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Response Details

Response Details
From Alan Wright
Date Started: 23 Feb 2017 20:41. Last modified: 24 Feb 2017 10:54
Status Complete
Response ID #524107

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
No comment. I agree.

2

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

 

  • Yes
  • No
  • Don’t know

Please explain your answer
Impact of increasing housing density on local infrastructure.
Rebalancing development so that it falls less frequently on less protected parts of the borough.
The apparent bias in the planning system towards gaming between developers and officials with the residents coming a poor third.
Tendency of the planning system to what appears to be a tick box approach to planning applications without looking holistically at the wider impact of proposals on the community and at the cumulative impact of several developments in a particular area.

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
No comment. The main ones are identified

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?
Broadly agree. I have a residual concern about opening a door that developers will almost certainly exploit and about how far in practice this will work politically as Ministers face the inevitable flak.

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
Not really if I am honest. See the answer above. Not convinced full consideration is given to the development of brownfield sites. Greenfield always offers a clearer road to profit.

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
Lack sufficient knowledge of the alternatives. However, we must be very careful that we do not continue to cram everything into sites that do not have some form of protection leaving those in the Green Belt, St Georges Hill, private roads etc. to enjoy their cosy environments.

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
Lack knowledge.

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
Once lost, never recovered. Green Belt should only be removed as a last resort otherwise creeping development becomes the norm.

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
Smaller 2 bed houses but less flatted development

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
Small affordable houses preferred. But appropriate 4-bedroom builds should not be banned, simply exposed to rigorous scrutiny as to community (rather than speculative build) need.

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
Higher densities are already in evidence, particular with flatted developments. Relaxation of the general guideline will simply lead to developers cramming even more in. Once you go above 30-40 you begin the drift towards city densities and local character goes out of the window however developers dress their 'imaginative' schemes up.

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
See 11 above

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
See 11 above. Character will always fall behind in planning considerations if densities push up. Some of the descriptions by developers of how they enhance local character bear little relationship to how those who actually live there see the situation.

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 incline to the case by case approach but am not in a position to think through the potential implications.

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
No indication from the evidence presented that more significant provision is needed in 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
More local authority housing at affordable rents.

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
In exceptional circumstances subject to rigorous assessment small parts of employment areas might be conceded. However, once employment sites are lost they are seldom regained. It is vital for a mixed community like Weybridge that a range of employment opportunities are retained and if possible expanded. Many people for reasons of lifestyle choice, age, disability, illness, resources, family choices etc. want to work locally. We should not reinforce the notion that this part of Surrey is simply a commuter dormitory for Greater London.

17

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

See above - by implication very limited flexibility with the fullest possible evidential justification for change of use.

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
Don't know. I would like to think yes at the margin but lack the detailed knowledge of the area to give an informed answer.

19

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

See above - not aware of any.

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
Unless the facility is appropriately modernised and remains attractive it will gradually wither and die as a key centre.

21a

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

  • Yes
  • No
  • Don't Know

Please explain your answer
To maintain and develop community support and focus and reduce environmentally unfriendly visits to other centres. Plus we must not lose sight on the problems travel still poses for the elderly and disabled and those lacking a car. or of the local employment opportunities provided.

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
See below.

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
Absolutely no reason why not - these are simply other services to the community alongside retail services. People may well welcome the opportunity to combine what might otherwise be several visits into one.

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
Vital assets as the pressure builds to increase density. We should also resist strongly pressure to remove assets (eg. the recreation ground in the centre of Weybridge, the cricket green etc) left to the people of Weybridge in perpetuity.

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
Vital as density increases that we do not subordinate biodiversity objectives. Again, once such assets are lost they are impossible to regain.

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
Absolutely. Once a community loses contact with and its understanding of its heritage it ceases to be a proper community becoming merely a place one passes through.Councils have to be aware of the potential to feature those assets in attracting people and business to the borough. I hope that we have seen the back of almost criminal and certainly short-sighted decisions that saw the effective end of Elmbridge Museum!

25

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

See above.

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
Having seen several recent planning outcomes I am convinced that design and character are all too often subordinated to mass and density and little active engagement with what the community thinks. A cursory glance at developer submissions and planning officer reports will show you that they approach these issues using a language and perception alien to residents. Speak to the community and take their views seriously!

27

If not what approach do you think we should take?

Engage more fully with the community and promote (educating the community, without patronising, where necessary) good design principles.

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
Shows my own state of ignorance. Would like to know more.

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
This is official speak - what does 'delivering more sustainable traffic patterns' mean in practice to the average man on the street. If we are talking practicalities about pedestrian and cycle access through private roads (eg. St Georges Hill), providing better shuttle bus services, free public car parks to reduce parking stress on the streets etc. and these are provided for in 'existing policies' I would consider them appropriate. I confess to doubts. Communication failures perhaps?

30

Are there other approaches we should consider?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Don't Know

Please explain your answer
See above. Adopting a more holistic and strategic approach to dealing with parking and traffic volumes in particular areas, rather than adopting a sticking plaster approach dealing with one issue without taking on board the consequences as problems are moved on. I live in an area that everyone, including officials, recognises as suffering from continuing parking stress. Yet nothing seems to be done as issues are batted around between borough and county. The fact that local residents have felt it necessary to band together to push for action does not reflect well on our representative bodies and their responsiveness and willingness to listen properly.

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?

More cycle ways. Improved bus service (mini-buses?). Strategic approach to reducing traffic volumes and speeds through residential areas. Access to Council, CAB, medical and other facilities by the most efficient and effective means.

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?

Public free car parks.

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.

 

Nothing at this stage.

34. Files

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