Ewell Downs News Bulletin – Feb 2021

We hope you have all been prepared for the snow that has fallen to delight the children, dogs and lots of residents! Some of the snowmen in Alexandra Park were amazing, so well done all. Whilst it is beautiful to start with, things get a bit tricky with low temperatures and indeed many of us long for Spring now with warmer days and nights.

Congratulations to all those who have been working their socks off either at the Grandstand, Fitznells or wherever the vaccination stations have been set up. The organisation was superb, and it is good to hear that so many residents have now had their first tranche of protection against this terrible virus. Let’s hope this continues at pace and more and more take up the offer so the whole area can eventually be protected, and life can return to something resemble normality.

Firstly, there is a matter of great importance to which we must draw your attention.

The Chalk Pit, College Road

The Increasing Threat from NJB Recycling Ltd in the Chalk Pit

We have all become aware of a massive increase in a constant crushing / rumbling noise and dust intrusion over the past few months from the Chalk Pit – which is sited within the Green Belt. This comes from huge aggregate sorting and crushing machines introduced by a new site tenant NJB Recycling Ltd, which has unilaterally gone ahead and industrialised a waste material handling process – without any planning permission from Surrey County Council.

A previous Change of Use application from a Waste Transfer to a Materials Handling Licence by Ist Place Ltd was rejected by SCC in 2017. A huge increase in lorry movements by NJB and “Skip-It” skips along our residential roads; dangerous verge parking by workers in College Rd, and unsocial working hours six days a week, are further operational incursions that are affecting us all.

The noise and disruption will become significantly more evident when the weather improves.

The Planning Application Situation

Following objections by Ewell Downs Residents Association, NJB Ltd were required to submit a full retrospective planning application to SCC by December 1. They were also requested to halt unapproved operations, a request they ignored as the use of the heavy aggregate grinding and stone-sorting “trommel” machine noises continues. This belated planning application has now been received and posted and is available for you to look at Surrey County Council – Planning Application Display – SCC Ref 2020/0159 (surreycc.gov.uk). We are staggered by the scale and nature of the proposed development which now includes the construction of huge warehouse buildings to cover much of this Green Belt site in which to carry out significant crushing, screening and sorting activities.

We urge residents to ensure that they object to these developments the impact of which will become more apparent as the weather improves. Grounds for objection are limited and if you want to know what these are please email epsomchalk@btinternet.com.

As an update, following a meeting between Epsom and Ewell Borough Council, Surrey County Council and the Environment Agency it has been agreed that complaints about noise and dust will be dealt with by the Environment Agency. The operators of the site continue to work late at night, even on Saturdays, and this cannot be allowed to continue. A number of people have noted a constant hum along College Road, Longdown Lane and Links Road and have not been able to identify the source of the noise. If we can say that this may well be coming from the Chalk Pit and is very noticeable, please will you advise the EA. The more complaints they have, the more they will have to act!

The EA can be contacted by:

STOP PRESS

ll residents need be made aware that there was a significant fire at the Chalk Pit which we understand started before midnight on Wednesday 10 February. The fire brigade sent nine appliances and they wrapped up at around 9.30am this morning. The fire involved the material stacked under the lean to in the back and would have involved dozens and dozens of tons of waste. Our representative will be making representations to the Fire Authorities.

From previous visits to the site by our representative suggests that what was being stored here was general household debris not capable of being recycled. As you know work was ongoing on the site late last night and my understanding is that workers from the site were on the premises prior to and during the fire.

You may have seen the news this morning https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-56013240 which highlights the risk from dust – we have a facility in our neighbourhood which is spewing this dust out and totally ignoring their own method statements and risk assessment mitigations and an Environment Agency unwilling to take action.

Now in addition we have had the fumes from a significant amount of waste billowing across Epsom College.

Again I encourage you to complain to the Environment Agency:

The case officer is David Brodie david.brodie@environment-agency.gov.uk. It is however important that the calls are logged through one of the portals as Surrey will no doubt request copies of the complaints from  EEBC and EA.

Despite the significant events of last night NJB and Skip-It continue to operate. I guess they have a significant volume available for the receipt of waste.

It is becoming apparent that not only are the plans for the Chalk Pit totally unsuited to the area but that the character of the operator is questionable.

Articles about this have been put on our Facebook and web pages – we need to get as many people aware of these issues as possible, so please spread the word so something can be done to stop this menace in our area.

NB. – We understand that following representations made by Chris Grayling, the Environment Agency have agreed to escalate this as an incident that needs immediate investigation.

We should like to thank in particular two residents of Longdown Lane North, Steve Gebbett – our Road Steward – and Kenneth Reid who has been masterful in co-ordinating action – the two are doing a sterling job! Thank you very much.

On other matters: –

Annual General Meeting

At our committee meeting in January the decision was made to postpone the Annual General Meeting until later in the year, possibly September. This means that there will be no formal notice issued to all residents in the area until nearer the time and the envelopes requesting the annual subscriptions will also not be delivered.

Subscriptions

As far as subscriptions are concerned, these are regularly due in March and the response to the little green envelopes has always been significant. Quite understandably some Road Stewards were uneasy about delivering these last year when the virus was first raging and, as a consequence, our coffers are extremely low. We are extremely grateful to everyone who paid either by standing order or by online banking and it was good to receive these monies to cover some expenses. Thankfully, as we did not hold the AGM in the school there was a saving but we now only have sufficient funds to cover the printing of the AGM Notice which will go out later this year to all residents. We would therefore respectfully ask everyone who received either this or the March bulletin to pay the £5.00 due. The bank details for those who would like to pay that way are: –

Barclays Bank Plc.

82/84 High Street

EPSOM KT19 8BH

Sort code 20 – 29 – 90

Account number 50126071

Account name Association of Ewell Downs Residents

In anticipation, we thank you very much.

Whilst there is no formal printed newsletter, it is very important that residents are kept informed of local matters by email and we would ask that any of you who have neighbours or friends living locally who do not get this bulletin, please contact us on ewelldownsra@gmail.com to be added to the list.

SCC Elections

Elections to Surrey County Council are due to be held on 6 May 2021 together with the election for Police and Crime Commissioners in England and Wales. On 9 January election officials stated that the local elections will take place as planned. However, Boris Johnson said this remains “under review”. It was confirmed in February by the Cabinet Office the elections would in fact take place in line with the government’s target to vaccinate all over 50s by the beginning of May. [You will recall that in March 2020 the government announced that the elections originally scheduled for 7 May 2020 would be delayed for a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. You will hear more about our prospective candidate for the SCC election as soon as it is available.

The potentially good news is that voting will be held at Nescot and not at Wallace Fields Junior School – this is to be confirmed.

Petition update

Don’t forget the campaign with RASSU (Residents Against Surrey Single Unitary) promoting theopposition to the plans from Surrey County Council to abolish Surrey’s 11 Borough and District councils and develop a single Unitary Council for Surrey’s 1.2 million residents. Whilst unanimously agreeing that the campaign needs to continue because, though the government white paper is delayed, the unitary proposal has not gone away entirely. There are over 5,165 signatures on the petition. The following message has been received from SCC: –

Petition update 1 from the council, 10 February 2021, while petition was still open

Dear Petition Signers

This petition will be considered by the Leader of the Council at his Leader Decisions meeting.

The meeting will be held on Thursday 18 March 2021 at 9am. The lead petitioner may speak for three minutes at the meeting which will be held remotely via Microsoft Teams.

This meeting will also be a live event so signers to the petition can watch the discussion live.”

A link to view the meeting live will be posted nearer the time both as a response to all petitioners and on the Leader Decisions webpage.

Please if you haven’t signed the petition (and you support the campaign), do sign – the deadline is 4 March 2021 – and please also share the campaign far and wide: https://rassu.org.uk.This is a battle for local democracy and residents’ voices need to be heard.

Coronavirus – COVID – 19 – from the Government website – www.gov.uk/guidance/national-lockdown-stay-at-home

The link above shows the Government guidance and if you wish to remind yourselves of this ever-changing scenario, please visit this.

As far as the latest local information is concerned and to help direct residents who need support – if friends or family are unable to help – with such things as picking up shopping, prescription collections or having someone who can be a telephone friend, and to other services that can help visit this web site: https://www.epsom-ewell.gov.uk/coronavirus.

Just to let you know as 11 February 2021 this is the breakdown of cases per Surrey district and borough (increase shown is from the previous week)

Vaccinations – Epsom Downs Racecourse is one of the confirmed locations for a mass vaccination centre, earmarked for the large-scale immunisation roll-out. Mass vaccination centres have been confirmed since the approval of the first Covid-19 vaccine made by Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.

In case you are still waiting for your vaccination this the link – https://www.nhs.uk/book-a-coronavirus-vaccination/do-you-have-an-nhs-number

Waste and recycling

Since 5 November, you have needed to pre-book a slot to visit Epsom community recycling centre. A booking system is being trialled at Epsom to help alleviate queues which have been disruptive to residents and local businesses and this seems to be working well and meets with the approval of residents. The trial was expected to last until the end of the last year, but we note that booking continues at present. SCC will be gathering feedback from residents to assess the effectiveness of the system. This is the link: –

Book a slot

Slots will be available up to two weeks in advance and you can book as many as you need. Residents who are unable to access the online booking system can call the Contact Centre on 03456 009 009 and they will book a slot on your behalf. All other site rules remain the same. Please read SCC Frequently Asked Questions section for more information.

Please see our previous bulletin which is published on both Facebook and web pages for important information on plastic bags. –

Planning issues

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. The development does seem to dwarf the existing area’s housing as well as having parking and traffic issues. There have been over 60 objections, mainly on height, parking and traffic but no decision as yet and no date for committee.

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 and a total well in excess of 1,000 with letters addressed to Chris Grayling as well as the Planning Department. Refused by planning committee at 8 October meeting. A revised application or appeal is anticipated.

North Looe Estate (170 Reigate Road)(19/01593/FUL) proposed change of use of the land and buildings for a Dog Day-care centre. Still no news!

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. This was refused at the meeting on 18 November. The developer sought local reactions to possible changes via a Zoom meeting on 13th January and we await the outcome of this.

Development Site at 24-28 West Street Epsom – (19/01021/FUL) an amended application has been received for 25 flats 8 storeys high instead of 13 storeys with commercial space on the ground floor. There are many objections to the amended plans, including those from Resident Associations and the Epsom 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. A viability assessment is now in progress for this scheme and there is no news as yet..

Majestic Wine Warehouse East Street – (19/01409/REM) Application for variation of planning condition 1 of 05/00660/FUL to allow the sale of all types of comparison and convenience goods i.e., open A1 (Retail Use). This was discussed at the Planning Committee meeting on 14 January and the application deferred to allow officers and the Applicant to have further discussions to resolve the matters that the Committee had raised.

Maplins High Street Epsom – (20/00721/FUL) The conversion of upper floors 1, 2 and roof level to 11 flats at 42 High Street. This was approved at the Planning Committee on 14 January, subject to conditions.

Chalk Lane House Chalk Lane – (20/01185/LBA) Conversion of hotel and various alterations and extensions to the listed buildings to accommodate 21 dwelling units, car and cycle parking and private and communal gardens. (Listed Building Consent). There are some objections so far including one from the Civic Society. These mostly relate to objection of proposal to build a high wall at front of the building which would considerably alter the attractive street scene in the Conservation area”. No news as yet.

TRAFFIC

Traffic Warning: Starting from the 15th Feb – SGN will be upgrading the gas main along part of Hook Rd and Woodcote Rd. With temp traffic lights in place and in the case of Woodcote Rd the road will be closed at the junction with Dorking rd & South St. Work on both sites to last till March/April. For more details on these roadworks and others in the area Click Link http://bit.ly/39dPjFn

EVENTS AND NEWS

St Helier and Epsom Trust will no longer charge staff for parking after being blasted by Piers Morgan. It comes after The Mirror revealed that the trust was charging workers more than £500 per year, to use the staff car park as they continue to fight the coronavirus pandemic. On January 26, parking charges were introduced to “manage demand” and reduce queues at its two hospitals, the trust told The Mirror. We have resisted the urge to put a picture of Piers and Susanna here!!

The Best of Epsom & Ewell – go and have a look at their website for information on what’s happening in our area in the virtual world, especially connected to Men’s Fitness and Music courses, tips on helping with your child’s learning as well as advice on nutrition for Good Mental Health to name but a few.

Valentine’s Day – Well at least this Valentine’s you can’t get in trouble for not booking a table. Click Link for a list of our wonderful takeaways http://bit.ly/3aB7Gop ASK Italian will even send a little extra love this week with free heart breadsticks!

Epsom Farmers Market held on the 1st Sunday of each month in Epsom Market Place. Fresh local meat and produce. The market – which has been running for over 10 years, opens between 9:30am and 1:30pm – but the word has it that locals get there early to get their favourites before they sell out. The next market will be held on 7 March.

The Epsom Vegan Market – Sunday 14th and 28th February – Come along and visit the Vegan Market in Epsom 10:30am to 3:30pm

We very much hope that when lockdown ends, we shall have many uplifting events to publicise, in the meantime, please do let us know if there is anything you would like us to publish on your behalf.

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.

A final salute to a great man!

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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