Elmbridge Council is proposing to change the way planning applications are handled. We think these are undemocratic and weaken the power of residents to have a say in what happens in your area.

Currently, planning applications with 5 or more objections are reviewed by ‘local area sub committees’ which are made up of elected, local councillors with deep knowledge of the areas they represent.

Elmbridge Council’s proposals mean that sub committees will only get to review applications that have 15 objections or more and which are ‘minor applications’ i.e. fewer than ten dwellings. 

If a development has fewer than fifteen objections, planning officers will handle it themselves with no input from councillors. If it has more than ten dwellings (these are often the most controversial) it will go to the Full Planning Committee, which currently makes policy and acts as a ‘court of appeal’ on particularly contentious application. It must be stressed that the Full Planning Committee does not have the intimate knowledge of each ward in the way that sub committees do.

The developments that worry people most are the large ones such as The Jockey Club’s plans to build on the Green Belt in Sandown Park or the intrusive development at Hampton Court Station. Under the revised proposals, our local councillor would have a much reduced say over Sandown Park and we think that is wrong. We fought the last election to represent residents’ interests and think these proposals will limit our councillor’s ability to carry out the job he was elected to do.

If you agree with us that these proposals are against the interests of local people and will only serve to disenfranchise residents, then it’s important that you write to Paul Fielding, Chairman, Esher Residents Association: helloesher@icloud.com

Paul Fielding

Chairman Esher Residents Association