Latest News from the Bookhams Residents’ Association
Just three weeks until the Petition against a Village / Parish Council closes. If you support the petition but haven’t signed yet, please do so now.
You may also be interested in this story on Parish Councils from the BBC published on 23rd February 2017 and the impact on Council Tax: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-38827421
Many of you may have seen that a small group of people who are promoting the idea of a Village Council for Bookham (also known legally as a Parish Council although not Church related) have obtained the required number of signatures after two years of campaigning. As a result this petition automatically triggers a Governance Review by Mole Valley District Council (MVDC).
After the MVDC consultations there will be a referendum in May 2017. The question will be asked if we the electors support or oppose the introduction of a Village Council for Bookham.
The BRA Committee after considering both sides of the argument and listening to feedback from residents decided that the disadvantages significantly outweighed the unquantifiable benefits of a Village Council for the following reasons:
- A typical Bookham household could pay an extra £50 in Council Tax per annum, possibly more.
- Paying an extra tax with no quantifiable benefit is excessive and unfair particularly at a time when existing Council Tax is set to increase in the next financial year.
- All households will be forced to pay additional Council Tax, known as a precept. It’s not optional. (A precept is an additional tax, not a redistribution of existing local taxes).
- The precept can be increased without a referendum and cannot be capped.
- Approximately a third of revenue collected is likely to be spent on administration when compared to other village/parish councils.
- Residents may not be better served by more paid officers.
- A village council could undermine local initiatives of which Bookham has many.
In our opinion, Bookham does not need another layer of bureaucracy.
PLEASE SIGN THE ON LINE E-PETITION IF YOU ARE AGAINST THE PROPOSAL FOR A VILLAGE/PARISH COUNCIL FOR BOOKHAM.
Closing date for signatures – 13th March 2017. PLEASE ACT NOW.
The e-petition can be completed on line at:
The BRA views expressed here are intended to contribute towards the democratic process of the MVDC Governance Review and will be considered as such by MVDC. They offer an alternative view from others and the petition gives the opportunity for Bookham residents to show their support for these views.
Part Night Street Lighting To Be Implemented in Bookham
Streets in Bookham which are part of the Surrey County Council Part Night Time Lighting Programme will be implemented in February. Street lights in the roads listed will to be switched off between midnight and 5 a.m. Click here for a list of streets in Bookham.
Eastwick Junior School (EJS)
BRA response to the Eastwick Junior School Consultation on change of Admissions arrangements in 2018.
Out of a population of approximately 11,000 residents the BRA has a membership of 3,000 households which represents 7,000 residents i.e. approximately 60% of Bookham’s population.
Following my meeting with Chair of Governors, Mrs Liz McDermid, and Mrs Rachel Slater on 25th November 2016 and further consultations with interested parties Bookhams’ Residents Association (BRA) respond to the consultation as follows:-
The proposed changes in Admissions arrangements are that ALL children in Eastwick Infants School (EIS) have priority, after special circumstances, over applicants from elsewhere even if the other applicants live closer to the school.
Combined with this, EIS are also increasing their PAN from 75 to 82 so combined with the proposed new EJS criteria, the 15 places based on “nearest to the school”, which were once available to local children, reduces to 8.
This is at a time when Infant numbers are predicted to fall over the next few years in Mole Valley (per SCC Schools organisational Plan 2016). We now understand that the expected extra demand in Leatherhead & Ashtead will be met within those localities.
Whilst the wish for EJS to do this change is understandable in isolation, BRA has concerns that these changes and the PAN increase of EIS, at a time when there will already be over capacity, are overall detrimental to the local community in which EJS has historically been so supportive:-
a) Negative impact on other Bookham schools and indirect reduction in choice
This particularly applies to Polesden Lacey Infant School (PLIS) where if you want, or think you want, your child to go to EJS, then you will be heavily motivated to send them to EIS rather than PLIS despite it being the only Outstanding Ofsted school in the Bookhams. This reduces the “real” choices for Bookhams’ parents.
In order to fill capacity more places will be available for those outside the area.
PLIS have been threatened with closure in past low birth years and this could now be a distinct possibility.
The Dawnay will be affected by un-intentional consequences.
b) Over capacity and sibling effect
The extra Infant capacity in the Bookhams will be taken up by those outside of the area who will establish future sibling priorities at EJS (regardless where the sibling is at Infant school). This will further reduce places available for local children in the Junior School (EJS) which is also a feeder to the Howard of Effingham.
c) Increased traffic into the Bookhams
Increased movement into Bookham from either outside or across the village, will mean more traffic around the 3 schools.
d) Howard of Effingham admissions later on in education cycle
There is also a potential knock on effect to secondary admissions to the Howard of Effingham (HoE) as demand for secondary places is set to increase (per SCC) , peaking in 2023/24 (7years time) and declining slowly thereafter (excluding housing developments).
Over time, the result could be that the feeder schools, EJS & The Dawnay, have a preponderance of “out of Howard catchment” children at the expense of local children.
HoE has said that without expansion it will not be able to take all those in the catchment & those that will suffer will be those in the east of the catchment due to Nearest Alternative School. So based on current HoE criteria, if you live in the east of the catchment & are not in a feeder school, you have less chance of getting a place than those that do.
David Cox OBE – BRA Education portfolio.
National Trust volunteers clear drainage channel
At the request of Michael Agius, BRA’s Vice Chair and Infrastructure lead, volunteers from the National Trust have started clearing overgrown vegetation in the drainage channel that runs from Sole Farm Road down to Foxglove Cottage. This was causing a blockage in the drainage channel which in turn was contributing to flooding problems in Little Bookham Street. Another example of local people contributing to the wellbeing of the village.