Saturday, December 22, 2007

Local Democracy Still Has A Faint Pulse In Sutton

Earlier this month, the latest Hamptons' development planning application in Worcester Park was unanimously rejected by Sutton Council’s Development Control Committee.

Although it only affects one corner of the Borough, albeit a large corner, it is illustrative of the pressures that we face right the way across Sutton. The Hamptons is a housing development based on a New England, clapperboard design; a cross between Salem's Lot and the play area for the Wall Street Masters of the Universe, that give the development its name. It has been built on an old sewage treatment plant. The developers used the space within the site well, though forgot that people need to get in and out and required other services. Green Lane is the only access road to the estate which feeds onto the main arterial road north of Worcester Park. In rush hour residents immediately join a queue which, although it is only some 300 metres long, takes 45 minutes to pass through.

The latest application received an unprecedented response following the Council’s consultation on the developer’s proposal for a massive increase of 184 homes on the Green Lane site. Councillor Richard Butt and several residents spoke passionately and effectively against the application citing:
· The effects on the local environment.
· The safety and effectiveness of the untested wind turbines proposed for the amenity area.
· The complete absence of a realistic travel plan to address the fact that the surrounding roads are already running at over capacity according to traffic surveys.
· The need for community services on the site, especially as no new GP surgery was proposed despite the dramatic population increase in the area, at a time when it is difficult to get onto a doctor’s list. A new secondary school in Worcester Park is also required.

This was the first time that I have seen a Development Control Committee for just one item. More than one hundred residents attended and forced the Council to listen to you at last. This was a real success for local democracy.

The developers will need to decide whether they want to take the application on appeal to a Planning Inspector or to modify their application and try again. Either way, it is important to defend Worcester Park and Sutton as a whole, against poorly thought-out developments which are likely to have a significantly adverse effect on the local community.


The Brinkster said...

Great post! Glad to see so much support for/from the residents of Worcester Park. By the state of Worcester Park High Street, contrasted with Sutton High Street it's hard not to think that Sutton Council just sees Worcester Park as a cash cow (keep adding houses for more Council Tax revenues, spend the money elsewhere and don't give them a decent secondary school as parts of Worcester Park aren't in the catchment area for any secondary school)

Keep up the good work!

Scully said...

The Brinkster,

Thanks for the post and the link to your site which I'll include in my list. Stuart, Richard and Helen are really keen to make a meaningful difference to Worcester Park rather than just make up the numbers on Council. I'm keen as Group Leader to help them do that. I was on the Development Control panel and saw the support from the residents at first hand. It was an excellent night for the people that have to suffer the traffic and under-investment in that part of the Borough.

You're right about the schools. Cheam High School has grown to such a large size, otherwise you have the various selective schools. This isn't sufficient for the growing population. I raised this with the Director of Education only yesterday. Let's keep up the fight together and get something done for the area. Have a look at the post below entitled Environment & Community Sustainability. Part of this policy group's remit is to look at attracting attention and investment to areas away from Sutton Town Centre. I hope that you will help us with your ideas and advice.

Worcester Park said...

Hoorah for people power! Let's hope the people of Worcester Park are successful against whatever appeal/re-application The Hamptons developers make. The traffic locally can take no more.