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Anthony Williamson These parcels of land would not seriously impact the green belt 21 Mar 2017 12:55
Anthony Williamson Yes, I agree 21 Mar 2017 12:55
Deleted User o Methodology and assessment is subjective and flawed. Inconsistency with the scoring and categorisation across all the parcels of land
o Strongly disagree with Parcel 14 (Knowle Hill Park, north Blundel Lane) being included for the following reasons:
o This Green Belt currently prevents the merger of “neighbouring” areas of Stoke d’Abernon and Oxshott
o Cobham, Stoke d’Abernon and Oxshott are distinct communities – EBC’s own Flood Risk Assessment recognises them as separate entities
o The Green Belt Review scoring is wrong – parcel 14 is only 2.5% built on and therefore should be 4 or 5 not 2.
o Description of Parcel 14 as “semi-urban” is very subjective and patently untrue – it is semi-rural.
o Description of Parcel 14 as having “weak links” to the strongly performing parcel 10 is untrue and solely due to Blundel Lane and the railway line
o Previous owners of the Knowle Hill Park area had higher protection than Green Belt (via a section 52 agreement). This was removed by the Council – there is no justification for why this has changed
o Infrastructure, particularly roads would not cope
o We believe this should be subject to review and independent audit verification as insufficient weighting has been given to the points detailed below:
i. Ancient woodlands are present on Parcel 14. These need to be
surrounded with buffer zones and wildlife corridors
ii. The verified presence of Greater Crested Newts which are protected by both U.K. and EU legislation.
iii. It is also a natural habitat for bats, beetles, adders, buzzards, deer,
hedgehogs and owls.
iv. Knowle Hill Park as its name suggests is on a hill and the presence of a flood plain at the bottom of the hill has not been recognised or scored
v. We also maintain these are actually Absolute Constraints and need to be recognised and scored as such
 Strongly disagree with Parcel 20 (next to Portsmouth Road, Cobham) being included for the following reasons:
o Parcel 20 acts as a vital separation between Cobham and Esher
o It protects against ribbon development along the Portsmouth Road (A307)
o The Common Land and Site of Special Scientific Interest in this area must be protected
o Development on such a large scale would change the character of Cobham and damage local community cohesion
o The infrastructure couldn’t cope
o The Green Belt Review undervalues this land which has only 4.6% built structures on it. This would result in a score of 3 or 4.
o The area provides a habitat for a variety of wildlife, rare birds, 6 types of reptiles and insects such as the silver studded blue butterfly Plebejus argus found on the Esher common SSSI site
21 Mar 2017 12:22
Deleted User No, I disagree 21 Mar 2017 12:22
Duncan Crane These are explained already in my answers to 1, 4 and 5 above. 21 Mar 2017 12:00
Duncan Crane No, I disagree 21 Mar 2017 12:00
Deleted User We do not agree that the Long Ditton Green Belt (‘Local Area 58’) should be redesignated, as it plays an invaluable role both in differentiating and separating Elmbridge from the Greater London conurbation, and as a much-used resource for the local community.

Local area 58:
As previously stated, we do not agree to any use of the Green Belt for development. As far as the relative merits of different areas of the Green Belt are concerned, we strongly disagree with the conclusion in the consultants’ report that the Long Ditton Green Belt (area 58) is ‘poorly performing’. We believe that this assessment fails to take sufficient account of the unique value of this area of Green Belt, located as it is in a position of both strategic and community importance which goes to the heart of why land is set aside as Green Belt.

• Strategically, area 58 sits alongside the principal road gateway into Elmbridge for travellers from Greater London. It provides a clear visual indication of the transition from the London conurbation to the more green and open environment of Elmbridge. Without it, Elmbridge would just merge imperceptibly into the sprawl of London. The fact that area 58 is bounded by development on three sides makes it all the more important not to allow it to be merged into a part of suburbia. The whole point is that its openness contrasts strongly with the built form surrounding it.
• Area 58 is also a vital resource for the local community. This is already one of the most densely populated parts of the borough, and one which has among the fewest opportunities to access green space. Its loss would therefore have a disproportionate effect on our residents. They (and the occupants of any new housing built in area 58) would have that much further to travel to access green space, once again adding to the pressure on local infrastructure.
• The area is well-used by the community:
 The land owned by Elmbridge is very highly used: the hockey and cricket clubs plus the allotments contribute to a wide range of popular activities in this area
- One Tree Hill is used daily by dog walkers and walking groups (including the Elmbridge Healthy Walks Programme) and the nature area is highly prized
- Privately-owned enterprises such as Squires garden centre, the Kisimul School and Shinnyo-en UK are thriving
- The Commons Management Team report that the area is performing well.

In short, area 58 provides an important setting contributing to the character and strong sense of place, particularly for entrants to and those leaving Elmbridge. It makes a unique contribution to the overall character of the area, as the first hint of what the Borough has to offer and the last taste of openness. It must not be needlessly destroyed.
21 Mar 2017 11:49
Deleted User No, I disagree 21 Mar 2017 11:49
Save Cobham Green Belt (Keith… NO Savecobhamgreenbelt has argued in Q5 that there are no existing exceptional circumstances which would warrant the removal of any Green Belt, even through the Local Plan process. We are equally adamant that Parcel 14 should not be removed from the Green Belt. The Arup Green Belt Review document has attempted to prove that there are three large parcels of Green Belt land that according to the criteria adopted only perform weakly against the first three purposes of the Green Belt as set out in Guidance. We have very strong reservations on parts of the document’s reasoning and do not agree that the three areas (14, 58 and 20) should be declared weakly performing. It appears that the scoring system has been rigged to come up with three large Parcels. Purpose One: Checking sprawl of large built up area: We believe that the aspect of whether a Parcel is on the edge of a distinct large built up area has been undervalued and therefore underscored by Arup. Those parcels that pass the test are just given just a PASS score. This Pass- a very important aspect in our consideration does not appear to be carried forward into any final scoring. We consider this is incorrect; it should feature strongly in the final scoring that decides how the Parcel scores overall. Further we reject, as incomplete, the Arup list of large built up areas which excludes both Cobham and Oxshott . In the local Elmbridge context (and we are looking at the local Elmbridge Green Belt) we consider both these areas ARE major /large built up areas and must be included in that category. We see no reason for their exclusion as both Bookham and Fetcham (in Mole Valley) have been included. Certainly, neither Bookham or Fetcham are larger than Cobham or Oxshott. Turning to the second) aspect of Purpose One –“preventing outward sprawl into open land and serves as a barrier in the absence of another durable boundary”. We believe that the study in this aspect is flawed and places far too much emphasis on whether there is a durable or permanent “barrier” existing somewhere. We accept that guidance indicates that parcels can be delineated by such barriers -i.e. roads or railways but we feel that just because such a physical barrier exists somewhere then the whole parcel (that owes its existence to that barrier) should then, by Arup’s 6 own criteria (on Table 4.2), be downgraded to the lowest scores (1 or 1+). We believe that the artificial parcel of Green Belt, however large or small, but especially large, which has been created by the presence of a road or railway, should not be just dismissed as not having value in preventing sprawl into open land or serving as a barrier at the edge of a large built up area. This assumption completely downgrades a parcel’s intrinsic value in preventing sprawl and can (and does) condemn large important Green Belt areas that are “on the Front line” to little or no importance under Purpose One. Looking at some of the parcels immediately adjoining the built up area of Parcel 14, we feel they are unfairly undervalued by the scoring created by Arup. One side of Blundel lane is scored as weak and the other side separated by a lane is strongly performing. We will illustrate how ridiculous this is by providing photographs. Another key point is that the Arup report says that Parcel 14 no longer meets the Purposes of the Green Belt. We find this quite incredible as in 1980 EBC required Octagon Ltd to enter into a Section 52 agreement with the Council to give even greater protection above the Green Belt status as a condition for developing the Cargill offices on Knowle Hill Park. What has changed from the higher level of Green Belt status versus today. Allow us to explain. Elmbridge Council gave away the section 52 agreement in 2015 to Cargill’s in exchange for a payment to convert the offices to residential. In turn Millgate paid EC over £2m in exchange for not building social/affordable homes on Knowle Hill Park in 2015/16. Why did the Council legal representatives wrongly communicate this to the Resident and Heritage members six months after the Section 52 had been given away? Was the £2million pounds actually spent by EC building affordable homes? Purpose 2 To prevent neighbouring Towns merging. Stoke D’Abernon sits in between Oxshott and Cobham. The next settlements are Leatherhead and Fetcham. Apparently Stoke D’Abernon does not exist for the GBBR and therefore scored 1. Yet, many of Elmbridge Council’s reports recognises Cobham, Oxshott and Stoke D’Abernon as very separate communities! Take for example the Flood Risk Assessment reports and the 2012 Design & Character Supplementary Planning Document supplementary Guide! Stoke D’Abernon is mentioned in the Doomsday book. It has the oldest Parish in the area. SDA has a Grade 1 Church with Saxon origins and is the oldest in Surrey. An historic place that regularly brings visitors as does the walks around the Green Belt. It is the home of the world recognised music School. Woodlands Park Hotel is also of historic interest as are many of the homes. It is the Headquarters of Chelsea football club known throughout the World. It has it’s own pub, village halls and a unique and special community who care for one another. It also has it’s own Scout site, which attracts over 1500 Scouts a year, plus its own war memorials. It has it’s own lake on Parcel 14 with it’s own angling club. It has it’s own Cricket club and recreational facilities but the Arup report recognises none of this. The list goes on. The scoring by Arup of 1 against this Purpose is beyond any reasonable logic Purpose 3: to assist in safeguarding the countryside from encroachment: We accept that this purpose should be scored with regard to the type of uses either rural or urban and also an assessment of the percentage of built form existing. We would take issue with the assessment that semi urban character should include” Publicly accessed green spaces” and “green corridors”, “country parks”, or “local nature reserves”. In most cases we consider these are more rural in nature although each individual case would need to be considered. However, we do feel that for example the local nature reserve on the north of Parcel 14 is largely rural as it the rest of the Parcel. In fact the Elmbridge Community report of 2102 clearly describes the area as Rural and some areas by Water Lane as Semi Rural, which is precisely what it all is! We also would suggest that the percentages of “built form” contained in Table 4.5 (to score 5 less than 3% built form, to score 4 less than 5% and to score 3 less than 10% ) are possibly too low. However, even accepting this, how can Parcel 14 be scored at 2 when basically only 2.5% is built upon. Arup's criterion clearly states a score of 4 would apply for a built form of less than 5% and/or a strong unspoilt rural character - if it had both P14 would score 5 which of course it has! This in itself ‘rubbishes’ the Arup report in respect to Parcel 14. Parcel 14 is one of only three anomalies with less than 3% built upon in 70+ Parcels and scores the incorrect score of 2. This has to be amended and this point alone would move Parcel 14 into Moderate performing. We consider that with the justified amendments argued above that Parcel 14 is NOT WEAKLY PERFORMING and so there is no proven case for removal from the Green Belt. In fact is very STRONG performing Green Belt. LOCAL AREA 14 LAND NORTH OF BLUNDEL LANE, KNOWLE PARK AND FAIRMILE PARK COBHAM. ARUP has scored this area as WEAK. SCGB scores this area STRONG. Purpose 1: Fail scores 0 out of 5 SCGB PASS scores 3. Purpose 2: scores 1 out of 5. SCGB scores 4. Purpose 3: scores 2 out of 5. SCGB scores 5. For Purpose One (preventing sprawl) Arup have scored this parcel very poorly. We do not agree that as at para 6.1.1 it “fails to meet purpose One as it is not located at the edge of a large built up area”. We have argued earlier that both Cobham and Oxshott should be classified as “large built up areas.”. It is clear as one travels east along Blundel Lane one is leaving a large urban area and the open area is preventing further development along the road into Oxshott and its village core. We would therefore reclassify the parcel as a Pass, and also instead of scoring a nil by Arup we feel that it should be rescored as 3 (as the “land is connected to one or more large built up areas and bordered by permanent and consistent boundary features”. The other side of the lane is scored Strong, separated by a train line and Lane! Many times in the past 20-30 years there has been severe pressure by developers and or landowners to put forward parts of this area as suitable for development usually at the Local Plan process (first in 1992). These pressures were strongly resisted by the Council on Green Belt grounds. Without continual resistance, areas facing Blundel Lane would very soon be developed with very likely low density housing. (the type of housing is not needed in the Borough.) Turning to Purpose 2 Arup argues the area meets purpose 2 weakly as it is “nearly fully enclosed within the settlement footprint of Cobham, playing a less than essential role in preventing coalescence with Leatherhead and Fetcham”. This comment appears to come from someone who patently does not know the area and has been largely viewing the parcel from only a map, like an Arup consultant. On the ground the situation is entirely different. The parcel is certainly NOT enclosed within the footprint of Cobham, it is a distinct entity in its own right stretching from the north along Fairmaile Lane with open views south to and beyond the new Residential apartments and to the south stretching from the edges of Stoke D’Abernon along the road east to the outskirts of Oxshott village. Removal of the Green Belt protection of this parcel would almost certainly lead to the virtual merging of Oxshott with Stoke D’abernon and Cobham. Residents for years have asked for a foot path that will enable Residents to walk from Stoke D’Abernon to Oxshott where the local school is however this has been constantly refused and no one can therefore do so as the blind railway bridge is a major safety hazard with another disaster waiting to happen. We therefore feel that the by Arup of 1 is simply wrong. The description that fits this area under Table 4.4 assessment criteria is at least a 3 (“a wider gap between non Green belt settlements… where the overall openness and the scale of the gap is important to prevent merging.”). Score 5 speaks of “an essential gap between non Green belt settlements where development would significantly reduce the perceived or actual distances between them. “It is not difficult to argue that removing Green Belt status would “significantly” reduce the actual distance between settlements. Purpose 3- protecting the Countryside is ranked by Arup as a 2. The area is largely rural except for Millgate new apartment complex set within the open grounds of Knowle Park. Why would Arup possibly describe it as semi Urban is beyond us unless they were trying very hard to get to a required end result. All of the Elmbridge reports refer to it as Rural or Semi Rural as stated above. ( 2012 Community report). The only built form in the whole land parcel is the apartments and we consider the overall % of built form as described by Arup in Table 4.5 is less than 2.5% . This would score the Parcel s 5 (on Arup’s scoring ) and a 5 in the suggested CPRE revised scoring. We do not agree with Arup’s conclusion that “the countryside is highly fragmented” as there are in fact large open areas with mostly non-intrusive boundaries. 45 acres of Knowle Hill Park that up until recently had cows grazing all over it. The comment on “managed status” is only true in part. We would accept that the large open area of Knowle Park is somewhat managed but it still presents an attractive open parks and horse stables fully appropriate in the Green Belt and has public footpaths around it. It also has a beautiful lake, many protected wild life species and a major Scouts facility. Parcel 14 also has many Ancient Woodlands, Common Ground and a tremendous amount of ‘Protected Species’ all over it. These include Greater crested Newts, Bats, Buzzards, Adders, Beetles, Deer have returned, Badgers to name but a few. The top of Knowle Hill is an Aquatic and Wildlife Paradise. Studies of the Greater Crested Newt Colonies have been taking place over many years and this site should now be classified as SSI. In addition, Parcel 14 now has the following factor. Millgate have declared that their 45 Acres will not be released for the any Development and have been put legally ‘in perpetuity’. The Scout Trustees have declared that their site will remain and is not for development. This therefore means that over 85% of the land is not ‘Developable’ and arguably 100% when the protected species, Ancient woodland, topography and Common land is taken in to account, not to mention the various land covenants. The Blundel lane part of Parcel 14 is also a Flood Plain and this has been conveniently missed off the Arup report! After all, it is on Knowle HILL and surrounded by WATER Lane! From a sustainability perspective Parcel 14 has an automated train barrier in the north with a main line to waterloo that closes every few minutes. Off Blundel lane it has a river and main sewage, as well as a very narrow bridge over the railway line with no pavements! Much of the land has very strict Covenants on it especially the land just off Blundel lane. Adding our revised scoring for Purposes 1-3 increases Arup’s scoring of a FAIL and only 3 points (weak) to a PASS and at least a 10 and in more probability a 12. On this basis we feel confident that Parcel 14 performs at a Strong level and any independent review would endorse this. Summary and Conclusions. - Elmbridge Council should have initially done substantially more work on the Urban and Brownfield opportunities and should not be allowing the limited luxury housing on these sites to continue - The Arup reports should never have been Briefed in the way they were - SCGB do not think any of the three Options put forward are suitable - SCGB have clear strategies as to how EC should solve the Housing needs that they have in essence created, however, the first focus has to be a far better Urban plan and Brownfield investigation - Exceptional Circumstances have not been proved - The Council does not have the support of the Local Community on Parcel 14 in particular - Arup have grossly incorrectly scored Parcel 14. It is Strongly performing and not Weak as the consultants suggest, measured against their own ARUP methodology. - Parcel 14 has over 65 hectares of land and 6 hectares of land, mainly around Knowle Hill Park was identified as potential Developable. - Millgate Homes who own 45 Acres have declared that their land is not up for Development and has been put ‘in perpetuity’ from any future building. Millgate are a highly ethical, quality and trusted housing developer and should be highly praised for their actions and conduct in this unfortunate matter. Unfortunately the same can not be said of other Developers we have encountered. - Over 85% of the available total hectares are out of play as far as any development housing is concerned and arguably 100%. - We have enclosed a map which is designed to illustrate the above point. - There has been little mention of Sustainability however the areas around Parcel 14 need substantial sustainability resources now, without any future homes. Take a walk along Water lane and you will see. Do not take any children or pets as the lorries are a major hazard! - Surrounding area has less than 8hph, how would 40-60 look? - Parcel 14 is within 20 metres of the next Parcel separated by a road. This Parcel was rightfully scored as Strongly performing. We strongly argue that these two Parcels are one and the same and should Not have been split as Arup chose to do to fulfil their Brief. - Land costs are so high that the social/affordable home model can not work which has been the case for 20 years, hence the reason there is none - Existing Urban areas would offer the Council and Residents far greater sustainable housing opportunities than any small bits of Parcel 14. Our observations and recommendations are that no Green Belt status changes should take place on this Strongly performing area. Although our focus has been on Parcel 14, in agreement with the other organisations who are opposed to the three Options, we also strongly object to any Green Belt removal until all other options have been properly explored and we like to help the Council to do that vital work. As a Community we really do recognise the challenges which Elmbridge Council are facing and would be prepared to work closely alongside them to find solutions with our energy, problem solving and motivation. Our motivation is that our children, friends and elderly need sustainable and appropriate homes. We really do care, as like the hard working Council staff, we have families and friends who need looking after, unfortunately we sincerely believe this approach via the Arup report, it’s methodologies and options should not have been done and the three Options should not have been proposed to the Residents of Elmbridge. After all, Elmbridge’s logo is ‘Bridging Communities’ and not ‘Breaking Communities!’ 21 Mar 2017 11:46
Save Cobham Green Belt (Keith… No, I disagree 21 Mar 2017 11:46
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