Tales From the Riverbank
“Back in the 1960’s, driving from Sandhurst via Newlands Corner across to Croydon (don’t ask), I have vague memories of an iron bridge over some sort of water way in some place called Burpham. Many years later I came to live here and was delighted when I discovered a car park opposite my house with a gate leading into a field and a footpath heading down the hill. The walkways were in a state of disrepair, and it was quite a struggle to get to the tow path and walk along the river to Stoke Lock, (which looked like something from the 19th century and still does). But it was a wonderful walk. Since then I have strolled along this idyllic waterway many times.”
This was written by Jim Allen who has made a detailed study of the river. It was one of the first in England to be made navigable back in 1653. The River Wey Navigation plus the Godalming Navigation makes a 20 mile stretch from Godalming to the River Thames. For many years, the Navigation carried heavy goods by barge to London – corn, timber and gunpowder from the Chilworth mills and returned with coal and sugar. Eventually, the advent of the railways saw a decline in trade and the Navigation was handed over to the National Trust in 1964.
Now, the river has become a favourite place for people to walk, cycle and enjoy the tranquil peace of the waterway and its abundant wild life. Many people must have found it a wonderful respite from the anxieties and pressures caused by the Covid-19 outbreak.
But all is not well with the river. It seems to be flowing faster these days and there has been a great deal of erosion along the banks. Trees have had their roots undermined and some thirty trees have fallen into the river or been blown over by strong winds. The Tumble Weir at Millmead has collapsed. Drainage ditches have been blocked and no longer drain the land properly, which can lead to the danger of flooding outside the flood plain. If we are to retain the simple riverbank pleasures, action will have to be taken by the authorities. This means a co-ordinated response to maintenance of the river and the whole flood plain area.
If no action is taken, this pleasurable walk will disappear and who will answer to our grandchildren?
We hope that all of you are coping in the current trying conditions. Writing at the end of May, it is difficult to forecast where the country will find itself by July. If you are still needing help, please get in touch with the Burpham Support Group. You can phone on 07880 586455 or email firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact the secretary. All public meetings have been cancelled until further notice. We were unable to have the AGM in May but the Annual Report and Financial Report are on our website. If you would like a copy but are not able to access the internet, please contact the secretary.
Your Neighbourhood Forum needs YOU
The Burpham Neighbourhood Forum is a team of local volunteers dedicated to ensuring any development carried out in Burpham is done for benefit of local residents. The Forum developed the Burpham Neighbourhood Plan, the first of its kind in Guildford. Our Plan was adopted by Guildford Borough Council in 2016 and is now used by Guildford Borough Council and the Planning Inspectorate to determine planning applications and appeals.
The Forum continues to represent the residents of Burpham in a variety of ways, from monitoring (and if necessary commenting on) local planning applications, responding to consultations in connection with the Guildford Local Plan and other emerging neighbourhood plans which may affect Burpham. The Forum also keeps a close eye on strategic developments which may impact on Burpham, for example, the planned developments at Gosden Hill and Slyfield.
Some members of the management committee have retired and we are looking to fill the vacancies with new volunteers so we would like to hear from anyone who would like to join us. No particular technical knowledge is needed just an interest in the neighbourhood. Meetings are held approximately four times a year usually in the evening, with an annual AGM and some ad hoc meetings when required.
Please contact our Chairman Christian Holliday on 07879 423739 or email email@example.com if you would like to find out more.
NB The BCA and the BNF work closely together but are separate bodies with separate committees. The Forum is a statutory body; where there is no parish or local council the Forum can develop a Neighbourhood Plan. The BCA has no statutory powers or responsibilities and is not limited to planning matters.
Help by joining the Burpham Community Association today!
Subscriptions are £8 per household or £4 per single occupancy and run from January to December. Join now or renew your membership for 2020.
You can pay by:
Account name: Burpham Community Association
Sort Code: 40-22-26
Account Number: 41049194
To help the Treasurer please identify yourself using initials, surname and the first line of your address.
Please contact Liz Turner, our Membership Secretary, if you have any queries. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
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