Leatherhead Edition

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Friday 10th June 2011 No: 16040

Surrey’s Newspaper Since 1864
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Firms fear parking charges will prompt loss of business
BOOKHAM businesses believe the introduction of on-street parking charges in the village will drive shoppers to other centres and take trade. A petition with 1,432 signatures was presented to Surrey County Council (SCC) by Bookham Retail and Business Association, claiming to speak for “all the residents and businesses” of the village. The document, which was presented at the meeting of the Mole Valley Local Committee of SCC on Wednesday, said all these people wholeheartedly oppose the introduction of the charges. “We do not consider a defensible case, based on sound evidence, has been made for the introduction of these charges,” the petition stated. “It is beyond doubt this proposal would have an adverse effect on the business trading in the High Street and Church Road. It will cause the displacement of business to other areas, such as Fetcham and Effingham, where charges would not apply. “Bookham functions very well with its current parking arrangements and nothing should be introduced that would alter the situation.” Charges will be for 70p per half-hour in top tier zones and 50p in middle zones. There will be half-an-hour free parking in some areas before the charges apply. The charges are already being introduced in Reigate and Banstead and Elmbridge, with a consultation set to be held in Mole Valley and other areas from September to November, prior to their proposed introduction. Among the many opponents to the charges are Liberal Democrat councillors at County Hall, including Hazel Watson (Dorking Hills). She was sceptical as to how much attention would be paid to people’s views in the consultation. “It will purely be about how the charges are going to be implemented and the level of the charges, when it’s very clear residents do not want them at all,” Cllr Watson said. SCC claimed to have listened to the views of people and businesses in revising the proposed charges in areas, including Bookham, where half an hour of free parking is proposed prior to people having to pay. SCC said its cabinet will review the response to the consultation before deciding which charges would be appropriate in Mole Valley.

Police caution for flasher
A 28-YEAR-OLD man pulled down his zipper and exposed himself to passers-by in Ashtead last week. He was walking near the railway station level crossing on Woodfield Lane between 2pm and 2.10pm on Tuesday of last week, when he carried out the act in front of the two onlookers. The man, who lives nearby, was arrested and received a police caution.

Wife guilty of killing husband
by Melanie Hall
THE family of a pensioner convicted of killing her husband by stabbing him in the heart have expressed disappointment with the verdict. Jurors at Guildford Crown Court took three hours to find Patricia Wakeford, 67, guilty of manslaughter by an unlawful act, but cleared her of murdering her 75-year-old husband Tony Wakeford. The verdict came on Tuesday at the end of a twoweek trial in which the court heard Wakeford called emergency services to her house in Norwood Road, Effingham in the early hours of September 4 last year. Paramedics tried to revive him after finding him on the bedroom floor, but he was declared dead at the scene. The Wakefords’ daughter Sarah Lee attended court throughout the trial and their son Robert gave evidence. In a statement, the family said: “We had hoped for a not guilty verdict. We would now appreciate it if our privacy is respected.” Prosecutors said Mr Wakeford, who had Parkinson’s disease, told his wife he had had an affair with her best friend years earlier. On Monday, defence barrister John Hilton said: “The word tragedy over the years has never lost its meaning or its impact. Thinking about it, pretty mean, selfish thing to do. It’s a great shame that he did because otherwise none of us would be in this court.” Neighbours of the Wakefords, on Norwood Road, which was described by one resident as a ‘closeknit community’, expressed mixed reactions. Commenting on Patricia Wakeford, one woman said: “She doesn’t deserve all the purgatory that she’s been through.” Another lady, who also preferred to be anonymous, said: “It’s really upsetting. It’s such a tragic situation and we knew both of them.” One man, however, said he was not shocked by the outcome. “I’m not terribly surprised that she was found guilty of manslaughter,” he said. “I suppose with murder it’s a harder case to prove. It must be difficult, but no, I’m not surprised.” Senior investigating officer detective chief inspector Chris Raymer said: “All the facts of this very sad case were put before the jury and they decided that Mrs Wakeford, who was her husband’s carer, was guilty of manslaughter. Our sympathies are with the family, for whom this has been an extremely difficult time.” Wakeford was remanded in custody to re-appear before the court for sentencing on June 24.

Store plans
THE plans for a Morrisons store in Dorking have been submitted to Mole Valley District Council. An outline application has been put in to the council seeking permission for the store and parking at the junction of Station Road and Curtis Road, in the west of the town. It follows a council decision last week to allow plans for Waitrose to extend the size of its current Dorking store in South Street.

Burglary appeal
A SERIES of burglaries in part of Leatherhead has led to a police appeal for information. The thefts happened overnight between Tuesday of last week and the following morning in Hazelmere Close and Kingston Road. Pedal cycles, fishing equipment and tools were among the items stolen. Anyone with information about the burglaries is asked to call Surrey Police on 0845 125 2222, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Bike breakfast
CYCLISTS are being invited to stop in to enjoy a free breakfast organised as part of National Bike Week. They can do so between 7.30am and 9.15am at Dorking Sports Centre on Tuesday June 28 or at Leatherhead Leisure Centre on Thursday July 7.

you may think that its meaning, a sad turn of events, is exactly what we have. “How many murder trials begin with the evidence of a loving daughter called by the prosecution where her mother is charged with murdering her father? Mrs Wakeford never intended to kill her husband. It’s absolutely clear, the puncture in the heart was very small.” Mr Hilton went on to discuss Mr Wakeford’s affair, which was alleged to have led his wife to stab him with a two-inch vegetable knife. “Why did he admit his infidelity?” asked Mr Hilton. “Why did he admit this, knowing what kind of effect it would have on his wife? “The only answer is he was trying to assuage his guilt, a

Simon Cowell feeds jackdaws at the rescue centre. Picture: Darren Pepe. (Ref: SA112956t)

‘Rescues’ of baby birds leaves charity facing overcrowding
BABY birds are being taken to a Leatherhead animal rescue centre when they do not need rescuing, its founder and director has said. Simon Cowell, who set up Wildlife Aid and also presents animal programmes on TV, said the Randalls Road centre was full to capacity. This is partly because baby birds from the corvus family, particularly crows and jackdaws, are being taken in when people have found them on the ground. In fact they have often fallen from a nearby nest and are fed by their parents on the ground, so do not need help, Mr Cowell said. “A lot of these birds are very family-oriented and are being taken away from their families,” he added. “If there’s damage to the birds, that’s a different matter.” People are urged to leave the unharmed baby birds alone and Wildlife Aid advises to take them back to where they were found when they are brought in. Mr Cowell said space was now hard to find at the centre, with badges, owls, fox cubs and fawns brought in, sometimes unnecessarily. He said overcrowding had reached such levels that Wildlife Aid would have to build a new unit this year rather than in 2012 as planned, and really needed a new, more spacious home. “We have taken up to 60 animals a day and call-outs through the night, it’s been absolutely flat-out,” he said. “There must be a philanthropist in Surrey who can give us some land. As close to here as possible as we have 270 volunteers, and their dedication to this place is amazing.”

Countryside project hit by threat of funding cut
OPPONENTS have voiced their views over a project that manages parts of Mole Valley’s countryside potentially losing its funding from Surrey County Council. The authority has said the government cuts have forced it to consider changing the way it supports the Lower Mole Project and two similar schemes in other parts of the county. Since it was formed in 1983 the Lower Mole Project has tackled specialist countryside management work in north Surrey, including landscape enhancements, woodland conservation and pond restoration. It works in partnership with district and borough councils and other bodies, and advises private and public landowners. The project has also built up a large network of volunteers which it supervises to work four days a week. Areas where groups have worked include Bookham and Ashtead Commons, Box Hill, Fetcham and Headley. The other bodies faced with a threat to their council funding are the Downlands and Heathlands projects, working in north-east and west Surrey respectively. The threat emerged in a Public Value Review looking into the schemes. It considered axing the full-time staff of the projects. SCC could also stop providing IT support, payroll services and insurance. It would affect fewer than 10 full-time staff but there are fears over the impact on the Surrey countryside as the volunteers are carefully guided by their expertise. Volunteer and director at the Lower Mole Project, Pamela Harwood, said she was “deeply concerned the cuts will slip through without anyone noticing”. An SCC spokesman said: “Following the cuts in government grants we need to save more than £200million over the next four years, and we are reviewing all our services to achieve this while delivering true value for money.” The council has said it is now considering the views expressed in a consultation which closed last week. A report will then be drafted to be considered by councillors at a meeting in July or September.