Category Archives: News and updates

News and updates from the Molesey Residents’ Association.

More Distortion Under Cover of Putting the Record Straight

Steve Bax seems to specialise in running the MRA down and making or supporting  distorted claims about the MRA and its councillors in his edited Molesey News. We quote what he says in his latest Molesey News:   ‘The MRA’s Summer Newsletter accused us of fabricating the claim in our May election leaflet that the RA and Liberal Democrat led Council had consulted on building thousands of homes in the green belt’.

Now what was actually said in the Conservative Molesey News Spring edition, prior to the May elections,  about Housing:  ‘The Residents Association political parties and Liberal Democrats………they proposed a quick fix of building more than 5000 homes on three large tracts of poor green belt ….’ Also the Conservative Housing spokesman is quoted as accusing the RA/Lib Dems of pressing on with a plan to build over our Green Belt.

The truth is that there was a Consultation document dealing with problems which the Council was facing included three possible options on housing for consideration by the public; 1) High Rise flats. 2) Very Significant Housing in the Green Belt. 3)Relatively small areas of what was considered non-critical Green Belt to be given up for housing.

This Public Consultation document originated from Council Planning officers and the issue of it to the public was agreed by the RA GROUP/LIB DEM Cabinet and was not objected to by the Conservative Group. In fact the document was headed ‘A New Local Plan’-Strategic Options Consultation’. The simple fact is that this was issued to get the public’s views on possible solutions to Housing, Employment, Retail and Infrastructure in the Borough and as such, no plans were therefore in place. Oddly, Bax says in criticism, ‘A local Plan is vital’. The options in the document were then twisted in the Conservative Molesey News as to be actual factual decisions. The Spring edition made no mention of the document being a public consultation paper but presented it as actual RA/Lib Dem decisions.

The Conservative article also states..’Our opponents shamefully referred our leaflet to the police’. In fact it was the Chief Executive of Elmbridge, who is also the Election Returning Officer, who made complaints to the Police and the Electoral Commission about this distortion. By definition of his job, the Chief Executive cannot show bias to any political party and therefore must have taken the view that the Conservative statements were a gross distortion of the Council’s position, which the above facts clearly demonstrate.

 

Your Voice Matters – Public Meeting in Molesey – Change of Date

The Molesey Your Voice Matters meeting has been re-arranged to Thursday 15 November 7-9pm at Hurst Park Primary School. This is to avoid any clash with other events taking place in the area on the original date of 6 November.

The link for residents to sign up to the event is: http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/your-voice-matters-molesey-tickets-49081512124

Original Post

“Your Voice Matters” public meetings are taking place across Elmbridge and are part of the My Elmbridge (click to follow link) programme to engage, inform and consult local residents.

These meetings give residents the opportunity to engage face to face with Councillors and officers.

The meeting for Molesey will take place in the Molesey Centre for the Community on Tuesday 6 November.

The event will start at 7pm with an informal drop-in session involving Councillors, officers and partners which will allow residents to discuss local issues and find out more about local services. From 7.30pm the Leader of the Council will give a presentation on local issues including topics specific to the locality. The event will then end with a Q&A for residents involving the Leader. The session will finish by 9pm.

If you are interested you can book a place at the event via the link (click to follow link) here. 

 

EVENT AT MOLESEY LIBRARY – 18 SEPTEMBER

Jessica Hepburn, author and campaigner will give a talk at  Molesey Library on Tuesday 18th September at 7.30pm.

Tickets cost just £5.

Jessica is a former director of the Lyric Theatre who has taken on some of the world’s most iconic endurance challenges (including swimming the English Channel) to raise money for people struggling with infertility.

Don’t miss this remarkable and inspiring story.

Major gas works UPDATE: Molesey September 2018

We have received the following information about further gas works in Molesey:

Following on from my communication earlier in the year I would like to provide you with a brief update about the upgrade of our gas network in Molesey.

Our project is progressing well although we have encountered some engineering difficulties causing a delay in completing our work. We’re currently working in Walton Road between Grange Road and New Road. From Monday 17 September we will be working on Walton Road between New Road and St Peters Road, we expect to complete this work by 21 September. To ensure everyone’s safety 2-way temporary traffic lights will be in place around our work area that we’ll continue to manually control to keep the traffic flowing.

We still have some further work to do in Walton Road and we’re currently planning this in partnership with Surrey County Council. Once the details of this are confirmed I will share them with you.

Information, maps of our work and updates can be found on our dedicated project page at: https://www.sgn.co.uk/Roadworks/Southern-projects/Molesey-Walton-Road/

We understand that people can get frustrated by roadworks. However, the new plastic pipe has a minimum lifespan of 80 years. This means that when the work is complete, Molesey businesses and residents will continue to enjoy the benefits of a safe and reliable gas supply for years to come.

Please share this information with your own stakeholders and/or anyone else you think may be impacted by our work.

I hope I have been able to reassure you of our commitment to deliver a safe project and keep you updated. If you have any further questions, please let me know.

Kind regards

Dan Edwards, Stakeholder and Community Manager”

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.