AUTUMN PLANNING BULLETIN – OCTOBER 2023
As reported in our March 2023 Bulletin, we continue to face the prospect of more and more ‘flatted’ developments and remain convinced that inappropriate flatted developments are not the answer to Elmbridge’s housing needs. Weybridge already has an over-supply of flats while there is a dire shortage of small AFFORDABLE family homes. For many years now we have witnessed a huge increase in such developments with both Walton and Weybridge bearing a disproportionate share of the Borough’s requirement.
Note: To view any EBC application, and/or make a comment, enter the Application Number into the search box by Clicking here
HGV TRANSPORT HUB – WEYBRIDGE BUSINESS PARK, ADDLESTONE
Also in our March Bulletin, we reported that the proposals for Weybridge Business Park from the developer, Bridge Industrial, had been unanimously refused by Runnymede Borough Council. (RU.22/0776). On 17th October 2023, Bridge Industrial lodged an appeal against this decision. The hearing will take the form of an ‘Inquiry’ scheduled to commence on 6th February 2024. The hearing is expected to last for 10 days. Weybridge Society is applying to be a party to the inquiry and will be preparing a ‘Statement of Case’ based primarily on the impact of increased traffic on air quality and healthy travel.
RU.23/1066 – Meanwhile, a revised application was submitted to Runnymede BC and unfortunately this was recently approved by Runnymede’s Planning Committee. This is again a speculative proposal of 11 industrial units on 2 sites. It is slightly smaller in scale than the earlier application although still proposes a 24/7 operation. This application appeared on EBC’s website as a ‘Consultation from Runnymede BC’ and was listed under 2023/2356. EBC ‘raised no objection’ – a decision made within 3 days of the listing. Weybridge Society questioned EBC’s response and issued a formal complaint. The Society’s view remains that such a massive development will have a huge impact on traffic movements in and around Weybridge with the resultant noise and air quality issues. We wrote to both EBC and RBC to express our objections to this revised scheme and are disappointed that despite a full public gallery of vocal opponents to the proposals, Runnymede’s Councillors felt unable to refuse the application owing to the lack of any objections from Surrey Highways. However, one of the conditions of the consent was that normal ‘industrial’ hours would apply. In effect this means that operating hours will be between 7am and 9.00pm, similar to the operational hours of the neighbouring units. A further restriction is that that no single tenant can occupy more than 4 units. This would prevent the buildings being used as a distribution warehouse for the likes of Amazon.
DEVELOPMENT PROPOSALS IN and AROUND BROOKLANDS
Listed below are the formal planning applications for a number of schemes in the Brooklands area. This list is up to date at the time of writing, but for the latest and most accurate changes to planning, please consult the EBC website or the Society’s website at www.weybridgesociety.org.uk where you can also check the Planning Updates in previous newsletters for more background and history on individual cases.
BROOKLANDS BUSINESS AREA
2022/1272 Abbey House, Wellington Way – an application for a development of three to seven-storey buildings comprising 106 flats. 55 objections have been recorded including one from Weybridge Society. Hoarding has been put up around the site. Although 31st October 2023 is listed as the ‘Target for Decision’ date, at present the date for the Planning Committee Meeting is awaited.
2022/2809 St George’s Business Park, Brooklands Road – This application was refused by EBC – a decision made by the Planning Officer without reference to the Planning Committee. One of the main reasons for refusal was that the proposal failed to demonstrate that ‘reasonable attempts had been made to develop adjoining sites comprehensively’. This was primarily due to the siting of three high-rise blocks of flats around Building ‘B’ which the developers proposed to retain and convert into flats under the existing consented ‘permitted development’ proposal.
In order to overcome the ‘comprehensive development’ reason for refusal, LEOS has now submitted THREE SEPARATE proposals 2023/2167, 2123/2169 and 2123/2170. In the Society’s view, given the Planning Officer’s comments in connection with the refusal of 2022/2809, submitting three separate applications seems an absurd approach.
2023/2167 is for a terrace of 4 townhouses houses (2 storeys plus rooms in the roof) located on the northern side of Locke King Road.
2023/2169 is for a development comprising 18 townhouses along Brooklands Road with 168 flats in four blocks of 4 – 6 storeys. One underground parking space will be provided for each flat and one surface parking space for each of the three and four-bedroom houses.
2023/2170 is for a development of 10 houses fronting Brooklands Road with two blocks comprising 43 flats located on the northern section of Locke King Road. The proposal involves the demolition of office blocks referred to as Blocks D & E.
These three schemes would provide a total of 243 new dwellings with a high percentage of the proposed flats being one bedroom.
Weybridge Society has written letters of objection for each application – these can be viewed on the EBC website and further details of the applicant’s plans which include Computer Generated Images of the proposed development, can be viewed on the company’s website www.leosuk.com.
2023/1359 Brooklands College, Heath Road, Weybridge This application, submitted in May 2023, is for a major redevelopment of the College campus and the provision of housing on the surrounding land, much of which is designated as ‘Green Belt’. This is an ambitious proposal involving some 269 plans and 119 supporting documents. The proposal is for a total of 320 new homes comprising 83 houses and 237 flats, 15 of which will be in the refurbished ‘Mansion’ block. 40% of these dwellings will be classified as ‘affordable’ split between ‘first home’, ‘shared ownership’ and ‘affordable rent’. Several of the college buildings will be demolished and others re-purposed. The proposal includes provision of a post 16 SEND (Special Educational Needs or Disability) facility. 17 hectares of new public open space through the extensive woodland will be provided as well as a new Sports Hall and Community Hub which will be available for use by the general public.
A good summary of the plans is provided within the 150 page ‘Planning Statement’ which also focuses on why the College considers the application should be considered within the ‘Green Belt – Very Special Circumstances’ policy. The claim is that redevelopment of the site and the introduction of housing is necessary in order to repay the legacy £25M debt which is owed to the government’s Education & Skills funding Agency (ESFA). Many of our members are aware of Brooklands College’s financial obligations and accept the importance of securing its future for the benefit of students and the wider public. However, like many residents, the Society has concerns about the scale of the proposals and the impact on local infrastructure. Further information including a ‘fly through’ video is available on the website www.brooklandsgrove.co.uk.
Aside from the proposals in and around Brooklands, other applications of interest are listed below:
8-14 Oatlands Drive (Walton Central Ward) There have been a number of recent applications relating to this development of four blocks of 51 apartments currently under construction. These include an application for protrusions on the roofs to accommodate lift overruns (2023/0485) which was refused due to EBC not considering this to be a ‘minor amendment’ to the approved plans. Subsequently, the applicant submitted a further ‘Variation of Condition’ application (2023/1741) seeking consent for the lift overruns. Among the letters of objection is one from the Borough’s Senior Conservation and Design Officer who states’ This site is a painful reminder of the problems the Council faces with repeated alterations to developments that slowly over time lessened the quality of the original permission’. A further ‘Variation of Condition’ application (2023/0270) for the creation of roof terraces on the flat roof areas was refused. Following requests from local residents and our own concerns, the Society submitted letters objecting to these applications.
2022/2118 4 – 6 Oatlands Drive, Weybridge (Walton Central Ward) An application for the demolition of two detached houses to be replaced with two blocks comprising 27 flats. The Society sent a letter of objection on 4th February 2023. The applicants lodged an Appeal due to the Planning Authority’s non-determination of the application within the allocated time. However, EBC’s officers would have refused the application due to the impacts on the character and appearance of the area, trees, living conditions of the neighbouring properties and the lack of an affordable housing contribution. Fortunately, the Appeal Inspector agreed with the Planning Officers and dismissed the Appeal.
2022/3796 16 – 18 Oatlands Drive Weybridge (Walton Central Ward) An application to demolish a further two detached houses on Oatlands Drive and replace them with two blocks comprising a further 33 flats. The Society has objected to this proposal. (If granted, a total of 84 apartments would replace just 6 detached dwellings). This application was on the Agenda for the 17th October Planning Committee Meeting but was withdrawn due to matters raised in late representation letters that needed to be addressed. Although the Planning Officer’s recommendation is to ‘grant permission’, the 103 local residents who objected to the proposal will hope that members of the Planning Committee will take a different view.
Former Café Rouge building and land to the rear of 85 Queens Road, Weybridge
2023/2454 85 Queens Road A further ‘Retrospective’ application regarding replacement fenestration to the front elevation. This application follows previously refused applications (2022/0281 and 2022/3718) and now seeks to provide externally fitted glass safety barriers to the first and second-floor windows.
2023/2215 Rear of 85 Queens Road, Weybridge Change of use of the existing commercial building to 2 residential units. Following refusal of 2023/1127 and 2023/1128 this application has also been refused for similar reasons: an inadequate supply of sunlight to the main living area, provision of an unsuitable amenity area, zero parking provision and lack of a policy compliant affordable housing.
2022/0461 Land to the rear of 85 Queens Road (North West of Campbell Cottage & 1 Beacon Mews) An application for a detached building for offices with associated parking. This application was granted permission with a restriction limiting use to Class E office use only. The applicant has appealed against the Class ‘E’ restrictive use condition. This site also has consent for a pair of semi-detached dwellings (2022/0441).
2021/0712 Land West of 17 High Pine Close In July 2023, the Planning Inspector dismissed the Appeal against EBC’s refusal to permit construction of a dwelling on the rear garden of 17 High Pine Close.
2023/2046 Petrol Station 95 Brooklands Road Following EBC’s and the Appeals Inspector’s refusal of application 2021/2381 due in part to ‘the proposal would be visually more intrusive within the streetscene than that which is existing, thus detracting from the area’s character and appearance’. This subsequent application, which is on the agenda for the 8th November Planning Committee Meeting, is recommended for approval by the Planning Officer. We are preparing a ‘late’ letter of objection to the proposal which is very similar in scale to the previous application and comprises a retail area of 150m2 (currently 60m2) with 24/7 operating hours.
2023/1043 6 Pine Grove Weybridge Surrey The previous application (2022/3544) was withdrawn early in 2023. This subsequent application is for a pair of semi-detached houses and a terrace of three two-storey houses with rooms in the roof space following demolition of the existing Italianate style Victorian villa. Although this application was approved at September’s Committee meeting, the decision is dependent on the resolution of legal issues which are awaited.
2021/3609 22 Oatlands Avenue Following refusal of this application for a total of 12 flats, the developers lodged an appeal in November 2022 – decision awaited. A further application 2022/2795, reducing the number of flats to 8 was submitted in September and was again refused by EBC. The applicants have lodged a second Appeal – decision awaited. The Society objected to both applications on the grounds of overdevelopment and out-of-character design.
2022/0944 34 Queens Road Following refusal by EBC for this three-storey block comprising 10 flats, the applicant lodged an Appeal against EBC’s decision. This Appeal was dismissed due in part to the height and mass of the proposed buildings being too prominent on this corner plot.
2023/0445 34 Queens Road This subsequent application for a terrace of 3 two-storey houses with ‘rooms in the roof space’ as well as a single-storey bungalow was also refused permission by EBC’S Planning Officer due to the design, layout and scale being ‘out of keeping with and significantly detrimental to the character and appearance of the site, surrounding area and street scenes’.
2023/0291 270 Brooklands Road, Weybridge A proposal for a detached two-storey building with rooms in the roof space comprising 9 flats following demolition of the existing detached house. Many of the 61 objections focus on the proximity of the proposed block of flats to a dangerous blind bend and the junction with Caenshill Road. However, Surrey County Council’s Highway Authority has assessed the application and has only suggested a number of ‘Conditions’ in order to not prejudice highway safety nor inconvenience other highway users.
2023/1382 Ikona Court, St George’s Avenue, Weybridge Planning permission has been granted for a development comprising a terrace of 5 houses and 2 flats following demolition of the existing garages.
2022/2846 Queensgate House, South Road, Weybridge The applicants lodged an Appeal against EBC’s refusal of a ‘Change of Use from Office to Day Nursery’. This application follows dismissal of an earlier Appeal against EBC’s refusal of the previous application (2021/1879). In this instance, despite objections from many local residents including from The Triangle Residents Group, the Inspector allowed the Appeal. Residents of High Pine Close, South Road and the surrounding area have serious concerns about the safety of up to 70 pre-school age children accessing this site.
2022/3735 Waverley Lodge, Elgin Road The applicant recently lodged an Appeal against the Planning Officer’s refusal of this application which proposes demolition of a modest bungalow to be replaced by a substantial two-storey house with rooms in the roof space. Weybridge Society objected to the proposal due to the scale, mass and design of the proposed replacement dwelling and will be evaluating the appellants’ Statement of Case’ before submitting a letter to the Appeals Inspector.
2023/1549 Waverley Lodge, Elgin Road A subsequent application, again for a two-storey detached house with rooms in the roof space, was submitted in June 2023 and was also refused by the Planning Officer due in part to the ‘size, height, mass, bulk and design resulting in an incongruous and discordant form of development that would appear unduly prominent, causing unacceptable harm to the character and appearance of the streetscene and local area.
2023/1784 75 Oatlands Drive An application for two pairs of semi-detached two storey houses located in the rear garden of 75 Oatlands Drive with a new access from Beverley Close. Local residents are dismayed that an historic brick wall has been destroyed to facilitate access to the site and several trees have been felled and foliage removed prior to this submission. The proposed layout is unusual as the two pairs of dwellings face each other rather than forming a frontage along Beverley Close which has houses on one side of the road only. The Society has objected in support of local residents.
2023/1138 Bramcote House, York Road, Weybridge An application by PA Housing, the local Elmbridge Housing Association, for the replacement of the current block of flats with two two-storey blocks with rooms in the roof space comprising 27 flats all described as ‘affordable’ rental properties. There are concerns about the limited parking provision in an area of parking stress.