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Our current local plan and associated documents are now old and in some cases out of date.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.
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.