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The RA has submitted a letter of objection (below) regarding 
Planning Application 2020/1795 to develop the Merrywood site in Weston Green.

Merrywood development

 


TDWGRA new letterhead LR

Ditton Cottage
Giggs Hill Road
Thames Ditton
Surrey KT7 0BT

Planning Services
Elmbridge Borough Council
Civic Centre
High Street
Esher KT10 9SD

22 August 2020


Dear Sir/Madam,

Objection: 2020/1795 - Merrywood, Weston Green, Thames Ditton, Surrey, KT7 0JZ

I write on behalf of Thames Ditton & Weston Green Residents' Association to support local residents in their objections to the above application.

Our Association recognises the requirement for sensible and sympathetic development on existing sites to meet government-imposed housing targets, so that development on green belt sites can be avoided. We also recognise that such development should aim to meet local housing need, should include an affordable element where possible, and should be done in a sustainable manner to ensure that local infrastructure such as schools, GP surgeries, and roads are not put under intolerable strain.

Sadly, this application is not an example of such a development, being unsympathetic and out of character with the area, with an excessive density when compared with the local environs which would be more appropriate to an urban area, and with incongruous elements such as the block of flats which are overbearing in terms of scale and massing. We would therefore contend that the application falls foul of CS1 and CS17 and DM2 of the Elmbridge Core Strategy and Development Management Plan. The development cannot be compared to Esher College, which is non-residential, and sits within its own unique character area.

Whilst we recognise that development should make efficient use of land, this cannot be at the expense of the character of the local area, which is made up of large family houses sitting within generous plots, rather than shoeboxes and flats crammed into a tiny area. With 53 dwellings per hectare, this is excessive, both in terms of the local area (12.8), and excessive in its own right. The inner London average housing density in terms of dwellings per hectare is 46.7, and the figure for London as a whole is 22.5 (figures from https://data.london.gov.uk/dataset/number-and-density-of-dwellings-by-borough). A development with a density vastly exceeding that of inner London cannot be considered to be in keeping with the character of the local area, and therefore would fall foul of CS17.

Finally, we are very concerned about the effect that this development will have on highway safety and capacity, owing to the limited access to the site, and existing congestion in the area from Esher College, especially during school pickup/dropoff time. The developer has proposed 42 parking spaces for the site, with the transport study suggesting 100 vehicle movements to and from the site over the course of a day. Whilst the study notes that ‘The site is located on a cul-de-sac with an exit from Esher College, which at times is heavily used by students walking in and out, and with vehicles leaving the college’, this is not taken into account when it comes to looking at vehicular impacts. There is a bland assertion that ‘having regard to the nature of the surrounding highway network, it is concluded that the identified vehicular impacts arising as a result of the development proposals can be accommodated without prejudicing the free flow of traffic or condition of road safety within the neighbouring highway network’, but this assertion has been made without any evidence whatsoever to back it up, as ‘the nature of the surrounding highway network’ has not been investigated.

Overall, this application represents an overdevelopment of the site, with an excessive number of housing units which are not in keeping with the surrounding area, and which will have a hugely detrimental impact on the amenity of local residents. We would therefore urge you to reject the application. 

Yours faithfully 

Rhodri Richards

Planning Convener
Thames Ditton & Weston Green Residents’ Association