This bulletin is to bring you up to date on where we are particularly in relation to planning issues.
Many of you would have been to the exhibition hosted by the developers at Nescot Skills Centre in April advising residents of their plans for the original care home site. Our major concern is the four apartment blocks along the side of the Ewell by Pass which comprise one and two bedroomed units – the whole site is therefore planned to provide an additional 84 units. This was totally unexpected and horrified many of the people who came along, particularly in view of their size and the limited parking that was available. As mentioned in the previous bulletin, originally this whole site, including the 91 houses already approved and under construction or occupied, was identified in Epsom’s strategic plan to enable 120 properties.
It seems that at the moment the proposed application is with the planning department and has not yet been validated, so, short of making residents aware of what is going on, there is little that we can do. We need to see the plans published and then we can act – we can only hope that they will be changed to reflect the many comments made by those visiting the exhibition. It is our understanding that the developers are anxious to have their plans approved by September this year so that once the existing work has been finished later this year, they can simply direct their work force to the new site. For those of you who have not seen the plans in their original form these are shown on the next page. Please excuse some alignment inaccuracies!
Following a meeting of the committee with our councillors and representatives of other interested resident representatives, we are proposing to take the following action:
To send a letter to the developer advising them of our intentions to oppose the planning application
To publicise the details of the planning application so residents may make their feelings known to the planning department – this would be done by both a leaflet drop and email
To ask for the planning application to be brought to the planning committee
The Chalk Pit
The second item of importance is the Chalk Pit on College Road.
Epsom and Ewell Borough Council has been consulted by Surrey County Council on the following application – 17/00092/CMA – Retrospective Change of use from a Waste Transfer Station to Material Recycling Facility at The Chalk Pit, College Rd.
The documents relating to this may be accessed via the EEBC web site under reference 17/00092/CMA. The submitted supporting statement claims that there would be ‘no change to access arrangements or vehicle movements as a result of this application. Access will continue to be achieved via College Road and the facility would continue to process the same volume of waste.’ This planning application is seeking to change the use of part of the site from waste transfer to materials recovery. This change would not alter the nature or volume of waste accepted at the site but simply allow treatment to occur to allow direct recovery and recycling of certain waste streams to take place on site.
The change in use has already occurred and involves the use of a Trommel and picking station which is certainly noisy and the BEHO is advising that a new noise assessment should be undertaken to demonstrate that the previously imposed noise condition attached to EP14/00958/CMA for waste recovery activities permitted in 2015 is still being complied with.
Our strong concern is that, by granting this retrospective change of use to recycling materials, there will then be nothing stopping 1st Place Ltd and the other waste companies in the Pit, to apply to introduce more Trommels in the future, creating yet more unbearable noise and dust for residents, in an inappropriate location.
Our councillors are looking into this matter on our behalf and we will report back. Furthermore, regarding the site, there is also an ongoing issue of parking outside the site on College Road itself which is being considered.
Landscaping has been completed on the area adjacent to the “temporary fence” but this seems to comprise low growing shrubs only. We have been in touch with Nescot to ask when the fence will be replaced by more suitable permanent structure and they contacted SCC who have advised that their representative has seen the works and is happy with them. SCC has advised that she thinks it is best that the fence stays there (at least) until the plants have grown. This area will now be put on maintenance by Surrey CC.
We shall be contacting SCC to resolve this issue as we had been led to believe that this fence was not a permanent feature. Please let us know if you have any recommendations.
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. This is showing as pending consideration.
Aldi – still no further news on the appeal date for the proposed Aldi store on the former Dairy Crest site. We understand that there is a backlog of appeals and will report back when a definite date is announced.
Links Road Backland Development – similarly, 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 demolish the former Young Farmers’ Club Hut and replace it with a one bedroom dwelling was refused on the grounds that it is an inappropriate development that would have an adverse impact on the openness of the Green Belt.
57 Longdown Lane North – an appeal against the refused application was submitted on the 24th April. Epsom’s portal is showing “Appeal Lodged” however there doesn’t appear to be anything on the planning appeals site as yet.
116a Reigate Road – 16/00895/FLH this application for a single storey extension was refused but the property continues to be converted. We have chased this up with the Council planning office and await their reply, particularly in relation to change of use.
Organ Inn site on the London Road – the modification of previously refused plans to erect a smaller 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.
Surrey County Council Elections
John Beckett, the Resident candidate for Ewell Ward, was elected to serve on 4 May. Thank you to all those who voted for him. The results were: RA – 2,579, Conservative – 732, Labour – 255, Liberal – 234 and Green – 79.
Since the election John Beckett has passed on some information which residents may find useful and this can be found later in this bulletin.
Help with opposing planning applications
A resident who has faced opposing an overbearing planning application has offered to help people within the Association with similar problems, if they wanted to make 3D models. Further details are provided in the March bulletin, which can be seen on the web site. Please get in touch if you are interested in having some help.
As most of you will be aware, SCC introduced part-night street lighting across the county, including Epsom and Ewell, with streetlights being switched off from 12 midnight until 5.00am. Many residents are concerned about policy which was the issue most often raised with our Councillors during the recent election campaign and have contacted us about this. Residents are clearly concerned about the potential for increased crime, but are also aware that trains arrive at Stoneleigh and other local stations after midnight, meaning people do not feel safe walking home late at night in the dark. The fear of crime is no less a fear just because SCC tells us that crime rates are low.
In March John Beckett asked the SCC Cabinet Member for Highways if he would agree to the 12 midnight switch-off being changed to start at 1.00am to enable late night commuters to walk home in well-lit streets. The Cabinet Member refused, despite acknowledging that keeping all the streetlights on in Epsom and Ewell until 1.00am for a whole year would cost SCC just over £5,500. John Beckett even offered to give his allowance from SCC towards this cost but this was not permitted as it would set a precedent for other boroughs.
John Beckett has advised us that he will keep trying to get some more flexibility into the policy and seek an option which provides for at least one streetlight per road (more in longer roads) to be left on all night. Modern technology enables this to happen and there are current examples in Epsom and Ewell where individual streetlights are left on all night.
Local Highway Budget Cuts of 78% – from John Beckett
“SCC divides its highway funding between Surrey Highways Team at the centre and locally to the eleven Local Committees. The vast majority of funding is held centrally (£millions) and is spent on road resurfacing, pothole repairs, traffic management and safety defects.
The Epsom and Ewell Local Committee is also provided with funds and this local highways budget enables local County Councillors to fund routine maintenance and react to residents’ concerns. It covers such issues as repairing damaged verges and kerbstones, the patching of roads, yellow line waiting restrictions, clearing vegetation, footway repairs and trip hazards, new signs, cycle links, installing bollards and posts to protect verges, and more.
Last year (2016/2017) the Epsom and Ewell Local Committee was allocated £355,433 to undertake all this work. However, in March, SCC’s Conservatives majority cut that by 78% to just £77,273. That is totally unacceptable and will mean that very little can be done to maintain the quality of our local streets let alone improve them. At the time of writing these notes (May) we have already had requests for action refused on road repairs (Stoneleigh Park Road), on guard rails (Ruxley Lane) and on signage (Station Approach) because they are “not a safety defect” or there are no funds available.
The reversal of this cut will be another challenge for us over the coming months, but it is a challenge which we have to take up.”
Tree Maintenance – from John Beckett
“And the cutbacks continue. In April, SCC took back responsibility for management of the trees on the highway from Epsom and Ewell Borough Council. In previous years Epsom and Ewell Borough Council undertook highway tree maintenance, under contract, on behalf of SCC. This work included condition works or desirable works such as general pruning, crown lifts and reductions. However SCC’s policy for tree works is to only action safety defects, which means only dealing with trees considered to be dead, diseased or dangerous. No other enhanced work will be completed unless and until a budget is made available to do so.
This short sighted view of tree maintenance will see the deterioration in the health and quality of our highway trees and inevitably lead to more complaints and possible insurance claims.”
CIPFA Report – from John Beckett
All the cuts above have been made on the basis of claims that SCC is disproportionately poorly funded by the Government, and there is no doubt that, in terms of Revenue Support Grant, all Surrey local authorities have had a bad deal from all Governments.
The ruling Conservative Group therefore used £25,000 of council taxpayers’ money to pay for an Independent Report from CIPFA with the aim of justifying their call earlier in the year (but since abandoned) for a 15% council tax rise. However the independent Report was critical of the Conservatives’ financial management of the Council saying:
• SCC’s spend is high and £100million more than the average for similar County Councils
• SCC does not have a unique financial challenge and, in terms of spending power reduction for 2017/18, its change is below average.
• The council’s 2017/2018 Budget strategy was based on an absence of a credible cost reduction plan
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 we will however follow this up soon.
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.
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 http://www.epsom-ewell.gov.uk/residents/recycling-and-waste Here are some helpful hints:
Watch out for the labels on your bins so you’ll know when the Big Switch is happening for you. There are two simple steps:
Week 1: it’s your normal refuse week
We’ll empty your refuse bin as normal. But we’ll put it back with a sticker on the lid. The sticker will show you that the next week we need you to put both your black and green bins out for the Big Switch.
Please put your recycling box and food bin out as normal too.
Week 2: it’s Big Switch week!
Put your black bin, green bin and recycling box out even if they’re empty, because we’ll be re-labelling them for the Big Switch. Put your food bin out for collection as normal:
Your green bin will have a sticker saying ‘This is now your recycling bin’
Your recycling box will have a cover on it saying that it is now just for ‘Glass recycling ONLY’
Your black bin will have a sticker on it saying ‘This is now your refuse bin’
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 Derby Festival
The Epsom Derby Festival Week kicks off on Friday (May 26) with models parading the perfect outfits for the races during hourly fashion shows in the Ashley Centre between 11am and 4pm.
The hourly shows will be repeated on Saturday, May 27, while models from one of the shopping centre’s chosen charities, The Sunnybank Trust, will feature in special shows at midday and 1pm, while tapas restaurant El Patio serve up mouth-watering tasters.
The tradition of a Sunday market before the Derby continues as ‘What’s on in Epsom’ host a market with a variety of stalls and entertainment in the Market Place between 10am and 4pm on Sunday, May 28.
Later that evening, at 6pm historians from Bourne Hall Museum will be leading a Derby History Walk around the town. But if you miss the ever-popular walk, there will be a second chance to learn about the history of the Derby at the same time on Wednesday, May 31.
The Ashley Centre will be hosting free children activities from Monday, May 29 until Wednesday, May 31 from 10.30am to 4.30pm, culminating with the grand finale – the horse simulator race – taking place on Thursday, June 1.
A free screening of the classic 1952 film starring Anna Neagle and Michael Wilding, Derby Day, will take place at the Epsom Playhouse at 2pm on Wednesday, May 31, and will include a collection for the mayor’s charities, the Sunnybank Trust, the Lower Mole Valley Trust and Citizens Advice Epsom and Ewell.
Big Day Out – Saturday 17 June 2017 – Midday – 4 pm
A great FREE ENTRY day for the whole family at Shadbolt Park House & Gardens, Salisbury Road, Worcester Park KT4 7BX. There will be a BBQ, bouncy castle, beer tent, Pimms, cream teas and stalls.
The open entry Dog Show will be open for registration at 12.30.
A celebration launch party of the new Epsom Square took place on the afternoon of Saturday 13 May. The choice of places to eat and drink has been boosted by two new restaurants, Il Grande Pizzeria and Dia y Noche (opening soon). Three new wooden cabins have also been built that will offer crepes, bagels, pastries and drinks to take away or consume whilst relaxing in the outdoor seating in the square. There are also a range of activities in the centre from Pilates and children’s soft play, to a children’s fun hair salon and Epsom Library with its community shop run by volunteers. It is hoped that the area can be used for many more community events in the future.
Bourne Hall Lake – people visiting the lake to feed the ducks and other bird life 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 – www.ewelldownsra.org. I am sure some of you must have some local photos to put on this!
Facebook – our page is being well visited and “liked”. 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.