Monday, 28 February 2011


Over 100 residents of Surbiton requested that the Executive Report to Council of January 2011 should be called in and reviewed by the Scrutiny Committee as it was believed the Executive had:

• Failed to consider alternative sites despite the frequent requests of local residents to do so
• The Council is trying to push through this decision with undue haste and inadequate consultation with local residents
• The environmental concerns of residents have been brushed aside
• The proposal involves the demolition of buildings of townscape merit in a conservation area
• RBK does not own the site and will have to purchase it when other sites within its ownership are available

Planning matters could not be considered as that was for the DC committee on the 3rd March.

A strong case was made by Graham Goldspring, supported by Paul Johnston, Robert Lewis and Alan Manchester, but we fell foul of supposedly sensitive legal information which the committee had before them and which we were not allowed to see. The whole scenario fell into the realms of farce with Councillors not able to speak about “sensitive” matters which fell into the mysterious “part 2”. Apparently some of this sensitive material referred to the NHS’ legal team advice on the covenant question.

The upshot was that the Chairman found there was no case for reference of these items back to the Executive or to the Council as a result of the material they could see but we could not. So much for democracy and open government!

We also tried to have the Liberal Democrats removed from the DC committee and certainly our local representative as they had already made up their minds and had illustrated their support in copies of the Liberal Democrat leaflet, Focus. That was somehow left in the air.

Your OADRA representatives will continue to make their case at the DC meeting on the 3rd March at Guildhall from 7.30pm, but we shall only have 5 minutes to make our case. We need your support at this meeting. Come in your thousands!

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

OADRA Comment on the latest circulation of Focus

The latest circulation of Focus from our Lib Dem Councillors has made one or two assertions that do not suggest that our Councillors are working for their Ward.

On the hospital site application, they state that “After a lengthy and lively discussion at the recent Surbiton Neighbourhood meeting, the views of the whole community in the Surbiton area will be forwarded to the council for a decision which is expected to be made on March 3rd.”

The words “whole community in the Surbiton area area” are underlined inferring that Oakhill will hardly have a say.

There is no mention of perhaps there could be other sites.

They also mention the proposal going to the council. Well of course it isn’t. It is going to the Development Committee which is a small subset of the council and on which one of our Ward councillors sit.

There is a reference to the Police Federation Building and they say “At a recent Surbiton Neighbourhood meeting, the future of this iconic building was agreed. ___Your councillors raised their, and residents, objections to the inclusion of 4 inappropriately designed terrace houses at the rear. However, this was overruled by other councillors present (from both parties)”

Anyone who was at that meeting will know what a travesty of the truth that statement is. The residents in the 5 minutes available did their best to raise objections but the councillors restricted themselves to asking a couple of questions of the officers and then making no further comment. The best that could be said for them was they voted against the proposal, knowing the others were going to vote in favour.

Friday, 11 February 2011

Points Made By Robert Lewis at the Neighbourhood Planning Meeting of 2nd Feb 2011

(not necessarily in the order made)

1. The proposal has all the hallmarks of two parties, in this case someone from the NHS and someone from RBK, apparently driven by Mr. Davey, dreaming up this scheme and then asking consultants to justify it. Just read the consultants’ reports carefully and see all the caveats they have put on their findings.

2. The consultation period has been too short for such a major development which will affect the Borough for over 50 years. Our team in the time allowed has found many flaws and inconsistencies and we are still finding them.

3. We are concerned that no mention is made of how this project is going to be funded. No mention of our concern is made in the papers prepared for you by the Officers, but it is raised in our paper. What it costs the Council Tax payer is of vital concern. If it is a PFI as we have heard it will be, then we all know that this can come at a high price over very many decades.

4. There is over development especially as there are other alternatives available and especially as it is stated that the space for the school is about 15% below the minimum standard for primary schools; we believe that if one considers the nursery and special needs, this could be even less.

5. Playing fields has been dropped completely from the proposal

6. The consultants state for the school as if it was a fait accompli that the school will undertake a number of measures to ensure that the number of children travelling to school by car is less than 21%. But it isn’t a fait accompli and may not be achievable and then what. There isn’t like in every other case a plan B.

7. The travel plan states that it is expected that 22% of the 100 plus staff at the Health Centre will travel by car – so it proposes 12 parking spaces – EXCLAMATION MARK.

8. There is no evidence that alternative sites were carefully considered. If one looked at the 80 page Government Guidelines on new Primary Sector schools, Kingston could negotiate to use the land behind Newant House, which has been derelict for 20 plus years, as a two form entry infants’ school. This would allow safe access to Fishponds for their open space requirements. The Junior school could be housed in a redeveloped King Charles Centre. This would allow safe crossing to the playing fields in the first part of Alexandra Rec. The Adult Education could be in a purpose built block on the Hospital or Dysart ground. The advantages are that one could start immediately with the infants’ school and delay the start of the junior school. Alternatively if there was an immediate need for junior school places one could offer them as well. And there are other options which are in our document.

9. We are not the only people making objections. Can there be another agenda, perhaps financial behind all this? To make the sums balance? If so we and I hope the Councillors also, have not been privy to this information.

Mr. Stephen Glands made the points

1. The present DC team are all bought in to the scheme so they cannot give an unprejudiced review of the applications. We request that an independent adjudicator sees over proceedings on 3rd March.

2. We request that more robust, evidence based transport studies are done

3. Full information provided about funding and the finances of the proposed scheme.

4. Full cost analysis of other potential sites and full information about why they were turned down by way of comparison with the hospital site.
There was one person from the floor who spoke in favour of the scheme. He said we were letting down hundreds of children some as yet unborn if the Council did not proceed with the scheme. He blamed 200 people for trying to stop the scheme going ahead. It was pointed out that the Council had had plenty of time to find alternative schemes but had refused to consider any other scheme and it was not the fault of the residents if the scheme was a bad planning application..