Councillor update – Liz Frost – February 2022

Storm damage 

Epsom & Ewell appears to have suffered less in the recent storms than in some areas.  Work on fallen or unsafe trees was prioritised according to where they were and public safety issues.  We have, unfortunately, lost some of our larger trees in Rosebery Park, including one near the Ashley Road town entrance.  The duck house also broke its mooring.

Platinum Jubilee

There has been a long history of the borough taking part in marking significant Royal events by lighting a beacon.  In the past temporary beacons have been used.  However to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, Go Epsom (Epsom’s Business Improvement District (BID)) has proposed funding a permanent beacon to be erected near the View Point car park.  This was approved in principle by the Downs Conservators and Epsom BID have applied for planning permission for it.  The beacon lighting ceremony on 2nd June will be organised by the Borough Council, in conjunction with the Jockey Club and Go Epsom.

Planning matters

There have continued to be delays to processing planning applications.  Several factors are involved, including a much increased number of applications and changes to officers.  I have been keeping a log of applications validated and chasing up longstanding ones where there appears to have been no progress.  We now have a new head of planning and other positions in the department are being filled so we hope to notice an improvement in clearing the backlog of applications. 

Appeals updates

  • Epsom Hospital multi-storey car park – an appeal against the Council’s refusal for permission for the 6 storey car park has been lodged by the hospital trust. The application was heard by the Planning Committee, who refused it against the Officer recommendation.
  • Langley Bottom Farm – an appeal has been lodged against the Council’s refusal for the demolition of the current farm buildings and the construction of 20 homes.  The Planning Committee had agreed the Officer recommendation to refuse the application.
  • Garages behind 35 Ebbisham Road – an appeal is under way against the Council’s refusal for permission to demolish 2 blocks of garages and erect 4 x 2 bedroom homes.  This is being undertaken by written representation.
  • 22-24 Dorking Road  – the appeal against the refusal to grant planning permission for 20 flats on the corner of Dorking Road and Whitehorse Drive was dismissed.  The developer may submit another application, but hopefully something on a smaller scale and with greater provision for off-street parking.
  • 64 South Street – the appeal against the refusal of permission for a change of use from business to housing and the construction of 6 x 2 bedroom houses was dismissed.

Council tax

The impact of the pandemic on the council’s finances is likely to continue for several years.  Income is reduced because there has been reduced use of our car parks, venues etc. although the situation is gradually improving.  Our costs continue to be higher than previously, e.g. there are more people who need support because they are homeless, or in danger of becoming so.  Although some government funding has been provided to ease the situation, it does not cover the shortfall.  The Council is aiming to produce further savings in the coming year and looking at opportunities to increase income so that we can improve our financial position.

It was agreed to increase the EEBC element of the Council tax by 2.38%.  This is equivalent to £4.95 per year for a band D property.  A balanced budget is planned, with no services cut.  The SCC and Surrey Police Authority precepts are being increased by 4.99% and 3.50% respectively.

Langley Vale Wood

We have had an update on the car park works.  Although this work is not in Woodcote Ward, the road works may impact your travel.  Work along Headley Road is planned to start on 14th March and could last until 8th April.  Some road closures are expected.  Work includes widening the road, improving visibility and adding road markings.  The Woodland Trust anticipate all the car park works to be completed by mid-May.

I have your details because you are a resident who has contacted me in the past.  If you would prefer not to receive information and updates from me in the future, please let me know and I will remove you from my contact list.

Liz Frost           February 2022

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