Have Your Say13th Dec 2016 Last updated at 12:44
Jenny Graves on Traffic Calming
Hazelwood Lane resident Jenny Graves has written to the chairmen of both the CRA and CVPS expressing her views on property development and traffic calming in Chipstead. This letter raises important issues for the village and Jenny has agreed to have her letter posted on the Chipstead website. Jenny’s letter together with the joint reply from the CRA and CVPS can be read here:
WHAT CAN BE DONE TO PRESERVE CHIPSTEAD AS A UNIQUE VILLAGE SITUATED IN AN AREA OF OUTSTANDING NATURAL BEAUTY?
It is sometime since, on behalf of the residents of Hazelwood Lane, I presented a petition at an AGM requesting the CRA to examine measures which would reduce the speed and volume of traffic in the lane,The petition was graciously received by the then chairman, Peter Morley. That evening Richard Wagner took over the chairmanship.
Richard came to see me within two days and promised an initiative from the CRA. He invited myself and Caroline Kearney to attend a CRA meeting to present our views about the traffic problems as we saw them. We were not invited to remain after delivering our piece. Caroline and I felt that while some of the committee were sympathetic to our ideas we received a steely resistance to many suggestions from some members the CRA. We were not privy to the Minutes of the meeting so have no idea what was discussed but a few days later I was asked to join a group chaired by Harvey May.
I joined Harvey's group and endeavored to show my friends in the lane that we were trying very hard to achieve a plan of action that could eventually be discussed by the WHOLE VILLAGE COMMUNITY. A year was spent on this plan but the problem of Cane Hill reared and Harvey's report on traffic in Chipstead was not comprehensively examined by the villagers.
During the succeeding years the traffic in Hazelwood Lane has got worse. I have remained optimistic that a sensible scheme would emerge. I understand a traffic survey has been taken and as a result Surrey C C indicated that there would be no objection to a twenty mile speed limit in Hazelwood and Doghurst Lanes if the residents of Chipstead were happy. I am totally baffled why nothing seems to have happened. I would like the CRA to tell me why we are at a STANDSTILL!!!!
I am a member of the CVPS and I thought that its aim was to prevent anything unattractive happening to Chipstead. I am not sure that I understand what the CVPS sees as its major priorities in preserving Chipstead. I fully appreciate that certain areas of land have been preserved for recreational enjoyment but I believe their brief should be more substantial. At one time Chipstead had kudos, where houses sold at rates on a par with Kingswood and Reigate.
The several "for sale" boards in Hazelwood Lane indicate that something significant is happening to house sales in Chipstead. Large hilly gardens, lack of main water drainage, maintenance requirements on older properties, lack of parking facilities at the shops and station and even Brexit may all be reasons of difficulty when selling, but overall I believe it is because the volume and speed of traffic passing through the village is a deterrent. Older people find walking through the village dangerous and young children have become dependent on parents driving them just a few yards instead of children cycling or walking to friends or clubs.
Smaller dwellings are urgently sought by Chipstead residents who would like to down size without moving away. For this reason alone I do not see development as a bad thing. Reigate and Banstead Council should encourage small property development. Sadly, when R and B object to large detached house development they are over ruled at appeal when the developers engage top class lawyers. Developers look at profit margins rather than what is beneficial to the community. If R & B Council could be persuaded to have a strategy about development in Chipstead with small house developments and traffic calming then something of a village could be brought back to life and even the old large houses might start to sell again.
At present Chipstead Is semi rural and eventually if something is not done it will become a suburb of Croydon. Large modem house behind gates will become the norm and everyone will drive through the village instead of walking anywhere. It must not be forgotten what the landowners of Chipstead did at the start of the last century when they put restrictions on land developments. None of the large attractive houses would have been built without these measures.
Barratt have a moral duty to aid traffic calming throughout the village and I have no idea what they have either offered or been requested to do. I suspect that they only answer to Croydon because I have not heard of any help that Chipstead is going to receive.
Simply opposing all development and then subsequently losing on appeal is a simple waste of time by the CRA. Their thoughts need to be much more adventurous and they need to co-operate with the CVPS.
I am writing this letter out of almost tiresome frustration because I feel that Chipstead residents have never motivated themselves into protecting their area. They must wake up to the fact that some of them may make a lot of money selling off spare land while others see their property values drop. New houses sell to incomers because NEW appeals, but with good planning the older quality homes may once again become attractive and add to the general attractiveness of Chipstead.
Thank you for your recent letter concerning the need for traffic calming measures in the village.
Firstly we would like to say that your personal effort and contribution over recent years has been very much appreciated. Your input to Harvey’s committee was invaluable. You have been an excellent spokesperson for all residents in Hazelwood Lane and the polite notices that you have recently had erected in your front garden are a good example of your ongoing commitment, energy and willingness to make a positive contribution. Thank you.
The problem of the speed and volume of traffic passing through the village has been with us for many years. The CRA has consistently tried to address andmitigate the problem but, as you will know from your time on Harvey’s committee, there are no easy answers. The debacle of the pinch point in the High Road set back progress and left a legacy of acrimony between the CRA and the highway authority, which lasted for a few years. Nevertheless considerable progress has now been achieved.
We disagree with your suggestion that “Harvey’s report” on traffic was not followed up. In fact, on the basis of Harvey’s report, The Stilwell Partnership prepared traffic calming proposals that were put to the village through a public consultation process in the summer of 2013 and the concept of a 20mph zone was accepted by more than 90% of respondents. This was an important and essential milestone and one that has guided all our efforts ever since.
During the latter half of 2013 and throughout 2014 further progress was frustrated, firstly by Surrey County Council’s reluctance to consider a 20mph zone controlled by average speed cameras and later by resignations from the CRA committee and a difficulty in finding someone to take forward the highway and traffic portfolio.
The proposed developments in Coulsdon, including Cane Hill and the Waitrose supermarket in Lion Green Road have indeed, as you suggest, played their part. These schemes had the ability to significantly increase the volume of traffic passing through the village. The CRA has consistently opposed them and the Judicial Reviews that it launched have resulted in the Waitrose scheme being withdrawn and the impact of the Cane Hill development being substantially delayed.
In the summer of 2015, Peter Jarvis was invited to join the CRA committee and take on the highway and traffic portfolio. The Stilwell Partnership was commissioned to undertake a comprehensive traffic survey and the results of this survey are now being used to pursue the goal of a 20mph zone, as described in the CRA’s recent newsletter (No. 86). It is hoped that later this year Surrey CC’s Local Committee will discuss and approve a proposal to change the speed limit in Hazelwood Lane to 20mph.
Turning now to the question of the respective roles of the CRA and the CVPS, it has always been the case that the CRA deals with traffic problems, speed restrictions and other highway matters. The CVPS, on the other hand, is dedicated to the preservation of Chipstead’s environment, buildings and amenities that contribute to the quality of life in the village. Notwithstanding this, the CVPS has been a consistent supporter of the CRA’s efforts in regard to traffic calming and, indeed when it was able to, it made a 50% contribution towards the professional fees involved.
As for the future, the CRA’s efforts are currently being hampered by a lack of funds. Only a few thousand pounds are required to prepare an updated set of traffic calming proposals for the High Road, Coulsdon Lane and How Lane and for these to be presented at a further public consultation but even this appears to be beyond the resources of the CRA and CVPS. It is likely, therefore, that some fundraising in the village will be necessary and so we will have to put to the test your suggestion that Chipstead residents may not be sufficiently motivated to protect what they currently enjoy.
You raise two other points regarding the priorities of the CVPS and the need for smaller dwellings in the village. Let me first say that we work very closely with the CVPS and one of their elected members sits on our committee. I have spoken to Simon Kolesar, their Chairman and he confirms that, in addition to the obligations under their constitution, their current priorities are the maintenance of their land holding and where possible work to other parts of the village when funds permit e.g. the provision of posts on Vincent's Green and tidying up Fair Green opposite the cricket ground.
You also mention the need for smaller dwellings in Chipstead. This is very timely because both ourselves and the CVPS have recently been consulted by Reigate & Banstead Borough Council regarding their Local Development Plan. You will see a summary of our submission in the next edition of the Newsletter. I understand that the CVPS have, separately, made your point regarding the desirability of having more smaller dwellings in Chipstead rather than the mansions that appear to get planning permission.
We hope that this letter has helped to confirm that both the CRA and CVPS are committed to implementing appropriate traffic calming measures in the village and to explain some of the apparent lack of progress over the last three years.
With best wishes and thanks for your valuable contributions.
Dan Merriman, Chairman, Chipstead Residents’ Association
Simon Kolesar, Chairman, ChipsteadVillage Preservation Society