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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/

Parking charges were suspended at Elmbridge council car parks at the start of the lockdown, but are due to be re-itroduced from 1st September.  Parking attendants no longer required to patrol the car parks were redeployed to help the meals on wheels service.

As the global pandemic worsens and restrictions on movement, events and social gatherings become ever more stringent, we know that many residents will want to do what they can to help their neighbours, particularly the elderly, those with underlying health conditions, and those who are self-isolating or experiencing other difficulties.

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/


LOCAL DEMOCRACY AND ACCOUNTABILITY UNDER THREAT


A two-pronged attack is under way on local communities' ability to regulate their own affairs in the interests of their residents:

1.  Surrey County Council (SCC) is proposing 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.
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Crucial decisions (e.g. on planning) would 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. Along with the government’s proposals for changes to the planning system (see below), this is another attack on local democracy and accountability.

The response of the 11 Borough and District Councils to the Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted how critical it is to have in place a local authority which has a strong relationship with the
community it serves. At a time when our local authorities should be focused on economic recovery and supporting residents, they should not be diverted into a radical restructuring of local government.

Under the criteria announced by the then Secretary of State on 22 July 2019, consideration of proposals for unitary authorities will be guided by whether:
“across the area as a whole the proposal is likely to
- improve the area's local government;
- command a good deal of local support across the area; and
- cover an area that provides a credible geography for the proposed new structures, including that any new unitary council’s population would be expected to
be in excess of 300,000. “

In our view the SCC proposal fails on the first two criteria, and on the third criterion producesan unaccountable Leviathan of an authority on a completely different scale to that envisaged.

On Tuesday 29 September, Surrey County Council will be holding an Extraordinary Council meeting to discuss the unitary proposal.

Residents are encouraged to make their views known by supporting the petition that has been organised by RASSU (Residents Against Surrey Single Unitary) - https://petitions.surreycc.gov.uk/unitary/

Update 21st September 2020: We have heard that Robert Jenrick (Secretary of State for Local Government) has indicated 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 has said that "this effectively kills our bid", but we should not discount the possibility that similar proposals may re-emerge at a later time.


2.
Government’s Planning White Paper ‘Planning for the Future’ was published in August. It is a consultation and runs until 29th October. The avowed aim, in Boris Johnson’s
words, is to ‘tear down [the current planning system] and start again’.

The proposals include a much truncated local plan process and the creation of three ‘zones’ for development - Protected, Renewal and Growth. There will be a stronger presumption in
favour of development, but the new system will be less democratic and won’t deliver any help with the response to climate change.

Alongside the  White Paper (but with a shorter consultation period – ending 1st October) is a ‘Changes to the Current Planning System’ paper, driven by algorithms, to define the number of homes to be delivered. Development can 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.

The recommended Standard Method formula raises the annual target for Elmbridge from the already unsustainable 623 to 775. This is in spite of the recently released 2018 ONS household predictions figure which indicate that Elmbridge will only need a third of this figure. This far exceeds what developers currently build. The average number of completions in Elmbridge over the last 5 years was 298 units a year, whereas the average number of permissions granted was 641.

So it isn’t the planning system which is limiting the amount of building – it is the developers who don’t want to flood the market and cause prices to drop.

Elmbridge Council has challenged the Government by engaging with our two local MPs to encourage them to change the algorithms which produce these numbers.

The new White Paper is a developer’s charter to concrete over the Green Belt. We don’t havethe space to build 775 homes every year (or anything near it) and we know it would destroy the character of our Borough. It would clearly be impossible to achieve these housing numbers without considerable incursion onto Green Belt land.

The White Paper requires affordable housing contributions only on developments of 50 or more houses (compared with the current minimum of 10), but there are few such sites in the borough, making it virtually impossible to deliver much needed affordable housing in Elmbridge.

Our planning system should provide a balance between delivering the homes we need and respecting the environment and amenities of existing residents. The Government’s plans favour developers over local communities who will have virtually no say on the area in which they live.

Taken with the Conservatives’ plans to turn Surrey into a Unitary Authority (see above), these new proposals drive a coach and horses through local democratic accountability and would damage Elmbridge forever.

The consultation is open until the 29th of October. Options for responding include via the website: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/planning-for-the-future, emailing
a response to planningforthefuture@communities.gov.uk or posting a response to Planning Directorate, 3rd Floor, Fry Building, 2 Marsham Street, London, SW1P 4DF.

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 .

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 shb@i4t.net

ELMBRIDGE LOCAL PLAN

This process appears to have been superseded by the Government's August 2020 planning White Paper, but the following summarises the history and position as it stood before publication of the White Paper.

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. 

 

Earlier in the year 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, and the consultation completed, at http://www.elmbridge.gov.uk/localplan2020.

The Save HWLD Green Belt action group have prepared a helpful guide to responding to the consultion, which can be viewed here.

 

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/

 

 

The previous (second) round of consultations on this process 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 is our preferred option, can be downloaded here. 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.

 

SURREY COUNTY COUNCIL PARKING REVIEW

 
Surrey County Council have launched a consultation on new parking restrictions, including replacing part of the existing restrictions in Station Approach with double yellow lines.
The proposal is to revoke existing single yellow lines ('No Waiting Mon-Fri 8am-9.30am') opposite numbers 22-32 Station Approach and replace with double yellow lines 'No Waiting At Any Time'.   The Council justify the change on the grounds that: " The road is too narrow to support parking on both sides of the road. This poses an unacceptable safety risk for residents of the properties at the western end of Station Approach and users of the train station / network. The DYLs are proposed in order to maintain access by larger vehicles to the road".
It is also proposed to revoke the existing disabled parking bay ('At Any Time Blue Badge Holders Only') outside number 24 and replace it with single yellow lines 'No waiting Mon-Fri 8am-9.30am' to match existing on site arrangements.
Further details, including a plan showing the proposed changes and an online comment form, can be found at https://www.surreycc.gov.uk/roads-and-transport/parking/local-news-and-updates/elmbridge/elmbridge-parking-review-2018-19#adv
The deadline for comments is 5th July.
 

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)

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.

 

Councillor Nigel Haig-Brown

020 8398 4060

nigel.haig-brown@hinchleywood.org.uk

Councillor Janet Turner

020 8398 1565

janet.turner@hinchleywood.org.uk

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