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Tandridge District Council Press Release 17.10.18
News: Leader secures victory at Surrey Planning meeting – lorry movements at Oxted Quarry capped at 112 HGV movements a day
The Leader of Tandridge District Council, Councillor Martin Fisher, secured a victory for his residents at today’s Surrey County Council’s Planning and Regulatory Committee, persuading councillors to set a daily cap of 112 HGV movements a day at Oxted Quarry, rather than the 156 movements proposed.
His proposal was supported by Tandridge District Council and Sam Gyimah, MP for East Surrey.
Councillor Martin Fisher spoke at the meeting as the quarry falls within his ward (Oxted North & Tandridge). He has been speaking out about this issue since 2007, strongly contesting this level of traffic movement and associated activity is unacceptable and dangerous for residents living in the area.
Councillor Martin Fisher, Leader of Tandridge District Council, said: “This is an issue I have been championing since 2007 and I am delighted that today I managed to secure a great result for local people. The movement of lorries has significantly affected the quality of lives of people living in the area and this new cap constitutes a positive step forward. I will continue to monitor the situation closely and I would encourage residents who have any ongoing concerns to get in touch.”
Tandridge District Council Press Release 17.10.18
Leader to speak at Surrey planning meeting to protect residents from additional lorry movements at Oxted Quarry
The Leader of Tandridge District Council will speak at today’s Surrey County Council’s Planning and Regulatory Committee, at it considers approving new conditions which would allow a maximum daily cap of 156 daily traffic movements by heavy goods vehicles (HGVs). Councillor Martin Fisher, will speak at the meeting as the quarry falls within his ward (Oxted North & Tandridge) and strongly contest this level of traffic movement and associated activity is unacceptable and dangerous for residents living in the area.
Surrey County Council will also consider imposing a condition that HGVs should not travel in convoy and should not access the site between 8am to 9am and 3pm to 4pm, Monday to Friday, to avoid school traffic. The owners of the quarry should also monitor the condition of the road and carry out maintenance as required.
Councillor Fisher has been speaking out about this issue since 2007. Concerns increased in 2016 when the Environment Agency doubled the amount of infilling allowed at the site to 200,000 tons without consultation. Following many discussions with local residents he will highlight a number of concerns.
- The narrow access to the quarry from Chalkpit Lane.
- The lack of footway on some sections which means pedestrians have to walk in the road.
- The narrow road and lack of passing points means two HGVs cannot pass each other.
- Cyclists and children walking to schools are at risk because of the volume and size of vehicles.
In his speech Councillor Fisher will state: “When an average 154 daily trips were last recorded, very similar to the cap proposed today, the impact on local amenity was compromised to a serious degree and our residents were rightly very angry.”
“There was an adverse effect on their wellbeing, grass verges were destroyed, there were bottlenecks as lorries struggled to pass and I was getting regular reports of driver intimidation. Walking buses to schools were abandoned and there was an adverse impact on road safety due to the inadequacy of the roads.”
“I am of the view the limit should be set at a daily cap of 112 movements rather than the 156 movements proposed. I support the proposal of stopping HGVs during the school run and no left turn out of the site.”
Tandridge District Council has also sent a formal response to the application which sets out the clear risks to the safety and wellbeing of residents living close to the site and proposes a daily cap of 112 daily traffic movements. Sam Gyimah, MP for East Surrey, has also written a letter in support of this.
Councillor Martin Fisher, Leader of Tandridge District Council, said: “This is an issue I have been championing since 2007. I have had numerous discussions with Surrey County Council and the Environment Agency to convince them these new planning conditions, if approved, would present an unacceptable level of risk and disturbance to the residents living nearby. I have set out my arguments in the strongest terms and will continue to fight for the right outcome.”
Tandridge District Council Press Release 26.4.18
Planning application received for re-development of the gasholder and Johnsdale car park sites
The Council has received a planning application from developers St William for the re-development of the gasholder and Johnsdale car park sites in Oxted. It is now available for residents to view on the Council’s website.
The application is for 111 apartments, with an enhanced access route, landscaping and associated car parking. The proposed development consists of 20 x 1 bed, 70 x 2 bed and 21 x 3 bed apartments, with 147 car parking spaces and 134 cycle spaces, spread across three buildings with three to seven storeys on this redundant brownfield site. The apartments will be accessed from the entrance opposite Boots on Station Road East and from Johnsdale.
The Council first received a planning application for 77 apartments from St William in October 2017, which was approved at the Planning Committee in January 2018. St William has since agreed to buy Johnsdale car park from the Council and the new planning application is for a comprehensive residential re-development of both sites.
In March, St William held two public exhibitions to share proposals for the new scheme. The exhibition materials have also been on display in the Council Offices.
A decision on the planning application is expected at the Planning Committee on 28 June. If the scheme is approved, work to bring the gasholder down could begin in autumn 2018.
Louise Round, Chief Executive, said: “We would like to encourage residents to take a look at the new planning application for the gasholder and Johnsdale car park sites. Removing the gasholder from the town centre will greatly improve the appearance and vitality of Oxted. Its removal has been a long held objective of the Council and is one we are keen to deliver for the town.”
To view the planning application, visit www.tandridge.gov.uk and search for planning application reference 2018/729.
More information on the project is available to view at www.oxtedgasholder.co.uk.
Conservative led Surrey council with 89% Green Belt has recently completed its final Local Plan consultation and is awaiting Inspection.
The plan submitted to the Government Inspectorate in December 2017 provides for 654 houses per annum and included the loss of about 1.5% of its Green Belt. It has adopted a brownfield sites approach first but to meet its housing need the plan includes five strategic sites on previously undeveloped land. Two are urban extensions on the edge of Guildford providing 3,200 units and a new settlement of 2,000 units at Wisley.
Infrastructure improvements required as part of the plan include two new railway stations, a new intersection on A3 plus a solution to the A3 around Guildford.
A planning appeal for a replacement secondary school and 258 residential dwellings in the Green belt was just recently allowed by the Secretary of State.
The Government Inspector, before even starting the examination, has said he is very concerned that the plan makes no allowance for meeting unmet housing need and that he sees no evidence the plan can reasonably be expected to improve housing affordability.
Paul Spooner the Leader of Surrey has rebutted the Inspectors criticism as unrealistic and did not consider it reasonable or consistent with achieving sustainable development to require Guildford to release further Green Belt sites.
Watch this space!
Cllr Martin Fisher, Leader of Tandridge District Council
Housing needs assessment per annum.
Council Calculation 519
Government Target 538
Inspector demands 590
Conservative led West Surrey council with 64% Green Belt whose main towns are Godalming, Farnham and Cranleigh.
In 2013 the government inspector rejected Waverley’s Local Plan because it only included building 250 houses per annum. The District then had to completely restart its Local Plan process which made it vulnerable to speculative development. With no Local Plan the council lost control and spent over £500,000 defending 117 developer applications of which 69 were given permission on appeal including a number of sites in the Green Belt.
In 2017 Waverley sent their revised Local Plan to the Planning Inspectorate for examination based on 519 housing per annum and loss of 1% green belt with developments at Binscombe, Arons Hill and Mitford golf course totalling some 2,000 houses. The largest site at Dunsfold Aerodrome will deliver 2,600 houses although not in the Green Belt was controversial and was subject to a review by Secretary of State which was approved very recently.
The government inspector in February 2018 found the plan sound provided it increased its planned target by 14% to 590 houses per annum which is even higher than the Government target. The reason given by the Inspector was that this increase was required due to shortfall at Woking and migration from London.
Tandridge District Council Press Release 11.1.18
Council secures over £1 million of funding to deliver RegenOxted programme
A total of £1,034,000 funding has been secured by the Council from the Coast to Capital (LEP) Local Growth Fund to support the delivery of the RegenOxted Programme. The funding is subject to due diligence and final checks and will be used to support the development of the Ellice Road car park in Oxted, which will provide additional parking capacity for residents, shoppers, local businesses and commuters.
The extra parking planned for the town centre will support the wider aims of the RegenOxted programme, which will also deliver the redevelopment of the gasholder site and an Urban Redesign project which will enhance the look of Station Road East and West, making the town centre a more attractive place for shoppers and visitors. It will also see the creation of a business hub to attract new businesses to the area.
Work is currently underway on the detailed designs for the car park and the Council is looking at options to provide up to two decks of additional parking capacity. A planning application for the development will be submitted shortly, following consultation with local residents.
Councillor Martin Fisher, Leader of the Council, said: “I am delighted we have secured over £1 million of funding. This is a significant award and Coast to Capital has recognised the ambitions of the RegenOxted programme, which will transform the economic prosperity of our town to benefit our residents, businesses and the area.”
Jonathan Sharrock, Chief Executive at Coast to Capital, said: “Improving the infrastructure of our region is critical to its continued success, with that in mind we are thrilled to have contributed to the RegenOxted project. Our support will help improve parking capacity that will not only enhance facilities for residents and local businesses, but also provides easier access for visitors into the town, adding to its overall prosperity. We look forward to working with our partners and seeing the results of this project as it comes to fruition.”
Tandridge District Council Press Release 12.1.18
Planning permission granted for Oxted gasholder re-development
Last night’s Planning Committee approved the planning application from developers St William for the re-development of the gasholder site in Oxted. It is anticipated work to bring the gasholder down could begin this summer.
The application is for 77 apartments, with landscaping and associated car parking. The proposed development consists of 12 x 1 bed, 51 x 2 bed and 14 x 3 bed apartments, with 105 car parking spaces, spread across two buildings at three to five storeys on this redundant brownfield site. The apartments will be accessed from the entrance opposite Boots on Station Road East.
Councillor Martin Fisher, Leader of Tandridge District Council, said: “I am delighted that finally our long held objective of removing the gasholder will be achieved. This is such great news for the town, as it will be replaced with an attractive residential development which will benefit the area.”
The plans were drawn up following two rounds of consultation with local residents. Initial feedback was sought during the RegenOxted Consultation in May, which was followed by a targeted consultation by St William, including exhibition events on 6 and 8 July. Full results of previous consultations are available to view with the planning application.
To view the planning application, visit www.tandridge.gov.uk and search for planning application reference 2017/2064.
More information on the project is available to view at www.oxtedgasholder.co.uk.
Last month, Surrey Leaders made a joint response to Government consultation proposals on “Planning for the right homes in the right places.”
In our letter, we stated, “Most of Surrey is heavily constrained by the Green Belt and other important designations. These designations impose severe limitations on our ability to meet local housing need. In the interests of transparency and consistency, it is essential that constraints on development are taken into account when determining the number of homes for which each authority is expected to plan.”
“Stressed the vital importance of having greater clarity and consistent messages from across Government as to the role of local planning authorities in protecting the Green Belt from development pressures.”
The eleven District Leaders met on the afternoon of the Budget Speech. This was against a backdrop of 15 authorities, including Runnymede in Surrey, which are being threatened with “Special Measures” for failing to make progress on developing their Local Plan.
Make no mistake about this. The Department of Communities and Local Government (known as the DCLG), via the Inspectorate, is getting tough on all Local Authorities, particularly those in areas – like ours – which have always had relatively high house prices.
In the latest document, the proposal is to increase the housing delivery target by up to 40% to take into account affordability issues. For Tandridge, this would mean an additional 3,500 new homes (on top of 9,400 homes under the working OAN) to be built over twenty years. Let me make it quite clear Tandridge District Council do not accept this arbitrary increase because it takes no account of our Green Belt constraint.
The Chancellor, in his Budget speech, referred to the fact that “the number of 25-34 year-olds owning their own home has dropped from 59% to just 38% over the last thirteen years.” He went on to say “Put simply, successive governments over decades, have failed to build enough homes to deliver the home-owning dream that this country has always been proud of. Or, indeed, to meet the needs of those who rent. By choosing to build. We send a message to the next generation that getting on the housing ladder is not just a dream of your parents’ past.”
On these points, we agree. However, to expect Councils in areas like ours to deliver so many homes and in such numbers is, quite simply, to ignore the reality of the situation.
As a consequence, the Surrey Leaders Group agreed to send a small delegation, including myself, to meet the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Sajid Javid, and to request the attendance of Chris Grayling to gain clarity on this vital issue for Tandridge and Surrey.
Surrey Leaders strongly reject the proposals from the DCLG which would see an unrealistic and totally unacceptable increase in the levels of housing wanted or needed within our own Districts and within Surrey in general. This was pointed out in our letter which stated, [whilst] “we supported the principle of a standardised methodology, the use of the affordability ratio as a modifier is of concern.”
The proposed increase for housing provision in Surrey is, on average, around 10% but for Tandridge it represents a 37% increase. However, there are some other authorities who have, in fact, seen a fall in their level of housing need. Most of these are in the North of England, reflecting the disjointed and disproportionate nature of this policy compared to the efforts the Government has already made to rebalance the economy and deliver the infrastructure in the North that would be able to support these homes.
For Tandridge, independent consultants have determined a working OAN of 470 homes per year. This figure is already a significant challenge for us to meet but has been used as a starting point to gather evidence through our Local Plan process.
We represent an area in the South East that is already straining at the seams to accommodate the original level of proposed housing need, and any increase to our working OAN figure will absolutely not be tolerated by our Council. We will face a scenario in which existing housing delivery targets, let alone the proposed increased targets, are unlikely to be able to be met.
In fact through the evidence gathering process it is already apparent to me that we are likely to be well short of our existing OAN number and the proposed increase will not help us to find additional land that simply doesn’t exist without concreting over the Green Belt, something this Council will never do.
Tandridge has been tirelessly working to identify the land and infrastructure necessary to facilitate delivery of our housing need. As a result, we have stated that we are considering releasing 1% of Green Belt land for new housing, despite some local objection.
I will tell the Secretary of State, when I meet him in due course, that we will not stand idly by when our Local Plan is put forward for examination next year. If the Planning Inspectorate attempts to force us to build more homes to meet the Governments’ arbitrarily-inflated OAN figure, this would ultimately lead to the decimation of our Green Belt.
Finding the right balance between providing housing for all our residents’ future needs, whilst, at the same time, ensuring maximum protection for our Green Belt, is what we all ultimately want. We have been the Party to have successfully defended and protected our Green Belt to date and we will strive to continue to do so.
But ultimately we do need to convince the Government appointed Inspector that we have collected the evidence and that our plan is sound delivering local needs while protecting our Green Belt.
Tandridge District Council Press Release 29.9.17
Development of former Rose and Young site moves one step closer as contracts are exchanged
The Council is delighted to learn the owner of the former Rose and Young garage site in Caterham and Clarion Housing Group (CHG) have exchanged contracts for the sale of the site.
Clarion Housing Group is a company committed to providing affordable housing. They have planning permission for 48 dwellings, with a supermarket on the ground floor. The exchange of contracts is a significant step forward in the Council’s ambition to get this valuable town centre site back in use and contributing to the town.
The Council will be monitoring the progress of this scheme carefully and is fully committed to securing the timely redevelopment of the site. At this week’s Resources Committee it was agreed that if insufficient progress was made by CHG, the Council will take any necessary action to ensure redevelopment takes place, including using another compulsory purchase order.
Councillor Simon Ainsworth, Chair of the Resources Committee, said: “The exchange of contracts between the owner of the Rose and Young site and a major house building company is very much welcomed and a major step forward. We and Caterham residents have been waiting a long time for the development of this site and we will continue to do everything in our power to ensure development progresses. At this stage we don’t think we will need to use a compulsory purchase order, but we remain in the best position to serve another one if it is needed.”