What we do . . .

Tongham Village Newsletter – what does the Parish Council do?

The Parish Council has continued to meet remotely throughout the pandemic period. Anyone wishing to join the monthly meetings is welcome and should contact the Parish Clerk (tonghamclerk@outlook.com) for a link to the meeting. They are held on the third Monday of the month. Meetings are advertised on the two village noticeboards, the website and on Facebook. The minutes, once agreed at the following meeting, are available on the Tongham Parish website, as is much information about the village. The url is: https://tonghamparishcouncil.gov.uk/ . There are no meetings in August or (normally) January. These meetings are also an excellent opportunity to ask questions of your Borough and County Councillors, in addition to your Parish Councillors. However the Parish Clerk (see above) is happy to respond to queries, with the support of the Councillors.

We look forward to seeing more Tongham residents at our remote Parish Council meeting and at our ‘in person’ meetings in the Old School Hall as soon as restrictions will allow.

During the months of restrictions we have all been very grateful for the continued efforts of local shops and businesses that have provided an excellent service and a lifeline for many. There have also been a number of well-supported initiatives to provide support for NHS staff both at Frimley Park and at the Ambulance Station, and other causes. Additionally a number of events held in line with social distancing requirements have taken place including several front garden parties with music provided by local DJs, all of which have helped to raise money – and the spirits of the community. St Paul’s church continues to be our local collection point for the Food Bank, which has helped many families and individuals throughout the area.

Section 137 donations
Over the past year the Parish Council has made a number of donations to support local enterprises and organisations which play a vital part in the community.
1. TWIG (Tongham Woods Improvement Group) received £700 to help with the installation of a fence along the A331 stretch making a barrier between the main road and the woods.
2. Tongham Bowls Club received a payment of £250 towards tree maintenance on their site.
3. Tongham Community Association received a £500 grant towards costs to become compliant with Government guidance regarding Covid (e.g. sanitisers, signage and so forth).
4. The Friends of St. Paul’s school were awarded £500 towards resurfacing the playground.
5. AGRA received a payment to assist with their fight for a judicial review on the Ash Manor estate to prevent building on an historic site.
6. British Red Cross were awarded £100 towards their running costs.
7. Stagestruck were awarded £250 to help with re-start-up costs when Lockdown ends.

The Parish Council also made a contribution towards a portable toilet to be used by the Cricket and football clubs enabling them to continue playing throughout the summer and autumn as access to the Community Centre was not available due to Covid 19 restrictions.

Investments have been made in other areas of the village including:
A new noticeboard was installed in the Recreation Ground Car Park area. Please contact the Parish Clerk if you wish to display a notice. Meeting notices and agendas are also displayed here.

A new Silent Soldier was purchased to replace the one formerly outside The White Hart. This one has been installed in the churchyard behind the war memorial.

The fencing along The Street between the shops and Manor Road, on both sides, has now been fully replaced.

A number of new bench seats have been installed in the play areas and the gate and pathway to the younger children’s area has been replaced and upgraded.

The Christmas lights along The Street, on either side of the row of shops, were increased last year to include 5 new motifs.

Although it was not possible to display hanging baskets last year Tongham participated in the Guildford in Bloom scheme, submitting photographs from across the village, and were awarded a Silver Certificate. This will be taken forward this year by entering again and encouragement is given to everyone to get involved wherever possible to add colour and interest to the village scene – and we have been assured that the hanging baskets will be in place!

Traffic
The Vehicle Activate Sign programme continues with signs being placed in strategic spots around the village in order to remind both local and passing traffic in all directions that there is a 30mph maximum speed limit in the village. Sadly this is not observed by everyone.

A planned scheme to add double yellow line parking restrictions to The Street was withdrawn after a large petition was raised against the proposal by Cllr Mel Baldock. An alternative traffic management scheme is now being considered by Surrey County Council. There is a possibility of traffic lights in the Street to keep traffic flowing both through The Street and from Grange Road.
Work is due to begin in April on the improvements to the A31/A331 roundabout and it is hoped that these works will result in a little less cut-through traffic in the village.

Recreation Ground
Although, following Government guidelines, the play and gym facilities in the Recreation Ground were closed during the first lockdown these have continued to be well used since then. Please remember to use them safely and carry hand sanitiser to protect yourself and any children in your care.

A major investment this year has been the addition of a purpose-built 5-a-side football pitch / basketball court in the top tennis court. The steps and handrails to access this area have also been repaired, and the surrounding vegetation has been cut back. A teen shelter and some seating are planned for later in the year. In due course, when funds allow, we plan to carry out re-surfacing works to this area and to the remaining tennis court.

A previous investment was the Outdoor Gym which consists of a variety of exercise machines for adults to use. If you wish to use the equipment please ensure you do so safely, in line with current guidance.

Sadly, the trampoline (well used by young people) is proving almost impossible to pump out due to leaves and rubbish clogging it up; the Parish Council are looking at ways to either improve this, or to replace it with something else – a see-saw is one of the suggestions, but professional advice will be sought.

There has recently been some maintenance work carried out to the wooded area at the back of the grounds to allow continued safe use of this area for walking.

Guildford Borough Council has decided to remove dog waste bins in certain areas. Those in the Recreation Ground will remain for the time being and will be emptied by volunteers from the Tongham Community Association. Once again a plea goes out to dog walkers to make sure they clean up behind their dogs so that the area can be used safely by everyone.

The Parish Council were disappointed to have to cancel last year’s firework display but are hoping that it will be able to return this year. The date for your diary is Sunday 7th November at 6.30 pm (subject to Government restrictions).

Unfortunately, as in many areas, anti-social behaviour has been a problem in The Rec. The Parish Council have sought advice from Surrey Police on this matter and will continue to liaise. The Police have requested that any and all crimes committed should be reported to them and this helps them build a clear picture of what is going on and the impact it has on the local community. You can do this by calling 101 or by reporting any issues online on Surrey Police’s website, www.surrey.police.uk, which will enable the Police to have a clear picture of what is taking place and when, so that they can take appropriate action.