Planning refusal in Weybridge

EE applied to build telecommunications equipment comprising a monopole that would stand 15m high with associated antennas and dishes as well as three adjacent cabinets. The structures were to be situated on an area of pavement located adjacent to the railway station and Heath Road South car park.

The Council refused planning permission and EE appealed. The application therefore goes to HMG’s Planning Inspectorate for their judgement. In this case the Inspector upheld the Council’s decision, ruling that:

  • The predominant development pattern on this side of the highway is one of built form, as well as street furniture, that is low in height. The monopole would be at-odds with this and the general topography of the area. It would be significantly taller than the adjacent boundary treatment, street furniture, railway building and even against the backdrop of nearby trees.
  • The appellant accepts that the monopole would be visible, but I do not accept the assertion that it would have very little impact over a wider area. The telecommunications equipment would be out of keeping with the street-scene and otherwise spatially open character of the area, having particular regard to the low height of development on this side of the highway. It would therefore be visually intrusive and prominent from numerous public vantage points, given its siting, and would increase visual clutter.

Elmbridge BC advice to businesses

Live webinar on tablet with headphones

Expert advice to help businesses prepare for recovery

Do you run a local business? Sign up to EBC’s free webinar on Friday 29 May at 11am to ensure your business is ready to move forward as we emerge from this crisis.

The online event will be led by Business Growth Specialist Sanjiv Dodhia who will share the top ten actions you can take to help your business get through this uncertain time.

Foodbank information

Runnymede & Weybridge Foodbank

Tel: 01932 838 383

Runnymede Borough Council is taking all calls for residents in Weybridge. They are operating a full doorstep delivery service to all foodbank clients. See the Runnymede Foodbank website

Foodbank Donations

Waitrose has a donation point for long life foodstuffs and there are volunteers around Weybridge who are acting as collection points.

Financial Donations

Foodbanks welcome assistance in the form of financial donations so that they can buy essential items such as nappies and sanitary products which are not normally donated. For Weybridge, a new donations page has been set up: Weybridge donations

Alternatively, a financial donation can be made to the Trussell Trust, who look after more than 1,200 food bank centres across the UK.  They provide a minimum of three days emergency food and support to people experiencing crisis.

  • Make a one-off donation to the Trussell Trust;  or
  • Text TRUSSELL then your amount (eg TRUSSELL 5 for a £5 donation) to 70085

Local Plan – Coronavirus update

Update on the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Local Plan

The pandemic is having an impact on the current timetable (known as the Local Development Scheme – LDS) for producing the council’s Local Plan.  The council’s timetable was based on Officers being in a position to submit a draft local plan to Cabinet in June and to the full Council in July.  It included a final public consultation in September. Unfortunately, a number of external consultants and infrastructure providers have had to furlough or repurpose their staff in response to the pandemic.  As a result, they have not been able to submit their reports or inform the council when they will be able to submit them.  Due to the current uncertainty it is not clear how long their staff will be furloughed or repurposed and therefore, at present, the council is not in a position to set a revised timetable.

Although the full impact of the changed circumstances and the economic challenges from COVID-19 will not be known for many months, probably years, the council still has to produce a Local Plan if it is not to lose all control over future development in Elmbridge. However the government is maintaining that the current crisis cannot be used as a reason to delay the Local Plan.  We will be writing to the government with our concerns and seeking clarification about the present situation.

Our current experiences are highlighting the importance of, amongst other things, ensuring that new homes will be able to accommodate residents’ future needs.  Previous changes (the development of internet shopping, the financial crash of 2008, the decline of our high streets, the climate change agenda to name but a few) have all had, and continue to have, an impact on the built environment. The present challenges are expected to have an even greater impact. It is therefore essential that the new Local Plan allows for the development of innovative and imaginative solutions. For example, it will need to reflect changes in working patterns, and changes to commuting and its impact on traffic.

We have therefore asked the planning officers to review their work to date on the draft Local Plan in light of the pandemic.  We need to make sure that it will provide the council and the people of Elmbridge with a Plan capable of meeting the range of new challenges we are likely to be facing when this crisis eases, and the consequences are clearer.

Planning Application 2019/0657: Wessex, South Road

Earlier this year your local Area Planning Sub-Committee of councillors decided to refuse permission for a developer to demolish the existing house, Wessex, and build a block of nine flats in South Road, leading off Queen’s Road next to Tesco. An appeal was made by the developer against this decision and on 22 April the government’s Planning Inspectorate allowed the appeal, that is over-turned the decision of the Council committee.

Councillors had rejected the appeal because of the effect the proposed development would have on the narrow South Road, particularly in terms of safety, parking and access, and the implications for occupiers of nearby residential properties.

The Inspector commented that South Road is narrow in places and, due to the limited width and presence of yellow lines and on street parking, it only allows one car to pass at a time. But he considered:

‘that the parking restrictions in the area (including the CPZ) in combination with the accessibility of the location and the smaller dwelling types proposed, would serve to reduce the likelihood that many occupiers of the proposed development would choose to own a car. Highway pressure resulting from the vehicles of future occupants of the dwellings could therefore be adequately managed, subject to provision being made to exclude future occupants from benefiting from residents parking permits.’

Councillors also have to consider the effect of a development on the character of the area. The Inspector acknowledged that the proposed building would be larger than the existing dwelling, commenting that:

‘it would also have a more contemporary appearance, in particular due to the flat roof and window details. As this is a prominent site the development would change the appearance of the immediate locality. Notwithstanding this, the character of this part of South Road is derived from both the larger scale properties closer to Queens Road and the more modest buildings that are evident as you move away from it. In this regard, the character of the immediate area is mixed and a building off the scale and appearance proposed would not therefore be out of character.’

In terms of the impact on neighbouring properties, he evaluated: ‘I find this to be satisfactory in terms of preserving the privacy conditions of occupiers of South Lodge’ and ‘the east elevation of the proposed development would include windows/Juliet balconies facing towards the rear of properties on High Pine Close. Given the separation distances and other built forms nearby, it is considered that the proposed development would not impact on the privacy conditions of occupiers of these and other properties nearby.’

The appellant (the developer) is allowed to apply for costs to cover the amount they have spent to put the appeal case together. Interestingly, in this case the Inspector found that the Council did not act unreasonably in refusing the application. The application for an award of costs was therefore refused.