We have had a note from Linda Stotebury who lives in Esher and is, like the ERA, opposed to the Sandown development plans. We are happy to publish her views in the hope that it will give some much needed perspective on the proposals:

SAVE ESHER’S GREENBELT

SAY NO TO DEVELOPMENT OF SANDOWN PARK

We are a group of neighbours from Lower Green Road and More Lane who have formed together to strongly oppose the development of Sandown Park.  

The Jockey Club proposes to build over 300 flats (in blocks 4-6 storeys high) and a new 150 bed hotel around the race course. This land is Green Belt and we do not believe this development should be allowed.  

We are putting together a campaign to fight the proposals and raise awareness.  It is not only those living adjacent to the five sites who will be affected, the traffic implications and the principle of the loss of Green Belt should greatly concern everyone in Esher.

We know the Council is under pressure to find more sites for houses.  However, it remains the case that there is a presumption AGAINST new development on Green Belt unless it can be shown there are special circumstances.

We spoke to the Jockey Club’s Regional Director and he said their ‘special circumstance’ was to upgrade facilities at Sandown Park to keep the racecourse viable.  

We dispute this.  There is a press release issued by The Jockey Club in April 2018 stating it has doubled its revenues over 10 years to £200 million in 2018, creating the largest-ever profit of £44.8 million. Their Royal Charter dictates all profits must go back into the sport – why can’t some of this profit go into upgrading their facilities, like any other business?  

They also argued they are improving public amenities, but, with the exception of an inexpensive pedestrian link to the station, all the other “amenities” are commercial ones, most of which already exist in Sandown Park (eg café and nursery).  

Our roads are already gridlocked for much of the day, particularly around the racecourse. 300 dwellings and their related traffic journeys will have a very negative impact on our overstretched traffic system.

We believe one of the key things that makes Esher special, and different from being just another suburb of London, is our open spaces. Sandown Park may not be ‘typical’ Green Belt, but it’s just as important since it is this open view that most residents see from their homes or cars every day.  

To build blocks of 4 -6 storeys on this open space would destroy the semi-rural feel of our town for ever.  It would also set a very dangerous precedent putting Esher’s other open spaces at risk in the future.  

We understand the Jockey Club aims to submit an outline planning application in January.  We ask all residents of Esher who oppose the loss of our Green Belt to submit their planning objections to Elmbridge Council in January once the application has been submitted.

For further information please contact: saveeshergreenbelt@gmail.com