Category Archives: News and updates

News and updates from the Molesey Residents’ Association.

BISHOP FOX – MAINTENANCE OF COMMUNAL AREAS

We receive regular enquiries about the maintenance arrangements for the communal areas on the Bishop Fox Estate, such as the parking areas, grassed areas and the shrubs and trees.

In common with a number of other newly built housing estates, the developers who built the Bishop Fox estate made no long-term arrangements or funding for the ongoing general management of the estate. The problem is exacerbated in the case of Bishop Fox by the fact that the original purchaser of the land actually lost money when land values fell, and the land was subsequently sold off in parcels to various developers at a loss, so the development cannot be traced to a single source.

The brief history is that a Trust was set up by the developers with very limited funds to manage the Bishop Fox recreational areas, but the funds were insufficient, and eventually ran out. When concerned residents raised concerns about the lack of maintenance Molesey Residents Association (MRA) councillors Mike Axton & Stuart Selleck led efforts in pressing for a long-term solution with Elmbridge Council and Surrey County Council (SCC).   As a stopgap, MRA provided some funds to allow grass cutting to continue on a short term basis.   MRA County Councillor Ernest Mallett initially persuaded SCC to make some grants to ensure grass-cutting etc could be continued.  This enabled maintenance to continue for a further 3 years, but it was not a long-term solution.

Eventually MRA Councillors were able to persuaded SCC to donate £60,000 to EBC as a commuted sum to enable EBC to provide grass cutting services of the recreational areas for the long-term.  This system is still in operation, but there is still a risk that SCC could withdraw the funds at some point, particularly as the original Trust has now sold the recreational land to a private owner.

These arrangements do not, however, cover the estate’s trees and shrubbery, or any maintenance of the car parking areas or private highway verges.  EBC made some repairs to some fencing and gates on a voluntary basis, and also removed some broken recreational equipment.  SCC has also, on occasion, voluntarily cut back some of the pavement growth of vegetation and removed some trees which had become dangerous. The problem is that neither Council was under any legal obligation to carry out this work.

Recently, MRA County Councillor Ernest Mallett has negotiated an agreement with Elmbridge StreetSmart, a body funded by both EBC and SCC, to deal with the overgrowth on the central part of the Bishop Fox Way pavement.  StreetSmart has, however, specifically refused his request to deal with overhanging growth on the pavements at both entrances to the estate. They have insisted, and reiterated, that this job is the responsibility of the occupiers of the houses from which the overgrowth stems.

We should explain that it is very unusual for any Council to fund work on non-Council owned land.  The grass-cutting and other work which the Councils have carried out has only happened at Bishop Fox because of the strong representation of Molesey Residents Association councillors over a number of years.

So the overall problem remains.  Because no arrangements were ever made to charge Bishop Fox householders a maintenance fee to establish funding for maintenance of the communal areas, the only real recourse is for Bishop Fox residents to get together and form a residents association to fund and deal with the local maintenance of surfaces, shrubs and trees.

 

NEW JOLLY BOATMAN & STATION SITE PROPOSALS

NEW JOLLY BOATMAN & STATION SITE PROPOSALS

At the end of 2008, against all opposition, the then Conservative-controlled Elmbridge Council pushed through a huge redevelopment plan for the ex-Jolly Boatman and Station sites, involving a hotel on the riverbank opposite Hampton Court Palace and dense 4-story housing on much of the rest of the site.  That planning consent still stands, although the site is now under new ownership.  MRA Councillors, Council officers and other interested parties have, over the last two years, had discussions with the new owners – who have now produced some new plans which are clearly an improvement on the previous scheme, but still a major redevelopment.

The new plans propose that the ex-Jolly Boatman site (presently boarded up) should be an open green space, affording open views to the Palace from the station entrance area.  This green area will be served by a café and there will be a second retail outlet by the station entrance.     A hotel, with a retail outlet on the ground floor, is proposed to be built where the present car sales area is, opposite the BP petrol station.

The new proposal also aims to build about 97 flats, mainly in three 3-to-4 storey blocks, where the present station car park is situated.   These will be built above a two-storey part-underground car park with capacity for 205 cars – to service the station, hotel and flats.    Entry and exit to the car park will be via a service road between the river and the green area.   To allow the development to proceed as quickly as possible, it is proposed that a small part of Cigarette Island should be used as a temporary station car park while the work is taking place.  It will be landscaped and returned to its present state once work is complete.   There will be alterations to the forecourt area of the station and extra traffic lights will be installed on Hampton Court Way around the Creek Road and Hurst Road exits on to Hampton Court Way. There are, however, serious concerns about the potential impact on the current traffic congestion problems in the roads leading to and from Hampton Court Bridge.

If the application is approved it is expected to take about 2 years to complete the development.

New Secondary School for Walton & Molesey Area – Exhibition

The Elmwey Learning Trust, operators of Heathside School Weybridge, are seeking to open a new secondary school in the Walton and Molesey area. The proposal is for a new mixed, 11-16, non-faith and non-selective secondary school at a site south of the Xcel Leisure Centre, at Waterside Drive, Walton-on-Thames, to open for the 2020 academic year subject to planning permission.

The Trust is seeking views from local residents and stakeholders on its proposals, and are holding two public exhibitions to showcase the proposals:

  • Event 1: When: Wednesday 4th July: 5.30pm-8:30pm Where: Multi-Function Room, Elmbridge Xcel Sports Hub, KT12 2JP
  • Event 2: When: Saturday 7th July: 12:30pm-5pm Where: Molesey Centre for the Community, 2 Bishop Fox Way, Molesey, KT8 2AS

We would encourage local residents with an interest in this development to look at the exhibition, and respond with their views to the consultation.

JOLLY BOATMAN – PUBLIC EXHIBITION

We have been advised that a new planning application for the area around Hampton Court Station is being prepared, and that the developers will be holding a public exhibition of their plans on 21 and 22 June.

The public exhibition will take place on Thursday 21 June between 2:30pm and 8:00pm, and on Friday 22 June, between 10:00am and 2:00pm at Thames Motor Yacht Club, The Green, Hampton Court, KT8 9BW.

(Before the public meeting there will be a briefing for local Councillors on Monday 18 June, and a private viewing for local interest groups on 20 June).

We would encourage all local residents to attend this exhibition to find out what is being proposed.

We will look at these plans very carefully. Like most residents, we want to see a solution to this neglected site which will benefit local residents and tourists visiting Hampton Court Palace – but not at the cost of the sort of unacceptable over-development which was proposed by former owners Gladedale back in 2008.

Drake Park Appeal Dismissed

Residents Association and Liberal Democrat Councillors have issued the following Press Release:

DRAKE PARK  – APPEAL DISMISSED

Residents’ Association (RAs) and Liberal Democrat Councillors are absolutely delighted that the appeal into an application to build 1024 homes on Green Belt on land adjacent to Field Common in Walton has been dismissed by the Secretary of State. The application has been refused outline planning permission.

The recent joint RA – Lib Dem administration worked together to ensure that Elmbridge’s Green Belt was robustly defended. The best planning consultants and barristers were appointed to defend the Council’s decision to refuse planning permission on the Green Belt. The RAs and Liberal Democrats are proud that they have been successful in defending that decision.

Many RA and Lib Dem Councillors attended the Public Inquiry and supported local residents who rightly voiced strong concerns about building over 1000 homes on the Green Belt.

Residents’ Association and Liberal Democrat Councillors place on record their thanks to all the Officers of the Council who worked long hours in putting together the Council’s case.

This appeal decision follows from the large amount of work done by the administration in protesting to the Government about the housing need imposed on the Borough and the threat to the Green Belt.  The decision of the joint RA-Lib Dem administration to delay the production of the Local Plan until the evidence base was complete, and the revised National Planning Policy Framework had been published, has been completely vindicated by the appeal decision. The Appellants accused the Council of ducking difficult decisions and not planning for the homes Elmbridge needs.  However, in dismissing the appeal it is clear that the Secretary of State accepts that a robust plan, and a plan led approach, is the right approach.

There is strong commitment by the RAs and the Lib Dems, whether in the administration or not, to defend the Green Belt robustly. We will continue to protest to the Conservative government about the large housing need the Government has imposed on the Borough.

We are proud of our record in administration of defending the Green Belt.

For further information contact:

Cllr Stuart Selleck  (RA) sselleck@elmbridge.gov.uk

Cllr Karen Randolph (RA) former Portfolio Holder, Planning, krandolph@elmbridge.gov.uk

Cllr Andrew Davis (Liberal Democrats) adavis@elmbridge.gov.uk

 

Jolly Boatman – Latest News

It looks as if there is at last some news about what the new owners of the Jolly Boatman site are up to. We understand that they are preparing plans for a major development on the land adjacent to Hampton Court Station. No details are available yet, but Elmbridge Councillors have been invited to attend a briefing on 18 June at which revised proposals for the site will be presented, and we understand that they also plan to hold a public exhibition later in June. We will update residents via our website when we have more news.

We will look at what is being proposed very carefully. Like most residents, we want to see a solution to this neglected site which will benefit local residents and tourists visiting Hampton Court Palace – but not at the expense of the sort of unacceptable over-development which was proposed by former owners Gladedale back in 2008.

Speech By Stuart Selleck, MRA Councillor and Leader of Elmbridge Council

 

The speech given by Stuart Selleck at the full Elmbridge Council Meeting on 16 May is set out below.

“Madam Mayor, Two years ago, the Residents’ Groups and Liberal Group Councillors joined together to form a coalition as the Administration on this Council.

At that time, there was much criticism, as well as speculation, that the Coalition would be short-lived and unable to achieve any significant changes to this Borough. I said then that I believed this was the most appropriate way forward for our residents and for the management of this Council.

I firmly believe that over the last two years, I have been proven correct. We delivered on our 2016 Election promises and have instigated a programme of infrastructure improvements to our car parks, Halls and Day Centres. We have also made a significant start to tackling the lack of affordable and social housing through setting up an arm’s length Housing Company, as well as developing properties in Weybridge, Thames Ditton and Cobham for homeless families to eliminate our dependency on Bed and Breakfast accommodation outside the Borough. This is one of our most significant successes, achieved without resorting to above inflation hikes in Council Tax, nor the depletion of Council reserves.

However, it is impossible to ignore the results of the Elections where the Conservative Group has 24 seats, the Residents Groups 15 and the Liberals 9. Effectively, there is no overall control of this Council.

Madam Mayor,  I have thought long and hard about the most appropriate way forward, and have recognised that there is a moral case that the party with the most seats should have the first opportunity to form the next Administration.

Therefore, having consulted my colleagues, I believe in the best interests of our residents and this Council, very reluctantly, I wish to offer you my resignation as Leader of this Council.

This has been one of the most difficult decisions that I have ever had to make and in doing so I want to reassure the residents of Elmbridge that in opposition we will still have an effective voice and will continue with our full agenda, working with the Conservatives, where possible, for the benefit of the residents of Elmbridge. Equally, where we believe the Administration are not working in the best interests of the residents of Elmbridge, we will robustly hold them to account.

We will remain steadfast in our commitment to defending the Green Belt, open spaces and protecting our heritage.  At the same time, we will continue to stand by our pledge to strive to enable the provision of genuinely affordable homes, particularly for young people and families, in the right places, with an emphasis on quality and design.

We stand by our decision to commit over £500,000 to renovate Hersham Village Hall and the planned improvements now in place for our other halls and day centres and ask the New Administration to honour this pledge.  We are proud to have rescued the underperforming grass verge and green spaces contract. Working with the Lawn Tennis Association we have protected and enhanced the provision of public tennis courts across the Borough and hope this will continue to flourish.  Despite the acknowledged problems at the start a new Waste Contract, I am pleased to say that this has now settled down providing a more comprehensive service at less cost to the local taxpayer.

I am also proud to say that, under our Administration, we delivered on the Sports Hub in Walton, introduced a flexible parking strategy across the Borough; including free Saturday parking in some areas.  We invested in a more robust Planning Compliance Team. On our watch, EBC together with its range of voluntary sector partners, has been recognised as a beacon of excellence for its work in tackling loneliness, described in the local press as a ’trailblazer’ and that the Government is now looking to us for best practice for advising other councils. Due to skilful financial management, our Administration, managed to deliver the lowest Council Tax increase in all of Surrey, without any cuts to services.

I would like to thank and acknowledge the tremendous work that all my Cabinet colleagues have put in over the last two years in bringing forward, sometimes under severe pressure, so many positive changes to this Borough. It is regrettable that they will not be able to build on the foundations that have been laid, but sincerely hope the new Administration will continue this good work.

Finally, Madam Mayor, Above all, I am very proud that over the last two years, we have positively changed the philosophy of this Council, both at Member as well as officer level. We have been passionate in our pursuit of excellence, engaged and cared about the people we represent and been ambitious to get things done for Elmbridge.

I have the greatest respect for Councillor Oliver, so I hand over to you to ask him to form the Administration for the coming year.”

Councillor Stuart Selleck

 

 

Graburn Way Car Park

Regular users of the Graburn Way car park will be aware that the condition of the surfacing is deteriorating badly as a result of the recent weather and the volume of traffic. There are numerous holes, especially near the entrance,  and some of these are becoming dangerous. MRA Councillors have discussed this with officers at Elmbridge Council, and they have agreed to have the surface repaired. They will need to appoint contractors, but we hope that these much needed repairs be undertaken as soon as possible.

 

ELMBRIDGE Council Local Election Results

LOCAL ELECTION  RESULTS – MAY 2018

MOLESEY  EAST (TURNOUT 43.0%)

BAX, STEVE –  CONSERVATIVE PARTY                  1337   ELECTED

HOWARD, LISA – GREEN PARTY                             183

MONKEY THE DRUMMER –  RAVING LOONY        22

POPHAM. TONY – MOLESEY RESIDENTS              1048

RENDALL, ROSIE – LABOUR PARTY                          262

 

MOLESEY  WEST (TURNOUT 33.4%)

AHMED, RUBY – MOLESEY RESIDENTS               1043   ELECTED

DORAN, MARC – LABOUR PARTY                         273

NAGLE, PAUL – LIBERAL DEMOCRAT                    181

WOOD, PAUL – CONSERVATIVE PARTY               745

WE WOULD  LIKE  TO  THANK  ALL  THOSE WHO  SUPPORTED  THEIR  MRA CANDIDATES.