Committee Meeting Monday 23rd January.

 Committee Meeting Monday 23rd January. 
Posted by Michael Organe on 

Meeting opened 8.0 pm Monday January 23rd


Dave Sumner Smith (Charles Hill resident) Campaign Leader

Dawn Davidson (Elstead resident)

Jenny Else Waverley Councillor

John Mathisen (Common resident)

Leif Davidson (Elstead resident) Elstead Councillor 

Lis McGregor (Elstead resident)

Michael Organe (Elstead resident) Meeting Chair

Sue Gowar (Elstead resident) Treasurer


Apologies: Annabel Jones (Elstead resident) 


Objectives & Strategy: Dave Sumner Smith

The campaign to Protect Access To Hankley (PATH) stands the greatest chance of success if it is properly managed. I believe it should be divided into four key areas, so that energies and responsibilities can be focused most effectively.

1/ GATHERING PUBLIC INFORMATION AND OPINION: To present a strong case about public views, we need to gather information about levels of public use of the car park and of Hankley Common. This should also include polling, petitions etcetera – both online and at the Common itself.

2/ INVESTIGATING ‘OFFICIAL’ POSITIONS: We need to know the attitudes and plans of official bodies such as Landmarc, the MoD, Surrey County Council, the golf club, parish councils in surrounding areas and so on. This will allow us to establish who we can count on for support – and the plans of those that want to restrict access to Hankley Common.

3/ CHECKING LEGAL MATTERS: There are lots of questions and issues here. We need to establish the legal rights and obligations of all parties involved. Do Landmarc have a clear-cut right to close the car park after it has been open for 30 years? If Landmarc was successful in closing the car park, for example, we need to clarify if they have the right to block car parking next to the road. Would they have to create a path across Houndown from Polish Camp to facilitate public access? And lots of other questions

4/ CAMPAIGNING AND PUBLICITY: This will involve the creation of publicity materials, the organising of events (such as the gathering on the evening of Friday 10th February), briefing journalists, building awareness amongst surrounding communities, corresponding with our MP and managing online activity, which is fantastically committed and very active – but in danger of becoming too fragmented.



1. Prepare for the public meeting on February 10th.

2. Research into legal aspects.

3. Build up contacts and support.

4. Develop further tactics for later implementation. 

Possible outcomes:

1. Car park kept open

2. Car park closed at specified times.

3. Car park closed permanently

4. Car park closed with alternative to Polish Camp.

Some discussion on this, including the present situation on the ground and the basis for the campaign. Maps were distributed and discussed. Emphasis on impractical nature of present MOD plan and danger to pedestrians of access to the proposed new Polish Camp car park along the Thursley Road. The alternative of a path across Houndown Firs and Houindown Bottom is only practical for fit and active visitors.

Sue explained the relationship of the Hankley Golf Club with the MOD and their respective land ownership. She also pointed out the Stockbridge Pond car park that gives good access to the Northern end of the Common.

Internal Communications: Michael & Dawn

Discussion of merits of Facebook vs Community Website for campaign communications. Facebook ideal for fast interactive communications. Not sutablel for secure and retrievable record keeping and activity planning. The new PATH Facebook page is already attracting a lot of contributions form the general public. 

For ease of use and security  A closed Facebook Group may be worth while, coupled with use of the closed website Forum for record keeping.

Alternatively a closed LotusLive group may be a workable compromise. Dawn is setting one up for a trial.

Michael gave a warning about care in publishing names and other personal data in public, also that an employee of Landmarc had managed to register on our site, luckily before anything important had been posted and care must be taken not to give away confidential campaign information.

Local Council communications: Leif & Jenny

Jenny Else & Pat Murphy (Elstead PC Chair) will be attending a meeting with Lieutenant Colonel Richard Bishop, Major Malcolm Bartlett (Landmarc) and James Nevitt (MOD civilian adviser) on Wednesday February 1st. A brief will be prepared for Jenny and Pat giving our concerns and the questions we would like answered. 

Campaign Activities in hand. Publicity team report: Lis, Sue, Dawn

1500 A5 leaflets designed by Katie Nanestad are being printed and will be available in time to be inserted in the next issue of the Elstead Village News Magazine on Thursday evening. The remainder are available to be handed out to people using the Common, local shops and other organisations, also for use as car window posters. Leaflets must not be put on the windscreens of cars to avoid posibility of litter. Lis and Sue are  producing a Press briefing and contacting Newspapers and other sources of publicity. The present campaign is aimed at getting people to the public meeting and preparing for follow up publicity. Michael has arranged permission with Di Balchin, who is in charge of EVN distribution, for access to the Church and he will help with the insertion. More volunteers will be needed for this.

Discussion on this included the desirability of extending the publicity campaign to local villages and organisations affected by the closure. This can be carried out by any of the volunteers but reports must be made to avoid overlap. 

Legal Team: Sue, John, Dawn, Michael

Sue has contacted a lawyer to see if he can recommend somebody to help us research property ownership and rights. 

Some discussion on this. It appears as if the MOD are in a strong position unless we can find a loophole that would support our case. This will be investigated. Dawn suggested that the Disabled Discrimination Act may be  worth investigating. 

Commoners' Rights were discussed and it was explained that these do not apply to the general public. Rights of way only exist if they were registered befor 2005. In the case of the road leading to the car park this is a bridleway with no right of vehicle access. Th car park is on MOD land and is a concession and long term use no longer establishes any public right of access. The same applies to the open land on the Common. The only piece of registered Common Land we know aboput at this stage  is a plot near John Mathisen's house at the Northern end of the Common.

Treasurer's report: Sue

Annabel has sent £30 towards the fighting fund. Sue felt that this was too much at this stage. It was agreed that £20 was more appropriate. More money will be needed as the campaign goes on but it is intended to ask for donations at the public meeting.

General Discussion:

A large number of tactical ideas and possible activities were discussed, some of which had already been covered in Facebook threads and were fairly familiar. They need to be listed by their sponsors so that volunteers can take ownership and pursue them. 

Michael Organe will try to get notices put onto other local websites. 

Dawn will investigate setting up an e-petition to lobby the MOD at government level. The present petition on the Elstead website is collecting signatures at a respectable rate and will be retained.

Several people have contacted Jeremy Hunt MP but have not had a reply.

Dawn is setting up a LotusLive group for trial as a secure means of communication.  

John and Michael will visit James Taylor at Surrey CC at Jenny's recommendation to investigate rights of way, etc.

Plan for Public Meeting:

Dave was proposed and agreed unanimously as Campaign Leader and will chair the Public Meeting. Annabel and Michael will help him to prepare an agenda and project plan.

Next Committee Meeting:

Tuesday February 7th, 7.30 pm.

This meeting will be chaired by Dave and will focus on the Public Meeting.