We have just heard that Sandown Park has now applied for outline permission for their plans. Of course, Elmbridge’s site has crashed for the weekend, but here is an excerpt from their letter:

The proposals

In meetings over the last two or three months the Jockey Club has been explaining and promoting its proposals for a Sandown Master Plan for which it will be seeking outline planning approval. If successful, the development would be phased in over several years.

Currently there appear to be three major developments that they would like to carry out to improve the experience of their patrons, together with providing other general public facilities:

  • The provision of Grade 1 stabling and racing staff accommodation. It is proposed that this be 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 exists 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 305+ 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 beapprovedunless the applicant can demonstrate very special circumstances that will clearlyoutweigh 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 very much hope that Jockey Club Racecourses Ltd. will not submit this outline planning application. Should they do so we will have no option but to vigorously oppose it. 

Sandown petition

SaveEsherGreenbelt support grows

Dear Esher Resident

The Local Conservatives have issued their latest version of Esher Matters and are calling for feedback on the Sandown Proposals.

We are concerned that their summary of the proposals focuses on the perceived ‘public’ benefits and conceals the fact that this land is Green Belt until the question section on the last page.  It gives the worrying impression that the Conservative Councillors are as yet undecided on whether to support or oppose this scheme, despite having previously made a manifesto pledge to protect the Green Belt.

It is therefore crucial we communicate to them just how high the level of local opposition is to the Jockey Club’s proposals.

We understand that some roads haven’t received a copy of the Conservative leaflet and I therefore attach it as a pdf document, for you to print and send back to them with your objections clearly stated.  If you can encourage friends and neighbours across Esher to do the same that would be very helpful.

I will be writing to Richard John, the new conservative candidate to update him on our campaign and the petition numbers achieved so far, which are summarized below.  It’s a good start but we believe there is still a widespread lack of knowledge of just how big a scheme this is and what a negative impact it will have.  We will continue to work to raise awareness as much as possible.

Many thanks for your support,