Leith Hill Action Group – Newsletter 8 (16th May 2012)

Stop the Leith Hill oil drilling!

Hello and welcome to our eighth newsletter.  I’m sure you’ll be delighted to read that this is a good news newsletter! Read on to find out why, as well as hear about the Pre-Inquiry Meeting and meet the LHAG team.

Good news!  Oscar-nominated and Golden Globe Award-winning Ron Moody has enthusiastically agreed to star in “For Goodness Sake!”  With a filmography including performances as iconic as his Fagin in “Oliver!”, Ron is a stage and screen great of a calibre we’re incredibly lucky to have at Dorking Halls.

Good news!  The LHAG Asado was a brilliant success, with well over 200 people having riotous fun in the sunshine and raising £2,600 in the process!  We all owe a huge thank you to Thom and Jane Nelson for putting on such a great show.  Read all about it and see the photos at this wonderful blog compiled by one of our supporters.

Good news!  Our application for a major grant from a corporate trust fund has been approved!

Good news!  All of the above, together with your generous response to the last newsletter’s appeal for donations, mean that current funds pledged to date have reached an amazing £36,000!  In just a couple of weeks we’ve halved our outstanding target!  The Totalizer is starting to turn red-hot...

More good news!  (Did you think it was over?)  The list of donated lots for the LHAG Auction of Promises has grown substantially since the last newsletter!  Click here to go to the list on our website, which is always kept up to date.  And bids are starting to come in too.  If you are interested in bidding, just send an email to lhag@hotmail.co.uk and we’ll make sure it gets to the right place.

There’s no need to massage this news to make it good.  But good news!  If you would like a professional massage then don’t forget that until the end of May, all proceeds from treatments performed at the Leith Hill Massage Studio will be donated to LHAG.

Pre-Inquiry Meeting

This was held at County Hall, Kingston-upon-Thames, on the 3rd of May. The applicant, Surrey County Council (SCC) and LHAG's barristers met with the planning inspector and agreed on the running order for the actual planning inquiry. Experts and witnesses were identified, although SCC are yet to appoint all of theirs. The inquiry is very likely to last the full 10 working days.

Everyone is invited to attend the public gallery during the whole of the hearing at Dorking Halls. And the more that do so, the better.

Those who wish to speak from the floor are encouraged to give notice on the aspects of what they want to say to the planning inspector, Mr K Williams, at the offices in Bristol. Those also willing to be cross-examined will have their evidence received more favourably.

Meet the LHAG Team

After seven newsletters, we thought you might like to know a little more about the individuals putting together our defence, spreading the word about the campaign and raising the necessary funds.  (If you can’t see the photos, right-click on the space and select “download pictures”).

After seven newsletters, we thought you might like to know a little more about the individuals putting together our defence, spreading the word about the campaign and raising the necessary funds.  (If you can’t see the photos, right-click on the space and select “download pictures”).

  Peter Tindall is the chair of LHAG.  A long-standing resident of Coldharbour, he is also, usefully, our highways expert.  Peter’s extensive experience in this area has been invaluable in LHAG’s achievements to date.  His level-headedness, ability to cope under pressure and tactful nature make him the perfect person to chair the campaign.

 Alan Hustings is a driving force behind LHAG, being treasurer and also, crucially, being unflagging in his analysis of all the legal aspects of the case.   He comments, “When formal notices of “a development at Bury Hill Wood, Holmwood” were sent to Coldharbour residents in February 2009, I went to Pippbrook to see the papers and discovered that (a) the development was an oil well and (b) it was neither at Bury Hill nor in Holmwood but here in Coldharbour –  and that it was due to be determined in less than three weeks!  I e-mailed the village and LHAG was born out of the resulting packed public meeting held in the JV Hall on 1 March 2009.”

 Gaye Charlton is responsible for the campaign PR, somehow managing this whilst also organising her daughter’s wedding.  She has 12 years’ experience as a strategic communications consultant and LHAG are extremely fortunate to have her on board.  Married to Peter, we understand that the pair do try to spend some time talking about things other than LHAG! 

  Janet Housden is a tireless analyst of case documents, including the 2000+ letters of objection to SCC.  Her unstinting promotion of the campaign has significantly helped raise awareness amongst residents of Dorking and beyond and she never ceases to amaze us with her boundless energy.  Janet was on holiday when I requested a photo, so I hope she won’t mind me using this old one!

Max Rosenberg has the ecological focus of the campaign close to his heart.  A long-time member of numerous ecological charities, Max can always be relied upon to tell you about the birds and the beasts of Leith Hill!  We must apologise for the lack of a photo though – as for a shy woodland animal, a photo of Max was hard to come by but we’ll do our best for a future newsletter.

 Stuart McLachlan describes himself as, “Brilliant, hard-working, good looking, golfer and mayor.”  But let’s just agree that Coldharbour Ward’s Parish Councillor is ‘hard-working’ and skip tactfully over the rest.  Amongst other things, Stuart has an enviably likable nature which, combined with his extensive knowledge of the local community, means that he always knows the right people to talk to in order to keep the campaign moving.

 Patrick and Charlotte Nolan co-chair the LHAG fundraising committee.  They first got involved with the oil application through the Woodland Trust when still living in Abinger Hammer.  After moving to Coldharbour, they were asked to head up the fundraising team.  Foolishly, they agreed!

 Ted Clarke and James Harman are old friends and one-time neighbours with a prior history of putting on successful fundraising events and a shared love of good red wine.  They conceived of and are embracing the challenge of producing our fabulous show at Dorking Halls, “For Goodness Sake!”

 David and Sue Skerritt have been working hard as part of the fundraising committee to ensure that LHAG can afford the defence it deserves.  You can thank David for designing all the LHAG posters and publicity material, as well as making the poster boards you will have seen around the place.  Although David won’t thank us for using this photo, we thought it was too good not to share.

 Stephen Whale is LHAG’s barrister.  He has been ranked in Chambers and Partners, Legal 500 and Legal Experts for a number of years for his expertise in planning, licensing and employment law. Stephen has been identified as one of the country’s top rated planning juniors in the 2011 survey of practitioners in Planning magazine (3rd highest in the country for barristers called to the Bar in 1999 or since).

That concludes the team and almost concludes this newsletter except to say that despite all this good news, we can’t put our feet up just yet.  We still have over a quarter of the money to raise so please keep your donations coming.

As always, thanks for your support.  It’s only down to you that we have made it this far.

Patrick Nolan

Fundraising Committee, The Leith Hill Action Group

Summary of reasons why we are objecting to the application

Keeping in Touch

To feed back, ask questions or offer help, contact Patrick Nolan at pnoley@gmail.com

Follow our Twitter feed: @Leith_Hill_AG

Newsletter 1 (2nd February 2012)
Newsletter 2 (13th February 2012)
Newsletter 3 (1st March 2012)
Newsletter 4 (16th March 2012)
Newsletter 5 (1st April 2012)
Newsletter 6 (19th April 2012)
Newsletter 7 (1st May 2012)


Donating by Direct Transfer

You can make a direct transfer to the LHAG account (name “Leith Hill Action Group”) using sort code 09-01-27 and account 3767 8874.  

Donating by Cheque

Make cheques payable to “Leith Hill Action Group” and send to:

Patrick Nolan, Chair of LHAG Fundraising, Oak Lodge, Anstie Lane, Surrey, RH5 6HA. 

Donating by Credit Card, Debit Card or PayPal

You can donate by the card of your choice or even directly from your PayPal account by clicking the button below.  (Some email packages may not allow you to see/use this button without further intervention.  If this is the case, please visit the home page of our website where you will also be able to donate using this facility.)


However you donate, please do provide us with your name, address and email in case we have the chance to return surplus funds (contact details are above).

Fundraising Events

Why not put on your own fundraising event?  We’d be delighted to publicise it in this newsletter. 

Show at Dorking Halls

Theatre goers will have a unique opportunity to see two highly acclaimed legends of star and screen come together for a one night only performance to raise funds for the Leith Hill Action Group (LHAG).  

At Dorking Halls on Friday 15th June, Virginia McKenna, actress, author and founder of the Born Free Foundation will join Ron Moody, the international star of stage and screen fondly remembered for his extraordinary performance as Fagin in the film and stage show Oliver!, will join a cast of highly talented artists to present an evening of music, songs and poetry celebrating Leith Hill and the beauty of nature.   The show, !For Goodness Sake!, celebrates nature and the beauty of Leith Hill and has been written by Lindy Alexander, a resident of Brockham and an actress who has regularly appeared on television, the big screen and on stage.   Click here to book from the Dorking Halls box office.

10km run

Sign up for the LHAG 10km run on Sunday 1st July (and guarantee yourself the advance price of £12, rather than the turn-up price of £15) by visiting our LHAG 10km webpage.

Bridge tea

A bridge tournament on the afternoon of Wednesday 20th June, incorporating sandwiches, home-made cake, prizes and a raffle.  For further details, please contact Mary Adair on 01306 711 768 or email mary.adair@which.net

Auction of promises

Click for the sale list for the auction of promises for Coldharbour fête.  Get bidding by contacting lhag@hotmail.co.uk.


If you’re one of the many keen cyclists that currently enjoy the Leith Hill area, we’d love you to take part in the Moonriders London-Brighton night-time cycle ride for LHAG. 

We have arranged a special rate with Moonriders whereby you pay no fees (saving you up to £71 in total).  Please see our Moonriders webpage for further details and, if you fancy the challenge, knowing that you’ll be helping to preserve this beautiful area of countryside that we all so enjoy, sign up and we’ll be in touch with your fundraising pack.