Disused farmland in Woodham will be brought back to life as a community hub and gardens, thanks our MP Dr Ben Spencer and local councillors.
They were inspired by the vision of New Haw residents Ronnie and Christine Kendall who have been campaigning for years to bring the derelict eight-acre DEFRA site near them back in use.
Building on work done by Conservative councillors Scott Lewis and Tom Gracey, Ben took a business case to MP Rebecca Pow, a minister at DEFRA, and secured their agreement in principle to lease the land.
This opens the door for the site to be transformed into a wildflower meadow, apiary, and community allotment, growing vegetables, and providing surplus to food banks.
Ben, who is MP for Runnymede and Weybridge, said: “This is absolutely fantastic news for the Holme Farm - Community Workshop and Gardens project. I’m delighted that DEFRA has agreed in principle to lease the land, following the submission of a business plan and a series of meetings over the past 18 months. I will continue to work with Ronnie, his committee, volunteers and our County and Borough Councillors Scott Lewis and Tom Gracey to support this fantastic project in the months and years ahead. But we're celebrating this win – huge congratulations to everyone who has worked to support this project and achieve this success.”
Cllr Lewis, Surrey County Councillor for Woodham and New Haw and borough councillor for Woodham and Row Town, added: “This is a going to be a huge benefit to everyone, not just to the local area of Row Town, Woodham & New Haw but to the whole of Runnymede and Surrey. I want to also commend our MP, Dr Ben Spencer who has worked closely with us all to help get this vision realised.”
The project will apply to Surrey County Council's ‘Your Fund’ to refurbish two derelict buildings to a low-energy standard. It is hoped one can become a community centre for exercise and art classes and the other a carpentry workshop.
As part of the ongoing work at the site, DEFRA will gather data on the community and environmental impact the project has to inform future decisions on the benefit such community-led projects can have.
We’re looking for volunteers to help clear the site, and companies interested in sponsorship or team-building exercises. Email email@example.com