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Newsletter - Wed 3 May, 2023

Merstham Recreation Ground upgrade approved

Artist impression of play area at Merstham Recreation Ground

Reigate & Banstead Borough Council's planning committee has approved the authority's plans to upgrade Merstham Recreation Ground.

The project (Opens in a new window) includes a new pavilion with a cafe kiosk, toilets and changing rooms, a new children's play area, an outdoor gym, an improved network of paths, a picnic area and community orchard, and new trees and landscaping.

There'll be two 11-a-side football pitches, one 9-a-side, and one 5-a-side, with other small pitches possible by overlapping.

A new cricket pitch will also feature, as well as an revamped tennis court and Multi Use Games Area (MUGA).

There would be a net loss of two football pitches compared to the current set-up: a 7-a-side, which will be replaced by a new one on a disused bowling green in Battlebridge Lane, and an 11-a-side pitch for which no substitute has been found.

During the planning process, Sport England, a statutory consultee, said that the loss of the pitch wasn't justified by the wider sporting benefits of the project, and formally objected.

But the planning officer's report disagreed and said the benefits outweighed the loss.

The report (Opens in a new window) said there was a particular need for the facility in the area, noting that Merstham has the highest levels of health deprivation and disability in Surrey.

The committee's approval now goes to the Secretary of State for consideration because of Sport England's view on the lost playing field.

Artist impression of upgraded Merstham Recreation Ground

Images are from RBBC's project page

Macbeth opens in Horley

Macbeth encounters the three witches in a production by The Archway Theatre, Horley.
  • Macbeth's encounter with the three witches (LBrennan Photography)

Macbeth, the latest production at the Archway theatre, in Horley, opened on Tuesday 2 May.

Director Dodie Browne says it's the first Shakespeare play that she remembers seeing, and that she's always been fascinated by the power and authority of Lady Macbeth, as well as Macbeth’s transformation from loyal soldier to murderer of his king and friend Banquo.

“I enjoy how Shakespeare creates strong female characters, given when the plays were first performed and how different life was to now.”

"I have been inspired by the many productions of this play I have seen and how it allows each director great scope for adapting it, while staying true to the story," she adds.

Macbeth was originally planned for 2021 at the theatre, but the pandemic put paid to that.

Dodie says that, in the intervening two years, she has stayed committed to her original plan of simplicity of setting, with a focus on the impact of the witches as elemental spirits.

Set designer Gary Andrews (also playing Banquo) has reflected Dodie's design ideas into the set, which he describes as "very much Dark Ages… all earthy and elemental”.

A member of the prestigious Little Theatre Guild, the 95-seat Archway theatre is located in Horley's railway arches, and puts on ten main house productions a year, as well as other events and activities.

Macbeth runs from Tuesday 2 to Saturday 6 May; and from Tuesday 9 to Saturday 13 May. Performances are at at 7:45pm each day. Ticket details are on the Archway website (Opens in a new window).

Family bike ride in Earlswood & Redhill

Kidical Mass, Redhill Monday 8 May

There's a family bike ride, Kidical Mass, this coming bank holiday Monday, 8 May, starting in Redhill and finishing in Earlswood. Details are on the poster above and on the Facebook event page (Opens in a new window).

Reigate care home raises cash for dementia charity

The team at Priors Mead care home in Blanford Road, Reigate, raised funds for Dementia UK through a bake sale and raffle on May Day.

Kelly McManus, head of the 17-bed home, said: "Thanks to our bakers, tasters and supporters we raised a fantastic £505.03 for this brilliant and important cause that is very close to our hearts given the work that we do."

"We have the privilege of supporting wonderful individuals to live their lives to the fullest regardless of their limitations. We’ve got an amazing team too. It’s a truly rewarding industry despite the challenges within health and social care at present," she added.

Surrey County Council staff in pay protest

Pay protest at Surrey County Council HQ, May 2023
  • Workers protest at Surrey's offices in Woodhatch Place (credit: Emily Coady-Stemp)

Union members protested outside Surrey County Council’s Reigate offices on Tuesday (2 May) calling for an inflation-linked pay increase for staff.

Surrey County Council has budgeted for a 5 per cent increase to pay, staggered between 7.8 per cent and 4.5 per cent across all pay grades, while the union is calling for a 12 per cent inflation-linked increase, with a new minimum wage of £12 per hour.

Emily Coady-Stemp, from the Local Democracy Reporter Service spoke to social workers, a teaching assistant and a library worker who were calling for enough money “just to get by”. Her full article is here (Opens in a new window).

Polling Day on Thursday

Local elections take place this Thursday, 4 May, including for Reigate & Banstead Borough Council.

Information about the elections and how to vote, and what can be used as voter ID, can be found on a borough council webpage (Opens in a new window).

Police investigate after teenager stabbed in Redhill

A teenage boy was stabbed near Princess Way, in Redhill town centre, at around 10.45pm on Monday night (1 May), Surrey Police have said (Opens in a new window).

Officers, helped by the police helicopter, arrested a 20-year-old man from Redhill shortly afterwards on suspicion of causing grievous bodily harm.

The victim was taken to hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Inspector Alex Maguire, borough commander, said on Tuesday: “We appreciate that the police presence in Redhill last night, along with recent reports of youths fighting in the town centre, will be worrying to local residents.

“We are working closely with local partners to deter anti-social behaviour and violence in Redhill town centre as a priority, with extra patrols and regular dispersal orders in place to support officers policing the area.

“Our investigation into the assault continues today with officers carrying out enquiries in the local area, and I would encourage anyone with information to report it to us.”

Anyone with information that could help the investigation is asked to contact police quoting PR/45230047561 - contact details and live chat are on their website (Opens in a new window).

IMPRESS logo is regulated by Impress, the independent monitor of the press. Details of our corrections and complaints procedure is here (Opens in a new window).


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