Children ask the Queen for help after gas firm installed equipment on Oxted green
YOUNGSTERS have asked the Queen for help after a gas firm installed equipment on their green.
Their letters to Her Majesty detail how bulky equipment, including a flue pipe, a control box and a large slab of concrete, have ruined plans for jubilee celebrations in the Oxted cul-de-sac.
The highlight was going to be a royal-themed bouncy castle, which was supposed to be put up on the green in Johnsdale.
During a community protest on Thursday, 7-year-old Hannah Longhurst told the Mirror: "It's all ruined now. I don't like the green anymore because of all the new stuff."
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The equipment was installed by Southern Gas Networks at the end of last year and residents insist they were not forewarned.
Trudi Longhurst, 39, said: "We should have been consulted on this. We want it moved and we are going to fight it."
Long-time resident Pat Withers, who moved to the street in 1969, said promises to improve the look of the green have fallen short. She added: "My children played on this green, everybody's children play on the green.
"They have raised the level of it so much, so whatever they try to do to make it look better won't make much difference.
"We just want it back to how it was before.
"We are sitting on seeping gas here. What would happen if someone who didn't know lit up a cigarette?"
Johnsdale Residents Association has been pushing for answers from Surrey County Council and SGN as to why it was decided to place the gas governor in the residential area.
Pete Watts has also been pivotal in leading the campaign against the equipment and is mainly concerned about the health and safety risk it poses.
Mr Watts, 46 added: "We only have one way out of this road so this could not have been considered a suitable site. People from 48 houses would have to get past this obstruction in the event of an emergency. God forbid, if something did happen, how are we to get out?"
On Monday morning residents confronted workers who were attempting to carry out further work on the green. The workers from Morrison Utility Services, working for SGN, finally withdrew from the site when protesters sent them packing.
Plans to mark the Queen's Diamond Jubilee with a street party and a bouncy castle and hog roast on the green have been put on hold while residents wait for feedback from SGN. Residents had also planned to plant a commemorative tree but have been stumped by the equipment.
A spokeswoman for Southern Gas Networks said it had no plans to remove the gas governor and added: "It is there to provide a safe and secure supply of gas. Safety is our top priority and there is no risk to any residents in Johnsdale.
"We look forward to hearing a positive response from the residents association so we can progress with our remedial works."
The residents have sent the Queen a letter with some pictures of the green as it was when they celebrated the Coronation in 1953.
The letter says:
Dear Queen Elizabeth,
Here are some treasured memories of the party to celebrate your Coronation held in Johnsdale, a small cul-de-sac in Oxted, Surrey.
The spirit of the present day Johnsdale is very much as it was in the 1950’s. It is a very caring and supportive community. Disastrously, our plans to celebrate your Diamond Jubilee have been completely destroyed.
We are all very angry. We take great pride in maintaining the appearance of the green ourselves, and over many years have planted bulbs and a Golden Jubilee tree.
The children are upset that they will no longer be allowed to go and play on the green and are writing to you to see if there is anything you can do to help.
Janet Brown and Jennifer Kimber
For the children and residents of Johnsdale
What children from Johnsdale have told the Queen:
- Dear Queen, Please could you help get our green back as we want to play and celebrate your Diamond Jubilee.
Love from Darragh, six, Orla, four, and Aoife, three
- Dear Queen, We are very sad because we cannot have a bouncy castle on our green to celebrate your Diamond Jubilee.
- Dear Queen, I liked the green how it was with flowers. We cannot celebrate your Jubilee now and it makes me sad because we cannot have a bowncy-castle (sic) because of the box.
From Rosie, seven