A PETITION to protect Green Belt land in Woking borough from development has been delivered to Parliament and will be sent to James Brokenshire, the Secretary of State for Housing. 

SPECIAL DELIVERY: Lynn Cozens, Fiona Syrett, Cllr Amanda Boote, Jonathan Lord and Gary Elson.

The 1,250-signature petition was presented to Woking MP Jonathan Lord, who added his signature.

Byfleet and West Byfleet councillor Amanda Boote, along with local campaigners Fiona Syrett and Lynn Cozens and Gary Elson, deputy chairman of the Byfleet, West Byfleet & Pyrford Residents’ Association, were given special permission by John Bercow to present the petition at the Speakers’ Door.

The petition was organised in reaction to the Site Allocations Development Plan Document (DPD, approved by Woking Borough Council on 18 October last year.)

Cllr Boote said that the petition and the council’s consultation over the DPD will now go to an independent inspector to make a ruling.

“We will hear if we are successful later in the year,” Cllr Boote said.

For the full story get the 28 February edition of the News & Mail

A WOKING company that is a leader in its field is hoping to employ an extra 150 mostly local staff and triple its floor space by moving into a new factory at the Fairoaks Garden Village.

Harvey Water Softeners has outgrown its premises in Old Woking, and is hoping that the proposed 1,000 home and business centre development will receive planning approval. If so, the firm wants to move into a factory of up to 110,000 sq ft. Its site in Hipley Street is 35,000 sq ft.

PLANS – An artist’s impression of the proposed factory

Roy Bowden, the company’s property manager and son of the founder, Harvey Bowden, said the move would allow for the employment of 150 extra staff to add to the more than 300 current employees and contractors.

Mr Bowden said the new factory would also allow Harveys to construct the mouldings for the water softeners rather than buy them in.

“Quite a lot of our staff live locally and we want to replicate that at Fairoaks.”

The company owns some houses in Old Woking where its staff live and Mr Bowden said the company was looking at buying some of the houses that were planned for the new village.

A setback to the company’s plans was the recent decision by the Woking Borough Council planning committee to make a forceful objection to the application for the garden village.

Martin Hurworth, Harveys managing director, said the proposed site was the only option for the company after it spent several years working with the council to find a new site in Woking borough without success.

“We will create more employment opportunities for the local residents and more money for the local economy,” Mr Hurworth said.

“Some members of our staff have discussed how they are struggling to get on the housing ladder and have expressed an interest in the shared ownership housing options that will be available at Fairoaks,” he said.

For the full story get the 28 February edition of the News & Mail

A MEAL out left an elderly New Haw couple with a distinctively sour taste – after they were fined for parking at the West Byfleet restaurant where they were eating lunch.

The fine for £85 was more than the cost of their meal, turning what should have been a pleasant trip out into an uncomfortable worry for Marguerite Ellwood, 88, and her 95-year-old husband Cliff.

Cliff and Marguerite Ellwood, with the parking fine the News & Mail had rescinded

The fine was sent in the post after the couple had enjoyed lunch at the Yeoman, a Harvester restaurant in Old Woking Road.

“I used to go there, and you were given back your parking fee when you had a meal or a drink. Now there is a machine for you to key in your registration number,” Marguerite said.

Despite keying in her number, Marguerite received a parking charge notice from Euro Car Parks for £85, reduced to £50 if paid within 14 days.

The letter gave an address in London for written appeals, which can also be made online.

Marguerite does not own or use a computer and decided to appeal directly to the manager at the Yeoman, who took a copy of the letter.

Still concerned, she then called the News & Mail. We contacted a spokesman for Mitchells & Butlers, which owns the Harvester group.

He came back to say that the fine had been cancelled.

“Due to an error Mrs Ellwood’s details were not registered. This has now been rectified and the parking fine waived.

“We ask guests who feel they have incorrectly received a parking fine to contact the restaurant where a member of the team will be happy to help,” the spokesman said.

Marguerite said she was very pleased at the outcome as she and Cliff had been worrying about the fine.

However, despite years of dining there, the couple were no longer keen to return to the restaurant.

“We will find somewhere else to go,” she said.

A MOTHER and her six-year-old daughter left a Knaphill pub just before a car crashed through the wall and wrecked the table where they had been sitting.

Two other customers were showered with broken glass as the front of the people carrier ended up in the Royal Oak’s dining area.

Royal Oak landlord Mark McDermott by the hole in the wall

“The mum and daughter had finished their meal and left about three minutes before the crash,” the landlord, Mark McDermott, told the News & Mail.

He said that the car driver had apparently parked at the front of the pub to collect his son from a nearby house. It was unclear what had caused the vehicle to surge forward into the wall.

The police were called and told Mr McDermott to evacuate the pub, as the building might be unsafe. He was allowed to re-open at 9.30pm, after the dining area was cordoned off.

Anyone who saw the incident is asked to call the police on 101, quoting reference PR/P19036867.

For the full story get the 21 Feb edition of the News & Mail

A NEW £6 million sports hall and all-weather pitch at Gordon’s School will be available for use by residents to play sports such as badminton, basketball and indoor cricket.

The hall at the secondary school in West End will have enough space for four badminton courts, changing rooms, a café, first aid room and storage.

The new sports hall will allow the school to take part in more competitive events at all levels and will enable students to participate in a sporting activity whatever the weather

The development, which will be funded by the Gordon Foundation, was approved Environment Secretary Michael Gove last week.

Plans had been passed by Surrey Heath Borough Council and then had to go to Mr Gove because the development is above the size permitted on Green Belt Land and not in the local plan.

A spokesman for the school said the new facilities will allow its pupils to take part in more competitive events at all levels, whatever the weather.

“Students currently take part in over 22 extracurricular sporting activities,” she added. “The all-weather floodlit pitch will enable the PE programme to be expanded to include sports such as basketball, badminton and volleyball.”

Jamie Sinclair, the school’s head of house, will be taking part in the London Marathon to raise funds for the facility.

For the full story, see the 21 February edition of the News & Mail

ARMED police were deployed in Woking on Wednesday, following reports a man was threatened with a knife.

The victim said he was in his car on Balfour Avenue around 4.15pm on 20 February, when three men approached him, one armed with a large knife, and attempted to stab him through the car window.

Following a search of the surrounding area, three men were arrested in Knaphill under suspicion of affray, possession of an offensive weapon and causing criminal damage.

Investigating officer PC Jasmine Smith said: “This was a serious incident.

“I’m thankful for the support from our firearms officers as, when it comes to suspects reportedly in possession of a knife, we will take no chances.

“Our message to those who carry a knife or those thinking of carrying a knife is that it does not protect you and in fact it makes you more vulnerable and places you in danger of serious harm.

“Our enquiries are ongoing and if you do have any information about this incident, please let us know.”

Anyone with information can call 101 or tell online via http://surrey.police.uk/TellUsMore quoting reference PR/45190018780.

You can also give information, 100% anonymously, to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111; or through their anonymous online form: https://crimestoppers-uk.org/

See next week’s News & Mail, the February 28 edition, for more details

NEW members of Woking’s Street Angels have been welcomed into the team.

Providing a friendly late-night presence on town centre streets, the volunteers help make sure a big night out doesn’t end badly for weekend revellers.

WELCOME SUPPORT: Street Angel members with Mayor and Mayoress of Woking

“Our angels also go above and beyond to ensure vulnerable people are kept safe whether they’re vulnerable because of their age, because they’re sleeping on streets or because they have partied a little too hard,” said Street Angel co-ordinator Lucy Chester.

“This can include anything from providing a hot cup of coffee, a listening ear, sitting with someone until they are sober enough to take a taxi home, helping to locate lost items, waiting with someone for an ambulance to arrive and generally being eyes and ears on the streets to watch over those in need.”

The newest recruits to complete their training joined other members of the team for a special commissioning service at Emmanuel Church in Mayford, attended by the Mayor and Mayoress of Woking.

For information about becoming a Woking Street Angel, contact Lucy at wokingstreetangels@gmail.com or visit the website www.wokingstreetangels.org.uk

For the full story get the 14 February edition of the News & Mail

THE organisers of a charity gig at the Fiery Bird in Woking have presented the Shooting Star Chase children’s hospice with a cheque for £2,490 and 46p.

DEDICATED FUNDRAISERS: Ellie Bennet of Shooting Star Chase, far left, with Christine and Andrew Mabbutt and his mum, Sue

The money was raised at the event last month when almost 150 people were entertained by acts including Argonaut, whose guitarist Nathan comes from Woking, local band Birdsworth, Dakka Skanks and The Sha La Las.

It was the third annual Jackfest held in honour of Knaphill resident Jack Bruce, who has muscular dystrophy and is regularly helped by Shooting Star Chase.

Christine said the staff at the Shooting Star Chase office in Addlestone were overwhelmed by the presentation of the money.

“They said they appreciated the great work we do to raise money for the charity. We will be doing another show next year, Jackfest 2020 but are still deciding on the date and venue,”

A calendar, organised by Christine for which she and ten friends and family stripped off for a Calendar Girls-style shoot, is on sale in aid of the charity.

The calendar, produced by Knaphill Print, is on sale at a discount of £5 and is available by emailing djmabbs@yahoo.co.uk and at the Knaphill Post Office shop.

For the full story get today’s edition of the News & Mail (14 February)

A ROTARY club president was prompted to start an initiative which raised £3,000 for the hospital unit where his tiny grandson received some special care.

Andy Becket, of the Rotary Club of Woking District, chose the Little Roo Neonatal Fund as the charity to support during his year in office.

Andy Beckett, left, with Sister Nora Chin, neonatal assistant Carina Corte, Sister Louise Marting holding Andy’s grandson Blair, neonatal consultant Dr Peter Martin, Blair’s mum Charlotte and neonatal assistant Susie Heggarty

Little Roo raises money for the neonatal intensive care unit at St Peter’s Hospital in Chertsey.

The unit looked after Andy’s prematurely born grandson, Blair Hathaway, for eight weeks at the beginning of 2018.

The £3,000 donation was raised at a golf day organised by the club at West Byfleet Club in October.

The St Peter’s unit has a total of 22 high dependency and special care cots. It usually has one nurse caring for two babies but some of its tiny patients need one-to-one care.

Andy – along with one-year-old Blair and his mum Charlotte – visited the unit to meet the staff and see how donations from Little Roo are used.

“It’s a real pleasure to see the donation go to such a worthy local cause that provides the only specialist neonatal intensive care unit in Surrey,” said Andy.

“I would like to pay tribute to all of the golfers and supporters who contributed so generously to our golf day, and the main sponsor, James Kimber, MD of SMC Motor Group.”

Little Roo raises money for additional and replacement specialist equipment, sends staff for specialist training, and provides extra facilities for parents.

St Peter’s family support co-ordinator Jo Willard said that the unit treats around 750 children a year and that the Rotary donation was a valuable contribution towards its costs and facilities for parents.

A WOKING family had a lucky escape when a large recycling bin next to their home caught fire.

Taxi firm owner Ioan Urs noticed the fire as he was de-icing his car at Moorholme off Guildford Road around 6.45am last Wednesday.

Aftermath: the smoking remains of the bin fire

“I evacuated my wife and children from the house and got the fire extinguisher from my car,” Ioan said.

“There were big flames and black smoke – the rubber lid of the bin had caught fire.”

Ioan said it was lucky that he saw the fire, which could have got out of control had he and his neighbours not tackled it when they did.

A spokesman for Woking Fire & Rescue said that by the time the first fire engine arrived, Mr Urs and his neighbours had largely put out the fire and had pulled the bin away from the properties.

“That’s a good thing to do – provided you are careful and don’t get hurt. We finished off damping it all down,”

He added: “If you have wheelie bins, make sure they have lids. The bin with the fire and another one didn’t have lids.”

For the full story get the latest edition of the News & Mail (Feb 7th)