Roadworks – Woodcote Estate area

We have received the following message from SGN –

In collaboration with Surrey County Council, 360 Group of Companies will be carrying out a project on behalf of SGN in the Cedar Hill area of Epsom. This work will replace existing metal pipes with plastic PE pipes to ensure that the local area continues to receive a safe and reliable gas supply for many years to come.

The work started on Tuesday 6 April and will continue until Monday 29 November.

The list of roads and the dates when the work will be completed is shown below.

Most of the work we are carrying out will require local transport to ‘Give and Take’ to safely pass our work area, However, in October and November, we will be working in Woodcote Green Road.  To ensure the safety of everyone around the site we will need to install temporary three-way lights between 04/10/2021 until 18/10/2021 and then again between 01/11/2021 until 15/11/2021. Further information about the temporary traffic lights will be provided nearer the start time of this work.

Please feel free to share this information with anyone you feel may benefit.

If you have any enquiries about this project, please contact our Customer Service team on freephone 0800 912 1700 or email customer@sgn.co.uk quoting reference SOE3363

Sunny Bank06/04/202124/05/2021
Barons Hurst03/05/202121/06/2021
Woodcote Hurst24/05/202105/07/2021
Hambledon Vale14/06/202112/07/2021
Hambledon Hill28/06/202102/08/2021
Warren Hill19/07/202123/08/2021
Pine Hill26/07/202109/08/2021
Oak Hill02/08/202106/09/2021
Cedar Hill23/08/202127/09/2021
Chantry hurst23/08/202106/09/2021
Woodcote Hurst06/09/202118/10/2021
Axwood13/09/202104/10/2021
Woodcote Green Road04/10/202118/10/2021
Digdens Rise18/10/202115/11/2021
Woodcote Green Road01/11/202115/11/2021
Sunny Bank08/11/202129/11/2021
Woodcote Green Road15/11/202129/11/2021
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AGM 2021 documents

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AGM 2021 – AGENDA

Woodcote (Epsom) Residents’ Society

(http://woodcoteepsomresidentssociety.org)

Please join us at our Annual General Meeting (AGM)

3rd March 2021 at 7.15pm for 7.30 p.m.

at Zoom Meeting

Email info@woodcoteepsomresidentssociety.org to be mailed the Zoom meeting details

AGENDA

  1. Apologies for absence
  2. Approval of Minutes of the AGM held on 3rd March 2020*
  3. Approval and adoption of the accounts for the year ending 31st December 2020**
  4. Election of the committee and Hon Auditor for 2021-22 ***
  5. Presentation by Fred Mowbray – Chairman
  6. Reports from your RA Borough Councillors
    1. Liz Frost
    1. Bernice Froud
    1. Steven McCormick
  7. Presentation of adopted RA candidate for Epsom Town & Downs Surrey County Council  – Steven McCormick
  8. Any other business

*    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 stand for the committee please contact Steven McCormick (stevenjmccormick@yahoo.co.uk)

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Annual General Meeting (AGM) – 3rd March 7:30 pm

A slight change to our plans in that we are starting the Annual General Meeting (AGM) this year 30 minutes earlier than usual.

It will be held via a Zoom meeting on Wednesday 3rd March 2021 from 7:30pm

For those that wish to attend please email the following address to register.

info@woodcoteepsomresidentssociety.org

We will then send out a zoom link to all registered.

Agenda, minutes and meeting details to be posted onto the website and social media.


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Surrey County Council (SCC) elections coming up in May this year. Be safe and apply for a postal vote.

Surrey County Council (SCC) elections coming up in May this year.

Be safe and apply for a postal vote.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/apply-for-a-postal-vote

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Councillor update – Liz Frost

Hi


I am writing to you with a brief update about some of our local issues.


Covid-19 related

It is great that the number of cases of Covid-19 in the borough is falling. Thank you to all those who have been adhering to the ‘hands, face and space’ motto and other guidance and staying home when possible. Although the rates are decreasing, there is still a way to go – please do continue to be vigilant and remember that many people with the virus have no symptoms, but can infect others who may become very ill. If you would like to see the figures on infection rates, they are available on the Surrey County Council website (www.surreycc.gov.uk)
The vaccine rollout is going very well, with many grateful recipients. It is being organised by Surrey Heartlands on behalf of our local GP practices. Although initially those eligible for a vaccine were asked not to contact their GP surgeries to try to make an appointment, at this stage of the rollout, anyone aged 70 or over who has not yet had a vaccination appointment is urged to make contact and arrange one. This can be done through www.nhs/covid-vaccinations, by calling 119 (free of charge) or through your GP.
If you have an appointment for a vaccine and are wondering whether the centre is closed because of the snow or ice, you can find the latest information on the Surrey Heartlands web page (https://www.surreyheartlandsccg.nhs.uk/). If the centre is open, but you are unable to keep your appointment, please contact them as soon as you can so that you can make another appointment and your slot is not wasted.

Council services

For Borough Council services, particularly during this bad weather, please check the Council website (www.epsom-ewell.gov.uk). If the waste or re-cycling collection routes need to be changed, there will be information here.
The website also provides information about support for businesses and residents, particularly during the pandemic.

Planning matters

An update on the major planning applications in the Ward –

22-24 Dorking Road – This application was to demolish 2 detached houses on the corner of Dorking Road and White Horse Drive and build a block of 20 flats, (part 2, part 3 storeys, plus apartments in the roof and semi-basement, with some basement parking). The application was refused by the Planning Committee, but the applicant has appealed the refusal and we await the outcome of the appeal.

Guild Living – The NHS Trust sold part of the Epsom Hospital site (fronting Woodcote Green Road and including the former staff accommodation and admin block). Guild Living applied for planning permission to redevelop the site as a ‘care community’ for older people, comprising about 315 apartments plus 28 ‘care suites’; replacement of 24 key worker units, together with facilities for the residents; a children’s day nursery and some shops and cafes; plus 170 car parking spaces. The proposed buildings would have been up to 9 storeys high and be close to both residential neighbours and the Woodcote Green Road boundary. The Planning Committee refused the application. Guild Living report that they are currently preparing an amended application and will also be appealing the refusal of their original application.

Langley Bottom Farm – this is an application to build 20 houses on land at Langley Bottom Farm. It is in the Green Belt and the buildings there are currently used by various small businesses and for agricultural storage. The entrance to the site includes a bridleway that is well-used by both walkers and equestrians. The application is due to be heard by the Planning Committee on 18th February and the Officer recommendation is to refuse it.

Epsom Hospital car park – The Hospital Trust has applied to build at 6 story car park in a similar position to the current visitors’ car park. It would be for patients, visitors and staff. It is expected to come to the Planning Committee soon.

Details of planning applications can be found at https://eplanning.epsom-ewell.gov.uk/online-applications/

Borough Councillors are able to make a 3 mins presentation to the Planning Committee in support or opposition to a planning application on the agenda. Where we are approached by many residents and there is a clear view, we take up this opportunity. We normally do this by Bernice speaking on matters relating to the Langley Vale part of the Ward and I speak on those nearer the town. Steven is a member of the Planning Committee and so has to read all the paperwork and reports and approach the meetings with an open mind.

The Woodcote (Epsom) Residents’ Society has a planning subcommittee that can advise and comment on major planning consultations and, where appropriate, can speak for residents at Planning Committee meetings.

Future developments

We have continued to lobby central Government and our MP about the unreasonableness of the new housebuilding targets for this borough and requesting that they are revised in line with the more recent Office of National Statistics housing need trajectories. Although this has been done, the Government has now added an affordability ‘uplift’ – i.e. if housing in an area in more expensive than the average in the country, they increase the requirements arguing that more housing is needed so that the supply meets the demand and prices drop – even in areas such as Epsom & Ewell where we really don’t have the land to for the additional 577 / year.
The Government is consulting on various aspects of their forthcoming planning guidance reforms, and we responded robustly to the consultation document on extending permitted development rights. They are now consulting on parts relating to quality of design of new developments, to which we will be responding.

The borough is currently developing a policy on planning enforcement to ensure a timely and consistent approach where there are questions about whether building works comply with permissions and other regulations.

We are fortunate to have our green open spaces, particularly during the pandemic – but please remember that we should be exercising close to home. All our parks, commons and other open spaces are seeing greatly increased use, particularly with gyms and other sports facilities closed. The recent very wet weather has made many of these areas really muddy and the grass is suffering. Please take care when you are out and make sure you wear suitable footwear for the possibly muddy slippery conditions – and do remember to keep your distance from others.

If you are going to Epsom and Walton Downs, please remember that this is private land and, although we are allowed access on foot for fresh air and exercise, this must not interfere with the race horse training. The training takes place in the mornings, so you are encouraged to avoid this time and visit the Downs in the afternoons. Horses from several of the training yards enter the Downs either by the Rubbing House or the Downskeepers’ Hut. Both of these are narrow access points where there can be a lot of people also coming and going. Remember, not only are racehorses easily spooked and unpredictable and can pose a very real threat to the safety of anyone too near to them, but they also have right of way. This is the workplace for the training industry – take care!

Roads

Surrey Highways have issued the following advanced notice –

D2202 Woodcote Road, Epsom – Temporary Prohibition of Traffic Order 2021 Surrey County Council propose to make the above mentioned Temporary Order under Section 14(1) of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984, the effect of which will be to prohibit vehicles from entering or proceeding in that length of D2202 Woodcote Road, Epsom that extends from its junction with A24 Dorking Road and A24 South Street to its junction with Woodcote Close. This Traffic Order is required to enable SGN to carry out gas mains replacement and/or maintenance works. These works are anticipated to be carried out between the hours of 8am and 4pm, within 2 weeks of the 12 month period of operation of this Temporary Order that commences on 13 February 2021. Advanced warning signs will be displayed and the temporary closure which is anticipated to be required for 24 hours each day, will only operate when the relevant traffic signs are displayed. Access for pedestrians, cyclists, equestrians and to residences on the affected length of D2202 Woodcote Road, will be maintained at all times. Access for emergency vehicles, local residents and businesses will be via the signed vehicular diversion route which will be Dorking Road, Woodcote Side, Woodcote Green Road and Woodcote Road.
As you see, the date of the work has not been decided yet, but it will be sometime during the next year. I will update you when there is a definite date and we will post it on the W(E)RS website (www.woodcoteepsomresidentssociety.org).

Liz Frost
RA Councillor, Woodcote Ward
10/02/2021

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Gas network works – Woodcote Road – 15th Feb to 22nd Feb

We’ve been told by SGN that work to upgrade to their gas network in Woodcote Road is safety-critical and needs to go ahead now.

They have agreed with Surrey County Council to carry out this necessary work during the national lockdown to minimise disruption to the local community.

The contractor who will be completing the project on their behalf was due to start work on today (Monday 15 February) until Sunday 22 February.

In order to complete the work safely, their engineers will need to close Woodcote Road at the junction with Dorking Road (A24) to Woodcote close. A signed diversion will be in place, access and exit to the BP garage will be available only from Dorking Road.

The lane to make a right hand turn from Dorking Road into Woodcote Road will also be closed to prevent vehicles getting stuck in this lane. The three-way traffic lights currently in place by this junction on Dorking Road will be temporarily replaced with a pedestrian crossing and two-way lights operated by the crossing users only, this will hopefully keep the traffic flowing more effectively.

The map below shows the traffic management.

Traffic management around the gas network works.

The contractor is working closely with the UK Government and public health bodies to make sure they work in line with expert advice during the pandemic. They have extra safety precautions in place to protect their colleagues and our communities from catching or spreading the virus as they carry out this work.

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Langley Bottom Farm, Langley Vale – Planning application to demolish buildings on-site and erect 20 residential dwellings, associated access and parking (20/00475/FUL)

Woodcote (Epsom) Residents’ Society (W(E)RS) welcomes the Planning Officer recommendation to refuse the above planning application at the forthcoming Planning Committee meeting on 18 February.

Link to the Public Pack Agenda for Planning Committee, 18/02/2021 https://democracy.epsom-ewell.gov.uk/documents/g1075/Public%20reports%20pack%2018th-Feb-2021%2019.30%20Planning%20Committee.pdf?T=10

Following many resident concerns about the scheme W(E)RS strongly objected to the application back in May last year on a number of grounds but especially on the grounds that:

1. much of the land was still in agricultural use and therefore the land was not Previously Developed Land (brownfield land) as argued by the applicant. Accordingly, the proposal should be seen as inappropriate development in the Green Belt which could only be justified in very special circumstances – which clearly did not apply in this case.

2. The development would cause substantial harm to the openness of the Green Belt, to the character and appearance of the site and surrounding rural area.

3. It would be in an unsustainable location with respect to travel and encourage private car use.

4. Increased traffic movements would conflict with current movements of racehorses, other hacking horses, pedestrians, cyclists and dog walkers, especially on a shared access road.

The Planning Officer report accepts most of the above objections and recommends refusal on grounds of 1. inappropriate development in the Green Belt, 2. being situated in an area without good public transport links and likely to encourage privatecar use, 3. resulting in adverse impacts which would significantly outweigh the benefits arising from additional housing units.

Cllr Bernice Froud, as a resident in Langley Vale and in her role as a Residents Association (RA) Woodcote Ward borough councillor, intends to speak against the application at the Planning Committee meeting to further highlight resident objections and hopefully ensure that the committee supports the recommendation to refuse.

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May elections are go!

Photo by Glen Carrie on Unsplash

It is looking very likely that the May elections will take place which is great news.

Government released the following earlier today – https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/may-2021-polls-delivery-plan/may-2021-polls-delivery-plan

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Woodcote (Epsom) Residents’ Society response to Guild Living revised proposals for Epsom Hospital Site

Guild Living has recently consulted residents on its revised plans for a Residential Care Community at Epsom Hospital following rejection of the earlier application 19/01722/FUL.

A webinar promoted by Guild Living took place on 13 Jan 2021 and the overwhelmingly (100%) negative comments at the webinar indicated that residents consider the proposed changes to fall far short to overcome the grounds for rejection of the first scheme which included:

  1. The proposed development by reason of its height, mass, scale and design would adversely impact and harm the character and appearance of the area (including the built environment and landscape setting).
  2. The siting of the development leaves insufficient landscaping opportunities to the frontage of Woodcote Green Road and along the south-western boundary with neighbouring residential property to mitigate the impact of the proposed development, presenting an overdeveloped and hard edge to the appearance to the development, which would cause harm to the character and appearance of the area.
  3. The proposed development by reason of its height, massing and design would adversely impact on the neighbouring amenities of the occupiers at 40 and 46 Woodcote Green Road, by means of overbearing, loss of privacy and loss of outlook.

None of these are considered to have been satisfactorily addressed in the revised proposals as put forward in the Webinar. Changes are considered to be marginal and do not significantly change the harmful effect of the overbearing height, mass, scale and design of the proposed development.

Comparing roof heights (without roof plant), the revised proposals still show a significant increase in height over existing heights. The roof line of the extensive and massive 8-storey main Blocks that are now proposed in place of the previous 9 storey Blocks would still be 6.35m higher than that of the existing Wells hospital building.

The 2m depth of landscaping alongside 40 Woodcote Green Road flank boundary is considered wholly inadequate to screen and separate the adjacent residents from visitor parking, noise, disturbance and fumes. These residents would also still be overlooked from the proposed upper floor flat windows within the Block proposed on the site of the existing Woodcote Lodge building.

Woodcote (Epsom) Residents’ Society considers that a further 2 floor levels should be omitted from the main 8-storey Blocks, equalising them with the maximum height of the Wells Building at 6 storeys. Similarly, 1 floor level should be omitted from the 4 storey Block now proposed adjacent to 40 Woodcote Green Road as when allowance is made for roof plant it would still be nearly 8m higher than the adjacent 2 storey housing.  Additional landscaping is also required to offset the development from the residential boundary.

There are also outstanding resident concerns regarding inadequate parking provision and traffic generation. For example, the number of parking spaces, reduced in number under the proposed revisions, is considered likely to result in overspill parking.

We have raised all these matters with the Council’s planning officers and have requested that in their pre-application discussions with the developer that they require further amendments to any future planning application submitted to address the outstanding concerns of the local community highlighted in the webinar.

NB: Produced by the WERS planning sub-committee

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