Sunbury has a lot to be happy about. We live in a wonderful location, in a pretty and historic village. We want to keep it that way! There are many residents in Sunbury who have lived here for many decades or who were born here and never wanted to move away. But change is inevitable, and if some of the external forces had their way, Sunbury might develop into a very different place through over development both residential and industrial.

We are very lucky therefore to have an extremely active residents association and LOSRA, the Lower Sunbury Residents Association are a force to be reckoned with. Sunbury Matters met with Chairman John Hirsh to hear about what LOSRA does for us behind the scenes, and what his role is.

John has been involved in LOSRA since 1978 and is in his 8th year as Chairman. To describe LOSRA as a “full time distraction” is clearly accurate after 2012 saw the most demanding year to date. The Eco Park, Police Training College, Environment Agency site and Hazelwood/London Irish, would each individually have been challenging, but the fact that they all came to a head at once has put huge pressure on the committee.

The LOSRA committee is made up of 15 members. They share a common love of Lower Sunbury and bring to the committee various skills and expertise to enable insightful decisions based on fact. They are all volunteers and they deserve our gratitude. As Chairman, John Hirsh is the public face of LOSRA, but acts with Committee approval. He interacts with all stakeholders; Residents, Developers, Lawyers, Councillors and Politicians. Much as the desire is surely to Fight, Fight, Fight, his attitude is to engage in dialogue with all parties to help find agreement and compromise. “Run in the same way as the runaway horse and slow it down. Don’t stand in front of it!” he said to me. There have been some amazing concessions reached in the past year, for example Linden Homes inviting LOSRA to be part of the selection process of architects for the Environment Agency site. It is largely down to LOSRA’s fight (alongside smaller action groups in Sunbury) that proposed dwellings have been kept to a reasonable level on the developments under way in the village at the moment.

John is also the person who instigated the LOSRA website to communicate with locals. You can keep up to date with local developments, planning applications, local issues and some local events. You can also sign up for the regular emailed newsletters.

Costs to keep on top of all these battles is not insignificant. LOSRA asks residents of Lower Sunbury for an annual fee of only £5 per household which goes only a tiny way towards covering the costs. Luckily there are a few benevolent locals who have made large donations to help.

To pay your annual membership of £5 please visit the LOSRA website (www.losra.org) and you can pay by Paypal or you can pay in either Twirltours in Green Street or in Skinners on Avenue Parade.