Monday, February 01, 2010

Stop Press

  • Plans unveiled for The Square as part of "Shabby to Smart"
  • Membership of The Caterham Community Partnership opens for £5 year. ( Ex ABC). Come and join us.
  • £200,000 plus of grants secured to improve Valley and Hill shopping areas
  • Shop Smart Expands - Our local shopping and business loyalty scheme with Caterham Business Partnership
  • New projects include ideas for Soper Hall, plus old Rose and Young site.
  • ARC reopens in February. Congratulations to them!

Caterham secures £210,000 for projects, via Surrey Rural Towns Partnership & SEEDA. 

"Shabby to Smart" begins.
The S2S ( Shabby to Smart) initiative involves a range of street furniture and other items, in key areas of both Hill and Valley. Bins, planters, signs, railings & seats are part of the programme and will be replaced or refurbished. The exercise is the result of a team working on details with different groups for the last two years. This part of the scheme is beginning in the first quarter of 2010 and some railings are already being repainted. The team working on this includes residents, businesses, plus Officers and Councillors from the Tandridge District & Caterham Hill and Valley Parish Councils. Pamela Cosgrove and Nigel Wilkinson are leading this group, supported by Scott Coughlan at Tandridge DC.

A second part of this exercise is a pilot scheme, working closely with Surrey County Council Highways department, for an upgrade around The Square in the Valley. This will involve:
  • the removal of some of the railings
  • the installation of new planters; and
  • other measures to make the area more attractive
The scheme will make the focal point of the Valley less cluttered whilst maintaining a high level of public safety. Details are planned to be exhibited in the two Caterham libraries in February and the work is scheduled to take place from the middle of next year. Random Greenway(Architects), is assisting the Partnership and Surrey Highways with this project.

A link to a separate page, where you can also provide your feedback is here.

Membership opens at just £5 per year of Caterham Community Partnership. Join and be a part of this influential group for Caterham.

The ABC volunteer organisation became a more formal legal entity, in order to bid for and receive grants for Caterham. It is now "The Caterham Community Partnership Ltd" and will continue ABC's work and retain use of the ABC title. A board of ten directors has been formed, 8 of whom are residents, local business people, or representatives of other community organisations. The other two directors are Councillors; Sally Marks from Surrey and Michael Cooper from Tandridge. A larger management committee, involves up to 20 people from many aspects of life in Caterham, including representation from both Hill and Valley Parishes. The AGM is in March and will includes reelection of all directors to serve on its board. This presents an opportunity for new people, not only to join but to become one of the directors. Existing directors are eligible for re-election too.

Throughout the community we have received much support and help, including that from many councillors in parish, district and county councils and significant assistance from officers. It's already been a partnership and that is the intended style going forward too.

A vote of thanks too for all the press help we have had, from Julia at The Caterham Independent particularly but also from the County Border News, Caterham Link, Caterham Mirror and Advertiser and the Tandridge Chronicle.

Join on-line by completing the form here. A confirmation and an invoice will be sent to you. Forms will also be available in the local libraries during the display for "The Square"

Shop Smart . Our local loyalty scheme, now involves 47 shops and over 1,800 local people as members. It includes a new town web site providing information on all the shops and their offers.

The Caterham Business Partnership and ABC Chair Chris Windridge, have worked to launch the scheme, which offers members a range of loyalty incentives to shop or trade locally. The first part of the scheme was to get shops in any of the various locations around the town, plus membership up and running, which has been successfully achieved. A second part of the initiative will now be opened up for any Caterham Business to be registered on the site with their details and participate in the overall loyalty scheme.

Andrew Browne, Marc Hansen and Chris Windridge have taken the lead with an expanding group. Peter Ainsworth has been very supportive. Anyone interested to join as a retailer, business or service provider should contact The scheme has sparked interest from places outside Caterham wishing to host similar initiatives. Part of the new SEEDA funding (£10,000), will be available to help with the web site, communications and to create some marketing and business development sessions for participating organisations.

Some good news - we now have fewer empty shops than at any time over the last two years. Latest shops to open include The Treasure Chest in the Valley and Amazing Glazing ( a pottery and craft shop) in Westway. Cafe Nero opened in Godstone Road just before Christmas and a new ladies fashion shop will operate from the new building opposite The Valley Pub.

Other News.

Festive Snow brought to Valley Centre on Dec 5th & 12th.
Caterham Valley Business Partnership brought "Early" snow to Caterham using some film set snow machines, to bring a festive touch to shopping on two Saturdays prior to Christmas. Contact Andrew Browne for further detail and the machines are available for other events at reasonable cost.

Youth initiatives. A new scheme will open in 8 Godstone Road shortly and other projects are active. A youth section to open on these pages soon.

The second Caterham Festival is on its way for this summer, an idea which was spun out from our original healthcheck exercise as ABC and one we are happy to continue to support with others. Andy Parr chairs this group, helped by Barbara Brunsdon and many others. This group is independently funded and managed. Andy Parr has also become a director of the Caterham Community Partnership Ltd.

The ARC reopens. Congratulations to Dick Moran and his team for overcoming the various obstacles. It reopens on Feburary 13th. A fund raising Sinatra lunch is on Sun 21st Febuary.

Shop Smart is expanding to include other businesses. Contact Chris Windridge for further detail.

New projects under review.
Teams have been formed to look at ideas and gather background information for two projects, i.e. the Soper Hall and the old Rose & Young building. It's too early to release information, however if you have expertise or a particular interest do please make contact via the chair, Chris Windridge.

General contact point:

Chairman's report from April 2009
Chris Windridge

ABC is near the end of the first phase of its life, so I thought I would take a few moments to summarise what we have achieved and what is planned to happen next. ABC has been in existence for three years now and you might wonder what if anything, will happen as a result.

Status April 2009:

Quantified the views of and reached 2,000 people.

Background research to support people's views and issues raised was completed.

Volunteer sessions completed to identify the major issues and ideas.

Raised funds from The Lottery, DEFRA(SCA), AMT Market Town Awards, Parishes & Round Table. (£10,000)

Completed and achieved preliminary SEEDA approval for £90,000 and matched funding of £45,000 each from Surrey County Council and Tandridge District Council, for ABC's chosen main project "Shabby to Smart".

Identified additional £15,000 from Caterham Valley Parish Council and £10,000 from Caterham Hill Council towards town improvement projects.

Secured an additional £5,000 from SEEDA for economic development initiatives.

Pursuing £5,000 Grass Roots funding for the Caterham Community Partnership, the successor to ABC, from government grant source.

Instrumental in getting a CCTV study carried out to identify the cause of local flooding in Croydon Road. Follow up work to the drainage in the Mt Pleasant Road/Croydon Rd area now appears to have solved the problem.

Identified some key action areas to pursue:

* Make the town a more attractive place to live. work, shop and visit - Shabby to Smart and major contributions from Random Greenway, a local architect.

This is in progress, supported well by the County, District and Parish Councils. This area is complex and includes things that can and should be done soon for the benefit of the town in the present economic situation and other medium and longer term items. Such a forward looking plan for the town was written into the objectives of the healthcheck from the very beginning. The key to success is getting elements of the forward plan accepted by the various statutory groups and working with them towards delivery. We have had excellent help from the Chief Exec at Tandridge and all his staff, including Vince Sharp and Scott Coughlan in particular.

* Help the different parts of the town and its local groups integrate better and develop a more vibrant place - A successful Caterham Festival took place in the summer of 2009 and a repeat event, with some new innovations, is being planned for 2010.

* Help the business community to be a successful element of the Town, for the benefit of jobs, services and the local community - Two exhibitions, a Shop Local campaign starting up and potential to develop a wider business partnership covering Valley & Hill, for a stronger Caterham.

* Stop the erosion of facilities and reinvest to scale with the extra development affecting the town, whether for youth or the community. The youth facility and Community Hub became Surrey initiatives. We should now consider how best to work with SCC to make the Youth element a success and any role for ABC. So far as an idea for a Community Hub is concerned ( Multi-purpose community facility) we seem to be back to the beginning. ABC may be able to participate and progress this but it is very disappointing that no solution could be found between County and District Councils.

A way to help fund local projects is being tried elsewhere in Surrey and the South East, using 'Section 106 agreements'. These are where planning permissions require building developers to contribute to local community facilities. We advocate this on all development, involving one or more new dwellings to help local funding. This is notwithstanding the present sharp slowdown in the housing market - Indeed, now is the time to introduce such measures, so that when recovery occurs some funding will flow, even if at lower levels than may have been possible before. It's been introduced in neighbouring Surrey Districts and other counties in the South East.

* Creating a successor Town Partnership - A legal structure has taken longer than expected, needing further time to gain local commitment. However a blend of how other towns have set up similar organisations is now ready to implement. Will will need some funding going forwards. A "Grass roots" grant from Government may be available.

What's Next
I hope ABC continues, for it has served a useful purpose. While the volunteers may not be elected, provided they represent a wide spread of the town this is a worthwhile endeavour and it injects new ideas and energy into taking the town forward.

In any future Town Partnership, there should continue to be a wide group able to participate from time to time. The ABC volunteers and all those who have expressed an interest in what ABC is doing, to my mind are the potential members. The numbers involved so far are between 100 and 150, including all those now active in one area or another of what ABC has begun. If the town partnership is effective, more people will join and it will provide opportunities to contribute to local improvements and "Have our say". Its actually the aim of Government to support this kind of group in communities. Throughout the healthcheck project we have had great help and advice from Margaret Morton at Surrey Community Action.

Should the proposed loyalty card flourish, we may have an opportunity to offer membership of the Caterham Partnership to all card holders and vice versa. That may could embrace a substantial number of people.

Each of the projects has a separate section on the web site and you can get up to date information from these pages and links. Congratulations to all the volunteers and thanks for your hard work that has gone into all the above ideas.

Quite what it will take to regenerate and revitalise the northern end of Croydon Rd near the old Rose & Young garage is on ongoing saga. The activities we are pushing ahead with for uplifting the shopping centre and making Caterham a more visible local shopping destination with a loyalty scheme will assist, we hope, in tipping the balance in favour of Caterham as a choice for investment and the "Right" sort of development for the town soon.


Chris Windridge
ABC A Better Caterham project.