Former White Lion, Portsmouth Rd - April 2015 Planning ApplicationThere are 2 new applications relating to the former White Lion and the surrounding area, 46 Portsmouth Road - Application No's 2015/0997 and 2015/1266. Over 100 objections were submitted on the previously refused applications. Those, and the Trust's own letters can be found on the Elmbridge Borough Council's (EBC) Planning Department's website using application number 2014/3417. EBC has informed us that those who objected to the last applications have been notified by letter re the new applications. However, we know of several members who have not received this letter from EBC.
The proposals are now for 5 x two-three storey buildings to provide 26 retirement flats and 20 affordable flats. The previous plan was for 3 slightly taller buildings providing 31 flats and 24 affordable flats, with conversion of the White Lion building to provide a further 4 flats (as the previous application). So the current plan is for 9 less flats but 2 more buildings! The rear of the listed building would be demolished, but one outbuilding with some heritage value would be saved, although not in its historic context as it would be in the midst of a car park.
It is disappointing that the developer has chosen not to consult with the Heritage Trust prior to proceeding with these applications. There is less elevation and more respect for history, but the Trust has always considered that the site should attract about 30 residential units at most, while the developers are still looking for 46. Density apart, parking has not been addressed and the suggestion of underground parking ignored.
The Cobham Heritage Trust Planning Team will, of course, be submitting their views on behalf of the Trust and we are always happy to receive feedback from members, but hope that you feel strongly enough about the proposals to submit your own letter to the EBC Planning Department. The Trust must look to state views that find the best balance between conservation and heritage, and new development.
The official closing date for submissions is Friday 24th April. We are informed by the Planning Department that they encourage people to get their comments in as soon as possible and they will, as normal, take comments right up to the day of decision, whether this is at Officer level or by Sub-Committee. It is important to point out that a closing date allows time for the Officer to draft the report.
It has been confirmed that both Applications and the Listed Building Consent have been promoted to the Planning Sub-Committee by Cllr Dorothy Mitchell if the recommendation is to permit, and we thank her for taking this step. It is expected that the date of the meeting will be 15th June 2015.