Hands off our Green Belt!

What land should be released for building over the next 15 years? That’s what the Local Plan is all about. But the inflated government target for building in Elmbridge will mean the extra people will:

  • Squeeze already hard pressed local health services
  • Create further shortages of local school places
  • Intensify traffic congestion
  • Increase pollution

What we really need is 1, 2 and 3 bedroom truly affordable homes. Is this going to happen? No! Land prices are high so private sector homes will be unaffordable. And the national government makes sure that boroughs have insufficient revenue to build new social housing. National funding for local government has halved in the last ten years.   So the amount of social housing which can be built is very limited.

The national government requires our borough to allow 9,400 extra homes to be built over the next 15 years.  The borough has independently assessed that 5,000 new homes are needed for our needs in Elmbridge over the next 15 years.  The government requirement of 9,400 new homes is based on flawed thinking. All the options, but one, in the Local Plan consultation document lead to too much development because it had to follow government guidelines. Only Option 4 restricts development as far as it can and preserves the existing character of our community. This is the one we should press our Councillors to adopt.

It doesn’t deliver all the building central government wants, but we need to send a clear message to government that this is justified. There is a risk that government will overrule us, but we must choose whether to fight or cave in.

What to do?

Right now – or as soon as you can:

  1. Read the Local Plan documents and complete the consultation form
  2. Write to your local councillor (Check names on www.elmbridge.gov.uk )
  3. Post your views on Facebook and/or Twitter
  4. Write to your MP Philip Hammond and/or Robert Jenrick, the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government – both at the House of Commons.
  5. Book your attendance for the meeting on 27th August (you need to apply for a ticket here)
  6. Join your local local residents’ association or amenity society

Shape the future of Weybridge

Our Home

Weybridge is undeniably an attractive place to live. Our easy access to London and Heathrow, our vibrant town centre, rivers, woodlands and green spaces, all ensure that many find it hard to imagine living anywhere else and would like our children to be able to live here too.

More houses

We recognise that, as people live longer and households are smaller, we need to build more and different places to live in Weybridge.  Even with no interference from outside, our council would encourage the building of homes with fewer rooms.  Ideally almost all of them would be social and affordable housing for rent, with some for purchase.  Thus moving the emphasis from mansions to high quality, smaller, environmentally sustainable homes.  This would mean about 200 new homes a year across Elmbridge.

Unfortunately, the regime in Westminster has stated we must make provision for 600 new homes to be built in Elmbridge, each year, for the next fifteen years.  Three times as high as our current build.

Elmbridge versus national government

Elmbridge has no power in this debate.  If we do not do what the national government says we risk having all our planning powers taken away from us and developers might run amok.  The only way this will change is if there is a change of national government – and it looks as if the new Johnson administration is set on having a national election in the next few months.  Of the four national parties, three are pushing for more housing to be built (the Brexit “party” does not yet have any policies except to leave Europe), but they differ in their views on what sort of housing we need and where it should be built.

But we do not give in – Elmbridge will make the best case within the rules that are laid down.  We aim to adopt a new Local Plan for “sustainable” development in Elmbridge.  The borough’s staff have been working with other local governments, national agencies and utility providers to assemble the evidence required to make robust decisions. Laying the foundations for a Local Plan is a very complex affair and is often iterative.

Elmbridge Borough has listened to the concerns of Elmbridge residents, and has been working hard to progress a new Local Plan. This long-term plan aims to marry our national obligations to build more homes in Elmbridge with our desire to protect the character of Elmbridge.

The next stage is a public consultation running from 19 August through to 30 September. It is important that all residents from all parts of Elmbridge get involved by making a response to the consultation. You can sign up to alerts on the Local Plan through the EBC website and at consult.elmbridge.gov.uk

Councillor Karen Randolph, Portfolio Holder for Planning, has said:

“It is vital for the future of our borough that our residents contribute to the development of the Elmbridge Local Plan. We are determined to do what is best for Elmbridge and we want to hear from you.

“When the consultation opens on 19 August there will be information available in libraries, at the Civic Centre in Esher, online on the Council’s website and we will also host public meetings, all to provide our residents with as much information as possible on the Local Plan options.

“We want to shape Elmbridge for the benefit of all; will you help us?”

Elmbridge Liberal Democrats form Joint Administration with Residents Associations Group for 2019/20 

Following the Conservatives’ loss of three seats in the recent Elmbridge Borough Council election and the gains made by both the Liberal Democrats and the Residents Associations, the two groups have now formed a joint administration for 2019/20. This was confirmed at the Annual Council held on Wednesday 15 May 2019.

The Liberal Democrats have grown their share of vote in Elmbridge by 65% since 2016 and now have 10 Councillors, including a seat they gained from the Conservatives in the Weybridge Riverside ward.

The Conservatives lost another two seats in Esher and Weybridge St. George’s Hill wards, which were gained by the Residents Association Group (RAs). RAs also held their seats in Hinchley Wood, Molesey East and West, Thames Ditton and Walton Central wards.

Because the Conservatives were reduced to 21 seats on Elmbridge Council, there was No Overall Control (NOC). This paved the way for the Liberal Democrats with their 10 seats and the RAs with their 17 seats, to form a joint administration.

The Liberal Democrats’ Council Group Leader Andrew Davis said: ‘When the election result became clear we had exploratory talks with the RAs, including our policies and priorities plus effective processes for a possible coalition. As LibDem Councillors we pressed for the key points in our manifesto, particularly our green environmental policies. We reached a broad agreement on these which enabled us to form the new joint administration with the RAs in Elmbridge for the next 12 months.’

Cllr Davis added: ’We are delighted to welcome a new team member Cllr Ashley Tilling, representing Weybridge Riverside, to our now 10 strong group on Elmbridge Council. We also successfully held Claygate ward with Cllr Alex Coomes and Long Ditton ward with Cllr Neil Houston.’

‘For this fantastic result and our growing share of the vote we thank all those who supported us. The hard work of all our candidates, campaign activists and councillors has paid off. We are grateful to all our members and supporters for their commitment and help with leaflet deliveries, door knocking and many other activities.’

‘We are very pleased that the Elmbridge Liberal Democrats now have greater control of the borough than at any time in its history. This includes three main committees: Licensing Committee (Cllr Mike Rollings), Vice Chair of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee (Cllr Neil Houston) and Chair of the Planning Committee (Cllr Shweta Kapadia).  We are also hoping that Cllr Alex Coomes will become Chair of Audit and Standards Committee.’

‘Importantly, we have three Cabinet posts with Deputy Leader of the Council, Cllr Andrew Davis (Highways), Cllr Christine Elmer (Community and Corporate Affairs) and Cllr Mary Marshall, Deputy Leader of the Elmbridge Liberal Democrats (Environment).’

‘Given goodwill, trust and discipline on both sides we believe that we will have a well-functioning and efficient joint administration with the RA’s to address a number of pressing issues for Elmbridge. These include the Local Government financial settlement, the consultation on the next stages of the Elmbridge Local Plan, and possible additional responsibilities together with Surrey County Council. We are confident we have a very strong team in place to meet these challenges.’

Commenting on the Liberal Democrats’ election success Richard Waller, Chair of Elmbridge Liberal Democrats’ Executive Committee said: ‘Nationally our party is enjoying a strong resurgence which shows in more than 700 new council seats we have just gained across the country. This positive trend is repeating itself here in Elmbridge too. We are enormously grateful to our councillors, members and supporters for all their contributions. I am proud of their dedication and enthusiasm.’

‘Furthermore this is very encouraging for Monica Harding, our Prospective Parliamentary Candidate in Esher and Walton, and her team who are working hard to make sure our growing strength is harnessed to unseat Dominic Raab MP for Esher & Walton.’

Full election results can be found on the Elmbridge Borough Council’s website: http://mygov.elmbridge.gov.uk/mgManageElectionResults.aspx

This is the Liberal Democrat Manifesto for Elmbridge

Safer, Greener, Smarter

Environment
Climate Change is an existential threat to humankind.  We will put Elmbridge on a path to become carbon neutral and will adopt appropriate policies to this end. We will work with local businesses and residents to identify and implement smart and practical measures to achieve our goal. This work will bring tangible benefits to our neighbourhoods and to our personal well-being, too.

Traffic
We will begin to tackle traffic congestion and cut air pollution by installing 20mph in residential areas, improving public transport, discouraging engine idling near schools and elsewhere, and promoting walking and cycling options across Elmbridge.  We will install electric vehicle-charging points in our car parks, encourage them in any new developments and provide free parking for zero-emission cars. We will co-ordinate on and off-street parking, introduce smart parking charging and secure easy access to services.

Planning
We will defend the Green Belt and implement a “brownfield sites first” approach in the upcoming local plan.  We will campaign for infrastructure improvements to be in place for new developments. We will set targets for social housing and family starter homes to meet the needs of a younger generation.  We will encourage local forums to create neighbourhood plans. We will also promote the concentration of shops and services in town centres.

Crime
We will strengthen Neighbourhood Watch and anti-social behaviour teams, and work with Surrey Police to restore neighbourhood policing.  We will promote leisure, sport and social facilities for young people in all towns.

Democracy
We will ensure full transparency in both borough and county budget planning and spending, as well as in the conduct of planning applications – with full accountability to residents.  We support the introduction of an effective unitary authority by merging the county and borough levels into one authority in place of the current Surrey County Council and Surrey’s eleven boroughs.

Leisure                                                                                                                               We recognise the importance of leisure to both mental and physical wellbeing and also its economic benefits.  All leisure activities should be provided at affordable cost to participants, including free adult fitness equipment in every settlement. We will safeguard libraries and look to innovate their services.

CIL bids in Weybridge

Weybridge CIL board has received bids for £413,000 and has a fund of £510,000 derived from CIL.

Manby Lodge School Artificial Pitch & Garden Area – £17,000 (matched by £15,000) – score 74%

The application is to install an artificial grass pitch and enlarge the garden area. The project would replace the ball court area with weather resistant facility that can be used throughout the year, as well as a larger garden space for outdoor learning.  These new facilities would be utilised by the students as well as the community outside of school hours.

The school had a successful application to the Weybridge Local Spending Board in 2017 receiving £17,820 for upgraded play surfacing.

Heathside School Paved Area & Outdoor Shelter – £58,859 (matched by £47,000) – score 74%

The application is to install a canopy and paved area to create an outdoor shelter. Area that is created would provide the additional space needed for lunch, breaks and outdoor learning, as all students currently attending aren’t able to fit within the dining hall at one time. The new shelter would also be rented out for community use outside of school hours.

The school has had successful applications to the Weybridge Local Spending Board, in 2016 receiving £18,000 to improve cycle storage and in 2017 receiving £2,000 for cycle racks, as well as to the Elmbridge Strategic Spending Board in 2019 receiving £330,000 for modular temporary block replacement.

Broadwater Lake Remedial Works – £8,000 (matched by £5,000) – score 72%

The application is to carry out remedial works to the north-east end of Broadwater Lake. The works would clear the silt and overgrown vegetation, which will improve the flow and health of the overall lake. Residents will benefit from the improved biodiversity created and water carrying capacity of the lake.

The society had a successful application to this Local Spending Board in 2015 receiving £8,000 for remedial work to Broadwater Lake.

High Street Streetscape Project – £128,000 (Not match funded) – score 70%

This application is to deliver the standard required for materials, electrical and water requirement for the project.  These upgrades will be delivered during construction and installation of the various components.  The project will deliver an improved town centre space for the community and businesses.

The borough had a successful application to the Weybridge Local Spending Board in 2017 receiving £329,038.56 for this project.

Brooklands Museum Clubhouse Access Project £170,000 (matched by £30,000) – score 66%

The application is to install a lift and step free access to the Clubhouse. The installation of these new components would upgrade the building, which is the main space used by the public to be fully accessible. It will enable all members of the community to move through the building independently to be able to use the educational and community activities.

The museum had a successful application to the Weybridge Local Spending Board in 2015 receiving £25,000 toward the Aircraft Factory & Race Track Revival Project.

Broadwater Lake Surveys – £31,200 (no matched funding) – score 64%

The application is to carry out two surveys of the lake. The silt volume and works needed to reinstate the lake surveys would provide the information needed to develop an overall strategy for the management of the lake. The details would feed into the development of the strategy and future funding applications to various sources to carry out the works.

No CIL funding has been awarded to Broadwater Conservation Society to date.

For the agenda and papers for tomorrow click here

Manby Lodge School Artificial Pitch & Garden Area

Weybridge CIL board has received bids for £413,000 and has a fund of £510,000 derived from CIL.

Manby Lodge School Artificial Pitch & Garden Area – £17,000 (matched by £15,000) – score 74%

The application is to install an artificial grass pitch and enlarge the garden area. The project would replace the ball court area with weather resistant facility that can be used throughout the year, as well as a larger garden space for outdoor learning.  These new facilities would be utilised by the students as well as the community outside of school hours.

The school had a successful application to the Weybridge Local Spending Board in 2017 receiving £17,820 for upgraded play surfacing.

For the agenda and papers for tomorrow click here

Heathside School Paved Area & Outdoor Shelter

Weybridge CIL board has received bids for £413,000 and has a fund of £510,000 derived from CIL.

Heathside School Paved Area & Outdoor Shelter – £58,859 (matched by £47,000) – score 74%

The application is to install a canopy and paved area to create an outdoor shelter. Area that is created would provide the additional space needed for lunch, breaks and outdoor learning, as all students currently attending aren’t able to fit within the dining hall at one time. The new shelter would also be rented out for community use outside of school hours.

The school has had successful applications to the Weybridge Local Spending Board, in 2016 receiving £18,000 to improve cycle storage and in 2017 receiving £2,000 for cycle racks, as well as to the Elmbridge Strategic Spending Board in 2019 receiving £330,000 for modular temporary block replacement.

For the agenda and papers for tomorrow click here

Broad Water Surveys

Weybridge CIL board has received bids for £413,000 and has a fund of £510,000 derived from CIL.

Broad Water Surveys – £31,200 (no matched funding) – score 64%

The application is to carry out two surveys of the lake. The silt volume and works needed to reinstate the lake surveys would provide the information needed to develop an overall strategy for the management of the lake. The details would feed into the development of the strategy and future funding applications to various sources to carry out the works.

No CIL funding has been awarded to Broadwater Conservation Society to date.

For the agenda and papers for tomorrow click here

High Street Streetscape

Weybridge CIL board has received bids for £413,000 and has a fund of £510,000 derived from CIL.

High Street Streetscape Project – £128,000 (Not match funded) – score 70%

This application is to deliver the standard required for materials, electrical and water requirement for the project.  These upgrades will be delivered during construction and installation of the various components.  The project will deliver an improved town centre space for the community and businesses.

The borough had a successful application to the Weybridge Local Spending Board in 2017 receiving £329,038.56 for this project.

For the agenda and papers for tomorrow click here

Brooklands Museum Clubhouse

Weybridge CIL board has received bids for £413,000 and has a fund of £510,000 derived from CIL.

Brooklands Museum Clubhouse Access Project £170,000 (matched by £30,000) – score 66%

The application is to install a lift and step free access to the Clubhouse. The installation of these new components would upgrade the building, which is the main space used by the public to be fully accessible. It will enable all members of the community to move through the building independently to be able to use the educational and community activities.

The museum had a successful application to the Weybridge Local Spending Board in 2015 receiving £25,000 toward the Aircraft Factory & Race Track Revival Project.

For the agenda and papers for tomorrow click here