Community Update – September & October 2022

To get in touch with the BCA: Contact the secretary on call 07513 366072 or visit the website at

We represent the community of Burpham, Guildford

Fires at the Nature Reserve

Fires broke out on three separate occasions during the heatwave back in July. Temperatures locally were around 38ºC and the uncut grass was bone dry.

Surrey Fire & Rescue Service were first called out around lunchtime on Sunday 17th July. One fire engine and several support vehicles were dispatched and crews spent a couple of hours tackling the fire and damping down an area of several thousand square metres.

Using water from the lake.

A second fire broke out on the Tuesday and a third on Thursday, this time near the car park. If prompt action had not been taken, this last fire could have damaged the pylons, spread to the allotments and possibly to the houses in Bowers Lane. The BCA would like to thank all the fire crews attending – some from Guildford but also coming from other areas, including Farnham and Walton, ten vehicles in all including a large tanker.

The Riverside Park is a valuable local asset. Its mix of wetland, lake, mature woodland and grassland offers a variety of habitats…

This incident has raised some interesting points, not least the need to raise issues with the appropriate authorities – and be persistent. The Riverside Park was a very popular place during Covid lockdowns; this led to indiscriminate parking all along Bowers Lane causing obstruction which would have impeded access of emergency vehicles. GBC were asked to consider putting double yellow lines at the top and bottom of the slope to deal with the problem. This was finally done last year – our thanks to Lisa Hayden who arranged it.

Another concern was opening the gates to allow vehicular access; Guildford crews know which key fits each lock, crews from further afield don’t. This issue has been raised with our local GBC Councillor George Potter.

The Riverside Park is a valuable local asset. Its mix of wetland, lake, mature woodland and grassland offers a variety of habitats; regular visitors will know just how many different birds and small mammals can be spotted. We have been very lucky – these fires were quickly dealt with and the grass will soon regenerate, though lost wildlife may take longer. Please let us all be aware of how easy it is to lose these habitats – observe the Country Code, don’t be careless with matches or leave broken glass lying around.

All photographs taken by Jim Allen.

MJA to close?

It has been reported that MJA Car Sales are to close after 40 years in Burpham. The site has had an interesting history. The first building there was apparently called the Kingpost, an architectural term that refers to the vertical post that supports a beam from a truss apex above (think vertical line dropped from the apex of a triangle to the base). The early history of the building is a little hazy but it may have started life as the Astolat garden shop. It then became the Kingpost Restaurant; in the 1930’s: a swimming pool was added and also a café offering refreshments to coach passengers and cyclists. There was talk of making it a sports centre but the outbreak of war in 1939 put a stop to that. The last reference to the restaurant was in 1953. The building was used by the Catholic Church for a while then, in quick succession, housed PSG Coachworks, Willcox Coachworks, Technical Designs and finally by Mid Surrey Caravans until MJA opened. The original name lives on in Kingpost Parade.

Acknowledgements to Moira MacQuaide’s book ‘Burpham, A Gateway to Guildford’.

As for the future – if MJA close, what happens next? The BCA and the BNF will be monitoring this situation carefully to ensure that whatever happens will benefit our community.

A date for your diary

17 September – Comedy show in aid of Parkinson’s

Paul Mayhew-Archer, co-writer of The Vicar of Dibley and other well-known productions, is performing his show entitled Incurable Optimist at King’s College, Southway, Guildford GU2 8DU on Saturday 17 September 7.00 – 9.15pm. Bar opens at 6.30pm. The show is about Paul’s career in comedy and how he finds the ‘funny side’ in all aspects of life including his Parkinson’s. All proceeds will go to the Guildford and South Surrey branch of Parkinson’s UK. Tickets £15 each in advance (children £5) or £20 on the door (children £7.50). Tickets from Steve Heron Tel 07795 963940

And finally…

…an apology for indicating in our last community update that we hoped to have a summer social in July. This did not take place as two of the committee members fell victim to Covid. For the same reason we could not be present at the Burpham Wellfest. This highlights the difficulties of trying to manage with so few people. To repeat our Chairman’s comments at the AGM: “we are a small group of volunteers and that, although we will continue to do our best, without additional support this will limit our ability to help the community.” If you think you could help, even in a small way, please get in touch.

Help by joining the Burpham Community Association today!

Subscriptions are £8 per household or £4 per single occupancy and run from January to December. Join now or renew your membership for 2022.

You can pay by:
Direct Debit – visit our website at which has a link to this system – an email to giving your details would be helpful.

Account name: Burpham Community Association.
Sort Code: 40-22-26.
Account Number: 41049194

To help the Treasurer please identify yourself using initials, surname and the first line of your address.

Please contact Liz Turner, our Membership Secretary, if you have any queries. Her email address is

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