23 September 2020

Car parking at KGV

Trustees are considering how best to manage re-opening of the carpark on Browns Lane following the history of incidents and incursion during the summer.

Effingham (indeed the whole of Guildford borough) has been affected very badly by both actual incursions and the risk of incursions this summer.  The KGV gates have had to be shut for long periods and Trustees are disappointed that they have had to be closed again.

It is known beyond doubt that KGV remains a potential destination for trespassers.  In the short time since the recent eviction, a further attempt at incursion has been foiled.

Trustees recognise the inconvenience that the lack of car parking causes and are reviewing measures to allow access. Here are some of the competing and difficult factors we have to weigh up:

– If we leave the gate to the main car park open the risk is 24/7;

– The cost of a quick eviction can be in excess of £2,000 – funds the charity does not have;

– In the event of a known imminent threat of incursion we have to get everyone to remove their cars from the car park very quickly, so the gates can be locked and the bollards raised, which is a difficult thing to do at any time let alone at no notice;

– Many high-sided vehicles need to access the car park during the week in connection with normal servicing of the fields and building facilities and therefore height restrictors are not feasible;

– Efforts to secure the site can be easily undermined if users fail to lock facilities when they leave;

– Having the car park sometimes open and sometimes closed is irritating for everyone;

– Securing the whole car park with concrete bollards would be an expensive exercise;

– The Trustees have a duty to keep everyone – users, the public, staff, themselves – safe when on EVRT land;

– KGV is not manned 24/7 and the Trustees are unpaid volunteers who may not always be available to attend the site.

On Sunday 20 September we trialled a controlled unlocking of the car park for a fixed period of a few hours.  This necessitated the gate being manned continuously by people willing to supervise vehicles entering, and all drivers being clearly informed that their vehicle had to leave by midday as the gate would be locked again.

We continue to actively explore solutions, as a matter of urgency, and thank residents for continued support while we struggle to protect the charity’s assets.