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Response Details

Response Details
From Duncan Crane
Date Started: 21 Mar 2017 12:00. Last modified: 21 Mar 2017 14:16
Status Complete
Response ID #529813

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 underlying assumption is that demand in Elmbridge should be met at whatever level. Clearly this is unsustainable as eventually demand will drive prices to unaffordable levels (since supply is not unlimited) or quality of life in the borough will deteriorate to unacceptable levels (because of overcrowding and loss of amenities and employment opportunities to housing) until people no longer wish to live here.

Certainly, in the locale of Cobham where I’ve lived for the last 35 years one sees both effects. Over the last thirty years Cobham has turned it into a ghetto for the middle aged and elderly of the upper middle-classes. This has happened because it has been denuded of the services and job opportunities that would sustain a successful mixed community. In that time, Cobham centre has lost its schools, health centre, social services, adult education and police station. Land previously used for small commercial enterprises, including hotels, factories, workshops, retail and leisure have been turned over to housing. Although much of this was originally intended to be affordable, demand has since made it unaffordable. Even modest 3 & 4 bedroom family homes are being replaced by sub-urban villas because the services available in Cobham now only cater for the very well off, and there is little to attract anyone else.

Throughout the country these pressures have been seen in attractive urban centres that are in demand resulting in a creeping ‘gentrification’. This drives the less well-off to the periphery due to lack of suitable services, employment opportunities and affordable housing. Newly built affordable communities aren’t sustainable as they are not served by appropriate services to sustain them and, ultimately, they also become gentrified as the laws of supply and demand make what was previously affordable housing unaffordable.

The real challenge facing Government and also Elmbridge is how to regenerate the less attractive communities that are found throughout the country (including some in Surrey and parts of Greater London). This means providing the package of Services, amenities and employment opportunities that are essential for maintaining mixed communities. This is not possible by filling in odd parcels of land with housing within or on the periphery of existing communities if they do not have the appropriate services to maintain them. This requires greater vision and a pro-active and planned approach to tackle the root of the problem of creating successful, attractive alternatives and so spread demand to where it can be best be fulfilled.

The overriding need should not be to meet a target for housing but to create successful, sustainable, mixed communities including the appropriate public services, employment opportunities and leisure amenities either within those communities or easily reached by fast frequent public transport links.

2

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

 

  • Yes
  • No
  • Don’t know

Please explain your answer
These are explained in my answer to question 1.

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
Please see my answer to question 1.

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?
The options provided are not mutually exclusive and the assessment of each is subjective and incomplete. None of the options address the overriding challenge or objective as I identified in my answer to question 1. I am only familiar with Local areas 20 and 14 so my comments refer to these specifically but may well also apply to the other area proposed.

Specifically areas 14 and 20 are remote from the appropriate services needed to support a successful sustainable mixed community and, if built, are likely to become unaffordable within a generation for the reasons set out in response to question 1. The reasons that make these areas weakly performing as green belt (in the view of the council) are also those that would make them weakly performing within the local communities. I would argue therefore that areas 14 and 20 are not sustainable.

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
My disagreement here is with both the statement of need (as explained in response to question1), the way the exceptional circumstance are defined and the subjectivity of the assessment of the different options.

The correct approach would be to consider if there are exceptional opportunities for creating successful, sustainable communities which would merit the re-designation of greenbelt or other land subject to constraints. The questions of support for amendment of the greenbelt boundary could only be considered in the context of suitable and more detailed proposals, not as a general principle as set out 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
These are explained already in my answers to 1, 4 and 5 above.

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
The reasons for this are explained already in my answers to 1, 4 and 5 above

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
Yes and No was ticked.
This may be a possibility but only if it meets the conditions set out in my response to 1, 4 and 5 above. In my opinion the only likely areas to be able to support successful and sustainable new or extended communities within the borough are in the corridor between Surbiton in the East, Hampton in the North and Woking in the West as this is the only area capable of providing the necessary mix of appropriate services.

Using different criteria whilst still within the definition provided by Government, some green belt land in this area might be considered appropriate for re-designation. For example some of the many sport facilities which are duplicative, reserved for exclusive clubs or used infrequently cover significant areas of land in highly suitable locations. However any such re-designation would have to depend on specific and more detailed assessment as suggest in my responses to 1, 4 and 5 above.

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 and No was ticked.
The mix of housing must depend on the local provision of an appropriate mix of services, employment opportunities, amenities and fast, frequent public transport to support it as described in the response to 1 above.

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
It is a matter of fact there is no over-supply of four bedroom houses as those which come onto the market are bought at full asking process very quickly which suggests that supply does not meet demand. I also disagree with the assessment of the reasons for the so called ‘over supply’ of four bedroom houses. I believe this isn’t a supply side problem but a result of demand and that our community has attracted this demand precisely because of the poor provision of public services, poor provision of public transport and poor provision of suitable job opportunities particularly in the South of the Borough. The distance from the major sources of employment which for this Borough are found in London makes living in the Borough and commuting very expensive. Meanwhile the poor public transport links and heavily congested roads makes it difficult to reach other suitable job opportunities in the North of the Borough. Ultimately, the demand for such housing has to go somewhere and maybe Elmbridge is the best place for it to go.

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
Please see the response to questions 1,4, 5 and 10 above. There is no right or wrong answer to this so the density for each development should be judged on its merits in creating a successful, sustainable and attractive community which is appropriately serviced and catered for.

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
Please see the response to questions 1,4, 5, and 10 above. Note I do not believe the case has been made for development of the three areas in question.

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
Please see the response to questions 1,4, 5 and 10 above. Note I do not believe the case has been made for development of the three areas in question.

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 agree that each case should be considered on its own merits applying the criteria I have given in response to questions 1, 4, 5, 10, 11 and 12 above. The statement above is contradictory as it refers to all sites on a case by case basis?

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 response»

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
«No response»

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
There is no generally right or wrong answer and each case should be considered on its merits in light of what makes the local community successful and sustainable.

17

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

See answer to 16.
There is no generally right or wrong answer and each case should be considered on its merits in light of what makes the local community successful and sustainable.

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
The questions does not permit the answer of ‘possibly’ which might be most appropriate. Given the flaws in the council’s assessment of performance and exceptional circumstances and my belief that the statement of need is wrong then the question may well be judged in the affirmative under those criteria.

19

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

This would depend on an assessment of the specific proposals.

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
One should look at the possibly of mixed redevelopment as this would be of much greater benefit to the local community and the needs for development than the use it is currently put too. The site is highly suitable for mixed development given its location near the Esher and fast train links to London, Woking, Guildford and other public transport links to Kingston, Walton, Weybridge etc with good public services, local employment opportunities and amenities of wider and more general appeal to existing communities. Also there are a number of alternative racecourses in the locale.

21a

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

  • Yes
  • No
  • Don't Know

Please explain your answer
Yes and No
If one develops major new sites (for example if the Wisley Airport site became available, then these should have retail provision within them. Otherwise I would agree with the question. One might also consider further development at existing retail parks such as Brooklands

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
The existing shopping areas have evolved to support their communities and significant change is likely to result in making those communities less sustainable. For example the changes to Cobham as a shopping area has reinforced its transformation to being a ‘ghetto’ for the very well off. Any further erosion of Cobham centre is likely to exacerbate this trend.

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
Yes and No.
Each should be looked at on a case by case basis depending on the needs of the local community.

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
Yes or No.
There is no appropriate general principle and each case should be reviewed on its own merits.

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
«No response»

27

If not what approach do you think we should take?

The policy in the past has frequently led to loss of public services, shops, local employment opportunities and inappropriate develop that is not sustainable. I set this out in more detail in response to 1, 4 and 5 above.

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
«No response»

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
Given the lack of public transport in the South of the Borough, the current restrictions on maximum parking or no parking are unsustainable. There is no generally right or wrong answer and each case should be considered on its merits and subject to local consultation and agreement.

30

Are there other approaches we should consider?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Don't Know

Please explain your answer
Exploiting the better public transport links in the North of the Borough when considering new development opportunities.

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?

I think the location of the three areas proposed in option 2 are unsuitable for appropriate infrastructure to support them for the reasons given in response to 1 above.

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?

I live in Cobham which is hemmed between the A3 and M25. This and its relative isolation from the major centres of employment, retail, public services and public transport in the North of the Borough makes it very difficult to improve the infrastructure to support more development. Cobham already has been subject to much development over the years such that the opportunities are now few and the possible infrastructure is at full capacity.

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.

 

Please see the answers above where I feel I have discussed alternative views of the problem and solution at length. I hope this has been constructive as I am very much in favour of creating successful, sustainable and attractive communities for those that live in them. I and my family have discussed these responses and agreed them as a family and this is reflected in our collective response.

Thank you for your continued efforts.

34. Files

«No files»