Events raise more unanswered questions
THE use of Newlands Corner for events has raised more questions than answers when it comes to who grants the legal permissions over the use of the land.
Over the past 10 months, six events have been functioning on the land within the Guildford area without the “received consent” according to the Save Newlands Corner (SNC) group.
This is known as commons consent and in a letter to Surrey County Council (SCC) from SNC it claims that neither the “council, as manager of access to the site, or Surrey Wildlife Trust (SWT) has sought or ensured that others seek, the required consent”.
In the list detailed, these events’ include the sale of Christmas trees, which included a sales cabin and caravan, a BMW motorbike dealership, Ride London, Endor Productions and a 100-mile running race along the North Downs way, organised by Centurion.
“It would be very easy to say that where ‘events’ have been held in previous years no one has objected,” the letter continued.
“But the fact of the matter is that virtually no one knew of the legal provisions and their rights to make representations in respect of an application.
“Their natural assumption would be that SCC’s and SWT’s actions must be within the law.
“It is only now, because concerned members of the public have taken an interest, that the truth is dawning.”
John Oliver and Sally Blake from the SNC group said they were both “concerned and found this incomprehensible” that allegedly none of the right legal requirements have taken place.
Under section 38 of the Commons Act it states “a person” may not carry out restricted works on a registered common without the consent of the Secretary of State, who has delegated this responsibility to the Planning Inspectorate (PINS).
Another point raised was in February this year, SWT installed six memorial benches, which are allowed under the legislation, but concrete plinths were also laid down and resurfacing of the common needs the correct consent.
An SWT spokesman said: “Surrey Wildlife Trust has a contract to manage the access agreement at Newlands Corner on behalf of Surrey County Council.
“As a contractor, the trust takes legal advice from SCC’s legal team with regards to events and activities taking place on the site.
“On the basis of this legal advice SCC has submitted all applications for commons consent, where required, for Newlands Corner.”
Surrey County Council has been approached for comment.
Paul Nugent, of North Downs Pest Control, caught a skunk in West Clandon on Wednesday. It is pictured here with an RSPCA officer