Now that Easter and the AGM is over, we are back to the old routines, and there is one particular item that we must urgently draw to your attention.
Just before Easter we were invited to an unexpected meeting with the developers. Two members of the committee attended and we were told that The Goodman Group (the US based company) had pulled out of developing the care home for which planning permission had been granted. It is understood that the principal of the company who was keen on expanding into the UK had died and the company was now controlled by a board of trustees who no longer wished to continue this policy. Circle Hill were approached to buy the land and at the end of February this transaction was completed.
At our meeting we were told that plans were being drawn up for 2/3 bedroomed houses with some apartments, all in the style of the existing development at Sycamore Gardens and some 30 – 35 units were anticipated.
Following this our committee met with concerned parties and some of our councillors and it was felt that this number of units would be acceptable, although since there were no plans available although expected soon, we would wait to take any action until we had something concrete to report to residents.
It now seems that, rather than involve our committee to gauge opinion, the developers have acted quickly and sent letters to residents living close to the site and this is shown on the next page.
This letter advises that an information event is to be held at Nescot Skills Centre on Tuesday 25 April between 3 pm and 8 pm. We would urge everyone to go and see this and make your feelings known. Epsom’s strategic plan identified the whole site to enable 120 properties. Given that 91 houses were approved, and now allowing for the absence of the Care Home, this would equate to an additional 30 properties. We understand, however, that the developer is considering an additional circa 90 properties – not 30!
Please do let us know what you think so we can take your opinions into account when appropriate. You can either do this by email or the web site on which this bulletin will be published.
Thank you everyone who came along to the AGM in March – we were delighted to welcome 42 residents to Wallace Fields Junior School, which is a record as far as I am concerned! We were given an excellent presentation on Epsom Common nature reserve by Stewart Cocker, the Countryside Manager for Epsom & Ewell Borough Council, had a question and answer session with our Borough councillors and elected John Beckett to be our Resident candidate for the Surrey County Council election on 4 May. We hope everyone also enjoyed a glass or two of the wine that was provided!
Surrey County Council Elections
Although it must feel as if we are being “electioned to death”, please do go out on 4 May and vote for John Beckett. He has really been a positive and active representative for us at SCC and keeps us well informed when action is needed. At the AGM John Beckett gave us an enlightening insight into the workings at SCC and it is obvious that someone of his calibre is needed as a vital part of the organisation.
Equally important has been John Beckett’s criticism of the wasteful spending of millions of pounds at SCC and especially the 60% rise the Conservative’s awarded themselves in allowances.
STOP PRESS – Surrey County Council is to slash highways budget for Epsom and Ewell by nearly 80 per cent, leaked emails reveal. The budget for repairing roads, fixing footways and protecting pavements is to be slashed by almost 80 per cent. According to emails seen by the Epsom Guardian the scale of the cuts have been revealed to members of Epsom and Ewell’s Local Committee but have yet to be made public.
In 2016/17 the committee received £355,433 from Surrey County Council but that is set to tumble to £77,273 – a cut of about 78 per cent.
N.B. If anyone has not yet registered to vote – visit gov.uk/register-to-vote and fill in 11 questions. They include your name, address, National Insurance number and whether you want a postal vote. There’s not much else you need to fill in. Although the deadline for voting for the county election has passed, you have until midnight on 22 May to vote to take part in the General Election.
Lidl – The formal planning application for the mixed-use development on the vacant site at 40-52 Upper High Street Epsom has now been published on the Council’s planning portal under reference 1700001/FUL. Do go and take a look at this.
Aldi – no further news as yet on the appeal into the Aldi store on the former Dairy Crest site is due to be heard at a public hearing in the Town Hall starting early October.
Links Road Backland Development – the date of the appeal against the refusal of the planning application to erect 4 detached 4-bedroom houses with garages and associated access and landscaping behind some properties on Links Road is still awaited.
North Looe Ewell – the application to erect a 3 bedroomed house on the former Young Farmers Club Hut, was refused but the developer have come back with a small one bedroomed option. We shall again ask for this to be called to committee and we would encourage everyone concerned about building on Green Belt in the area to record their opposition on the web site. The planning application reference is 16/01679/FUL.
Mill Road – the developers have revised their application following the Council’s decision to refuse permission for the change of use to HMO’s. This application was refused on the grounds that the proposed HMO use would result in a higher level of parking demand than that generated by student accommodation. The proposed parking is considered to be insufficient which would result in additional on-street parking pressures within Mill Road, to the detriment of the availability of on-street parking. We commend this decision.
57 Longdown Lane North – no news on a revised application as yet following refusal of the previous application.
116a Reigate Road – 16/00895/FLH this application for a single storey extension was refused but the property continues to be converted. We have asked for help from our Councillors to look into this further as a result of planning anomalies.
Organ Inn site on the London Road – the modification of previously refused plans to erect a Class A1 convenience supermarket (Lidl) and associated parking, access, servicing and landscaping on this site (reference 16/00933/FUL) is still pending consideration.
The Star Ewell Village – This has been marketed. A lot of work has been done to clear it out. The two upstairs flats have been made safe with fire-proof boarding and one is occupied. The downstairs spaces were put on the rental market 2 weeks ago with Greenfield in Ewell Village.
Help with opposing planning applications
A resident who has faced opposing an overbearing planning application has offered to help people within the association, faced with similar problems if they wanted to make 3D models. To confirm the article in the previous bulletin, please get in touch if you are interested in having some help.
Surrey Wildlife under threat! – thank you to all who signed the petition to abandon plans to cut the Council’s funding of the Surrey Wildlife Trust that will result in the redundancy of all 16 Countryside Rangers in April 2017. This was raised at the meeting of the Cabinet Member for Environment and Planning Decisions on 23 March 2017 but it is unclear whether there is any change in SCC decision and we are unable to get any further information at this time, presumably due to the purdah associated with the General Election. The response from the Cabinet Member, Mike Goodman, Conservative Councillor, can be viewed at https://petitions.surreycc.gov.uk/SWTfunding then clicking the link to view the agenda. The response is under Printed Decisions.
Security reminder – residents are reminded that in view of the numerous burglaries in the area, the police have advised that it is essential to remain vigilant and to protect your properties. Keep windows and doors secure at all times and endeavour to ensure that the large plastic wheelie bins cannot be used by a potential intruder to facilitate access to your property or to your neighbours’ from a boundary fence or flat roof.
Traffic control and speeding – as publicised in the last bulletin we have been following up our concerns with Surrey County Council but elections have delayed their response but we will get back to you when there is something positive to report.
Reigate Road – Nescot Roundabout – Work has been done on some landscaping by the roundabout but so far only low shrubs have been planted so we have contacted Nescot and asked them to confirm what will be happening to the fence.
Street Lighting – the street lighting switch off has started and street lights are now off between midnight and 5 am. Some residents have raised concerns that midnight is a little too early and John Beckett will be following this up to see if this can be changed to 1 am.
East Street road alterations – still nothing!
Plan E improvement works – Work on building the new bus stand on Ashley Avenue has been finished, all was cleared away early April and it is ready for use. Buses that normally stand outside TK Maxx will soon use the new stand on Ashley Avenue. As work progresses it may be necessary to move bus stops temporarily but we will be advised in advance.
Spread Eagle junction – major structural and drainage problems below the surface of the road here have been discovered and these need to be repaired before any further work. This structural work was unexpected so the Council has had to bid for additional money to do it and won’t know if they have been successful until July. For that reason they have changed their schedule and put everything on hold at this junction for now. This is important work that will take place as soon as funding is in place. There are therefore revised timings for the work which can be seen on the SCC Epsom & Ewell Plan E website.
Pothole reporting – Are you aware that pot holes can be reported to Surrey CC? Go to https://www.surreycc.gov.uk/do-it-online/report-it-online. When a pot hole has been reported there is a case for compensation for anyone whose vehicle is later damaged by that pot hole. This web site can also be used to report a problem with pavements, street lighting and many other things.
Le Raj Academy at Nescot – The Le Raj Academy Restaurant at Nescot College’s Skills Park is now open with outdoor dining available in the warmer months and ample on-site car parking. The partnership with Nescot provides practical training for students working alongside top professional chefs and front-of-house staff in industry-standard facilities. For details go to: www.nescot.ac.uk/lerajacademy.
The Big Switch – Weekly refuse and recycling – The big switch for the collection of waste will be split into two start dates 8th May and 12th June 2017. How the changes will affect you can be seen at www.epsom-ewell.gov.uk/recycling and waste/recycling at home.
N.B. – if you use the Kiln Lane Recycling Centre don’t forget that in order to obtain a 2017 car sticker it will be necessary for you to provide evidence of residency and identity on your first visit in 2017.
Epsom Core Strategy – The Core Strategy sets the overall planning framework for the Borough and contains a number of key strategic policies. This was originally published in 2007 and is now under review. Details will be published when known.
LOCAL MATTERS AND EVENTS
Epsom & Ewell Model Railway Club – A must for model railway fans – the Epsom and Ewell Annual Exhibition. Saturday 22 and Sunday 23 April NESCOT –Reigate Road, Ewell, Surrey KT17 3DS.
Epsom & Ewell Model Railway Club are holding another Annual Exhibition that once again includes a selection of some of the best quality fine scale layouts currently available.
Banstead Village May Fayre – The annual May Fayre in Banstead Village with this year’s May Queen will be held on Saturday 28th April 1 to 4 pm. There will be a Procession – Crowning and Fayre. The Banstead Village May Fayre is an annual event which is organised by a group of parents who either live in Banstead or have strong connections to Banstead. The group is a non-profit making organisation and its sole purpose is to raise money for nominated charities.
Behind The scenes at the RHS Shows – Hear the details behind the famous RHS Shows at Chelsea and Hampton Court – a talk from Paul Patton on Tuesday 9 May 2017 from 8 to 10pm Bourne Hall, Spring Street, Ewell KT17 1UF with the Ewell Horticultural Association.
Bourne Hall Lake – people visiting the lake to feed the ducks and other birdlife are being asked not to bring bread as this encourages the rats. Please feed the birds with lettuces, corn and even sprouts – much better for their health and digestion.
Subscriptions – thank you everyone who has handed their subscriptions to their road stewards or paid on line or by standing order. Please do support us – we really do appreciate it.
Keeping in touch – this bulletin is distributed to all those who have provided email addresses. The return of email addresses on the subscription envelopes has increased numbers dramatically! I hope everyone finds this flow of information useful and thank those who have commented in an appreciative way. Please pass this information on to any resident who may find it useful and ask them to let us have their email address so we can keep them in the loop.
Web site – do visit this – http://www.ewelldownsra.org. I am sure some of you must have some local photos to put on this!
Facebook – 49 people have now visited our Facebook page and “liked” us. Do go and use this to put comments or pictures of the area on.
Twitter – this is quite active with 99 followers of Ewelldownsra.
Comments and news reports – please use this as a two-way instrument and let us know if there is anything you wish to report or comment on.