Westcott Village Association News from the Chairman – July 2018

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I start this month with a report back on the discussions we had to agree how The Hut, the Reading Room, the Sports Club, the School, the Church and the WVA work better together in the best interests of the village as a whole.  We recognise that all of these organisations reply on volunteers to fill trustee, committee and governor posiitons and that in a small village it becomes increasingly difficult to find people with the time, energy and commitment to fill these very often demanding roles.  Sharing resources where we can, combining forces where we can and working together to solve village problems and issues should be our primary objective.  Howe we do that in practical wasy was touched on but not concluded.  The consensus was that we would all work towards the goal of addressing issues with the whole village in mind.  Change will not come quickly but if we can make small steps in that direction we will start to address some of the bigger issues I identified in my introduction as the new Chairman of the WVA.

We also touched on the plans for The Hut and the Reading Room.  The Reading Room trustees are considering how best to make use of the asset they are responsible for and following the conclusion of the Hut trustees preparatory work we await the submission of the planning application for the proposed Community Centre and Doctor’s surgery.  Your comments on the Hut site plans outlined in last month’s magazine and any other development issues are also most welcome.

One tangible outcome from the discussions at the meeting was the idea put forward by Glen Wylie that we should resurrect the practice of a “Westcott Welcome Pack” for those families moving in to the village; many long standing residents will remember this years ago as being very helpful in finding their way around a new environment particularly for young families.  I would welcome anyone who would like to volunteer to help Glen & I with this task.

At our regular committee meeting on the 23rd May we briefly discussed how we make the WVA more open and reflect the way things were done when we had a Village Forum.  This will be a subject to discuss more fully at the AGM in October where members can have their input on how this might move going forward.  As a starting point we agreed that at our next committee meeting on the 4th July the first part of our meeting will be open to anyone who wants to come and raise issues or ask questions of the committee.  The meeting will be in St John’s chapel starting at 7.30pm.  (post note – please see minutes of that meeting now posted as a news item on this website) 

Last month we talked about the things which the WVA gets involved in on your behalf and this month I can give you a flavour of what we are doing.

– Road Safety – is an issue for the village and this month Hazel Watson has been busy on your behalf addressing speeding problems on the junction of Westcott Street and Balchins Lane, the condition and visibility of the zebra crossing in the middle of the village on the A25 and speeding through the village.  

– Footpaths – James Friend and Hazel Watson have jointly been addressing the state of the footpaths surrounding the village as the rain and warmth of the early summer have caused the vegetation along the paths to flourish making walking and running almost impossible in places.

– Memorial benches – the avid walkers among you may have noticed the two benches on the north side of Westcott Heath are now badly in need of repair.  These were placed there as a memorial to those who lost their lives in the village when a German bomber randomly dropped its bombs on the village having turned back from a night time raid.  The WVA will be repairing these and refurbishing the plaques on the benches

– Parking – the old chestnut of parking in the village has surfaced again and although there are no easy answers we have to work together on finding ways to alleviate the problem caused by car ownership, visitors to the village (mainly at weekends) and lack of parking for businesses who operate in the centre of the village.  Parking in The Burrell and parking along the stretch of road between the Bakery and Balchin’s Stores are on my action list at the moment as issues to attempt to resolve.  The problem is of course that there are different opinions on the solutions but as I said in my opening remarks as Chairman I simply refuse to put these in to the too difficult box, if we don’t do anything, nothing will change.

Finally, I recommend that you visit the WVA website to read a letter from a developer about the land between the Priory School and the A25 Westcott Road.  I hope you will find that my reply reflects the very strong views held by the residents about any attempt to build a housing estate on this Green Belt land and the impact this would have on both eroding the distinction between the Dorking urban areas and Westcott village, as well as the traffic flow in to Dorking.  

I am pleased to say that the number of emails and comments from readers is slowly on the rise.  Most people are happy with the way thigns are but unless you express opinions and views then the WVA can not deliver its mandate to work on your behalf to improve things in the village.  You have my commitment and that of the committee that we will seek to address issues if you raise them with us. Tim Way