Local and Recent News From Last Month

Genesis rock star Mike Rutherford backs campaign to save Loxwood woodland

The singer-songwriter, who also formed the band Mike and the Mechanics, has lived in Loxwood for the past 40 years.

Now proposals to build a clay excavation site and landfill recycling plant in the village has prompted the guitarist to speak out about the ‘devastating impact’ the plans could have on the area.

A company known as Loxwood Clay Pits wants to extract the clay for use in brick-making and also wants to build a construction materials recycling facility on the woodland site over a 33-year period.

Mike, who was elected to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2010, said he feared the plans would “destroy the countryside and woodland.”

He added: “The change locally would be so incredibly bad that I think it’s important we try and stop it.”

The plans have met with huge local opposition, with campaigners arguing that the area is a greenfield site with established native woodland that provides an invaluable wildlife habitat.

They have also raised concerns about the increase in lorry movements on a large number of rural roads if the proposals were to go ahead. Plans show two routes into and out of the site – on the old Pallinghurst Estate, north east of Loxwood and west of the A281.

An action group ‘Stop Loxwood Clay Pit’ has been formed to fight the proposals and an online protesty petition has been signed by more than 4,000 people.

The group has garnered support from those living in Loxwood as well as neighbouring villages of Alfold, Rudgwick and Wisborough Green, and set up a website www.stoptheclaypit.org.

Environmental scientist Dr Jill Sutcliffe said: “This is an important area for wildlife and a biodiversity emergency was declared last year. We must look after what we have and encourage more wildlife, not remove habitat so we have less.”

However Loxwood Clay Pits – which is seeking views before submitting a planning application to West Sussex County Council – says their proposals are ‘small’ and dismiss claims they would impact locals and wildlife.

Three sentenced to jail for faking Cranleigh betting shop robbery

Three people have been sentenced to jail after plotting to fake a robbery at Betfred bookmakers in Cranleigh.

Former colleagues Kiziah Annan, 23, of The Ridgeway, Cranleigh and Lewis Phillips, 24, of High Street, Guildford pleaded guilty to conspiracy to steal and perverting the course of justice. Annan’s ex-boyfriend Julius Lewis, 22, of Selsdon Road, Croydon pleaded guilty to conspiracy to steal.

Kiziah Annan, received a nine month custodial sentence and Lewis Phillips received a four month sentence suspended for two years. Phillips was also ordered to complete 200 hours unpaid work and pay £2000 in compensation and £1500 in costs.

Julius Lewis received a five week custodial sentence suspended for two years. He was also ordered to pay £2000 in compensation and £1500 in costs.

On the evening of Sunday, 20 May 2018, Phillips and Annan were working at Betfred, Annan as assistant manager, when they reported that a robbery had taken place. They described a suspect who they claimed had taken £6000.

When statements were taken from Annan and Phillips, police officers noticed how suspiciously the two were behaving and believed their story warranted further investigation. By carefully piecing together CCTV footage, mobile phone contact between Annan and Lewis, bank statements and sightings of Lewis’s car in the area of the robbery, detectives gathered sufficient evidence to charge all three with the crime.

Detective Constable Kerry Plumb who assisted on the case says: “DC Michael Taylor worked extremely hard on this case prior to his retirement from Surrey Police. Annan and Phillips completely gave themselves away in the way they behaved with the attending officers and it quickly became evident that the ‘robbery’ had been staged. Lewis involvement in this was also shortly identified.

“The sentences reflect the fact that the suspects’ deception was premeditated by them as a group, and that two of them were willing to steal from their employer and thought they could get away with it.”

Trains in south east running Covid-free

Lab results have shown trains running in the south east are testing negative for coronavirus.

Southern, Thameslink and Great Northern’s carriages were all tested over the past three weeks following treatment with a long-lasting viruscide.

Swabs were taken from areas in the train carriages frequently touched by passengers and staff such as grab rails, tables and toilet handles.

Govia Thameslink Railway’s chief operating officer Steve White said: “We are carrying out a comprehensive testing regime of our trains to ensure that our customers can travel with confidence.”

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