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  • Welcome to the LOSRA Website

    Welcome to the LOSRA Website

    The Lower Sunbury Residents' Association Read More
  • Become a Member

    Become a Member

    We invite anybody interested in the issues facing Lower Sunbury to subscribe Read More
  • View Our Newletters

    View Our Newletters

    You can find all the recent LOSRA Newsletter available to download Read More
  • LOSRA's Aims

    LOSRA's Aims

    To optimise and enhance the quality of life for Lower Sunbury residents by all appropriate means Read More
  • Sunbury As It Was

    Sunbury As It Was

    Visit the LOSRA Gallery for images past and Present Read More
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Welcome to the LOSRA Website

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.

London Irish
Residents 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?).

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:

  • According to the EC Guidelines for safer Biomass gasification, such plants can never be safe; they are always managed risks requiring best practice to mitigate them. Assurances of absolute safety are simply untrue.
  • Batch gasifiers (eg.the EcoPark) burning unknown waste are a lot riskier than continuous Biomass fed gasifiers because they are harder to control and experience continuous process perturbations as feed chambers are switched. Most 'big bangs' occur at start up and shut down, as any process engineer can tell you.
  • During operation of a biomass gasification plant there is an increased hazard potential due to the fact that a potentially explosive, toxic and combustible gas mixture is produced and consumed. The producer gas and residues (ash, liquids, exhaust gases) may cause the following major hazards/risks:
    • an explosion and/or fire;
    • health damage to humans (poisoning, danger of suffocation, noise, hot surfaces, fire and explosion); and
    • pollution of the environment and plant vicinity.
  • To counteract these adverse effects, appropriate measures must be taken to meet the requirements for successful market introduction of a safe and eco-friendly biomass gasification technology;
  • The developers had neither recognised these risks in their design nor advised the Health and Safety Executive of what they were about. We did that when they would not. They have still not created a viable design; and what they propose is often the opposite to what is recommended in the Guidelines ie. UNSAFE

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.

Barnes Blues Band8.30pm 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

Spring ActivitiesThe 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

Eco ParkUnfortunately 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

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08 June 2023