Author Archives: Mike Axton

Surrey Welfare Rights Advice

The Surrey Welfare Rights Unit has provided the following information:

“We are drafting some bespoke Covid-19 website information as it is announced, prioritising what to cover by the enquiries coming into the Citizens Advice service.  Benefits is our specialism so we are not attempting employment law, tax or other related issues.  The first item is now up our website and it relates to benefit support for self-employed people.   We are very happy for you to link to the page and please let your contacts know it is there.  We will update the information when the Government makes further announcements on any support packages.  We will be drafting information for employees next and I will let you know when that is posted.”

Coronavirus – Message from Elmbridge Council Leader Stuart Selleck

The Government continues to develop its strategies to combat this public health emergency and is calling on all of us to support their efforts to defeat this virus.
Our resilience as an organisation is being tested as we mobilise all our resources to provide services to our communities, not least the elderly and vulnerable. We are coordinating  our targeted response with the Government and all public sector organisations across the County including the voluntary sector. Our Business Continuity Plan is working as I and the Administration are working closely with the officers to ensure that we follow national guidance and communicate as quickly as possible our plans to the residents.

We are extremely fortunate to have such a dedicated staff, ably led by the Chief Executive, who are going far beyond what are their normal duties . They are working hard with initiative and imagination to address the exceptional challenges that we all face. We should always remember that we are a public service and our staff are proud and dedicated public servants .

Considering all of this, we have decided to cancel all upcoming Council meetings, including planning meetings.  We will make alternative arrangements and let you know how what these will be as soon as possible.

Please keep up-to-date with council services including how we are supporting the community at

My very best wishes,

Cllr Stuart Selleck, Leader of Elmbridge Borough Council

Funding bids Invited for Local Projects

The following Press Release has been issued by Elmbridge Council:

Application process now open for annual funding to help improve the lives of Elmbridge residents

We are now accepting applications for annual local Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) funding. The application period is Thursday 13 February to Sunday 29 March, with the applications being reviewed in June and early July.

CIL allows Elmbridge Borough Council to raise funds through borough development to help pay for the physical infrastructure needed to mitigate the impacts of new development.  As part of the process, we annually allocate a portion of CIL funds to be spent locally on smaller infrastructure schemes that are required in the communities where development took place. Settlement area committees known as Local Infrastructure Spending Boards have been formed where local Councillors decide on how these local CIL funds will be allocated. In the case of Claygate, the local proportion of CIL funds will be passed directly to the Parish Council. Successful local CIL applications have included projects such as capital improvements to state schools to better enable them to meet the needs of an increasing school population, improvements to community facilities, footpath works and countryside access improvements.

Cllr Karen Randolph, Portfolio Holder for Planning Services is a keen advocate of the CIL process and is delighted that local groups have benefitted from the funding:

“Working in partnership with schools, charities and other non-profit organisations CIL can provide vital funding to help improve the lives of the people of Elmbridge. I would highly recommend local groups to review the criteria and submit an application for funding.”

A sample of some of the projects supported through the local CIL funding are listed below:

  • Sunbury and Walton Sea Cadets building for the future
  • St James Church of England Primary School toilet and cloakroom upgrade
  • Cardinal Newman Catholic Primary School hall extension
  • Patient participation group defibrillator
  • Hinchley Wood Primary School playground upgrade
  • Chatterbus CIC ticketing machine upgrade

“The CIL funding has made such a big difference and we are hugely appreciative of the support given to us. We are now progressing the training centre project, which will provide an important place for young people across the community.” Mrs Cramp, Chairman, Sunbury and Walton Sea Cadets

Jolly Boatman – Latest Update

We have now been advised that the Elmbridge Council Special Planning Committee meeting which was due to consider the Jolly Boatman/Hampton Court Station planning application on 21 January has been postponed.

The reason given is that the consultation response from the Environment Agency on the revised Flood Risk Assessment is still outstanding, as EA staff have been diverted by the recent flood concerns.

The Council is unable at this stage to say when a revised meeting will be arranged, but we will update residents as soon as we have any more information.

Proposed Changes to Parking Controls in East Molesey


Surrey County Council is planning to introduce a package of amendments to local parking controls in the New Year. These include proposals for major new parking restrictions in East Molesey, in particular the introduction of controlled parking zones (CPZs) in Palace Road, Wolsey Road, Arnison Road, Hansler Grove, Grove Road and St John’s Road. The CPZs will operate for an hour in the morning from Monday to Friday, effectively preventing commuter parking. Although the measures will be popular with many of the people living in those roads, other residents have expressed concerns about the potential for displacement of commuter parking into neighbouring roads, many of which have limited off-street parking capacity.

The proposals will be subject to public consultation in the New Year. We will update residents via our website and Newsletters when the consultation dates and arrangements are known, and we would encourage everyone to respond so that their views can be taken into account.

Jolly Boatman Update

We have been advised that the planning application for the proposed development at the Hampton Court Station and former Jolly Boatman site will be considered at a Special Meeting of the Elmbridge Council Planning Committee on Tuesday 21 January 2020 at 7.00 p.m.

The meeting will be held at the Civic Centre in Esher and members of the public will be able to attend. An agenda will be published shortly and we will provide more information when it is available.

Funding To Improve Local High Streets

Elmbridge Council is making funding available from its Civic Improvement Fund (CIF) for projects which improve the sustainability of local high streets. Up to 90% of the project costs can be funded, up to a maximum of £2,000.

More than 280 projects have previously been funded from the Elmbridge CIF, many for shop front improvements. The Council is now has committing additional funding to the scheme and extending its operation until 31 March 2021, and we hope business owners in Molesey will take advantage of this money. Further information on the scheme, including the application form and guidance notes, is available on the Council’s website:  If businesses have any questions about the scheme or other business support please contact the Council’s Organisational Development team at or telephone 01372 474 216.

Elmbridge Council Local Plan Consultation: MRA Response




Our response to the consultation consists of two parts: our observations on the five options presented by the Council; and our specific comments on what we consider are some of the priorities for Molesey and its current and future residents.

We have listened to the views of our residents and the comments and observations made by those who attended the Council’s presentation on the Local Plan. In summary we do not believe that any of the five options in the consultation document achieves an acceptable solution on their own, and that and a modified version of Option 2 would be a preferable way forward.

Consultation Options

We recognise that there is a need for more housing in the Borough, in particular more one, two and three-bedroomed homes. However, we do not accept the Government’s assumption that simply concreting over large parts of the Borough will in itself reduce the affordability gap. It may simply suck more people into the area.

Elmbridge has unique characteristics and we would want to ensure that any new measures preserve and enhance its character. At first sight the easy option might be to support Option 4, which would not involve any loss of Green Belt land. However, it would be wrong to assume that this option would have no unintended consequences. The Government has made it clear that 9345 new homes must be built somewhere in the Borough over the next 15 years, and Option 4 would therefore result in more building in urban areas. We continue to believe, however, that the Government’s target is too high, and should continue to be challenged by the Council.

Although we do not like the idea of allowing any building on the Green Belt, the alternative which would result from Option 4 would be to accept more intensive development in the Borough’s more urban areas, including Molesey, Hersham and Walton, which have already absorbed more than their fair share of development over the last few years. This would involve higher density developments per site, more flats and higher buildings in these areas to achieve anywhere near the Government’s target. This would also apply to other urban areas in the Borough which are currently encompassed by Green Belt, as development would need to be spread across Elmbridge.

We believe that a more pragmatic approach should be taken, with new development being spread across the whole Borough. This would be fairer for the residents of Elmbridge as a whole, but it would inevitably mean allowing some limited development in areas which are currently within the Green Belt. We believe the principle, along the lines of Option 2, (though not necessarily with the designated areas outlined in Option 2) would be a better way forward, even though some small, carefully selected areas would need to be released from the Green Belt.

We recognise that this is “Hobson’s choice”, and that it is not an ideal outcome, but doing nothing is not an option, and this approach would help to provide more of the smaller sized homes that are desperately needed. Releasing just 3% of the Borough’s Green Belt, whilst clearly not something we want, would at least enable the remaining 97% of the Borough’s Green Belt to be more robustly defended against future development. We would also expect the Council to ensure that mixed housing, including an appropriate proportion of Social and Affordable housing, would be a priority when considering any building on the Green Belt.

We also believe it is vital to ensure that developers will be required to make a significant contribution to the additional infrastructure which would be needed to accompany new development. This should be a pre-requisite before a developer can build on any Green Belt land. A major concern, however, is that is that other agencies which have the responsibility for providing the infrastructure to support new development (such as the Government, utility companies, the NHS and Surrey County Council) appear to have no long-term plans in place to provide it, and insufficient funding to provide the extra services which will be essential to maintain and improve the quality of life for our residents.

Impact on Molesey

The review of the Local Plan does at least provide an opportunity for the Council to amend the classification of some areas in Molesey in order to protect them from the threat of development in the future. The Council can now designate areas as “Local Green Spaces” if certain conditions are satisfied. This is a new categorisation which can offer a high degree of protection against development to areas of importance to local communities. The MRA is pressing for a number of areas in Molesey to be included in this category, including Hurst Meadows, Hurst Park, Cigarette Island, our recreation grounds, Molesey Heath, Nielsons Field and the Wilderness. We also believe that the former Molesey Sewage Farm site, which the Council currently manages as a nature conservation area, should be incorporated into the Green Belt, so that it has the same status as Molesey Heath, which it adjoins.

Policies should also be put in place to protect and improve the air quality in Molesey, as more development will inevitably lead to increased road traffic.

If we are to sustain new development then infrastructure, in its broadest sense, must be improved. We need better bus services to encourage people to use public transport instead of cars. The Hampton Court train service needs to be improved. There are only two trains an hour, and these will be insufficient to cater for increased commuter usage, and the extra demand, particularly in the Summer, by visitors to Hampton Court Palace and events such as the annual Flower Festival. Another issue is that many commuters drive to Hampton Court station because it is within the Oyster & Travelcard Zones, increasing the problems caused by commuter parking in local streets.  If the Zone could be extended to include Esher Station that would relieve some of the pressure on Hampton Court station.

In terms of the provision of NHS Services, there are still issues surrounding the capacity of the current clinical services to provide all the necessary support required by the community. The MRA fought hard to prevent the closure of Molesey Hospital, and we support plans to redevelop it in the future as a modern clinical hub. The NHS should be asked to speed up its plans to bring forward and deliver the improved services that have been promised.

It is difficult to be prescriptive about what should be the maximum height of any new buildings, because with so many different individual settlement areas there must be flexibility in any planning policies to take account of where the new buildings are proposed. Excessive height, however, should generally be restricted in residential areas, and only considered in areas where they would not have a negative impact. The buildings currently under construction in Hansler Grove, for example, are effectively four storeys high, including accommodation in the roof space, and this requires additional height and depth. We would like to see a lower overall profile in future developments, particularly in residential areas.

For many years there has been more development in Molesey, including high density development, than other areas of the Borough. It is inevitable that opposing any release of some small areas of the Green Belt will result in more intensive development in Molesey, and this is why we would support a modified version of Option 2.

Yours Sincerely

Nigel Cooper

Molesey Residents Association