The importance of character and quality in delivering new homes
Everyone recognises Epsom and Ewell as is a vibrant and unique place to live, work and study. There is also a general acceptance that Epsom and Ewell, like many other places in the country, has an acute housing shortage and that there is a need for more homes to be built in the borough, particularly more affordable homes for local people.
It’s important therefore, that the borough Council does everything it can to ensure that these new homes reflect the views and priorities of local people, contribute positively to the local area and that the borough secures the necessary infrastructure to make future developments sustainable. To help with this and the preparation of a new Local Plan, our Licensing and Planning Policy Committee on 14 November will consider a set of six key principles for informing and shaping this important piece of work.
These principles seek to ensure that the development of new homes in the borough recognise the desirability of maintaining an area’s prevailing character and setting. Having new homes that are visually attractive, add to the overall quality of the local area and are sympathetic to the local character and setting.
Our proposed approach also recognises the rich character of the borough and its high quality green spaces, and therefore seeks to focus development in existing urban areas particularly around the key town and village centres and stations. To help with this, we will bring forward policies through the Local Plan process which will address the density and height of new buildings, including placing height restrictions, to ensure that these developments are “of Epsom and Ewell” and reflects the local character and setting.
The principles also focus on the importance of design quality with an emphasis on greening the borough, ensuring that development addresses the Council’s commitments to tackling Climate Change, and making places more family friendly and accessible.
The six new principles if agreed with help inform the development of Epsom and Ewell’s future Local Plan, the consideration of sites put forward by landowners and developers, and the options set out in future public consultations.
The new Local Plan will become the Council’s key planning document, and will help ensure that new homes and infrastructure are delivered in the right places, are of the right character and quality, and that Epsom and Ewell continues to be a fantastic, vibrant and sustainable place.
General election - here we go again!
Just in case you have missed it (!), a general election will be taking place on the 12 December.
Pictured above: Kathryn Beldon, Acting Returning Officer and Chief Executive, Epsom & Ewell Borough Council received the writ of election on Thursday 7 November, which is the formal notification for us to hold the poll for the General Election in this constituency.
We'll be highlighting the candidates for the Epsom and Ewell Constituency on our website on 15 November and on the borough's community notice boards. Under electoral law, we are unable to highlight or signpost to the candidates' campaigns (candidate's aspirations must be promoted by the candidate and their teams themselves).
To vote, you need to be included on the electoral register. If you are already on the register, you will receive your poll card in the post before the end of November.
Details of your polling station will appear on you poll card - be aware, this may be in a different location from the polling station you usually use.
If you can't get to the polling station on the day, you can still vote.
Voting by post is a possible option or you may be able to vote by proxy (this is when someone casts your vote for you - you can ask anyone to act as your proxy; as long as they’re registered to vote and they’re allowed to vote in the election).
Formal dates for the run-up to the December election have now been confirmed, so if you intend to vote and are not registered or you wish to vote by post or by vote by poxy for the first time you need to take action as soon as possible - see https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote for more information.
To vote at the general election you must be registered to vote and
- 18 years of age or over on polling day
- be a British, Irish or qualifying Commonwealth citizen
- be resident at an address in the UK (or a UK citizen living abroad who has been registered to vote in the UK in the last 15 years)
not be legally excluded from voting
The following cannot vote in a UK Parliament election:
- EU citizens (other than UK, Republic of Ireland, Cyprus and Malta) resident in the UK
- anyone other than British, Irish and qualifying Commonwealth citizens
- members of the House of Lords
- convicted persons detained in pursuance of their sentences, excluding contempt of court (though remand prisoners, unconvicted prisoners and civil prisoners can vote if they are on the electoral register)
- anyone found guilty within the previous five years of corrupt or illegal practices in connection with an election
The national media will be full of the overall result in the days following the election. We will update our website as soon as the count is verified for this constituency– this is planned for Friday (13 December).
At the going down of the sun and in the morning. We will remember them.
As the Royal British Legion highlights, Remembrance does not glorify war but honours the men and women of all faiths, cultures and backgrounds who served and continue to serve to defend our freedoms and way of life. We also remember the sacrifice of the Armed Forces community from Britain and the Commonwealth.
An agreement to end the fighting of the First World War as a prelude to peace negotiations, began at 11am on 11 November 1918. We have marked Armistice Day on the eleventh hour on the eleventh day of the eleventh month every year since.
Since 1919, the second Sunday of November came to be known as ‘Remembrance Sunday’ and, a two-minute silence observed at cenotaphs throughout the UK. Following the Second World War, ‘Armistice Day’ also became known as ‘Remembrance Day’ in order to include remembrance of all those who had fallen in the both World Wars, and in other conflicts
On Monday the 11 of November, we will be holding a short service at the clock tower in Epsom Market Place, which will incorporate the national two minute silence. Representatives from different faiths have been invited and the service will include serving officers, veterans, school children, the Mayor and councillors. The public are welcome to participate and the service will start at approximately 10.50am.
Within the Borough there are a number of church services on Sunday 10 November, including the main civic service held at St Mary’s in Ewell.
The Central Band of The Royal British Legion will once again be performing a concert on Remembrance Sunday of popular songs from the shows, film scores, classic overtures, marches and other light entertainment pieces. Sunday 10 November; 3pm, Epsom Playhouse
Earlier this week, we opened the annual Garden of Remembrance in Bourne Hall Park. Organised by Bourne Hall Museum around 170 children from eight local schools participated in a special ceremony with the Mayor.
Preventing fly tipping
Our Environmental Health team have taken part in a joint enforcement operation with Surrey Police (Epsom & Ewell Beat) to disrupt and stop a repeat of the industrial scale fly tipping that occurred last year on a privately owned site within central Epsom.
The joint action, this week, stopped the tipping before it could get fully underway and, although there was some limited tipping, we prevented the enormous scale of tipping that occurred previously.
The tippers left angry and defeated and our Environmental Health team were able to enter the site and collect some names and addresses from the within the fly tipped material - they are now in the initial stages of investigating eight separate lines of enquiry as to the origin of the waste.
It's important to note that the actions being undertaken by the fly tippers are part of organised criminal activity, using illegal commercial enterprise on a vast scale; with many agencies, including various Police forces and the Environment Agency, trying to prevent the activity and bring the perpetrators to justice.
Our Environmental Health team examined the fly tip on the site last year and were able to identify where some of the waste originated. We subsequently prosecuted a number of the businesses, all of which were based in North London. These businesses had paid for unauthorised parties to remove their waste, which was subsequently dumped in Epsom.
Following last year's huge fly tip, the landowner secured the site and had to arrange and pay for the site to be cleared. Access this time was achieved via a differed route (which still involved the movement of concrete barriers). The Police are now working with the Epsom landowner to ensure the land is further secured to prevent a further repetition.
Maintaining our history
When a Church of England churchyard is full and closed to further burials, the church can serve notice requiring the local authority to take over the maintenance of the churchyard. We have been responsible for the maintenance of the closed churchyard of St Mary’s, Ewell for the last ten years.
The flint knapped wall surrounding the churchyard is made of brick and dates back to the 1850’s. It is locally listed and has been repaired a number of times in its 150 year plus history.
Parts of the wall had become unstable partly because of normal environmental wear and tear, including weathering and tree root incursion, and partly due to repairs in the 20th century being made with concrete rather than lime mortar which has prevented moisture within the wall from evaporating.
This month we undertook a sympathetic repair of a part of the wall. A conservation approach to the necessary repairs was adopted, retaining as much of the historic fabric as possible. However some stretches had to be totally rebuilt; where this was the case existing material was recycled, including the flints, to ensure the integrity of this local historical asset. This approach will be adopted as we address another section of the wall later this month.
Recycling – the next level
We’re all pretty familiar with the concept of recycling. Most of us are aware of which items are destined for the recycling bins and which are not.
But what about upcycling?
Upcycling is a process where waste products and materials are repaired, repurpose and reused usually in a creative way.
When you upcycle something you enhance what is already there. An old coffee table with peeling paint is stripped, re-stained and varnished and used as a television stand, old ladders become plant display units and wooden wine boxes become shelves. The whole concept has become very hip and trendy.
While we may not have that much artistic flair when it comes upcycling and sustainable maintenance, we do try:
- A sign on the Hogsmill was on its last legs, and our maintenance team decided that with bit of hard work and some replacement features the old sign could be renovated and reinstalled.
- An old bench might have been due for the scrap heap but a little bit of TLC from the rangers brought it back to life and it’s now been installed at the top Dorking Road.
- Redundant county council roadside railings destined for scrap, were repurposed and are now being used within Nonsuch Park
Get ready to play!
A brand new play park has been opened in the Rainbow Leisure Centre for children aged up to ten years old. The opening was conducted by the Mayor of Epsom & Ewell Councillor John Beckett. The facility comprises two sections; a dedicated baby and toddler area with interactive features including a ball pit, soft play toys, two-lane slide and musical keyboard; and an older area offers a mini sports pitch complete with goals and basketball hoops, 180˚ tube slide, two-story climbing frame and four-lane slide alongside lots of areas to explore.
Drinks and snacks are available and each play session will lasts two hours, which are bookable online in advance or in-centre on the day.
Bookable slots are: 9am-11am, 11am-1pm, 1pm-3pm, 3pm-5pm, 7 days a week.
The cost of a two hour session is £6 for over 1’s and £2 for under 1’s. The first adult enters for free, with a £1.30 admission fee for other accompanying adults.
Full information is on the Rainbow Centre website
Changes to parking charges
Last month councillors, at the Environment and Safe Communities Committee meeting, agreed a range of proposed changes to parking charges in council owned car parks from April 2020.
The proposals include simplifying tariffs and making it cheaper to park in the late afternoon and evening to promote the evening economy.
The proposal sees overall charges rise; the first across the board increase after the majority of council car park charges were frozen for the last three years.
The proposals will now be subject to formal consultation, with the results debated and any changes agreed at the Strategy and Resources Committee meeting in February that decides the council’s budget for the financial year 2020/21.
Councillor Neil Dallen, who chairs the cross party councillor working group who proposed the changes said “Decisions like these are difficult and can be unpopular but it is our responsibility to ensure that there is a good turnaround of spaces for visitors and shoppers and that our car parks are safe, secure and well maintained.
“We need to support our local retailers and businesses by discouraging London bound commuters leaving their cars in our retail car parks all day, effectively blocking their use for those using local businesses – this is a particular issue close to the rail stations.
“With lifestyles and climate change high on the national and local agenda, we also want to encourage other modes of travel that contribute to a healthier lifestyle and a cleaner environment for local residents.
“Of course people still have the choice to bring a car into Epsom and into the centre of Ewell and our car parking tariffs are set to help balance supply and demand.
“We continue to invest in our car parks, with better signage, new payment machines offering more convenient payment methods and security measures including better lighting”.
How much is too much?
Check how much you drink this Alcohol Awareness Week
We know that drinking too much alcohol is bad for our health, but one glass of wine or beer after work can easily turn into two or three. Before you know it, you could be drinking the weekly recommendation in just one or two nights.
Alcohol Awareness Week (11 – 17 November) is a great opportunity to think about your drinking habits and how you can make small changes.
How much is too much?
Men and women should drink no more than 14 units of alcohol a week – this is the same as six pints of average strength beer or seven medium glasses of average strength wine.
How is our health affected?
Drinking too much can increase your risk of developing health issues such as high blood pressure, liver problems, heart attacks and some types of cancer. It can also impact on your sleep and mood, so drinking less could help you feel more rested, boost your mood and help you concentrate.
You can take a free alcohol test to see if your drinking habits are putting your health at risk. It’ll ask you a few simple questions about how much you drink and will offer suggestions on how you could cut down and what support is available.
To find out more, visit the Healthy Surrey website.
Stay well this winter
We’re in the middle of the NHS early winter campaign, Help Us, Help You.
The campaign aims to help you take action to stay well and healthy during the cold weather and this phase consists of three approaches promoting the flu vaccination, pharmacy advice and NHS 111.
Getting the flu vaccination is a great way of protecting yourself from flu this winter, especially for those who are at a greater risk of developing potentially serious complications from flu. It's also the most effective way of reducing the spread of the virus with those we come into contact with, helping ensure Surrey residents stay fit and well this winter.
The flu vaccination is available every year on the NHS to help us all against the risk of flu and its complications, and for many Surrey residents, it is completely free if you fall into one of the 'at risk' groups:
- Adults 65 and over
- Pregnant women
- Children and adults with an underlying health condition (such as long-term heart, respiratory disease or sever asthma, see a full list on the NHS website)
- Children aged 2 and 3
- Those with a learning disability and their carers
- Those living in a residential or nursing home
- The main carer of an older person or disabled person
The best time to have a flu vaccine is in the autumn, from the beginning of October to the end of November, but don't worry if you have missed it, as you can have the vaccine later in winter.
Get help early, if you are feeling unwell, don't wait, go to your nearest pharmacy.
Help us help you by speaking with your local pharmacy team about minor health concerns before they get worse. They can help with clinical advice for all sorts of illnesses right there and then, and if your symptoms suggest it's something more serious, they have the right training to ensure you get the help you need. It may also save you lots of time by receiving advice and treatment there and then, without the need to go to your GP or A&E.
Pharmacists are qualified healthcare professionals with the clinical know-how to give you the help you need. They can assess your minor illness and recommend the right treatment, whether it's over the counter medicines, a few days rest or a bit of reassurance.
NHS 111 is there for when you need medical help fast but it is not a life threatening emergency.
Think you need medical help right now? Go straight to NHS 111,
which is available on the phone and online. NHS 111 online is
conveniently accessed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
You will be asked questions about your symptoms on the website or by speaking to a trained adviser on the phone. Depending on the situation, you will then:
- Find out what local services can help you
- Be connected to a nurse, emergency dentist, pharmacist or GP
- Get a face to face appointment if you need one
- Be told how to get any medicine you may need
- Get self-care advice
Protecting your home as the evenings get darker
Residential burglary is where items are taken without permission from inside the home, following illegal entry. Please advice from Surrey Police 3to keep your home safe from burglary and damage: protect your valuables, safeguard your building and secure your outside at: https://www.surrey.police.uk/cp/crime-prevention/residential-burglary/