Councillors refuse Drake Park application

ELMBRIDGE Councillors voted unanimously to reject an application to 1,024 new homes on a greenbelt site in Walton South ward.

A joint meeting of the East/North Area planning sub-Committees convene on Monday 21 November at the Civic Centre, Esher to discuss the latest proposals from Bonnar Allen, who withdrew a similar application last October after it was recommended for refusal. The latest application, which was almost identical to last year’s, had attracted around a thousand letters from residents with many raising concerns about the impact of traffic and congestion from so many new homes.

Walton South Conservative Councillor Chris Cross said: “Notwithstanding the need for affordable housing, traffic and the possible loss of green belt separating the communities of Walton, Molesey and Esher were the major concerns.”

Her ward colleague, Cllr Christine Elmer, put 24 questions to Surrey County Council's Highways department ahead of the hearing to check it had properly considered the impact on existing traffic build-up such as at Molesey Road, near to Hersham Station and along Rydens Road.

Cllr Elmer said: “This application for 1,024 homes is perhaps the single largest planning application in recent times – I cannot recall anything larger. The land is green belt - it separates the communities of Walton, Molesey, Esher and Hersham - but the highways issues from potentially 2,000 extra vehicles (probably more) are what would have affected us every day and the potential for traffic gridlock in this area has always been the single highest concern of residents.”

The Council is now waiting to see if Bonnar Allen will appeal against the refusal of planning permission.