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Tuesday, 10 July 2012 10:28

LOSRA Requests SoS 'Call in' on Football and Athletics Stadium

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Further to the article published on this Site on Wednesday 23rd May, LOSRA has now formally requested that the application by Elmbridge Borough Council be 'called in' by the Secretary of State.  The following email was sent today:

Dear Sir/Madam,

Re: Land Adjacent to Xcel Leisure Complex, Waterside Drive, Walton on Thames KT12 2JG, Ref: 2012/1185, Elmbridge Borough Council, Civic Centre, High Street, Esher, Surrey, KT10 9SD - Richard Morris, Head of Planning Services, email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Further to recent correspondence from Mrs Muriel Bankhead, I write on behalf of this Association to support the request for a call-in by the Secretary of State in relation to the above application on the grounds that it falls within the criteria for the Secretary of State to 'call in'; namely, that it is "a development that could have significant effects beyond its immediate locality".

The Borough of Spelthorne has a duty as the local planning authority to prepare proposals for the preservation and enhancement of its conservation areas (S.71 Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation areas) Act 1990) and it has acquitted itself of this duty as far as it falls within its remit do do so.

The character of any area derives primarily from its physical form both visually and from the expression of history which it represents; and secondly from the uses and activities within the area. A number of distinct elements have had an influence on the development of the Lower Sunbury Conservation Area and its character today, not the least of which is the River Thames and the residents or visitors, who enjoy its amenity.

In the nineteenth century many visitors began to be attracted to Lower Sunbury to use punts and rowing boats on the River. Recreational boating has in the last century largely taken the place of freight river traffic and both moored and moving boats remain a distinctive feature of Lower Sunbury. It goes without saying that views both towards and from the River Thames are one of the most important characteristics of the Conservation Area.

Alongside the River Thames to the south of Thames Street areas of open space provide direct views from the Conservation Area to the River and beyond. They provide both windows to the River and an important green backcloth for views from the River. The interspersing of these open spaces between building development is a very distinctive feature of the Conservation Area. In particular, Kings Lawn is a sloping grassy area opposite St. Mary's Church and the old brick wall boundary of Sunbury Park. It is a popular area for walking, sitting and fishing; and provides mooring for private and hire boats.

Whilst PPG2 has been superceded by The National Planning Policy Framework, para. 81 of the NPPF is quite specific: "....local planning authorities should plan positively to enhance the beneficial use of the Green Belts such as....to retain and enhance landscapes, visual amenity and biodiversity. This obligation is most certainly not confined to areas which fall within the purview of one local authority area alone but must necessarily extend to those adjoining it. This is a woeful oversight on the part of Elmbridge Borough Council who, it would seem, are minded to approve their own application.

Furthermore, as para. 89, NPPF allows for the provision of appropriate facilities for outdoor sport and outdoor recreation....it contains the important qualification: "as long as it preserves the openness of the Green belt". In this respect the application manifestly fails to meet the requirement when viewed from the River or its northern bank.

I would be grateful if this request for 'call-in' could be treated as urgent. It is intended that the application will be determined by the LPA on Tuesday 10th July, 2012.

Yours faithfully,

John Hirsh,

Hon. Chairman,

Lower Sunbury Residents' Association (LOSRA)


  • Comment Link Remy Smith Monday, 23 July 2012 10:09 posted by Remy Smith

    Does Mr Stephenson want Port of London Authority and the Environment Agency to stem the flow of the river Thames over the weir due to the flatulence of the noise it makes?

    What about banning cars & street lighting from Thames Street between 9pm and 6am due to disrupted sleep & light pollution.

    Anything else the wise folk of Lower Sunbury can campaign against to make themselves look even more ridiculous?


  • Comment Link Richard Stephenson Thursday, 12 July 2012 19:17 posted by Richard Stephenson

    Re Walton Leisure Centre plans.
    Thanks for your assistance in this. I would not have known about it at all but for the manager of the Weir Hotel sending us the details of it to support their campaign against it, even though I am directly across the river from it.
    I subsequently sent the following email to Elmbridge B.C. and a similar one to Spelthorne:

    To ; Elmbridge B. C. Planning Dept.

    Parke Road
    TW16 6BS

    9th May 2012

    Dear Sir/Madam.

    Your ref: 2012/1185
    Land Adj. Xcel Leisure Complex. KT12 2JG

    I regret the delay in sending you this, but it was caused by the fact that your notification of the above Planning Application, which was dated 12th April 2012, was not received until early May, which made sending these objections within 21 days impossible !

    I wish to register objections to the proposals to create sports pitches and a sports arena with elevated seating etc. in the open fields adjoining Walton Leisure Centre, for the following reasons :

    1/ The use of the facilities proposed will create unacceptable noise nuisance to myself and my neighbours in Parke Road. There is only the River Thames between us and the proposed pitches and arena and sound travels far more easily and clearly over water than it does over land.

    2/ The floodlights will cause serious Light Pollution and Light Nuisance to my neighbours and myself. The flood lights on the pitches existing at present on this site still cause occasional nuisance even though measures were eventually taken to reduce the problem after they were first erected several years ago. The nuisance from them is slightly reduced in the Summer by large trees on the Island in the river slightly upstream of us (though not in the Winter when the leaves are gone from the trees), but the proposed developments will not even have the benefit of their limited screening effect, as they will be directly across the river from us without the Island and it’s trees being in the way.

    3/ The developments as proposed will spoil the present Semi-rural and Green Character of the Riverbank at this site. At present the Riverside in this area benefits from an open aspect over green fields but the effect of this proposal is to put a big and unsightly arena building right in the middle of it, which will be an eyesore to river users.

    Although this development may escape Green Belt requirements on the technicality of its proposed use, it is contrary to the spirit of the Green Belt.

    If, and only if, it can be shown that there is an overwhelming need for all these facilities, I would suggest that the sports arena with elevated seating, clubhouse and stands all be moved back from the river to the middle of the site, with the various pitches on the far side of them, away from the river. This would help to mitigate the nuisance to us from their noise and floodlights and would minimise the damage to the Riverside’s Tranquil Character.
    Screening by large trees would help further.
    Moving the new car park to the otherwise unused area by the road (Waterside Drive) would also help.
    The Picnic Area, Playground Area, Outdoor Gym Area and Open Space could then be put over by the River. In this position they would in fact enhance the Riverside’s Character and would also help reduce the detrimental effects of the other parts of the development both to the River and to the residents of Parke Road.

    Yours faithfully

    Richard A. Stephenson

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