Why vote for the Residents’ Associations in Epsom and Ewell?

An article has been published in the Epsom & Ewell Times which is linked below. It describes a number of key reasons to vote for your local RA candidates at the election on 4th May.

All three of our RA candidates in Woodcote and Langley Vale live in the ward and are certainly local people dealing with local issues. They have worked hard for the ward and the borough over the past 4 years and are seeking to represent residents in Woodcote & Langley Vale.

Please vote RA tomorrow and don’t forget to take a photo id to the polling station.

Published by Steven John McCormick, 4a Woodcote Hall, Epsom, KT18 7QQ on behalf of Residents Associations of Epsom and Ewell, 49 Harefield Avenue, Cheam, SM2 7ND.

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Highways Bulletin Issue 328: 1 – 7 May 2023

Below are highways updates from Surrey County Council for 1st to 7th May 2023.

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Pothole reporting

Over the weekend your Resident Association councilors and election candidates were out on key roads in Woodcote & Langley Vale and College wards.

Working on Burgh Heath Road which with College ward councillor and candidates.

Using an app called FixMyStreet allows prompt and efficient reporting of many items not just potholes.

Roads looked at were Burgh Heath Road and Woodcote Green Road, WoodcoteSide with more being walked and reported. Below are the maps showing the after situation of reporting using FixMyStreet.

Potholes logged on Woodcote Green Road
Potholes reported along Burgh Heath Road.

We continue to progress with logging potholes and other road defects in our ward and in the borough.

Please join us in using the FixMyStreet app to help report these issues sooner and faster.

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Imprint for Epsom & Ewell Borough Elections 2023

Published by Steven John McCormick, 4a Woodcote Road, Epsom, KT18 7QQ on behalf of Residents Associations of Epsom and Ewell, 49 Harefield Avenue, Cheam, SM2 7ND.

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ULEZ judicial review

Surrey County Council and four outer London Boroughs have been successful in obtaining a Judicial Review on some aspects of the expansion of the Ultra Low Emission Zone by the Mayor of London.

More information is in the link below as reported by Leatherhead Living.

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Liz Frost, Councillor update – March 2023

Local Plan.

Thank you to those who responded to the Council’s consultation on the draft Local Plan, which has now closed. As I said in my previous update, you were being consulted on a draft, based on the evidence of a comprehensive library of evidence looking at the borough’s situation, resources, and the requirements of the Central Government.  Without complying with their unrealistic housing targets – or at least showing robust evidence as to why we were not – the Government would find the Plan ‘unsound’ and not approve it.  Not having an up-to-date Local Plan makes us vulnerable to having the Council’s refusal of planning applications overturned, as happened with the Langley Bottom Farm proposal.  It is for this reason that we need to press on with the Local Plan process.  

Feelings have been running high amongst residents about the contents of the draft, and last night a special Full Council meeting was held on a motion that, apart from the work on analysing the results of the consultation, the Plan process is paused. The reasons included to undertake further work on the brownfield sites and consider further options that do not include using any green belt land.  This was supported by the majority of Councillors.

Council officers will assess the responses, which would have formed further evidence for the next stage of compiling the Plan (regulation 19).  However, this cannot progress at the moment as the draft Local Plan is now paused. It is a long and complex process. 

Enforcement actions.

The Borough Council’s teams have been acting on anti-social behaviour and environmental matters. This includes asking drivers to turn off engines when waiting, e.g. outside schools, and making more frequent visits to ‘hot-spots’ for litter and other ASB.

Queen’s Green Canopy.

Last week we held a brief ‘tree planting’ ceremony on the Downs as part of the late Queen’s Green Canopy events – which King Charles extended till the end of this month.  It was a very windy day, but our new English Oak tree was duly ‘planted’ by the Mayor and we hope will flourish.

Covid bench.

Today marks 3 years since the first pandemic lockdown here in the UK.  The borough has installed Covid memorial benches in each ward to enable people to have a quiet place to sit and reflect on the events that had such a lasting impact on our lives. In this Ward, the benches are on the Woodcote Millennium Green (behind Epsom Hospital) and by the Top Car Park on the Downs. This morning we laid flowers on the benches in an act of remembrance.

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Spring 2023 newsletter

Welcome to our Spring 2023 newsletter for Woodcote and Langley Vale which was produced on 16th March and distributed in paper form before 24th March 2023.

With this edition, we have changed to format slightly from an A5 size booklet to A4.

An update on design and typeface has also been achieved and thanks to Julia for her help.

The PDF of the newsletter is linked below:

For the avoidance of doubt, an imprint is below for the posting of this item. The PDF was created before the pre-election period began and no imprint was necessary.

Published by Steven John McCormick, 4a Woodcote Hall, Epsom, KT18 7QQ on behalf of the Residents Associations of Epsom and Ewell, 49 Harefield Avenue, Cheam, SM2 7ND.

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WERS response to the draft local plan

Woodcote (Epsom) Residents’ Society (W(E)RS) response to the Epsom and Ewell Consultation Draft Local Plan 2022-2040

W(E)RS has responded to the Questionnaire and but also wishes to submit this covering statement.

W(E)RS considers that there was much in the Draft Local Plan to support. The aim of providing sufficient new homes (including affordable housing) to meet our future local needs whilst respecting the environmental and policy constraints in our Borough is laudable but as so often is the case with these things – the devil is in the detail, especially when it comes to suggested Green Belt release and more intensive urban redevelopment.  Other proposals in the Draft relating to supporting businesses, creating jobs, infrastructure improvements, protecting the historic environment, climate change mitigation and adaptation are less controversial and can be broadly supported. Similarly, the proposed designation of a Racehorse Training Zone covering much of the unbuilt parts of Woodcote and Langley Vale ward together with an associated Equestrian and Horse Racing facilities policy is very much welcomed.

Housing Numbers

W(E)RS has expressed reservations about the scale of residential development being sought. We fully acknowledge that there is a serious housing shortage in the Borough, as elsewhere, and indeed a particular problem with affordability given the disconnect between house prices and household incomes and the woeful delivery in recent years of ‘affordable’ housing almost entirely down to unhelpful Government policy and guidance on this matter. However, the housing need figure generated by the Government’s standard method calculation of 576 dwellings per annum (or 10,368 dwellings over the Local Plan period) is questioned as it is based on out-of-date 2014 base Household Projections. More recent household projections indicate that in all reality the borough’s population will be much  lower than claimed which translates through into around 7,000 fewer households requiring dwellings than the 2014 base projections would suggest.  A consequence of this is that there should be less pressure to build on areas of Green Belt and to such high densities within the existing urban area.

Green Belt

This is a matter of great concern to W(E)RS.  The covering report to the Council’s Licencing and Planning Policy Committee on the Draft Local Plan stated  that ‘During the Local Plan consultation, we will be undertaking a call for sites exercise to identify whether there are any additional potential development sites within the borough that could be suitable and available for development. Therefore, future iterations of the Local Plan may contain sites that do not currently feature in the Local Plan.’ Most of these potentially developable other sites have already been identified in the EEBC Land Availability Assessment (LAA) 2022 largely based on sites promoted by landowners and developers through the earlier call for sites process. This includes the 5.24 hectare field between Langley Bottom Farm and Langley Vale village which is being promoted by the owners Quinton Estates and which is identified in the LAA as potentially delivering 100 dwellings.   

The Council’s Sustainability Appraisal into the Local Plan examines the sites included in the LAA Assessment and places the Langley Bottom Farm field site as fourth in a provisional list of further sites (over and above those already proposed for Green Belt release in the Draft Local Plan).

W(E)RS objects  to any potential change to the Green Belt around Langley Vale on the basis that it plays a vital part in ensuring the Green Belt continues to fulfil its role, especially in one of its stated key purposes, namely to ‘Assist in safeguarding the countryside from encroachment.’ Consequently, the Langley Bottom Farm field site should not be included in any sequential list of potential Green Belt site releases.   

Residential Amenity and Character Concerns

W(E)RS objects to the proposed dramatic decrease in the minimum requirements for private garden space from the existing 70 sq m for 3 bedroom dwellings to 20 sq m under proposed Policy DM1.   With increased emphasis on homeworking and the probability of future Covid style epidemics we believe there needs to be sufficient outdoor space to meet the needs of its occupiers designed into new residential environments. Such low minimum amenity standards will merely serve to encourage back-land development and sub-division of plots in a way which would be often harmful to the character and appearance of established residential areas.

For the same reason W(E)RS also objects to the revised density guidance in the Draft Local Plan which proposes that the existing maximum density policy of 40 dwellings per hectare (dph) designed to maintain and enhance the visual character of the Borough be replaced by minimum densities in the urban areas of 40 dph or 60 dph near to movement corridors such as Dorking Road.

Local Open Space

There will inevitably be more development pressures, especially for housing within the existing urban areas. W(E)RS considers it important that this Draft Local Plan safeguards those green areas of particular importance to local communities which may otherwise be under pressure for housing. Government guidance advocates the designation of Local Green Spaces through the local plan process in circumstances where such areas ‘hold a particular local significance, for example because of its beauty, historic significance, recreational value, tranquillity or richness of its wildlife.’  W(E)RS accordingly proposes that a Local Green Space policy is introduced and designation of appropriate sites on the Proposals Map following local consultation.

Built Environment and Design

W(E)RS wishes to make representations about the inadequacy of the draft Plan’s policy guidance on what high quality design will comprise. Whilst it is acknowledged that detailed design guidance can often be provided in design briefs and design codes for particular redevelopment W(E)RS requests that there should at the very least be a height guidance policy within the Local Plan. This aspect of development is often the most controversial as we have recently experienced with the Guild Living and Multi-storey Car Park schemes at Epsom Hospital in addition to high rise schemes being advocated in Epsom town centre and Stoneleigh. The effective setting aside of the previous DM13 Building Heights policy was, in the view of W(E)RS a key factor in unacceptably high-rise developments being proposed over recent years. This must be discouraged in the new Local Plan through a replacement buildings height policy which would give some degree of clarity to developers and landowners as required by Paragraph 127 of the NPPF.

WERS Response to Draft Local Plan linked below.

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Liz Frost, Councillor update – February 2023

Local Plan
The Borough Council has now started its consultation on the draft local plan. It began on 1st
February and is due to finish at midnight on 19th March. This has been a long while in the making, National Planning guidance changes over the past few years have resulted in changed requirements and processes – and you are probably aware that the Government is yet again consulting on possible changes to the National Planning guidance. Although there are many suggestions and rumours about the outcome, these are purely speculative at this stage. The consultation for National Planning guidance finishes in March with the updates changes to be determined by government and shared hopefully soon after.

Our current local plan and associated documents are now old and in some cases out of date.
Government requires all planning authorities to have an up to date local plan based on legislation and guidance current at the time it is produced. A local plan must be evidence-based and therefore takes an enormous amount of work and resources over several years to produce. Many of you may have strong views on the draft proposals, thank you to all those who have told me your concerns. You now have the opportunity to review the published draft and let the Council know your views and influence the final plan.
As stated, the 6-week consultation lasts until 19th March. All responses must be considered and a comprehensive report will be written for the next stage, which is regulation 19, in early 2024. At this stage there will be a further public consultation. To stress – the current plan that the Council is consulting on is a draft and there will be amendments following the consultation and any changes or updates to planning guidance, policies or law. Please do take this opportunity to take part.

More details at https://epsom-ewell.gov.uk/council/consultations

Public Space Protection Order (PSPO)
It is disturbing that we have seen an increase in anti-social behaviour (ASB) in recent times. We now have a PSPO in place for public spaces in the borough. The PSPO covers the use of Psychoactive substances including Nitrous Oxide and will last for two years. It gives the police greater powers to act. If you see evidence of ASB, e.g. discarded Nitrous Oxide canisters, please do notify the police. They need evidence of what is happening and where so that they know the scale of the problem and where to target their resources.

Footpath between Castle Road and Willows Path
Thank you to those of you who have highlighted this footpath closure. Surrey County Council have now issued a notice stating –Surrey County Council in exercise of its powers under Section 14(2) of The Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 and of all other enabling powers hereby gives notice that no person shall enter or proceed on foot or by any other means in that length of the public footpath from Castle Road to Willows Path, Epsom T6093 (Rights of Way route 67) that is carried by the “Castle Road Footbridge”. This Notice is required by Centurion on grounds of safety to enable remedial works to the “Castle Road Footbridge”
and/or maintenance works. The Notice will come into effect on 09 February 2023 for a period of 21 days, works are anticipated to be completed between the hours of 8am and 5pm within the 21 days of this period. The alternative route that they suggest is along Wells Road.

Chief Executive
Following the resignation of Kathryn Beldon last summer, the Council has undertaken a competitive recruitment process. The position of Chief Executive is made by Full Council, and at the Council meeting on 14th February, it will be recommended that Jackie King is appointed. Jackie, currently the Director of Corporate Resources, has been acting as interim Chief Executive, and so already has a thorough knowledge of the issues and challenges faced by the Borough.

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Join our committee

Please use this form to express an interest in joining the Woodcote (Epsom) Residents Association Committee

To apply you must be a resident of the Woodcote and Langley Vale Ward

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