Esher: the civic heart of Elmbridge
ElmbridgeBC has just published this article on its website:
It has never been more important for Esher to come together to discuss its future.
Why do you go to Esher? Cinema? Theatre? That lovely Thai restaurant? Work? The Farmers Market? To visit the council? Or to drive through it?
The reality is that often people aren’t sure about Esher. Yes, the entertainment is good – grab a pizza and a movie with family or friends. Go on a date night to a comedy show at Esher Theatre. Head to the pub to watch the rugby with your mates or fancy your chances at a Sandown race day.
What else is going on in Esher? You can nip to the supermarket, visit the hairdresser, barber or skin specialist. The Farmers’ Market is a welcome addition on the third Saturday of each month and cyclists flock to the cafes before they set off into the Surrey hills.
Is there more going on than you thought? What’s missing? What could be improved? These are the thoughts and questions we are exploring.
As we consider the future potential of the Civic Centre site, we are aware of the opportunity it presents to reposition Esher as a vibrant, diverse town centre, providing residents and visitors with the opportunity to socialise, to come together and take part in shared, fun activities.
We can establish Esher as the civic heart of Elmbridge, a town that welcomes both office employment and nurtures startup businesses of all kinds from digital services through to artisan jewellers.
In all potential scenarios for Esher, the high street would and should retain its importance to the town and would be supported by improved streetscapes – perhaps a treelined high street allowing for pavement café culture and a central outdoor meeting space facilitating markets, cultural events – creativity and culture igniting our civic heart.
Increasing cycling and walking to, from and around Esher would be enabled. Connected cycle and walking routes are a necessity to a sustainable Elmbridge and that of course applies to Esher as well. Improving active travel in Esher will contribute to cleaner air, helping us all leave the car at home more often.
Sustainable living will also be exemplified in Esher. While surrounded by commons and green spaces, the town itself lacks a green space for children to play, for residents and visitors to meet friends, for workers to eat their lunch, for anyone to take time out and breathe.
As we present our 2030 Vision for Elmbridge, a sustainable, thriving borough driven by the power of community, we want to take the principles of sustainable, thriving and community, and create a vision for Esher, a vision created in consultation with the community, and one that will guide and inform development in the town.
It has never been more important for Esher to come together to discuss and debate its future. Working together and in partnership with Highways England, Surrey County Council and Government, we can establish a vision for the town that enhances the lives of our residents, that encourages enterprise and business and that attracts visitors wanting to be part of this vibrant town centre.
We will be coming to ask residents and businesses about the future shape of Esher in the next few weeks.