Have Your Say

14th May 2014 Last updated at 21:03

Comments Following CRA General Meeting

Following the CRA General Meeting on 29 April and the resignations of seven members of the CRA committee, the CRA has received the following comments from residents:

1500 miles from Chipstead, I have only an incomplete appreciation of the meeting on 29th.April and its consequences. I read of mass resignations from the CRA committee and Wendy Vaughan’s post on the village forum which refers to an aggressive debate. I have also read Chris Hayman’s e-mail to those of us who sponsored the alternative resolution.

I am assuming, rightly or wrongly, that the alternative resolution was passed.

 I had warned, before the meeting, that quite apart from the relative merits of both resolutions, there was a risk that the CRA committee had misjudged the feeling of the village and that residents were likely to be ruled by their hearts as much as by their heads.

 What is beyond question is that all concerned in this unhappy sequence of events had, and I am sure, still have the best interests of the village as their prime motivation. Nobody needs to prove this, least of all the CRA committee. Their commitment is beyond question.

 It is extremely disappointing that our differences could not have been discussed in a friendly and constructive manner and thus resolved. The result seems to be some very ruffled feathers. But is it not still true that those who have resigned or intimated that they will resign, have the best interests of the village at heart?

 Honestly held views, even if they do not find favour with a majority of attendees are not a sufficient reason for resignation when such resignations will do untold damage to the CRA and to the village. It would take years to replace your talents, experience and commitment.

 If you still love Chipstead, as I am sure that you do, then I would ask you to reconsider your decision to resign.

David Youngman


I have received the email which Wendy Vaughan sent to the village following the CRA meeting on Tuesday 29th April. I share Wendy’s disappointment that the meeting ended in such deep disagreement.

 I am one of those who did not sign the Gridlock Resolution (to “formally request the Secretary of State to call in the Planning Applications for Cane Hill and Lion Green Road and to seek the support of our MP and others for such action”) but I am very grateful to those who wrote and delivered it.

 The Gridlock Resolution produced an amazing turnout and all signatories should welcome the very definite interest that shows that Chipstead is prepared to take action.

 The CRA Chairman resigned at the meeting and subsequently six committee members have also resigned. So who will support the Gridlock Resolution and also ensure there are sufficient funds available?

 The Portnalls Road access to the Cane Hill Site is the most significant threat to Chipstead in my memory and I believe that one organisation should be formed quickly to combat this threat.

 I believe there should be a meeting soon, held jointly by the CRA and the CVPS (Chipstead Village Preservation Society), to amalgamate into a single body. This new body would then be able to use the skills and talents of all on this and on future occasions.

 As a founder member and former Secretary, I am aware that the CVPS is endowed with substantial resources. The two organisations acting as one body are bound to be more effective against the serious external threats that are currently being faced by the village.

 J Richard Haynes


The following is an email from Charles King, Chairman of the East Coulsdon RA, to Richard Wagner, former chairman of the CRA:

 I am very sorry that you and your fellow committee members found yourselves in the position you did at your meeting. I also believe that your resignation is Chipstead's loss and you have conducted yourself in a very dignified manner over the last couple of years and worked hard for Chipstead despite your illness during the period.

I would like to say thank you very much to you and your colleagues, especially Jill for the help that you have given us over the last couple of years. I believe that you are a man of principle and that you should be proud of that. I think the way forward that you offered Chipstead was the right one and one that Chipstead will regret not taking in years to come.

I wish you all the best and hope that you keep in touch from time to time and we will see what becomes of Cane Hill.

Charles King MBE

In the light of various emails, expressing views differing from my own, which have been widely distributed since the CRA General Meeting on 29 April, I thought I might try to give a flavour of how I see things from the other side of the divide.  I was a member of the CRA sub-committee on Cane Hill since its inception.

 First of all, may I say that I understand the frustration that many feel over this issue; and no doubt their belief that, had they been more intimately involved throughout, then we might perhaps be in a better position today.  I share that frustration, but not that belief.

 When we first embarked on this journey a couple of years ago, I believed that opening a Portnalls Road access was so manifestly unfair to Chipstead that it could not possibly succeed.  How naïve I was.  From the outset, we have had some formidable political opponents ranged against us – the Mayor of London, the Greater London Authority and the London Borough of Croydon - all anxious to get on with building much needed houses on Cane Hill, but not too bothered about the traffic implications for their own residents, much less their neighbours in rural Chipstead.  The various Residents' Associations in Coulsdon have largely been in favour of access from Portnalls Road.

 And who has been fighting our corner?  RBBC have been supportive and so has our MP, Crispin Blunt.  But what about our own SCC Highways you may ask?  Well their contribution has been to write some rather unhelpful letters and, when offered the possibility of £100,000 from the developer for traffic calming measures in Chipstead, responded that it was too much and asked for £95,000 instead!  And in the event, that contribution, which would have been enshrined in a legally binding S106 Agreement, was vetoed by Croydon.

 Well, the village has now spoken.  If those who opposed the CRA's strategy at the General Meeting decide to embark on a Judicial Review, then I wish them luck.  It will cost a great deal of money and, whatever the outcome, it will have absolutely no bearing on access to Cane Hill from Portnalls Road.

 John White

 We have received the following reply to John White’s email from Rosemary Selfe, who submitted the counter resolution proposing Call-In of the Cane Hill/Lion Green Road applications at the CRA General Meeting:

I understand your sentiments and appreciate the hard work that you and others have undertaken in this saga.  The crux now is that on Tuesday the residents voted, almost overwhelmingly, to ask the Committee which represents them, to write to the Secretary of State to request the applications are called in.  I appreciate that for you and for others who sit on the sub-committee, this is a difficult request given that your views are opposed to the outcome on Tuesday.

 You refer to the payment of £95k of which there is no guarantee.  Firstly, how do we know, without written confirmation, that Barratts will hand over this money?  Secondly, there is no guarantee that Surrey Highways will approve a traffic mitigation calming scheme through the village's narrow lanes.  The very people who use these lanes as rat runs are those who are likely to oppose any calming scheme.

In addition, we now need to fully involve Crispin Blunt urging him to call in the applications, high-lighting the fact that no environmental impact assessment has been carried out.

My wish is that the CRA can re-group and continue the fight.  I understand this is difficult but I am sure that is the wish of the majority of residents.

Regarding the Judicial Review, I am not at all sure that I personally would support it.  That is a matter for another day and another vote, and again up to the residents to decide.  It was emphasised on Tuesday that residents did not necessarily wish to go down this route, they just did not wish to close the door on it at this stage.

I am sorry for the position that you and other members of the committee find themselves in, but for the sake of the village that we all love, I think we need to consolidate, and quickly.

 Rosemary Selfe


Maurice and I would like to say a big thank you to all the CRA committee members for their commitment and hard work to protect our village. We are sorry that seven members felt they had to resign due to the result of the recent CRA meeting.

Hopefully Barratts will see sense and make an entrance and exit out onto the major road network rather than pollute our very beautiful and fragile village.   We were heartened by the letter Crispin Blunt wrote to Boris Johnson and look forward to a positive outcome for the village as a whole.

  Mary and Maurice Ashdown


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