As with any other local neighbourhood, the policies and actions which affect the character and future of Lower Sunbury are generally framed and implemented by a combination of local and national government, along with the vested interests and market forces which operate within those frameworks. Lower Sunbury is by no means unique in being under threat from a creaking infrastructure brought about by rapid urban development, the growth of traffic, and other pressures affecting the quality of life and the character of the area.
Working with the local authorities, we see it as the responsibility of residents’ and amenity groups such as LOSRA to address the underlying issues which fundamentally affect their members’ lives, as well as the minutiae of everyday life with which such groups are often concerned.
Please sign up to receive our regular e-bulletins by subscribing via the facility at the top left hand of this page. It goes without saying that, without your continued support we would cease to function so we urge you to join, or renew your membership now Subscriptions (£5 per household) for 2018 are now payable.
LOSRA is pleased to announce that we will be holding a Summer fundraising Garden Party which will take place on Fathers’ Day, Sunday 17th June, between 12 noon and 5 p.m. This event has been made possible by the kind invitation from Mr. and Mrs. Heslop, who live in the Old Vicarage in Church Street and offering to make their beautiful garden available to us. We are also very grateful to Philip Hodges and Waterside Estate Agents for sponsoring the event.
Those of you who visited the Old Vicarage when it featured in the Open Gardens Day a couple of years ago, will be all too aware of the garden's delightful appeal. As well as viewing this fabulous garden, the LOSRA Old Vicarage Summer Garden Party will offer food and refreshments throughout the afternoon, including afternoon teas and coffee, bucks fizz and wine bar, a summer BBQ and food from " The Indian Zest." There will be entertainment during the afternoon provided by a variety of local musicians and fun things to amuse children. Local products will also be available for purchase from a variety of small stands. Boat rides to see the village from the river (tickets available on the day) will complete the list of attractions.
Tickets for the event cost £5.00 and will be available from Skinners Newsagents, Phillip Hodges and Twirltour Travel. or contact 01932 782277. Better still, you can purchase a ticket via Paypal by clicking on the button below. Youngsters under 13 will be admitted free on the gate.
As you know, we are incurring some significant costs in fighting the various campaigns which are still continuing, so the funds we raise from the Garden Party will be very useful, and it provides us with the opportunity to add another enjoyable occasion to the village calendar. We hope to see you there.
At the public meeting on 29th February (see article of 2nd March), London Irish made it plain that they intended to make two separate applications in respect of their Avenue site and a separate application for the Hazelwood Golf Course. This they have now done and all three are featured on the 'Hot Topics' News section of Spelthorne Borough Council's Website. All those who have made previous representations should by now have received a letter from the LPA advising of the new reference numbers.
The two applications for the Avenue Site:
12/00368/OUT: This outline application is for 194 residential units, a 60 bed care home, a site for a future health centre and the provision of new open space including a new neighbourhood park. This is the same as the appeal scheme, with the exception that 35% affordable housing is now provided on site. The residential units are a mix of 39 one bed and 51 two bed flats, along with 66 two bed cottages, 16 semi-detached three and four bed houses and 22 detached four and five bedroom houses.
12/00369/OUT: This alternative application is for a wholly residential scheme of 146 houses (106 market housing and 40 affordable) and a sheltered housing complex for the elderly (50 - 60 units) with the provision of significant areas of new open space. The residential units are a mix of 12 two bed houses, 68 three bed houses, 40 four bed houses and 26 five bed houses. Again, this scheme is an outline application. The scheme has been drawn up in discussion with the Council and LOSRA; and provides more family sized medium and large houses, 20% affordable housing on site and a financial contribution for the remaining 15% off site; and centrally located open space. London Irish has also indicated in its Planning Statement for The Avenue site that the original application and appeal scheme (ie 12/00368/OUT) will be withdrawn if this alternative scheme is granted planning permission.
Despite our preferences (LOSRA has a history of opposing development on this protected area of urban open space) we are where we are. The Secretary of State has, with certain caveats, signalled his approval for the Site to be developed. There is little point now in repeating the arguments which didn't carry sufficient weight at appeal, eg. traffic, infrastructure, amenity and sustainability.
All however is not lost. Many of the concerns raised by residents in the past eg, lack of family housing and too many flats (there are 90 in the original plan) have been addressed; there are many more of the former and, apart from the sheltered housing, none of the latter. Paradoxically, the alternative much denser plan (12/00368/OUT) would be more likely to succeed on appeal. For this reason, whilst indicating its opposition to both plans, LOSRA will signify its preference for the second plan if we must accept one or the other.
The application for Hazelwood Golf Course:
The new application for the Rugby Centre of Excellence at Hazelwood is the same as the scheme which was dismissed on appeal, except that a legal agreement will be required to ensure that community benefits are delivered regardless of whether or not The Avenue development goes ahead. LOSRA will be seeking to attach the same very restrictive conditions as were agreed at the appeal hearing.
All these plans will be heard by the Planning Committee on Thursday 21st June. Due to the Easter holidays public consultation on all three applications has been extended to six weeks as opposed to the standard three week period. If you wish to comment on any of the applications you may do so by email via 'Planning Applications Online' or by sending a letter to: Planning Dept, Spelthorne Borough Council, Knowle Green, Staines TW18 1XB by 11 May 2012 using the reference numbers above.
PC Caroline Barnes makes her report for the month of March. The recent fine weather has brought one or two problems on the law and order front.
Click here to view the latest newsletter
LOSRA has been in receipt of a number of emails regarding an application to install a 12.5 metre phone mast and junction box on the grassed area of Green Street j/w Croysdale Avenue. After looking at the plans, it is evident that the application has the potential to ruin the views and pleasure of the Linear Hawke Park for the much wider community. For this reason we have submitted a representation which may be viewed by clicking here.
London IrishResidents are urged to keep an eye on the 'Latest News' section of Spelthorne Borough Council Website in the coming weeks, perhaps as early as the next few days. At our public meeting, London Irish made it plain that they intended to make two separate applications in respect of their Avenue site and a separate application for the Hazelwood Golf Course. As soon as more is known the Website will be updated and this will probably occur before the next e-bulletin is issued. We can be confident that the Local Planning Authority will allow plenty of time for representations to be made and will be making due allowance for the Easter break. (If you are not yet signed up to our e-bulletin service, why not click on the 'Contact LOSRA' on the top right menu of the Home Page and leave your email address?).
'EcoPark'The depressing news on the approval of the Eco Park application by Surrey County Council may not be the end of the story. Readers will be well aware that LOSRA is implacably opposed to this development, and following the Planning Committee decision, we had a lengthy meeting with the Head of Corporate Governance, the Head of Planning Policy and the Cabinet member responsible for Environmental Services. It was a useful meeting and sufficient time was allowed for all our concerns to be aired. It now remains to be seen whether counsel for SBC advises that there is a case for applying to the High Court for Judicial Review.
It is worth reminding readers that, whatever the decision, no evidence has yet been provided which rebuts the following propositions:
Hence our concern with placing a badly designed experimental explosive chemical process plant, handling toxic substances, in a public facility near dense habitation. Not a practice that a responsible commercial plant operator would follow, or be allowed to follow by competent authorities or their lawyers, because it's simply placing people at avoidable risk.
Not a planning criterion says the Surrey CC planning officer; not your problem he assured councillors.
8.30pm FRIDAY 30TH MARCH at Sunbury Cricket Club, £10 on the door. The Barnes Blues Band promises to bring us another evening of stunning high class blues and R&B from a group of seasoned professionals who have honed their skills in a variety of big name bands over the years. The band features Bobby Tench (guitar, vocals) whose illustrious background includes the Jeff Beck Group, Streetwalkers, Humble Pie, Van Morrison, Freddie King and Hummingbird, alongside one of the great blues troubadours of the British club scene Papa George (guitar, vocals), with Peter Rees and Vic Martin, formerly of Gary Moore’s band on bass and keyboards, and Darby Todd, Sunbury’s very own star drummer, who you have seen at two great gigs at the Club with Protect The Beat and Buddy Whittington.
Like those two events, this one is promoted by Sunbury colleague Brett Todd, and we thank him for arranging what promises to be another night not to be missed. Find out more at www.bobbytench.co.uk and www.papageorge.co.uk. Tickets for the Hamilton Loomis gig will be on sale at the Barnes Blues Band event.
The highly restrictive process by which a resident may ask a question of our local County Councillors has once again proved to be more important than a satisfactory outcome. Once a question has been asked, with one supplementary allowed, no further debate is permissible - no matter how important the issue. Not for the first time the Chairman of LOSRA left the Local Area Committee wondering how his time might more profitably have been spent.
The question was one which should be of interest to all our members as it concerns the cumulative effects of a number of different developments which are in prospect for the Lower Sunbury area. The answer to the first question which queried what arrangements were in place to deal with the potential problem was blandly answered with information that is already freely available on the SCC Website. Critically, the answer did not address the "how" which was the whole point of the question. The answer to the supplementary question, which was designed to elicit one named individual to whom ultimate accountability should be attached, was similarly opaque.
In short, the Chairman was none the wiser when he left the Council chamber as when he went in, having learnt nothing new or which he could not have discovered by searching the internet from the comfort of his office. He was also left wondering whether our elected representatives actually see the answers prepared by officers who seem so adept at scripting obfuscation and patronising platitudes on behalf of their political masters. It's almost as though the public are merely "them", the polloi, the dumb, slow moaning livestock of politics. This may sound harsh but this is the impression which most of those attending to ask questions took away with them.
The first question and answer may be viewed by clicking here
The Supplementary question and answer may be viewed by clicking here
The latest Spelthorne News Bulletin has some interesting items particularly for those who have children aged 5 - 11. A Spring Art Open Day on 31st March and Easter Art Workshops on 2nd April are announced. For sports enthusiasts, a swimathon at the Sunbury Leisure Centre in aid of Marie Curie Cancer Care will take place over two days on 27th and 28th April; and the Staines 10k road race on 13th May (limited to 650 entrants) is now open for registration.
Of more general interest, a 'Streetbank' scheme for the sharing of goods and skills within a community is announced together with a FAQ on issues which the Council can take into account when dealing with planning applications.
For further details on all these topics please click here
Unfortunately the Surrey County Council Planning and Regulatory Committee decided to approve the Eco Park application on Friday 9th March.
Not content with passing this unproven (and therefore experimental) technology, they even refused requests to prevent access to the gasification plant by HGVs on Saturdays and Sundays; to prevent access to the anaerobic digester on Saturdays; and to restrict the operation of the gasifier at weekends.
The arguments put forward by the speakers on your behalf were delivered with conviction and should have persuaded the Committee of the concerns the residents have about the proposal. Our local County Councillors also put forward cogent and well reasoned points; and all were supported by a packed public gallery. Unfortunately, the Committee did not vote as we would have hoped.
This has been a long three years of campaigning; and the hugely disappointing outcome has served to illustrate how economic considerations seem destined to trump all the environmental deficits which will inevitably result from this project.
John Brooks (Deputy Head of Planning and Housing Strategy for Spelthorne Borough Council) attended the hearing as did Michael Graham (Head of Corporate Governance at Spelthorne Council) who is one of the Council legal team. Both took copious notes throughout. They will be looking at the legality of the process followed by the County Council and SITA UK. We will be seeking an early meeting with these officers to explore the possibilities of a challenge through Judicial Review at the High Court.
PC Caroline Barnes' report for the month of February gives an update on police attention to the Skate Park and trespass at the Police College site in Green Street.
Click here to view the latest report
Many thanks to all our members who turned up for the public meeting on 23rd February at St. Mary's Church Hall (see article of 16th February).
As expected, it was an occasion of much animated debate as London Irish presented their proposals for both their Avenue site and Hazelwood Golf Course. The Secretary of State's appeal decision and the Planning Inspector's recommendations following the public inquiry were published on this site on 25th November 2011 and, on careful reading, it was almost inevitable that having satisfied the reservations expressed in the decision notice, they would come back to the table with further applications. These documents may again be viewed by clicking here.
London Irish intend to lodge their applications in the middle of this month and the public meeting, called by LOSRA, gave them the opportunity to present their proposals in advance. For those who were unable to attend, a copy of the minutes may be viewed by clicking here.
The next Music Night at Sunbury Cricket Club is next week Friday 9th March when SCC welcome back The Mustangs, who entertained us so royally last autumn.
Those of you who saw them on their first visit to the Club last year will know why The Mustangs have established such a formidable reputation as one of the country’s most dynamic blues/rock acts, and have been hailed as a real breath of fresh air on the British blues scene.
Behind their success is a unique combination of the power and punch of old school R&B with top class original material and a high octane stage act, and they are certainly among the UK’s hardest-working and most charismatic blues attractions.
In 2010 they were nominated for Best Band in the prestigious British Blues Awards, and over the last few years have become a must-have band for just about every British Blues Festival – this coming weekend they are back at the Swanage Blues Festival, and later in March appear at the spiritual home of British Blues, the Eel Pie Club. Their latest album, the sixth of their career, has been well-received by critics, as the attached reviews demonstrate, and we are delighted to have them back at Sunbury Cricket Club. It should be another rip-roaring musical night to savour, so don’t miss it! if you haven't heard them, there are plenty of music clips on their excellent web site at www.themustangs.co.uk.
Also, by clicking here, you will find a schedule of forthcoming events at SCC - regular visitors will note that we have added The 60s All Stars in June. It's intended to have the Hamilton Loomis tickets on sale at The Mustangs gig, so that will be a good opportunity for everyone to get them well in advance.
As LOSRA is so vehemently opposed to the installation of the Eco Park incinerator at Charlton Lane, we are more than happy to support an initiative which aims to reduce black bag waste and promote recycling. A new food waste campaign between Surrey County Council and Spelthorne BC is being launched this week.
Recent research indicates that Surrey residents produce about 83,000 tonnes of food waste every year, which has significant environmental and financial implications. The cost of collection, disposal and treatment runs into millions and according to WRAP wasted food costs the average family up to £50 a month.
So to help you waste less, Spelthorne Borough Council and Surrey County Council are providing helpful tips on how to plan meals, perfect the right portions, store correctly and use up leftovers, helping residents to waste less and save more. For the waste you can’t avoid, residents are being encourages to use Spelthorne’s new food waste collection service. By keeping the food separate to general waste it can be processed in a more environmentally friendly way and turned into fertiliser, rather than be sent to landfill with other black bag waste.
For more information visit the SCC Website by clicking here.
Following a Freedom of Information request to Surrey County Council we were astonished to find that they have spent £48,300 of tax-payers money on the services of a barrister to advise on whether, or how, the Eco Park incinerator application could be passed without it being put before a second Planning Committee following the Secretary of State's decision not to get involved.
We have always argued that material facts have emerged since its first approval in June 2011 which require the application to be re-heard. The barrister obviously came to the same inescapable conclusion.
The Planning and Regulatory Committee of Surrey County Council will now re-hear the planning application at 10.30am on Friday 9th March at County Hall, Kingston. We are hoping for a good turnout. Please be there if you can.
The Chairman of LOSRA has replied on behalf of the Association and his letter of objection may be viewed by clicking here.
You may also view a recent clip on the subject from a documentary report about incinerators in the the Midlands. http://satep.co.uk/#/gallery/4544877373