August 2020


Chess River Water Quality

Meeting with Thames Water

There was a meeting in the Sarratt village hall on Friday 25 September with Thames Water, to discuss sewage discharges into the River Chess. Richard Aylard, Sustainability Director Thames Water, made an interesting presentation and took questions from the floor. There were some encouraging news on two fronts.

First Thames Water will be increasing capacity at the Chesham Sewage Treatment Works by 30% over the next 2 years, this should minimise storm water sewage discharges. In addition work has already started on investigating groundwater and river water ingress into the sewerage network, which could be up to 7 mega litres per day in the Chess Catchment (a huge abstraction in itself) and is a contributor to the un-permitted sewage discharges of 2014 and 2020. Work to line the damaged pipes will start in this financial year

Secondly Thames announced that they will be stopping abstraction at the Hawridge pumping station by 2024 which currently takes 6 to 8 mega litres per day from the Chess Catchment and exports it to Tring. This is in addition to the two pumping stations that Affinity Water is closing, which will cut abstraction by 50% in the upper reaches of the Chess.

Richard explained how the Chesham Sewage Treatment Works is operated and admitted that there had been little investment in the plant for many years. He highlighted the problem caused by people flushing things down their toilets that they shouldn’t. This causes major issues at the plant as this stuff has to be removed and disposed of before the water and sewage can be treated. He praised the operators at the sewage works who had done much to ensure the plant runs as efficiently as possible and said that sewage discharges are not the result of an operator making a casual decision to flip a switch but an automated system which kicks in when the inflow of water and sewage becomes too much for the plant to handle.

Richard felt it was not fair to say Thames Water just "dumps" sewage, as it only happens as result of excessive groundwater or heavy rain and storms which are more prevalent and powerful these days due to climate change. But he agreed this has to stop and Thames Water are making the necessary plans.

There had been good progress on water abstraction from chalk sources in the Chilterns despite the recent development in the area, with a reduction of 67% over the last 25 years. It is important to take account of the extra water and sewage demands of new developments and ideally to require rain water harvesting and drainage in all new builds . Councillors attending the meeting from Three Rivers and HCC acknowledged this and will encourage their colleagues to take these issues into account when considering future planning requests.

The meeting was attended by our local MP Gagan Mohindra MP, and he encouraged Thames to look at prioritising additional stormwater storage tanks at the Chesham Sewage Treatment Works as a potentially quicker remedy to the current problems. However there is an argument that installing additional and modern filtration systems would be more beneficial and will probably take the same amount of time. There was no appearance from the Environment Agency, despite an invitation. They sent a woefully poor briefing note on the recent sewage discharges into the River Chess.

One of the key issues raised in the question and answer session was the safety of children playing in the Chess. Richard explained that no river water was free from bacteria and care should be taken to wash hands and faces after exposure. He acknowledged that there could be a role for more signage to raise awareness and to sign post people to details of sewage releases and other quality issues. He invited the local Councillors present to contact him.

Most people said that the evening had been an eye opener and they are now more aware of the challenges faced by Thames Water, but having raw sewage discharged into the river is unacceptable and must stop as soon as possible, the proposed time scale for resolution is too long and everything should be done to shorten it.

Some things we can all do:

  • Think before we flush – we all know what should and shouldn’t go down the loo
  • Flag up to Thames Water if we know of any storm or other drains which drain into the sewage system
  • Keep pressure on Thames Water to deliver
  • Support the Chess River Association which has been involved with this battle for many years and clearly have expertise in this subject

Other ideas welcome!

Our thanks to Richard Aylard for his openness and his commitment to keep the pressure on Thames Water to protect the environment and to Gagan Mohindra whose continued support we look for on this issue.

If there are other environmental issues you would like to hear more about that please let us know.

Alan Milsom
Sue Clark

Sustainability Sarratt


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  • 1st Sarratt
    Scout Group

    Scouting is classified as an “essential service” by the UK Government. This is great recognition of the value of Scouting for young people and is what enables us to run meetings with numbers above the rule of 6.
    We are therefore delighted to announce that in line with the schools returning at the start of September, the UK Scout Association also gave the go ahead for Scout Group meetings to resume in our area. We have had to put lots of additional procedures in place, including risk assessments for every activity we undertake, and measures to keep our young members safe through organizing activities in smaller groups so they can stay socially distanced. We have also purchased for each Section sanitizing materials and PPE. We also needed parents formal consent for their children to return to Scouting. So following the Government confirmation that as an organized youth activity, Scouting is exempt from the new rule ‘of six’, meetings can continue.
    As such, we are now back up and running, with an outdoor programme that allows us to make the most of the remaining light evenings. During our first week back Beavers and Cubs played outdoor games at the KGV playing fields; Scouts went on a hike from Chipperfield to Sarratt; and the Explorers undertook a 2.5 hour bike ride from Sarratt down to Cassiobury Park in Watford, along the canal to Rickmansworth and back again!
    For our second week back we switched it around with the Cubs doing a bike ride around Rickmansworth Aquadrome and the Explorers undertaking a 6 mile hike around Ashridge. Meanwhile the Beavers and Scouts did a spot of fire lighting and backwoods cooking - cheesy pizzas in pitta bread! And for our third week back, we switched it around again with the Beavers on a bike ride; Cubs doing a hike; the Scouts were on a scavenger hunt; and it was the Explorers turn to do some fire lighting, with the added challenge of who could cook the fastest and best boiled eggs and soldiers!!
    Each Section will be continuing with an outdoor programme and planning a return to indoor meetings at the Village Hall when the evenings turn darker and colder in October.
    We’ll keep you posted on our plans in future editions of Spotlight.

    Finally, if anyone reading this article is interested in their child joining one of our Sections when we start back in September, or helping as an adult volunteer at meetings or with any of the back office roles, please get in touch.

    All our Sections are open to both boys and girls.

    Beavers: Age 6-8 years
    Cubs: Age 8-10 years
    Scouts: Age 10 - 14 years
    Explorers: Age 14 - 18 years

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  • Sarratt Tennis Club

    Summer Tournaments 2020

    Despite Covid, we held our usual summer tournaments again this year, culminating in the finals being played on a lovely, generally sunny, day on 6th September. This year we had 18 entrants for Men's Singles, 6 pairs for Men's Doubles and 6 pairs for Mixed Doubles with group and knockout matches being played over the summer.
    The finals kicked off with the Men's Singles Cup final between Paul Curtis and Paul Olney (who contested last year's final). It was a gruelling fight pitching the Curtis heavy duty forehand against the determined defences of Olney. The defensive resilience of Olney eventually prevailed 6-2, 7-6.
    Next up was the Men's Singles Plate final between Simon Hammett and Rob Garvey. Rob abandoned his topspin game and opted for an effective undercut backspin approach. Simon showed his steady groundstrokes off both wings which had taken him to the final but Rob's cautious approach paid off and he came out on top 6-2, 6-4.
    The Men's Doubles Cup final drew 3 exhausted players back on court and one fresher player (and clearly the crowd favourite), Richard Roberts. The line up was Simon Hammett/Paul Olney v Paul Curtis/Richard Roberts. The match was a curious affair flowing in one direction then another. Curtis/Roberts surged to a 3-0 lead in the first set before being pegged back and Hammett/Olney prevailed 6-4. Curtis/Roberts again took the initiative in the second set and were not to be denied this time, winning it 6-3. That led to a Championship Tie Break (first to 10 points or by 2 clear points thereafter) which was a cagey affair and which Hammett/Olney won 10-8 to become overall winners. The match could have gone either way and a particular mention must be made of the Roberts net play which saw him putting away every opportunity (to cheers and applause from his groupies).
    The Mixed Doubles Cup final saw past winners Mike Rogers/Jo Horwood pitched against Team Ratliff (Nick and Merriss Ratliff, who turned out in nicely co-ordinated matching blue and white kits). This was a match which reminded spectators that there is an extra dimension to some tennis matches - the vertical. The canny and consistent Rogers/Horwood pairing carried the day winning 6-3,6-3.
    Due to Covid we did not have a barbecue this year but we have every intention of reviving it in 2021. There was a very good turnout of members and other spectators and it was a great opportunity for everyone to catch up over a glass. Shirish Chauhan, as Club Chairman, gave out the Cups and Plate and a special thanks was given to Rob Hildick, Nick Ratliff and Dan Haynes for their excellent umpiring.

    Other developments

    A lot of other tennis has been played over the summer at the Club, including an American Tournament at the end of August. We are a friendly and open club and are always looking to attract new members irrespective of age and ability. Regular coaching sessions are run at the club and we have club sessions, open to all members, on Tuesday evenings and Sunday mornings. Anyone interested in joining - or finding out more about the club and its activities - can do so through our website or by contacting any of the Committee members shown on the site.

  • Sarratt FC

    The new football season is underway for both the First team, who play in South Mids League Two and the Reserves, who play in Herts County Div Three.

    An impressive turnout in pre-season was bolstered further by the first ever graduates from Sarratt Rebels to the mens set up. Dan Ormsby, Kristof Gdyztongi (both pictured) and Will Cloke have impressed throughout pre-season and we are delighted that they have chosen to remain involved with Sarratt, hopefully establishing a pathway from kids to adult football that will be a real benefit for both clubs.

    In other news, I'd like to congratulate former Sarratt FC Chairman Simon MacQueen and wife Laura on the birth of Jackson (Jack).

    To keep up to date with everything Sarratt Football Club, please follow us on Twitter -

    As ever, we are always on the hunt for volunteers with a passion for football who may want to get involved with the club. Coaches, Assistants, Groundsmen, Physios - you name it - if you'd like to get involved please get in touch.

    There will be games at home every Saturday throughout the season, typically kicking off between 2pm and 3pm. New supporters are always welcome

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Sarratt Parish Council Report

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The September meeting of Sarratt Parish Council (SPC) was held via Zoom on Tuesday 8th September. Key matters arising were as follows:

Policy & Resources

Councillor Thorp reported a new monthly budget tracker had been designed. This will be distributed before the next meeting with ‘live’ figures and will be used through to the end of the financial year in March when it will be reviewed. In response to a question from the public, Councillor Thorp acknowledged the state of the current SPC webpage on the Village website was not up to date. This has been caused by difficulties in uploading the information SPC would like to publish onto the site. A new website will be in place in the next few weeks.


Councillor Bloom has taken on the role of Lead Councillor for Sustainability and will be representing SPC at the meeting in the Village Hall on 5 October about pollution in the River Chess. Councillor Rugg is continuing to progress development of a Woodland Management Plan for the Parish. Councillor Mortimer reported a very positive start for the new Village Warden, Joe Brownsell, with good feedback from both Councillors and parishioners. As Village Warden, Joe’s responsibilities including helping SPC maintain and develop the environment within the Parish, including the monitoring of Common Land, footpaths, bridleways and the allotments. Also, keeping an eye out for rubbish, fly-tipping, graffiti, defects in highways and rights of way, incidents of vandalism and the condition of play spaces. Thanks were given to Councillors Mortimer and Rugg for completing a number of repairs to the KGV play area in the last month so making it much safer for youngsters. Councillor Mortimer noted a grave at Commonwood had been found, but has been confirmed by police as an animal grave. Also in Commonwood, logs have now been placed on the edge of the grass verges, in response to residents’ complaints about visiting cars parking on the common. Gordon Harrold who attended the meeting advised one third of the bulrushes have now been removed from Morton’s Pond and the rest could be cleared manually, negating the need for a digger, and taking away the immediate urgency to identify the position of the high-voltage electrical cable passing under the pond. However, SPC will continue their efforts to locate where the cable is for future reference. Gordon also advised he will be arranging for a drone survey to be conducted on the common around Morton’s Pond to assist with cataloguing the species of flora and fauna present in the area.


Councillor Diggins advised Council that a site meeting had been held to assess the poor state of the access road to the properties by the old Wheatsheaf pub on The Green. Options to address how repairs might be implemented are being investigated. SPC has received a letter from a visiting member of the public objecting to someone in Dawes Lane using traffic cones to reserve ‘their’ parking space. Whilst SPC has some sympathy with residents being unable to park outside their own homes due to additional visitors to Sarratt, anyone is entitled to park anywhere on a public highway. Should anyone wish to make a complaint about parking then this is a police matter. Councillor Diggins has made a formal request to Herts County Council for information relating to assigning ‘quiet lanes’ status in the Parish. This relates to Dawes Lane, Moor Lane and Sarratt Bottom. Further discussion will take place once the information is received. Following a number of complaints from a resident about flooding on the road outside Callipers Hall in Buck’s Hill, Councillor Diggins advised Three Rivers District Council are committed to remedial action to resolve the issue. Upcoming roadworks include:

  • Bucks Hill: 21-25 Sep, 0800-1800, delays possible; 23-27 Nov, 0800-1800, delays likely;
  • Bottom Lane: 21-25 Sep, 0800-1800, delays possible; 23 Nov, 0800-1800, delays likely;
  • Quickmoor Lane: 21-25 Sep, 0800-1800, delays possible; 23-27 Nov, 0800-1800, delays likely;
  • Old House Lane: 21-25 Sep, 0800-1800, delays possible;
  • Redhall Lane (BT works): 30 Sep, 0800-1800, delays likely;
  • Church Lane: 4 Nov, 0930 to 5 Nov 1600, road closed, diversion in place.

In addition, Highways England, have notified us of repairs on the M25 in our area:

  • 10-11 Sep, 2200-0500, near J18;
  • 12-21 Oct, 2200-0500, between J18-20, clockwise carriageway closures;
  • 21 Sep-3 Oct, J19 repairs.


Councillor Soothill discussed a letter from Chorleywood PC asking other Parishes to support them in challenging TRDC over their lack of communication about the recent central government ‘presumption of development’ designation on Three Rivers and their failure to publish a new Local Plan. It was felt an initial conversation with Chorleywood was appropriate and the Chair asked Councillor Soothill to draft a suitable communication with the Clerk. The following planning applications were discussed and SPC had no objections:

  • High Rising, The Green, Sarratt - Demolition of an existing conservatory and construction of a new single storey side extension.
  • York House School - New electric substation to serve the school site.
  • York House School - Demolition of existing sheds and proposed extension to an existing barn, part conversion of a barn into a plant room, and replacement of an existing fence with new close boarded timber fence.
  • Crestyl, Dimmocks Lane, Sarratt - First floor front and rear extensions, loft conversion including increase in ridge height, dormer windows and rooflights, construction of a front porch, alterations to external materials and alterations to fenestration.
  • Great Wheelers, The Green, Sarratt - Replacement outbuilding - no objection on condition that the outbuilding remains ancillary to the main dwelling.

SPC objected to the following application:

  • Ramillies, The Green, Sarratt - Removal of porch and construction of front bay window, part single, part two story rear extension - Objection, due to over development in a conservation area. If the officer is minded to approve the application, it is respectfully requested that this is called into Committee.

It was noted that TRDC endorsed SPC’s recommendations for all of the previous month’s planning applications, with the exception of the application made by Trevellas which SPC objected to on the grounds of over development of the site, which TRDC has approved. Enforcements were noted. Particular reference was made to Fir Trees in Dawes Lane where the new entrance is deemed to need planning permission and the soil embankment and hedgerow is to be reinstated by 14 November.

Neighbourhood Plan Councillor Soothill reported the first public consultation is being arranged. Two meetings will be held on 16 & 17 September in the Village Hall. TRDC’s “preferred options consultation” on the new draft Local Plan is now expected to be published in November/December 2020 and will include the proposed new housing allocation targets for Sarratt. It is also anticipated it will include where any new settlement(s) will be located in the district. Councillor Soothill also brought to Council’s attention the Government White Paper which proposes dividing housing development areas into three categories, namely Growth, Renewal and Protected, which would include Green Belt and AONB.

Other Matters

SPC has received a letter from BT who wish to remove the public phone box from Belsize. Although it is used infrequently, around five time in the past year, it still provides an essential communication facility in an area where mobile signal is poor to non-existent. The Parish Clerk will therefore respond to BT objecting to their plan for removal of the box. SPC has also received a request from Affinity Water to erect a data transmission mast on the Green at Belsize which they are discussing with Affinity Water.

Next Meeting

The next meeting of the Parish Council will take place on Tuesday 13th October at 7:30pm, again by Zoom. Members of the Parish are welcome to join the meeting. The agenda and details of how to join the meeting will be posted on the Parish noticeboard outside the Village Hall a few days ahead of the meeting, or alternatively can be obtained from Caroline Owen, the Parish Clerk by emailing her at

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