EEBC set to develop temporary accommodation for local families

Epsom & Ewell Borough Council set to develop vital temporary accommodation for local families

Epsom & Ewell Borough Council has submitted a planning application to create three new temporary homes to house local families at risk of homelessness.

The proposal is in response to the acute demand for temporary accommodation in the borough, particularly for family-sized homes. It forms an important contribution to the Council’s recently launched Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Strategy, which includes the objective to increase accommodation options in the borough including temporary accommodation.

The proposal makes use of brownfield land alongside Fairview Road in Epsom and was approved by the Strategy & Resources Committee on Thursday 26 January. The proposal will now go through the due planning process and if approved, work will start in March 2023.

Alongside providing life-changing support to the families who will make use of the homes, investment in the properties will lead to savings for the Council over time, as the cost of the development is offset by rental income and a reduction in the need for expensive nightly paid accommodation. The Council has also been successfully awarded funding of £75,000 from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities’ Brownfield Land Relief Fund, to be invested in this project.

The homes are pre-fabricated and built offsite to provide an innovative, attractive and low-cost housing solution. They are at the forefront of energy efficient design and provide safe, welcoming spaces for families.

Cllr Neil Dallen, Chair of the Strategy & Resources Committee, said: “I am delighted that this key project has been approved by Committee, and that its importance has been emphasised by the level of funding we have received from central government. The impact of homelessness cannot be underestimated, and increasing temporary accommodation provision for local families will have a positive impact not only on those being housed, but on the borough as a whole.

This will now progress through the planning process and we will await the outcome with interest.”

Inside view of FamilyHaus
Inside view of FamilyHaus
A bid was submitted to the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities to access the Brownfield Land Relief Fund to provide funding to assist in the development of the site.The funding awarded of £75,000 will assist with the preparation of the site for development.

 

Haus micro homes are produced by The Hill Group and are at the forefront of prefabricated, energy efficient design. The proposal is for three FamilyHaus micro homes to be installed on the site. The company also produces a SoloHaus unit for individuals and DuoHaus for couples. An image of the FamilyHaus unit can be found here: https://solohaus.co.uk/the-solution/#Introducing%20FamilyHaus

Local Plan Clutches at Green Belt Straws For Houses

Epsom & Ewell Borough Council Local Plan Clutches At Green Belt Straws For Houses – Saving of Downs Farm only bright spot , as brownfield priorities missed. Given the Government’s “brownfield first” brief, it looks like the planners did not get the memo.

They certainly did not get the new memo from Government saying that it is not necessary to review Green Belt for housing. And they appear not to have taken the hint from neighbouring Elmbridge, who creatively avoided any Green Belt destruction, and Mole Valley, whose councillors this month voted unanimously to remove all Green Belt sites from its Local Plan.

Out of 5,400 new homes proposed in the Draft Local Plan (2023-20240) , with EEBC councillors due to take a final Section 18 publication decision on Monday 30 January, some 2,175 homes (almost 41%) are earmarked to be built on the borough’s Green Belt land.

Of nine “Preferred Option” development sites proposed, five are Green Belt – with Downs Farm, where 650 homes were proposed, only narrowly missing the cut after a huge campaign by residents.

Over 55 hectares – or some 137 acres – of Green Belt land could be sacrificed. The plans include one gigantic estate of some 1,500 homes on land around Horton Farm, which will have its Green Belt status stripped away.

The “Preferred Options” for Green Belt development are:

– 150 homes around West Park Hospital
– 1,500 homes around Horton Farm
– 25 homes next to Chantilly Way
– 350 homes on the sports fields by Ewell East Station
– 150 homes on sports pitches at Hook Road Arena (land owned by the Council)

Only on its own land can the Council specify 100% affordable homes – the rest will be 40% at best, as developers have many canny ways to get round this stipulation and build more profitable higher end housing.

The Council even admits that they have already taken some slugs of Green Belt land for housing, on the NESCOT campus and the five hospitals housing developments – but they need more.

There is a whole Appendix (Appendix 4 see below) revealing yet more Green Belt sites that have been offered up by opportunistic developers in a “ Call for Sites” that have been mercifully excluded as “Preferred Options”. Much of the analysis seems subjective and open to question.

And then there is this – the previous Council Green Belt studies of 2017-19 have been considered out of date and a new 2022 Green Belt Study has been
commissioned- but we all have yet to see this document.

EEBC needs to plunder more Green Belt, as it appears only a few brownfield
landowners came forward in its “Call for Sites”. So the Plan is offering just
around 1,000 homes in Epsom Town Centre until year 2040, and the same meagre number over 15 years on urban LAA sites, and it reckons the same number again for existing planning permissions.

So where is the real challenge taken up, to redevelop Epsom Town surroundings, which most commentators agree could do with some rejuvenation, to say the least?

Well, the Kiln Lane and Longmead industrial areas are said to be off limits,
according to consultants for EEBC, because of the 1,800 jobs there. So not a single new brownfield affordable home is put forward here, with no imaginative plan to mix housing with job creation and revitalise an area close to the station, shops and entertainment facilities that many people prefer.

Smaller brownfield developments of around 5 -10 homes each, do not seem to be in the Draft Plan either, although we may have missed the brownwood for the trees

“We are left with the conclusion that the planners – and by extension our ruling Councillors – are in a “Call for Sites” trap. This has inhibited visionary thinking and pro-active engagement with urban developers on how much-needed affordable housing might be built in tandem with an exciting redevelopment programme that Epsom’s brownfield areas so desperately need” said Yufan Si, campaign leader for Keep Epsom & Ewell’s Green Belt

“All they seem able to do about it is to bulldozer yet another field of our Green Belt heritage” said Ms Si.

If Councillors vote on January 30 for the Draft Local Plan (Section 18) to proceed, then it will be formally published by EEBC on February 1, followed by a six-week Public Consultation stage.

CLICK HERE For Details of Monday’s Meeting

Article supplied by Epsom & Ewell Green Belt Campaign Group

MVDC Seeking Agreement to Remove Green Belt Sites from Draft Local Plan

Local Group Ask Epsom & Ewell Councillors to Reconsider the use of Green Belt Land

Consultation on Epsom & Ewell’s Draft Local Plan going live in February 2023

Residents Take Action As Green Belt Comes Under Threat

 

 

Citizens Advice Saving Money On Your Energy Bills Tips

Citizens Advice Epsom & Ewell shares tips for saving money on your energy bills

As people across the borough struggle with sky-high energy bills, Citizens Advice Epsom & Ewell (CAEE) shares practical advice for bringing down costs. The charity has teamed up with Energy Saving Trust to provide the following advice for making small savings around the home*:

      • Turning your appliances off standby could save you £65 a year;
      • Draught proofing windows, doors and blocking cracks around your home could save you up to £125 a year;
      • Turning off lights when you leave a room could save you £25 a year;
      • Washing your clothes at 30 degrees and doing one less machine run a week could save you around £34 a year;
      • Ditching the tumble dryer and drying your clothes on racks in a well-ventilated room or outside in warmer weather could save you £70 a year;
      • Reducing your shower time to 4 minutes can save you £95 a year;
      • Swapping one bath a week with a 4 minute shower can save you £20 a year;
      • Avoiding overfilling the kettle could save you £13 a year;
      • Running your dishwasher one time less per week could save you £17 a year

People must get all the support they’re entitled to.

These lifestyle changes still might not cover the hole in household budgets, so CAEE is also urging people to check they’re getting all the support they’re entitled to. This could include:

      • Energy Bills Support Scheme — a £400 discount given to every household. People who use prepayment meters are also entitled to this – there’s more information here on how this works;
      • Warm Home Discount — a £150 discount if you get certain benefits;
      • Fuel vouchers — if you can’t afford to top up your prepayment meter;
      • Cold weather payments — payments if you get certain benefits and the weather is extremely cold;
      • Grants from your energy supplier — to help you pay off debts you may owe.

If you owe money to your energy supplier, you should speak to them about setting up a payment plan. They’re responsible for helping you find a way to pay your bills.

image of Lisa Davis, CEO of CAEE, Lisa Davis, CEO of CAEE, said: “We know times are extremely hard and a lot of people are struggling to stay afloat. It’s important to know about any way you can safely save money and what support you’re entitled to.

“We know many people are already doing everything they can and are still stretched beyond their limit. If you need personalised support, don’t hesitate to contact us on Freephone 0808 278 7963   or visit https://www.caee.org.uk.”

For Your Local Citizens Advice CLICK HERE 

New Chief Executive recommended for Epsom & Ewell Borough Council

Jackie King is set to become the new Chief Executive of Epsom & Ewell Borough Council, subject to ratification by Full Council on Tuesday 14 February. Jackie has been recommended for the position following a robust and competitive recruitment process.

Jackie joined Epsom & Ewell Council (EEBC) in September 2021 as Director of Corporate Resources and has been in the position of interim Chief Executive since July 2022.

Jackie has had an extensive career across the public and private sector and prior to joining EEBC was Acting Chief Executive at Tandridge District Council. She also spent eight years at Surrey Police in various People, Change and Transformation roles as well as roles relating to performance and risk in global financial institutions.

image of Hanna DaltonCllr Hannah Dalton, Chair of the Residents’ Association Majority Group, said:

“We are very pleased to be recommending the appointment of Jackie King as the new Chief Executive of Epsom and Ewell Borough Council. Through the rigorous recruitment process undertaken, Jackie demonstrated that she is a strong and effective leader with the drive and vision to take EEBC forward.

Jackie has the support of Councillors, staff and partners in leading the delivery of our agreed priorities and in helping our communities to face the significant challenges that lie ahead in these tough times.

Jackie has been with the Council as our Director of Corporate Services for 18 months and I have every confidence that, with her at the helm as our Chief Executive, we will make strong progress in the years ahead and deliver the change that Councillors are looking for and that our residents expect.”

Image of Jackie KingJackie King said:

“I am delighted to be recommended for this position as EEBC’s next Chief Executive. As a long-term resident of the borough I am so proud of what we have to offer here, and am looking forward to working with colleagues, Councillors, partners and residents to support the borough to grow and thrive.

The last few years have been challenging for us all in many ways and from my time here at the Council I know how committed and ambitious everyone is to really make a difference and deliver the best services we can for our communities, businesses, and visitors.”

 

Epsom & Ewell Borough Council Chief Executive to leave

Flagpole Donated in Memory of Son

Local Epsom residents Carol and Steve Bridger today unveiled a new flagpole on Epsom Common, by Stamford Green, in memory of their son Richard who sadly passed away in 2018 aged just 34. Richard, who was their eldest son, had suffered with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy but enjoyed visits to the common as well as looking from his window towards the green from his room.

L to R Steve and Carol, Members of Epsom Common Association, EEBC

The original wooden flag pole was snapped in half during a storm a year and a half ago. The flagpole was used not only for flying the environmental Green Flag award, which the common regularly wins, but also during Remembrance weekend and other special occasions.

Carol and Steve decided to donate a new flagpole to Epsom & Ewell Borough Council. Steve said “Richard loved this area so when we saw the damage pole we knew this would be a fitting memory of Richard”

He went on to say “Carol and I would like to thank Stewart Cocker of Epsom & Ewell Council, Epsom Common Association and Tom Kane of Kane Construction who supplied the labour and materials to replace the base for free”

Steve Bridger raising the Green Award flag on the new flagpole
Steve Bridger raising the Green Award flag on the new flagpole

 

Surrey Police Virtual Recruitment Session

Anyone thinking of starting a career in Surrey Police’s Contact and Deployment department can get involved in Surrey Police virtual recruitment session to find out more.

Whether it is working in their Contact Centre answering emergency calls, in the Force Control Room deploying their police officers, or as part of the Police Counter Team – being that first friendly face greeting people coming into their stations – the Contact and Deployment department is an integral part of Surrey Police.

The hour-long virtual event is taking place on Wednesday, 25 January at 6:30pm.

So, if you or any of your family or friends may be interested, share the link below and come and join Surrey Police for an informative evening!

The virtual session will be an opportunity to meet the police and ask any questions about the recruitment process, the entry requirements, training or progression.

Register here to get yourself a place at the virtual event: https://bit.ly/SurreyPoliceVirtual

Are You Looking For A Job In Surrey? If so visit our Jobs Board…..CLICK HERE

Statement from Councillor Stephen Cooksey, MVDC

Statement from Councillor Stephen Cooksey, Leader of Mole Valley District Council

Councillor Stephen Cooksey, Leader of Mole Valley District Council (MVDC), said: “On Monday evening this week, all Members gave consideration to our Local Plan at an Extraordinary Council meeting. I, along with four other Cabinet colleagues, called the meeting so that MVDC’s Members could consider seeking the Inspector’s view on removing all green belt sites from the draft Plan. I am delighted to say that this proposal gained universal consensus across the council chamber and we have written to the Inspector to see if she would consider this modification to the Plan. We will of course update residents on the outcome of this decision when we know more ourselves.

“There will be a drop-in community engagement event taking place at the Leatherhead Institute (KT22 8AH) on Saturday 21 January 2023 from 1-3pm. It will provide an opportunity for anyone to speak to representatives from a range of organisations including the local Safer Neighbourhood policing team, Mount Green Housing Association, the Designing Out Crime Officer and Neighbourhood Watch. A number of teams from MVDC will be there too, including the Transform Leatherhead team who will be able to provide an update on the town’s regeneration project.

“Ahead of the annual Specsavers Surrey Youth Games weekend being held this summer – a brilliant opportunity for young people  across the county to have fun and get active – Team Mole Valley needs enthusiastic Young Ambassadors to help promote and encourage new participants to take part in 2023. It is a great opportunity chance for 7 to 16 years olds to develop leadership skills and build confidence too. Ambassador application need to be in by 31 January 2023. For more information, visit our website.

“Many people in Mole Valley will have one or more dogs in their homes, and it is really important residents are aware of the responsibility that comes with being an owner. Our Environmental Health team have asked I share a reminder that, if your dog is over the age of eight weeks, it must be microchipped and the pet’s details registered. You could face a fine of up to £500 if your dog is not registered on an approved database.

“As a reminder, if you wish to comment on the organisation’s budget proposals for 2023/24, we will need to receive your email to [email protected] before 23 January 2023.

“Finally, I would like to thank everyone who took the time to email us their thoughts surrounding the offer from Dorking Wanderers to purchase the Meadowbank facilities. The report, which will first be considered by the Scrutiny Committee in the evening on Tuesday 24 January 2023, is available on our website. The meeting is also available to watch next Tuesday on our webcast should you wish.”

Update From Chris Grayling MP

Dear constituent

I am writing to you concerning a couple of local issues.

ULEZ

Firstly many of you will be aware that the Mayor of London has decided to widen London’s ultra low emission zone from later this year. This has significant implications for our area.

I won’t get into the politics of this now, except to say that I am strongly opposed to the change at this time because of its impact on our area, on pensioners and people on low incomes with older cars and most significantly those seeking treatment at St Helier or the Marsden. I have asked him to reconsider this aspect of the scheme in particular.

But I thought that I should give you a picture of what the change means for us locally.

The first thing to say is that the plan does not include extending the zone right to the London boundary everywhere. For us the outline ULEZ map says it will not cover the route from Epsom to the M25 via Malden Rushett or from Ewell to Tolworth and the A3 going southwards. There has been some confusion over the status of Rushett Lane and I am checking that with TfL.

It will also not include the north end of Stoneleigh and parts of Worcester Park.

Full details of the plan and what cars are included are here, together with Transport for London’s map of the new extension.

https://tfl.gov.uk/modes/driving/ultra-low-emission-zone/ulez-expansion-2023

The target date for the launch is August 29th, though that may slip as some councils are refusing to work with the Mayor to install the cameras that will be needed to make it operational.

Local Plans

There have been two new developments on the Local Plans which shape the future of housing development in our area – in Epsom and Ewell and Mole Valley.

Epsom and Ewell Borough Council is due to publish its draft plan in the next few days, and this will show the degree to which it has decided to push for development on local green belt land. I very much hope they have chosen to focus on brown field sites and particularly on the potential for the Kiln Lane and Longmead areas.

If you have not previously seen my proposal for the area, you can find it on my website, www.chrisgrayling.net.

I will include links on my site to the Council’s local plan documents when they are published. Please do take part in the public consultation. This will affect us all.

Meanwhile in Mole Valley, the Council has asked the Planning Inspector to delay consideration of their plans, following the Government’s revision of its national planning policies. It is too early to know if this may affect the plans for Ashtead, but I will keep you posted.

Energy Support Scheme

Many thanks to everyone who donated to the Energy Support Scheme. In total we have raised about £45,000 and this is being used by the Good Company, which runs the food bank, and Citizens Advice, to help people struggling with high bills this winter to deal with short term problems with their bills and to buy low energy appliances. I am really grateful to all who have contributed.

If you would still like to help, details are at
https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/epsom-ewell-energy-support-scheme

Financial Awareness Training

Finally a word of congratulation to Epsom and Ewell’s Citizens Advice team for putting together a very good financial awareness training programme for local sixth formers, which has been trialled initially at Epsom and Ewell High School. This is a really important area, and hopefully other schools locally will be able to benefit soon as well.

Best wishes

Chris Grayling

Contact Chris:

Email: [email protected]
Constituency Office: 01372 271 036
Address: 212 Barnett Wood Lane, Ashtead, Surrey, KT21 2DB

Citizens Advice delivers new Financial Literacy Project to Epsom & Ewell High School students

Citizens Advice Epsom & Ewell (CAEE) has successfully delivered the first Financial Literacy Course to Epsom & Ewell High School (EEHS) to over 100 year 12 students. The course helps young people understand about money, loans, credit, how to stay out of debt and even how to save.

Every year, CAEE sees many people with serious and complex debt problems.  It believes prevention is better than cure so are keen to deliver financial literacy training to as many young people as possible across the borough.

The six week course held last term was funded by Surrey County Councillors Steven McCormick and Bernie Muir together with Alex Coley, trustee of local charity The Ruxley Foundation and funding from the Aviva Community Fund.

Hannah Cobbold, Assistant Headteacher of EEHS said: “This financial literacy project has not only provided the students at EEHS the skills they need to be financially aware in the future, but also an understanding of the importance of being financially literate. We were extremely impressed with the time and energy that Citizens Advice put in to collaborating with the school to create a scheme of work which was student friendly and also informative.”

A celebratory assembly was held to conclude the course where each student received a certificate and a contact card to enable easy contact to Citizens Advice in case of future money worries.  One EEHS student said: “On behalf of the sixth form and as a student here I want to give our gratitude towards the council for including us within this supportive pilot scheme.

“From this programme we’ve all been able to take away something positive; specific to each of us which we can implement into university and many other aspects in our future; whether that be learning about tax , loans, mortgages , credit cards; being scam aware and much more!”

The sessions are one we’ll never forget; as we’ve all taken the first step to become our own money managers and we know that if we ever need; no matter the severity; we can turn towards Citizens Advice. Thanks again for all your support.”

Lisa Davis, CEO of CAEE said: “We are grateful to Epsom & Ewell High School and all the funders for enabling us to deliver this pilot project and look forward to continuing our work with EEHS to similarly support future students.  Its success means that we can work towards securing funding to roll out this important messaging about managing finances to other schools in the borough in order to reach as many of our young people as possible”.

Any schools or individuals interested in supporting or delivering the project can contact CAEE via its website www.caee.org.uk

left to right :
James Newman, Headteacher; Marian Anghileri, Money Adviser CAEE; Cllr Alex Coley, Chair of Trustees of The Ruxley Foundation (funder); Cllr Steve McCormick (funder); Cllr Bernie Muir (funder); Rt Hon Chris Grayling MP; Louise Curd, Publicity & Fundraising Manager CAEE; Hilary Egan, Head of Sixth From, EEHS

Oscar-worthy Performances for Chinthurst’s LAMDA Students

Thirty seven children took their LAMDA Drama exams at the end of last term and between them, achieved an amazing 34 distinctions and 3 merits. These fantastic results include distinctions in the rigorous Acting Grade 4 exam taken by 4 Year 6 pupils

Drama is a huge part of life at Chinthurst with a range of exciting productions throughout the year. The school has a LAMDA Drama programme which gives the children the opportunity to take weekly lessons and take regular exams.

Head of Drama, Mrs Stricker-Timmermans said, ‘Drama has such an important role to play in the personal development of all children. It gives them the opportunity to learn and develop skills and qualities, such as teamwork, creativity, leadership and risk-taking, which are essential in all areas of life. Preparing for and taking the LAMDA exams raises the children’s self-esteem and gives them a sense of achievement and the confidence to make the world their stage. These fantastic LAMDA grades are a testament to their hard work and dedication.”

Headteacher, Cathy Trundle said, ‘ This is an outstanding set of results and I am so pleased that the children’s enthusiasm and hard work has paid off. I am so proud of them all and particularly our Year 6 pupils who achieved distinctions in such a high grade of exam.’

Chinthurst is a coeducational independent day school for children aged 2 1/2 to 11 years old. It is a junior school of Reigate Grammar

For More Information visit www.chinthurstschool.co.uk

Four Year 6 pupils gained distinction in their Grade 4 Acting exam