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Sir Paul Beresford Congratulates Bookham Forum

Local MP stresses importance of Forum's role for future of village


At the second meeting of the Bookham Neighbourhood Forum in the Old Barn Hall on Saturday 12th May, Sir Paul Beresford addressed the 50 members of the Forum present. He congratulated the individuals from the Bookham community who had volunteered to give their time to take part in one of the most important activities to take place in Bookham for many years.

He stressed the importance of the job that those assembled were to undertake. “It is a great responsibility, and I applaud you for rising to the task.”  He went on to say that if, down the road, there was anything he could do to help the process, particularly if the Forum felt it would be helpful to meet with the Minister in charge of this new initiative, Greg Clark, he would be happy to facilitate this.

Formal Designation of the Bookham Vanguard Forum
This second meeting of the Forum was an important step in the process. There are 59 Members of the Forum, drawn form all parts of Bookham, and from all age groups and walks of life. 50 of them were at the meeting. One vital objective of the meeting was to reach the point where an application for formal “Designation”, as defined in the Act, could be made.  This is an essential step to give the Forum a Statutory standing. It requires that the Forum be a minimum of 21 members, be as representative as possible, and it must have an agreed written constitution.

Several drafts of the proposed constitution had already been circulated and discussion at the meeting focussed on the outstanding issues which remained to be resolved.  There was a lively debate particularly on how to make sure that, through the rules on voting, proposals carried into the NDP were really representative of the views of the Forum as a whole. Agreement was reached and it was decided that the application for Designation should now proceed.

This application will now be made in the very near future. It has to be made to Mole Valley District Council (“MVDC”), as the Local Planning Authority for Bookham. MVDC must then go through a process, including initially publicising the application, and allowing the public at large 6 weeks to make representations on the matter, before taking it through its various committees and final approval by the Council.  This whole process will take until September.

Meanwhile, assuming Designation will be granted, the Forum will be getting on with the job of working towards the Draft NDP.  This, when finally drafted – planned for about 18 months time - will be distributed to every household in Bookham, and the community at large will be required to have the final say in a Local Bookham Referendum.

Presentation by Jack Straw to the Forum. May 2012.