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Boundary change lead graphic

Our County Councillor, Nick Darby, has given his comments below on the proposed break-up of The Dittons Division, particularly as regards the relationship between Thames Ditton and Long Ditton. 

See our accompanying article for further details on the proposal, including how to contact the Boundary Commission.

The Dittons
Thames Ditton and Long Ditton are closely linked, the name itself being a good indication. They are mentioned in the Domesday Book. The intention to split them is artificial.

There is a particularly artificial divide between Thames Ditton and Molesey, namely Hampton Court Way from Embercourt roundabout up towards Hampton Court. This road has a 40mph limit, is wide, arguably faster than it should be, prone to accidents, also prone to gridlock during commuting times also any time there are events in Esher (eg. racing at Sandown), Hampton Court (eg the Flower Show) and stretching as far as Twickenham (eg. Rugby and music events at Twickenham). These are examples of a significant divide and lack of community, not natural boundaries.

To this I would add the cross-over of the two sections of Summer Road, with its no right turn, from Summer Road, and similar across Hampton Court Way into Summer Road pushing vehicles up to the Embercourt roundabout. These changes were made 20+ years ago following accidents and at least one fatality.

On the other hand Portsmouth Road which crosses the Dittons is narrower, not prone to gridlock, and more naturally provides crossings at Angel Road, Claygate Lane, and Thorkhill Road for traffic, the latter with lights, towards Thames Ditton, also to Long Ditton. There is the junction with St Leonards Road, also two with Giggs Hill Road. The lights lead to the "Rec" in Long Ditton, also the Long Ditton Village Hall. Thames Ditton itself leads some way south at the Angel Road, Claygate Lane, and Thorkhill Road junctions, the latter also to the Ferry Lane cul-de-sac. The Angel Pub is by the Angel Road junction, well frequented by both communities. As further history, the river Rythe passes under Angel Road at various points , one of those close to its junction with Thorkhill Road, then at the back of the Angel, before meandering to the east, then going under Portsmouth Road at Winters Bridge, and into the Thames along the side of Ferry Road.

By reason of the above it is fair to say there is a real sense of Community within the Dittons. There are two Residents Associations, the Thames Ditton and Weston Green Residents' Association, and the Long Ditton Residents Association. As the Divisional Member for the Dittons I attend "Exec" and open meetings of both, work well with both sets of Elmbridge ward members of the various political groups, and write articles, as well as dealing with the usual resident queries for all parts of both areas. I am therefore well known in both areas, this following on from my predecessor.

On specific items, both areas were involved with the Local Plan submissions for Green Belt retention, this within Long Ditton, though highly relevant to Thames Ditton and Weston Green as well. Also relevant is the recent application for Village Green status for a well used recreational area used by many, not far from the border of Long Ditton. The well used Long Ditton Village Hall is available to and close by all.

Weston Green is and remains a vital part of the local community, evidenced by the name of the Residents' Association. Weston Green Road extends from Thames Ditton Station, across Hampton Court Way, emphasising the historical connection. Similarly, many of the houses in this area were part of the Speer estate, which included all of the land which now forms Esher College. To this I would add Speer Road.

Local Authority business
By reason of my comments above I believe these demonstrate the significant advantages in Thames Ditton and Long Ditton working together in pursuit of common interests, significant disadvantages in not doing so. Any divide would continue to serve no useful purpose (previous attempt at the same thing merely repeating earlier failure), indeed very much to the contrary. I am not aware of any benefit in making change so far as the number of electors in concerned. the electoral numbers for the Division are not improved, indeed to the contrary.

It is here right to mention the prior meeting/discussion between various of the local Surrey Divisional Members before the Boundary Commissioners recent report was published. This considered boundaries and voter numbers, suggesting only minor changes to the Dittons, on the Boundary with Hinchley Wood.

Overall therefore, the change proposed to the Dittons would be an immense backward step, and serving no useful purpose, indeed significant damage.

Nick Darby