Epsom Draft Local Plan – public consultation


Over the past few years, national planning policy and guidance has changed significantly. As a result, Epsom & Ewell Borough Council’s existing Local Plan is now out of date, which can mean that the Council is unable to adequately defend planning applications that they refuse if they are taken to appeal. The Council is in the process of producing a new one in line with current national policy and guidance. This new draft Local Plan, which will replace our existing one, must be submitted to Government scrutiny and found ‘sound’, i.e., fulfilling National requirements, to be adopted.


The Council is currently consulting on their first draft of the Local Plan – providing everyone with an opportunity to give feedback.  The consultation closes on 19th March. Your response to the Local Plan questionnaire together with any comments will help the Council refine the strategy, site allocations and policies.

All consultation feedback will be reviewed and considered in the next version of the draft local plan which will again come back to public consultation around March 2024 for a further six-week public consultation phase. This version of the plan will be more detailed and include additional information on items such as infrastructure.

The aim of the new Local Plan is to help meet the borough’s future needs, making sure development is planned in a coordinated way while respecting our area’s character, environment and heritage. It is a long-term plan covering the next 15 years up to 2040 and is intended to guide and shape what can be built and where, to make sure we have the right new homes, workplaces, green spaces, transport and facilities for current and future generations. The plan can also help us address important issues, like climate change and improving biodiversity, by encouraging sustainable development.

The strategy, policies and land allocations contained within the new Local Plan will be important for determining future planning applications and for guiding investment.

WERS would encourage you to look at the draft Local Plan itself, which can be found on the Council’s website at Draft Local Plan (Regulation 18) 2022-20–0 – Epsom and Ewell Borough Council Consultations (inconsult.uk)

The documents can also be seen at the Town Hall and the borough’s libraries.

There will also be an exhibition and Council Officers available to speak to you in person at the following places:

  •  Monday 13 February 14:30 – 19:30 Bourne Hall, Azalea Room 
  • Thursday 16 February 12:00 – 17:00, Ashley Centre, Central Square
  • Tuesday 21 February 14:30 – 19:30, Bourne Hall, Azalea room   
  • Wednesday 22 February 10:30 – 15:30,   Community & Wellbeing Centre, Sefton Road
  • Saturday 25 February 11:00 – 16:00, Ashley Centre, Central Square
  • Tuesday 28 February 10:00 – 15:30, Community & Wellbeing Centre, Sefton Road

A quick guide to the main proposals:

  • A minimum of 5400 new homes by 2040, i.e. 300 dwellings per annum (which represents 52% of the housing need according to the Government’s ‘standard methodology’ calculations)
  • Development will first be directed to the most sustainable locations, making the best use of previously developed land in the urban area. In sequential order these locations are:  1) Epsom Town Centre; 2) Other centres and train stations within the urban area; 3) Principal Movement corridors within the urban area; 4) The wider urban area.
  • Providing a significant number of affordable homes, both helping our young people to afford homes and supporting those at risk of homelessness.
  • 3.6% of the borough’s total Green Belt released to help meet the housing needs of local people.
  • Safeguarding strategic employment sites including Kiln Lane and Longmead industrial estates and encouraging new employment floorspace within Epsom town centre.
  • Town centre focussed retail and leisure.
  • Protection of a Racehorse Training Zone.
  • Ensuring development is supported by the necessary physical, social and green infrastructure to meet people’s current and future needs.
  • Supporting measures that prioritise active and sustainable travel modes. 

W(E)RS assessment and views

A – comments from a Woodcote and Langley Vale perspective

W(E)RS generally supports the proposed growth strategy for the borough, which aims to provide sufficient new homes (including affordable housing) to meet our future local needs whilst respecting the environmental and policy constraints in our Borough which includes 42% of land designated as Green Belt together with other important designations such as Local Nature Reserves, Sites of Special Scientific Interest and Sites of Nature Conservation Importance.

W(E)RS also considers that there is much to commend in the Draft Local Plan with regard to  supporting businesses, creating jobs, infrastructure improvements, protecting the historic environment, climate change mitigation and adaptation. 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.

It is unfortunate that, to even facilitate 52% of our housing needs, it is proposed that five Green Belt sites are removed from the Green Belt’ and allocated for housing.  These areas are in the north of the Borough and close to transport networks.  W(E)RS has considered these areas and concluded that, if we have to lose any Green Belt land, these are the most appropriate and are deliverable for housing.  If there is no loss of Green Belt land there will be additional pressure to build at even increased densities and heights within the existing urban area to make up for the housing shortfall and the delivery of much-needed affordable housing will be much reduced.

B – concerns

W(E)RS has, however, identified the following matters contained in the Draft Local Plan and its associated evidence base documents that raise potentially significant issues in Woodcote & Langley Vale ward. You may wish to include these in your response to the consultation. 

With regard to Green Belt, there is a matter of great concern to WERS.  The covering report to the Council’s Licencing and Planning Policy Committee on the Draft Local Plan at para 2.15 makes clear 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 2022 (LAA) 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.   

C – The fine details

It is important to emphasise that the inclusion of sites in the LAA does not necessarily mean that these sites will be allocated for future development in the Local Plan. They would be subject to further consideration through the Local Plan site selection process and Sustainability Appraisal and Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) if necessary (i.e. it can be demonstrated that all reasonable options have been explored to meet future development needs). Only then, could it be concluded by the Council that exceptional circumstances exist to justify changes to the Green Belt Boundary.

What is alarming is that the Council’s Green Belt Study (which is yet to be completed) defines one of its purposes as ‘to identify defensible Green Belt boundaries for those sites identified as available through the Land Availability Assessment, with a view to potential release for development purposes in the longer term should this be necessary within the new Epsom and Ewell Local Plan 2022-2040.’ The Council’s Sustainability Appraisal into the Local Plan examines the sites included in the Land Availability 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). The Sustainability Appraisal states that ‘The LAA does not differentiate between the 23 available Green Belt site options, in terms of their suitability for release for development. However, on the basis of the analysis set out below, it is possible to identify a tentative sequential order of preference (N.B. this is a key step and, as such, views on this order of preference are sought through the current consultation, and further work will be undertaken to inform plan finalisation.’ WERS would therefore emphasise that it is particularly important to respond to this consultation request.

The Sustainability Appraisal refers to the Langley Bottom Farm field site as: ‘The site in question comprises a single field to the south of the village, and is the only feasible location for a significant extension to the village, with a view to delivering new community infrastructure and supporting wider place-making. Also, the possibility of a new defensible Green Belt boundary can be envisaged, given woodland to the east and Ebbisham Lane to the south, which marks the northern extent of the Centenary Wood, and where there is a cluster of farm buildings with planning permission for 20 home redevelopment (ref. 20/00475/FUL).’

The Sustainability Appraisal does state that the site is clearly constrained in landscape terms, as it comprises the northern extent of the Area of Great Landscape Value (AGLV) designation within the borough and that this might eventually be included in an extension of the Surrey Hill AONB which is currently under review. Aside from environmental constraints, the Sustainability Appraisal concludes that Langley Vale is very poorly connected in transport terms, in comparison to other locations under consideration that are closer to Epsom town centre and/or a rail station.

It is for the above environmental and sustainability reasons and the fact that there is already a very clear defensible Green Belt boundary around Langley Vale village that WERS will be responding to the Draft Local Plan consultation and its associated Sustainability Appraisal document. WERS will be making the strongest objection 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.   

WERS would urge all residents who value the role and amenity value of the Green Belt to make their views known based on the above matters.   If you have any further questions, please send these to John Mumford, planning advisor on the WERS Committee, at mumford806@btinternet.com

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Notice of Annual General Meeting (AGM) 22 February 2023 from 7:30 pm

Notice of Annual General Meeting (AGM) for Woodcote (Epsom) Resident’s Society (WERS)

Date: Wednesday 22 February 2023 from 7:30 pm

Location: Lower Lounge Methodist Church, 11-13 Ashley Road, Epsom KT18 5AQ

If you are unable to attend in person you can view the proceedings and pose questions on Zoom*

Chairs notice:

On behalf of the WERS Committee, I would like to invite Woodcote residents to attend our Annual General Meeting on Wednesday 22nd February 2023 at 7.30 pm to be held in the Lower Lounge at Epsom Methodist Church. The committee is keen to keep Epsom and Ewell an independent Borough in these times of political disarray. At least at the local level we know our own elected representatives will be guided by residents’ needs and not be distracted by national party politics. Indeed, the independent movement within local politics is growing because of their grass root policies. An example of such a policy is the SCHOOL STREETS movement led by the Mums for Lungs campaign. We have invited one of their leading campaigners to speak at our AGM. Let’s move towards protecting the lungs of children aged under 11 years of age from pollution on their own school streets. The evidence is clear, especially in the post Covid-19 era.

The cost-of-living crisis and the effects of raging inflation highlight another difference between national politics and an independent borough. Spend or save? The latter may not be popular, our councillors, however, will continue to be prudent with that diminishing proportion of council tax the government allows them to control.

The Protect Duty is a grassroots phenomenon. Figen Murray’s campaign has inspired many. Single-handed, she will transform this proposed duty into Martyn’s Law in memory of her son who died in the Manchester Arena bombing in 2017. This legislation will enhance the safety of all in publicly accessible locations. We all will have a part to play in this duty not least our local authority.

Help keep local politics independent please attend our AGM. You will be most welcome.

Fred Mowbray



1. Apologies for absence
2. Presentation by Mums For Lungs (mumsforlungs.org)
3. Approval of Minutes of the AGM held on 1 March 2022**
4. Approval and adoption of the accounts for the year ending 31st December 2022 ***

5. Chair’s update
6. Election of the committee and Hon Auditor for 2023-24 ****
7. Reports from your Residents’ Association Borough Councillors

A. Liz Frost B. Bernice Froud C. Steven McCormick (Borough and County update)

8. Adopt candidates for Borough Election 4th May 2023

* Email info@woodcoteespomresidentssociety.org for the Zoom meeting details.
** The minutes are available on our website; paper copies will be available at the meeting
*** Copies of the accounts will be available at the meeting and on the website after the meeting. **** If you would like to receive more information about getting involved with WERS please contact

any committee member – details are on the website www.woodcoteepsomresidentssociety.org

Draft Local Plan – update:

Epsom & Ewell Borough Council will be progressing with its new Local Plan which sets the vision and framework for the development of the borough for the next 15 or so years.
It is a master plan describing what Epsom & Ewell could and should look like in 2040. It is one of the next steps following the borough’s consultation and publication of ‘Future 40’, a vision for the future based on residents’ input. The public consultation on the draft local plan starts on 1st February.

Have you ever considered becoming a Borough Councillor?

There are a few wards across the Epsom & Ewell borough which may have vacancies for councillor candidates. If you are interested to learn more then please get in touch with one of the committee members.
Councillors are elected to the Borough Council to represent their local community, so they must either live or work in the Borough. Becoming a Councillor is both a rewarding and privileged form of public service. You will be able to make a difference in the quality of other people’s daily lives and prospects.
If you are in any doubt about whether you are eligible to stand as a councillor, you should contact the borough council for advice.

Become a councillor –


WERS Subscriptions can be paid to:
A/C 18192577 – Sort Code: 23-05-80 with postcode/ house no. or via the Paypal link on our website.

Minutes from 2022 AGM

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SWR December strike action service levels

Please find shared below details of the service levels SWR will be able to run during the upcoming industrial action affecting their network across four days next week (13th, 14th, 16th and 17th December).

This will take the form of two 48-hour strikes, rather than the single day strikes seen so far this year.

As with other strike dates this year our clear message to customers is to only travel by rail if absolutely necessary on these dates, to make alternative travel arrangements if possible, and if they must travel to expect severe disruption. We expect there to be a knock-on impact to the start-up of our services on the 15th and 18th December.

In addition, the RMT has announced that its members at SWR and other Train Operating Companies have been instructed not to book on for any overtime from Sunday 18 December to Monday 2 January. Strike action has also been called for 3rd, 4th, 6th and 7th January 2023 (with the same late start-up impact on services on the 5th and 8th January).

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WERS supporting residents with Green Gables

Woodcote (Epsom) Resident’s Society (WERS) supporting your concerns

A controversial planning application for the redevelopment of Green Gables in Ashley Road for a large linked block comprising 22 student flats was refused by the Council’s Planning  Committee on 3rd November 2022.

This refusal was very much down to the support and advice given by W(E)RS to local residents who would have been adversely affected by the development.

The application was recommended for planning permission by Council Officers. 

Cllr Liz Frost’s spoke against the application as Ward Councillor on behalf of objectors to the Committee meeting members. 

Cllr Steven McCormick, following several questions to officers during the meeting, moved a motion of refusal on the grounds of visual impact; loss of outlook; loss of privacy and lack of clear evidence demonstrating a need for the development, which was ultimately seconded and supported by a majority of members and a refusal for planning permission was decided. 

A resident from Ladbroke Road who would have been one of the residents most harmed by the proposal stated in a message to John Mumford, W(E)RS Committee member who advised on how best to set out his planning objections, that: ‘your guidance on addressing the second-round objections was most supportive. I am also aware that you have assisted Liz Frost to whom I am also most grateful for her unstinting support from day one. A third person, Steven McCormick, was so well prepared(!) and most robust in ensuring his constructive questioning was addressed at the meeting.’   

W(E)RS and our ward Councillors will always listen carefully to residents’ concerns.  Where appropriate, we will represent views at the Council’s Planning Committee especially if we feel that the harm from a proposal outweighs the supposed benefits.  We also work hard to secure amendments to schemes so that they overcome residential amenity problems and can ultimately be recommended for planning permission.   

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November – Councillor update – Liz Frost

There is a lot happening locally, and here are a few updates.


  • The Appeal against the Planning Committee’s refusal of the Epsom & St Helier University Hospitals NHS’s application for a 6-storey multi-storey car park beside the hospital was heard on 2nd November.  As your Ward Councillor, I spoke against the proposal for this vast car park.  Thank you to all those of you who contacted us to express your views on this, responded to the consultations and spoke at the meeting.  We await the National Inspector’s ruling, he expected to give this in early December.
  • On 3rd November, the Planning Committee resumed their discussions (started on 1st September) on the application to demolish Green Gables, a house in AshleyRoad, and build two linked 2 storey buildings to accommodate 22 students.  Although student accommodation is needed, this proposal was not associated with, and would not have been managed by, any local education establishment;  would have been built within a narrow path width of the rear garden fence of a neighbour; and would have had a wide, full height glass atrium linking the buildings with no clarity as to how light spillage and overlooking into the surrounding houses and gardens would be managed.  I was able to speak at both of the planning committee meetings to express the concerns raised by many of you.  The application was refused.

The Local plan

Local Authorities are required to have an up-to-date Local Plan, which sits beside the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) to inform decisions about whether or not to approve planning applications.  The Local Plan must comply with National Planning guidance and, for instance, show how the authority will provide the quantity of housing required by central Government, in order for the Government to find it ‘sound’ and for it to be adopted.  Without an up-to-date Local Plan, the NPPF takes precedence over older Local Plans, making it difficult for the Local Authority to control the volume, style or type of properties given planning permission.  As Councillors, we are attending many briefing meeting and looking at options for our future Local Plan so that we have something that Government will find ‘sound’.  There have already been some public consultations on aspects of this work – thank you to all those who responded.  I’ll let you know when further consultations are published.

Epsom BID

A Business Improvement District (BID) brings together businesses within a defined locality.  Each business pays a contribution based on their business rateable value, and they work together on projects for improvements to the area, which will enhance the area so attract people here to use the facilities and services.  Epsom’s BID was formed in 2017, and their business plan is for a 5-year term. Benefits we have seen have included the Town’s Christmas lights; the new Beacon on the Downs; and the Town Centre’s festivals.  Recently the businesses voted to continue with the BID for the next 5 years.


We are hearing from residents about crime and anti-social behaviour (ASB) in the borough – but when we ask the police why they aren’t focussing on the ‘hot spots’ reported to us, they are often not aware that there is a problem there.

You often tell us that you don’t report things to the police because you don’t think that they take any notice; because the ASB has occurred and the people responsible have gone; or you don’t think of it as something to be reported.  We also have some wonderfully community minded people who help to keep the borough neat and tidy and ‘litter pick’ – thank you, it does make a difference.  However if, during your litter-picking, you find evidence of drug use, please would you photograph the debris left behind before you kindly remove it, and report it to the police?

The police do log the incidents reported to them – the what, when and where.  They need this information to plan and focus their work to protect us and our neighbourhood.

Cost of Living Support

Times are difficult for many people at the moment, and both Epsom & Ewell and Surrey County Councils are providing help and advice.  Please see https://epsom-ewell.gov.uk/residents/cost-living-support for information about all sorts of resources, such as eligibility for help with paying Council Tax.  There are also links to many organisations such as the Food Bank, Citzens Advice, Age Concern – and there is information about in initiatives such as Warm Spaces.

Partnership working

For many years, Surrey County Council has contracted the Borough to undertake certain functions that come under Surrey’s responsibility, e.g., cutting grass verges; enforcing on-street parking regulations.  Surrey is taking back some of these functions.

More information

There is more information about the Borough Council at www.epsom-ewell.gov.uk and information from the Residents’ Society at www.woodcoteepsomresidentssociety.org

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.

Cllr Liz Frost – RA Councillor

Woodcote Ward, Epsom & Ewell Borough Council

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Tree giveaway on Saturday 19th November

This Saturday there is a Tree Giveaway at Epsom Library between 10 am and 12 pm.

While you’re there why not have a look around the Tree Exhibition that is in Epsom Library until February 2023.

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Traffic light refurbishment works on Avenue Road near Leighton Way, Epsom.

This is to advise of upcoming traffic light refurbishment works on Avenue Road near Leighton Way, Epsom.

Signs are due to be put up over the next few of days to advise residents and businesses of these works.

Avenue Road near Leighton Way, Epsom

Temporary traffic lights

From 24 November

For 1 week

Sometimes our plans have to change, often due to bad weather or problems on other works in the same programme which can have a knock on effect. If anything changes with the details of these works, we will let you know.

You and your residents can also find up to date details and receive updates of the works on https://one.network/

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Councillor surgery – talk with your councillors

We are offering the first of many dates to talk with your borough and county councillors on questions or issues you may have.

The meeting will be covered by a Zoom session with Liz Frost, Bernice Froud and Steven McCormick available to talk with.

Sessions will be available from Wednesday 7th September from 7:00 pm.

If you would like to book a session please email info@woodcoteepsomresidentssociety.org

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Rosebery Park – unauthorised encampment 

The occupiers in Rosebery Park arrived and the Council immediately started the process of statutory welfare checks and then issued a direction to leave.  Unfortunately, this was not adhered to, and so the Council had to apply to the magistrate’s court for a summons to issue an eviction notice.

Council attended court and obtained the eviction notice which was served by the Police with 24 hours to vacate.

Following this, bailiffs moved the group on early Saturday morning. Our Council Officers are now engaged in cleaning and clearing up the rubbish.

Unfortunately, the group has not travelled far – they are now occupying Fair Green on West Hill.  The Council are undertaking the welfare checks today and then will serve the direction to leave notice.  If necessary, another court order will be applied for from the magistrate’s court.

Council Officers are looking at steps that can be taken to deter unauthorised vehicles from entering Rosebery Park.  In the meantime, we thank Officers for acting as quickly as regulations permit – and for undertaking the cleaning and clearing necessary following the encampment.

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Amendments made following WERS submission

The society continues to keep a watching eye on applications and progress concerns with planning items in the Woodcote and Langley Vale ward.

A concern made in February has seen amendments to plans to omit the roof lights on the Chalk Lane elevation.

Woodcote (Epsom) Residents’ Society (W(E)RS) is concerned about the potential noise impact and further urbanisation arising from the proposed opening roof lights on the SW elevation of Block D. These roof lights would in all likelihood result in a third bedroom within the roof space. Block D is close to the boundary brick wall and the resulting roof openings would be well above the wall ridge. This would potentially enable loud music to drift over and totally change the feeling of this part of the Chalk Lane Conservation Area which has special qualities with its rural character and quiet ambience, notwithstanding the Grumpy Mole opposite. We propose that the rooflights should be conditioned to be non- opening on the SW elevation of Block D. This would still allow for natural ventilation with opening roof lights on the inward-facing slope.

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