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.
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Despite the combined efforts of SATEP, CVRA and LOSRA, the Planning and Regulatory Committee of Surrey County Council approved the development of the 'Eco Park' proposal on 30th June. To do otherwise would have meant SCC having to repay substantial PFI loans and this was a consideration which would outweigh all others no matter how persuasive the opposing arguments proved to be.
A refusal of the application would also have risked reputational damage to SCC. The possibility of financial loss and reputational damage has been recorded in an official SCC 'Risk Assessment' document (now in LOSRA'S possession) compiled at the request of the Leader of the Council; and which was presumably not intended for wide circulation. It is inconveivable that members of the Planning Committee were not aware of this document and its content before deciding to approve their own application.
The joint campaign group will now be lobbying the Secretary of State to 'call in' the application and will be seeking a top QC's legal opinion before considering our next steps.
You may have seen the recent television programme about the new phenomenon of community rock choirs? Would you be interested in joining a similar choir? Then the Sing Spelthorne community choir may be for you and new members are always welcome.
The free weekly sessions take place at Brooklands College in Ashford on Thursday evenings from 7-9pm. If it takes your fancy why not come along and give it a try. It's open to all ages (children must be supervised) and abilities so complete beginners are more than welcome and you won’t have to audition or sing on your own - the aim is just to have a good time.
The choir sings a huge variety of songs ranging from rock to pop, gospel to blues, folk to classical.
Caroline Barnes has published her report for the month of May. Were you aware that the new skate park in Green Street attracts youngsters from as far away as Central London?
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The Friends of Sunbury Library have special events to promote this much valued facility at The Parade, Staines Road West, Sunbury TW16 7AB.
These include Coffee Mornings on the first Friday of the month. The next ones are on 1 July, 5 August, 2 September and 7 October.
Spelthorne Council is to replace the watering system at Sunbury Walled Garden with a more efficient and economic arrangement. Work should begin in early July and take around two weeks to complete.
Following intermittent failure of the current irrigation system as well as water wastage and consequent footpath damage, the Council is to spend £28,000 on an improved scheme to replace the 20-year old one.
Most residents will be aware that The Walled Garden in Thames Street hosts the Millennium Embroidery building with a cafe open six days a week and is popular with both visitors and locals who come to see the wide variety of plants and trees, one of which, a Persian Lilac, is extremely rare. It also has a knot garden – intricate weaving of dwarf hedges – and a Victorian rose garden. The Richard Stothard Memorial Clematis Collection also has a home here.
It has become obvious over the last few months in particular, that the watering system was failing, not covering the areas required and flooding footpaths. This has meant large amounts of time being spent manually watering and also the potential danger to disabled and wheelchair users who find the waterlogged paths increasingly hazardous to navigate.
LOSRA has had enough experience of planning appeals to know that it is never wise to attempt second guessing the possible outcomes. What can be said without doubt is that, as the official Third Party to the eleven day proceedings, the best possible case was put before the Planning Inspector. The Inquiry itself was the culmination of months of preparatory work by a dedicated team of LOSRA witnesses whose evidence survived all material rebuttals and often hostile cross-examination. Despite this and recognising that difficult moments are to be expected at such proceedings, the Inquiry was conducted with unfailing courtesy and good humour on the part of all advocates.
We are not clear as to the time scale before the judgement will become known as the Planning Inspector must first report with his recommendations to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. It will be for the Minister to make the final decision and there is no way of telling how long this may take. A best (though not particularly helpful) guess would be mid-September to mid-October.
LOSRA is very grateful to all those who took the time out to attend this lengthy and sometimes very technical Inquiry. The silent support of those in the public gallery was a great encouragement to all the LOSRA participants.
After numerous postponements following the legal challenge funded by LOSRA, Charlton Village Residents Association (CVRA) and Shepperton Against the Eco Park (SATEP), the Planning and Regulatory Committee of Surrey County Council will finally hear and determine the application by SITA for the installation of an incinerator at the existing site of the Waste Transfer Station at Charlton Lane.
The agenda for the special meeting of the Planning & Regulatory Committee to be held at 10.30am on 30 June 2011 at County Hall Kingston, is now available on the SCC website.
In common with Charlton Village and Shepperton residents, LOSRA remains implacably opposed to this most unwelcome proposal and speakers are lined up to speak against it at the Planning and Regulatory Committee. Residents who may have a couple of hours to spare on Thursday morning are urged to attend and support the opposition.
LOSRA receives frequent queries about the future of the former Met. Police Cadet Training College in Green Street.
We have now heard that a telephone auction to sell the property was held on Friday 10th June.
Estate Agent Knight Frank received a number of offers for the property, and it is expected to take up to two months to confirm a successful bid.
Details of interested parties have not been revealed.
The Sunbury & Shepperton Arts Association is delighted to announce this year's Arts Festival which runs from 9-17 July. Attached is a copy of this year's leaflet which details all the events.
DRAMAThe festival opens with a production of A Voyage Round My Father by Shepperton Players and, later in the week, Elizabeth Mansfield, who has previously performed in Sunbury to strong acclaim, returns with a production featuring the drama and music of Edith Piaf and Bertolt Brecht. This will doubtless be of particular interest to ‘A’ level drama students.
MUSICFollowing their success at last year’s Festival, Ardente Opera returns with an evening of operatic scenes featuring members of the National Opera Studio and the Royal Academy of Music. Popular local pianist, Peter Croser, will also perform an afternoon recital, followed by tea, and St Nicolas Church in Shepperton will be the venue for the Maria Sanger and Dawn Johnston who will perform a concert of Baroque Music on Recorder, Theorbo, Baroque Guitar and Lute.
WORKSHOPSIn addition there will be three workshops on offer. Adult participants can learn Batik or Sugarcraft and can take home the results of their efforts. And specially for children there will be a Ukulele Workshop followed by a concert for all ages. Workshop participants will perform in the concert, led by Ukulele pro, Clive Harvey. Numbers on all the workshops are limited so early booking is advised.
The festival will also host an Historical Walk in Sunbury, guided by Nick Pollard, and the Centre’s Studio will also be the venue for an exhibition of local photographer Vic Kettle’s work. Finally there is even a talk on the Art of Libya for those keen to know more about the country in these troubled times.
Visit the SSAA website at www.ssaa-arts.org for further information and tickets or call the Box Office on 01932 782788.
The Church Administrator at the Open Door Church, Green Street invites all to attend their annual Community Fun Day to be held at Springfield School, Nursery Road. The event, which will be held between 1pm - 4pm this Saturday 2nd July, is free to our local community (except ice creams which are available to be bought). Attractions include a barbecue, refreshments, Go Karts, Bouncy castles & inflatable games, sumo wrestling, Kidz Klub games, football, toddler area, crafts, ambulance and fire engine, face & nail painting, live music and the Tea Pot – a child free zone.
The Fun Day has been held for several years now and last year attracted just under 1000 visitors to the Event!
The Sunbury Summer Market will be held on Sunday June 26th to coincide with Sunbury Open Gardens Day (See article of 13th June below). Stalls selling crafts, gifts, foods and goodies will be on Avenue Parade from 11.00-16.00.
Familiar events which we know many local residents look forward to and which are now a fixture of summer weekends in Lower Sunbury are taking place again this year.
The Open Gardens Day takes place on Sunday 26th June, with six local domestic gardens (including one designed by a Hampton Court Flower Show Gold Medal designer) being opened by their owners for the day between 11am and 5pm.
Programmes which give entry to the gardens will be available for £4.00 in advance or £5.00 on the day from Skinners Newsagents in Avenue Parade and the Embroidery Gallery. There will also be a raffle, lunches in the Church Hall and a children's competition. The raffle prizes include a 40" TV, food processor and tickets to Hampton Court Flower Show.
Details of the forthcoming Picnic in the Park event will be published on this Site shortly.
PC Caroline Barnes publishes her report for the month of May. Readers will be glad to see that 3 arrests have been made following a serious assault on a youngster opposite Croysdale Avenue during which he suffered grievous bodily harm.
After numerous delays and postponements, and following a strong legal challenge by LOSRA, Charlton Village and Shepperton residents (See entry for 8th March), a revised planning application to develop an Eco Park at Charlton Lane, Shepperton has been submitted to the County Planning Authority by SITA Surrey.
The application has now been provisionally scheduled to be considered at a Special Meeting of the Surrey County Council Planning and Regulatory Committee on 30 June 2011.
A newsletter to update local residents about the new date and explain the reasons for the delay in the application being considered has been forwarded to LOSRA by SCC for notification to residents; and may be viewed by clicking here.
The leaflet actually says almost nothing new of substance except that consultation will take place with the Health and Safety Executive after planning permission has been obtained. In particular they fail to mention or explain that the revised plan is for disposal not recovery; nor do they mention the serious safety concerns raised by objectors about co-location of a dangerous experiment with a Community Recycling Centre (about which SITA were ignorant and the HSE were originally unaware). The flyer is silent on these points and its value as a public information vehicle is therefore very limited.
LOSRA remains implacably opposed to the EcoPark and invites you to spend a few moments to read the briefing note compiled by a resident LOSRA member and campaigner against the proposed Eco Park. Readers who have not been kept abreast of developments or who would like to know more about the political and profit-making imperatives which lie behind the proposed Scheme may like to read his very interesting thoughts on the subject by clicking here.
The author is a Member of the Institute of Electrical Engineers, a Member of the Institute of Physics, A Member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing and a Master of Business Administration. Design engineering and research are his fields of specialisation.