Draft Settlement Investment and Development (ID) Plans-Esher

2 Esher Investment and Development Plan

About the area

2.1 Esher is located in the centre of the Borough and is one of the smaller settlements, containing nearly 2,900 dwellings[1] and having a population of just over 6,500[2] The town is surrounded by open space with the south of the settlement area containing Esher Commons, the largest of the Borough’s three Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and Claremont Landscape Gardens. To the north is the internationally renowned Sandown Park Racecourse. These local assets, alongside the relatively low density of the existing development, interspersed with the village greens at Esher, Hare Lane and West End, all contribute to the character and high quality environment of this area.

2.2 The town centre is relatively large considering the size of the population it supports. However, much of the floorspace is not in retail use with 21% of floorspace on shopping frontages being either cafés, restaurants, bars or pubs[3] . In addition to the cinema and library, the types of services offered indicate the centre’s importance for leisure and social activities as well as the more typical retail uses. The town centre is also a popular location for businesses, with the increasing amount of office floorspace being developed emphasising the centre’s importance to the local economy. Low levels of vacancy across all uses indicate the overall strength and vitality of the town centre.

2.3 The town centre is located at an intersection for two major routes through the Borough and suffers from significant levels of congestion at peak times. It is also designated an Air Quality Management Area, with emissions consistently higher than the national objective. Traffic and pollution impact on the quality of the town centre and improvements to the flows of traffic would benefit the area significantly. There is a frequent rail service to London from Esher station, which lies outside the town centre but is still readily accessible to the local population. The station is already able to accommodate longer trains which will increase capacity on the line to meet the expected increase in demand.

2.4 Whilst education services are good there is limited capacity within local state schools to expand. Esher Primary School, Esher High School and Cranmere School are either at or near capacity for each site to accommodate further growth.

2.5 The area is characterised by low density development. 70% of all dwellings are either detached or semi detached (54% and 16% respectively), only 4% of dwellings are flats. Between 2006 and 2011, 71% of all residential development in Esher has been in the form of flats with an average density of development sites being 44 dwellings per hectare. The majority of development was either 2 bedrooms (40%) or 4 or more bedrooms (30%), with only 12% having 1 bedroom[4] .

1. Dwelling Stock by Council Tax Band (VOA) [back]
2. Resident Population Estimates 2010 (ONS) [back]
3. Elmbridge Town and Village Centre Audits (2012) [back]
4. Authority’s Monitoring Report 2012 [back]