Chessington District Residents’ Association
For the meeting to be held on 3rd July 2018
At St Paul’s Centre, Hook Road – 8pm
1. CHESSINGTON DISTRICT RESIDENTS ASSOCIATION NOTICES
2. MINUTES OF LAST MEETING
3. VISITING MEMBERS QUESTIONS AND CONTRIBUTIONS
4. MAJOR NEW ISSUES ONLY
5. MATTERS ARISING AND MINOR ISSUES
6. HEALTH ISSUES
7. EDUCATIONAL ISSUES
8. PLANNING APPLICATIONS
9. PLANNING NEWS
10. POLICE REPORT 11.ANY OTHER BUSINESS
Of the meeting held on the 5th June 2018
Chairman – Colin Punch, Vice Chairman – Mike Hoare, Treasurer - Diane Brannan, Francis Brannan,Brian Ekins, Jenny Lewington, Peter Shakeshaft, Sue Towner, Dick Ware, Sheila Watkins.
Andrew Day, Joan Carter, Robert Ronsisvalle, Michael Hope.
John Botterill, Colin Dance, Graham Hedley, Rob Robb, Colin Suckling, Councillor Margaret Thompson
1.CHESSINGTON DISTRICT RESIDENTS ASSOCIATION NOTICES
( a )Diane advised that Chief Superintendent Sally Benatar of the Metropolitan Police is unable to attend to speak at our AGM. However, we are pleased to announce that Superintendent Rob Applegarth, the senior officer responsible for Neighbourhood Policing in our Unified Borough Command will be the Guest Speaker at our AGM on the 21st of June.
2.MINUTES OF THE LAST MEETING
The minutes were agreed as a true and accurate record of that meeting.
3.VISITING MEMBERS QUESTIONS AND CONTRIBUTIONS
There were none.
4. SUMMARY OF MAJOR ISSUES
There were no major new issues
5. MATTERS ARISING AND MINOR ISSUES
( b ) Cox Lane Recycling - One of our members wrote to Councillor Thompson to advise that she hadvisited this site to recycle some shoes. She provided photographs to show what a complete mess the site was. She could not get near the bins to do any recycling. She pointed out that there is a sign which says fly tippers will be prosecuted. She wonders if the CCTV works and if anyone is ever prosecuted. It was also suggested that RBK look at what is dumped there to try and identify the culprits.
Councillor Thompson responded “ As you know this site has been a problem for years. We are talking to the contractors about this and also about a long-term solution to this perennial problem – although it has been worse in the last couple of weeks. We will do our best to find a solution”.
Our residents association will keep it under review and report accordingly.
( c ) King Edwards Playing Fields Traveller Incursion - On the 31st of May one of our members emailed us and the SOTB Councillors to advise that between ten and fifteen caravans had obtained access to the playing fields and were settling themselves and their horse down. They stayed until the last horse had run on Derby Day on the 2nd of June.
Councillor Thompson sent us the following email to report to our meeting. “There is a great deal going on. The traveller incursion and its aftermath have been a major concern. I just do want to make it clear that RBK did everything in its power - but that there are other concerns e.g. welfare, that we cannot ignore because we are constrained by the law. The biggest problems were lack of resources at RBK - although the officers were excellent - but mainly the lack of police response, which I am chasing up vigorously. I have rarely felt more frustrated than when standing by the gate with CouncillorTricia Bamford, on the phone to the police for an hour (20 mins for a 999 call to be answered!} while watching the caravans pile in one after another and being told that there were no resources to deal with such a large incursion. I returned with Wandsworth police at 8am the following day and they did all they could. I asked the travellers not to use quad bikes - you can guess the response! I was in constant contact with RBK and police and we are now looking at methods of preventing incursion while still allowing access to vehicles for the fairs which are also held on the grounds, and ambulances for sports injuries etc.The travellers towed away concrete blocks, sawed down metal posts etc. I am happy to talk to anyone who wants to phone me. I received a great deal of personal abuse over this and we were doing all we could”.
Clearly none of this was the fault of our current Councillors. However, as these incursions are nearly an annual event, it is essential that they take action now to make sure that it does not happen again next year.
( d ) Inaugural Meeting of the RBK South of the Borough Local Residents and Business Liaison Committee, 23rd May - Transport for London now have a single point of entry person for both the Borough of Kingston and Sutton. This person is JasmitJabbal and he attended this meeting. Our member Rob Robb initiated this meeting which was held at the Safari Park Hotel at the Chessington World of Adventures and attended by Jasmit. Attendees were Colin Punch and Rob Robb from CDRA. Beryl Gibson from MRRA, Simon Burge of CWA and Councillor Patricia Bamford.
A number of the problems that we have in the SOTB were discussed. Below are some of theproblems. If anyone would like any more detail of what was discussed please let us know.
· Ace of Spades Roundabout - JJ agreed that the roundabout needs redesigning but added that there is no money available at present.
· Removal of pedestrian railings at junction of A243/Elm Road. TfL keep threatening to remove them. However, we and others have requested that they stay in order to protect pedestrians. At the moment the threat seems to have gone away.
· Faulty Street Lights - Details of a number of failed street lights were given to JJ. They had previously been reported to TfL but nothing has subsequently happened.
· Review of Bus Routes - Our member Rob Robb has been requesting direct bus routes from Chessington to Surbiton Health Centre, and Tolworth Hospital. The 467 goes to Epsom Hospital but only twice a day.
JJ said that the Mayor is looking at buses. However, there is no money available for new routes. He will arrange for someone from TfL to come to a future meeting to discuss the issue.
· Malden Rushett Cross Roads - BG said that although the cross roads have been improved they are still dangerous for traffic wanting to turn left or right off the A243. JJ agreed to get someone to re-visit the junction and discuss with BG.
· Congestion on the A243.
· Parking Bays on Ace of Spades roundabout.
· Bridge Road Roundabout.
· Phasing of Lights at Chessington World of Adventures.
· New Signage for Cox Lane Industrial Park
It was thought that this was a very productive meeting. Many, many problems were discussed. We now wait for the next meeting to see if there have been any resolutions.
( e ) Fire Engine access in Selwood Road - We previously wrote:- ‘A member recently contacted us to say that they have now had three incidents when the Fire Engines had been unable to quickly access Selwood Road’.
We wrote to the Borough Commander of the London Fire Brigade to ask what their teams do if they are unable to access a road and who was notified about Selwood Road when the fire engine could not get down the road. We received the following reply from Mr Jim Morford. He wrote “I have asked the local station manager to look into the issue at Selwood Avenue as I am concerned if we have limited access to any address in the Borough.I will let you know of the outcome but be assured we will do everything we can to make sure our appliances are not hindered when responding”.As at the 27th of June we still await a response from the station manager.
6. HEALTH ISSUES
( f ) New Defibrillator outside the Hook Centre - Councillor Margaret Thompson advised that the defibrillator, (a machine which gives emergency help to people suffering a heart attack), that our residents association proposed acquiring, has now arrived. It is due to be fitted next week. In order to get access to the defibrillator you need to ring 999 to be given a code to gain access to the machine. (At the time of completing these minutes, on the 27th of June, the equipment had still not been installed at the Hook Centre)
7. EDUCATIONAL ISSUES
( g ) St Mary’s School and Ellingham School - Our Chairman has contacted these schools to arrange for a meeting between them and our residents association.They will come back to us with suggested dates.
( h ) 18, Gilders Road 18/10162 – The demolition of the existing bungalow, which is located on a large plot, and the erection of two 4 bedroom two storey houses with rooms in the roof space andone 2 bedroom bungalow. After much discussion it was decided that we would not object. However, we have now been notified that the officers refused it.
( I ) Cap in Hand 18/10123 –Aplanning application has been made todemolishthe existing Public House and to build 38 number 1, 2 & 3 bed units (16 no.1 bed, 18 no.2 bed & 4 no. 3 bed) in blocks up to 7 storey’s in height together with 14 off-street car parking spaces, with 145 sqm of Class A1 retail space, new access/egress arrangements and hard and soft landscaping.
This application was being discussed at the Neighbourhood Committee meeting on the 7th of June. Our association has met with residents ofHaycroft Road and other surrounding roads. We have submitted our objection. An example of the reasonswere- over density, high vehicle generated air pollution from the A3, overlooking neighbouring houses as well as too few car parking spaces. The seven storeys would dwarf the roads behind the development and deny them daylight. Their already crowded streets would be made worse with parking from these flats. At the Neighbourhood Committee meeting many of these residents spoke about their concerns if this unseemly application should be permitted. They were clearly upset and outraged to think that the application is even being considered.
At this meeting the application was for consultation only, no decision was being made. If the officers intend to recommend permission it will then go to the Development Control Committee to be heard and decided. If this happens our association will speak out against it.
( j ) Meyer Bergman/Tesco Tolworth Site - We discussed the fact that this application for 950 units is soon to be decided at the Development Control Committee (DCC).At the currenttime we do not know when the meeting will be held (we now know that it will be the 11th of July). Our member Dick Warewho is in charge of planning is unhappy that we will be given little notice to prepare.
This particular application was last heard at DCC in December. However, the DCC Conservative Councillors decided to postpone making a decision on the grounds that they needed more time to study the new London Plan which had recently been published. We believe that they did not want to decide on such a contentious application until after the election.
Now that the DCC is primarily made up of Liberal Councillors it will be interesting to see if they are still against itbbecause previously they all were. As the previous application for only 705 units was rejected on grounds of over density we do not know how it willbe possible for 950 units to be agreed. We hope that this outrageous application will be refused.
( k ) RBK Planning Procedures – At the July South of the Borough committee meeting we asked the following question:-
Q -Very few planning applications are now heard by Councillors at Neighbourhood Committee. Most are decided as ‘delegated decisions’. Are such planning applications decided by RBK officers or are they contracted out to external companies for processing? If so is there any supervision by RBK planning officers? Would you please explain the process and if our Councillors have any role in the process?
We were given the following reply:-
A - All delegated decisions are decided by RBK Officers. All case officers, who assess each application, are RBK employees. There is no contracting out to external companies for processing of applications or deciding planning applications. Each case officer puts a report together with a recommendation.
This is then checked and the decision issued by those with delegated authority, which is currently Barry Lomax (Head of Development Management), Toby Feltham (Lead Officer), Anthony Knight (Lead Officer- Enforcement). The Council's delegated authority requires reference to the Chair/ Vice Chair if an application is recommended for approval and 10 or more objections are received or if there is an objection from the Conservation Area Advisory Committee.
If all 3 ward Councillors request that an application is heard at the Neighbourhood Committee, it will not be a delegated decision if recommended for approval and will be determined by the Neighbourhood Committee.
All Major planning applications (i.e. 11 or more residential units or 1000sqm of commercial floorspace) are determined at Development Control Committee. Large Major developments will sometimes be reported to Neighbourhood Committees for comments prior to Development Control Committee.
This response gave us some reassurance that RBK are not outsourcing this important work and that delegated decisions on larger applications will still be heard by the Development Control Committee.However,we would still prefer that most decisions were instead decided by our local Neighbourhood Councillors who know the area.
( l ) Conservation Status For Some Local Roads -Some years ago it became obvious that some of the more attractive areas in the South of the Borough were becoming of interest to property developers. There were a number of planning applications to over-develop existing properties or even demolish them in order to build more houses or flats on the sites. Some applications were successful, such as that for the corner site in Somerset Avenue, and the two very attractive period houses demolished for flats at the corner of Elmcroft Drive and the Hook Road. We realised that if roads were given the lowest level of conservation status, called Local Areas of Special Character (LASC), they would be protected from inappropriate redevelopment without the lives of residents being inconvenienced.
Our Association, in co-operation with local residents, asked the Council for three areas in the South of the Borough to be given LASC Status. These were Green Lane in Chessington ward, the Ransom estate comprising Somerset Avenue, Vallis Way and Selwood Road in Hook ward, and Elmcroft Drive in Tolworth and Hook Rise ward. One area per ward was chosen so as to give Councillors the opportunity to shine without overburdening them.
After some months the areas were inspected by a planning officer accompanied by the Chairwoman of the SOTB Neighbourhood Committee to assess their suitability. Green Lane and Elmcroft Drive were accepted but the Ransom Estate was rejected as unsuitable. We said that the latter decision was wrong.
The Ransom estate was a visionary pioneering development built before the second world war. The houses were very spacious for their time, large windows, integral garages, good plot sizes,with some variety of style. The roads are especially attractive in the summer when the tree foliage hides the council’s harsh pollarding. Mike reports that the initial marketing was cleverly aimed at the salary level of middle ranking civil servants. It subsequently became known as the Policeman’s estate.
The area has always been very popular with its residents. The area is always a price leader in property values and the houses are usually well maintained. There is a low turnover of home ownership. Conservation status to protect areas of domestic housing is for the direct benefit of the residents. The resident’s values and needs should predominate when making decisions of this nature. The criteria are loosely defined. The personal tastes of planning officers or highly educated Councillors are not relevant and should not determine the decision.
Subsequently nothing happened. We kept behind the project but the years passed. Then about two years ago a miracle happened. RBK employed ElizabettaTonazzi, an Italian Conservation Architect, as a specialist conservation officer. There are 26 conservation areas in Kingston, though none in the South of the Borough. She made visits to Green Lane and Elmcroft Drive and spoke to interested residents. She then began the process, initially for Elmcroft Drive, of formally getting the area given LASC status. A project was started to write a history of the road, which is very interesting. This included the very positive culture of residents who live in the road, which the fine architectural design helped to bring about. We expected that the formal acceptance of the status would be made by our Councillors this year. We hoped that Green Lane would soon follow.
We have now been told that Ms Tonazzi has not had her contract with RBK renewed and has now left.We are very disappointed. The Kingston Society has made similar comments. They reported that the Chief Executive of the last administration had said that conservation advice would be needed when compiling the Borough’s new Local Plan. The Kingston Society thinks that “design and conservation should be an integral part of that document. The former Conservation Architect Ms Tonazzi was doing that work but that has obviously ceased when her contract was not renewed which we view as a very serious mistake. Presumably the project is now shelved. We hope that we are wrong,but are not optimistic”. This is also what our residents associationthinks!
Postscript. After we asked a question at June’s South of the Borough Neighbourhood Committee we received the following reply from LisaFairmaner, RBK Group Manager for Strategic Planning wrote the following: -
"We apologise that there has been a delay in submitting this item.
We are currently recruiting the right expertise into the team to manage Kingston's heritage assets. Once we have someone in post, we can progress the formal assessment of Elmcroft Drive against the LASC (Local Area of Special Character) criteria and make a decision.
We are satisfied that there is no immediate threat to the character of the street through inappropriate development."
There was none.
11.ANY OTHER BUSINESS
There was none.
Dates for your Diary –
The next Chessington District Residents Association Meeting. Our next meeting will be held on Tuesday the 3rd of July. There will be no meeting in August. The following meeting will be held on Tuesday the 4th of September at St Pauls Church Hall in Hook Road which is the small hall attached to the side of the Church.
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