20mph speed limit in the centre of the village: As we have explained before there are policy rules on what can and can't be done but Surrey Highways have shown a welcome degree of flexibility in their application. It is agreed that a 20mph limit zone will be introduced. The extent is being determined and we now expect the southern end of the zone to extend to the Danes Hill School entrance. Surrey Highways are also investigating whether the zone can be extended to include Oakshade Road, and so the Royal Kent School, but this will require additional speed measurements to be taken in the next few weeks. It would clearly be good to include the entrances to the village's two main schools in the lower speed limit zone. We still hope this can be done in calendar 2022.
Elmbridge BC has now completed the latest consultation in respect of its draft Local Plan (DLP) covering the development of the Borough over the next 15 years. The next stage will be submission to a Government appointed Inspector who will decide if the DLP is legally compliant and sound. This process may take a year or more.
In summary the DLP provides for an average annual housing target of 450 homes (not the 650 sought by Government) and no release of Green Belt. The DLP is a very much better proposal for residents than seemed likely a few years ago. FEDORA has therefore provided support in principle for the DLP but also pointed out various matters that require further consideration. A copy of the submission from FEDORA can be found here.
Other key projects: Funding bids have been prepared and submitted for average speed cameras south of the new 20mph zone, a night time HGV ban and pavement improvements in the High Street outside the Victoria pub. We should know by July if these are approved but they are supported by Mark Sugden, our local County Councillor. Average speed camera installation will be contingent on measuring whether there continues to be a speeding problem after the new 20mph zone is in place which will delay things by a few months.
High Street Parking: Consultation on the proposed changes to parking arrangements in the High Street area that we described in our update last July is now taking place. This has taken a long time to progress but subject to input from local businesses we hope that these changes will be in place this year. The proposals can be viewed using this link, on page 4, and comments are due by 13 May. We will provide a more detailed update on changes in a future email.
Fairoak Lane: We have raised concerns about speed limits in Fairoak Lane and are told plans are being drawn up to look at these. The 60mph zone in the central part of this road is one of the few remaining 60mph zones in Elmbridge and is anomalous. Surrey Highways expect to reduce this speed limit and have said they will also review the location of the 30mph zone boundary. We have asked to be kept informed and have input to what is proposed.
After many delays, Elmbridge Borough Council (EBC) released its keenly awaited draft Local Plan (LP) on 8 March. The LP sets out EBC’s housing strategy for the next 15 years including the number of new homes that it intends to provide.
On the face of it, the draft LP is good news on three grounds:
- An average annual housing target of 460. This is 27% lower than the housing need of 640 derived from central government methodology. This target is very much lower than that feared a year ago and represents a welcome reduction. However, it is a target that is very much higher than the number of new homes delivered by EBC in recent years.
- No scheduled release of Green Belt. After proposing several options for releasing Green Belt during earlier consultations, EBC has clearly listened to the overwhelming public view that Green
Belt should continue to be protected.
- Focus on brownfield and town centres. This is sensible and reflects the need to focus housing around retail and commercial sites and existing public transport links.
But the draft LP contains very few identified sites for development and is hugely reliant on windfall sites. In addition, while the draft LP shows an ostensible ability to meet housing need for the first five years of the plan, there is a glaring shortage of land to meet need over the next ten years of the plan.
So far as Oxshott is concerned, there are only a limited number of sites identified by EBC as representing potentially available supply of land. But there will be a continuation of the present policy of higher density housing whether through blocks of flats or small estates of 2/3 bedroom houses. Inevitably, opportunistic infill schemes will continue but hopefully on a better controlled basis.
More importantly, the shortage of land during the last ten years of the plan almost certainly means that the argument about use of Green Belt will resurface in due course.
The draft LP will be presented to the full council for consideration on 22 March. Assuming that approval is obtained, the next stage will be to publish the plan for public representation. After that, the plan will be submitted for examination by a government appointed Planning Inspector, who will determine whether the plan is sound. As part of that process, it can be confidently expected that developers will make representations seeking to have their Green Belt land included within the plan.
For those who want to find out more, the 120 page draft LP is available using this link.
FEDORA will continue to monitor progress and advise residents on matters of relevance to the local community.
FEDORA - The Voice for Oxshott CIC
is a registered non-profit company run by a group of individuals who collectively are interested in maintaining and improving the quality of life in our village and its surroundings.
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- FEDORA's Submission to Elmbridge Regarding their Design Code
- A3/M25 Project - update January 2023
- Roads Update August 2022
- Fedora's Submission to Elmbridge Regarding their Draft Local Plan
- Roads Update April 2022
- Elmbridge Local Plan
- Planning Update - February 2022
- Housing Target - A Threat to Elmbridge
- Oak Processionary Moth
- Update on A244 Actions