The Jockey Club announced today that they have asked Spelthorne Council to consider an application for a smaller development – 550 dwellings – on the Kempton Park estate.
“The Local Plan process continues and a new submission at the Preferred Options Consultation stage has seen a much smaller part of the site highlighted by The Jockey Club and Redrow Homes for the Council’s consideration, alongside the original proposals. This would involve only previously developed land and would retain all racing facilities to continue as today, including both the Jumps course and All-Weather Track.”
This latest brass-neck manoeuvre is aimed more at placating that substantial membership of The Jockey Club who oppose the planned closing of Kempton Park racecourse. And it assumes local opinion will be mollified by a smaller development. But both groups should beware. We don’t believe for one second that this will be the end of it. The Jockey Club and Redrow will be back.
Our position remains the same: We don’t want ANY houses on Kempton Park.
Arup and Spelthorne Council have twice assessed Kempton Park, and twice concluded it is “strongly performing” Green Belt. And that includes the area taken up by the racecourse, the grandstand, and all the other buildings – “the previously developed land” as The Jockey Club puts it. Green Belt does not mean green space, as they well know.
As the Jockey Club itself says, this schoolboy wheeze of theirs has been submitted alongside their original proposals for 3000 dwellings on Kempton Park. i.e. they still want the Green Belt status of the entire estate to be lifted. And always remember, they could build far more than 3000 dwellings even given current density guidelines, and those guidelines will rise in the future. The Jockey Club has been playing with the numbers they want to build for years, saying one thing to some people, and another thing to others.
Our message to Spelthorne Council is clear: Don’t let The Jockey Club terminate our Green Belt and home.
Mean house prices between 1985 and 2018, in real (RPI-adjusted) terms (2018 pounds)
We’ve been making this point for years. Now there is a paper from the Bank of England making the same argument.
It’s a bit technical, but if you wish to read it, the link is in the following comment on the paper:
Click here to read the article.
As the author of the comment says:
“My question is why this point is almost never made in the popular discourse on the house price problem? One answer is that housebuilders have a vested interest in suggesting a dire need for more housebuilding, in part because it adds to pressure on governments to free up greenfield sites. This is exactly what has happened since 2010. There is nearly always a vested interest in perpetuating incorrect economic explanations.”
First the good news: Very many thanks to all of those who have contributed to our Fighting Fund. We have more to raise, but we are well on our way.
And now the very good news:
After six years, Arup, Surrey Highways and Spelthorne Council have agreed with what we have been saying all along: a housing development on the Kempton Park estate would destroy vital Green Belt, would alter the character of Sunbury for the worse, and would cause lasting traffic chaos throughout the surrounding area.
You may remember, in May and June last year, the Issues and Options consultation, where we were all asked where we would like development in the Borough to take place. Spelthorne Council have just released their Preferred Options for consultation, showing, in detail, where they propose that housing and other building will take place.
Kempton Park is NOT included among the sites proposed for development.
The Stage 2 Green Belt Assessment (a more detailed study) conducted by Arup came to the same conclusions it had in the more general Stage 1 Assessment: “that Kempton Park strongly meets the purposes of Green Belt land, and makes an important contribution to the wider strategic Green Belt. Not recommended for development.”
Surrey Highways were asked to assess the traffic impact of a development of 3000 houses at Kempton Park. They conclude that it would generate 1,700 extra cars on the A308/Staines Road East in the morning and 2000 extra cars in the evening. (And we suspect Redrow and The Jockey Club want to build way more than 3000 dwellings.)
Spelthorne planning officers conclude: “The loss of this site from the Green Belt would risk the merging of Spelthorne with Greater London and this would also significantly alter the character of the area.”
They also made this comment regarding the Jockey Club’s request for the estate to be included as a site for residential development: “The racecourse is a historic and established asset in the area and it should be explored whether its loss is inevitable on viability grounds or if a large housing scheme is simply more economically appealing to the landowner.”
We can’t argue with any of the above comments and conclusions.
But The Jockey Club and Redrow inevitably will, when we get to the Examination in Public next year, where our new Local Plan will be decided.
So we will be meeting shortly with our QC to discuss how The Jockey Club and their developer buddies will respond, and our strategy for that public hearing.
All the relevant documents, and details of public events you can attend, are available at http://spelthorne.gov.uk/localplan
If you would like to contribute to our Fighting Fund, below is how you can help:
By Direct Bank Transfer
Account name: Keep Kempton Green
Sort Code: 20-42-76,
Account number: 5326 5943
or through PayPal Reference: firstname.lastname@example.org
by cheque, made out to Keep Kempton Green, to 20 Green Street, Sunbury-on-Thames, TW16 6RN.
Many thanks to all those who bought KKG raffle tickets at the Sunbury Regatta last weekend. We raised almost £500, which is a big boost to our Legal Defence Fund.
The winning tickets were:
#183 : Selection of Soaps.
#86 : Bottle of Charles de Courance Champagne
#153 : Bottle of Cardhu Single Malt Scotch Whisky
#91 : Bottle of Graham’s Vintage Port
#93 : Six Bottles of Chateau Pibran 2005 Pauillac, worth £300
If you would like to contribute to our Legal Defence Fund, you can donate as follows:
1. Cheques made out to Keep Kempton Green, to 20 Green Street, Sunbury on Thames, TW16 6RN.
2. PayPal: Reference email@example.com
3. Direct transfer to:
Account name: Keep Kempton Green
Sort Code: 20-42-76
Account number: 5326 5943