The Society has been advised that Elmbridge Borough Council (EBC) is considering cancelling its facility whereby notification letters are sent to residents regarding planning applications under consideration in their immediate neighbourhood. This is expected to save more than £50,000 per annum. To the Society’s knowledge there has been no consultation process or even public notice that this is the Council’s intention. To replace this service, the Council is recommending residents sign up for email notifications, a process which from experience works well. The Society applauds any cost saving measure, however, there are significant numbers of residents who do not have access to electronic means and will become deprived of a service which they value.
The Society asserts this abrupt cancellation of writing to neighbours is too draconian and a hybrid solution should be followed for several years. A hybrid approach could include sending letters to affected residents who are not set up for email notifications or when the officers put up site notices, notification letters could be delivered to neighbouring residences.
The Society has written to our local Councillors requesting that when the Budget for 2021-2022 is debated at a full council meeting on February 24th , the proposal for cancellation of neighbours’ planning notification letters should not be agreed and some form of hybrid arrangement is put in place.
Please contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org ) if you have any views on the above or make them directly to your ward councillor.