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Response Details

Response Details
From Mick Flannigan
Date Started: 19 Dec 2016 13:56. Last modified: 24 Jan 2017 17:53
Status Complete
Response ID #510840

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
These are challenges IMPOSED by central government - not challenges identified within Elmbridge
It is high time that local authorities got together to resist the bullying and coercion from central government.

2

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

 

  • Yes
  • No
  • Don’t know

Please explain your answer
Nowhere does the consultation address the root cause of our planning dilemma, which is OVERPOPULATION. Unless councils reverse that trend, no amount of development and planning is going to succeed. Of course, this requires political will from Parliament and central government. Policies need to be fundamentally changed, so I wonder what our local MPs are doing to bring this about?? (Nothing whatsoever, I suspect.)
The "solution" offered by all major parties is no solution at all. They simply intend to build, build, build – and then build even more, until we lose all our open space and we end up building towers into the sky. Central government has been bullying and bribing local authorities into providing ever more housing. We can't go on like this. It is ruining our towns, such as Walton, and eating into our open spaces. It is a scandal that EBC faces the threat of having its housing affairs removed and handed over to Surrey CC, of all people. (God forbid!) It is high time that local councils collectively revolted and told the government to get real.
Present policies and regulations make an absolute mockery of the local planning system. It is all governed by distant politicians and civil servants. They neither know nor care what is best for our community. We need to reverse the insane presumption in favour of developers/applicants. We also have to level the playing field, by allowing the public as well as developers the right of appeal against decisions. At present, far too many local decisions are overruled on appeal, and it is a one-way process. Inspectors have rendered meaningless the term "sustainable" development, by allowing construction in all sorts of inappropriate locations.
Elmbridge cannot keep accommodating more and more people. The council needs to pull up the drawbridge. EBC will always be fighting a losing battle, as long as our governments are committed to freedom of movement. We face endless inward migration, which is pushing house prices inexorably upwards. I don't believe that Waltonians are breeding like uncontrollable rabbits - so where is all the pressure on the housing market coming from? For whom, exactly, are we building all the hundreds and hundreds of new homes?
In my 38 years of living in Walton, I have witnessed the construction of thousands of homes. Has any of that succeeded in preventing the current pressure on the local housing market? No, not at all. Indeed, it has merely exacerbated the problems. Every new development encourages yet more inward migration. We have to say "enough is enough" and make it clear that our area is full up. If that deters people from coming here to live, so be it. They cannot expect the council to continue providing more and more homes, specifically to accommodate them.
We are told that the UK population is going to rise by nearly 10,000,000 in the next 25 years. That is intolerable madness. It is a recipe for conflict and crisis. Instead of working out how to prevent it, the authorities are merely working on how to absorb it. It's not possible to manage that successfully.
We are also told that according to the SHMA, Elmbridge needs to create 9,480 new homes in less than 20 years. That would ruin our borough. I repeat: for whom, exactly, are these homes required? The council keeps parroting that this number has been "objectively" assessed, so we are expected to take it as gospel. Residents are dismayed by this short-term planning. It will not prevent continual inward migration. Indeed, it will only encourage it. Building hundreds of new homes each year will solve nothing. It will merely lead to more and more building further down the line.

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
OVERPOPULATION, above all.
Freedom of movement, open borders, etc. - leading to mass immigration.
Excessive and inappropriate development. Greedy developers.
Population overspill from London.
Lack of infrastructure, especially roads and public transport.
Inadequate local utilities and services.
Loss of open space and green belt.

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?
EBC has put forward three options, of which Option 2 is clearly the one preferred. It is certainly the "least worst" option…….but I think it is somewhat disingenuous. By making the other two options so drastic and so appalling, EBC is cleverly herding us all into accepting an option which is itself unattractive and arguably unjustified.

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
The green belt is there for a very good reason. Releasing certain parts for development would be the thin end of a very sinister wedge. Once we lose that green space, we'll never get it back again.
At least somewhere other than Walton has been identified for development. If we have to sacrifice any green belt at all (because EBC has chosen to kow-tow to central government dictates), then I am relieved that the focus is now on other parts of Elmbridge. During the public consultation, I have seen a highly revealing pie chart prepared by or for EBC. It illustrates that Walton has absorbed SIX TIMES more housing development than Cobham! I wish nothing against Cobham and its people, but plainly Walton has already absorbed far more than its share of the burden.

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
I cannot understand those who dismiss the green belt as a "failed and outdated experiment". God only knows where we would be without it. I abhor development on any part of the green belt. However, under pressure from central government, EBC has been bullied into releasing three areas of green belt land. Those selected areas are the obvious ones to be sacrificed. In particular, the areas around Cobham are arguably dispensable, as there is much more open space over that way. There is also a far more open road network (e.g. Portsmouth Road), compared to the snarled-up roads around Walton and Hersham. If there is irresistible pressure to sacrifice some of the green belt, then it is high time that the Cobham area was made to bear some of the brunt. Walton/ Hersham/Weybridge have already coalesced and there is no particular reason why Cobham should be privileged and spared. Compared with Walton, the Cobham area has a far lower population density at present.

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 response»

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
Definitely not. What will happen once ALL the green belt has been sacrificed?? When we finally run out of space, will the next option be to build towers into the sky?

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
Obviously many people need greater availability of smaller "starter" homes rather than big 4- and 5-bedroomed houses. However, we are seeing a proliferation of high-density units which are unattractive and unhealthy little boxes.

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
Over-provision for the very wealthy will attract even more in-comers from London, plus cash-rich foreigners.....thus squeezing out local people of modest means.

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
Densities in many areas are too high already - and unsustainable in terms of traffic, parking, the strain on local services, etc.

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
Greater density will undoubtedly cause more problems than it solves.

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
«No response»

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
The difficulty is, defining "affordable". In Walton, hardly anywhere is truly affordable by those most in need of housing.

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
Please ignore "government policy". There is supposed to be a LOCAL planning system! It should not be dictated by ministers and planning inspectors who know very little about local circumstances....and who care even less. Generally (and with due respect to honorable exceptions), there is far too much tolerance of gypsies/travellers and their anti-social conduct and lifestyles. Their activities have been a real pain at various locations around the borough.

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
Nowhere near enough provision for the elderly.

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
«No response»

17

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

No comment.

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
We are already surrendering too much of the green belt.

Greater employment opportunities means yet more people wanting to live in the borough......which is already overpopulated.

Traffic in the area is already a big problem, at times.

19

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

TRAFFIC!!!

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
TRAFFIC!!!

21a

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

  • Yes
  • No
  • Don't Know

Please explain your answer
We need to preserve the declining high streets........but we don't want any increase in town-centre development if it means even more traffic congestion.

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
Don't want even more flats springing up in shopping areas.

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
Please leave our libraries where they are.......and preserve them at almost any cost. As for health services, please don't bring them into town centres and high streets, where parking is already a huge problem.

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
We have already lost too much open space, including playing fields (e.g. the Rydens development).
I must make particular mention of the Walton Charity land at Severn Drive. It is currently leased to EBC as a recreation space. I hope EBC will do all in its power to preserve it as such, rather than allow any possibility of building development. This district is already saturated with housing and the green is the only recreational space within walking distance, for hundreds of families.

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
I have seen too many planning permissions granted where scale and character of the proposed building has been ugly, insensitive, etc.

27

If not what approach do you think we should take?

A far stronger line on unsightly extensions and anything which spoils the street scene....especially anything which is out of scale and out of keeping with the existing buildings.

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
Flood risks are taken nowhere near seriously enough. EBC should not be influenced by the complacency of the Environment Agency. The EA is far too relaxed about flood risks, e.g. the danger of a potential development on flood plain next to the River Mole (Drake Park).
We all know that more development, whether substantial estates or smaller projects cumulatively, must inevitably restrict the means of escape and dispersal for flood water.

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
Hardly ever do new planning applications give enough thought to major issues such as traffic, parking and the strain on public transport. Habitually, EBC defers to SCC as the so-called "experts" on highway matters......but they are nothing of the sort, so EBC needs to use its own discretion more often. Around Walton, the road network is heavily overloaded and no "policy"
initiatives are going to change that. Therefore the only solution is to refuse more planning applications. Restricting new housing developments to a maximum of one parking space per unit is just a joke, as many/most homes have more than one car. Repeated encouragement to walk/cycle/use public transport has failed miserably - and will continue to do so, as bus services are being cut and trains are getting more and more overcrowded and expensive.

30

Are there other approaches we should consider?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Don't Know

Please explain your answer
REFUSE planning applications, if they are going to add to pressure on roads and public transport services.

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?

DON'T create new communities!
Any new development around here needs extensive provision of new roads, hospitals, free car parks, additional bus and train services, new schools, etc, etc. I really don't see any of this materialising, due to lack of funds and lack of space.
In most areas of Walton, domestic water pressure is ridiculously low as it is.

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?

It is all very well for central government to dictate that improvements must be made to local infrastructure. If we are to continue absorbing more and more people, such improvements will neither be practicable, nor affordable. Where in our overcrowded town could new roads be created? Who would pay for them? How are the train services going to cope with endless increases in passenger numbers? Peak train services are already packed to the rafters.

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.

 

I repeat that continually building more and more homes in this area is unsustainable. It is essential that the Local Government Association collectively fights back against central government policies, which are thoroughly irresponsible. Unless those policies are reversed, the future is unthinkable. For example, I have just read about Westminster City Council relocating many of its homeless people to the home counties. It is short-sighted and unacceptable to use counties such as Surrey as a dumping ground - but central government is placing pressure on these counties to cooperate . The effect is that boroughs such as Elmbridge will be overburdened with homeless people, and the demand for "affordable" housing will furtyher increase. Once again, the real problem lies in overpopulation of London....but I don't see any initiatives to reverse that.
In the time I have lived in Walton, I have seen thousands of new homes created. None of that has achieved anything, in terms of containing house prices or satisfying demand. Quite the reverse, in fact. Each new development allows more and more people to move in from elsewhere, thus putting intolerable strain on space and infrastructure. The quality of life in this area has undoubtedly suffered. Therefore, the response to most new housing applications ought to be "sorry, we're full up, go elsewhere". Unless the issue of overpopulation is successfully tackled, no amount of new building will ever solve the problem. It will merely pour petrol on to the flames. We are expected to accept the need for 9,470 new homes because it has been "objectively assessed". Really?? Where are all these people coming from, and why are we welcoming them here?? This madness is storing up incurable problems for our descendants.

34. Files

«No files»