Local News & Weather in Leatherhead
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Young Rugby Star Killed by Hit and Run Driver – 22/06/15
A 20 year old man has died after being hit by a car in the early hours of Saturday morning in Reigate town centre. Ben Regan, a promising player at Dorking rugby player, was hit by a light coloured car in Bell Street at around 2am. Paramedics attended, but Ben was declared dead at the scene. A man in his 20s was arrested on Saturday afternoon on suspicion of several driving offences including failing to stop at the scene.
Police Officer on Trial for Murder – 10/06/15
A Metropolitan police officer from Guildford is on trial at the Old Bailey accused of murdering a gang member. PC Anthony Long was a firearms specialist involved in an operation to catch an armed gang in North London on 30th April 2005. The Old Bailey heard how police cars surrounded the VW Golf carrying the victim and two other suspects. Mr Long fired eight shots at Azelle Rodney, six of which hit including two in the head. Mr Long denies murder.
Contractor to be Appointed for Pippbrook Redevelopment – 08/06/15
Work to redevelop the Pippbrook offices site could begin early in 2016 after councillors agreed to appoint a principle contractor to undertake the work. The Scape Framework Agreement will cost approximately £4.5 million compared to a figure of around £10.5 million to demolish the existing building and build new offices.
Fire Unveils Cannabis Factory – 13/04/15
Firefighters attending a blaze in Dorking High Street discovered cannabis plants being cultivated in the building. Emergency services were called to the fire on Friday night at around 10.30pm which tore through Image Dry Cleaners and the flat above. Whilst extinguishing the fire, the fire crew discovered the cannabis plants in another area of the building and alerted police. The owner of the plants has not yet been identified.
Children’s Nursery To Close After Severe Mould Discovered – 26/03/15
Angry parents have just been told that their child’s nursery will close imminently due to the discovery of severe mould. West Dorking Day Nursery which is owned by Asquith Nurseries will close on May 1, leaving 45 children without a nursery. Although the mould was discovered at the premises near Dorking Community Hospital and concerns raised, an environmental health expert said that there was no immediate risk to human health.
Sports Car Stolen In Daylight Burglary – 19/03/15
A high performance sports car was stolen from a property in East Horsley on Monday during a burglary. The Subaru Impreza WRX-S with high performance modifications was stolen from the property in Ockham Road South at around 12.30pm. The burglars broke into the owner’s house and stole a wallet and the keys to the car.
Refurbishment Plans for Leatherhead Train Station – 17/03/15
Leatherhead’s historic railway station could receive a much-needed facelift if a planning application is approved. Southern Rail have announced that they wish to transform the station masters house into a waiting room and library, which will house the archives of the Railway History Correspondence and Travel Society. The station was originally built in 1867 and was given a grade 2 listed building status in 1981.
Leatherhead Gets £200k Grant – 05/02/15
Leatherhead Town Centre has received a grant for £200,000 through the Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership. The grant will be used to improve the Church Street area, referred to as the gateway of the town. The grant comes just weeks before Mole Valley District Council are expected to announce the winning bidder to advise on the Master Plan.
Bidder Proposed for Leatherhead Masterplan – 30/01/15
An anonymous bidder has been put forward by Mole Valley District Council as the favoured candidate to undertake the £100 million regeneration of Leatherhead town centre. Ten companies had bid for the project and after long deliberation, the council’s scrutiny committee have selected their preferred option and advised councillors to approve their choice. The initial brief will be to create a £500,000 masterplan, with expectations that the entire project will cost over £100 million in order to make Leatherhead a better place to live, work and shop.
Court Building to Become Retirement Flats – 09/01/15
A planning application has been submitted to Mole Valley District Council to convert the former Dorking Magistrates Courts into 33 retirement apartments. The building in London Road was purchased by Renaissance Retirement Group at the end of last year having been vacant since March 2012. If approved, the development would also include a café open to the public.
Tesco Withdraw from Ashtead Store Plans – 08/01/15After months of negotiations and public consultation, Tesco have today announced that they will no longer be building a new store in The Street, Ashtead. The announcement came as part of the supermarkets wider decision not to build 49 planned new stores across the country, as well as closing 43 other stores, after significant accounting errors were revealed at the company’s head office last year.
Supreme Court Rejects Cherkley Court Appeal – 05/12/14
The campaign to prevent developers from building a luxury hotel and golf course on the site of historic Cherkley Court has finally come to an end after an application to contest planning permission was denied. The campaigners were denied their day in the Supreme Court due to the fact that the appeal was not viewed as a matter of general public importance. Having lost their contest at the Court of Appeal, campaigners have no other legal resource available to them and must now accept the development.
Woman Cuts Wrists in Factory Store – 02/12/14
A shop in Dorking High Street had to be evacuated on Monday after a woman grabbed a knife from the shelf and started cutting herself. Police were called to the Original Factory Store at around midday where the woman, who was accompanied by a care worker, was committing self-harm. The woman was restrained and removed from the shop on a stretcher by paramedics. Staff and shoppers were left shaken after the incident and the store remained closed for the remainder of the day.
Murder Suspect Arrested – 28/11/14
The man suspected of committing a horrific double murder at a house in Fetcham house been arrested by police. 38 year old Viktoras Bruzas, originally from Lithuania, was stopped in a black Mercedes in Oxshott at around 6pm on Thursday, less than 18 hours after police discovered the bodies of Gill and Patrick Kettyle. It is believed that Bruzas’ ex-wife worked for Mr Kettyle at his building firm.
Couple Murdered in Fetcham Home – 27/11/14
A couple in their 50s have died after receiving multiple stab wounds in a vicious attack at their home in Fetcham. Police were called to 3 The Copse at 12.30am and discovered Gill and Patrick Kettyle unconscious. When paramedics arrived, the couple were pronounced dead at the scene. Police have launched a murder investigation and are trying to locate 38 year old Viktoras Bruzas.
Independent Council Proposal for Dorking – 20/11/14
Dorking businesses and residents will have the opportunity to vote whether Dorking should have an independent town council after the proposal was unanimously approved at a meeting of the Dorking Town Centre Forum on Tuesday. If 10% of the Dorking community vote in favour of the proposal, Mole Valley District Council will conduct a viability study and if that is approved a shadow town council will be established. If everything goes to plan, the first elections for council positions would take place in 2017.
Rain Causes Motorway Chaos – 14/11/14
Fears that the country is in for another Winter of flooding became a reality for many motorists this morning after torrential rainfall caused part of the M25 to collapse. Three lanes of the clockwise carriageway near Leatherhead were closed, causing lengthy tailbacks on the motorway and throughout nearby towns. Experts warn that we have already exceeded the average rainfall for November and we aren’t even halfway through the month yet.
Reduction in Hospital Beds – 14/11/14
Leatherhead Community Hospital have announced that they will taking 15 inpatient beds out of use from December 1. The hospital operators CSH claim that the reduction in beds is due to a shortage of nurses at the hospital and the costs associated with having to use an unacceptable amount of agency staff. Ten of the beds will move to Dorking Community Hospital and the other five will go to New Epsom and Ewell Community Hospital, which CSH claim will ensure that patients receive a better quality of care.
Cyclist Dies After Hit and Run – 11/11/14
A 31 year old man from Beare Green was left to die in the road after being hit by a car. Robert Worrall was less than 200 metres from his home in Highland Road when he was fatally struck near the Esso Petrol Station on the A24 in the early hours of Sunday morning. He was discovered by a member of the public at around 1.30am and paramedics were called, but he was pronounced dead at the scene. A 47 year old woman from Horley has been arrested for failing to stop at the scene of an accident and drink driving.
Student Badly Injured in Homophobic Attack – 3/11/14A 21 year old student from Leatherhead was left with substantial facial injuries after he was attacked on Halloween night. Robbie Kingsford was outside the KFC in Brighton Road, Surbiton when two men dressed in pink tutus attacked him without warning or provocation. Following the attack, the two men left on foot leaving Robbie black and blue and requiring hospital treatment.
Police Station Flats Approved – 31/10/14
Following a review by the Planning Inspectorate, a developer has been given permission to build 38 retirement apartments on the site of the old Leatherhead Police station. Mole Valley District Council had previously refused permission to Churchill Retirement Living, claiming that the project was too large and out of keeping with the local area. However, the planning inspector disagreed with the decision and now Churchill hope to complete the development within two years.
New Waitrose in Dorking – 16/10/14
The brand new 25,000 square feet Waitrose store in Dorking has opened its doors this morning to customers eager to see the new store. Despite the significant disruption caused whilst the new South Street store was being built, the supermarket hope that the store will be a huge benefit to other Dorking retailers and residents. As well as a much bigger selection of food and drink, the new store also has a café, juice bar, and bakery.
Permission for Biogas Plant Denied – 03/10/14
A farmer’s application to build an anaerobic digester plant at his farm has been dismissed for the second time. Laurence Matthews of Coast Hill Farm in Sheephouse Lane had his application rejected by Mole Valley District Council last year on the grounds that the plant would be damaging to an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty with potential for toxic leaks. The plant’s architect lodged an appeal with the Planning Inspectorate, prompting a public inquiry and significant objection from local residents. The appeal was dismissed based on the harm it would cause to the green belt.
Community Rally to Save Pippbrook House – 01/10/14Dorking residents and business owners have launched a bid to save Pippbrook House from developers and to keep it as a community building. Mole Valley District Council voted to sell the building last month on the grounds that it would cost too much to renovate it and make it fit for use. But the decision to sell the iconic Grade 2 listed building to developers has caused anger in the town and a public meeting to suggest initial ideas was well attended. Suggestions included a museum, theatre or wedding venue. However, the cost to purchase and renovate the building could exceed £3 million so funding needs to be sought and secured prior to the council giving the plan consideration.
Public Enquiry into Future of Leatherhead Police Station – 05/09/14
The future of Leatherhead police station may be decided next week when the Planning Inspectorate review an application to turn the site into retirement apartments. Mole Valley District Council turned down the application in February on a number of issues including concerns over the scale of the development. The developers, Churchill Retirement Living, appealed the decision claiming that the area was in desperate need of sheltered accommodation and that redevelopment of the brownfield site will assist with the council reaching its housing policy targets.
Five Months of Traffic Chaos Begins – 05/09/14
Motorists will face five months of misery from Monday when a major road is closed for emergency water main repairs. A 2km stretch of Pebble Hill Road in Betchworth will be closed until the end of January creating diversions along some already busy and overused roads.
Family Rescued from Box Hill – 22/08/14
A young family enjoying a walk at Box Hill had to be rescued by firefighters after becoming stranded on Box Hill. The eight people, including six children, has attempted to climb one of the steeper slopes of the hill and reached a point about 400 feet up where they could not climb any higher nor make a safe descent. Fire crews from Dorking and Reigate attended and carried the children to safety at around 8pm on Thursday night.
Fathers 4 Justice Campaigner Arrested – 21/08/14
A 47 year old man from Bookham has been arrested after setting up a camp on the roof of Justice Secretary Chris Grayling’s house in protest of the legal system for divorced and separated parents in the UK. Martin Matthews climbed onto the roof in Ashtead at around 9pm on Tuesday, setting up a tent and unfurling a banner that read ‘Mums and Dads Unite’. He was talked down by police on Wednesday evening and will appear at Redhill Magistrates Court on September 8 on charges of criminal damage.
Teacher Pleads Not Guilty to Sex Offences – 14/08/14
A teacher accused of sexually assaulting five boys whilst working at a school in Mickleham has pleaded not guilty to the charges. 34 year old Russell Monk was a science teacher and house master at Box Hill School when he allegedly assaulted the 11 and 12 year old boys on eight different occasion over a two year period. He was arrested last Summer after the allegations were made and will now face a trial next March.
Missing Student Found – 08/08/14
A 20 year old student that went missing for more than a week has been found safe and well. Samuel Trussler went missing on Wednesday 30th July from his home in Bookham after leaving a note for his parents explaining that he was worried about the results of his Computer Science course which he was taking at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge. He made no contact after leaving his house but was caught on CCTV at Bookham train station on Monday boarding a train to London. He was eventually found by police in London on Thursday.
Coroner Concludes Leatherhead Woman Took Own Life – 31/07/14
A coroner has found that a woman from Leatherhead had committed suicide by jumping off Beachy Head. 48 year old Angela Coughlin of Middle Road died at the notorious suicide spot on March 15 this year after falling 400 feet from the edge of the cliff. Ms Coughlin had a history of anxiety and depression and had also experienced financial difficulties.
Leatherhead Town Centre Gets £100k Funding – 25/07/14
Leatherhead Town Centre is set to receive a major facelift after the council pledged £50,000 to help with the project. Enterprise partnership Coast to Capital had already awarded £62,500 to Leatherhead so the total for the project is now £112,500. Exact project plans to allocate the money have not yet been drawn up, but work is planned for 2015.
Headley Court to Close – 11/07/14
The Ministry of Defence have announced that they will close Headley Court in the near future. The centre provides rehabilitation and care for around 20,000 injured armed forces personnel with state of the art facilities. All of the centre’s services will be moved to a new Defence and National Rehabilitation Centre in Loughborough which is costing £300 million.
Former Chief Executive of Council Dies – 01/07/14
The kind and generous man who headed up Mole Valley District Council for 20 years has died at the age of 80. Tony Huggins was the Chief Executive of the council from 1974 to 1994, having worked at the former Dorking And Horley Rural District Council for several years, and was credited with driving the newly formed Mole Valley District Council to excel in the region.
Violent Men Escape from Hospital – 27/06/14
Two men who escaped from a secure hospital unit in Epsom have been caught by police. 36 year old Jason Bratton and 46 year old Neil Emery who had both been detained under the Mental Health Act escaped from the secure wing of the hospital on Wednesday. Police issued warnings to the public that the men had a history of violence and should not be approached. Emery was found in the Dorking area this morning and Bratton was found in Aldershot at lunchtime today. Both men have been returned to the hospital.
Portas Looks at Leatherhead – 26/06/14
Self-styled Queen of Shops, Mary Portas has expressed an interest in coming to Leatherhead in order to help with the town’s retail crisis. Portas’ production company have appealed for independent retailers in Leatherhead to contact them if they would like to receive her help and advice and be part of a new television series. Last October, Portas visited Dorking to advise retailers on strategies to increase footfall.
House Fire Creates ‘Apocalyptic’ Smoke Cloud – 23/06/14
Residents in a Leatherhead street watched the sky turn black after a fire in a house created a thick cloud of smoke. The fire broke out on the top floor of the house in Church Road at around 6.45pm on Friday and quickly raged through the roof. Firefighters managed to stop the fire spreading to nearby properties and extinguished the blaze, but not before it had completely destroyed the roof of the property.
400 More Homes Proposed in Beare Green – 13/06/14
Beare Green residents are up in arms after Mole Valley District Council included a plan to develop 400 new homes on Green Belt land in the village. The site to the south of the village was included as one of ten possible sites put forward by the council as part of the Houses and Travellers Sites Plan. In addition to the proposed 400 homes, the plan also includes a new primary school, country park, doctor's surgery and allotments.
Crash Leaves Cyclist Dead – 11/06/14
A cyclist has been killed after he collided with a car in Bookham. The man in his 60s was hit by the grey Peugeot 308 at the junction of Lower Road and East Road at around 4.20pm on Tuesday. Police and paramedics attended and the man was freed from beneath the car but he was pronounced dead at the scene.
Elderly Woman Robbed at Home – 29/05/14
A woman in her 90s has been robbed at her home by thieves pretending to be police officers.The partially sighted woman was alone at her home in Ashtead at around 10pm on Monday when the callous thieves came calling. They made of with £270 in cash as well as jewellery including her mother's opal wedding ring and an engagement ring engraved with KMW 1946.
Conservatives Strengthen Council Power – 26/05/14
The Conservative party have increased their power at Mole Valley District Council during the local elections. The Tories now hold 19 seats compared to 15 for the LIb Dems. However, the biggest change was UKIP winning their first ever seat on the council with a win in the Holmwoods ward.
Planning Permission Granted at Cherkley Court – 09/05/14
Two years after planning permission was originally granted to develop Cherkley Court into a luxury hotel and golf course, the Court of Appeal has over-ruled the High Court decision and has re-instated permission to develop the estate. Mole Valley District Council gave developers Longshot planning permission back in May 2012 but campaigners claimed that the development would cause irreparable damage to the Green Belt and took the decision to the High Court, who sided with the campaigners and quashed permission. However, both the council and the developer joined forces to fight the decision, which could have cost tax payers over £200,000 if they were unsuccessful. The Cherkley Campaign and the Campaign to Protect Rural England intend to take the case to the Supreme Court in a final bid to block the development.
Former Police Chief Jailed – 07/05/14
The former chief inspector of Surrey Police has been jailed for two and a half years at Winchester Crown Court for a series of fraud offences. 46 year old Tanya Brookes from Godalming pleaded guilty to five counts of fraud by false representation and three counts of making an article for use in fraud. She had also been convicted earleir of twenty five other charges relating to fraud. Among her offences were claiming to be a counter-terrorism officer in order to get a cheap holiday to the Caribbean, wrongful damage claims against airlines and demanding refunds from high street shops after purchasing items cheaply on E-bay. In sentencing, the judge stated that he had to make an example of Ms Brookes as she was a serving police officer and the shame she has brought on the uniform could not be ignored. Her husband, David Brookes who was also a chief inspector with Surrey Police was sacked in April after an investigation, but will not face criminal charges.
Man Avoids Jail After Child Assault – 26/4/14
A 19 year old man has been spared a jail sentence after admitting to sexually assaulting a 13 year old girl. Adam Hulin of Hurst Lane in Headley admitted to charges of oral rape and and assault of a child under 13 by penetration at Guildofrd Crown Court. Although the charges carry a reccommended jail sentence, Hulin was given a 12 month order and ordered to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work a well as attending six community integration sessions.
Dorking Rugby Club Earn Promotion – 14/4/14
The champagne was popped and songs sung as Dorking Rugby Club took the league title on Saturday. After a superb season of victories, it almost seemed unfair that Dorking's championship victory came down to the very last game of the season, but the squad took the championship in style with an emphatic 76-0 win over Thurrock. Having topped the league for most of the season, several unfortunate losses in the second half of the season had put pressure on the side and fears of another playoff game had crept into the minds of the players. But having beaten title contenders Old Elthamians last weekend, the red and whites knew that a victory over bottom of the league Thurrock would guarantee promotion to National League Two South and they completed the season in style. Well done boys and good luck next year!
Runway Consultation Starts – 08/04/14
The public consultation into proposals to build a second runway at Gatwick Airport opened on Friday, giving local residents the opportunity to review the plans and to have their say. There are three options for the position of the second runway, all of which are South of the existing runway towards Crawley. Anyone interested in the proposal can visit the website set up exclusively for the process www.gatwickobviously.com and have their say on which site is most suitable, although campaigners opposed to the proposal are angry that there is not an automatic selection available to select ‘no runway’.
Armed Robbery at Curry Restaurant – 2/4/14
Staff and diners at a local curry restaurant were left terrified after a masked man entered the restaurant brandishing a gun and demanded money from the till. The raider wearing a black motorcycle helmet entered the Ali Raj restaurant in Newdigate just after 9pm on Tuesday and forced a member of staff to empty the till. He left with seversal hundred pounds in cash and police were called.
Tesco Descends on Fetcham – 27/3/14
Village retailers in Fetcham have expressed concern over rumours that the supermarket giant Tesco plan to open a store in the village. Just three months after Sainsbury opened a new store, Tesco have shwoninterest in the new retail space being created by the redevelopment of the Tudor Motors garage site in The Street. Retailers fear that small independent businesses will be put out of business and also that there is insufficient parking which will result in congestion throughout the village.
Minister Protects Green Built – 21/3/14
The Government’s planning minister offered re-assurance to people concerned over Green Belt development plans this week by issuing new instructions and guidelines to the Planning Inspectorate. Nick Boles has stated that the need for new homes should not outweigh the damage to the Green Belt and that the previously untouchable areas should not be built on to simply meet housing quotas. Mole Valley residents in particular have faced a nervous wait to find out how many of their beautiful Green Belt sites would be built on, and this news should mean that over-development of the district will not be a threat.
Babs Boosts Soldiers – 17/3/14
Wounded service men and women recovering at Headley Court were treated to an evening of entertainment, hosted by Carry On queen Barbara Windsor last Thursday. The wounded heroes were attending a film screening of Carry On Doctor at Headley Court’s in-house cinema, which was opened in 2012 by actors Nick Frost and Simon Pegg. Ms Windsor chatted to the patients and staff and answered questions on her career before signing a cake in the shape of her famous assets for auction.
Green Belt Consultation Launched – 27/02/14
Ashtead residents are being given their say on which sites are most suitable for development in their village. The Ashtead Community Forum has revealed a list of ten sites that are being proposed as potential sites for development and are inviting villagers to submit their views. More than 800 homes could be built across the sites, nine of which are in the green belt. The consultation will end on April 6 and then findings will be presented to Mole Valley District Council.
Village Misses Out on Flood Money – 13/02/14
Residents of Brockham are furious after the village was overlooked in a government list of areas to support with aid for flooding. The Environment Agency revealed this week where they will spend millions of pounds on flood defence measures, but claimed that Brockham's problems were unlikely to be solved with the proposed schemes. Many other towns and villages affected by the flooding of the River Mole have been given support.
Council Offices Should Be Demolished – 30/01/14
Pippbrook House, the headquarters of Mole Valley District Council, faces demolition after a report revealed that £3 million would have to be spent on the building in order to make it usable. The report by construction consultants Turner & Townsend recommends that the building should be knocked down, making way for a new office complex as well as housing and a hotel. However, emotions ran high at a meeting of councillors on Tuesday, many of whom do not want to see the historic 19th century building destroyed.
Floods Force Charity to Move – 24/01/14
A charity providing care for the homeless and unemployed in Leatherhead has been forced to relocate after serious flooding forced them to close over Christmas. Pitstop, who have been based at Leatherhead football club's Grove Stadium for over 15 years were forced into temporary accommodation on Christmas Eve after 4 foot of water flooded their building. Repeated floods occurred in early January resulting in the charity taking the decision to look for a different base.
Public Consultation on Green Belt Developments – 14/01/14
Mole Valley District Council have opened a public consultation on which Green Belt sites should be allocated for housing developments. The council have now published their list of 70 sites with potential for development over the next 12 years and are asking local residents to comment on which sites should be approved. The consultation will close on March 7.
School Building Destroyed by Fire – 06/01/14
A wooden building at the City of London Freemen's School in Ashtead was engulfed by flames on Friday night, causing it to collapse. Emergency services were called at around 10pm and despite the best efforts of eight fire crews to extinguish the flames, the building that housed the school's swimming pool could not be saved. An investigation is under way to establish the cause of the fire.
Storms Wreak Havoc Across County – 02/01/14
Families forced to leave their flooded homes, drivers fleeing their submerged vehicles, and businesses forced to close during one of the busiest times of the year have all been a result of what experts are calling the worst storm to hit the South East since 1987. Torrential rain and gale force winds struck overnight on 23rd December, resulting in flooding throughout the county. Many homes were left without electricity and Christmas preparations were either put on hold or cancelled altogether as friends and neighbours rallied to help each other. Severe flooding resulted in gridlock on many roads as motorists failed to make it through deep water. But despite a brief respite on Christmas day, there are still flood warnings in place as the bad weather continued at the end of December and into the new year.
Public Consultation on Green Belt Development – 20/12/13
Mole Valley District Council have announced that they will hold a public consultation to allow local residents to express their views and help with the decision. The council have published a list of 70 sites being considered for development in the next 10 to 15 years and the consultation will take place between January 10th and March 7th.
Woman Injured Falling Out of Taxi – 9/12/13
A woman has been left in a critical condition after she fell out of a taxi as it travelled along the A243 in Leatherhead on Saturday. The incident happened at around 7.35pm when the woman in her 30s fell from the car and sustained serious head injuries. She was taken to St Georges Hospital in Tooting and the road was closed for more than four hours whilst police investigated.
Body of Elderly Man Found in River – 28/10/13
The body of a Dorking resident in his 60s was discovered in the River Mole near Leatherhead on Friday. Emergency services were called to the scene in Thorncroft Drive at around midday and two specialist boat crews retrieved the body. Police say that the man’s death is unexplained but do not suspect any foul play.
School Joins Hands with Developer – 11/10/13
The Howard of Effingham School have announced that they have formed a partnership with Berkeley Homes, which will result in a brand new school being built as part of a new housing development. Berkeley Homes recently purchased Effingham Lodge Farm opposite the school with a view to building new homes on the 80 acre site. However, after discussions with the school, a larger development has been proposed that would incorporate some of the school’s land and result in up to 100 new homes as well as the new school and facilities.
Dorking Hospital Re-Opens Ward With Increased Capacity – 10/10/13
Central Surrey Health have announced that they will be re-opening the inpatient ward at Dorking Community Hospital with a 50% increase in the number of beds. Ranmore Ward was closed in June and all of its patients relocated to Leatherhead Hospital after fears that the standard of treatment was in decline due to staffing levels. However, a renewed look at treatment demands in the community has resulted in new investment for Dorking Hospital and the ward will re-open with 18 beds in the near future.
Car Park Opening Hours Revised – 04/10/13
After two months of confusion and anger regarding the opening times of the multi-storey car park at the Swan Shopping Centre, the company that operate the centre have reverted back to a midnight closing time. In July, the management of the centre decided to change the opening hours of the car park so that it closed at 10pm, claiming that it was under-used between the hours of 10pm and midnight. However, after significant pressure from the community and intervention from Mole Valley District Council, the car park will again remain open until midnight.
DIY Store Raided – 23/09/13
£160,000 worth of damage was caused when raiders broke into a DIY store in Leatherhead in the early hours of Friday morning. The raiders broke in through a window at the front of the B&Q store at Woodbridge Corner at approximately 2.30am. They forced open four tills in the store and whilst they only made off with a few thousand pounds in cash, the damage they caused will be extremely expensive to repair and replace. The burglary came just days after the Co-Operative store in Bookham High Street was burgled causing £3000 worth of damage and stealing £7000 worth of cigarettes.
Cherkley Court Battle Continues – 20/09/13
Despite a High Court ruling in their favour, campaigners are preparing to fight yet another battle over the development of Cherkley Court. Mole Valley District Council and developers Longshot intend to appeal last month's decision at the High Court to deny planning permission for a luxury hotel and golf course at the historic site. After consultation with their legal aids, Longshot and the Council believe that the judge’s decision was ‘seriously flawed’ and that the Court of Appeal will overturn the ruling.
Cyclists Return to Mole Valley – 12/09/13
Mole Valley residents will welcome back their favourite cyclists next week as the Tour of Britain comes to the district. World-class riders including Sir Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish will race through Epsom, Leatherhead, East Horsley, Dorking, Holmbury St Mary and Shere as part of the 96 mile Surrey stage of the event. Roads along the course will be closed for up to 30 minutes as the race passes through.
Teacher Jailed for Sex Assaults on Pupil – 10/09/13
A female history teacher has been jailed for four and a half years having been found guilty of assaulting one of her pupils. 57 year old Lesley Powell was found guilty of ten counts of indecent assault and sexual activity with a child whilst she was teaching at Box Hill School. Powell committed the crimes between 2002 and 2005 after she befriended the vulnerable pupil and offered emotional support.
District Poor for Apprenticeships – 6/9/13
According to figures released by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, Mole Valley is one of the worst areas in the country for jobseekers looking to start a career as an apprentice. In the wake of excellent GCSE results across the district, school-leavers will struggle to find employment with a company near their home. The figures show that Mole Valley businesses recruited the least amount of apprentices in the whole of Surrey between 2011 and 2012. The district was also in the bottom ten across England, with only certain boroughs of London showing fewer recruits.
High Court Saves Cherkley Court – 27/08/13
A High Court judge has ruled against Mole Valley District Council in their decision to allow a developer to build a luxury golf and leisure complex at historic Cherkley Court. Mr Haddon-Cave judged that the council’s decision to grant planning permission to developer Longshot was ‘perverse’ and ‘contrary to planning policy’. Campaigners trying to protect the green belt site have fought MVDC’s decision since it was first announced and were delighted with the decision.
Deal For Allotments Development Approved – 21/08/13
The controversial proposal to relocate allotments currently on Green Belt land and build 500 new homes on the site has taken a step closer to reality after the council announced that it had reached an agreement with developers. Despite a dispute over who actually owns the land, the council have agreed to sell the land at Barnett Wood Lane, if the government agree to exclude it from the Green Belt, to Barratt Homes. Barratts plan to build 500 new homes on the site but as part of the deal the developer will have to pay £550,000 to relocate the existing allotments to other sites in Leatherhead and Ashtead.
Controversial Building Plans at Primary School – 08/08/13
A primary school has caused outrage by proposing that their Green Belt land be sold to developers in order to finance the repair of the school. The Weald CoE Primary School in Beare Green need to raise £7 million in order to replace or refurbish their existing building. Governors at the school are working alongside engineering firm AMEC to submit proposals for the redevelopment of the land, which could see the school demolished and rebuilt with an adjacent residential development alongside a reduced play area.
Teenager Raped in Daylight – 23/07/13
Residents of Brockham Village are shocked and appalled after a teenage girl was raped in broad daylight on Saturday. The attack happened in an alleyway near Wheelers Lane between 6.30 and 8.30pm whilst the nearby Brockham Green was crowded with people celebrating at the village fair. Police are looking for two men in connection with the attack. The first, who is suspected of committing the attack, is described as a white man in his 20s with short black spikey hair and of muscular build. The second man, who approached the girl after the attack is a white man with blonde hair in his 30s.
Cigarettes Stolen in Garage Burglary – 23/07/13
Burglars made off with £7000 worth of cigarettes after the raided a petrol station in the early hours of Saturday morning. In addition to the value of the stolen cigarettes, the burglars also caused around £10,000 worth of damage to the roof of the petrol station in Givons Grove, Leatherhead. The raid, which took place between 3.45 and 4.20am, is the latest in a long line of similar burglaries committed throughout Surrey in recent months. Convenience stores are generally the target and the offenders are in and out so quickly that security measure do not alert police quick enough to react.
Vehicle Recovery Company Goes into Liquidation – 12/07/13
A vehicle recovery company based in Guildford, with depots in Leatherhead and Chobham, has ceased trading after suffering financial difficulties due to operating costs. McAllisters Recovery have operated in Guildford since 1974 and was one of the UK's first bespoke recovery companies. The company had a lucrative contract with Surrey Police for both light and heavy vehicle recovery and also provided support to Surrey Fire and Rescue. The company got into financial trouble in 2011 after opening new depots in Chobham and Leatherhead which put substantial strain on operating profit.
Car Dealers Arrested – 11/07/13
A car dealership in Dorking was raided on Monday following allegations that unroadworthy cars were being sold. The dealership in Curtis Road was visited by a combination of officers and staff from the Roads Policing Unit, the Uniform Proactive Team, CID, UK Border Agency and Mole Valley Safer Neighbourhood Team after numerous complaints about the safety of vehicles purchased at the site. 16 people were detained by police for questioning.
Villagers Consulted on Green Belt Development – 05/07/13
Residents in Bookham are being invited to give their views on a potential development on Green Belt land. Thakeham Homes are proposing to build a major new development at Preston Farm including 200 houses, 35 bungalows, a care home, 80 assisted living properties, a doctor’s surgery and shopping parade. However, the developer will not submit an application for planning permission on the 71 acre site until a decision is made on the usage of Green Belt land later this year.
Hospital Beds Moved from Dorking to Leatherhead – 21/06/13
The 12 beds at Dorking Community Hospital have been moved to Leatherhead Community Hospital after concerns were raised over the welfare of patients. Central Surrey Health took the decision to relocate patients after an increase in patients suffering from pressure ulcers and bed sores. The Dorking hospital has been understaffed for more than 6 months and, whilst no serious problems have occurred, the relocation is considered as a precautionary measure. The temporary closure of the Dorking hospital has sparked rumours that the hospital may be permanently closed, although Central Surrey Health deny this.
Inconclusive Verdict for Man Found Hanging in Woods – 14/06/13
A 20 year old man who was found hanging in woodland near Ashtead Station in September 2011 was not in a state of mind which would have enable him to end his own life according to the coroner at his inquest. Jonathan Stent from Skinners Lane and a former pupil of Ashcombe School had been discharged from Epsom Hospital’s mental health ward four days before his body was discovered. He had been admitted to the hospital after a series of suicide attempts but, despite two doctors disagreeing about his discharge, was allowed to return home 3 weeks later. Mr Stent had complained of depression and had a history of alcohol, cannabis and ketamine abuse. Coroner Richard Travers said that he could not record a verdict of suicide as he could not be sure that Mr Stent was capable of choosing to end his own life due to his state of mind and the use of ketamine.
Body Found at Box Hill – 29/05/13
A body discovered in the Box Hill area by a member of public on Monday may be that of a teacher who went missing more than two years ago. 58 year old Brian Hynard went missing from his home in Ascot on 1st March 2011 and his car was discovered in Brockham two weeks later. Two notes were discovered at his home that suggested Mr Hynard intended to commit suicide but despite a thorough investigation by police, his body was never found.
Conservatives Succeed at Local Elections – 08/05/13
The Conservative Party were celebrating last week after increasing the number of seats they hold on Surrey County Council, but many councillors admitted that they were nervous about the meteoric rise of UKIP. The Conservatives hold a huge majority across Surrey and increased their share from 54 seats to 58 out of the total 81. However, much of the talk was about UKIP taking three seats and the Green Party taking their first ever county seat in Redhill East. The Lib Dems lost 4 of their seats, giving them just 9 seats throughout the county.
Queen Visits Mole Valley – 05/05/13
The Queen and Prince Philip came to Mole Valley last Thursday to visit recovering soldiers at Headley Court. The Royals spoke to patients, staff and visitors as they toured the facility and grounds of the rehabilitation centre before they enjoyed lunch in the officers' mess. The new Jubilee Rehabilitation Complex was opened by Prince Charles last September and provides treatment for hundreds of soldiers wounded in action.
Leatherhead Football Club Miss Out on Promotion – 29/04/13
Players and spectators at Leatherhead Football Club were left heartbroken on Saturday after a home defeat saw them miss the opportunity at a play-off promotion spot. The Tanners hosted Faversham Town knowing that a win would guarantee them a place in the play-offs. However, the opportunity slipped through their fingers as they went down 1-0 to the Faversham team who were already guaranteed a play-off spot.
Crime Rates Down in Mole Valley – 26/04/13
Latest statistics revealed this week show a massive reduction in crime across Mole Valley, with the police force being praised for their commitment. The statistics, based on the 12 months from 1st April 2012 to 31st March 2013, show a 13.3% reduction in crimes reported across the district. They also show that total crime in Dorking reduced by 20% and in Leatherhead by a massive 29.5%. The total number of arrests in the district was 411, giving Mole Valley the highest arrest rate per officer in Surrey.
Success for St George – 23/04/13
Leatherhead celebrated in the sunshine on Saturday with the town’s St George’s day celebration bringing hundreds of people into the town centre to enjoy the fun and sun. Stalls were set up along the High Street and a huge roaring dragon was the magnificent centre piece of the day. St George himself was present to entertain the crowds and entertainers helped to make the community event a success.
Canoeist Dies in River – 17/04/13
Paramedics, firefighters and the air ambulance all raced to the River Mole on Sunday after a man was spotted floating face down in the water. The man in his 50s was spotted by members of the public at around 4.40pm in the stretch of river at Minchin Close in Leatherhead. Two local men managed to drag the man from the water prior to the arrival of the emergency services. Despite resuscitation efforts, the man was pronounced dead at the scene.
Leatherhead Restaurant Raid – 11 /04/13
A popular Indian restaurant in Leatherhead was raided by immigration officers carrying out checks on illegal workers. The Lal Akash Indian restaurant in Leatherhead High Street was visited at 2pm on Monday by officers from the Home Office and four men were arrested. The Home Office had received information that six members of staff were working illegally at the Leatherhead restaurant. Five men from Bangladesh were found to have no right to work in the UK. Four were arrested for overstayng their visas and will be deported. The fifth has an outstanding case with the Home Office and was ordered not to seek work until his right to stay in the UK is established.
High Court Injunction Halts Development – 27/03/13
A property development company have been ordered to halt all construction work at Cherkley Court until a judicial review is heard at the High Court. The injunction was served on developer Longshot on Tuesday, ordering them to cease all activities immediately. Longshot were given permission to develop the site into a luxury hotel and golf course last April by Mole Valley District Council, but the development has been met by firm opposition from local residents and action groups. It was the residents' group Cherkely Campaign, supported by the Campaign to Protect Rural England, that applied for the injunction.
Drama Fesival Appeals for Support – 21/03/13
The organisers of the Leatherhead Drama Festival are appealing for local residents, drama clubs and businesses to get behind the event in order to make the 10th anniversary the biggest and best yet. The festival, held between 6th and 18th May, is the biggest amateur drama festival in the country and attracts thousands of visitors from all over Mole Valley and Surrey to the Leatherhead Theatre. However, it costs around £25,000 to hold the event and after losing most of the council grant that used to fund the event, organisers are hoping that local people will help to fill the gap.
Women Told to Lock Car Doors – 07/03/13
Police have warned female motorists to lock their car doors whilst driving following a series of robberies over the last week. Six thefts have been reported where women were in their cars either driving at slow speeds or at a standstill and a man has opened the passenger door of the car and grabbed their belongings, including handbags and purses. The thefts have all been committed between 5pm and 9pm and the man is described as white, tall and slim, wearing a beanie hat and hoodie.
Allotment Plans Face Ownership Dispute – 28/02/13
The Leatherhead allotments that have been earmarked for development by Mole Valley District Council may not be legally owned by the council. According to allotment holders, part of the land at the allotments in Barnett Wood Lane was donated to the poor people of Leatherhead by a farmer in the 1880's so that they could produce their own food to feed themselves. However, exact details of this agreement have been lost over the years, bringing the current ownership into dispute and the single document discovered so far may not be enough to preventthe sale of the land.
Mole Valley District Council Announce New Budget – 20/02/13
Mole Valley District Council’s 2013/14 budget of £9,685,000 was agreed at a meeting of the Council on 19 February. It is the lowest budget since 2004/5, and includes savings of £691,000. The savings are a continuation of the last four years’ reductions, in which, through efficiency programmes and other saving initiatives, MVDC has cut the cost of delivering services by £3.7m. However, the council have voted not to accept the Council Tax Freeze Grant of 1%, or £62,000, offered by the Government meaning that council tax will rise by 1.9% - the first rise in three years.
Building Plans for Green Belt – 15/02/13
Mole Valley District Council have begun an analysis of the local Green Belt land with a view to releasing some of it for development. The council are under pressure from the government to find space for 2200 new homes before the year 2026 and are struggling to find suitable areas outside of the restricted Green Belt areas. Preferred sites for development currently include Westcott and Ashtead but many other sites are being looked at. Campaigners argue that development of Green Belt areas will blur the lines between villages and towns and will have a detrimental effect on local communities.
Boyfriend Jailed for Flat Siege – 07/02/13
The man who threatened his ex-girlfriend with a knife whilst holding her hostage in her flat has been jailed for six years at Guildford Crown Court. 31 year old Billy English broke into Terri-Ann Brady's home last August after their relationship had ended. He held a knife to her throat and punched her in the face before barricading himself and his terrified ex inside the flat. During the six hour standoff with police, English lit numerous fires in the flat, threatening to kill everyone in the block including a baby and teenage girl. The siege was only eneded when police stormed the flat and restrained English with a taser.
Council Offers Allotments to Developers – 01/02/13
Mole Valley District Council have upset over 100 allotment owners in Leatherhead by proposing that the land is offered to developers. The council have suggested that all of the allotments in Barnett Wood Lane could be moved to a larger site on the other side of the Leatherhead bypass in order to make way for a building development, angering holders who claim that their years of hard work will be ruined. Whilst the council have given the go-ahead to market the site, it does not mean that they are committed to selling it.
Ashtead Man Dies in Rock Climbing Accident – 17/01/13
A 29 year old man from Ashtead has dies after falling 300 ft during a rock climbing expedition in Scotland. Experienced climber Jack Wooding was with a group of fellow climbers in the Cairgorn Mountains when tragedy struck. The group had performed a risk assessmentof the climb and judged it to be an easy climb, thus electing to proceed without the need for ropes and helmets. After the fall, Mr Wooding was airlifted to hospital but died from his injuries.
Understaffed Fire Crews Risking lIves – 11/01/13
The lives of firefighters and people requiring the emergency service are being put at risk due to understaffed crews as a result of budget cuts in the service. According to a report by the Leatherhead Advertiser, fire crews were short staffed more than 40% of the time in 2012, with four crew members instead of the reccommended five. Four man fire crews are facing difficult situations when responding to fire emergencies as they are advised not to enter a burning building with less than five crew members and are advised to wait for the second crew to arrive.
Firefighters Save Christmas – 29/12/12
Residents in Fetcham have praised firefighters for averting a potential disaster after they saved dozens of homes from flooding. Houses in The Old Street had endured a nervous few days before Christmas after the heavy rainfall left them at risk of flooding, forcing them to use sandbags to divert the water and protect their property. However, the extreme rain early on Christmas Day created a knee-deep river that threatened to flood numerous properties. Having failed to contact the council, worried residents called the fire brigade who saved the day by diverting the flow of water and pumping the water away.
Ofsted Ruin School Christmas Play – 19/12/12
Hundreds of children at a Fetcham school were left heart-broken after their school Christmas play was cancelled to make way for an Ofsted report. Oakfield Junior School were due to hold their Christmas play last Wednesday and Thursday having rehearsed hard for their performance. However, Ofsted insisted that their inspectors would be at the school and if there were not classes to assess, the school would fail the inspection. Head teacher Rob Hart managed to re-schedule the entire week to allow the children to perform as well as accommodating the demands of the inspectors.
Care Home Plans Anger Local Residents – 22/11/12
A property development company have angered local residents in Effingham by submitting revised plans for a care home to be built on Green Belt land after having already been refused permission by the council. The Minton Group had originally submitted plans for a 72 bed dementia care home on land beside Church Street and Lower Road which was met with fierce opposition and eventually declined by Guildford Borough Council. The new plans are for a 60 bed home but, whilst the building size is less, campaigners say that it is still on Green Belt land and therefore not acceptable for a building of any size.
Private Firm Get Fire Contract – 26/10/12
Having closed down several full time fire stations and re-allocated emergency response responsibilities, Surrey County Council announced on Tuesday that it will hire the services of a private company to offer support to Surrey Fire and Rescue Service. Specialist Group International based in Dorking are experts in search and rescue and will be employed full time to support the fire service in emergencies such as underwater searches and cliff-side rescue. The deal was approved by the council's cabinet but was met with disappoinment by the Fire Brigades Union who claim that the money spent on the private service should have been invested in the fire service itself.
Tree Crushes Family Car – 14/10/12
A grandmother, mother and daughter had a lucky escape after a 50 foot tree fell onto their car. Vicki Ellis was pulling out of her drive in Headley Common Road last Thursday when the huge elm tree came crashing down onto her Landrover Freelander. Unbelievably none of the car's occupants were injured, although the car was a complete write-off.
Armed Raid at Jewellers – 2/10/12
Two armed robbers carrying sledge hammers robbed a village jewellers and threatened staff during a daylight raid on Saturday. The balaclava clad robbers entered Christianes Jewellers in Bookham High Street at around 1pm on Saturday and ordered staff to load jewellery into bags. They fled from the shop into an alleyway where another man was waiting in their getaway car. The two robbers are described as black, between 5ft 8 inches and 6 ft and in their early 20’s.
New Currency Proposed for Mole Valley – 28/09/12
Following the launch of the Bristol Pound last week, allowing shoppers to use a unique currency and banking system to purchase goods and services in the city, Mole Valley could follow in their footsteps and introduce their own currency to encourage local residents to shop locally. Although no group have actually volunteered to run the scheme in Mole Valley, many businesses are keen to explore the possibility providing it is administered and run properly.
Paedophile Jailed for Distributing Child Porn – 26/09/12
A 56 year old man from Effingham has been jailed for downloading and distributing sick images of children. Melvyn Douglas Smith was found guilty of five counts of making indecent images, five of possessing indecent images and three of distributing indecent images. He pleaded guilty to all offences and was jailed for two years as well as being placed on the sex offenders register for ten years and banned from unsupervised access tot he internet.
20 mph Speed Limit Outside Schools – 20/09/12
After a lengthy campaign to make roads safer for school children, all schools in Mole Valley will have an advisory speed limit of 20 mph imposed during morning and afternoon drop-off and pick-up times. Drivers will be notified of the reduced speed limits during the specified times by flashing orange lights below speed limit signs. It is hoped that all schools in the area will have the lights installed by April 2013, although all schools have the right to refuse the signs and reduced speed limits.
Tesco Granted Permission for Ashtead Store – 14/09/12
After four years of planning and numerous amendments to their proposal, Tesco have finally been granted planning permission to build a Tesco Metro store on The Street in Ashtead. The Tesco store had been fiercely opposed by many local residents, who formed the Save Ashtead's Village Environment to battle the supermarket giant, and had to make substantial changes to their original plan including building a much smaller store in order to get the go ahead. Whilst the campaigners are disappointed that Mole Valley District Council granted planning permission, they feel that the many unacceptable proposals that they prevented make the final loss more palatable.
Surrey Police Shun Outsourcing Proposal – 13/09/12
Following a consultation period, Surrey Police Authority have chosen not to outsource any of their services to private security companies. The original proposal was tabled in July when the annual government grant for policing was cut by 20% and reccomendations made that police authorities should outsource some administration functions to the private sector. One of the security firms pitching for the business was G4S, the security company who failed to supply enough security personnel for the Olympic games, which was a factor in the decision not to proceed with the plans.
Local Student Drowns on Holiday – 30/08/12
A 20 year old student from Bookham has died whilst on a family holiday in Malta after taking a swim with his father. Marcus Hughes-Hallett who was studying maths at Cambridge University had gone for a swim in the sea and entered a cave. When he did not return, his father alerted the emergenct services who brought him to shore. He was then flown to hospital by air ambulance but was pronounced dead on arrival.
Olympic Rings to be Removed – 24/08/12
The 7 metre high Olympic rings that were constructed on Box Hill to commemmorate the Olympic cycling event that travelled through Mole Valley will be removed next month, despite hundreds of people calling for them to remain as a legacy to the success of the event. Althought the rings look great from a distance, they were erected on unsightly scaffolding as a temporary monument and would be dangerous to keep in place, especially in bad weather.
Man Tasered to End Siege – 20/08/12
A 31 year old man had to be tasered by police after he had barricaded himself in a flat with a 25 year old woman, a teenager and a baby on Saturday. The incident occurred at the flats in Proctor Gardens, Bookham at around 6.30am on Saturday when police were alerted to the commotion. The other residents of the flats were evacuated after the man threatened to set the flat on fire and police spent 6 hours negotiating with him before breaking down the door and disarming the man, using a taser to incapacitate him.
Pub Burglar Jailed – 16/08/12
The violent burgler who had to be tasered by police when he was caught breaking into a pub has been jailed for three years. 39 year old Vincent Bennett was wielding a crowbar when police caught him inside the Bull's Head pub in Dorking's South Street and after refusing to put down his weapon, police were forced to use the taser gun in order to make the arrest. In addition to the three years prison sentence for burglary, Bennett also received an additional 12 month sentence for going equipped which will run concurrently.
Mole Valley Celebrates Olympic Cycle Races – 01/08/12
The streest of Dorking, Leatherhead and the surrounding areas were packed with spectators at the weekend as the Olympic cyclists sped throught the district amidst a constant barrage of cheers and celebrations. Cheering supporters lined the streets at every point along the route of the historic cycle ride and the crowds were praised for their responsible and good natured behaviour by police. It is thought that more than 1 million people turned out to support the cyclists, making it one of the biggest crowds at a sporting event ever.
Olympic Cycle Route Improves Mole Valley – 25/7/12
In addition to the huge anticipation and excitment of Mole Valley playing an important role in the London Olympics 2012, there are far longer lasting benefits to the district hosting the cycle event. The roads that will be used for the Olympics cycle route have been resurfaced, trees and bushes trimmed and pavements cleaned and repaired. Although all of the excitement surrounds the historical sporting event, the improvements will benefit Mole Valley residents for years to come.
Mole Valley Cabinet Revealed – 11/7/12
The new cabinet for Mole Valley District Council was revealed this week, without any representation from the Liberal Democrats. Following weeks of uncertainty and discussion, council leader Chris Townsend announced the new cabinet consisting of three Conservatives and three Independents. The new cabinet consists of James Friend as Deputy Leader and member for the environment, Vivienne Michael for customer services, John Northcott for planning, Charles Yarwood for communities and assets, and Simon Ling for finance.
Lib Dems Refuse Coalition Proposal – 5/7/12
Mole Valley District Council have formed a cabinet with just three members after the Liberal Democrats refused to join the coalition proposed by council leader Chris Townsend. At a meeting on Tuesday, Lib Dem leader David Preedy and councillors Phil Harris and David Howarth refused to accept the roles offered to them in the coalition cabinet. The only two councillors to join Mr Townsend's coalition were Conservatives Vivienne Michael and Charles Yarwood.
Three Party Coalition Council Proposed – 29/6/12
Nearly two months after the controversial local elections, Mole Valley should soon have a cabinet thanks to an inclusive proposal by the elected council leader Chris Townsend. No party won an overall majority at the elections on May 3 resulting in Conservatives and Independents uniting to elect Independent councillor Mr Townsend. Whilst the Liberal Democrats opposed the appointment, many party members have defied their leader David Preedy and are now in favour of a coalition. The proposal would see the six executive positions being divided, giving the Lib Dems three, the Tories two and only the leader will represent the Independents.
Teazle Wood Campaigners Succeed – 27/6/12
The campaign group formed to protect a piece of woodland have struck a deal with the owners to prevent the area being auctioned off. Friends of Teazle Wood have paid £175,000 to buy 44 acres of the woodland and must now raise a further £125,000 by the end of July to buy the remaining 13 acres. The group already have £38,000 of the remaining amount and are confident that, with continued support, their success will be completed.
Popular Pub Landlord Dies – 18/6/12
A pub landlord who had given so much time to raising money for charities in recent years has died of cancer. 70 year old Ronald Huddleston, known as Rocket Ron to his friends, had run the Running Horse pub in Bridge Street for 5 years alongside his wife Barbara. Mr Huddleston was well known for his 'larger than life' social skills throughout Leatherhead and regularly organised charity events in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support and Help for Heroes. He died on Saturday evening from Leukaemia.
Olympics Parking Announced – 13/6/12
3000 parking spaces have gone on sale for people wishing to watch the Olympic cycling in July. Mole Valley District Council expect Dorking and Leatherhead to be overwhelmed by visitors wishing tot see the cycle races on July 28 and 29 and have begun preperations to ensure that the district can cope with the influx of people. People purchasing car parking tickets will be sent maps directing them to their designated car park in order to avoid congestion around the road closures. The car parks are at Lower Boxhill Farm and The Priory School in Dorking and Young Street and St Andrew's School in Leatherhead. If you would like to buy tickets for parking or find out more information about the Olympic events in the area, please CLICK HERE .
Mole Valley Honours the Queen – 7/6/12
Mole Valley residents came out in force at the weekend to celebrate in style the Queen's jubilee, including live music and a horse-drawn carriage parade. Across the district, residents gathered to celebrate as a united community, with 100's of streets holding parties to celebrate the jubilee with their neighbours and much larger celebrations being held in town centres, where residents gathered to celebrate together.
Council Grant for Youth Centre – 1/6/12
A Leatherhead youth centre described as a safe haven for children, many of whom have difficult home lives, has been given a £25,000 grant from Surrey County Council. The BFree Youth Cafe, based at All Saints Church in Kingston Road, offers children after school care and entertainment, with free access to computers, video games and films as well as a comfortable place to relax and discuss their problems with friendly councillors. The money will be used to double the size of the cafe, creating more room for even more children to use the centre.
New Council Leader Announced – 27/5/12
Mole Valley District Council announced a new leader on Tuesday, although the appointment has been met with disappoinment and confusion by the opposition. Independent councillor Chris Townsend was appointed as the new leader after the Conservatives and Independents formed a union to prevent the Liberal Democrats from taking control. The Lib Dems were naturally disappointed with the result but Mr Townsend has vowed to work witht hem to form a 3-party executive.
Woman's Body Found on Common – 24/5/12
The body of a 53 year old Polish woman was discovered on Great Bookham Common last Friday. Aleksandra Miklas was reported missing on Thursday after a friend said that she had been extremely emotional. Her body was discovered in a wooded area of the common on Friday, although police are not treating her death as suspicious.
Drugs Scandal at Private School – 10/5/12
An exclusive private school is at the centre of a drugs scandal this week after police were called to deal with a pupil who was dealing cannabis. Box Hill School has a zero tolerance approach to drugs and as soon as a rumour emerged that several pupils were using drugs, they stamped down with an iron fist. The pupil believed to be dealing the class B drug to other pupils was instantly expelled and several other students who tested positive to using the drug have been suspended.
Screwdriver and Arson Attack at Pub – 7/5/12
A 35 year old woman was arrested after threatening staff with a screwdriver and starting a fire at the Duke's Head pub in Leatherhead High Street. The incident occurred at around 5pm on Sunday when pub customers had to restrain the woman following her outburst at staff whilst brandishing the screwdriver. Shortly after, a fire was discovered in the ladies toilet, thought to have been started by the same woman. The woman appeared at Redhill Magistrates Court on Monday and has been remanded in custody ahead of a formal hearing.
Developer Wins Battle to Build on Meadow – 4/5/12
Campaigners and local residents are furious after a planning inspector has given the go ahead for Taylor Wimpey to build a new housing development on Springfield Meadow in Westcott. Although the 14 homes that have been granted permission is less than half of the 34 Taylor Wimpey had originally planned, it is a huge defeat for Westcott Meadow Action Group who have spent two years fighting the development.
Bungled Bank Robbery in Ashtead – 17/4/12
Staff at a funeral directors in Ashtead were stunned when they arrived for work last Thursday to morning to discover that their premises had been broken into and an internal wall damaged. However, the intruders were not interested in stealing monumental masonry but had used the premises as an access point to attempt to burgle the Santander bank next door. The would-be-burglars broke in through the back of Alan Greenwood & Sons funeral directors sometime between 5.30pm on Wednesday and 9am on Thursday and then attempted to smash through a wall in the front office in order to gain access to the cash machine on the other side of the wall.
Councillors Overrule Planning Reccommendation – 13/4/12
Nine councillors have voted to overrule a reccommendation by Mole Valley District Council planners to block the proposed development of a luxury hotel and golf course. The report prepared by planning officers two weeks ago claimed that the development of Cherkley Court went against local planning policy and would be detrimental to an Area of Great Landscape Value. However, at a council meeting last week nine out of seventeen councillors, led by Councillor Rosemary Dickson, voted to reject the proposal giving their support for developers to proceed with their plans.
Mourners Gather for Teenager's Funeral – 5/4/12
Randalls Park Crematorium was crowded by mourners on Tuesday, there to pay their respects to an 18 year old killed by meningitis. Alex Bentley from Dorking died on March 17 after collapsing while away at Birmingham University. Having suffered from diabetes for most of his life, Alex was described as an inspiration and truly wonderful person by friends and family posting messages online. If you would like to make a donation to Alex's Just Giving page for Diabetes UK, please CLICK HERE.
Councillors Oppose Golf Club – 30/3/12
Local opposition to a development proposal at Cherkley Court has received the backing of the local council after officers submitted their recommendation that the plan be declined. The council planning committee will meet next week to consider the proposal for a luxury hotel and golf course to be built at Cherkley Court by developer Longshot. Campaigners claim that the development will have a detrimental effect on the Area of Great Landscape Value and Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Residents Furious at Rise in Parking Charges – 23/03/12
Residents of Church Walk in Leatherhead are furious after the council imposed a 75% price increase for their residents’ parking permits without any consultation or notification. Due to a lack of on-street parking, the residents have historically been issued with parking permits for the nearby Church Road car park costing them £200 annually. However, when the renewal notices arrived last week, the price had been increased to £350 – almost £1 per day.
Olympics Cabinet Members Sacked – 09/03/12
Two senior councillors at Surrey County Council have been sacked from the cabinet after it was revealed that they both had financial interests in a potentially conflicting company. Denise Saliagopoulis and Ian Lake were told on Tuesday that they were no longer required after it emerged that they were both directors of Charter House Chancery, a company that provides hospitality packages for large events such as the Olympics. Both have been referred to the Council’s Standards Committee although they both deny that they have done anything wrong.
Arsonists Destroy Garage – 01/03/12
An elderly lady lost priceless family treasures as well as £1000's of possessions after arsonists set fire to her garage. The fire was started in a bin just outside 91 year old Rosalie Ryder's garage at around 10pm on 22nd February. The fire brigade were called but despite their speedy response, the fire had already spread to the garage and destroyed all of her stored possessions. Police believe the fire was started by teenagers 'messing around' but are appealing for anyone with information to contact them.
Tesco Revise Plans for Ashtead Store – 24/2/12
Having been declined planning twice already and upsetting local residents, Tesco have submitted revised plans for their new store The Street, Ashtead. The supermarket giant’s new plans show a 10% decrease in store size, the store will not have trolleys, they will not take part of the Ashtead Peace Memorial Hall car park, put noise proof fencing around the service yard and have a local recruitment drive. Mole Valley District Council are reviewing the application and may once again refer it for public consultation.
Possible Charge to View Olympic Cycling – 21/2/12
The organisers of this year’s Olympic games, LOCOG, have revealed that they may charge spectators to watch the Olympic cycle races at Box Hill. Although most of the 250km men’s route (140km women’s) will be free for spectators to watch as they line the streets, the organisers have identified an opportunity to make more money at Box Hill due to the superior spectator views and the fact that they can control access to the route around Box Hill.
Woman Dies in Car Crash – 7/2/12
A woman in her 70s died after the car she was travelling in had a head on collision with a coach. The accident happened last Thursday in Randalls Road, Leatherhead at lunch time and the road was closed until early evening. The woman had to be cut from the car by emergency crews and was then airlifted to Kings College hospital where hse was pronounced dead on arrival. The driver of the car was treated for minor injuries and several of the coach passengers were treated for minor bruises and shock.
Pippbrook House Could Cost Taxpayers £1 Million – 2/2/12
Mole Valley District Council have announced that it could cost more than £1 million to bring historic Pippbrook House back to a condition suitable for alternative use. The building was leased by Surrey County Council where it was used to house Dorking Library until the end of 2011 and now Mole Valley District Council have had to take responsibility for its repair. Among the repairs and renovations needed are a leaking roof, damaged windows and chimneys, an abundance of rot and a requirement to treat and remove asbestos. The council are currently reviewing budgets and proposals in order to come up with the best possible option.
Tesco Revises Plans for Ashtead Store – 27/01/12
A month after Tesco withdrew plans to build a 750 square metre store in Ashtead, the supermarket giant has unveiled plans to build a smaller Tesco Metro store in the High Street. Campaigners have already fiercely opposed two previous plans by Tesco to build in Ashtead and, whilst the new plans are more in keeping with the look and feel of the High Street, there are still concerns over parking and the disruption caused by too many deliveries.
Drama Festival Loses Funding – 18/01/12
Mole Valley District Council have approved budget cuts of nearly £20,000 for the coming financial year which will mean that the popular Leatherhead Drama Festival will get no funding this year. Despite the shocking news, organisers have vowed to fund the event with private money. Other organisations that stand to miss out on council funds include Dorking Concertgoers Society and Arts Alive, who had planned to put on a street party during the Olympics.
Children's Author Re-Opens Community Centre – 10/01/12
Two years ago, Keystone House community centre in Bookham was a rundown building at risk of being condemned. On Saturday, the building was re-opened under it's new name Sports & Community Environment by popular author Jacqueline Wilson. The fantastic new building is all thanks to South Bookham Youth and Community Association who raised £130,000 to improve the building. More than 200 people attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony and the new facility was met with enthusiasm by local residents and community members.
Drugs Raid in Leatherhead – 09/01/12
A police raid at a house in Hazelmere Close in Leatherhead on Thursday resulted in them seizing a large quantity of cannabis as well as drugs equipment which suggest a drug dealing operation was located at the premises. A 20 year old man was arrested and will appear in court on March 3.
Mole Valley A Great Place to LIve – 06/01/12
A quality of life survey conducted by Halifax has put Mole Valley in the top 10% of places to live in the UK. Mole Valley came 25th out of 275 in the survey which takes into account factors such as crime rates, average earnings, population density and average rainfall. Elmbridge, which includes wealthy Oxshott and Cobham came 2nd in the survey.
Newspaper Editor Arrested - 22/12/11
The former crime editor at the News of the World has been arrested at her home in Ashtead over corruption charges. 37 year old Lucy Panton was arrested in the early hours of the morning last Thursday as part of an operation investigating inappropriate payments to police officers.
Policeman Bitten By Thief – 13/12/11
An off duty police officer was bitten when he confronted a man stealing a handbag. Detective Sergeant Kevin Selfe saw the man grab a woman’s handbag outside the Botan’s Kebab shop in Bridge Street, Leatherhead at around 10pm on Friday night. The detective chased after the man and managed to detain him, despite being bitten several times by the criminal, until colleagues arrived to make the arrest.
Hundreds of Christmas Trees Stolen – 5/12/11
Between 300 and 400 Christmas trees worth approximately £12,000 were stolen from Vineries Garden centre in Effingham on 23rd November. The thieves broke into the garden centre in the middle of the night and loaded the trees onto a flatbed lorry. They also caused hundreds more pounds worth of damage by cutting a large hole through a wire fence in order break in and leave with the trees.
Sources: Our local news is sourced from other local media and our thanks for their vital coverage of local events goes to them. They include but are not limited to:
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