Ewell Downs News Bulletin – Sep 2020

Well now that schools are back again, is that a step towards the new normality?  It seems that it’s inch by inch to avoid a second wave and we are sure that you are all doing your bit to help prevent this.  There was no bulletin in August but a few important matters have been dealt with during that month and here is a roundup for your information.

Before any Coronavirus updates, here is an important message about the future of Surrey

Residents Against Surrey Single Unitary

KEEP local decisions in the hands of local people. 

In July 2020 Surrey County Council confirmed it has been developing plans to abolish Surrey’s 11 Borough and District councils and develop a single Unitary Council for Surrey’s 1.2 million residents. This would mean the end of Epsom & Ewell Borough Council.

A new campaign, Residents Against Surrey Single Unitary has been established on a pan-Surrey basis, because the approach to date has not been open or fair. Residents of Surrey are not being properly consulted. Many residents will be concerned and want to take action. There are currently over 2,250 signatories and you have until 4 March 2021 to sign but don’t delay and visit the site shown below to find out more.

Find out more: https://rassu.org.uk/

There is a petition to sign against the idea of a single unitary if you share our view that this is a development that needs to be resisted. Let SCC know how you feel! And Chris Grayling.

This is a battle for local democracy and residents’ voices need to be heard. Please share.

Coronavirus – COVID – 19 – https://www.epsom-ewell.gov.uk/coronavirus

Again there is little change to the information given in the July Bulletin so I will not repeat this.  Anyone who did not receive the Bulletin and wishes to look these up, please go to our website – www.ewelldownsra.org

Just to let you know there are currently 351 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Epsom & Ewell (previously 333) bringing its infection rate to 5% and 814 confirmed cases in Reigate and Banstead (previously 765). Sutton saw its rate rise from 2.4% to 6.8 after recording 14 new cases and Kingston upon Thames continued the trend in the south west, recording 22 new cases and rise in infection rates to 12.4%. Croydon’s also rose from 3.9 to 6.5 cases per 100,000 with 25 new cases.  Richmond currently has the highest level of new cases in south London, with a rate of infection of 17.7, up from 10.1 last week following 22 new cases in seven days. No more deaths with coronavirus have been reported by trusts operating in and around Surrey, with the total remaining at 1,198 since the start of the pandemic.

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/coronavirus-covid-19-list-of-guidance gives information on what you can and can’t do published by the Government.

To keep you updated locally:- 

Waste and recycling

Many residents have raised concerns about the length of time they have had to wait in the queue for the tip, with tempers rising in the extreme heat we had recently.  Following contact with our Surrey County Councillor, John Beckett, the following reply was received from Natalie Bramhall, Cabinet Member for Environment & Climate Change at SCC:-

“It has certainly been very busy at Epsom with long queues on Thursday and Friday last week and a large queue when the site opened Monday morning, though less busy over the weekend.

We have had a few complaints over the last week, including an email from a number of the businesses on the estate complaining about the impact of the queues over the past 2-3 months preventing customers and deliveries accessing their business and suggesting we adopt a reservation system.

As you are aware the change to a 5 day a week working at the Epsom site was made on 8th January 2018 as part of a programme to create efficiencies in the operation of the CRC’s, the site has in fact been closed on a Tuesday and Wednesday since that date and it is only since we re-opened the site on 11 May that it has been restored to 7 day per week working. The site has also always closed at 4pm, although this was extended for a period of time when we first reopened the sites after lockdown. As I have already alluded to in my email yesterday the change to opening hours was communicated via our website, social media and with signage outside the site. The site continues to open for an extra hour on Saturday and Sunday (8am instead of 9am).

That said, there is clearly a problem that we need to address, for the immediate time we will get the marshals in again on Thursday and Friday this week to assist with traffic flow and access to businesses. We will also ask the marshals to work the queue and suggest that anybody joining the end of a long queue might want to go to the Leatherhead site instead. The weekend is generally less busy so we will not have the marshals cover the weekend.”

It is a great shame that SCC cannot react to public demand and show leadership for something that would benefit its residents!

The EEBC webpage on Current services at the tip advises:-

Please note due to social distancing on site there can still be heavy traffic queues for the tip. We advise you to go only if it is essential.

Surrey County Council’s Community Recycling Centre (‘the tip’) in Blenheim Road is currently open as follows:

  1. Monday OPEN 8am – 4pm
  2. TUESDAY SHUT
  3. WEDNESDAY SHUT
  4. Thursday OPEN 8am – 4pm
  5. Friday OPEN 8am – 4pm
  6. Saturday and Sunday OPEN 8am – 4pm

Please note the capacity of the tip is currently reduced, meaning that it can only accept certain things:

YES – CAN BE ACCEPTED Before you travel check Surrey County Council’s website for full details of what you can take to the tip NO – CANNOT BE ACCEPTED Chargeable waste (soil, rubble, plasterboard or tyres): this is due to payment-related operational issues Textiles: this is due to the continued closure of Surrey County Council’s textile recycler. Weekly kerbside textiles collections Asbestos: this is due to social distancing restrictions meaning that not all waste containers can yet be activated

Due to social distancing staff will not be able to assist you in unloading your vehicle, including white goods. So only bring to the site what you can carry yourself.

Social distancing rules will remain in place. This will limit how many cars can visit at any time, and reduce the through-flow of cars by around 75% compared to normal at this time of year. As a result, traffic management may be in place. Expect significant queues and only visit the tip if it is essential.

Residents using a van, pick-up or trailer will be able to visit the tip again but, as normal, will still need a van permit.

Please note that the tip is operated by Surrey County Council, to whom any queries should be directed.

It is worth noting that Epsom and Ewell Borough Council has urged the public to recycle after 11.5 tonnes of contaminated waste was rejected.

The load of waste featured sanitary products, nappies and food, causing the materials recycling facility to reject it.

This is the equivalent of almost two of its four collection rounds. Councillor Neil Dallen, chair of the environment and safe communities committee with the council, said: “It’s unfortunate. A few months ago, we did a campaign [called] ‘right thing, right bin ’ – in other words, put your recycling rubbish in your recycling bin. It seemed to be going extremely well. To get a load rejected and burnt instead of recycled is disappointing.”

As the campaign explains, placing non-recyclable rubbish in green bins means it has to be sorted and disposed of, potentially resulting in full loads of recycling being rejected, which is even more expensive than simply putting non-recyclable rubbish in the black bin to begin with.

Council venues

Bourne Hall – part closed – Ewell Library is open for ‘click and collect’ and book drop only. The rest of the venue, including museum, café and toilets remain closed.

Epsom Farmers’ Market and Epsom Vegan Market have started up again with a different look.  The next one will be on Sunday 4 October from 9.30 to 1.30.

Farmers Markets can offer extremely good value for money – ours do! More often than not you will actually pay less at one of our Surrey Markets than you would at a major supermarket for a similar item.  Surrey Farmers’ Markets offer delicious, fresh and seasonal produce including:

Fresh Meat – Award winning bacon, Beef, Pork, Lamb, sausages’

Poultry

Eggs

Fish & Seafood (even live lobsters can be provided to order)

Seasonal Vegetables and Herbs

Freshly baked Breads to suit all tastes

Fabulous Cheeses

Mouth-watering savoury pies

Local fruit juices

Seasonal plants for your garden

Game

Cakes, Cookies and Brownies

Hand Carved Wood

For more information please contact us on the following details:

Tel: 07984 559292
Email: andy@surreymarkets.co.uk Twitter: @surreymarkets

Plans for new repair café in Epsom with sustainability and reducing waste at its core

Councillors from the Epsom and Ewell area are setting up a new eco-friendly café

Nigel Collin and Phil Neale (the café founders alongside Cllr Neil Dallen) at Epsom Methodist Church, the site of their future café.  Councillors are looking to introduce a new repair café in Epsom town centre. The café, based on successful models across the country and the world, will be based in the Youth Hall of the Epsom Methodist Church, with a planned opening date of January 2021. It will be a registered charity, opening on a Saturday every month for four hours, and it will be free to participate.

“Everyone I’ve mentioned it to, whether residents or other councillors, seem very positive about the idea,” says Phil Neale, one of the people masterminding the scheme, alongside fellow Epsom councillors Neil Dallen and Nigel Collin.

Climate change has long been a focus for the borough council, and Cllr Neale hopes it can take its place at the top of the agenda as town centres look to get back to normal following the peak of the coronavirus pandemic.

He says: “Sadly with Covid, our discussions have all been on Zoom, but it doesn’t stop us from preparing for setting it up.

“What we’re looking for is some good news. We know everyone is under extreme stress and financial problems and this is an ideal initiative, to encourage the borough to open up, as Covid hopefully relaxes.”

The popularity of BBC programme The Repair Shop, which first aired in 2017, was also a big motivation behind the project.

They are looking for a kickstarter grant to help get the project under way, hoping to work in a similar way to the Farnham branch, where the public can bring their broken products in for volunteer repairers to work on.

It also looks at teaching people the know-how to repair things themselves, which Cllr Neale says can be financially beneficial as well as reducing waste.

He says: “This will be a very proactive project, [volunteers] will be showing them how to do it, not just saying here’s the job, here’s the bill.”

Surrey County Council figures for 2018/2019 show that on average, 57.3% of the 89,463 tonnes of household waste collected was recycled at Surrey’s community recycling centres. That still however leaves more than 38,000 tonnes that is not recycled, almost 4,000 tonnes of which are from the Epsom Blenheim Road recycling centre.

Cllr Collin says the scheme seeks to mend their community: “As a founder, I am excited about this community project which reduces landfill, saves residents’ money and fits with the sustainability sought by Epsom and Ewell Borough Council’s climate change agenda.”

The councillors are looking for volunteers to help run the shop. Anyone who is interested in lending their fixing expertise can contact Cllr Neale through his councillor contact details.

Epsom Car Boot Sales

Hook Road Arena Car Boot Sale

Held: every Sunday. Runs From: March to November. Small vans £12, transit size £20, Luton size £30. Buyers 50p after 0830. Bank Holiday Monday car boot sales are massive. Huge free car parks, good food, toilets, bouncy castles, ice cream, security, lost child procedure. Fruit, bread, farm, plant and home-made stalls. Very well run. Always check http://www.hookcarbootsale.com for dates and weather postponements (or call 07788132977). Seller Arrival: 7.00am Buyer Arrival: 07.30am.

Priest Hill Outdoor Car Boot SalePriest Hill, Banstead Road, East Ewell. Website www.surreycarbootsale.com

Held: every Saturday and will continue until 19 September Cars £10, small vans £15, large vans/Luton vans £20. Buyer fee £1 before 8:30, 50p after. Kids under 12 free. Seller Arrival: 7.00am Buyer Arrival: 7.00am.

Epsom and Ewell Local Plan 2017-2037: A New Local Plan

The Council is preparing a new Local Plan to strengthen our borough’s future, while also delivering new homes, jobs, improved transport and green spaces. Formed in consultation with residents, the new Local Plan will put in place a clear strategy to bring investment, growth and prosperity to the borough. It will also set out strong guidance about the type of growth we expect to see, protecting the borough from ad hoc and inappropriate development. Our new Local Plan will cover the period to 2037.

We are developing a new Local Plan which will ensure that Epsom and Ewell continues to evolve as a modern market borough, which offers a special and unique place for people to live, work, learn and enjoy themselves.

The borough’s previous Local Plan and related strategies were successful in helping to mould the borough into the welcoming and successful place that it is today.  The new Local Plan will have a similar role, responding to the latest challenges we face as a borough and listening to the views of local people to help shape an even better future for decades to come.

Getting Involved

More information on the Local Plan and how you can submit your views can be found on our new dedicated website: www.epsom-ewell.gov.uk/localplan

To keep up to date on progress with our Local Plan, register by emailing your details to: localplan@epsom-ewell.gov.uk

Planning issues

Ewell Bus Gate proposal cancelled – many of you will have been aware of a letter from Surrey County Council regarding Emergency Covid 19 Active Travel Measures in Ewell village and the installation of a Bus Gate. There was tremendous opposition to this and here is what Nick Healey of SCC wrote:-

“We have received a high level of feedback from the local community regarding this particular scheme.  The majority of the feedback opposed to the proposed scheme to introduce a temporary bus gate in the High Street.  This would have prevented drivers using Ewell Village as a through route, and would have resulted in a substantial reduction in traffic in Ewell Village.  Nevertheless we understand residents’ concerns including the possibility of traffic diverting along routes through residential areas as well as the lack of local consultation due to the time factors the Government associated with this type of scheme. We did however also receive a considerable amount of correspondence supporting the scheme or at least the idea of reducing traffic through the village.

From the outset the local Councillors have been listening to all the views expressed to them and have been working behind the scenes with Surrey County Council (SCC) to try and resolve as many of issues as possible which were brought to their attention.

Due to the fast moving nature of the project and the restrictive timescales, it has not always been possible to quickly update local residents.

We have therefore reviewed all of the feedback with County Cllr John Beckett, and it has been decided that we will not implement the scheme as it currently stands.

The feedback we have received has confirmed a desire to improve Ewell Village and so we will continue to engage with local stakeholders through Surrey County Council’s Local Committee for Epsom & Ewell.  It is possible that this may result in a different scheme being proposed in due course.  Please note there is no guarantee that funding would be available to promote an alternative scheme.

BACKGROUND

The background to this is that the Government has asked Highway Authorities to develop and deliver schemes to assist with social distancing, and to promote active travel (cycling and walking).  The Government is expecting Highways Authorities to take road capacity away from motorists and reallocate this for other modes of transport.  For example in Farnham town centre SCC have narrowed roads and widened pavements to provide more space for pedestrians to assist with social distancing and promote active travel. If you are interested there is more information about this on our website here:  www.ourroads.today/activetravel

The Government is encouraging Highway Authorities across the country to be radical, and we appreciate that this will cause concern for local communities.

Nevertheless we would like to implement schemes that are supported by local communities wherever possible, and to listen to any feedback that we receive when developing and implementing these schemes. We have heard clearly that the majority of the local community in Ewell Village does not want the proposed scheme to go ahead in its current form.

A number of people have asked why we have not consulted the community in the way that we normally would.  This is because the timetable set by the Government to deliver the first tranche of schemes was eight weeks from the date when funding was announced.  This did not give us time to undertake the kind of comprehensive consultation we would normally do.  Instead we have tried to use local networks to let as many people as possible know what we were considering, and thereby give as many people as possible the opportunity to respond.

If you have any further queries please could you direct them to highways@surreycc.gov.uk

Yours sincerely,

Nick Healey

Area Highway Manager

Surrey County Council

Ewell Village Residents Association supported SCC’s final decision to discontinue the proposed scheme. One positive to have emerged is the rise in public interest in trying to find a solution to Ewell’s traffic and high street business problems. This includes a WhatsApp group called “Ewell Village for Change” which has 45 participants. The group realises that something needs to be done about the traffic situation in Ewell and feel that working with EVRA may be the way to get action.  Do go and join this and be proactive with any suggestions you may have,

Coronavirus Planning Service Update

The Planning Service is continuing to receive Planning and Building Applications.  We are providing the service of registering and processing applications so that our officers can continue to deliver our statutory services while working from home.  Where necessary we have modified our processes to make this possible.  You may wish to continue to progress your planning or building matter, make applications or seek pre-application advice.  The majority of decisions are undertaken under delegated authority, and for those matters we are endeavouring to provide a business as usual service. 

Meetings will be held virtually using video and audio conference technology and will be open to the press and public to attend as observers either online or by telephone. There is also continued provision for the public to contribute to the meeting in accordance with our scheme for public speaking.

Details on how to log in or listen to the Planning Committee meeting on the telephone can be accessed on the front sheet of the committee agenda published elsewhere on this website – planning committee.

A Planning Committee meeting was held on Thursday 3 September and a Special Planning Committee meeting is to be held on Wednesday 23 September at 7.30 pm.  The items on the Agenda have yet to be published. 

Project Downs Farm (Reigate Road) – this project appears to be raising its head again although we have been unable to get more information on its validity.  There are concerns with the Government lines on planning that this area of Greenbelt will be under attack and residents should be mindful of this fact.

The Dandara website comments “This 110 acre Greenbelt site is being promoted jointly by Dandara and the landowners through the Local Plan process with a view of securing a residential led allocation.”

This is the area concerned:-

Woodcote Grove, Ashley Road – (19/00999/FUL and 19/00998/LBA) Development of 98 apartments/dwellings, including conversion of the Grade II* Listed Woodcote Grove and Grade II Listed Stable Block, with parking, access, landscaping and other associated works, following the demolition of the existing reprographics centre and conference centre (Listed Building Consent). It went before the Planning Committee on 23 July but a decision was deferred pending additional information.

London Road – old Organ and Dragon Inn site – (20/01079/FUL) Construction of a three to six storey building comprising 45 flats (Use Class C3) with associated car and cycle parking, refuse storage and ancillary works. This planning application was validated on 4 August and there have to date been 61 objections. The proposed housing building works, which will provide 45 residential units, being between three and six storeys, forming an L-shape from a bird’s eye view. There will be 21 one-bed units, 15 two-bed units and nine three-bed units, with a percentage of affordable housing still to be confirmed. The development does seem to dwarf the existing area’s housing as well as having parking and traffic issues. The artist impression is shown below.

Reigate Road roundabout – we are delighted to see that the offending fence panel near the new Nescot roundabout has been removed and the greenery tidied up.  We have contacted Nescot to ask who carried out this work so that we can thank them!

1 Higher Green (19/00758/FUL) The Construction Transport Management Plan has been published and does not appear to protect the residents and the school children as far as highway safety is concerned as much as we would have liked so a previous draft letter to the developer has been revised and will be sent. 

North Looe Estate (170 Reigate Road)(19/01593/FUL) proposed change of use of the land and buildings for a Dog Day-care centre.  This rumbles on!

Guild Living at rear of Epsom Hospital (19/01722/FUL)| demolition of redundant hospital buildings and redevelopment of the site to provide a new care community for older people arranged in two buildings. There are well over 600 objections including the Epsom Civic Society and reports continue to be filed but no decision yet. 

7 Station Approach Stoneleigh – (19/00668/FUL) application for the demolition of existing buildings on site and erection of a part 6, part 7 storey building providing 23 residential flats with associated communal roof terrace, cycle and refuse stores.  Despite amendments to the original plans, objections continue to be received and total well in excess of 1,000 with letters addressed to Chris Grayling as well as the Planning Department.   This application is expected to be considered on the 8 October planning committee. 

Development Site at 24-28 West Street Epsom – (19/01021/FUL) there is still no news on this application for the demolition of the existing building and construction of a new part 9, part 11 and part 13 storey building. There are almost 5,000 objections to this including ones from Historic England and the Civic Society. 

The Police Station and Ambulance Station sites in Church Street Epsom  (19/01589/FUL) the application for a retirement development in Epsom by McCarthy & Stone which will include a mix of 19 one bedroom and 41 two bedroom “Extra Care” Retirement Living with associated communal facilities, parking and landscaping following the demolition of the existing buildings is awaiting a decision.  There are over 200 objections, including that from the Civic Society.

The Star 2 Cheam Road Ewell – A new tenant has moved into the commercial premises on the lower floor of the Star, 31 High Street, Ewell. The Burghwood Clinic, which specialises in the treatment of allergies, had previously operated in Banstead for many years. The clinic was obliged to look for a new home when its former site was sold for redevelopment and has leased the ground floor area of the former Star. Some flat remain for sale.

22-24 Dorking Road Epsom – (19/01365/FUL) Demolition of existing houses and erection of a part two, part three storey building with rooms in the roof and basement providing 20 flats. Basement parking for cars and cycles. Bins stores and associated hard and soft landscaping including new boundary walls and railings. Planning committee refused the application on the grounds of its density and impact on surrounding area, as well as the implications for parking and highways.

Extraordinary Meeting, Council – held on Tuesday, 14th July, 2020 7.30 pm

Electoral Review – The Local Government Boundary Commission for England has notified the Council of its intention to carry out an electoral review of the Council. The review will consider the total number of councillors on the Council, and then review the numbers and boundaries of electoral divisions within the Council. We have yet to be advised of the outcome.

From our Surrey County Councillor – John Beckett – please see our July bulletin for additional details on unitary concerns and the Boundary Commission issues.

With John’s help we have been dealing with the following:-

THE CHALK PIT, COLLEGE ROAD, EPSOM

Following information from Steve Gebbett, the road rep for part of Longdown Lane North, that what appears to be major works are currently being undertaken to expand operations at the Green Belt aggregate waste transfer site, contact was made with EEBC Enforcement Officer, SCC Planning department and all the Borough and Surrey Councillors for our area as well as Epsom College. A large vehicle Weighbridge could, of course, mean many more heavy lorry movements down Longdown Lane North, as they inevitably take a short cut to the Chalk Pit, but the main threat is the environmental one of escalating dust and noise in the atmosphere if they get away with more aggregate crushing and screening on the site, which will be a nightmare for affected residents.

As none of the residents have been given consultative notice of any planning development application for this expansion, Steve’s purpose in writing was to ask if indeed a planning application has been submitted and approved, before these excavations and structures went ahead. To be clear, our objection is not to the waste transfer itself which is presumably licenced,(although heavy lorry movements may now become a real issue) but we fear an increasingly blind eye is being turned to the devastatingly impactful waste processing/crushing/screening on site, which has led rise to many complaints over the years. We do not think the Chalk Pit is officially included in the Surrey Waste Plan as a strategic centre, lying as it does in both a Green Belt and residential area, just 200 metres or so from the student accommodation at Epsom College. As such aggregate processing, with its intrusive noise and dust generation, is manifestly unsuitable on this site. 

There appear to be two issues here:-

  1. In reply to his request for information John Beckett was informed that there was a “Vehicle Operators’ Licence variation application in your division, notification of which has been received from the Office of the Traffic Commissioner (London and the South East of England). The variation application appeared in the Applications and Decisions publication dated 3rd September 2020, and therefore any formal objection by the County Council will need to be made by 24th September 2020.” It appears that this variation increases the number of vehicles from the current 10 to 15 and John has sent the attached letter to Paul Druce, Infrastructure Agreements & CIL Manager, Community Protection, Transport and Environment Directorate at Surrey County Council:-

“There have been several licenses granted over the last couple of years for this location and I am now wondering if the site has reach or is reaching capacity especially with this latest application. Without our a clear understanding of how many vehicles / journeys are already taking place at this site and its current capacity it would be difficult to come to a conclusion.

I have also received several complaints after the last license was granted that here was extra noise and dirt (especially on the public highway) from the site.

Unless there are assurances I would have to object on the following 2 grounds.

  1. the capacity of the site to accommodate the vehicles for which application is made;
  2. adverse environmental impact caused in the vicinity of the site by the use of the site as an operating centre – this can include noise, dust or visual intrusion caused by the use of, or maintenance, loading and unloading of authorised vehicles at or in the vicinity of the operating centre”

Further information can be obtained from the following website:- https://www.gov.uk/being-a-goods-vehicle-operator 

This is an important issue and we would encourage you to add your comments to the application: – OK1017831 SN   

CENTRAL WASTE SERVICES LTD.  

The second issue is the Infrastructure developments and here Steve has been advised that:-

  1. James Nolan, Planning Officer, who is the current monitoring officer for the permitted waste sites in the Chalk Pit carried out an inspection on 27 August 2020. Matters arising out of that visit and the planning status of the development which has been undertaken, and is being undertaken, at the site are being followed up with the operator NJB Recycling Limited. The development does not have planning permission and James will respond to you separately about the position and actions following the site inspection. 
  2. A reply from James Nolan states as there is no planning application we cannot comment on it, but the Residents Association will be given a chance to comment when he gets a new planning application from the operator, NJM Recycling Ltd. 

We will keep you posted on these issues and watch out for developments.

John also raises the issue regarding housing targets for Epsom & Ewell.  His article should be read in conjunction with the two from The Times Housing Algorithm dated 25.8.20 and 27.8.20:-

The Government’s Requirement on House Building in Epsom and Ewell

Following the 10 yearly Census in 2011, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has issued two-yearly updated projections for the growth in the number of households for each local authority area.

The 2014 projections for Epsom and Ewell showed that the number of households would increase by 8,027 between 2018 and 2038 and the Government has been using this base-line housing figure to require the Borough Council to ensure that 579 additional homes per year are built in the borough, despite the lack of available brown field sites and the importance placed on protecting the green belt.

When ONS published their updated 2016 projections for growth in households this showed a significant reduction in the projected growth in households for Epsom and Ewell and this would have led to a significantly lower housing requirement for the borough of 380 homes per year.

Then in July the ONS published a further 2018 update for the projected growth in households. This showed a further significant reduction in the growth in households which would have resulted in a housing requirement of just 215 homes required per annum.

Given this Government’s recent regular comments about being “guided by the facts” it would seem to be only right and reasonable for the Government to announce a total rethink of each planning authority’s (council’s) housing target and base them on the most up to-date data.  However it has consistently refused to do this, which your Residents’ Association councillors have long argued is unreasonable and totally unjustified.

The Government’s White Paper on Planning and Local Plans

In August however the Government published proposals to change the basis of calculation for each local authority’s housing target.  While the Government do appear be using the latest 2018 ONS household projections data in their proposals, they have decided to give much greater weight to “affordability” in the calculation.   

Unfortunately, Epsom and Ewell is one of the least affordable places in Surrey for housing (calculated by comparing local average house prices with local average salaries).  It seems that the Government believes that by increasing the supply of homes in places like Epsom and Ewell, affordability will also improve through a fall in house prices.

As a result of this manipulation of the formulae by the Government, Epsom and Ewell borough council would actually end up with an even higher housing target of over 600 new homes per annum.

So Epsom and Ewell residents are being unfairly treated despite the fact that:

  1. Using the latest ONS figures in the Government’s current formulae, the borough’s need for housing is just 215 homes per annum
  2. The borough does not have the capacity to build over 600 homes a year up to 2038 as has been proposed by the Government, because of the lack brown field sites and with over 42% green belt land
  3. Very few other areas of the country are being penalised in this way, but many others have the land available to build new homes
  4. Building houses in those numbers up to 2038 will radically and adversely change the character of our borough.

If you oppose these Government plans (they are, at the moment, proposals) please write to Chris Grayling MP as soon as possible calling on him to get his Government to base the housing requirement for Epsom and Ewell on the independent 2018 ONS household projections and using the current formulae.  This would result in a more reasonable requirement of 215 new homes per annum.

Chris Grayling can be contacted at chris.grayling.mp@parliament.uk or c/o 212 Barnett Wood Lane Ashtead KT21 2DB

Events – back again slowly!

Guided walk at Langley Vale Wood 10 September 10:30 am – 12:30 pm – Our popular guided walks at Langley Vale Wood are back for 2020! Langley Vale Wood is one of the Woodland Trust’s First World War Centenary Woods near Epsom, Surrey. We have a variety of walks for you to choose from, including dawn chorus and butterfly-themed walks.

Near Epsom, nestled between London and the M25, Langley Vale Wood is one of the Woodland Trust’s four First World War Centenary Woods. The rumble of the modern world slowly fades away as you walk into the valleys surrounding you. With pockets of ancient woodland, diverse and fascinating wildlife and flora, and stunning views over the rolling hills of the North Downs you’re in for a treat visiting this exciting landscape.

Our knowledgeable volunteers will lead you on a walk where you’ll learn about the role the landscape played in the First World War and hear about the exciting improvements for wildlife as the site transforms from an intensive farm into a mosaic of woodland and grassland – a peaceful haven for wildlife and people to enjoy. Suitable for families, although bear in mind the amount of walking and stopping for discussions if you have younger children with you.  Dogs on leads welcome. Booking essential at https://woodlandtrusttickets.cloudvenue.co.uk/guidedwalkslvw

All walks are 2 hours in duration and booking is essential. On-site parking is arranged for the walks; directions and a map will be emailed to you within 2 weeks of your booked event. £6 per adult, £3 per child (under 16).

Ewell Horticultural Association Autumn Show – Saturday 19 September 2020 from 2.30 to 4.30pm at  lenheim High School, Longmead Road, Epsom KT19 9BH, fully accessible venue. Free Admission – all welcome, free parking, a raffle plus refreshments with delicious homemade cakes. Displays of mellow late summer flowers, home grown vegetables, cookery, floral art, bulbs plus ‘bring & buy’ plants

Coronavirus cancels London’s Winter Wonderland 2020 – with stolen and mince pies now available at Sainsburys it is sad news that Winter Wonderland is cancelled. The organisers state “London’s Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park has been cancelled “with a heavy heart” after the repercussions of Covid-19 spread to Christmas.”

Priest Hill Nature Reserve – please note that barbecues are not permitted on this site.  It is a beautiful area that we should all be able to enjoy, especially with the abundance of wild flowers and wildlife at the moment, so please take your littler home and do not run the risk of random fires destroying the area during the dry weather.

Watering trees – on the basis that lots of new trees are to be planted in the area, may we please ask that if one is close to your house and the weather is hot and sunny, that you take a watering can of water to keep the tree alive.  This all helps enhance our surroundings and won’t be too onerous! Many thanks.

Web sitedo visit this – www.ewelldownsra.org. I am sure some of you must have some local photos to put on this!

Facebookour page is being well visited. Go and use this to make comments or display pictures of the area.  

Twitter – this is quite active with many followers of Ewelldownsra. 

About ewelldownsra

AEDR seeks to protect and enhance the interests of residents. Our primary concerns centre on planning, traffic, security and other topics which directly affect our area.
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