Councillor Update

31st October 2019

My activity update to 31st October as College Wards’ Residents Association Councillor by Cllr. Nigel Collin

October has again been a very busy month, with significant planning activity directed mainly towards agreeing the Local Plan prior to presenting it to residents for consultation.

On 7 October the RA group meeting focused on the need to update and revise the Local Plan. Residents need to be aware that the current minimum house building requirement of 579 homes pa has been imposed upon the Council by HMG. Cllrs were most concerned about the current height and density position and wished to review these in detail. After detailed consideration, Cllrs agreed to restrict height and density so that these developments would be in keeping with each locality’s prevailing character. In order to meet the government’s target, it was recognized that some green belt land will have to be used but Cllrs supported retention of the vast majority of the green belt land.

On 12 October I held my first monthly surgery at The Ebbisham Centre and had fruitful discussions with 2 residents, mainly related to planning matters.

On 17 October I met with our nominated Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) and discussed crime and its prevention in the ward. The PCSO strongly recommended joining http://www.intheknow.community as a means of finding out what is happening in your locality.

In the afternoon, as a member of the Polling Station Review panel, the panel discussed all the polling stations in the ward, which had made representations to the Council.  A Polling Station Review is a statutory requirement and needs to be executed once every 4 yrs. Having passed a motion in Council that no school should be used as a polling station, I was very surprised to discover that the Council’s statutory obligation overrides the motion if no suitable alternative site is found.  On behalf of several residents, I had submitted a representation in respect of Wallace Fields Junior school. Various alternative sites were tabled, and officers agreed to visit these and report back.

On 21 October I attended a member’s briefing covering the local economy and air quality/pollution.  

On the figures presented, the local economy has grown by 5% in the period 2012-17and there has been a 1% drop in unemployment. Retail centres have improved resulting in a 10% increase in numbers with more people coming from Kingston and Sutton. More high-quality office space is needed, to attract inward investment in order to retain 20-40 year old folk who migrate to London. Approx. 3,000 square metres of retail space is needed to cater for future demand.

Air pollution is now recognized to be a major threat with more deaths pa than deaths caused by smoking. We each breathe 20,000 litres of air per day. Statistically 9 out of every 10 people are breathing polluted air which is generated as follows; 38% by burning solid fuels,16% by industrial usage and 12% road traffic (others less than 12% each). Discouraging bonfires has a significant effect on air quality.

EEBC’s climate change policy will incorporate measures to combat air pollution when presented next year. One electric vehicle has been purchased and others will follow.

It is now recognized that as well as a climate change emergency we have a health emergency.

26 October on a wet afternoon I joined CWRA’s litter picking team. The amount of litter collected in an hour was astounding and included a tyre!

29 October saw a reconvened meeting of the Polling Station Review panel when feedback from the alternative locations was presented. Some polling station revisions were agreed; however, the Wallace Fields School site was still unresolved. In the limited time available, the report has to go before the Strategy and Resources Committee on 26th November before going to full Council in December, no alternative had been found. Three options were still under active consideration and the committee agreed to reconvene early next year when these had been fully researched.

In the evening the Twinning meeting met and discussed future events including attendance at the Chantilly Christmas market. There was a follow in discussion from the meeting of 30 September in relation to the possible future twinning with Watermael-Boitsfort and Uberlingen. Any participation from interested residents is welcome.

30 October was the date for an informal local committee meeting and presentations were made by SCC officers on Surrey’s Health and Wellbeing strategy, the Youth service, school place planning, the High Street bus stop and Plan E.

The youth service buildings cost £1m pa (35 buildings) to run and the staff cost is £633k pa. The plan is to hand over the running of these centres to the voluntary sector and the SCC staff will be deployed elsewhere.

School primary school places are short by 4-10 pupils and secondary school places are potentially short of 30-60 places. If HMG’s target housing is attained this will require an additional 125 primary places a year. Either house building plots will need to accommodate schools (reducing housing supply) or schools will have to lose playing fields and build upwards.

The 460 & 480 bus stop causing the High St congestion cannot easily be relocated, however officers are looking into a possible alternative. Some 3.4 million bus journeys take place through Epsom annually.

Plan E, the market place, has more trees coming in the second week of November with the lights due to be switched on on  28th.

31 October I attended a meeting with the Senior Transport Development Officer in respect of SCC’s statutory role in relation to the impact of transport considerations on planning applications.

On a personal note I would like to congratulate my committee on securing the 1,500 plus signatories required for the planning debate to be held by the Council in December.

Please address any urgent issues via email to info@collegeward.org

Thank you