Major new running event heading to Richmond Park in June

Entries are open for a major new 10 mile running coming to the capital this summer. On June 4 2017, up to 10,000 runners will descend on the beautiful Richmond Park to take part in London’s only major fully closed road 10 mile running event – the London 10 Mile.

London 10 MileNo cars, no cyclists, just runners, supporters and a few deer!

Richmond Park will be closed off to all forms of road traffic for one special day this summer, providing runners with a truly unique opportunity to take on a new and exciting distance on the closed roads of one of London’s most spectacular Royal Parks.

In addition to General Entries, participants will also have the opportunity to run for Great Ormond Street Hospital, the London 10 Mile’s official charity partner. The event will enable Great Ormond Street Hospital to raise thousands of pounds to enhance their ability to transform the health and wellbeing of children and young people, giving them the best chance to fulfil their potential.

A limited amount of Early Bird entries priced at £39 are available on the London 10 Mile website.

Businesswoman fined after her horses caused serious crash on A3 near Oxshott

A businesswoman has been fined more than a year after her horses strayed onto the southbound carriageway of the A3 near Oxshott, leaving four people with life-changing injuries.

The incident happened on December 16, 2015 at 3.40am when two horses strayed from Surrey Grazing based in Oxshott and walked onto the southbound carriageway where they were in collision with four vehicles. One of those included a motorcyclist who was transporting blood and platelets to Frimley Park Hospital.

Sergeant Eddie Ryan of Surrey Police’s Serious Collision Investigation Unit said: "This was a catastrophic collision has resulted in life-changing injuries for four people and led to the deaths of two horses. It also caused huge delays across the area for more than six hours while the road was closed.

"It is a stark reminder that if you own livestock, or allow livestock to graze on your land near a road that they must be kept in a secure area or there could be tragic consequences."

Rosemary Gibson-Miller, aged 49, of Church Hill, Pyrford, was found guilty at Redhill Magistrates Court on the January 11 of the offence of Allowing an Animal to Stray onto the Highway, contrary to section 155(1) and (2) of the Highways Act 1980.

She was fined £500 and ordered to pay costs of £700.


Corrupt NHS official and ICT supplier both jailed

Photo courtesy: Surrey PoliceJailed: Moxon and Lewis

A corrupt NHS official who accepted bribes of £80,000 in exchange for awarding lucrative IT contracts has been jailed for three and a half years at Guildford Crown Court.

Peter Lewis, 57, of Windlesham, admitted receiving corrupt payments from Richard Moxon, 41, of Wybunbury in Cheshire in return for awarding him an ICT contract worth £950,000 in the first year.

The prosecution followed an investigation by Surrey Police into the activities of Lewis, who was employed by the Royal Surrey County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust as director of infomatics.

Detective Superintendent Karen Mizzi, Head of Proactive Crime for Surrey Police said: "Peter Lewis sought to greedily divert money from the NHS into his own pockets. While I am glad to see justice being served through his custodial sentence, my team is now focusing on recovering the money Lewis made from his crime, and returning it to the NHS.

"I hope Richard Moxon’s sentence will act as a warning to other public sector suppliers, who may be tempted to go along with a fraud rather than reporting an approach to the relevant authorities at the earliest opportunity."

Alf Turner, Deputy Chief Executive of Royal Surrey County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust said: "In accordance with NHS and public service values, Royal Surrey County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust expects its staff to act with honesty and integrity at all times.

"Mr. Lewis fundamentally broke these foundations, grossly abusing the trust placed in him as a senior manager within the NHS.

"It is rare for members of NHS staff to be willing or able to breach their position of Trust as highlighted by this case.

"Mr. Lewis’ actions defrauded Royal Surrey, and the people it is here to serve, of over £80,000. Bringing him to justice has been a lengthy and complex process."

Stephen Rowland, Specialist Prosecutor from the CPS Specialist Fraud Division, said: "Peter Lewis abused his position for his own financial gain. The prosecution evidence showed how Lewis approached Moxon for a bribe and had the money paid directly into the same bank account as his salary.

"The clear evidence resulted in both men pleading guilty.

Kingston amongst lowest house price risers in the capital

Kingston upon Thames is among the London boroughs that have seen the lowest growth in house prices in the capital over the past 20 years, according to new research by Lloyds Bank. Even so, prices have increase by 417% since 1996. The average price of a house in Kingston in 2016 was £445,683. This compares to the average increase of almost 450% for London and 290% in England and Wales over the same period.

The total value of private housing stock in London has also seen a surge. In 1996 it was £201.8 billion, increasing nearly six and a half fold (529%) in 2016 to £1.27 trillion.

Andrew Mason, Lloyds Bank Mortgage Director commented: "The last 20 years have seen substantial growth in house prices in London, especially in the most affluent areas of the City. The boom years between 1996 and 2008 saw the gap widening between house prices at the top end of the market and those in London’s inner and outer boroughs, creating two distinct markets1 – ‘Prime’ and ‘Mainstream’.

"However, whilst those boroughs at the top end have pulled away considerably from the rest of London and the country in terms of house prices, improved transport links to the city from the outer boroughs and the 2012 Olympic Games has meant that the boroughs directly benefitting from these have seen house price growth outpace the Prime areas in recent years."

Kingston upon ThamesSince 1996, the North East London Borough of Hackney saw the steepest growth. The average house price in Hackney has increased £530,700 (702%), from £75,569 in 1996 to £606,269 in 2016.

The ten most expensive places to live in London remain largely unchanged compared to 1996. The key exceptions are Southwark, which has moved up ten places to ninth spot and Haringey which moved up two places to tenth. Barnet and Kingston upon Thames have dropped out of the top 10.


Drama with Fish & Chips

Claygate Dramatic Society is staging another of its ever popular evenings of two one act plays either side of a fish & chip supper. Director Sue Wall says: "We find audiences enjoy this format as it makes a real evening out, mixing theatre with supper and a glass or two of wine."

The first play, The Cruise, by Liz Dobson, is a comedic but poignant tale set in a sewing machine factory in the North of England. Vera is contemplating retirement after many years of faithful service. Her plans for the future are tinged with sadness and it is up to her fellow workmates to rally round and support her as only they know how.

The Book Club of Little Witterington, by Joan Greening, depicts the ups and downs of English village life through the medium of the local book club. As the members discuss that month's work, Pride and Prejudice, their own rather bigoted views and outlooks on life are blown apart by the arrival of a newcomer to the village, often with hilarious results!

Performances Thursday 27 to Saturday 29 April at 8pm at Claygate Village Hall. Bar opens 7.30pm. Tickets £15 including supper, available from 01372 466621 or annehennings@hotmail.co.uk or download a booking form from claygatedramaticsociety.co.uk. Also in person at Grosvenor Billinghurst, The Parade, Claygate, between 11am and midday on Saturday 22 April. Box office opens Monday 27 March..


Motorcyclist and cyclist in hospital following crash in Weybridge

Two men have been taken to hospital following a serious collision in Oatlands Drive, Weybridge on Wednesday 11 January. The collision involved a motorcycle and a cyclist. Two men, one in his 50s and the other in his 30s, have been taken to hospital with serious injuries. An investigation is underway into the circumstances of the collision, which took place at around 5.25pm. Witnesses are urged to call Surrey Police on 101, quoting reference P17008168.

Windsor Great Park reveal renovation plans to the Punch Bowl

John Anderson, Keeper of the Gardens at Windsor Great Park, recently welcomed members of the public to hear of planned renovation work to the Punch Bowl, part of The Valley Gardens, a favourite spot for many Windsor Great Park visitors.

John revealed that plans for the renovation of the Punch Bowl would take approximately five to seven years to complete and would include removing the remaining Blue Fir trees, which are showing signs of decline and stress and replacing them with new ones. Secondly an area in front of the Blue Cedars will be planted with Kurume Azaleas to extend the Punch Bowl and opening a view towards the lake. Mr Anderson also explained that the current Azaleas would be left to flower this spring and then would be cut back in a phased programme. He added that in the next few years, there would be a programme of propagating Azaleas that will be planted in the Punch Bowl and an overhaul of the drainage system to ensure trees such as a prominent oak, which he pointed out to the public in attendance, would remain healthy.

John, who took up his position as Keeper of the Gardens in 2016, said: "The work we are planning to carry out is about ensuring good horticultural practice. If we start tackling these problems now we can ensure we are keeping the Punch Bowl thriving and looking its best for generations to come as well as our current visitors who we know love walking their dogs here and enjoy the Azaleas and the trees."

Rosemary Ussher, a Windsor resident who has been visiting the park for nearly 40 years, said: "It was fantastic to come down and hear what the plans are. I am particularly fond of this part of the Great Park. It’s a beautiful area and I like to bring friends and family here in Spring. I had in fact noticed some of the trees were not looking their best so it’s wonderful to hear that they will be replaced with new healthy ones.

"Gardening is an on-going process so it’s important to make these changes. I think it’s exciting to know what will be happening."

The Blue Fir removal will be undertaken by Windsor Great Park’s in-house teams and will start this month.


Number of homeowners falls for first time in five years

The number of people moving home has fallen for the first time in five years, according to the latest Lloyds Bank Homemover Review. The number of homemovers is estimated to have reached 354,000 in 2016 – down 4% from 2015 when homemover numbers totalled 367,300. This is the first annual decline since 2011, following four successive years of growth. Overall, the current number of homemovers has grown by 12% since the lowest point of the recent housing downturn in 2009 – when the number of people moving home was 315,000, the second lowest since records began. However, the current figure is 50% below the level of 712,000 a decade ago.

Government sells Sunningdale Park for redevelopment

Sold: Sunningdale Park

The Cabinet Office has sold 70-acre Sunningdale Park in Berkshire to Berkeley Homes and Audley Retirement.

The site, which until 2012 was home to the National School of Government, has been conditionally sold, depending on planning permission being granted for a residential and retirement scheme.

A development opportunity brief has been drawn up, following consultation with Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, outlining possibilities for the site.

Sunningdale Park includes 19,500 sq metres of existing accommodation, including Northcote House, a Grade II neo-Georgian mansion, training accommodation with associated lecture theatres, residential accommodation and sports facilities.

The north west of the site, totalling approximately 13 acres, has been designated as suitable for redevelopment, with the remaining space given over to the parkland.

Berkeley Homes and Audley Retirement will be working up their proposals for the site over the coming months. These will be displayed to Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead and the local community during 2017.

Minister for the Cabinet Office, Ben Gummer, said: "The sale of Sunningdale Park shows our absolute commitment to shrinking the government estate so that it works in the best interests of the taxpayer. The deal not only offers the best value for taxpayers, but is also the scheme most sympathetic to Sunningdale Park’s beautiful surroundings.

"The estate is now almost 25% smaller than it was in May 2010, we continue to re-examine all our property contracts and holdings to make sure that the taxpayer is always at the front and centre of our property outlook."

The site has been owned by government since 1947 when it was offered in lieu of tax duties by the family of previous owner Sir Hugo Cunliffe-Owen. It subsequently became home to the Civil Defence Staff College and has been used by a number of government organisations, including the Civil Service College and National School of Government, until 2014, at which point the College of Policing occupied it on a temporary basis.

Nick Sanderson, CEO of Audley said: "The purchase of Sunningdale Park is a unique opportunity, and we are pleased to be developing this site in partnership with Berkeley Homes. This is the first time Audley has developed a site in a joint venture with a house builder, and it is partnerships like these that are vital to addressing the UK’s housing shortage: creating housing that is not only aimed at first time buyers, but can free up much needed existing housing stock by giving older people a greater choice of suitable and aspirational housing."

SCHOOLS
Round Up

100% Distinction for Heathfield in LAMDA Exams
Eight girls from Heathfield School in Ascot were awarded a Distinction in their recent LAMDA examinations. The girls took their exams, across Grade 3 to Grade 6 (Bronze Medal).

Open Day at St George's Ascot
The next open morning at St George's Ascot will be held on Friday 24 February from 9.00am. Open mornings are designed to be a relaxed and informal way to see the school, meet the Headmistress, staff and pupils, tour all areas and see some lessons in action. In addition you will be able to sample some award winning food! Follow the link to book your place

Papplewick boys make light of rain on geography field trip
Year 8 boys and three staff members from Papplewick School, Ascot, made their way to the south coast for the annual geography field trip to Dorset to collect primary data required for the students’ projects. They endured driving rain on the journey but fortunately it held off during the data collection, though there was plenty of mud to make the slopes down to the river Corfe extremely slippery. With the data collection being a total success and done in record time, the group visited the well-known and beautiful Durdle Door and Lulworth cove, and managed to fit in some traditional chips by the sea as well.

Coworth Flexlands to sing at Wembley Arena
Coworth Flexlands School’s Year 5 & 6 girls were ecstatic to get the news that they have been chosen to be one of the few schools that will sing on the Wembley Arena stage at this year’s VIAM (Voice in A Million) in March. Last term Jo Garofalo, founder of VIAM, visited Coworth Flexlands School to audition Year 5 & 6. The girls performed beautifully, had the opportunity to trial out some choreography and practice singing with the microphones. The girls now await the song that they will sing on stage as well as the supporting the arena singing.

Notre Dame welcomes Ms Simpson to Drama and English department
Notre Dame School in Cobham is delighted to welcome Ms Simpson as a part-time Teacher of Drama and English this term. Ms Simpson trained at The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama and Arts Educational, London. She worked as an actress for several years in TV and theatre. She has been a Drama teacher for six years. Ms Simpson said she is very excited to be teaching at Notre Dame and looks forward to teaching the school's very able students a variety of drama skills, techniques and genres in lessons, as well as supporting and directing students in a wide variety of our extracurricular performances and productions.

New building work to start at Claremont Fan Court School
Claremont Fan Court School in Esher has announced that work has started on a new car park adjacent to the top car park. This is needed before the main contractor can begin demolition of the existing science block prior to starting work on the new science and technology building, and new workshop, which are the first buildings in the School’s master plan. In May when the new car park is complete the path to the Portsmouth Road will be made up. Work on the Science and Technology building and workshop will start mid-April. This is expected to take 50 weeks and the buildings will be ready for September 2018.

BBC Symphony Orchestra leader performs at ACS Egham
ACS Egham International School recently hosted an evening of musical excellence, involving performances by Stephen Bryant, Leader of the BBC Symphony Orchestra and previous co-Leader of the London Philharmonic Orchestra. Violinist Stephen was joined by colleagues, cellist Mark Sheridan, and singer and pianist Caroline Jaya-Ratnam. Mark has been part of the BBC Symphony Orchestra for 30 years, and has appeared as guest principal cello at many orchestras.

Dickensian Evening at Milbourne Lodge
Milbourne Lodge in Esher recently held a Dickensian Evening. It was an eclectic mix of drama, music and poetry. The garden looked magical and the children performed with such energy and enthusiasm that they could not have failed to fill everyone with festive cheer. More than £300 was raised in aid of the Royal British Legion.


Wraps taken off new plans to widen Sunninghill High Street

Hinchley Wood School Autistic Society Cullum CentrePlans have been released to widen a section of carriageway in Sunninghill High Street over a length of approximately 75 metres.

Residents and visitors could benefit from easier access to Sunninghill High Street with a much-awaited proposal to expand a section of the road by 1.2m to allow two lanes to run the whole way down the High Street and reduce notorious delays at peak times.

The pinch point at the junction of School Road is only currently wide enough for single file traffic. The majority of the existing parking provision will still be retained under the proposed changes.

Cllr Phill Bicknell, cabinet member for highways and transport, said: "These proposals offer us a chance to improve access to Sunninghill for everyone.

"By reclaiming a small section of the footpath we can create enough space for two-way moving traffic, while retaining most of the parking spaces and a route for pedestrians to continue to access the High Street."

Cllr Julian Sharpe, ward member for Sunninghill and South Ascot, said: "This is good news for Sunninghill High Street as it will help us to reduce some of the congestion in the village and make access to our local shops and services easier."

The proposals also include a raised zebra crossing opposite the Novello Theatre. It is expected that if they are approved work could begin as early as March 2017.