Contact Brian Angus 13 Chessington Road, Ewell or gbriangus@yahoo.co.uk

They say  Local Planning Authorities should approach decision taking in a positive way and should look for solutions rather than problems. They should, at every level, seek to approve applications for sustainable development where possible.

We say  Sorry if we appear unconstructive but we find their experts’ reports riddled with inaccuracies and inconsistencies.  We illustrate many below and we take an opposite view on sustainability

They say The key economic factor influencing this scheme is the need to make use of an underused site and enable its redevelopment for additional residential dwellings. The removal of garden land to the rear will have a very slightly effect on the character and appearance of the area through the intensification of the built form on the site, barely registering on the less than substantial scale.

We say  The Council’s Backland Development Policy DM 16 so specifically matches this situation as to completely rule out this development.  We have repeatedly said so to our neighbours and the applicant.  Nonetheless this application has proceeded to this advanced stage with no mention of this policy.

The Council says There will be a presumption against the loss of rear domestic gardens due to the need to maintain local character, amenity space, green infrastructure and biodiversity.

In exceptional cases, modest redevelopment on backland sites may be considered acceptable, subject to proposals demonstrating that there will be no significant adverse impact upon the following:

1) Garden land – Rear garden land which contributes either individually or as part of a larger swathe of green infrastructure to the amenity of resident or provides wildlife habitats must be retained:

2) Impact on neighbours – The privacy of existing homes and gardens must be maintained and unacceptable light spillage avoided:

3) Vehicular access or car parking – These must not have adverse impact on neighbours in terms of visual impact, noise or light.  Access roads between dwellings and unnecessarily long access roads will not normally be acceptable;

4) Mass and scale of development – Development on backland sites must be more intimate in scale and lower than frontage properties to avoid any overbearing impact on existing dwellings and associated gardens;

5) Trees, shrubs and wildlife habitats – features important to character, appearance or wildlife must be retained or re-provided.

They say  The Ridings is a backland development of 5 detached properties in the land rear of 22-26 Chessington Road granted permission in 1989.

We say  That two- storey development has a far lower density than the proposed and it pre-dates the Council’s recently consulted and published Policy DM 16

In one place they say   The front of the site benefits from a number of existing trees which offer screening into the site and ensure that any new development will sit comfortably within the existing townscape. The trees at the front of the site contribute to the green character of the street on its southern side. The verdant nature of this part of Chessington Road is an important element of the character of the site and its surroundings and will be retained as far as possible.

But then they say  A new footway will be provided across the site frontage.

We say  Those three substantial trees and their roots, currently subject of a separate application for crown reduction, prevent any possibility of creating a new footway across the site frontage.  Anyway, unusually there are no footways to link to outside 7A to one side and across our boundary (No 13) to the other

One of their reports says  The Hedgerows Regulations 1997 protect ‘important hedgerows’ from being removed (uprooted or destroyed). Hedgerows are protected if they are at least 30 years old. The boundary hedgerows will be retained, the central hedgerow is proposed for removal.

A different report says  A number of trees and shrubs, all of which are of relatively low amenity value, are to be removed to facilitate the proposed development. These trees are to be replaced with the significant replacement planting scheme.

The applicant has confirmed that in order to ensure continued tree cover and enhancement of the landscape, new trees, shrubs and/or hedges will be planted

The exact locations, numbers, sizes and species of trees, shrubs and hedges to be planted will be confirmed

The Appendices clearly indicate that the hedgerows around the borders of the site will be removed and replanted with young trees.

We say  The gardens of The Headway, Spring Street and 1 to 17 Chessington Road make an un-built green space in excess of 2.3 acres bounded on two sides by Surrey’s busiest B-road.

Both in terms of number of properties and bedrooms this application is as close as possible to the maximum density so as to leave space only for small shrubs to replace the important trees and substantial hedgerows.  These characterise this area.  Their loss and this development will completely destroy the unique secluded nature of our property and the gardens of many neighbours.

The hedge between Nos 11 & 13 provides shelter for 3 species of tits, dunnocks, greenfinches, robins and nuthatches who regularly visit the bird feeders at No 13.

They say  The proposed site layout illustrates how the development will be served by a new bellmouth access.   This will ensure that all vehicles that are likely to visit the development will be able to enter and leave the site safely and conveniently.

The site has been designed to accommodate the turning movements of an 11.4m refuse vehicle which is likely to be the largest vehicle that will regularly visit the development.  The turning area will accommodate all other regular service and delivery vehicles such as internet food deliveries (Ocado, Tesco etc) and typical white van deliveries.

We say   Because Chessington Road is busy and narrow, roadside deliveries have to be avoided.

The local FedEx driver has to make deliveries at the rate of 100 per day and the pairs of refuse vehicles are under even greater time pressures.  Neither are likely to take the time and risk of driving into the development.  Surrey County Council are currently not adopting any new roads so the refuse collection point will be at the highway edge as it is for The Ridings.

As we discovered during the recent year of construction work of our other neighbour, the joint entrance of drives at Nos 13 and 15 provide a tempting alternative lay-by.

During the construction phase and beyond we will have to adopt measures to ensure our access remains clear.

In one place they say  Further growth in housing took place after the electrification of the railway in the 1920s.

This is correct Electrification happened on 12th July 1925 – the end of the week that the plans were approved for our house. Nos 9 to 17 buildings are all pre-war not post-war.

Somewhere else they say  The plot sizes, location and buildings are not distinctive to Ewell and are typical post-war in fill development established following the electrification of the railway, responding to the demand for housing close to the station. Falling between two character areas the application site consists of post-war suburban housing, of no heritage interest. No.9 and 11 Chessington Road are brick and tile detached houses. No.13 and No.15 Chessington Road, which forms a two and a half storey former warehouse to the west of the application site.

The demolition of the existing house [ error – houses ] will have no effect on the character and appearance of the conservation area or its heritage interest. The houses are neutral contributors and are being replaced with high quality traditionally styled houses with similar architectural features and materials.

This [ removal of garden land ] is so slight as to be easily outweighed by other benefits of the scheme, including providing housing that is more attractive and of greater architectural merit than the existing houses, which have been added to on an ad hoc basis over time.

We say They repeatedly and incorrectly understate the ages of these houses. Orchard Cottage was the first house built along this stretch of road built at 11 Chessington Road in 1923 alongside the substantially older existing Frank Lefevre’s granary, stables, outbuildings and shop - now 15 and 17.  Nos 9 and 13 followed around 1925 and neither is part of the ‘former warehouse’.

Eleven Chessington Road, the oldest house, has a distinctive design and uniquely a slate-roofed house.

Nine Chessington Road is an impressive elegant house, internally the most spacious in the area and well-suited to a family such as the one currently living there.

The dates of ‘the war’ to which they presumably refer are 1939 to 1945.

They say  Waste Storage and Collection:  Do the plans incorporate areas to store and aid the collection of waste? No.  Have arrangements been made for the separate storage and collection of recyclable waste? No.  [ The site plan reads ‘Bin storage area’ on the small open area beside the garage block ]

We say  If you include textiles and green waste, each dwelling will require 6 different waste containers.  Under the new regime between 32 and 48 bins, boxes and bags will be lined up at the highway edge every week as happens at The Ridings.

The collection of bins that would have to be accommodated on site and brought to the roadside each week

They say  Is any hazardous waste involved in the proposal? – No

We say   No 11’s garage has a damaged corrugated cement roof which must be assumed to contain asbestos

They say  A Site Waste Management Plan will be prepared which will monitor and report on waste generated on site into defined waste groups. The Plan will indicate the setting of targets to promote resource efficiency

We say  With the application including the demolition of two large dwellings there are no ‘concrete’ proposals like retaining and / or re-using materials on site.

They say  Plots 2 & 3 are below the requirement for 3 spaces. The site is very well located to offer residents realistic and convenient opportunities to make day to day journeys without relying on a car. The site has good access to public transport with Ewell West Train station just 140m to the west of the site.  Bus services also travel along Chessington Road with two bus stops within 20m of the site.

We say  Although a large number of buses travel along this road only the 467 stops, only hourly and with the last bus at 18:52  The railway similarly only serves one route so these do not provide for local journeys which explains why we require cars.  There is no possibility of on-road parking and with ten-coach trains arriving next August the area’s chronic parking shortage will only get worse

They say  The houses will not be visible from The Headway, or the footpath to the west and will only be visible from the immediate surrounding properties.

We say  Existing 2-storey dwellings 80m away in Chessington Road are visible from the roadway and gardens of The Headway.  The new dwellings would be three-storey and 36m from The Headway roadway.  They will have to be built of invisible materials to not be visible.

They say  Existing number of car spaces – 4  Total proposed (including spaces retained) – 21  Difference in spaces - 17

We say  Existing number of spaces – 11 ‘without obstruction’  rising to 13 to 15 if you include the garages and ‘co-operative parking’  Total proposed (including spaces retained) – 21  Difference in spaces - 6

Eleven Chessington Road can park 4 vehicles without obstruction though they often park more plus they have a single garage.  The forecourt of 9 Chessington Road is almost 70% larger and the garage appears larger too.

They say  A prior approval application (13/01522/PDCOU) was submitted for the neighbouring site at 15-17 Chessington Road for the change of use of the building from B1 (office) into 11 residential dwellings. This application was refused on 15/04/14 due to highway safety concerns. Following a further planning application to resolve highway concerns, a further prior approval application (14/01240/PDCOU) was approved on 9/1/15.

We say  Already the crossing provision which allowed permission for developing 15/17 Chessington Road has been universally accepted as dangerous and will have to be demolished.

Four times as many occupants are proposed for the new development and served by one driveway instead of two along this narrow busy road with poor site lines.  The applicant has stated that the development cannot proceed without undertakings re visibility from the owners of No 13 but no such agreement has been reached. Provision has to be provided for off-road delivery at all times, including during any construction period.

We summarise the energy part of their 22 page sustainability report as:  1) We will achieve higher than required levels of insulation and air tightness

2) Here are long explanations of air turbines, combined heat and power, community heating, solar water heating and ground and air source heat pumps.  We won’t be using any of them.

3) Photovoltaic panels, flue-gas and waste-water heat recovery are all appropriate [ but ] not specifically proposed.

They say  Please state how foul sewage is to be disposed of:  Mains sewer  - Unknown

We say  In the past 5 years the entrance to The Ridings (opposite) has flooded with sewage at least twice.

They say  Are you proposing to connect to the existing drainage system?  - Unknown. The proposal will discharge the same quantity or less than the previous use of the site.

We say  The road already floods increasingly predictably when sudden rain follows a dry spell.

They say  Water efficiency measures included will ensure that the water use target of 110 litres per person per day is achieved.

We’ll see

They say no records of badger within 1 kilometre of the site

We say  We know of badgers in a garden in the Headway less than 130 metres from the site

They say  Of particular note was the presence of Japanese Knotweed (Fallopia japonica) in the centre of the hedgerow. Japanese Knotweed was recorded in three locations on site. This is a Schedule 9 invasive species which should not be allowed to spread outside of the site and, therefore, should be removed.

We say   We are disappointed to read in the report yesterday evening that our neighbours have so neglected their properties to the extent of allowing their properties and two neighbours’ to be blighted by Japanese Knotweed in three places.

On the ground this morning we discover two places where these infestations are within 2 meters of our property.  This includes one infestation reported to our neighbour but not recorded in the report, and one place where it is now within the garden of our mutual neighbour.

They say We observed several bats Common and Soprano Pipistrelle, Myotis bat (call aspect similar to Whiskered/Brandt’s but it was not possible to ascertain a species with certainty)  Noctule heard distantly but not observed.

We say  Hooray!  Bats are among more than 45 types of fauna we have enjoyed observing in our garden but with 3-storey houses and 150W LED floodlights being brought right into the heart of the site such pleasures will be denied us into our retirement years.

 The Council say  The neighbours have been advised of the application by letter and site notice.  In their letter of 7 October “I acknowledge receipt of your payment of £3,080.  If by 20th October you have not received notification of the decision you may appeal to the Planning Inspectorate.”

We say  We only spotted (on 10th October) that the application had been lodged by our regularly trawling the Planning website.  We have received no letter and the only site notice refers to the tree reduction application.

Detailed Arguments