Category Archives: Community

Windlesham Fireworks 7 November 2014


The fireworks display at the Windlesham Field of Rembrance was a huge success last year. Can you help out to make this year's even better?

The fireworks display at the Windlesham Field of Rembrance was a huge success last year. Can you help out to make this year’s even better?

My submission to Licensing Sub-committee on The Boileroom


Owner Dominique Frazer, Richard Wilson and Alex Wilks

Owner Dominique Frazer, Richard Wilson and Alex Wilks

Regular readers will be aware of the threat to The Boileroom, Guildford’s independent music and arts venue. It has been subjected to a review of its licence by (possibly) 2 nearby residents. After carefully researching the venue and the claims made against it, I decided to support the venue and write to Guildford Borough Council’s Licensing Team with my personal evidence.

You can read my submission here: Submission to Licensing sub-committee

If you would like to add your opinions, please email licensing@guildford.gov.uk

Click to enlarge to read the official notice

Click to enlarge to read the official notice

Save the Boileroom!


Yesterday, along with community activist Alex Wilks, I had the chance to look round The Boileroom, a small independent music venue in Guildford which is threatened with closure. The owner, Dominique Frazer, introduced us to the dedicated staff and showed us how they try to live in harmony with their neighbours.

Owner Dominique Frazer, Richard Wilson and Alex Wilks

Owner Dominique Frazer, Richard Wilson and Alex Wilks

I had heard about the threat to The Boileroom from friends on Facebook and through the local newspaper’s website. There is a massively popular petition to keep the venue open.

There are no other venues in Guildford, and very few in the South East, which provide opportunities for local aspiring independent musicians to develop their talent and play alongside more established acts. The Boileroom pays local bands to perform and is credited by the Musicians’ Union as being a vital part of the live music industry. The Boileroom is hosting the launch event for the Guildford Fringe next week. They put on events for schools, train future music industry staff and succeed despite their more commercial rivals receiving public money as subsidies. They have even won an award from the Noise Abatement Society!

Unfortunately, new neighbours arrived in the next-door house about 18 months ago and they are having a speculative attempt at closing the venue down.

One of the reasons given is that they are disturbed by noise from the venue. We had a demonstration of the sound-proofing yesterday. Inside, some very loud music was played on the speakers. We went outside, through heavy double-doors and it was almost inaudible right outside the door. In fact, the traffic on York Road is far louder and sometimes we had to wait for it to die down to be heard when talking. These doors do not allow enough sound through to be a nuisance. There is a locking system which prevents one door opening until the other one is closed, therefore it is impossible for both double-doors to be open at the same time. It was suggested to me that perhaps windows might be opened if it was too hot inside. However, none of the windows in the noise-protected part of the building open and there is powerful air conditioning so that is not necessary.

The list of alleged breaches of the licence seems to comprise smears and unprovable anecdotes. The suggestions of harm to children are totally made up. The complainants claim that there have been “allegations” that the venue was overcapacity when running an event for schoolchildren. There were no such allegations. Also, the claim that parents have difficulty crossing the road is untrue and the local school confirm this.

Unfortunately, the people who have made the complaint against The Boileroom may have committed an offence by knowingly supplying false information. The Licensing Act allows for high fines to be levied on complainants if they are not honest.

Click to enlarge to read the official notice

Click to enlarge to read the official notice

The Boileroom is a valued community hub. I spoke to a passing neighbour when we were outside on the pavement. He confirmed that Dominique and her team do everything possible to live in harmony with nearby residents. The huge number of signatures collected on their petition already shows what a strong following they have. It is a shame that the local LibDem councillor has not taken up the invitation, like we did, to look round the venue and see what a fantastic asset it is to the community.

It is very disappointing that selfish neighbours can launch this speculative application to review the licence and cause so much heart-ache to so many people. Regular readers of this blog will be reminded of the fight to gain planning permission for the Terry Jayne School of Dance in Lightwater. The Taleban try to stamp out singing and music, let’s stand up against their equivalent in Guildford!

Save the Boileroom!

Cookery Demonstration – Windlesham 20 May 2014


Cookery Demonstration

Who has taken Bagshot Library?


Confusion surrounds the current legal position of Bagshot’s small village library. Surrey County Council forced through its so-called Community Partnered Library policy against all public opinion. This means relying on groups of local volunteers to run the library after all paid staff are made redundant. The policy stated that if ‘volunteers’ could not be found then the library would close, so the new recruits would be forced to work for free to replace paid staff or face losing their village library. SCC admitted that this policy does not save any money, therefore it was clearly an ideological policy aimed at sacking public servants and then closing libraries.

There was a group of volunteers ready to take over the library. The Friends of Bagshot Library had been volunteering alongside the paid staff for years. Unfortunately, in 2011 and 2012 the then county councillor stopped all communication with the Friends. He also stopped attending council meetings after he lost his driving licence for an aggravated drink-driving offence.

In 2013 another Conservative was elected as the local county councillor. Instead of engaging with the Friends, he proceeded to undermine and sideline them. Local people were led to believe that Windlesham Parish Council was taking over as the so-called volunteer group. This turned out to be false. The new county councillor, Mike Goodman, is also chairman of Conservative-dominated Windlesham Parish Council and appears to have used their facilities for his personal project.

Surrey County Council cannot confirm the name of the new group of ‘volunteers’ which will be taking over the library from 7 December 2013. They also do not know the names of the directors or beneficiaries or their contact details. There is no official record of any decision being made to turn over the library to this group of persons unknown. There is now great concern that Bagshot Library is being appropriated by local Conservative councillors, acting outside the authority of the parish council and duping people into working for free for their own private enterprise. The councillors themselves are not thought to be library users.

Local resident and library campaigner Richard Wilson, who was the Labour candidate for Surrey County Council in May 2013 said, “It is now clear that the transition to a so-called Community Partnered Library must be halted until this legal uncertainty is resolved. At the election I pledged, if elected, to save Bagshot Library. I call on Cllr Goodman to tell SCC to remove Bagshot Library from its hitlist of libraries set to lose their librarians. Even at this late stage it is not too late to abandon this awful policy and save our library.”

Surrey County Council has already lost one judicial review due to this dire policy. They seem set to make further legal errors and risk losing a public asset which is more than valued, it is loved, by the people of Bagshot.

Invitation to Windlesham Society Meet & Greet 16 Nov


I’m looking forward to attending the Windlesham Society’s event on 16 Nov in my capacity as the Society’s Planning Officer. Everyone is welcome to come along and you can raise any planning issues, or anything else, with me, and the other committee members.

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Windlesham Field of Remembrance Fireworks Display 8 Nov 2013


It was great to hear about the Windlesham Fireworks Display at the meeting of the trustees of the Field of Remembrance this evening. It will take place, for the first time, at the Field on 8 November 2013 in collaboration with the Windlesham Village School.

The preparations sound amazing. The Field will be an ideal setting for the bonfire and fireworks and can cope with large numbers of people. The firm contracted to set off the fireworks have won awards and they are the best in the business. We will be providing marshals and could use some more volunteers. So, if you live in or near Windlesham and fancy helping out in any way, click here to get in touch to volunteer.

The money raised will be split between the school and the Field of Remembrance’s new pavilion fund. The fund is about 60% of the way there now. The demolition of the existing old pavilion will take place next spring/summer. The recent Carry On Camping event raised lots of money and other donations have given the fund a real boost.

Along with other committee members I will be going door-to-door in Windlesham until 16 Sept collecting for the annual maintenance of the Field. We discussed quite a few maintenance issues tonight like trimming tree branches over Kennel Lane, collecting dog mess, pond dredging and keeping the excellent play area safe and clean. My 3 year-old nephew visited recently and tried out the play park. It met with his unequivocal approval.

The Field of Remembrance committee are a dedicated enthusiastic group who are united in being focused on keeping this unique facility in great shape for the people of Windlesham, who jointly own it. I am the newest member of the committee but I can already see the Field is in safe hands. If you can spare an hour or two please volunteer to help out. If you can spare a quid or two please donate it to the Field (which is a registered charity) either for maintenance or towards the brilliant new pavilion. Remember: it’s your Field.

 

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