Saturday, 5 December 2015

Up to 95 homes could be built at Orchard Lane Industrial Estate

Artist impression of the new homes from western side.
Wates are seeking outline planning permission to redevelop Orchard Lane Industrial Estate in East Molesey into up to 95 homes.

The planning application is listed on Elmbridge Council's website as application 2015/3400 and at the time of writing had attracted four letters of support and 27 objections, plus 196 signatures on a online petition which is calling for alternate plan for the site.

Members of the North Area Planning Sub Committee will meet on Monday 14th December to debate the application in the main council chamber at Esher and vote to grant or refuse. It appears from the correspondence that principle of homes at this brownfield site is generally accepted (for some it is an improvement on HGV lorries previously using Orchard Lane) but residents have concerns about the numbers of new homes and impact on local infrastructure, ie roads, doctors and schools.

The density of the proposed scheme is 32 dwellings per hectare, which is well within the Elmbridge Council's parameters of 40 dwellings per hectare. This would make it difficult for your councillors to argue the scheme is over-development, though of course at this stage the North Area committee will be discussing outline permission with the specific application to be submitted at a later date.

Molesey East Conservative councillors Steve Bax and Peter Szanto met with Wates to discuss the proposals earlier in the summer. Our principle concerns related to traffic increase and the types of homes to be built. Molesey currently has need for smaller affordable units rather than more of the 4-5 mansion types that are out of the price range for many. Peter has since had follow up meetings with them and knocked on doors in Orchard Lane to get residents views. We are pleased that the developer appears to have taken on board our suggestion of a mix of homes sizes. The details will be set out in a future application but Wates have indicated that they are looking to create 1 and 2 bed flats, and 2, 3, 4 and 5 bed homes, and 38 will be 'affordable homes'. There will be parking for 164 cars.

Wates carried out a traffic assessment in Esher Road, Ember Lane and Orchard Road in July 2015 and claim there would only be circa one additional vehicle movement every two minutes in the morning peak hour; and three additional vehicles every four minutes in the evening peak hour resulting from the homes. Surrey County Council, which is the highways authority, has raised no objections to the request for outline planning permission.

Steve and Peter welcome your views ahead of the meeting on December 14th.

Friday, 4 December 2015

Shell in West Molesey is granted alcohol licence extension

A number of residents contacted our councillors in September to raise concerns about Shell garage in Hurst Road which had applied to Elmbridge Council for permission to sell alcohol 24-7.

Cllr Steve Bax, who is a member of the Licensing Committee, raised concerns with council officers that such a generous licence was unnecessary and could result in anti-social behaviour locally. On the other hand we felt it would be only fair if the garage were afforded equal hours with the neighbouring Tesco superstore. Increasingly these days garages rely on in-shop sales to supplement fuel sales and remain viable, particularly in the South East where there is the temptation to close garages and sell the land for housing. We recognise that the garage is a valued amenity to many Molesey drivers.

Motor Fuels Ltd, who were applying on the Shell garage’s behalf curbed their request to 10pm in line with the Tesco store and were granted a licence extension by the council. It is however subject to 11 conditions ranging from CCTV to age checks, training and storage restrictions and could lose its licence if it fails to adhere to the rules.

Cllr Bax commented in the Autumn Molesey News: “It was clearly inappropriate for the garage
to be selling alcohol so late into the night. I am glad that common sense prevailed. We want the garage to be viable but also to do the right thing by the community.”

Friday, 18 September 2015

Police seek man in CCTV images after Beauchamp Road burglary

Do you know the man in these CCTV images? If so Surrey Police would like to hear from you.

The man is wanted in connection with a burglary in Beauchamp Road, East Molesey, which happened on July 11th. Offenders entered the property  between 6am and 7.30am and stole a wallet and a briefcase from the hallway table.

A bank card from the wallet was used at the BP service station in Hampton Court Way and at Tesco Express branches in The Broadway, Surbiton, and Hook Road, Surbiton.

Detective Constable Alan Gardiner told the media: "We have released CCTV images which show the bank card being used after the burglary. We would like to speak to this man in connection with the offence and to anyone else who may know who he is or have more information about the incident."

If you can help, please contact Surrey Police on 101, quoting crime reference number 45150060016 or by using the online reporting system found here. Alternatively the independent charity Crimestoppers can be contacted anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Glenlyn merges with Giggs Hill surgery to provide improved service

Cllr Peter Szanto at Glenlyn in Molesey Park Road
Residents have voiced concerns to us about the difficulties they have had obtaining appointments at Glenlyn Medical Centre and the turnover of staff.

Councillors Szanto and Bax requested a meeting with the practice manager Caroline Self, and were invited to see her at the Giggs Hill Surgery in Thames Ditton.

At that meeting, with two other Molesey councillors, she informed us that Glenlyn in East Molesey and the Giggs Hill practice had merged on April 1st. Both will retain their identities but joining together allows them to realise economies of scale, share resources and improve their viability, while hopefully also improving their offering to residents.

Caroline acknowledged it had been a difficult few years for both practices, with funding cuts as the main pressure. From July 6th they introduced urgent care clinics. The idea is that a patient calls their usual surgery and if the matter is urgent they are directed to Giggs Hill, which is based at the Emberbrook Medical Centre in Raphael Drive, Thames Ditton, for treatment by Advanced Nurse Practitioners (ANPs).

The urgent care clinic is also being provided for four hours on Saturdays and Sundays, we understand, which should reduce the burden on A&Es.

Routine GP appointments, long term or complex conditions, referrals and reviews, will be at Glenlyn, and they say the new system will allow 100 additional appointments a day than currently.
More doctors and ANPs are being recruited, we understand.

Clearly some will be unhappy about having to travel further in some cases but the practice(s) hope this will be balanced by the improved service. Steve and Pete are due to have a follow up meeting with Glenlyn in October to discuss how the changes are working.

Molesey councillors meet the new Jolly Boatman developer

Artist impression of how a park at the Jolly Boatman could look.
At the election your Molesey Conservative councillors promised to do all we can to achieve a positive outcome at the Jolly Boatman site. With this in mind Steve Bax and Peter Szanto recently attended a meeting with the new developer of the Boatman site and other interested local parties.

We are pleased to report that it was a very productive meeting and we found the new developer to be open, frank and willing to engage with the community’s concerns. They were aware of the strength of feeling in Molesey against a hotel on the Jolly Boatman as it would be unsightly and obscure the stunning views of the Palace from the East Molesey side of the river.

The developer has planning permission for a hotel on the site but is willing to explore the viability of an alternative plan that removes the hotel and instead the Jolly Boatman land would become a public open space connected to Cigarette Island Park.

We discussed the pedestrian safety issues in Cigarette Island Lane and the developer promised to take these into account when putting forward the new plans.

There is still a long way to go on this and we will try to keep East Molesey residents up to date on developments.

Steve Bax said: “We had a very constructive meeting and left with grounds for optimism. However it is still early days and the danger that the existing planning permission could be implemented has not abated, so we have to proceed with caution and continue to engage the new developer. Peter and I, together with other stakeholders, will make every effort to bring a new plan to fruition.”

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Year of disruption as Esher Road bridge is replaced

AFTER 120 years of service the Victorian bridge over the River Mole at Esher Road is ‘nearing the end of its working life’ and must be shortly replaced.
The 'Elmbridge Local Committee', which consists of the borough's eight county councillors and eight borough councillors - among them Molesey's Steve Bax - endorsed the project in February, and now Surrey officers are drawing up designs, costings and a timescale for the estimated £1million project.
Construction could start in 2017 and is likely to last a year with the bridge access closed for most of that time. Clearly the demolition of this well used but corroded bridge, and the installation of a new one, will cause massive disruption as traffic is redirected via Hampton Court Way.
Molesey Conservatives have raised with the County officers the need to minimise the impact on road users, however we are optimistic that a new bridge will bring desirable and needed improvements to the road layout.
Cllr Bax said: “Residents have repeatedly raised safety issues about excess speeding, the lack of a crossing and the narrow footpath on the east side that is well used by Orchard School children.
“In the council chamber last year I suggested we ought to look into extending the footpath on the west side from Alders Grove to Walton Road to reduce the need to cross. Happily I’m told that the new bridge can accommodate this and create a wider road and pavements.
“We must also seize the opportunity to improve the dangerous access/exit to Molember Road, which has long been a problem.”

Missing barrier in Hurst Road is a danger for pedestrians

MOLESEY Conservatives have secured an important victory for public safety locally.
Thanks to pressure from our chairman, Mr Terence Alexander, and Councillor Steve Bax, Surrey County Council has agreed to replace the broken barrier by the war memorial in East Molesey.
Presently around 50m of barrier is missing and cars are regularly parking across the pavement area, with pedestrians as well as mums with buggies being forced into the road.
Despite this being an obvious accident waiting to happen, there appeared to be little urgency from the authorities to do anything about it. Surrey tried to pass the buck to Elmbridge and vice versa.
Terence, who lives along the riverside in East Molesey, refused to let the matter drop and enlisted the help of Steve.
Eventually Elmbridge officers uncovered years-old documentary proof that the area had been designated as highway land in 1887 and that Surrey was liable for repairs.
Steve has since had confirmation that the County is obtaining quotes from contractors with a view to replacing 50m of fence line by this month (May).
Steve said: “The safety of our residents and children and that of visitors to the riverside cannot be overstated. I am pleased the County has decided to act, and not a moment too soon! All credit is due to Terence for his perseverance.”

Paragon housing group unveils plans for Radnor & Sandra House sites

Elmbridge Council is partnering with the Paragon housing group to develop a number of new affordable homes at the Radnor and Sandra House sites in Hansler Grove, East Molesey, and the former Molesey Centre in School Road. Cllr Steve Bax understands that a planning application is currently being tweaked by Paragon in order to address concerns raised by residents following the public exhibition late last year, and will be submitted in the next few weeks.

Here is our article from The Molesey News in March:

SOCIAL housing provider Paragon has unveiled plans for a comprehensive redevelopment of the Radnor House and Sandra House sites in Hansler Grove, East Molesey.
It intends to build a trio of three-storey blocks of affordable housing for families to help meet a demand in Molesey and the borough.
But in doing so it must knock down not only Radnor House - a former elderly person’s home, now laying empty - and the adjacent old Molesey day centre, it will also demolish Sandra House which is still in use and home to key workers and their families.
Paragon displayed its plans at an open evening at Radnor House in December and invited residents to give their feedback.
Molesey councillor Steve Bax attended a meeting with Paragon’s business director Chris Whelan in the Autumn to discuss the proposals which were then in an earlier stage.
Steve raised concerns about height and mass of the proposed buildings and also about the ill-advised decision to make a road access in the narrow and heavily congested School Road.
He had further discussions with Elmbridge’s Cabinet member for Housing, Councillor James Browne, who assured the small number of temporary housing units at the site will be for families made suddenly homeless - not ‘neighbour from hell’ types which was the Molesey Conservative Residents’ concern - who Elmbridge Borough Council has a duty to house.
Currently when these cases occur they are put up in bed and breakfast in the London Borough of Hounslow at cost to our taxpayers.
Councillor Browne admitted that Elmbridge is “under pressure to meet housing targets” and is unable to compete with the deep pockets of private developers in buying new land for affordable homes. So it has to make the most of sites that are owned by EBC and Paragon such as this one.
With things having gone a ‘little too quiet’ recently, Steve got in touch with Paragon on February 12.
Mr Whelan, the director, revealed that a planning application would be submitted for the scheme in around April this year.
Until then the plans are being revised in response to residents’ feedback from the consultation.
Mr Whelan said: “We are looking at the mass to see if we can reduce the impact, and are generally trying to see if there are things we can improve following the consultation.”
Paragon will revisit the School Road entry idea with Surrey County Council and has promised to assist Sandra House residents in finding alternative accommodation.
Both sites will be demolished and built at the same time as one another for reasons of cost and to avoid unnecessary disruption.
Email us if you are concerned.