, and the Informal Independent Group seven. This meant that the Conservatives lacked one seat to gain an overall majority. There was a similar situation in the years 2012-2014 when Councillor Chris Townsend became Leader of a mixed Administration. Other Councillors who served at that time, both Independent and Conservative, remember that Administration as the best they had ever experienced.

    After the election in May, the Independents had intense discussions with both the Liberal Democrat and Conservative Groups, during which, it was made clear that the current Conservative Leader, who appoints the Cabinet Members, would not have to stand down at least until 2020.

    In 2012, the Conservatives were 11 short –  this year they were down by a single seat. Even so, after the election, the Conservatives lacked an overall majority, and compromise was essential to avoid a minority Administration, with its possible negative impact on effective decision-making. Through challenging and strong negotiation, the Informal Independent Group has achieved the following:

    1. Three of the seven portfolio-holding positions.
    2. Inclusion of the Informal Group Leader in a new “top Executive Team” (with the Leader and Deputy Leader).
    3. Recognition that all the Informal Independent Group members could continue to vote independently.

    The Ashtead Independents have now achieved the same number of port-folio holders in the new Administration as when the Conservatives were in a much weaker position in 2012-2014.

    The Annual Meeting of Mole Valley District Council yesterday evening (22 May 2018) formally appointed the three Ashtead Independent Councillors to the new Administration. While we will be working as a part of that new Administration (now referred to as a Cabinet rather than an Executive), this novel arrangement means that the Ashtead Independent Cabinet Members will have influence, yet all Independent Members retain their right to vote in the best interests of residents, and not on party political lines. Rather than be subsumed, the Independents will contribute to decision-making while retaining their unique status.

    The three portfolio positions have responsibilities to oversee work on the Local Plan (Cllr David Harper), Environment (Cllr Patricia Wiltshire), and Well-being (Cllr David Hawksworth) – all matters of great concern to Ashtead Residents. The precise responsibilities with the last two broad areas will be determined in consultation with the Chief Executive and Leader in the next few days.

    We had pointed out that the Local Plan was of such high importance that it needed the singular attention of a Cabinet Member. We were pleased, therefore, that this was not only accepted, but that an Independent was entrusted with the task. The Local Plan will, amongst other issues, consider the type, location, and numbers of dwellings to be built in the District as well as critically evaluate any need to build on the Green Belt or other greenfield sites.

    This is an opportunity for Ashtead Independents to have a major input into not only shaping the new Local Plan, but also formulating new initiatives in relation to environmental and well-being issues. All these are critically important to all of us in Ashtead and we find this an exciting opportunity to effect change for the good in Mole Valley, and Ashtead in particular.

    Next year’s election may bring further changes, and the Administration can be reorganised every year but, whatever the outcome in May 2019, our aim is to advance the interests of Ashtead residents. The Independents had a resounding success in Village Ward this year and we hope for a repeat success there next year when we will be fighting to take the last Conservative seat out of Ashtead. Such a result would continue to strengthen policies that put residents first and keep national politics out of local government.

    Although three of your six Ashtead Independent Councillors have new responsibilities, be assured that all of them will continue, where they are able, to act on any issues brought to their attention. Being a local Councillor is a demanding and time-consuming task, but we are all aware that were elected to serve you, and to represent Residents’ interests.


    Cllr David L Hawksworth CBE

    Leader, Informal Independent Group and Ashtead Independents

    Councillor, Ashtead Common Ward

    23 May 2018

  6. MVDC Local Elections 2018

    The Council has moved from Conservative control to “No Overall Control” –

    41 Seats:  Conservative 20. LibDem 14. Ashtead Independents 7.

    This situation represents a major and exciting opportunity for the Ashtead Independents to play a pivotal role in running Mole Valley at a crucial time in its history – when the new Local Plan to cover the years to 2035 has to be drafted and consulted on.  We are currently unsure of the scenario that will emerge from separate discussions initiated between ourselves and the Conservative and Liberal Democrat groups this week, but provided that the Conservatives do not go for a minority government, are confident that as a minimum   Independents can expect to fill some key portfolio positions in the new Executive (the Leader of which is to be elected at the Annual Council Meeting on 22 May).


    District Elections: May 2018 Results

    Elections were held in 14 District Council Wards on Thursday 3 May 2018. The results are set out below.

    Ashtead Common

    Candidate Party Votes
    BRIDGEN, Marion Reswinder Conservative 244
    GILCHRIST, Caroline Labour 117
    WILTSHIRE, Patricia Ashtead Independent 836 (Elected)
    McDONALD, Steve Green Party 31
    VYVYAN-ROBINSON, Keira Rowena Liberal Democrat 172
    Rejected ballot papers 4
    Turnout 43.3%

    Ashtead Park

    Candidate Party Votes
    GILCHRIST, Susan Labour 47
    KEUN, Hector Charles Liberal Democrat 70
    MCGRATH, Susan Green Party 49
    ST JOHN, Linda Bryett Conservative 391
    STANSFIELD, Garry Andrew Graham Ashtead Independent 875 (Elected)
    Rejected ballot papers 3
    Turnout 40.8%

    Ashtead Village

    Candidate Party Votes
    ANTONELLI, Rita Liberal Democrat 141
    BARFORD, Lucy Jane Green Party 59
    REILLY, Alan Victor Ashtead Independent 1232 (Elected)
    REYNOLDS, Fiona Conservative 413
    SCOTT, Clive George Labour 115
    Rejected ballot papers 3
    Turnout 41.9%

  7. Our recent Newsletter

    We have been pleased to receive a number of favourable comments on our recent Newsletter (March 2018 edition), and we have also received some interesting comments, particularly on the subject of parking in Ashtead.  Suggestions vary from the introduction of parking meters to the expansion of Zone 6 by Network Rail. We would be happy to continue to receive such ideas and we will consider and evaluate them in the coming months.  If any seem likely to gain wide support we will press for their introduction.

    One respondent felt that we should have included a piece about the state of our roads and the number of potholes, which have of course been increased and enlarged by recent weather conditions.  Despite this omission we, and especially our County Councillor, continue to press for the road maintenance programme to be accelerated and enhanced, but sadly the response is always that the budgetary constraints are tight. The County Council does however have a duty to maintain road safety so please continue to report any potholes you encounter through the SCC telephone hotline (0300 200 1003) or website (www.surreycc.gov.uk/contact-us).  Please note that you need to have precise details of the location, size of hole and condition when you make your report.



  8. Roadworks don’t work

    Your local Councillors are aware of, and suffering as you are with, the numerous roadworks currently being undertaken in Ashtead and have asked Surrey Highways to consider taking an overview of the current position before allowing any new works to begin, as we are already looking at sites that are due worked at, causing congestion for a scheduled 6 months and that’s before any overruns.

    Then Highways announced:


    Dear Sirs

    SURREY COUNTY COUNCIL PROPOSE TO MAKE the above mentioned Temporary Order under Section 14(1) of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984, the effect of which will be to prohibit vehicles from entering or proceeding in that length of Farm Lane (C56), Ashtead that extends from its junction with Park Lane (D2628) to its junction with Paul’s Place (D2337). Vehicular traffic will be diverted via Farm Lane, Downs Lane, Headley Road, Wilmerhatch Lane, Loop Road, Woodcote Side, Dorking Road, Epsom Road and Farm Lane.

    This Temporary Traffic Order is required to enable Cascadia Water limited to carry out works to make a new sewer connection. These works are anticipated to be carried out within two weeks of the six month period of operation of the Temporary Order, which commences on 23rd October 2017. Advanced warning signs will be displayed and the temporary closure which is anticipated will be required for 24 hours each day, will only operate when the relevant traffic signs are displayed. Access for pedestrians will be maintained at all times; cyclists and equestrians will be required to dismount and follow the pedestrian walkway. Access will be maintained at all times to residences and businesses on the affected length of Farm Lane (C56) only, including access for emergency services to these properties.


    Though Surrey Highways has now responded to the initial request from the Ashtead Independent Councillors:

    Thank you for your emails and for this additional information regarding the impact of works in the locality which I have forwarded to our Road Closures and Streetworks Teams for their attention and to respond.

    It would seem that progress may being made.

    Further updates will be posted here.

  9. Surrey County Council Election 2017


    Voting Summary
    Details Number
    Seats 1
    Total votes 5082
    Electorate 11322
    Number of ballot papers issued 5094
    Number of ballot papers rejected 12
    Turnout 45%
    Share of the votes (%)
    Chris Townsend 54% Elected
    Chris Hunt 35% Not elected
    Sebastian George Bate 4% Not elected
    Susan Gilchrist 4% Not elected
    Tony Cooper 2% Not elected
    Results graph

    Well done, Chris!


  10. APMH Car Park

    As a result of concerns raised by residents regarding the issuing of additional car parking permits In Ashtead  we can report the following :

    Ashtead Independent Councillors Mary Cooper , Patricia Wiltshire  and Peter Stanyard  representing all three Wards met with MVDC Interim Head of Corporate services – Mr Paul Anderson .

    The purpose Of the meeting was to discuss the arrangement by MVDC to grant 60 Ashtead based car parking permits to Premium Credit.  40 permits have been granted for APMH car park usage with 20 in the Grove road car park, following  a reduction of 25 for Ashtead hospital staff.

    The permit period of cover is 13-3-17 to 31-3-18 .

    Premium Credit are sited at the Exxon site and will be bussed to site daily . The request is to accommodate an increased number of temporary contract staff, so is anticipated not to be a permanent arrangement .
    Permission to grant the permits was not discussed with local Ward Members as the permits do not constitute a contractual binding arrangement to Council, as they may be withdrawn at any time . However, it was acknowledged as a matter of courtesy in future local Members would be informed .

    Prior to the meeting Councillor Stanyard audited APMH car park and discovered only 9 parked cars displaying the permit pass – approximately 25% usage rate . However, we will be keeping a close eye on the usage figures over the next few weeks with MVDC staff additionally reviewing the sites at our request .

    As a result of the meeting the following actions have been agreed :

    1. Premium credit have been informed of our concerns and have been asked to preferentially use the long term park area at back of the APMH  to allow residents front end spaces .

    2. We will be requesting a strategy car parking review is undertaken in Ashtead particularly so we can understand the collective impact on car parking in the area prior to the opening of the new M&S store:   we will agree the scope of the review with MVDC .

    3. Discussion will be undertaken with M&S management to understand their expectation of car movement within the car parks .

    4. MVDC will monitor car parks over next few weeks to identify whether the arrangement is causing any major concerns, and should that be the case, we can withdraw permits .

    5. We will be asking Premium Credit to re-examine their on-site parking to see  if they  can make arrangements to  accommodate the extra staff on current site grounds .

    We will keep you informed of our progress .

    Should you find difficulty in locating a space at the car parks, could you please inform MVDC and copy your Ward Councillor – contact details  are located on the MVDC website http://www.molevalley.gov.uk/
    Ashtead Independent website  http://ashteadindependents.org/