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Response Details

Response Details
From Oscar Strugstad
Date Started: 09 Mar 2017 11:48. Last modified: 09 Mar 2017 11:48
Status Complete
Response ID #527570

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
The consultation document does set out a number of challenges – but the list is simply not complete. The area has already changed significantly in recent years and the infrastructure is already under strain. For example, the roads are congested and requiring repair, pavements are often dangerous, parking is difficult and ill thought through. There needs to be more attention paid to retaining the standard of life for existing residents rather than focussing simply on additional housing which will inevitably make things worse. We need to ensure that the Green Belt is protected, with all that implies for wildlife preservation, quality of life now and for the future generations. It may be that additional housing is required but this should not be at our expense.

2

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

 

  • Yes
  • No
  • Don’t know

Please explain your answer
See above. There are definitely other challenges which need to be addressed by the Council before considering any additional homes and before taking away Green Belt land irrevocably - and any policy for change needs to be thought through carefully in terms of the long term impact and not in a piece meal fashion. The Council should focus on improving the quality of life and services for existing residents instead of working on proposals to make it worse and introduce further congestion in a variety of areas without full understanding of current issues and concerns. The local roads are a disgrace and interim (budget friendly) solutions to pot holes, for example, adds no long term value. There are basic issues such as street lighting, verges and pavements not being attended to. Traffic congestion, particularly during rush hours, is increasingly bad (unco-ordinated road works in Esher, A3 etc contribute). The strain on the medical services, schools and public transport also requires careful handling. The planning easing for ‘fill in’ properties has already changed the locality and what was a gracious, low density, low traffic, low risk area is now significantly urbanised with all the negatives that that brings. A decrease in Green Belt will further damage the 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
Any additional strain on the infrastructure locally is a prime concern. Together with the very basic decision of removing Green Belt and damaging the countryside any more. We recognise that people do need to live somewhere – and new houses are required but there are other ways apart from eroding an already shrinking countryside. Traffic congestion is a huge issue with congestion ‘black spots’.

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?
This is difficult because the options do not seem complete. That is, there is no ‘do nothing’ or ‘no action’ option. Option 2 cannot be the most appropriate action as it is not in line with protecting the Green Belt. Some of the assumptions seem rather weak and appears to take a very non specific view of this area. There does not seem to be a clear explanation as to why brownfield land cannot be considered further – or indeed a clear guide that the Council has truly explored all other local options (including adjoining boroughs). Surely one option is to make better use of brownfield sites?

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
We are not experts on local housing policy but we understand that ‘exceptional circumstances’ for Green Belt boundary changes should only be made with ‘the support of the local people’. Clearly, there is a swell of option locally that the local Green Belt is to be hijacked with no real thought about the implications for the local community. What ‘exceptional circumstance’ can there be when there are other areas available for choice? It seems that the destruction of the Green Belt is the easy option for planners/Council but has a profoundly negative impact on the welfare of those of us already living here.

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
We are not experts and should be in a position to trust the Council to make sensible suggestions in light of the area under consideration. However, the assessment seems subjective and does not seem detailed or consistent enough in considering the ‘land parcels’ which have very different characteristics and challenges. The Council should avoid creating an ‘urban spread’.

It seems that the scoring system has not taken into consideration some key factors eg. current boundaries, ancient woodlands, flooding risks, current building density.

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
This is Council issue not a private resident choice. But, it seems, that the ‘easy option’ of large land areas has been selected without proper research. The ‘parcels’ selected all seem to have challenges and restrictions so surely the Council should choose more relevant and developable land before destroying the Green Belt.

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. The Council should assess the viability of other sites and not choose (for them) the easy option something that should be the last resort. This is not a reasonable consultation question.

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 more cohesive thinking across Council boundaries is needed to find the best solution. Simply using Green Belt to build new homes is not the answer. This area is already a mixture of larger and smaller housing and, in some cases, well planned but filling up all the green land is simply destructive and not a reasonable long term solution. Once built on the Council cannot reverse the Green Belt decision!

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
This question is unclear and I don’t know if the answer should be yes or no! If there is a need for larger houses (and the current local market suggests there is) then considerations should be given of course. However, due consideration should also be given to building smaller, affordable housing in relevant areas (brownfield sites?). The areas are already a mix of larger homes as well as more affordable (smaller) housing so the question is somewhat misleading. The Council cannot ignore that there are pockets of the areas in question that have both large (and very large) family homes as well as smaller accommodations – to generalise is unrealistic.

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
The answer is probably ‘yes’ but the answer relies on so many factors so this is somewhat subjective. The infrastructure has to be in place to accommodate more homes with resulting people, commuters, cars 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
This area is notably semi –rural in the main so the proposal seems in conflict. We do not consider this proposal appropriate or practical.

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 previous answers.

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
In principle, the CS21 Policy makes sense. Each area is different and there needs to be some logic in terms of development. There should be individual assessment rather than blanket decision making. Common sense should certainly prevail in these cases.

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
My expectation is that many local residents would have concerns about having any concessions to having sites for travellers (non travelling or travelling) in this area in relation to reputational noise, crime and anti social behaviour. This would not be an attractive development.

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
See previous answers. I acknowledge that there is a need for additional housing but do think other options should be considered.

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 can work very effectively and is entirely acceptable.

17

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

No additional 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
Possibly, since Brooklands is already a large commercial site with employees who commute.

19

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

Transport and infrastructure.

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
Possibly yes depending on the proposals. It is an excellent sporting/exhibition venue. Unfortunately, public transport is not a good link and it does affect Esher congestion.

21a

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

  • Yes
  • No
  • Don't Know

Please explain your answer
«No response»

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. This is probably preferable than creating huge retain parks. Again, this would depend on the planning proposal.

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
The Council should be protecting these spaces to give some respite from the increasing
urbanisation. Further, they are necessary to preserve the characters of communities
and give residents the opportunity to enjoy them for leisure.

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 additional comment.

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 additional comment.

25

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

N/A

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
In light of the usage of Green Belt proposals, the answer can only be no.

27

If not what approach do you think we should take?

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.

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.
Remember that Cobham is next to a major river (Mole) and floods on a fairly 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
«No response»

30

Are there other approaches we should consider?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Don't Know

Please explain your answer
I don’t have enough information to fully answer but all options should be considered.

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 overloaded.
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 Lane over the railway bridge (currently very dangerous for pedestrians), and improved river flows and dams.

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?

No additional comments.

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.

 

Better consultation and information around Cobham, Oxshott and Stoke d’Abernon is essential to ensure that decisions are not taken away from current residents. The timing and complexity of this questionnaire raises local suspicions that the Council is going through a process without seriously wanting too many comments. We need to protect local interests for current residents before allowing a considerable influx which will strain the infrastructure and damage the local communities.

If the Green Belt is eroded so aggressively, the very nature of this area will be damaged. Separate ‘parcels’ will be merged into one enormous suburb with limited Green. ‘Elmbridge’ is neither a place of being or a community in its own right and any housing strategy should be considered in line with the communities within it.

34. Files

«No files»