We’ve covered the topic of the Covenant before. It’s worth at least £14.2 m to Spelthorne – an estimate by the Borough’s own consultant Chartered Surveyor. Given the parlous state of the Borough’s finances, it’s a substantially-sized carrot. Obviously, we are sure Spelthorne would not allow such a consideration to affect their planning decision for Kempton Park.
We know – because The Jockey Club told us – that Spelthorne and The Jockey Club spent a good deal of time in the second half of last year haggling as to how much this sum due to Spelthorne should be reduced as a result of the insistence by Spelthorne that The Jockey Club should fund a major redevelopment of Sunbury Cross Roundabout. Essentially, The Jockey Club, as they put it themselves, were not happy that Spelthorne should have that full slice of cake from the Covenant AND also expect to eat it, by expecting The Jockey Club to bear the full cost of digging up Sunbury Cross and filling it in again, with more traffic lanes on top.
We don’t know – yet – the outcome of that haggling. But there’s a ball park figure, we’ve heard, for the cost of that digging a-hole-and-filling-it-in exercise. Between £5 m and £10 m. Lots of money. But then there is a swamp underneath Sunbury Cross.
There’s another carrot, almost as big, which we’re sure Spelthorne will also ignore in their totally objective deliberations as to whether a new suburb should be built on Green Belt at Kempton Park. It’s called the New Homes Bonus, and it is money given by central government to local councils for every new house they build. Essentially, the local authorities involved receive, over a period of six years, a sum equal to six times the average median annual council tax for the country as a whole. In this case it would be split 80/20 between Spelthorne and Surrey.
In the current fiscal year 2014/15, for past housing completions, Spelthorne will receive £1.2 m. For the 1500 homes planned for Kempton Park, the New Homes Bonus will be worth £1.99 m to Surrey, and £7.99 m to Spelthorne. So, in total, more than £20 m in financial planning gains (less the agreed reduction for digging up Sunbury Cross). And Spelthorne will not waste a single penny of it, we’re sure.
Finally, this evening there was a meeting at Kempton Park. It was attended by representatives of The Hampton Society, the Kempton Residents Association, LOSRA, and Keep Kempton Green, and hosted by Nick Kilby (communications consultant to The Jockey Club) and Phil White (MD of Kempton Park). Briefly, we were told the following:
- There has been no contact with Spelthorne since 20 February this year.
- No planning application is expected to be made in 2014 (it had originally been planned for late 2014), and may well be postponed to late 2015. It was not known whether the review of Spelthorne’s Local Plan (especially the housing target and withdrawal of Green Belt protection) has anything to do with this delay.
- Permission has been given for a meeting between a botanist acting on behalf of residents and Ramboll UK, The Jockey Club’s environmental consultants. Permission has not yet been given for access by that botanist to the Kempton Park estate. We look forward to the latter.
- You may have been wondering about the sudden appearance of traffic monitoring devices on many of the roads in this area of Spelthorne. These – 24 of them in total – have been placed to gather data on behalf of Mouchel, The Jockey Club’s transport consultants.
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Regards, as always
for Keep Kempton Green