With correction, 14 September 2022
Some residents in Ashtead have received material from the Epsom & Ewell Conservative Association (which includes Ashtead) stressing their opposition to the proposals for major new housing developments in Ermyn Fields and Ermyn House. These are included in the Draft Local Plan (Regulation 19 Version) prepared by the Liberal Democrat Administration which is now with the Planning Inspectorate. Together these two sites are projected to provide around 410 new houses and at least 6 gypsy and traveller pitches.
We do not doubt the sincerity of the Epsom & Ewell Conservatives, but must point out that it is members of the Mole Valley Conservative Association who have been the most determined in pressing for new developments in the north of the District! As any resident, the Conservative candidates already had opportunities to make submissions to the Inspector, but within the Council it must be recognized that it is the Mole Valley Conservatives that hold all the existing Conservative seats. The Conservative group in the Council, which would include any newly elected Conservative from Ashtead, would be subject to the Conservative whip.
It was a result primarily of pressure by Conservative Councillors with seats in the south of the District, as well as ones in Bookham and Leatherhead, that the proposal to develop 550 dwellings, a primary school, and 3 gypsy and traveller sites on the fields and allotments to the west side of the M25 on either side of Barnett Wood Lane were included in the previous (Regulation 18 version) of the plan – and a Liberal Democrat Cabinet Member for Leatherhead even agreed to the signing of a renewal agreement with the proposed developer. It was principally through persistent pressure of the Ashtead Independents, that this site was eventually removed from the proposals now with the Inspector.
With respect to the separate Marsden Nurseries proposal, now submitted and to be decided by the Mole Valley Council Development Management Committee, again we do not doubt the strength of feeling of the Conservative candidate. We would point out, however, that Ashtead Independents have three seats (and votes) on that Committee, and will make our concerns known. The Conservatives have five seats on this critical Committee – none of whom are from Ashtead. Even were a Conservative elected in Ashtead, there is no certainty that person would be allocated a seat on this or other critical Committees by that group and so be able to vote on such an issue.
Remember also that the housing targets we are required to meet are those set by the Conservative Government.
Keeping Ashtead politically Independent ensures there are Ashtead Councillors with voting rights on critical Council Committees.
Published and printed by David Hawksworth (Milford House, The Mead, Ashtead, KT21 2LZ) and promoted by Simon Ling (10 Church Road, Ashtead, KT21 2RJ) on behalf of the candidates: Alan Reilly (7 The Mead, Ashtead, KT21 2LZ), Garry Stansfield (Larch Corner, Crampshaw Lane, Ashtead, KT21 2UD), and Patricia Wiltshire (Milford House, The Mead, Ashtead, KT21 2LZ).