Following the planning committee meeting and our own committee meeting, here are a few updates for you:
Despite all our efforts and those of residents and councillors the planning application for the new development on NESCOT Agricultural Land Reigate Road Ewell for the construction of 88 residential dwellings was approved at the Planning Committee meeting on Thursday 5 October. One of our committee members spoke against the proposal, quoting overdevelopment of the site, lack of infrastructure to support the new residents from local facilities – schools, doctors etc – and the additional traffic problems that this would cause to already overloaded road, especially the Reigate Road and the A24 which already records in excess of 20,000 vehicles daily. The committee as a whole didn’t like the outcome because there was insufficient affordable housing and there weren’t sufficient parking spaces; however with great pressure from the Conservative government to meet a target number of houses/ dwellings that is far bigger than the Council feels it can reach without resorting to using land that it doesn’t want to i.e. green belt land, it felt it didn’t have the option to refuse. The financial considerations of such a refusal or even a deferral were also a concern.
We are indeed extremely disappointed with this result but do thank everyone who opposed the application. A full report on the reasons behind the refusal will be in the Autumn Newsletter which will be published soon and distributed to all residents.
Nescot Car Park
The work on the landscaping, the cycle store and the old staff car park continues.
We have had a reply from SCC regarding the shrubs in the bed by the roundabout and their representative advises “I haven’t checked the species of shrub in the bed but from the planning application they were supposed to be a mixture of heights including some which were taller so that we could eventually remove the fence. The bed is still covered by the S278 Agreement and is under maintenance so I will ask the College to weed it.” Clearly something has gone wrong with the planting and this will be taken up. The college has not yet completed any weeding as you can see!
Reigate Road Traffic Islands and turning into Roman Road
These islands are now in place. The double yellow lines on the turning ave been repainted. They were almost obliterated from view by heavy traffic moving into the site.
Links Road Backland Development – no further news to report.
Lidl – The planning application for the mixed-use development on the vacant site at 40-52 Upper High Street Epsom published on the Council’s planning portal under reference 1700001/FUL is due to come to the November Planning Committee meeting. We understand that this is likely to be recommended for approval.
Aldi – all those who registered an interest in the application for this development on Alexandra Road would have been advised of the public enquiry held at the Town Hall on 3 October, lasting for two weeks. All previous representations were copied to the appellant and we understand that some very constructive comments were made.
The Star Ewell Village – Following approval of the planning application, the conversion of the upper floor to five flats (we understand the original three were increased by building on the garden area) is being completed and one flat is now occupied. There have been no offers on the ground floor area, the anticipated large restaurant site.
North Looe – Following the local council’s refusal of an application to build on the site of the disused Young Farmers’ hut in the North Looe, an appeal has been lodged. The land around the lane is owned by a property developer (60 acres) and, in the light of current events regarding the Green Belt, we are concerned that any permission to change the designation of the hut to a dwelling will be the “thin end of the wedge”. This could potentially affect many local people, not to mention the effect on the Reigate Road traffic if another huge estate is built on the North Looe fields.
This is an important matter and we lodged our opposition to the application some time ago. For further information you should be able to find all the relevant documents, including the appeal letter, under the reference 16/01679/FUL. The appeal reference is APP/P3610/W/17/3182701.
86 Reigate Road – the application for the erection of 3 new dwellings, (two semi-detached and one detached house) and associated vehicular access, parking and landscaping was approved. The application number was 17/00686/FUL. Following a query from residents, the tree officer visited the site and confirmed that there were no trees worthy of further protection orders.
Land At Priest Hill Reigate Road – Excavation of a new 16m x 8m x 1m (deep) pond, wooden pond dipping platform and stock fence enclosure. Planning ref 17/00785/FUL.
Mill Road – originally student accommodation – the appeal by the developers following the application for change of use to HMO accommodation has been ruled as inadmissible due to a technicality. We wait to hear what happens next.
Lower Mill Ewell – we believe that there may be plans for a care home on this former office site. No further news as yet.
Local Plan Consultation – this consultation runs from 25 September until 6 November and we would encourage everyone to visit the website and suggest where in the borough there are potential sites on which houses can be built. It is critical that any brownfield sites are identified to comply with this directive or green belt sites will be under threat. Please go to www.epsom-ewell.gov.uk/localplan to take part.
he Epsom Civic Society give excellent details of their concerns and the timetable at the following link:
Planning process review –
The council’s planning applications process is being reviewed after the number of major developments refused planning permission by the council, and subsequently approved by central Government, exceeded a threshold set by the Government.
In the last two years, the council received 29 major planning applications. Four applications were refused for a variety of reasons, as being unsuitable for the borough. These were subsequently allowed on appeal – this is 14% of the total number of those refused and exceeds the Government threshold of 10%.
The council’s processes for determining major planning applications is now going through a review process
Help with opposing planning applications
We have been contacted by two people interested in the help being offered to our residents for 3D models in connection with planning applications. Further details were 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.
Street Lighting – the review by SCC is continuing until 31 December. If you are unhappy about the lights in your road, or generally in Epsom & Ewell, being switched off from 12 midnight until 5.00am go and “voice” your opinion. The options on the review are:-
included in the Part Night Lighting programme (i.e. switched OFF between midnight and 5am);
included in the Part Night Lighting programme with different operating times;
proposed OFF time …………… proposed ON time ………………
excluded from the Part Night Lighting programme (i.e. remain ON all night).
Night time crime has gone up by 40 per cent in Epsom and Ewell since the streetlights were turned off in February. Police statistics show there were 342 crimes recorded between midnight and 5am from March 1 to July 24 this year, compared to 245 during the same period in 2016 and 251 in 2015.
The site for this is: www.surreycc.gov.uk/roads-and-transport/
Boundary Commission – it has been agreed that the re-defining of any boundaries will not affect the Borough elections due in 2019. You will recall that there was a requirement for Councils to consider the ratios of Councillors to residents in Epsom & Ewell, resulting in 3 wards being over-subscribed and 1 under. Following the submission of this report, the Commission will make its judgement, which could include re-defining ward boundaries and specifying Councillor Representation. It could be effective for the local council 2023 elections.
Epsom General Hospital – the issue of the future of the hospital is gaining importance and there is a KOSHH (Keep Our St Helier Hospital) campaign team which was in Sutton yesterday. The resident associations may investigate the possibility of working together and using some of their energy and experience. Seeing their campaign in action, it is clear that they are fighting for both St Helier AND Epsom Hospital and doing a much better job of publicising the issues to the general public than anything seen in Epsom so far.
East Street road alterations – surprise surprise! There is a hold up on this! Our Councillors have been chasing this up and the reply from SCC is:
“We are working on costs for the scheme. Given the complex nature of the site we are having to design the traffic management up front, to be able to calculate the cost of the traffic management, which of course then becomes a component of the overall scheme cost. Once we have a complete breakdown of costs we will be able to make a decision (in consultation with Members) as to what to do with the layby, and then plan the delivery of the scheme.”
So make of that what you will. It seems that they have to include a pedestrian controlled crossing across East Street as part of the scheme, to use money from the Sainsbury’s development. This would involve three way lights which are it is alleged complicated and quite costly. They have to subcontract out the design to a third party who has yet to give them full costs.
The sense we get is that they will eventually do something, but we are now looking at 2018.
Plan E improvement works – the second phase (the creation of the 2-way thoroughfare in South Street) has started and will last for 16 weeks. Work is progressing well and there are new kerbs and paving in place on the Playhouse side.
Works phases F & G include the following:
South Street – renewing the footways and kerbing as well as improving the road layout and providing new loading bays; [Phase F]
Playhouse junction (between South Street. and Ashley Avenue) – improving the junction layout and traffic signals to prepare for the conversion of South Street into a 2-way street; [Phase G]
This project will change the road layout in Epsom to help reduce congestion and improve the town centre’s appearance. In order to undertake these works a Site Compound will be located in the western end of the Market Place. The council’s contractor Kier and Murrill Construction Ltd will be carrying out these works on the Council’s behalf. The link for further details is: twitter.com/epsomlc/status. They will make sure you can get to and from your house or business when it is safe to do so.
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.
Community Recycling Centres in Surrey – at the SCC Conservative Cabinet meeting on 26 September additional cost cutting was proposed and the table below shows how we are to be affected:
In addition it was agreed that the free daily allowance of chargeable waste from the construction, alteration or repair of homes and gardens such as rubble, plasterboard and soil is stopped from December 2017, as set out in paragraphs 27 to 28 of the submitted report.
The opposition at the Council called these decisions in but it was lost on the vote, so it is a done deal. We do understand that there were a substantial number of abstainers when it came to the vote!
The full cabinet paper with further details are available online mycouncil.surreycc.gov.uk/.
LOCAL MATTERS AND EVENTS
Halloween walk on the dark side – From Monday 30 October to Tuesday 1 NovemberView map
You can discover Ewell’s dark past and remember the tales that some would rather forget. Learn about exploding gunpowder mills and visit the graveyard of St Mary’s where their victims lie. Discover folk who lived locally and just won’t stay dead! Hear tales of witches and horrible murder, funerals without a body, tragic coach crashes and ghosts! Tread in the footsteps of the body snatchers and see where they plied their grisly trade. And discover why a vicar pulled down his own church! Our tour around the village will end with a visit to Ewell’s historic jail and a chance to find out first-hand what an 18th century prison was like—be careful not to be left behind!
Places are limited, so you must reserve your space – check this on the Epsom & Ewell What’s On web site or contact David Brooks on 020 8394 1734/ email firstname.lastname@example.org. Cost per person £5. Please meet in the foyer of Bourne Hall
Fireworks Night at Tadworth Court – Friday 27 October – Join us for a spectacular evening of fun, fireworks and scrumptious food at The Children’s Trust! 6pm-9pm. Adult entry tickets are £6.00 and Child entry £4.00. Tickets are now available to purchase on the night.
Monthly Farmers Market in Epsom – Epsom Market Place, The Clock Tower on Sunday 5th November.
Ewell Yule 2017 – Come on down to Ewell Village High Street on Friday 1st December from 5pm for Ewell Yule! The annual traders and community event returns bigger and better than ever! The Ewell St Mary’s Morris Men will be dancing the night away outside The Famous Green Man, school choirs will sing carols, local bands performing and we may even have a pantomime this year! There will also be rides and amusements for children, shopping stalls and food from our many shops and restaurants. It’s a great night out for all the family. Free car parking.
Can You Help? – Surrey Police are appealing for information following suspected arson at the Epsom Playhouse early on the morning of 16 Oct (01:50). Four fire engines attended the scene and dealt with the blaze in which no one was harmed. Performances at the Playhouse are not affected.
If you saw or heard anything suspicious in the area that night, please call 101 with the reference P17261353.
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 – 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.