A FORMER retirement home is to house people with mental health difficulties after councillors were told they had no legal grounds to refuse the planning application.

Woking Borough Council’s planning committee first rejected the plan for a large house in Woodham Road, Horsell, after hearing neighbours’ fears that the new use would put their safety at risk.

Local residents were concerned that Elmbank is too close to Halstead girls’ school and that the safety of neighbours would be threatened by the new residents. Other objections included the home has no outside space and facilities suitable for younger people, that it would increase traffic and parking problems and its residents would cause late-night disturbances.

The application was approved, but only on the chairman Cllr Graham Cundy’s casting vote, after the opposing councillors declined to change their minds.

See the 14 June edition for the full story

WOKING Area University of the Third Age (WAU3A) celebrated its 25th Anniversary at its monthly meeting this week.

Linda Lopez-Calvete, membership secretary, decorated the celebratory cake which was cut by David Smith, chairman of the organisation from 1998 to 2003.

The inaugural meeting in January 1993 was chaired by Margot Clegg, who was then chairman of Guildford U3A, and in the presence of the Mayor of Woking, Cllr Leslie Prescodd.

Linda Lopez-Calvete holds the special cake that she decorated for the U3A’s 25th anniversary

More details in the 14 June edition

TWO burglar brothers have been jailed for an eight-month crime spree of 61 offences, including several in Woking, West Byfleet, West End and Chobham. Their crimes included stealing jewellery and high-performance cars.

Patrick Joseph Connors, 23, of Goldcrest Court, Northampton, and Miles Luke Connors, 18, of Celeborn Place in Northampton, were sentenced to four years and two years respectively at Guildford Crown Court last week for a series of burglaries across the south of England and the Midlands, spanning 15 counties.

“This was a complex investigation covering multiple police forces and counties,” said detective sergeant Lee Hazell. “The Connors brothers were callous and opportunist, brazenly smashing doors or using tools to enter properties and using stolen vehicles with false registration plates to commit these crimes.”

Patrick Joseph Connors and Miles Luke Connors

For the full story, see the 14 June edition

AN insight into Islam was provided for guests at the Woking Big Iftar on Thursday last week.

The occasion was a traditional meal in New Haw community centre to break the day-long fast during Ramadan.

It was hosted by the Woking branch of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, which welcomed 22 people to enjoy the meal. The guests included Charlie Yianoullou of Guildford and Woking Humanists.

The event – one of many similar occasions around the UK – was organised by Shahrukh Khan, outreach secretary of the local Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.

See the 14 June edition for details and pictures

FIFTY years of magical experiences for little children were celebrated in woodland at Knaphill on Saturday.

Peter Pan Nursery and Forest School was celebrating half-a-century of operating in a former mission chapel at Littlewick Common.

Around 200 current and past parents and children turned up to enjoy cake and refreshments with current owner Sue Lewis and her staff.

Sue Lewis, kneeling on the right at the front, with some of the guests at the Peter Pan Nursery and Forest School’s 50th anniversary celebrations

See the 14 June edition for details and pictures

BRIGHT sunshine lit up the skills on show at the Community Youth Football Festival staged by Goldsworth Park Rangers at the weekend.

Teams in age groups from Under 6 to Under 15 gathered for a variety of cup and plate competitions, with more than 2,000 boys and girls demonstrating their footballing abilities over the two days.

The festival was also keen to focus on sportsmanship during the tournament, with awards made to clubs who showed outstanding moments to highlight the importance on playing the game with respect.

Goldsworth Park Rangers Girls teams with (back row) Woking FC player Reggie Young, Woking FC manager Alan Dowson and Sky Sports’ Martin Tyler, Woking FC assistant manager

See the page of pictures in the 14 June edition

ONE in 10 people aged over 60 in Woking are having to wait almost six months for operations or tests under the NHS.

According to a recent survey, a fifth of the people in Woking who have experienced delays said that their overall health had deteriorated while waiting and a third said that it had affected their mental health.

The research, by not-for-profit healthcare provider Nuffield Health, also revealed there was a wider cost to waiting for patients and their families and friends.

The director of Nuffield Health’s hospital in Woking, Marian Imrie, said: “It’s disheartening to know that people can be missing out on major events and activities in their later years, because of waiting for medical tests and treatment.”

For the full story, see the 7 June edition

THE Three Little Pigs are currently performing in Shrek the Musical at the New Victoria Theatre. They have given the News & Mail their impressions of the town.

Pig 1 (Straw), said: “Our time in Woking has been great – everyone’s so nice and there’s so many places to eat.” Pig 2 (Hay) was taken with the name of the café in The Lightbox – The Tipsy Pigs.

The Three Little Pigs, from left to right, Reece Kerridge, Adam Baker, Adam Taylor, with Pinocchio (Joseph Dockree)

Shrek the Musical runs until Sunday 10 June.

THE fate of the Goldsworth Park Community Association (GCPA) hangs in the balance, ahead of a crisis meeting in a few weeks’ time.

If volunteers don’t come forward to fill the roles of treasurer and vice chair, it will mean the end of the GPCA, a registered charity which has supported the local community for decades.

“It is not too late to rescue the situation if there are willing volunteers,” said chairman Irene Watson, hopeful that two people could yet step forward from a pool of 12,000 residents before time runs out.

“I think the area would be the poorer without a GCPA, so I’m hoping we can find a way forward with the right volunteers.”

For the full story, see the 7 June edition

WOKING-BASED Surrey Care Trust’s Swingbridge community boat volunteers have been awarded the prestigious Queen’s Award for Voluntary Servicess.

The award was also given to Surrey Wildlife Trust, the Basingstoke Canal Society and other Surrey groups including the Guildford-based Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Centre, Fairwood Helpers and the Samson Centre for Multiple Sclerosis.

The Swingbridge volunteers support disadvantaged and vulnerable people, including offenders, through environmental work and training trips and run trips that make the River Wey accessible to people with limited mobility and special needs.

Ian, a volunteer, with Surrey Care Trust trainer Caz Adcock aboard Swingbridge2

See the 7 June edition for more details