Local Plan Working Party

As we thought, but sooner than we thought, Spelthorne will start to “review” our Local Plan at a meeting of the Local Plan Working Party on 3 September.

The Local Plan Working Party comprises a cross-party group of nine councillors, plus the Head of Planning, John Brooks. The meetings of the Local Plan Working Party are not open to the public.

This is totally unacceptable. This is a matter far too important to be left to the senior politicians and officials who have – to put it mildly – been less than transparent about this whole issue of the development of Green Belt land at Kempton Park.

There needs to be full and direct residents’ representation on this Working Party, or a pre-determined result will be steamrollered over us.

Advertisements

Unredacted

cartoon foi 17

KKG – Document 49        KKG – Document 49a

Dear Neighbour

You may remember, three months ago, that we distributed a document which had been almost completely redacted (Some are more equal than others, 5 June 2014 . See Document 49 attached.)

The original document was a reply from Spelthorne Council to a request by Ramboll UK – under the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 – for information about Kempton Park. Ramboll UK are The Jockey Club’s environmental consultants.

However, when a resident asked for information about Kempton Park under those same Regulations, that document was produced almost completely blacked out.

We complained to Spelthorne Council, on that grounds that, by providing that information to Ramboll UK under the Regulations, Spelthorne had placed that information in the public domain. Therefore there was no justification not to release that document to the resident, who, in any case, was being treated unequally compared to Ramboll UK.

Spelthorne Council have conceded, and have provided the document unredacted (see Document 49a attached), along with a large number of other accompanying documents which were not provided at all to our neighbour in response to his first request. So, another useful addition to our pile of FOI information, which is growing by the week.

Visit us at http://www.keepkemptongreen.com, Like our Facebook page, and Follow us on Twitter (links to both on the website). Leave your comments at all three.

Alan Doyle
for Keep Kempton Green

Their choice of battleground

cartoon planning committee

KKG – Document 64

Dear Neighbour

Here we have it – the latest dates for the Kempton Park development. And their choice of battleground.

The Jockey Club have decided to delay putting in an application until after the next election. See Document 64 attached, an email from Mouchel (The Jockey Club’s transport consultants) to Surrey County Council Highways.

By doing this they will spare the embarrassment of their supporters at Spelthorne Council by not asking them to push through a planning application before the vote. As one councillor – stating the obvious – put it to us, it would be electoral suicide. By delaying the application, a cynic might say, The Jockey Club will be doing so just when the Council feels it can safely ignore the electorate for another few years.

More important, however is the revision of the Local Plan. The Planning Department now expects to report to councillors in the last quarter of this year as to whether the Local Plan needs to be changed. Such a review would cover housing targets and land availability, amongst other things. There have been constant references to this in the correspondence between the Council and The Jockey Club.

This would obviously have Borough-wide implications, for Green Belt as well as Brownfield developments. As The Jockey Club representatives euphemistically put it to us last year, they were “prepared to wait for a more amenable regulatory framework”. But it isn’t just them. Other developers have also made it clear that they will be pushing hard for the Council to raise the existing housing target from the current 166 dwellings per year – in one case proposing two-and-a-half times that level.

This is the battleground on which will be decided the future of all the green spaces in this Borough – not just Kempton Park. It will affect us all.

 

Alan Doyle
for Keep Kempton Green

Rich man, Poor man, Beggar man, Mole

spyvsspy1

KKG – Document 63

Dear Neighbour

‘George! George!’

Smiley almost felt the urgent words enter his semi-consciousness. He blinked slowly several times, and turned his head to look towards the source of the interruption.

‘George!’ The voice repeated. ‘George! Wake up!’

An anthology of obscure German poetry lay open and face down on Smiley’s chest. The reading lamp still burned next to his favourite Queen Anne armchair, in which he lay slumped. Several embers glowed dully beneath a small hillock of ash in the grate. His legs were crossed at the ankles, his feet in tartan knitted woollen socks – a gift from Ann the Christmas just past. His shoes were set neatly next to each other on the carpet.

Smiley fumbled for his glasses which dangled by an arm from one ear. He studiously polished the lenses on the end of his tie, replaced them on his nose with a broad finger, and stared hard at his tormentor.

‘Guillam!’ he muttered grumpily. ‘What time is this? And how on earth did you get in?’

‘Never mind that for the moment,’ Guillam replied. ‘I’ll fill you in later. They need you, George. They need you right away.’

‘They? Who’s they?’ Smiley carefully inserted a leather bookmark, closed the book, and reached for his shoes. ‘Who could possibly need anyone at this time of the morning? If it’s the bloody Circus again, they can damn well wait till a more civilised hour.’

‘It is the circus, but not quite the one you think, George. Down in deepest Middlesex, George. Local council thinks they’ve got a mole.’

‘You’re being ridiculous, Guillam. What on earth could be secret down there? Mislaid their copy of the codes for the nuclear deterrent, have they?’

‘Worse than that, George. Residents have got wind of plans for a massive housing development at Kempton Park. Council’s convinced they’ve got a mole. Someone’s leaking secrets all over the place, George. They’re calling him – or her – the Knowle Mole.’

We jest. Badly, of course. (With sincere and abject apologies to le Carre.)

Document 63, attached, contains the notes made by the then Head of Planning at a meeting she attended with the Chief Executive of the Council, and Mark Boyes and “D” – two representatives of Aspire, The Jockey Club’s development consultants. This was the meeting which took place on 9 December last year, immediately before the meeting attended by three LOSRA committee members, where Spelthorne officials and councillors insisted with some vehemence that the LOSRA October newsletter was a pack of lies from beginning to end.

The top and bottom of the document are redacted because they relate to completely separate topics. The redaction in the middle of the notes is justified to “protect the confidentiality of proceedings” and to “protect the interests of the person giving the information” – in this case Mark Boyes of Aspire. The green highlighting is ours.

Note the use of the phrase “phased development”, three times in the text – all attributed to Roberto Tambini, and the last one a suggestion by him that a phased approach would be less controversial:

RT – suggested a phased approach/ (not quite legible)/less contentious

And the words in brackets right at the end:

[15 yr bld period]

15 years to build?! That’s 100 houses per year. That really is phased development …

Another interesting little snippet, RT again:

RT – confirmed cllrs have not changed their mind

Which cllrs haven’t changed their mind about what?

And then the first paragraph. The laughable bit:

RT – referred to info which has come out from LOSRA.
– only done for aff. housing, give KP cap. receipt for Cheltenham (Sunbury view!!) (RT – leak somewhere)

It must be that mole! The Knowle Mole!

One of our local councillors recently referred to us and other local residents as “the conspiracy theorists round here!”

What a nerve. Maybe we weren’t jesting enough.

Visit us at http://www.keepkemptongreen.com, Like our Facebook page, and Follow us on Twitter (links to both on the website). Leave your comments at all three.

Regards, as always

Alan Doyle

for Keep Kempton Green

Green Belt for Grandstand

cartoon horse

KKG – Document 62

Dear Neighbour

So what’s in it for The Jockey Club?

We’ve seen what’s in it for Spelthorne Council – a minimum of £29 million, less whatever The Jockey Club is able to beat them down by, as reward for digging a big hole at the Sunbury Cross roundabout and filling it in again. Not bad when the Council won’t be able to pay its bills in a couple of years time.

But for The Jockey Club? An accurate figure for that depends on whatever the proposal is that they have been in discussion about with some Spelthorne Officers and Councillors over the last three years.

However, it has been stated in public that The Jockey Club have sold Redrow, the house-builder, an option to buy 70 acres of land at Kempton Park, subject to the granting of planning permission. We also know that the Council’s consultant chartered surveyor, in August 2012, valued land at Kempton Park with planning permission at £1 million per acre.  And we all know what has happened to land prices since August 2012. So there’s £70 million right there – in ball park terms.

Elsewhere, The Jockey Club has begun a large redevelopment project at Cheltenham, the glittering star amongst its 14 racecourses. Work by the Kier construction group began after the end of the Cheltenham Festival in March.

The project is budgeted to cost £45 million, and a large part of the funding for it has been sourced through a Jockey Club Bond issue. The Bond was very popular, and raised just under £25 million. See Document 62 attached. The remaining £20 million has been sourced by a loan from the Horserace Betting Levy Board, lines of bank credit from HSBC, AIB and RBS, and The Jockey Club’s routine commercial activities.

We have no doubt that Kier will deliver on-budget and in time for the Cheltenham Festival in 2016. We are sure that the new Grandstand will be a fantastic addition to Cheltenham Racecourse’s facilities.

But consider this. All of the borrowing will have to be repaid in due course. Bondholders will be able to redeem the capital amount of their investments from 2018 onwards, and the banks and the Levy Board will also want their money back.

How nice it would be for The Jockey Club to have that sort of money flowing into their bank account, just when the creditors start asking to be repaid.

Gloucestershire is a wonderful place. The Cheltenham Fesatival is a great few days’ out. We wouldn’t wish to deny race-goers their enjoyment in any way. But if you think about it, why should Green Belt at Kempton Park be covered in concrete so that the finances of the new Cheltenham Racecourse Grandstand can be placed on firmer ground?

Visit us at http://www.keepkemptongreen.com, Like our Facebook page, and Follow us on Twitter (links to both on the website). Leave your comments at all three.

Regards, as always

 

Alan Doyle
for Keep Kempton Green