Category Archives: News and updates

News and updates from the Molesey Residents’ Association.

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: elmbridge.gov.uk/business  If businesses have any questions about the scheme or other business support please contact the Council’s Organisational Development team at business@elmbridge.gov.uk or telephone 01372 474 216.

Elmbridge Council Local Plan Consultation: MRA Response

MOLESEY RESIDENTS ASSOCIATION  

RESPONSE TO ELMBRIDGE COUNCIL LOCAL PLAN CONSULTATION

Overview

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

New Development Proposed at Molesey FC

Following the refusal of the previous proposals a new planning application has now been submitted to Elmbridge Council for a major development at Molesey Football Club. The new proposals will include 50 flats, a day nursery, and a new clubhouse and seating for the Football Club. It will also involve the demolition of the existing clubhouse and stand, and some of the empty flats in Grange Close. The full details can be seen on the planning section of the Elmbridge Council website under the planning reference 2019/2569.

Local Plan Consultation Meeting

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On 24 July, Elmbridge Borough Council’s Cabinet met to discuss the upcoming Local Plan consultation and agreed on the options to be presented to Elmbridge residents from 19 August – 30 September 2019.  They also agreed to a series of six public meetings to discuss the options with residents and to hear the views of our residents.

The meeting for Molesey will be at the Civic Centre in Esher in Thursday 29 August from 7-9pm.

Residents should book to attend a meeting using the following link www.elmbridge.gov.uk/localplantickets.

A webcast will be available through this link – https://elmbridge.public-i.tv/core/portal/home.

The format of the public meetings will be as follows:

7pm – Presentation on the Local Plan options

On the panel:

  • Ray Lee, Strategic Director, Elmbridge Borough Council
  • Kim Tagliarini, Head of Planning Services, Elmbridge Borough Council,
  • Rachael Thorold, Local Plan Manager, Elmbridge Borough Council

7.30pm    Questions and answers session

  • Questions should be submitted in advance. Following registration, residents will be sent an email with the opportunity to submit a question for the panel.

Councillor Karen Randolph, Portfolio Holder for Planning Services, would like to encourage residents to get involved in the upcoming consultation:

“The Local Plan is vitally important for the future of Elmbridge and we want to ensure that our residents are fully aware of the options, which is why I would encourage our residents to come along to the relevant public meeting or watch it through the webcast. Please book online to attend and send us your question in advance to ensure we can provide you with a full response.”

Jolly Boatman – Revised Application

We’ve just been advised that an amendment to the planning application for the re-development of the Jolly Boatman and Hampton Court station site in East Molesey has now been received by Elmbridge Council. Details can be viewed on the planning section of the Elmbridge Council website under reference number 2018/3803..


It appears that the amendments concern only the layout of the car parking spaces and alignment of the access, details of the car park surface, and information on the fencing and amended tree protection information. So it looks as if the main proposals for the buildings and site layout are unchanged.

We will be nevertheless be scrutinising the amendments carefully, working closely with the Hampton Court Rescue Campaign and others, and we would encourage residents to look at what is proposed and make their views known.

Royal Cambridge Home – New Planning Application

A new planning application has now been made to Elmbridge Council for a 32 bed Care Home and 60 Extra Care Age Restricted Apartment following demolition of the existing Royal Cambridge Homes buildings.

The application can be viewed online in the Planning section of the Council’s website, under the reference 2019/1813.

The previous proposals gave rise to considerable local concerns, and we will be scrutinising the new plans thoroughly. We would encourage residents to have a look at what is proposed, and to let the Council know their views.

Funding For Community Projects

The Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) is a charge payable by developers to local councils as part of the planning process. Elmbridge Council is required to allocate a proportion of the CIL funds it collects (currently 15%) on local infrastructure improvements to mitigate the impacts of development locally.

Applications can be submitted up until 16 June 2019, and after the closing date, applicants who have applied will have a further four weeks to provide any outstanding details needed for a valid application. These applicants will be invited to give a presentation about their proposals to a Spending Board made up of local Councillors later in the year. The Strategic Spending Board will be first in early September, and the Local Spending Boards will follow throughout September and into early October.

Anyone interested in applying can find the application forms, guidance notes and information about CIL in the planning section of the Elmbridge Council website.

Election Result 2 May 2019

MOLESEY EAST (TURNOUT 40.5 %)

FERGY, SUSAN – LIBERAL DEMOCRAT 252

HOWARD, LISA – GREEN PARTY 208

RENDALL, ROSIE – LABOUR PARTY 125

WANG, XINGANG – CONSERVATIVE PARTY 790

YAUNER, LESLEY – MOLESEY RESIDENTS 1268 ELECTED

MOLESEY WEST ( TURNOUT 28.9 %)

GOULD, JOHN – CONSERVATIVE PARTY 295

POPHAM, TONY – MOLESEY RESIDENTS 1211 ELECTED

SHELDRAKE, DAVID – LABOUR PARTY 174

STURGIS, ALASTAIR – LIBERAL DEMOCRAT 227

MOLESEY RESIDENTS ASSOCIATION WOULD LIKE TO THANK ALL THOSE WHO SUPPORTED THEIR MRA CANDIDATES.

Election Results 2 May 2019

Jolly Boatman Planning Decision Postponed

We have been advised by Elmbridge Council that the Special Planning Committee meeting on 4 April to consider the proposed Jolly Boatman and Hampton Court Station planning application has been postponed.

This is because the consultation response from the Environment Agency is still outstanding. The developers had to update the modelling used on their original submission and the Environment Agency has confirmed that they need more time to review this information and write their consultation response.

We will update residents as soon as we have information about a revised date.