Have Your Say

15th Feb 2017 Last updated at 11:55

Has the CRA Lost Its Way?

Having lived in the village some 12 years now, I feel the CRA has lost its way. Since the move to the Golf Club from the Peter Aubertin Hall, the CRA lost something. It changed from being a friendly local community association, to a more corporate faceless body.

The fateful decision to hold the meeting there and invite many non villagers, that resulted in a fiasco with non working microphones so no one could hear what was being said, and a subsequent vote for which I truly believe nobody really knew what they were voting for, that led the old committee to resign was a big mistake.

Then there was the demise of the road wardens, a valuable asset that made residents feel part of the association and the village, but no longer. The relentless pursuit of Cane Hill, which has done nothing to alleviate the traffic problems on our roads, makes it dangerous for the street wardens to walk the streets, so no wonder they were scrapped.

Was the move to the Golf Club a quiet push to allow the Golf club to build on green belt land? Yet again the majority in favour don't live in the village.

From the newsletter it appears the request to pay subscriptions through bankers order is not so popular. In this case, does the CRA really have a mandate to represent the people of Chipstead? The CRA was set up, I thought, to preserve the character of the village, yet it now seems hell bent on change, and not in my opinion for the better.

So lets move back to the Hall, make our roads safe so street wardens can return, and make the village what it once was. Object to any building on Green Belt Land (it was set up for a good reason and one that is still valid). We can make a start by not driving on or along the footways (which is illegal), and parking on the roads, slowing traffic down, and make it safe for the return of road wardens. Maybe the CRA could make a start and lead by example. Lets be a caring village once more.

Mark Wilson

 

The CRA has responded to Mark's email below:

 

Dear Mark,

Many thanks for your emaiI – I will try to address the points you make.

Having now served on the CRA committee for almost ten years under four chairmen, I think I can give you a reasonable picture of the issues involving the CRA over the last few years.

 As you know, the CRA committee consists of a group of volunteers who give up some of our spare time to devote to the interests of the village. We don’t think we are in any way a “corporate faceless body”. Moving the CRA AGM from the PA Hall to the golf club was done to provide a more comfortable venue for residents. We cannot see how this move changes the perception of the CRA.

 I assume that your comments about the meeting in the Golf Club refer to the General Meeting in April 2013. This meeting was called by the Chairman at the time to seek direction from members about how to respond to the planning applications for Cane Hill and Lion Green Road in Coulsdon. The arguments on both sides were advanced through literature, delivered to all members, prior to the meeting, at which only CRA members were allowed to vote. The vote indicated that the residents wanted to take a different path from that recommended by the committee and the next morning some of its key members decided to resign.

 The CRA committee was seriously disadvantaged for a time by these resignations and it has taken some time to rebuild our strength. But I can confirm that the CRA committee has been at full strength for over a year now and we have been most fortunate to recruit members with considerable relevant experience.

 In recent years it has proved increasingly difficult to recruit and maintain an effective team of road wardens which has led to reduced subscription income. So in 2015 we decided to switch to payment by Bankers Order and these are coming in steadily though at a slower rate than we expected. We agree that the CRA must have a mandate to represent the people of Chipstead and we are hoping to recover the membership of about 650 residents that we had previously.

 We do not agree with your comments about Cane Hill. This development will exacerbate our existing problems and it is right that we have consistently argued that its impact on our roads has not been properly assessed. The proposed Waitrose supermarket has now been withdrawn and had it been built it would have resulted in much more traffic through our village. For this and many other reasons, you are quite wrong to suggest that our efforts have done nothing to alleviate the traffic problems.

 More than anything else, we want our roads to be safe for all users, including cyclists, horse riders and pedestrians. In 2015 we were given a mandate by the village to implement a 20mph zone in Chipstead, and we are doing our best to achieve that goal.

 Our policy for many years has been to oppose development on Green Belt land. We would only support this type of development if we were persuaded that “very special circumstances” exist.

 So with the help of our younger volunteers we are now going forward with enthusiasm and clear targets. We are grateful for this opportunity to clarify our position.

 Barry Pepper

Chipstead Residents’ Association

The CRA invites comments on Forum articles to [email protected]

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