Tides are turning – maybe?

Our local MP was on the ranges last week, with the enemy in chief for our campaign – Jeremy Quin.

Mr Gove, on his Facebook page, states

I have been pressing Jeremy to lift restrictions and he agreed to visit yesterday to see for himself how access could be improved. We discussed a number of ways in which residents could enjoy easier access while respecting the army’s need to train safely. Jeremy is now exploring with the DIO some potential ways forward and I hope to update residents in due course.

May be an image of one or more people, people standing, tree and outdoors
Councillors and MPs meet on the Ranges

Whilst this does sound positive, it raises a few questions :

  1. Why were only Conservative MPs and councillors invited? The local County Council MP for Mytchett & Deepcut was there, but Carla Morson, who represents Ash for Surrey, was not (and told us she knew nothing about the meeting)
  2. Why were no members of this campaign invited?
  3. What are the potential ways forward? More importantly, will there be an open a discussion with the concerned locals about what they could be ?

Whilst we acknowledge that this is positive, can we just be a bit more open with what was discussed and open the long-promised talks with the concerned locals ? We know more about this issue than many and may be able to give our support to any proposed plans.

Further evidence of progress arrived on Oct 11th via the Sept 16th letter from DIO to Nigel Manning published at: https://ashparish.org/2021/10/11/ash-ranges-update-cllr-manning-latest-correspondence – The excerpt reads :

I am pleased to advise that in line with Ministerial direction we are currently considering a number of options to provide additional access to Ash Ranges when public access is permitted. Alongside this I must reiterate that residents still have access to the remaining 88% of Ash Ranges on days when the Ranges are not being used for Military training.

Again, it would appear that the DIO is considering making concessions.

Finally, at the APC meeting on Oct 11th the question was raised about the meeting of MPs and councillors on October 7th and what was discussed. We were told it was confidential. When asked whether the public (or even members of this campaign) could be involved in the discussion on the way forward to re-opening and we were told there were no plans for that.

Time will tell whether the Oct 11th photo was merely a political stunt to bolster a candidate in a local by-election or whether something positive will come from it to fully restore access.

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