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News

View our Hinchley Wood Residents Association Newsletters here.

CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19)


For the latest updates on Elmbridge Borough and Surrey County Council services during the coronavirus emergency, visit: https://www.elmbridge.gov.uk/news/coronavirus-covid-19-updates/

Elmbridge Borough Council have now issued guidance on volunteering in connection with the epidemic, as follows:

How can I get involved in helping others?
If you would like more information on volunteering and to register your interest, please visit Central Surrey Voluntary Action.

A Community helpline is also in operation on 0300 200 1008 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm)

We are sure we will all want to pull together as a community in this unprecedented situation, and if you have any comments or suggestions, please contact us via enquiries@hinchleywood.org.uk.  You can also follow our group page on Nextdoor and post comments and suggestions there: https://nextdoor.co.uk/g/ta66dae6u/


GOVERNMENT BACKS DOWN ON PLANNING POLICY AND UNITARY AUTHORITY


In a July 2021 speech to the Local Government Association Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick backtracked on the government’s pledge to undertake root and branch reform of the planning system. He told council leaders that there was “no need to rip up” the system. 

This is an encouraging development, reflecting among other things a backlash among voters in the South East against proposals which would have removed much local control over planning decisions under a zonal approach with developments in so-called “growth” areas receiving automatic outline planning permission. The result of the Chesham and Amersham by-election and (closer to home) the loss of long time Conservative stronghold Cobham & Downside to a LibDem candidate in the recent Elmbridge Council by-election will no doubt have concentrated ministers’ minds on the political consequences of their previous approach.

On 21st July the government published  of a new National Planning Policy Framework and National Model Design Code. The government’s claim is that these will put “ beauty at the heart of the local planning system. [The] changes will create a system where local people are empowered to set standards for beauty and design in their area through local design codes. These codes will reflect their area’s unique aesthetics, culture and heritage, with tree lined streets accompanying new developments”. It sounds good in principle, but it remains to be seen what it will mean in practice.

These documents can be seen at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/national-planning-policy-framework and https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-model-design-code

This change of tack follows a previous two-pronged attack on local accountability.


1 In 2020 Surrey County Council (SCC) is proposed to abolish the current 11 Borough and District Councils (including Elmbridge Borough Council) in the county, and replace them with a single unitary authority – Surrey County Council.
.
Crucial decisions (e.g. on planning) would have been be removed from the control of local councillors who know their communities in detail, and put in the hands of a remote authority with scant knowledge of the local area, let alone any real concerns for, or interest in, the impact of their decision making.


However, on 21st September 2020 Robert Jenrick (Secretary of State for Local Government) announced that "No. 10 were not prepared to progress a local government restructuring as part of the devolution white paper". The leader of Surrey County Council acknowledged that "this effectively kills our bid".

2.
Government’s Planning White Paper ‘Planning for the Future’ was published in August 2020, whose avowed aim, in Boris Johnson’s words, was to ‘tear down [the current planning system] and start again’.

The proposals included a much truncated local plan process and the creation of three ‘zones’ for development - Protected, Renewal and Growth - with a stronger presumption in favour of development.

This was accompanied by a ‘Changes to the Current Planning System’ paper, driven by algorithms, to define the number of homes to be delivered. Development would be sanctioned simply by the Secretary of State without much scrutiny, or the need to justify this way of forcing higher building numbers on councils like Elmbridge where affordability, irrespective of how many houses are built, will always be an issue.

HWRA welcomes the subsequent abandonment of these proposals.


Click here to view the HWRA response, and those from our M.P., Dominic Raab

Other relevant documents and resources:


Surrey County Council Leader's letter to the Secretary of State proposing a single unitary authority for Surrey.

https://www.tcpa.org.uk/planning-white-paper-faqs

https://www.planoraks.com/posts-1/planning-reform-day

https://www.architectsjournal.co.uk/news/local-design-codes-included-in-far-reaching-reform-of-planning-system

NEW ACORN TICKET FOR BUS SERVICES IN NORTH SURREY

From 1st September 2018, a new multi-operator bus ticket called Acorn has been introduced, giving unlimited travel for a day or week on most services in Elmbridge, Runnymede and Spelthorne and the eastern part of Woking.

When Abellio ceased to be the operator of most services in north Surrey, several different operators took over and tickets were not transferable. The new Acorn ticket can be used across services of multiple operators, making travelling with more than one operator easy and offering better value.

It will be sold by 13 different operators covering 33 local bus services. Tickets can be bought on the first bus used, with a day ticket costing £7 and a weekly ticket £30 (children travel at half fare).

A leaflet giving full details, including a map of the services covered, can be downloaded here .


RENOVATION OF MEMORIAL GARDENS

 

With the benefit of a £5000 grant from Elmbridge council's Community Planting Fund and a £1000 contribution from HWRA, work has now been completed to remove overgrown  trees and shrubs and replace them with new, more attractive, planting. Sadly, the large willow tree in the gardens was found to be in a dangerous condition, having neared the end of its natural life, and had to be felled.  We hope nevertheless that residents will agree that the gardens are much improved.  You can download a PowerPoint  presentation with before & after pictures  here.

TRAVELLERS

Elmbridge Borough Council has been granted a three year protective injunction banning the setting up of unauthorised encampments and fly-tipping on all identified public land. Following on from the recent three-month injunction granted in August 2018, on Thursday 8 November the High Court extended that injunction for a further three years. The injunction covers all of the Borough’s parks, open spaces and car parks.

The injunction prevents any individual from occupying land or depositing waste as well as stopping anyone from entering, or occupying any part of the land for residential purposes, including caravans, mobile homes and vehicles. This has proved a very effective deterrent during the temporary injunction. It will also avoid the Council's having to obtain court orders for the removal of these encampments, which can take several days to obtain, and will authorise High Court enforcement officers to move people on if they take no notice of the injunction order. Failure to do so can result in imprisonment, fines or seizure of assets.

The Council evidenced large-scale fly-tipping and the cost of clearing it, damage to gates and barriers, lost parking income and the large increase in the number and size of recent encampments as well as the significant impact on communities living adjacent to each encampment and the loss of community facilities during the summer.

2018 has seen an unprecedented increase in levels of unauthorised encampments in Elmbridge, totalling 27 on public parks and open spaces as well as other recent encampments on privately-owned land such as Painshill Park. The size of these encampments has also risen dramatically with some encampments being over 60 vehicles in size.

LITTER PICKING

Come rain or shine, the HWRA litter picking team goes out one Saturday in every month to tidy up around the village. If you would like to join them in this community work, please contact Roy Turner on 020 8398 1565 or email roy60janet@gmail.com .

ELMBRIDGE LOCAL PLAN

The development of the Local Plan is now nearing a conclusion.  It is expected that the final version will be put out to consultation in autumn 2021.

In July 2021, a proposal from planning officers which would have involved the release of Green Belt land for development was rejected by councillors, with the  portfolio holder for planning, Residents councillor Karen Randolph, stating that Green Belt land should not be used “to accommodate an unproven and unsubstantiated housing target handed down by central government… [which] was not supported by the exceptional circumstances as set out in the evidence base documents”.

Previous history of the Local Plan process:


Elmbridge Borough Council was obliged by central government to produce a new Local Plan, with a target of providing  9345 new homes in the Borough over the next 15 years.  This new Plan was to replace the council’s Core Strategy (adopted in 2011) which contains strategic planning policies, and the Development Management Plan (adopted in 2015).  The timeline for the whole process is shown in the image. 

 

Third round of consultation

In 2020 the process entered a third round of consultations, focussing on a Development Management Plan containing detailed day-to-day planning policies. This followed the first two Local Plan consultations held in 2016 and 2019, which were focused on the strategic issues, such as the location of new homes and what should be included in the vision for the Local Plan. 

 

The purpose of this the third Local Plan consultation was twofold:

 

         1. The first part of the document shared the council’s proposed objectives and themes for the Local Plan, looking ahead to what the borough might be like in 15 years’ time. 

          2. The second part of the document asked for views on the approach to the detailed policies.

 

The Local Plan is intended to have a central role in reducing carbon dioxide emissions and supporting the transition to a low carbon future, as well as delivering improvements to flood risk, air quality, recycling and waste management. The council would like your views on the proposed policy directions. The consultation also has questions on the Elmbridge economy, and on the health and wellbeing of local communities through environments that promote and support physical and mental wellbeing.

 

The consultation opened on Monday January 27 and closed at midnight on Monday 9 March. The document can be viewed at http://www.elmbridge.gov.uk/localplan2020.

Second round of consultation


The previous (second) round of consultations  was in 2019.  The consultation document on the options then presented can be seen at: http://consult.elmbridge.gov.uk/consult.ti . This link also provides access to an interactive map detailing the effects of the various options.

 
The three options considered in the first round were increased to five, with various combinations of more intense urban area development and release of Green Belt land.   Some of the options would open the way to potential development on the Long Ditton Green Belt adjacent to Hinchley Wood (Local Area 58), and on lands adjacent to Hillcrest Gardens, Avondale Avenue and Heathside - see map.  However, the Council made no recommendation as to a preferred option.


In a December 2019 update, the Council reported that responses to the Options Consultation had been read, analysed and reported to Councillors.
 

6,554 completed questionnaires and 94 formal representations were received. A Consultation Statement was published which set out the key issues raised. This and all of the comments received are available to view on the consultation portalhttps://consult.elmbridge.gov.uk/consult.ti.  

 

85% of the responses favoured Option 4 – the one which avoids releasing Green Belt land for development, but which does not meet the central government's target for the number of new dwellings to be planned for.

 

The HWRA response to the second consultation, indicating that option 4 was our preferred option, can be downloaded here.

First round of consultation

A copy of the HWRA response to the first round of consultation in 2017 consultation can be seen here .

 

An action group, Save HWLD Green Belt , has been formed to campaign against development on the local green belt and to seek 'Village Green' status for Stokes Field and One Tree Hill, thus ensuring that it could not be built on. The group's latest flyer, giving suggestions as to how residents might wish to respond to the consultation, can be downloaded here.  The Group's previous flyer, including information about the Village Green application, can be downloaded here.
Please note that the group is independent of HWRA.

Residents are also encouraged to sign up for planning consultation alerts and notifications via https://www.elmbridge.gov.uk/planning/planning-policy/get-involved-in-planning/

SURREY COUNTY COUNCIL PARKING MAP



Surrey County Council have published an interactive map of parking restrictions in the county.


This can be seen at:

https://www.surreycc.gov.uk/roads-and-transport/parking/restrictions-and-controls/interactive-map-of-parking-controls-in-surrey.

DOORSTEP PEDLARS



So-called 'Nottingham Knockers' have been causing problems in the neighbourhood recently. These young men, often claiming to be ex-offenders on probation schemes go door-to-door peddling small household items such as tea towels. If turned away they can become abusive. They may also be involved in reconnoitring properties with a view to more serious crime such as burglary or exploitation of elderly vulnerable residents. Residents are advised not to make any purchases from these people, as this may encourage further activity in the area, and to report  sightings to the police on 101. This will help the police to build up a picture of where and when these activities are taking place, and take action to put a stop to them.

Read more  (external site)

ALLOTMENT AVAILABLE


Looking for a new activity to take up for the lockdown and beyond?  An allotment has become available at the Hillcrest Gardens site.  For details, contact Sue Haig-Brown  at hbsuep@gmail.com


 

Councillor Nigel Haig-Brown

020 8398 4060

nigel.haig-brown@hinchleywood.org.uk

Councillor Janet Turner

020 8398 1565

janet.turner@hinchleywood.org.uk

Get In Touch

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