Events raise more unan­swered ques­tions

Surrey Advertiser - - Front Page -

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

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