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 2023 are now payable.
Another coup for Sunbury CC, as we welcome touring Texan blues star - writer/singer/guitarist/harmonica player - one of the greats of modern era blues, and a friend and disciple of the late Bo Diddley. "The funk of the gulf coast New Orleans, the sweat of good ol' boy Texas boogie, the soul of up the river Memphis, and the smooth sophistication of the big city NY". One absolutely not to be missed, and tickets are available for advanced sale now: www.hamiltonloomis.com. For the poster, please click here.
Whilst recognising the comparative merits of both applications by London Irish in respect of their Avenue site, it has always been our intention to oppose any development of this important area of protected urban open space; and our letter of representation may be viewed by clicking here.
Likewise, our opposition to the development of Hazelwood Golf Centre remains undiminished. To view this letter of representation, click here.
After 5 years of loyal service to LOSRA residents, PC Barnes announces that she is leaving us for a while and will be replaced by PC Sophie Knight during her absence. Other news includes an invitation to notify police of any street parties planned for the Diamond Jubilee.
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A public consultation on the two Supplementary Planning Documents: Flooding; and Housing Size and Type, has been announced by the Council. The following is the emailed announcement received by LOSRA who will be responding in time to meet the deadline. Any resident who wishes to contribute should do so by following the instructions described below.
I am writing to let you know that Spelthorne Borough Council is due to start a four week public consultation on the final drafts of the above two documents. Attached are copies of the two SPDs and further supporting documents. I invite you to let us have your views by Monday 28 May 2012. Representations are encouraged to be submitted using the on-line form: http://www.spelthorne.gov.uk/AF3/an/default.aspx/RenderForm/?F.Name=avcagjrbzsn . They can also be submitted by post or email using the attached response form (one form for each SPD), but please only use one of the alternative methods of response.
The purpose of the Flooding SPD is to elaborate on Policy LO1 set out in the Council’s Core Strategy and Policies Development Plan Document (DPD). It is intended to ensure that the Council provides clear guidance on the factors which need to be taken into account in preparing and determining applications for development in areas of flood risk. The SPD in particular provides further guidance on how flood risk may be managed.
The purpose of the Housing Size and Type SPD is to elaborate on Policy HO4 set out in the Council’s Core Strategy and Policies DPD. It is intended to ensure that the Council secures the right mix of dwellings providing one, two, three and four plus bedrooms in new development, so that, together with the existing housing stock, the housing needs of the Borough are best met. The SPD in particular provides further guidance on the dwelling mix required in developments which incorporate an element of affordable housing.
Subject to the outcome of this consultation, the Council intends to formally adopt these SPDs later this year. Further details on the preparation and consultation process are set out in the accompanying Consultation Statement.
If you would like any further information or have any queries on the above matters please do not hesitate to contact me.
John Brooks Bsc DipTP DMS MRTPI MCMI
Deputy Head of Planning and Housing Strategy
Spelthorne Borough Council
Council Offices, Knowle Green, Staines TW18 1XB
Tel: (01784) 446346
LOSRA has received a number of enquiries regarding a Diamond Jubilee street party which was to have taken place in Hawke Park on 3rd June. It would appear that the planned event has now been cancelled; and that the cancellation has been greeted by a mixed response from residents in the neighbourhood.
We would like to point out that LOSRA was not instrumental in the organisation of the event, nor that we had any involvement from its inception or during its planning stages. We would also therefore like to confirm that we made no representations to the Council or any other parties in respect of the event's feasibility. This disclaimer is intended only as a courtesy to inform members that any enquiries should be directed to the organisers rather than to LOSRA.
Following discussions between local campaigners, the Planning Office and Linden Homes, an amended application has now been submitted for the Police College site in Green Street. This application represents a reduction in density of 5 dwellings but does not in any way meet the concerns of local residents. The density is still considered to be far too high when measured against the context of established developments in the immediate area; and, despite strong objections, Linden Homes has retained the site access in Green Street. Details of the revised application may be viewed by clicking here.
At £5 on the door, the next event at Sunbury Cricket Club this Thursday 19th April is something of an experiment, as the gig falls on a Thursday since it was the only night Melanie had available during her mini-tour. It is hoped everyone will still be keen to come out, as the Club is also venturing into slightly different musical territory with some electric folk. It's hoped that the event could prove to be another rich musical seam to be mined in the future.
SCC welcomes Melanie Harrold, a fine singer/songwriter who made her name at Jasper Carrott’s Boggery Club and made two excellent albums for DJM in the 70s, first as Joanna Carlin and then reverting to her own name, produced by Hugh Murphy at the same time as he made the landmark “City To City” album with Gerry Rafferty. She went on to front the legendary Hank Wangford Band in the 80s, singing their unique brand of comedy country in the role of Irma Cetas, “the Vera Lynn of the North Sea oilfields”, alongside Gary Taylor, B.J Cole and Andy Roberts, before returning to her folk roots and making the marvellous Daphne’s Flight CD in 1995 with four other female folk luminaries. This gig is part of a mini-tour to promote her re-issue of her two 70s LPs on CD. Melanie's not only a very talented performer, but is also a real personality and raconteur, with a fount of stories from her varied career. It should be an entertaining evening.
LOSRA is aware that many residents have concerns about the Skatepark in Green Street and the subject has been the subject of much discussion at the Police Neighbourhood Panel meetings. The nuisances associated with the Park are now being taken up by local councillor Suzy Webb who will be leading a Task Group to get to grips with the problems that are being experienced by the community as a result of the misuse of the facility. Her remit will also include problems relating to poor workmanship on the original contract and the present arrangements for security and maintenance.
Local schools have been contacted to establish whether any problems have been experienced with late attendance and truanting; and one of the school governors will be meeting with Cllr. Webb to discuss the issues. Cllr. Webb has also visited the site several times and spoken to the youngsters using the park who have nominated one of their number to act as a spokesman. Decent lighting, a proper information/noticeboard and litter clearance are uppermost in the list of priorities.
The Spring Newsletter is with the printers and house-to-house distribution should commence from Wednesday 11th April. It makes for heavy reading in parts but regrettably this is inevitable given the seriousness of some of the issues we currently face. Persevere with it to get a complete update on what's going on in Lower Sunbury.
Click here to view the Spring Newsletter Online
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For those who missed the story in a recent edition of the Surrey Herald (Chris Caulfield), it was reported that following a Freedom of Information request, it has emerged that at least 29 secret meetings between Surrey County Council and its eco-park partners took place after threats were made to pull the financial plug on the project.
No records were kept to show how decisions behind building the behemoth in Spelthorne were reached, it has emerged.
Campaigners and councillors have been fighting plans to build an anaerobic digester and gasification plant in Charlton Lane, Shepperton, since the proposals arose as part of the county’s £863m waste Private Finance Initiative (PFI) deal.
But despite repeated requests to discover how and why the site was chosen, they have hit a brick wall as the county did not keep records of key meetings with its eco-park partners.
The majority of meetings were project board sessions chaired by Trevor Pugh, strategic director for environment and infrastructure at the county council.
Lower Sunbury and Halliford county councillor Caroline Nichols said: “In my view, this lack of information means proper scrutiny was never done on the eco-park proposal.
“To approve the eco-park at Charlton Lane, very special circumstances had to be shown as to why there was no alternative to the application.
“If perfectly good alternative schemes did exist which could use other sites, it follows that the planning committee wasn’t really in a position to judge whether it had to give up green belt at Charlton Lane.”
In May 2010, the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) wrote to Ian Boast, head of waste and sustainability, saying it was keen to see tangible progress on the eco-park.
Defra stated the next milestone would be planning approval, after previous efforts to build versions of the plans were rejected at Trumps Farm near Chertsey, and in Runfold, near Farnham.
If planning was not approved, Defra would advise the government the PFI contract had failed and would need to be paid back, costing the county millions.
Since that letter, there have been 29 private meetings between Defra and the county council.
Cllr Nichols said: “We know from Defra’s letter to Surrey in April 2010, [that] there was a very real threat the PFI grants would be withdrawn if Surrey didn’t get a move on with the eco-park project.
“Without any minutes to show for subsequent meetings, the public has no way of knowing what promises Surrey made to Defra. With such an important decision at stake, this lack of transparency is not, in my view, in the public interest.”
A county council spokesman said: “The Project Board is an advisory, not decision-making body. It is made up of officers examining issues and preparing reports to give councillors all the information and guidance they need to make the best possible decisions to benefit Surrey residents.
“As such, it is not a requirement for minutes to be produced, though individual officers will be responsible for the delivery of actions agreed.
“To announce every meeting to the public and produce minutes would take up a disproportionate amount of time and resources better spent delivering services to residents."
LOSRA Comment: No one would disagree with the general point about the production of minutes for minor or inconsequential project work, and this Association would be the first to support measures for reducing bureaucracy and needless expense. However, The 'EcoPark' project is of an entirely different order of magnitude - and it has been from its inception. It must have been obvious from the outset that the project would be hugely controversial, and that the requirement for rigorous accountability and transparency at all stages, to have been an absolute given. Not so it seems. Skulduggery at SCC over the Eco Park project has always been suspected and the Surrey Herald report does nothing to assuage that suspicion.
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.
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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.