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.
The Planning and Regulatory Committee of Surrey County Council is due to consider the application to instal the highly controversial 'Eco Park' on 8th March, 3pm at County Hall, Kingston. Readers will be aware that this Association, together with Charlton Village Residents' Association (CVRA) and Shepperton Against The Eco Park (SATEP), has expressed serious reservations as to the suitability of the site at Charlton Lane. In particular two of our Committee members have consistently raised the subject of public safety, questioning how this is to be achieved by the co-location of the Community Recycling Centre and the proposed incinerator.
These concerns seem to have fallen on deaf ears during the consultation/liaison process and were therefore raised with the Health and Safety Executive direct. As a consequence The HSE has now issued a memorandum which, we must assume, will be taken into account at the hearing of the application. The following paragraph is of particular significance:
"Relevant guidance for the safe design and operation of such plant has been produced by the European Commission, with input from the HSE. Particular recommendations in this Guidance that do not appear to be achieved by the proposals include the effective separation of people from the fire, explosion and toxic hazards arising in the gasification plant. The risks to people are compounded by integrating the education and visitors centre within the gasification building and providing public viewing windows into the process areas. Further risks may arise to the large numbers of general public who are coming on site to unload their waste. The waste is being fed into the gasification unit but good design practice recommends that the storage and reception area for waste be separated from the gasification unit by distance or high performance fire curtain."
We have however learned from bitter experience that we can take nothing for granted. We have instructed Peter Village QC, the Lead Counsel for Capel Parish Council who succeeded in overturning an earlier planning approval by SCC under the Surrey Waste Plan; and his opinion will be delivered in good time for the hearing.
More Funding Required!
Members of the three combined groups (LOSRA, CVRA & SATEP) have devoted many hundreds of hours of their free time to fighting this application. An appeal by our SCC District Councillor, and local ward member, Caroline Nichols to use her neighbourhood grants to fund the legal aid on behalf of residents has been declined, as has LOSRA's request for funding from Spelthorne Borough Council. What this means is that residents are on their own. Whilst our coffers will go some way to meeting the legal costs, it is imperative that we raise more. Existing members renewing their memberships and new members enrolling via the PayPal facility above would greatly assist. If, additionally, you are able to spare even just a few extra pounds, please go to http://satep.moonfruit.com/ to make a donation.
Figures published by the Office of National Statistics last week show that there are 73,239 people registered to vote in Spelthorne. Although this is a large proportion of residents, this still leaves many who could miss out on their chance to vote.
Roberto Tambini, Chief Executive of Spelthorne Borough Council, said: "Residents need to act now if they are to vote at the Spelthorne Council Elections and UK Referendum on the voting system to the UK Parliament taking place on Thursday, 5th May. If they are not registered to vote, they will not have the opportunity to have their say".
Phillippa Saray from the Electoral Commission, the independent elections watchdog, adds: "Residents may also be planning to be away on 5th May, given the extra Bank Holiday for the Royal Wedding, so it's worth applying now to vote by post or proxy if that will suit your plans. You can print off the forms from www.aboutmyvote.co.uk. It takes just a few minutes and then you are all set for 5th May."
Anyone who has moved house in the past few months needs to register their new address. Residents can request a registration form by calling Electoral Services on 01784 446238 / 01784 446232 or by printing off a registration form from www.aboutmyvote.co.uk
The Friends of Sunbury Library invite you to a special event: A coffee morning on Friday 4th March from 10am till midday.
Coffee & cake for just 25pence. The Event will be held at Sunbury Library.
The Sunbury and Shepperton Arts Association is holding a morning coffee concert and recital at the Riverside Arts Centre, Thames Street, on Saturday 5th March, from 10.15am - 11am. Ben Woodley will be playing piano.
Tickets cost £7.50, including coffee and croissant. To book, call 01932 782788.
The Sunbury Embroidery Gallery at the Walled Garden, Thames Street, will hold a clematis pruning day in association with the British Clematis Society.
Members of the Society will be in attendance on Saturday, March 5th from 10.30am to 12.30; and from 2pm to 3.30pm, handing out tips and seeds to visitors.
Since 2nd February when the Planning and Regulatory Committee approved the permanent retention of the Waste Transfer Station at Charlton Lane, two matters have arisen which have necessitated the application to be referred back to the P&RC on 25th February. As a consequence of this, the full application for the installation of the 'Eco Park' will not now be heard until the P&RC meet on 8th of March.
In collaboration with Charlton Village Residents' Association and other community representatives, LOSRA continues its vigorous opposition to this application; but for opposition to be effective, additional funding is essential. Please visit: http://satep.moonfruit.com/ to make a donation.
Spelthorne Borough Council has prepared a 2nd draft of the Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) following representations made by LOSRA and other interested parties. Subject to any further comments the Council intends to adopt the revised SPD later this year.
The 2nd draft SPD sets out the development and design principles which will be used to guide residential development throughout the Borough and is intended to assist designers and homeowners. The guidance amplifies parts of policy EN1 (Design of New Development) included in the Council's Core Strategy and Policies Development Plan Document, and will be used by the Council in making decisions on planning applications.
The draft SPD is available for inspection at the Council Offices and at public libraries; and is also available free to view/download here.
The consultation period will run for a six week period from Wednesday 16th February to 5pm on Wednesday 30th March 2011. Representations may be submitted via the online form or by post to: Planning Services, Council Offices, Knowle Green, Staines TW18 1XB. Copies of the form may be obtained from the local library or Council Offices or by downloading from the Council Website.
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.