British Government orders Green Belt Review

Green Belt CountrysideAs many of you will know, the British Government has told the English boroughs to review their Green Belts with a view to opening land for development.  If a borough refuses to do so then the British government has said it will take direct control.

This has left the Liberal Democrat led Elmbridge administration little option but to revise our own local plan.  We wish to built a broad local approach and the Conservative opposition has been very much involved in every stage of the development.

Before we can agree a new local plan we have to pass though a number of stages and we need you to help in that process so we have published a strategic options consultation.   The document asks many questions and raises a number of issues.

We want to consult as widely as possible and will use every available means to engage with the public.  Part of this process is to have a number of consultations at various stages in the drafting of the plan.  The first drop in sessions will be at:

7pm – 9pm, Monday, 23 January at the Playhouse, Walton
7pm – 9pm, Thursday, 26 January at the Civic Centre, Esher
10am – 2pm, Saturday, 4 February at the Civic Centre, Esher

The events will consist of exhibition boards where the headlines of the consultation document will be displayed.  The evidence base documents supporting the consultation will also be available to review and representatives from Elmbridge’s planning policy team will be on-hand to answer any of your questions.

Your can attend any of the events.  The exhibition will be borough-wide, that is not specific to any particular town.

This process is subject to the agreement to the borough’s council  on Wednesday, 7 December

Toddler Time

Fungi walkThe next Toddler Time in the Wild is a free monthly event for the under-fives and their parents/carers to enjoy the outdoors with natural themed activities. It is running on a trial basis until July 2016 on the 3rd Friday in the month. The next event will be held on Friday 19 February from 10 am to 11am in the Oxshott Woods. This month’s theme is ‘minibeasts’. Activities will include making giant and little spiders’ webs, clay spiders and a bug hunt. Meet in Oxshott sandpit car park, off Warren Lane (nearest postcode KT22 0SZ). Car parking is limited on site. Alternatively, you can park further along at the commons car park near the station. Follow the Toddler Time signs from there.

For more information on the February countryside events, please contact the Countryside Team on 01372 474575, email countryside@elmbridge.gov.uk or visit the Elmbridge website.

Free Countryside Events for the whole family

Fungi walkAs days get shorter and the weather colder, there are still lots going on in the countryside.

Fungi Walk
November is a great month for mushrooms, make the most of it by joining the free Fungi Walk on Sunday, 8 November, 10am to 12noon.

Hibernating Hedgehogs
This family event will be held on Sunday 15 November from10.30am to 12noon. You will be able to make your own clay hedgehogs, go for a walk into the woods to forage for food to fatten them up and build somewhere for them to hibernate.

Toddler Time in the Wild
Toddlers will be especially spoilt with the launch of this new series of free events on Friday, 20 November from 10am to 11am. November’s theme will be based on the squirrel. Activities will include a squirrel scavenger hunt and making a squirrel drey.  These events will run on a trial basis until July 2016 on the third Friday in the month between 10am and 11am and are completely free. Activities will be based on a different aspect of wildlife every month. Locations will vary so check the here for up to date information.

For all these events meet at Horseshoe Clump car park, Portsmouth Road (opposite Blackhills), Esher KT10 9JQ.

For more information on the autumn countryside events, please contact the countryside team on 01372 474575, email countryside@elmbridge.gov.uk or visit www.elmbridge.gov.uk/countryside

Spot the goats grazing on Esher Commons

Goats on esher commonFor the second year running, Elmbridge is working with the Surrey Wildlife Trust on a trial goat grazing project on a small area of Esher Commons.

This trial forms part of the Esher Commons site of special scientific interest restoration and management plan which began in 2005 to restore 22 ha of heathland.

In spring, a dozen male goats were released into a specially fenced area of Esher Commons as a sustainable solution to control the growth of scrubby vegetation and help restore valuable heathland. Heathland is a rare and precious habitat which is under threat from unwanted scrub which includes pine and birch. By introducing goats to help manage scrub re-growth, we are enabling the heathland to re-establish, grow and spread. The goats job will be to control the birch, pine, gorse and willow and other scrub that threatens to invade the heathland, so protecting wildlife.

The goats are a familiar sight in this fenced area. They are well cared for and have become a natural addition to the commons. Their enclosure ensures they have enough space to explore and plenty of vegetation to eat. Last year, Elmbridge’s countryside team received enormous support from the public and visitors helped to keep the goats safe and secure.

If you are interested in becoming a goat ‘looker’, that is, helping to keep an eye on the goats and their fence, or would like more information on them please contact the Elmbridge ‘s countryside team on 01372 474 582. If you notice an injured or sick goat please contact the Surrey Wildlife Trust grazing team on 07817 769 672.

 For more information contact  01372 474579 or email countryside@elmbridge.gov.uk

Junior Rangers – Inspire your child’s imagination

Junior rangerMake the most of the sunshine and join in some Junior Ranger countryside activities and events this summer.

Junior Rangers gives children the chance to do many things: explore the countryside, find out about wildlife, watch animals and plants in their habitats, enjoy fun activities and play games, be creative with arts and crafts, build dens and learn some of the skills rangers use in their work every day.

This is a great programme to get children in to the great outdoors to learn more about nature and our environment. All the events are entirely free. So bring the children along and have fun discovering your local countryside.

Take a look at the full list of events and see which activities you would like to do:

 Friday 7 August – Bugs and Ponds – explore the grassland and the pond on Hersham Riverside

When: drop in between 10am and 12.30pm

Meet: Hersham Riverside by the pond (follow signs from Brittain Road KT12 4LR or from the alley way by Burhill Primary School KT12 4HR)

Wednesday 12 August – Junior Rangers – Are you a superworm?

When: 10 am to 11 am

Meet: Old Common Pond, next to the A3 bridge on Old Common Road, Cobham. Nearest postcode: KT11 1BX

Friday 14 August – Big Butterfly Count – take part in a national butterfly survey and themed activities

When: drop in between 10am and 12.30pm

Meet: Fairmile car park, off Portsmouth Road near ACS Cobham, KT11 1BL

For more information on the summer countryside events, please contact Elmbridge’s countryside team on 01372 474575, visit their site  or email countryside@elmbridge.gov.uk

Clothes Collection

Clothes-02Clothes+ is a charitable collection service for unwanted items, which the borough runs in partnership with the British Heart Foundation. So far, in 2014 the borough has passed on 22 tons of items for the BHF to sell in their shops and there’s another cycle of collections this September. There is also a free reminder service for Elmbridge burghers and other residents.

Morrisons – Officers say yes

Proposed view of Morrisons Small

 

The planning professionals at Elmbridge and Surrey have given their recommendation for the borough to permit the development of a new Morrisons in Monument Hill.  In precise terms “… it is considered that this scheme be recommended for planning permission… “.  Have a read of their report (Morrisons 2013-1611) and tell me what you think.

Twenty-three people will meet on Tuesday at the civic centre at 7:45 to decide whether to permit this scheme or not.  Other options are available too – to permit with further conditions or  to delay pending further report backs.  It is the biggest single development in the town centre for many years.

Morrison Drop-in today

Morrisons have not yet applied for planning permission because they would first like to get your feedback at a drop-in session today The details are:

Today, Thursday, 21 March, 1:30pm – 9pm
The Parish Centre, St James Church, Church Lane

If you can, please take a look at the plans and judge them for yourself.  Add your views here.

Planning history of the development here.  Elmbridge’s decision here.