New drawings have emerged on the Elmbridge website, showing the size and scale of the The Jockey Club’s proposed buildings. See them here – look at the ‘indicative sections’ where the buildings look gargantuan, some up to six storeys high.
A reminder of the proposals
There are three major developments that they would like to carry out:
- Grade 1 stabling and racing staff accommodation, built in the southwest corner of Sandown in the area behind Tellisford.
- Provision of a 150-bed hotel, sited to the east of the West Stand.
- A major refurbishment and upgrade of the Grandstand facilities, bars, cafés, halls and general racing and entertainment facilities.
Further improvements to the central car park and racetrack are planned and a pedestrian track is envisaged running between Esher Station through the park to the town centre. Next to the go-kart circuit, there’s the potential for a family zone with café, indoor and outdoor play areas, and a cycle track.
Jockey Club Racecourses Ltd is also proposing that 318 flats and a nursery be built on five sites within the Park to fund these developments.
The Elmbridge Local Plan
The whole of Sandown Park is an area of “Green Belt” the fundamental aim of which is to prevent urban sprawl and to keep land within its designation permanently open. Built development ancillary to outdoor sport or recreation (which is permitted in the Green Belt) will need to demonstrate that the building’s function is genuinely ancillary and appropriate to the sporting or recreational use. “…Inappropriate development will not be approved unless the applicant can demonstrate very special circumstances that will clearly outweigh the harm.”
The Esher Residents Association view
Sandown Park appears to be a very successful venue. Some 120,000 racegoers visit annually. In addition there are some 300 non-racing events attracting a similar number of people throughout the year. There are also many other successful sporting facilities which include a golf course, golf-range and centre, ski slope, squash courts, gym, go-karting and several other activities. There is also a well-used car park.
It is very difficult to see that any special circumstances exist to justify the harm caused by the building of blocks of flats on the Green Belt.
Building dwellings on Sandown would clearly be an inappropriate development of the Green Belt, reducing its openness and its ability to prevent urban sprawl. If allowed the most dangerous precedent would be set and this would drive a coach and horses through the Local Plan.
We are vigorously opposed to these plans. You can see our letter here.