Response Details

Response Details
From Deleted User
Date Started: 17 Mar 2017 10:37. Last modified: 17 Mar 2017 10:37
Status Complete
Response ID #528880

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 strongly disagree. As a long-standing resident of Cobham, I do not think the challenges set out are the key ones at all.
• In my view, the quality of life of existing residents has diminished significantly over the last years. I list below what for us are the key issues that need urgent addressing before building new housing estates and worsening the situation
• The road system is exceptionally inadequate. Roads in Cobham and Oxshott are constantly congested and in bad condition (plethora of pot holes). The river Mole floods frequently. Further flooding occurs due to deficient drainage systems in the area. Severe train congestion, a lack of safe pavements, foot paths, cycle lanes, leisure facilities for children, and insufficient facilities for the elderly are further points needing your urgent attention.

2

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

 

  • Yes
  • No
  • Don’t know

Please explain your answer
• Yes. There are many other challenges which need to be addressed by the Council before considering to take away Green Belt land irrevocably. The Council should focus on improving the basic quality of life of existing residents instead of working on proposals to make it worse.
• As mentioned above, the road system is exceptionally inadequate. Roads in Cobham and Oxshott are constantly congested and in bad condition (plethora of pot holes). The river Mole floods frequently. Further flooding occurs due to deficient drainage systems in the area. Severe train congestion, a lack of safe pavements, foot paths, cycle lanes, leisure facilities for children, and insufficient facilities for the elderly are further points needing your urgent attention.
• In recent years, our fantastic wildlife including many protected species has started to return to our area. Rather than trying to destroy this positive trend, the Council should seek to safeguard it. This would also be aligned to UK and European law protecting these endangered species.

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
• Yes. There are many challenges which are more important.
• As mentioned above, the road system is exceptionally inadequate. Roads in Cobham and Oxshott are constantly congested and in bad condition (plethora of pot holes). The river Mole floods frequently. Further flooding occurs due to deficient drainage systems in the area. Severe train congestion, a lack of safe pavements, foot paths, cycle lanes, leisure facilities for children, and insufficient facilities for the elderly are further points needing your urgent attention.
• An additional, important consideration is the devastating impact of thousands of new homes concentrated in a small area on the road network with its already existing traffic jams; on air pollution, train congestion, GP waiting lists, social care and wildlife. It would bring Cobham, Oxshott and Stoke d’Abernon to breaking point.

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 strongly disagree. Option 2 is not the most appropriate option at all
• Firstly, the proposed plans are not aligned with the Government’s whitepaper on housing as published on 07/02/2017. The whitepaper states a clear intent to protect Green Belt land and expresses a preference for higher density and medium rise buildings and urban development on existing sites.
• Secondly, the Council has neither explained nor properly explored other options. Options 1 and 3 appear to have been dismissed without providing supporting, relevant evidence. Exceptional circumstances have not been demonstrated.
• Thirdly, the scoring mechanism used to classify Green Belt land into strong, moderate and weak performing is completely intransparent. The document appears to be designed and ‘loaded’ to wrongly take residents down one path.
• Fourthly, over 50% of housing stock is for those who may or may not come to Elmbridge in the future based on highly uncertain assumptions, especially in view of Brexit and the Government’s focus on reducing immigration.
• Lastly, the current housing density of Cobham, Oxshott and Stoke d’Abernon is approx. 9hph. To propose an increase to 60+hph is completely unrealistic and unsustainable in view of the existing infrastructure challenges. What traffic modelling has the Council done to understand the impact on congestion?

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
• No. In my view, exceptional circumstances have not been demonstrated.
• I suggest the Council look at recent law cases where High Court judges dismissed the position of Councils believing they had exceptional circumstances.
• National Guidelines state that “unmet housing need is not a justification” sufficient to build on Green Belt land.
• The Consultation document states that Green Belt boundaries should only be adjusted “with the support of local people”. Local people very clearly do not support this proposal.
• The Consultation document does not demonstrate that due consideration was given to other options, e.g. higher density, medium rise buildings and urban development on existing sites.
• Related to the previous point, the Council have failed to show areas where residents and business want Green Belt and other areas developed.

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
A very clear and emphatic no. The assessment is subjective and flawed. There is inconsistency in the scoring across all the parcels of land and no data on other so-called “weak performing” parcels and developable land.

I object to Parcel 14 (Knowle Hill Park, Fairmile Park, north of Blundel Lane) being included for the following reasons:

• Parcel 14 currently prevents the merger of “neighbouring” areas Cobham, Stoke d’Abernon and Oxshott which are distinct communities. The Council’s own Flood Risk Assessment recognises them as separate entities.
• The Green Belt review scoring is incorrect. Parcel 14 is only 2.5% built on and should be 4 or 5 (not 2). The description of parcel 14 as “semi-urban” is highly subjective and untrue. It is semi-rural or just rural.
• Parcel 14 has flooding and therefore flood plains along Blundel Lane. However the existence of flood plains which is a crucial function of the area in question has been completely ignored by the assessment.
• Ancient woodlands are present on Parcel 14. These need to be surrounded with buffer zones and wildlife corridors. Parcel 14 is home to Greater Crested Newts which are protected by both UK and EU legislation. It is also a natural habitat for bats, beetles, adders, buzzards, deer and owls.

I object to Parcel 20 (next to Portsmouth Road, Cobham) being included for the following reasons:

• Parcel 20 acts as vital separation line between Cobham and Esher.
• It protects against ribbon development along Portsmouth Road (A307).
• Development on such a large scale would change the character of Cobham and damage local community cohesion.
• The Green Belt review misleadingly undervalues this land which has only 4.6% built structures on it.
• A new school of 1200 students will open at the top of Fairmile Road in summer. With this new school in place, the area already will not be able to cope.

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
No. I believe this is the Council’s responsibility. In my view, the Council’s approach to only detail the largest three land masses is simplistic and erroneous. The actual amount of developable land available is a more relevant and critical component.

Parcel 14 (Parcel 14 (Knowle Hill Park, Fairmile Park, north of Blundel Lane):

• Parcel 14 has ancient woodlands and is home to protected animal species.
• Parcel 14 has a lake, many springs and floods frequently.
• Parcel 14 has clay work mine shafts and bunkers from World War II.
• Parcel 14 has a scout camp and a historic memorial.
• Millgate and Scouts which own circa 75% of land have informed the Council that no development will be allowed now or in the future.
• In summary, 85% of the land in question is off limits due to the above points.

Parcel 20 (next to Portsmouth Road, Cobham):

• There are allotments on parcel 20 which constrain development.
• The Rugby Club has a long lease on part of the land.
• Parcel 20 encompasses gas mains.
• Parcel 20 is about to have a large school opposite it with 1200 pupils. This will push the infrastructure to breaking point

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
• No other land should be removed from the Green Belt.
• I must strongly object and put on the record that the nature of the questions in this document is manipulative and self-serving seeking to justify the Council’s views, and is thus not consultative but merely ticking boxes.
• It is worth reiterating that housing is not an exceptional circumstance to remove Green Belt land and is strongly opposed by the majority of residents.
• I believe that urban regeneration is the way forward and that more joined up thinking across Council boundaries is required to find an optimum solution.

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
• Yes. But we believe smaller sized houses are feasible in existing urban areas and that more joined up thinking across Council boundaries is required to find an optimum solution
• In our view, urban renewal and regeneration are of higher priority. We believe the Council should be seeking to further identify and invest in brownfield sites. Increased density will 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
• The Council has created the problem we are facing due to an inadequate policy over 15 years of focusing on 4 and 5 bedroom homes.

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
• Setting a target depends on many local aspects which need to be factored in
• Creative design should be used to maximise the opportunity with these developments.

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 do not consider this proposal appropriate for the reasons outlined below.

Parcel 14 (Parcel 14 (Knowle Hill Park, Fairmile Park, north of Blundel Lane):

• A density of 40dph would be in utter conflict with the semi-rural nature, the topography of the land and the existing housing in the surrounding area.
• The economics of building social/affordable housing in an area that is one of the most expensive in Elmbridge is unrealistic.
• The infrastructure is totally insufficient, but constrained by the topography. Narrow country lanes and roads cannot be broadened easily.

Parcel 20 (next to Portsmouth Road, Cobham):

• The infrastructure is totally insufficient, but constrained by the topography. Narrow country lanes and roads cannot be broadened easily.
• A new school with 1200 pupils will already fill the road with large numbers of additional cars and buses every morning and evening.
• Air quality will be adversely affected by a massive increase in traffic.

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
• As outlined previously, I do not believe parcels 14 or 20 should be developed. The analysis is subjective and flawed. Parcel 14 has virtually no developable area left (Millgate, Scouts, residents, protected species, ancient woodland, protected common land).

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
• However, a blanket approach to the challenge around development of affordable housing regardless of the quality of life and/or environmental impact is not the right way to go. Each area is different, and there needs to be a robust evaluation behind the proposed development of each site in the borough.

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
• Improve the existing sites before looking for another 9.

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
• Affordable housing specifically for the children of residents who have lived in Elmbridge for 3 years or more. They should be first on the ladder and not 14% of future housing potential but 50%.

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 are very viable and effective.
• Mixed residential/retail/small business developments are the norm in many other countries in Europe and have proven successful.
• Mixed residential/retail/small business developments are likely to draw the required talent/labour resources to the strategic employment areas in the borough and do so 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?

• Flexibility and open mindedness
• Offer employees accommodation on the same sites or close to where they work to stop massive road and rail congestion every day

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
• The large number of people who work on the commercial sites at Brookland, and have to commute in blocking Cobham, Weybridge, A3 and M25.

19

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

• Transportation

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
• It is one of the few good sporting venues Elmbridge has. The downside is transportation links and substantial congestion during events.

21a

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

  • Yes
  • No
  • Don't Know

Please explain your answer
• There should be a focus on mixed residential/retail/small business developments in these areas.
• Mixed residential/retail/small business developments are the norm in many other countries in Europe and have proven successful.
• Mixed residential/retail/small business developments are likely to draw the required talent/labour resources to the strategic employment areas in the borough and do so 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
• There should be a focus on mixed residential/retail/small business developments in these areas.
• Mixed residential/retail/small business developments are the norm in many other countries in Europe and have proven successful.
• Mixed residential/retail/small business developments are likely to draw the required talent/labour resources to the strategic employment areas in the borough and do so 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 usage of urban/high street areas should be encouraged.
• Mixed residential/retail/small business developments are likely to draw the required talent/labour resources to the strategic employment areas in the Borough and do so 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 spaces provide the “green lungs” to counter the increasing urbanisation.
• Creative design should be used to maximise the opportunity around these areas.

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
• Heritage is absolutely key to the identity of our area. The Council’s current plans are all set to destroy it!

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
• I disagree. Just look at Cobham and Walton High streets!

27

If not what approach do you think we should take?

• Consult far more with Heritage groups and take on board their highly experienced views.
• Creative design should be used to maximise the opportunity around these areas.
• There are opportunities for commercial development close to open spaces that should be considered.
• Mixed residential/retail/small business developments are likely to draw the required talent/labour resources to the strategic employment areas in the borough and do so in a more affordable manner.

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 plan of this complexity cannot be considered in isolation and hence we fundamentally disagree with an approach that just singles out housing.
• Kindly remember that Cobham is next to a major river (Mole) and floods on a very regular basis which closes the Town on the south side on a regular basis.

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
• But I do know that 1200 pupils will be arriving in Cobham Free School next year with I don’t know how many more cars and buses!?

30

Are there other approaches we should consider?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Don't Know

Please explain your answer
• Out of town parking for school traffic and shuttle buses as per Kingston
• Cycle routes
• Cycle hire as London

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.
• Essential infrastructure developments that must be considered include alternative road patterns to ease traffic congestion, adequate number of schools, surgeries and green areas to ensure quality of life for residents, sufficient parking at or near transportation links, improved bus services, park and ride, cycle lanes, a pathway along Blundel road over the railway bridge, and improved river flows and dams.
• Opportunities should be explored near to established fast transport links with easy transport access. An example would be the fast Woking/Walton/Esher line

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?

• Too many to mention in this cumbersome form. Smaller aspects as most points set out above.

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.

 

• 80% of local residents are unaware of the situation. Far better consultation around Cobham, Oxshott and Stoke d’Abernon is required, as amazingly two parcels are within walking distance of each other, with a 1200 student school about to open up. This flawed and totally unrealistic proposal will turn vast numbers of residents against the Council instead of moving the communities and Council together. Shame on those who lead these initiatives.
• The timing of this consultation being launched just prior to Christmas, the lack of information provided to local residents, and the complexity of the questionnaire suggest that the Council is simply box ticking, and not open to any challenge. This is extremely disappointing as you are supposed to be our elected representatives. As such, you should stand up for and protect our interests.
• Similarly, the timing of the second phase of Consultation over the summer is further evidence of a lack of willingness to engage local residents. You know very well that the majority of residents will be away on summer vacation. This is an outrage.
• The Council’s proposal gives no consideration to the availability of jobs and employment. Limited employment opportunities in Cobham will put more pressure on commuting when the level of congestion (roads and trains) is already barely manageable.
• The Council’s proposal does not support the stated EU requirement which seeks to preserve and enhance the quality of life of its residents, both current and future. In our opinion, Elmbridge proposals directly contradict these EU directives.

34. Files

«No files»