Attached (KKG Document 36) is an email exchange between the then Head of Planning at Spelthorne and the Spelthorne Chief Executive, dated 23 Feb 2012. The subject of the email, as you can see, is CONFIDENTIAL: Kempton Park and affordable housing.
The emails were copied to two of the three Assistant Chief Executives at Spelthorne (Liz Borthwick and Lee O’Neill), the then Leader of the Council (Cllr Frank Ayers) and the Chief Executive’s PA, Dawn Richards.
The “MAT” is the Managerial Action Team, which comprises the Chief Executive and the three Assistant Chief Executives (Terry Collier is the third one).
You can see what we mere mortals are not supposed to see. The text has been redacted for reasons of being an “internal communication”.
However, note the second line of the topmost email:
“Preparing a MAT report may well be of value, although the ‘title’ would need to give nothing away.”
“Give nothing away“? It seems they didn’t even want their colleagues to be privy to their thinking.
We think – we obviously won’t know unless that redaction is removed – that the redacted text has to do with the substantial under-provision of affordable homes over many years. Developers have been paying S106 money in order not to have affordable homes on their developments, but rather built elsewhere in the Borough. As a result, Spelthorne has ended up with a fund of S106 money – some of which is time limited; if they don’t use it, they will lose it – but with less and less land available on which to build these affordable dwellings. Kempton Park represents a way out of that particular conundrum.
But if that is the case, why is it so secret? It has been common knowledge for months, gleaned from meetings with Council representatives and consultants to The Jockey Club. What else could they have been discussing – the codes to the Polaris missiles?
Meeting with Mr Nick Kilby
Three members of the LOSRA Committee and a representative of KKG met Mr Nick Kilby (PR consultant to The Jockey Club) on 28 April. There was a wide ranging discussion, which covered:
1. The two heated meetings which took place between LOSRA committee members and representatives of Spelthorne Council late last year, information which was available then, and information which has become available since. It was explained that these issues are at the root of the distrust with which residents in Lower Sunbury and much wider afield view Spelthorne Council.
2. The issue of affordable housing on the site, which we believe to be one of the central driving forces for the Council supporting a housing development at Kempton Park. Briefly, although Spelthorne is ahead of its own overall housing targets, insufficient affordable housing has been built over many years. Spelthorne has a target of 40% of any new development to be affordable housing, but developers have routinely paid S 106 money in lieu. The result is that Spelthorne now has a fund of S106 money – some of which is time limited; they lose it if they don’t use it – and increasingly less land to use it on. Kempton Park, for Spelthorne, represents a way out of that particular conundrum.
3. The other substantial financial planning gains for Spelthorne from a development of such a size.
4. Some time was also spent on the issue of the size of the development. Mr Kilby said his understanding was that the 1500 figure represented a development at Kempton Park of 1000, plus other schemes which will shortly come on stream in the area – 194 at London Irish, 28 at the Old Police College, 30-odd at the Old Environment Agency site, etc etc.
We pointed out how large this proposed development would be. 1500 homes represents 1/3 the size of the existing two wards which encompass Lower Sunbury, and would require, on a pro rata basis, two new Councillors. After the meeting, documents were forwarded to Mr Kilby which state specifically that the 1500 units are to be built at Kempton Park.
These documents have already been circulated to the KKG mailing list. They are KKG Document 8, which is an internal email from Surrey CC Highways which mentions plans to develop “between 1500 and 2000 dwellings on surplus land at Kempton Park, Sunbury.” ; and KKG Document 26, an email exchange between Ramboll (a consultant to the Jockey Club) and Natural England, which states “The current proposal is to build 1500 residential units and 10 supporting commercial units on the east side of Kempton Park Racecourse.”
5. Mr Kilby was at pains to say that his latest approach to us is not the prelude to a renewed round of consultation. Alan Doyle, for KKG, had understood from talking to others that there was to be renewed consultation. He accepts that he was mistaken. What Mr Kilby is proposing instead is a “medium of communication” beginning in June and continuing at two-monthly intervals, whereby anyone interested in the proposed development at Kempton Park will meet to be updated by representatives of The Jockey Club.
6. Two requests were made:
a. That, in the interests of restoring some measure of better relations, access to the Kempton Park estate be given to a botanist acting on behalf of residents.
b. Since development on Green Belt land can only, by law, take place in very special circumstances, developers should, in putting forward proposals, be very specially transparent. Would The Jockey Club make public its unconsolidated annual accounts, for the last three years, say, showing the financial positions of the numerous race courses, including Kempton Park, which it owns?
As ever, this information is in the public domain. Please feel free to pass it on.
Please encourage your neighbours to join the mailing list.
There is more to come, in due course, over coming weeks.
Keep Kempton Green