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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The Planning Committee met on Wednesday 9th February to consider further information submitted by London Irish in their attempt to reduce the grounds of objection to their development proposals at The Avenue and at Hazelwood Golf Club. The Planning Officer recommended that there were insufficient grounds to maintain the objection to loss of an attractive landscape at Hazelwood; and that the potential for traffic congestion in The Avenue had not been established by the Highways Authority.
The Vice Chairman of the Planning Committee agreed; and argued that the removal of these grounds for objection would not diminish, and may even strengthen, the chances of the applications being refused at the Public Inquiry on 7th June. Nevertheless, whilst there is some sympathy with this view, residents will continue to make their case when the time comes. It is they who know best about what the traffic conditions are like in The Avenue during the morning rush as things stand today, let alone before the addition of nearly 200 dwellings. Similarly, the much valued visual amenity of the golf course (a consideration recognised in Planning Law) is a matter on which residents are well qualified to comment.
The Planning Inspector will consider and weight all matters put before him whether verbally or in writing.
The Government Inspector has dismissed all three appeals involving the Environment Agency site at Fordbridge Road by Linden Homes and the EA. The Public Inquiry which, due to its complexity, overran by 2 days in November, heard spirited evidence from local residents who spoke against the applications.
This is a fantastic result and will, it is hoped, bring to an end a saga which has its origins dating back over 12 years. During that period local residents have fought staunchly and won every single planning application which has been unsympathetic to the neighbourhood. The conclusions reached by the Inspector have upheld very important principles regarding the Green Belt, floodplain, wildlife conservation, to name but a few. It is an historic ruling.
It can only be hoped, after this long and unhappy history, that all parties will rethink the future of this asset especially as we now understand that the Environment Agency is to be dismantled and broken down to more manageable constituent parts.
The outcome of the SCC Planning Committee held on 2nd February to decide on the permanent allocation of Green Belt land to facilitate the Eco Park was very disappointing, though sadly, not unexpected. From start to finish it had been a political decision and this impression was reinforced by seeing The Leader of the Council, who is an ex-officio member and a champion of the Eco Park, sitting with the Committee. What other outcome could there possibly be? The objections raised by Spelthorne Borough Council who deliberated this application at length were given scant attention; in fact, only briefly mentioned in debate.
Most notable amongst the speakers was Cllr. Ernest Mallet, ironically a 'Residents Association' member for West Molesey. His seemingly dismissive comments about the local residential population drew hisses and gasps from the assembled audience. Not deterred, he then suggested that the opening hours of the Eco Park should be extended beyond 6pm to 7.30pm!
There is something uniquely unsatisfactory about:
What better illustration of a 'thumb on the scales'. It's no defence to quote the Surrey Waste Plan for that has been held to be a flawed document in the Queens Bench Division of the High Court. Whether or not the integrity of this planning process can be defended, it is perceptions that count; and those perceptions, judging from online comments to this Association, point in a very different direction.
Unsurprisingly, the application was approved by a majority with only one abstention.
There will be a showing of the rare black and white silent film of Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde at St. Mary's Church on Saturday 19th February at 7.30pm. The film will be accompanied by Geoffrey Bowyer.
The 1920 horror silent film is based upon Robert Louis Stevenson's novella, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde. The actor John Barrymore leads the cast.
The event is being put on to raise much needed funds for the repairs to the Church roof. Tickets cost £8 and may be obtained through the Box Office: 01932 232068.
The report from PC Caroline Barnes, our local Neighbourhood Safety Officer, draws particular attention to an increase in motor vehicle crime in Lower Sunbury together with some simple-to-follow crime prevention advice.
Click here to view the report
Having rejected an application by Surrey County Council to allocate permanently the Site at Charlton Lane for the 'Eco Park', a special Planning Committee was again convened on 26th January to consider the application for the actual installation of the new waste disposal facility.
A packed and jubilant public gallery witnessed the unanimous rejection of the plan with the following recommendation to Surrey County Council:
"Surrey County Council be informed that this Council VERY STRONGLY OBJECTS to the proposal for the following reasons:
a. The proposal does not satisfactorily demonstrate there are genuinely 'very special circumstances' to justify development of this Green Belt site contrary to saved Local Plan Policy GB1.
b. The scale of the proposal goes beyond the existing site boundary and results in an adverse impact on the wider area through loss of existing landscaping and development in close proximity to [private address shown] contrary to Policy EN1 of the Core Strategy and Policies DPD (Development Plan Document).
c. The height and design of the structures are conspicuous and inappropriate in this Green Belt location and, in conjunction with the position of the internal roadway and buildings, has an unacceptable impact on [private address shown].
d. The landscaping should utilise all the land in the County Council's ownership to provide maximum screening and be designed to more appropriately reflect the wider landscape character of the area."
It is emphasised that this recommendation by no means brings the matter to an end. Spelthorne Borough Council are merely statutory consultees in the planning process and the final decisions will be taken by the Planning and Regulatory Committee at Surrey County Council. (See also articles published on this site (see 11th & 21st January).
Residents will be aware that Urban Initiatives on behalf London Irish have submitted further applications to the Local Planning Authority in an attempt to counter a number of the grounds for refusal when the Planning Committee met on 27th April, 2010 at Kempton Park. These further applications will be heard at Planning Committee at the Council Chamber on 9th February at 7pm. Briefly, the applications concern the Green Belt at Hazelwood Golf Course, air pollution and noise. LOSRA has sent a representation urging the Local Planning Authority to retain the grounds for objection.
All residents are urged to attend this very important Committee.
Following an enquiry from the Chairman of LOSRA regarding the likely completion of new lane markings at Sunbury Cross, the following emailed reply has been received from the Highways Authority at Surrey County Council:
"The Sunbury Cross Scheme is currently being priced. It is hoped that once the poor weather is over it will be possible to get on with the scheme.
It is nevertheless the intention to complete the works prior to our new Contractor being on board (April 2011). Please note that it may not be possible to carry out ALL the required works at this time as the budgets may not permit this.
Residents will be delighted to hear that the Head of Local Planning Policy, on behalf of the Deputy Chief Executive, is recommending refusal of the Eco Park application. The Special Planning Committee will hear the application on Wednesday, 26th January at 7pm.
Click here to follow the link to the Agenda
If you then click on 'Report of the Deputy Chief Executive' (2nd para of item 4) you will see the recommendation is to refuse for 4 reasons. There is also a long list of issues that are recommended for conditions should Surrey decide to approve the Scheme. A query is also raised regarding the proposed Section 106 (planning gain) contribution.
The report refers to 3 appendices and 10 of the submitted plans which are all with the printed agenda. Copies of this additional material may be found on web site. The appendices are: A – factual report from Surrey CC on the application; B minutes of the Spelthorne Planning Committee which dealt with the retention application; C technical extract from the application describing the processes to take place on the site. The 10 plans are those which best convey the main elements of the scheme.
Some residents may already be aware of the sad news that Richard Worthington died over the Christmas weekend. A resident of Saxonbury Avenue for many years, and a former landscape architect, he was a prominent member of the Friends of Sunbury Park, especially interested in Orchard Meadow and Hawke Park; and was a supporter of LOSRA's stance on local planning applications - he spoke in objection to the London Irish planning applications at the special planning committee at Kempton Park. He had a stroke during the week before Christmas, and died a week later. He leaves his wife June. The funeral is at Hanworth Crenatorium on 25th Jan at 12 noon, and afterwards at Sunbury Cricket Club.
And last weekend we received the sad news that John Stamp died on Friday at Princess Alice after a 25-year battle against cancer. John, of course, designed the Sunbury Embroidery - he was formerly the chief designer at Thames Television, responsible for some famous title sequences including World At War. A trustee of the Embroidery, he continued his innovative work after the Embroidery was completed, and shortly before his death, the tactile displays for the visually impaired, cast from his three dimensional clay models of the Embroidery panels, were installed as part of stunning new modules at the Gallery. He was a remarkable personality, and despite the increasingly insidious effects of his cancer, he was still greeting visitors at the Gallery on Sundays as recently as last autumn until it became too difficult for him. His family, including his wife Jeanette, was with him when he died.
Shepperton Players present a wild west musical. The womenfolk of Aggroville are tired of the family feuding tearing up the town, and go on sex strike. That's when the men start to notice Madame Lola and her 'soiled doves'.
Wild Wild Women will bring lively songs and rootin' tootin' cowboy humour to the Riverside Arts Centre, Thames Street, from Wednesday 2nd to Saturday 5th February.
Cost is £10, group discount available. Starts at 8pm. Contact Box Office on: 0208 977 8206.
A number of residents have asked about the future of the Police College in Green Street. Since November the premises have been vacated, locked and boarded up. The Head of Planning Policy at the Council has made enquiries of the Estates Department at the Met. Police in order to find out their intentions for the future of the site.
The Met. Police have informed him that progress towards disposal is still at an early stage but they were looking to sell the property later this year.
This Website will be updated just as soon as we hear anything more concrete.
Our local Neighbourhood Safety Officer, PC Caroline Barnes gives notice of the dates and venues for the Lower Sunbury Police Panel meetings for 2011:
Please find below the dates of the Lower Sunbury Police Panel Meetings for 2011.
All of the meetings will be held at 7.30pm in The Manning Room behind St Ignatius Church, Green Street, Sunbury.
Please do take the opportunity to attend the meetings and raise any issues or concerns you may have in Lower Sunbury.
PC Caroline Barnes 3885
NSO for Lower Sunbury
The SSAA are delighted to announce their Spring 2011 series of coffee concerts at the Riverside Arts Centre. Please click here to see the leaflet giving the details.