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Response Details

Response Details
From Amanda Moylan-Jones
Date Started: 22 Feb 2017 21:22. Last modified: 24 Feb 2017 16:00
Status Complete
Response ID #523669

1

Agree that the challenges set out in section 2 of the consultation document are the key challenges facing Elmbridge?

 

  • Yes, I agree
  • No, I disagree
  • I don't Know

Please explain your answer
I agree with some of these challenges in part (but not in whole) and some are considerably more important than others, yet they have been presented equally.

For example, the challenge of ensuring "associated infrastructure is sufficient to support any INCREASE in development" makes no reference to the key challenge of ensuring infrastructure is sufficient for EXISTING development. The current infrastructure in many parts of Elmbridge is already at or over capacity, for example, schools, roads, public transport, health services, drainage etc and yet this has not been recognised as a challenge. Little or no regard has been given to existing residents.

The challenge of protecting and enhancing "our natural, built and historic enviroment" gives each of these equal value. The Government in its 2015 Manifesto pledged ours to be "the first generation to leave the natural environment better than we found it" and this should be given the requisite weight.

There are also other key challenges that have not been included here, which I will deal with in Question 2 below.

2

Do you consider there are other challenges that we should be addressing?

 

  • Yes
  • No
  • Don’t know

Please explain your answer
Protecting the Green Belt and green open spaces is a key challenge that has been completely ignored. The Green Belt is a vital feature of the Borough of Elmbridge and this must be retained. The Council has previously stated that a central part of its core strategy is to protect the Green Belt and by building on any areas of it (regardless of it amounting to 3%) goes completely against this principle.

As mentioned in Question 1, resolving the infrastructure requirements of exisiting residents is a key challenge that has been ignored. In many parts of the Borough, residents are faced with oversubscribed schools, congested roads, overcrowded public transport, stretched health services etc and this is ignored, as the focus is on the infrastructure to support any "increase" in development. This assumes that the infrastructure for existing residents is sufficient. It is not, far from it.

3

Do you consider any particular challenge or challenges that are more important than the others?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Don’t know

Please explain your answer
The most important challenge is to preserve the Green Belt (all of it) so that it can fulfil the purpose that it was set up for (ie. to protect Elmbridge from the encroachment of neighbouring Greater London and to prevent its towns and villages from merging) rather than weaken and diminish it by development. As soon as we give up on certain parts, this will weaken nearby remaining areas, which will then be threatened next time the inevitable housing demands are placed on Councils. The thin end of the wedge argument.

Other important challenges are to resolve existing infrastructure problems for current residents (rather than just focus on problems caused by any increase in development) and to protect green open spaces, the environment, including natural habitats, biodiversity and reduce pollution.

4

Agree that Option 2 is the most appropriate option?

  • Yes, I agree
  • No, I disagree
  • I don’t know

If you disagree, please explain why and what other option would you support and why?
I wholeheartedly disagree that Option 2 is the most appropriate option.

Firstly, not all options have been presented equally. There is little or no information about Options 1 and 3 and they are simply presented to make Option 2 ‘look good’. The options lack sophistication and are not comparable; for example, Options 1 and 3 seek to deliver “all” development “in full” respectively, whilst Option 2 only considers meeting development needs “as far as possible”. Why were Options 1 and 3 not presented in this way? Because that makes Option 2 look more attractive.

Secondly, I disagree with Option 2 as it involves declassifying part of the Green Belt to make way for development. Once this happens (to the entirety of these parcels of land) it can NEVER be regained. We can never undo the harm that will be caused and it will signal the start of further erosion of the Green Belt, which is such a precious commodity in our densely populated Borough. Once it happens in one area, it makes it much more acceptable for it to happen elsewhere and the suggested advantage that it protects the remaining 97% is nonsense as the Green Belt abutting these 3 key strategic areas instantly become weaker as they become increasingly surrounded by development. A loss of ANY Green Belt, even 3%, is totally unacceptable.

The argument that an advantage is that Option 2 “maintains existing settlement patterns” is also untrue. Looking to develop on just 3 key areas of Green Belt in Elmbridge necessitates a high level of housing in order to find room for the remaining 5,780 houses that the Council states it needs to build. This puts enormous pressure on these 3 targeted areas and would change the existing settlements around them immeasurably. For example, if Area 58 was to receive the level of houses suggested by its Planning Policy Manager as a minimum, it would increase the size of Hinchley Wood by approximately 50%. This would be a disaster as it would cause irreparable harm to the existing communities in these locations.

In addition, the necessary infrastructure to support such huge developments would be extremely costly and, as a result, unlikely to ever be provided. This shows the suggested advantage of “larger sites enabl[ing] infrastructure to be delivered alongside new development” to be patently untrue. All parts of the 3 key areas would be needed for housing given the amount of homes the Council is looking to build and the amount of land available, so where would the necessary infrastructure go? The answer can only be that more Green Belt would be needed to build the necessary medical services, schools, roads etc to service these “new towns” (as one planning officer at one of the local exhibitions called them by mistake). In addition, the cost of providing this infrastructure would be borne by Surrey County Council and the Surrey infrastructure gap to 2030 is estimated at £161m, with no indication as to where funding for investment on this scale is going to come from. The areas proposed are completely unsustainable for large scale housing.

The suggested advantage that it will “increase the delivery of affordable housing and smaller units” has been recognised as a suggested advantage for all 3 options, so it is not a true advantage to Option 2 when comparing all the options. This is much more likely to apply to Option 1 where the infrastructure is already in place and can support this type of development. Most people when starting out on the property ladder buy in more densely populated urban areas; I know I did. I would have loved to have bought a property on a piece of Green Belt land in Elmbridge as my first step into the housing market, but the reality was I couldn’t afford it. Market forces will dictate the price of housing if it is owned by private developers and by building large scale developments on the 3 targeted areas of Green Belt will not solve the issue, as the Government has recently recognised in its White Paper.

This White Paper (released on 7 Feb 2017) states that authorities should only amend Green Belt boundaries “when they can demonstrate that they have examined fully all other reasonable options for meeting their identified development requirements, including”:

1. “Making effective use of suitable brownfield sites and the opportunities offered by estate regeneration”. The Council has not sufficiently explained or justified why it cannot build on brownfield land and a thorough assessment of brownfield sites should be the first priority. Every single piece of brownfield needs to be looked at and investigated thoroughly, beyond what has been done in the Land Availability Assessment. For example, opportunities could be explored at Molesey Heath, together with purchases of industrial sites from declining businesses and/ or compulsory purchases (e.g. Island Farm Molesey), so that these can be consolidated into strategic sites for housing essential workers on a variety of tenures without taking land from the Green Belt.

2. “The potential offered by land which is currently underused, including surplus public sector land where appropriate”. The Council has not sufficiently explained or justified why it cannot build on land which is currently underused or surplus. A thorough investigation is needed into this. For example, the Council argues that building on its 23 settlement car parks will deny space for parking, whereas a more intensive use could see low rise buildings offering both car parking and dwellings. Private owners of large car parks might be encouraged to participate in such a scheme.

3. “Optimising the proposed density of development”. The Government would like the Council to make better use of land for housing by encouraging higher densities where appropriate, such as in urban locations where there is high housing demand.

4. “Exploring whether other authorities can help to meet some of the identified development requirement”. The Council has not demonstrated that it has sufficiently explored options with neighbouring boroughs through its Duty to Consult, which could reduce the actual housing quota (9,480) for Elmbridge. This figure should also be revisited in light of the White Paper which recognises that there is no standard methodology for identifying housing need.

These suggestions are set out in the White Paper where it states that there will be changes to the Government’s National Planning Policy Framework to:

“address the particular scope for higher-density housing in urban locations that are well served by public transport (such as around many railway stations);
that provide scope to replace or build over low-density uses (such as retail warehouses, lock-ups and car parks); or
where buildings can be extended upwards by using the ‘airspace’ above them”

These ALL need to be fully investigated, in addition to exploring opportunities near established fast transport links with easy access.

The Campaign for the Protection of Rural England (in its London Media Release in Feb 2017) state that “developers already have rafts of land to choose from, much of which already has planning permission. Land supply is categorically not the issue here. We do not need to release Green Belt.” This was also reported recently in the press that there is enough space on derelict industrial land to build around 1.5 million properties. This may not apply sufficiently to Elmbridge, but these blanket targets dictated by national government for individual local authorities, regardless of local circumstances, are NOT the answer to alleviating the current chronic national housing shortage. The government should be seeking to deliver houses, employment, infrastructure etc in all regions, focusing on where this is really needed, rather than exacerbating what is an already overheated South East. This is an opportunity to redress the balance. At a national level this should include job creation, rehabilitating empty houses before building new ones and encouraging occupiers to free up under-occupied dwellings. It is understood that the Council’s own figures show that only 50% of the housing planned would be needed by Elmbridge residents.

Elmbridge has already absorbed enormous development in recent years. It is reported that the borough’s population has grown from 112,400 in 1981 to 132,769 in 2014 – an increase of 18% in a period when the UK population has grown by just 15%. In the last four years alone (2011 to 2015) the number of households has increased from 52,900 to 56,715, an increase of 7%. It is time to recognise that this is a chance to redress the balance nationally and the Council needs to work MUCH harder at sending the message to government that it will do what it can to provide as much housing as possible by fully exploring the options above, but will stand by a central part of its core strategy; to protect the Green Belt.

5

Do you consider the suggested exceptional circumstances are sufficient to support the amendment of the Green Belt boundary?

 

  • Yes
  • No
  • Don’t know

Please explain your answer
National Guidelines state (as is set out in the New Local Plan) that “unmet housing need is not a justification” to remove land from the Green Belt. Therefore, the provision of housing (of whatever type) is NOT an exceptional circumstance that will allow the destruction of Green Belt and cannot be manipulated into one by looking at type and mix of housing. Taking each of the exceptional circumstances in turn:

1. Seeking to address the under supply of affordable homes.
Elmbridge is an expensive and desirable place to live (due to its proximity to London, attractiveness of towns and open spaces etc) and building large scale developments in 3 areas of Green Belt is unlikely to have any effect on reducing the average house price in the Borough or addressing the affordability issues. To build large numbers of affordable housing (70% is the target set out in the New Local Plan) requires Government funding, which is unlikely to be forthcoming, particularly at a time of cut-backs etc. There has been little or no success previously in building smaller, more affordable homes in Elmbridge so why is this likely to be the case now? We have seen no policy from the Council to this effect.

2. Seeking to deliver a better mix of housing away from houses with 4 or more bedrooms.
As referred to above, there seems to have been little or no success if building a better mix of housing in Elmbridge. There must be a reason for this and surely it comes down to the fact that when developers obtain the land the reality is that they will make more money from larger houses in this area, due to its desirable nature. How is this going to be any different this time? There will, no doubt, be promises made by the Council, but their track record does not support these idealistic aims.

3. On land that is no longer meeting the purposes of Green Belt.
The Green Belt Boundary Review done by Arup Consultants to assess whether there is any land that is no longer meeting the purposes of Green Belt is subjective, arbitrary and flawed for many reasons including:

1. There is an inconsistency with the scoring and categorisation across all the parcels of land considered in this report.
2. The report seem to be largely a ‘desktop’ exercise; its judgements and opinions, should therefore not have been given such weight. They have ignored the ‘ground-level’ importance of the various parcels of land.
3. The choice to identify Local Areas parcels which are bounded by (existing) “permanent features” was influenced by the NTFF guidance and presented a convenient methodology for initial research and the detailed fact gathering, but is not an adequate framework for comparative assessment. For example, the emphasis on major roads etc undervalued the durability of some long established boundaries and the use of minor features to subdivide large areas was used inconsistently. In addition, the huge disparity in size of defined local areas (from 1.9 to 455.8 hectares) has biased assessments and has obscured the opportunities that might arise from sub division. Opportunities for limited development that were identified in many areas were masked by subsequent judgements based on overall size.
4. The report contains arbitrary judgements. For example, if Area 58 had been given a “3” (rather than a “2”) for the third purpose of Green Belt that was considered, it would have been classed as “moderately performing”.

In summary, there is no evidence that the first two exceptional circumstances will be met by taking these 3 key areas out of the Green Belt and, indeed, these aims are recognised as “advantages” to the other options and would be more likely to be met in urban areas (following the Government’s stance in its recent White Paper). In addition, the basis upon which it has been decided that certain parcels of land are “weakly performing” is erroneous, subjective and arbitrary; the Council themselves have recognised that this report is open to scrutiny, but how are members of the public expected to have the expertise, time and money to perform this critique? There should be further assistance provided by the Council to help local residents properly analyse this report before our reliance on it destroys our Green Belt.

The “exceptional circumstances” represent a 3-limb test; if any of these is not satisfied the ability to take the land out of Green Belt is prohibited.

6

Agree that, given the appropriate exceptional circumstances, these three key strategic areas are appropriate for removal from the Green Belt?

 

  • Yes, I agree
  • No, I disagree
  • I don’t know

Please explain your answer
These areas should not be removed from the Green Belt. As referred to in Question 5 above, the methodology and assessment done by Arup is subjective and flawed. The Green Belt should be protected regardless of the circumstances; declassifying parts of it sets a precedent and will lead to further erosion when, as will undoubtedly happen, more land is needed in the future. We must protect this land for future generations.
The areas identified are not “weakly performing” and are unsuitable for development in other ways (for infrastructure reasons) which means they cannot meet the development aims set out in the “exceptional circumstances” and therefore cannot be removed from the Green Belt. Taking each of the areas of land in detail:
Area 58 is inappropriate for removal from the Green Belt for the following reasons:
This area is NOT “enclosed within the large built-up area of Greater London” and Long Ditton Village is NOT “part of the greater London built-up area” as described in the Green Belt Boundary Review document.
The presence of the A309 is NOT a reason to allow existing development to sprawl further over the Green Belt up to that road barrier.
The A309 is said to prevent the merger of Long Ditton Village and Claygate, but Parcel 58 stands in the way of a much more obvious merger of Long Ditton and Hinchley Wood/Hook/Tolworth.
Its removal weakens the Green Belt status of the land south of the A309 (towards Claygate) and therefore, is an example of the ‘thin end of the wedge’ argument when the inevitable happens in the future and more houses are needed again.
Area 58 forms part of wider area (which includes Molesey and Thames Ditton) which was found to perform “very strongly” against first two purposes of Green Belt (ie. preventing unrestricted sprawl and towns merging).
It most definitely DOES meet the defined purposes of Green Belt by:
1. Checking the unrestricted urban sprawl of the large built-up area of Greater London/neighbouring borough of Kingston. It forms a vital part of the ‘green lung’ entry into Elmbridge and is part of the ‘front line’ in terms of Elmbridge and the wider Surrey. The private land to the East of Area 58 directly adjoins Greater London and, whilst having been allowed to degenerate, is no less effective in the strategic role it plays as part of the Metropolitan Green Belt. It, therefore, should have scored more than a ‘1’ (out of 5) for this purpose.
2. Preventing neighbouring towns/villages from merging into one another. Without it, Hinchley Wood and Long Ditton Village merge into one completely, which in turn then merge into Hook and Tolworth. It performs a vital function and should not have scored a ‘1’ (out of 5) for this purpose.
3. Safeguarding the countryside from encroachment. The area scored a ‘2’ (out of 5) on this third purpose of Green Belt land; had it scored a ‘3’ it would have been called “moderately performing” and not considered for development, which demonstrates the arbitrary nature of the Green Belt Boundary Review.
In addition, it includes valuable community assets (such as Surbiton Hockey Club, Long Ditton Cricket Club, allotments, Stokes Field Nature Reserve) and without protection from the existing Green Belt status, these assets are likely to come under pressure from future development, despite assurances from the current Council that these areas will be “maintained”. There can be no guarantees about what future Councils will do, as admitted by the Strategic Director of Planning.
As part of the Green Belt, it provides valuable open space for the local community (eg. dog walkers, runners, school seasonally based field trips, etc) and is a well-used and much-loved space. Without Green Belt status, this entire area would be available for development, which would deprive the local community of this valuable asset. At a time when green spaces are under threat and people are encouraged to lead a more healthy outdoor life, we should be looking to protect and further enhance our open spaces, rather than view them as development opportunities, when there are alternatives.
Area 58 contains a nature reserve. Building on ANY part of this area would cause fragmentation of rural habitat and a threat to wildlife. It is vital to maintain the biodiversity of the whole area. In addition, the topography of the area gives strategic views across the Borough, with the One Tree Hill views stretching as far as Heathrow on a clear day.
If the Green Belt status is removed for large scale development, the local infrastructure will not cope. It is already at breaking point. There has already been a sizeable development nearby (Hinchley Park on the A309 with 135 houses) with no additional infrastructure provided to support it. The land intended to be taken out of Green Belt in Area 58 could provide room for a development more than 7-12 times the size of the existing Hinchley Park development (assuming the same density of housing as Hinchley Park and leaving aside the areas the Council have said they will “maintain” eg. Nature Reserve etc). This is completely unsustainable.
Area 14 is inappropriate for removal from the Green Belt for the following reasons:
This Green Belt currently prevents the merger of “neighbouring” areas of Stoke d’Abernon and Oxshott. Cobham, Stoke d’Abernon and Oxshott are distinct communities.
The Green Belt Boundary Review scoring is wrong and the description of Area 14 as “semi-urban” is very subjective and patently untrue; it is semi-rural. The Description of Area 14 as having “weak links” to the strongly performing Area 10 is untrue and solely due to Blundel Lane and the railway line.
The Green Belt Boundary Review has given insufficient weighting to certain factors; such as the presence of ancient woodlands, wildlife and potential flood plains.
Most importantly, this area includes the 26 acre Polyapes Scout Camping site, which has been in constant use since 1929. The appeal of the campsite is that although relatively close to London, it provides a rural and tranquil area for young people’s activities. During the course of 2016 it has hosted nearly 9,000 days of camping for Scouts and other young people not only from Elmbridge, but also neighbouring boroughs including Kingston. Also Scouts Groups from other parts of the country regularly use the site. Polyapes is also used by other youth groups and organisations. This is a vital asset and must be retained in the right environment. Who wants to go camping on a housing development?
Area 20 is inappropriate for removal from the Green Belt for the following reasons:
Area 20 acts as a vital separation between Cobham and Esher and protects against ribbon development along the Portsmouth Road (A307)
The Common Land and Site of Special Scientific Interest in this area must be protected.
The infrastructure couldn’t cope and would damage the local area.

7

Do you know of any sites within any of the three key strategic areas that could be considered for future development?

 

  • Yes
  • No

Please explain your answer
I do not agree that ANY sites within ANY of these 3 targeted areas should be considered for future development. To target these 3 areas is simplistic and erroneous, which the Council has admitted creates a real issue of fairness; to saddle just 3 areas with the massive impact of housing development.
It would appear that this question is targeted at land owners/developers in order to find out whether they are willing to sell any sites within the 3 key strategic areas. This suggests a cynical attempt to put on public record what land is available (which is undoubtedly already known by the Council) to then justify its removal from the Green Belt retrospectively.
The 3 key strategic areas have Green Belt status and must be protected. In relation to each area:
There are no areas within Area 58 that could be considered for future development for the following reasons:
The area includes:
1. Surbiton Hockey Club (founded in 1874) which has produced 3 Olympic Gold medallists.
2. Long Ditton Cricket Club (dating back to 1924) - a local club providing cricket for colts and seniors as well as social events.
3. Stokes Field Nature Reserve which has a variety of habitats including woodland, grassland and scrub. It also has a pond. Plant species of note include crab apple, cuckoo flower and pyramidal orchid.
4. Sugden Road Allotments, which are well used and maintained.
The Council has confirmed at public meetings that the whole of this area must be taken out of Green Belt to allow building on any part of it. Once declassified, then it is all open for building on and whilst there may be no intention on the part of the Council to develop on all of it now, intentions change. Without Green Belt protection, no part of Area 58 is guaranteed to be safe in the future.
The topography of Parcel 58, which is set upon a hill, means that it is in an area prone to flooding. The land around the Church and the Cricket Club flood regularly and building on this area will only exacerbate the issue. The Green Belt land acts as a natural soakaway
To repeat, NO part of Area 58 is suitable for ANY development because:
1. Local infrastructure would not cope (schools, roads, hospitals, public transport etc)
2. Pollution levels are already high due to the A3; they will increase and air quality will degrade, leading to greater pressure on health services
3. Other local building projects are underway in neighbouring boroughs that will already put a strain on local infrastructure in that area and add to pollution
4. There is an answered question as to whether the local Sewerage Treatment works could handle the volume increase
If the Council’s target is to build affordable homes (with 56% being social housing) then is any part of Area 58 (right by the main road away from local amenities) really an appropriate location?
There are no areas within Area 14 that could be considered for future development for the following reasons:
Most importantly, this area includes the 26 acre Polyapes Scout Camping site, which has been in constant use since 1929. The appeal of the campsite is that although relatively close to London, it provides a rural and tranquil area for young people’s activities. During the course of 2016 it has hosted nearly 9,000 days of camping for Scouts and other young people not only from Elmbridge, but also neighbouring boroughs including Kingston. Also Scouts Groups from other parts of the country regularly use the site. Polyapes is also used by other youth groups and organisations. This makes any of this area unsuitable for development because, should the Green Belt designation be removed, the site would be faced with the prospect of being completely surrounded by housing, from which there would probably be objections about noise from the site, but more importantly the whole nature and attraction of the camp site would be lost. Access from Blundel Lane could be a problem from what is currently a narrow road subject to flooding.

8

Do you consider that other areas of land should be removed from the Green Belt including those that are moderately or strongly performing?

 

  • Yes
  • No
  • Don’t know

Please explain your answer
ALL Green Belt land should be protected for the purposes it was set up to achieve ie. to prevent urban sprawl, stop towns/villages merging and to safeguard the countryside from encroachment

Once Green Belt is gone, it’s gone for good and can never be regained. If we accept this now, which piece of Green Belt will be next?

The Government Manifesto pledge to protect the Green Belt should be adhered to, as should the Council’s own policy in its stated priorities for 2016/17, to provide “a unique, green and attractive Elmbridge”. This proposal to declassify certain areas of Green Belt land (selected purely on a flawed, subjective and arbitrary report) goes completely against the Council’s own policy. How can it be held to account to its own policies?

The Council MUST follow the Government’s White Paper and fully investigate brownfield sites and urban densities as an alternative. Local MPs are convinced that there are alternatives; they must be found.

There needs to be more joined up thinking and cooperation across boundaries and across the country as a whole in order to find the best solution. Experts are of the view that there IS enough land to solve the housing crisis, without the simplistic approach of sacrificing some Green Belt. Unmet housing need is NOT an exceptional circumstance to remove land from the Green Belt and should not be manipulated into one.

I fundamentally disagree with any building on ANY Green Belt land, but it is worth noting that the Council has admitted that it has not assessed the viability or contribution of the moderately performing sites, whilst some other Councils have done this.

9

Do you agree that we should seek to provide more of a balance in terms of the size of new homes being built?  

 

  • Yes, I agree
  • No, I disagree
  • Don’t know

Please explain your answer
A better balance is needed, but there is no evidence to suggest that this will be achieved using Option 2. In fact, smaller sized houses are more feasible in existing urban areas and more cooperation across boundaries is required in order to find the best solution.

The Government's White Paper has stressed that urban renewal and regeneration continues to be of higher priority. The Council must continue to look at alternatives to identify and invest in brownfield sites. Increased density in such areas is also more likely to allow for the provision of smaller, more affordable homes.

10

Given the over delivery of homes with 4 or more bedrooms should we try to limit their delivery in future?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Don’t know

Please explain your answer
Absolutely, but this begs the question as to why the over-delivery of 4 or more bedroom houses has been allowed to date. This would suggest that the Council has no control over developers once they gain control of a site, which would suggest that they will have no control over them once they get hold of de-classified Green Belt land to deliver a better mix of housing (one of the exceptional circumstances). The Council's track record is evidence of the fact that this objective will not be achieved. The policy to date (or lack of it) has caused this problem and the Council's solution is to take away parts of the Green Belt to sort it out - totally unacceptable I'm afraid.

11

Should we seek to increase minimum densities at sustainable locations in the urban areas, such as in town centres and at train stations, above 40 dwellings per hectare, where this would not impact on local character?

  • Yes (If yes, what density do you think would be appropriate?)
  • No
  • Don’t know

Please explain your answer
It is very difficult for me to give an answer on the appropriate density with no planning knowledge of densities and what they they look like. Density depends on so many factors and it is impossible to give a definitive answer. On any brownfield or urban site, creative design should be used to maximise the opportunity of development densities.

12a

Within the three key strategic areas we will be exploring opportunities for accommodating our development needs taking into account site constraints, land ownership, compliance with other planning policies and the need to support sustainable development.  If potential housing sites are identified within these areas, do you consider it appropriate to

a. deliver at higher densities i.e. above 40 dwellings per hectare, in order to maximise delivery?

 

  • Yes
  • No
  • Don't Know

Please explain your answer
I am opposed to ANY building on ANY of the key areas. In relation to Area 58 I am opposed for the following reasons:

The infrastructure is totally insufficient to support high density housing and the large investment needed to increase the infrastructure is unlikely to be forthcoming. For example:
1. Hinchley Wood Secondary School cannot cope with the current numbers in the feeder schools so any development on this area would disadvantage people from those feeder schools living further away eg. Claygate and Thames Ditton pupils who are offered places in Hersham and Epsom as alternatives.
2. Surbiton Station is already exceeding capacity.
3. Local roads which are already congested.

The Council says it is committed to sustainable development, but it has not carried out a sustainability study per parcel alongside the Greenbelt Review, as other local authorities have. If they had done so, their conclusions might have been quite different.

The economics of building social/affordable housing on a large scale is unrealistic for any developer - the council's track record of delivering affordable housing in this area would seem to support this (as evidenced by the wording of question 10).

The Council should seek to develop social/affordable housing near to the major sources of employment and nearer to better service provisions

Building social/affordable housing in Area 58 is unrealistic for many reasons including:
1. Market forces will ultimately dictate prices as usually happens and Elmbridge is an expensive place to live. Building a large scale development in 3 key areas will not rectify this.
2. Placing social/affordable housing in this area will not meet the needs of those people who need easy access to job opportunities and good public transport links, neither of which exist in this area.
3. Evidence shows that increasing the housing supply will not solve affordability issues

A large develpoment will adversely affect air quality in an area already polluted by nearby roads

Density of more than 40 dwelling per hectare would mean an even higher density of housing than the existing nearby Hinchley Park development.

12b

Within the three key strategic areas we will be exploring opportunities for accommodating our development needs taking into account site constraints, land ownership, compliance with other planning policies and the need to support sustainable development.  If potential housing sites are identified within these areas, do you consider it appropriate to:

b. Support lower density developments that maintain the open character of an area and reflects the surrounding character

 

 

  • Yes
  • No
  • Don't Know

Please explain your answer
I do not believe ANY of the areas should be developed at ANY density of housing. The exceptional circumstances have been manipulated from unmet housing need (which is not an exceptional circumstance), have no proof that they can be met (as regards providing more affordable housing and a better mix of housing) and are based on a flawed and subjective review of the Green Belt to identify so-called weakly performing areas.

13

Agree with our approach to continue to apply Policy CS21 of the Core Strategy e.g. consider on a case by case basis whether local circumstances are sufficient to warrant the requirement of affordable housing contributions on all sites where there is a net increase in housing and where it is viable?

 

  • Yes, I agree
  • No, I disagree
  • I don't know

Please explain your answer
I do not know enough about this Policy to give an informed answer.

Ultimately, a blanket approach to the challenge of developing affordable housing regardless of the quality of life/environmental impact is not appropriate. You cannot just put a load of affordable houses out on the limb of major roads away from access to services etc and see that as a solution to the problem. Every area needs proper analysis.

14

Are there any other aspects of Government policy which you think we should consider with regard to meeting the accommodation needs of non-travelling Travellers?

 

  • Yes
  • No
  • Don't Know

Please explain your answer
I do not think that these should be considered within the New Local Plan. If they are travellers, they are surely not non-travelling and therefore do not need any perminent provision?

15

Do you consider there to be any other specific housing needs that are an issue within Elmbridge and that we should seek to address as part of the new Local Plan?

 

  • Yes
  • No
  • Don't Know

Please explain your answer
«No response»

16

Do you agree that the Council should seek to protect our most important and strategic employment areas from redevelopment to uses other than offices, warehousing and factories?

 

  • Yes, I agree
  • No, I disagree
  • I don't know

Please explain your answer
Mixed residential/retail/small business developments could be a viable and effective way to go, judging by their use in other countries. This would allow for more labour resources to be drawn into the area in a more affordable manner.

17

If not, what degree of flexibility do you consider would be appropriate with regard to alternative uses in such areas?

Creativeness and complete flexibility.

18

Do you think that there are any exceptional circumstances that would support the amendment of the Green Belt boundary at Brooklands to support the further development of employment uses at this site?

 

  • Yes
  • No
  • Don't Know

Please explain your answer
I don't agree with amending the Green Belt boundary at all.

19

Other than Green Belt what other barriers do you consider could prevent further development at Brooklands?

Don't know.

20

We will seek to maintain our broad support for tourism related development as set out in the Core Strategy. However, to recognise the importance of Sandown Park Racecourse as both a sporting and exhibition venue should we:

Encourage the redevelopment of Sandown Racecourse to provide improved and extended conference and hotel facilities?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Don't Know

Please explain your answer
The congestion on the roads around that area will not cope.

21a

Maintain our policy of focussing new retail development to town and village centres?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Don't Know

Please explain your answer
Mixed residential/retail/small business developments could be a viable and effective way to go, judging by their use in other countries. This would allow for more labour resources to be drawn into the area in a more affordable manner.

21b

Continue to protect primary shopping areas from other uses as set out in the current Core Strategy?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Don't Know

Please explain your answer
Mixed residential/retail/small business developments could be a viable and effective way to go, judging by their use in other countries. This would allow for more labour resources to be drawn into the area in a more affordable manner.

21c

Consider allowing other important uses in primary high street shopping frontages such as doctor’s surgeries, dentists and libraries?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Don't Know

Please explain your answer
Flexible uses of urban/high street areas should be encouraged.
Mixed residential/retail/small business developments could be a viable and effective way to go, judging by their use in other countries. This would allow for more labour resources to be drawn into the area in a more affordable manner.

22

Should the Council continue to give a high level of protection to all open spaces and designate those spaces that meet the criteria for Local Green Spaces?

 

  • Yes
  • No
  • Don't Know

Please explain your answer
Green open spaces are vital and the Council should protect its own policy of "protecting, enhancing and celebrating" these spaces (para 18 of the Council's priorities for 2016/17).

They are vital for physical activity, which again is one of the Council's own priorities for 2016/17 (para 13).

Building on Green Belt land will be completely at odds with the Council's own policies.

23

Do you agree with our approach to biodiversity and mitigating the impact of new development on the Thames Basin Heaths habitat?

 

  • Yes
  • No
  • Don't Know

Please explain your answer
«No response»

24

Do you agree that our strategic and pro-active approach to supporting our heritage assets is appropriate?

  • Yes, I agree
  • No, I disagree
  • I don't know

Please explain your answer
«No response»

25

If not, what approach do you think we should take?

«No response»

26

Do you agree that the Council’s current approach to considering design and character is appropriate?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Don't Know

Please explain your answer
More creative design needed.

27

If not what approach do you think we should take?

More creative design needed.

28

Should we look at including a policy providing more detailed advice on what is required to limit the cumulative impact of small scale development on flood risk?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Don't Know

Please explain your answer
Any part of this plan must consider flooding.

29

Do you consider the existing policies seeking to reduce the impacts of new development with regard to delivering more sustainable travel patterns outlined above are still appropriate?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Don't Know

Please explain your answer
«No response»

30

Are there other approaches we should consider?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Don't Know

Please explain your answer
«No response»

31

What do you consider to be the essential infrastructure items required to support new communities e.g. the potential development of the 3 key strategic areas?

Current infrastructure and services are already not fit for purpose.

Infrastructure is such an integral part of any new development that it should be one of the first considerations when choosing a suitable site

Essential infrastructure developments that must be considered before development of the proposed areas include:
1. Adequate number of schools, surgeries and green areas to ensure quality of life for residents.
2. Alternative road patterns be developed to ease existing and future traffic congestion, including improvement of rail road bridges, roundabouts and traffic lights.
3. A plan to deal with the existing overcrowding at Surbiton station, which will be compounded by any future development on Area 58
4. Parking at or near transportation links, including Surbiton, Stoke d’Abernon and Cobham Stations.
5. Improvements of bus services in areas offering alternative to travel by car.

Opportunities should be explored near to established fast transport links with easy transport access.

32

What smaller infrastructure improvements do you think could be made within your local area to address some of the negative impacts arising from new development?

«No response»

33

We recognise that there may be other issues or options we have not considered that you would like to raise. If there are we would like to hear these and consider them as part for this consultation. Please use this space to write anything else you would like us to consider.

 

«No response»

34. Files

«No files»