hersham park 1000 - Hersham Park Development - Over 600 New Homes For Hersham?

Hersham Park Development - Over 600 New Homes For Hersham?

You may have heard that Countryside Properties are proposing a new housing development at the site of the current Hersham Golf Club (which will close as a result).

The site will provide 636 new homes - including 1 and 2 bed flats and 2, 3 and 4 bedroom homes as well as a community hub for retail and communal spaces.

On Monday 1 November, they held an online consultation webinar which consisted of a presentation by the project team and a Q&A session. Attendees were able to meet the project team online, learn about the proposals, ask questions and provide feedback.

The recording of the event is available below and you can also see the corresponding presentation slides here.

In addition, on Wednesday 10th November 2021 an in-person public exhibition event will be held at Hersham Centre for the Community, Queens Rd, Hersham, Surrey, KT12 5LU from 4.00-6:30pm.

Hersham Park - What is being proposed?

The FAQ's below have been taken dierectly from the Hersham Park consultation website - link at the end of this post.

What is being proposed?

Countryside Properties is promoting land within the current Hersham Golf Club. The site is expected to be allocated within Elmbridge Borough Council’s emerging Local Plan, as a potential location for a new sustainable community within Hersham, known as Hersham Park.

The site’s location and outstanding transport links make it an ideal space to contribute to the urgent need for housing, and new community and leisure spaces in the area.

The proposals include 636 much-needed new homes. The homes will be designed to provide a mixture of sizes to fulfil the demand across a wide local market, including 1- and 2- bed flats and 2 to 4 bed properties, 50% of which will be affordable homes for many local first-time buyers and key workers – as well as new community and leisure spaces in the area.

Why was Hersham Golf Club chosen as the proposed location?

We believe that the proposed site is an ideal location for a new sustainable community within the borough. The site offers a continuation of the existing homes located on Molesey Road. The scheme will be accessed via this road. The site benefits from being directly adjacent to Hersham Station, this is a mainline to London, Woking, Guildford, and Portsmouth Harbour. Hersham is a sustainable location in terms of transport: The A3 (London- Portsmouth), the M25 and the M3 (London-Southampton) are within 10-minute drives and Heathrow Airport is under 30 minutes.

Who are Countryside Properties?

Countryside is a top 10 PLC housebuilder specialising in placemaking and urban regeneration. They are a leading provider of homes in the UK. Their expertise includes mixed-tenure, high-quality homes set within sustainable communities. Countryside not only focus on building outstanding homes, but also understand the importance of creating the social and digital infrastructure, transport and green spaces needed to nurture vibrant, connected, and healthy communities.

Countryside is passionate about engaging with and listening to local communities and partners on all its developments. They aim to leave behind a positive and lasting legacy – a place everyone can be proud of.

Who will build the new homes?

The proposed development at Hersham Park will be delivered by the established, trusted team at Countryside Properties, in partnership with a chosen affordable housing provider.

Is there a need for more homes?

Within Elmbridge, there is an urgent need to provide housing to meet local requirements. The Council’s own data shows that around 9,345 new homes are needed to support housing requirements over the next 15 years. The homes will be designed to provide a mixture of sizes to fulfil the demand across a wide local market.

What will happen to the golf club?

If approved, the golf club would close and be replaced by the Hersham Park development and the countryside park.

How many people are employed by the golf club? Will they lose their jobs?

Should the Hersham Park development be adopted by Elmbridge Borough Council, the club would close, and current employees would be supported in finding new job opportunities. The proposed development would create jobs, both during construction phase and in the long term, as new community and retail hubs form a central element of the Hersham Park plans.

Will the development create new jobs?

The proposed development at Hersham Park would create jobs, both its during construction phase and in the long term, as new community and retail hubs form a central element of the plans

How many homes would be built?

If approved, 636 much-needed new homes would be created within the north-western part of Hersham Golf Club. The homes will be designed to provide a mixture of sizes to fulfil the demand across a wide local market. The new accommodation will include 1 and 2 bed flats and 2-to-4-bedroom homes, 50% of which will be affordable for many local first-time buyers and key workers. It is generally recognised as the only way to provide significant numbers of much needed social housing in the borough.

Would the development offer affordable housing, and would local people be prioritised?

50% of the 636 new homes would be affordable properties, which would be targeted at local first-time buyers and key workers. It is generally recognised as the only way to provide significant numbers of much needed social housing in the borough.

What would the homes look like?

Whilst it is important that the scheme is distinctive and has its own identity, the design also needs to reflect the grain and local character to provide a successful transition into the new scheme. The new homes will be built to all appropriate policy and building regulations and will feature the new sustainability policies to work towards a net-zero carbon footprint.

When will a decision be made on this development?

We are in the process of consulting with the local community and stakeholders on the proposals for Hersham Park, and plan to submit a formal application to Elmbridge Borough Council in 2022. They will consider this application, during which local people will have further opportunity to make comments and submit view to them as the Planning Authority.

What infrastructure would be created to support the homes?

The new properties at Hersham Park would benefit from existing local infrastructure, as well as newly created, open public parkland, a new community hub for retail and communal spaces, and new cycling and walking routes around the previously largely private golf club site.

Alongside this, the scheme will benefit from contributions from the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL), which will channel funds into schemes and social infrastructure that directly targets the local community.

Existing infrastructure and utilities will be upgraded where necessary.

Will the development create community outdoor spaces?

A key focus of the Hersham Park development is to create a new Open Public Parkland and outdoor space for the whole community of Hersham and its neighbouring wards. In addition to the Open Public Parkland the scheme will include extensive landscaping, pocket parks, complementary green squares, and informal play areas.

This new community park will make a significant contribution towards Elmbridge Borough Council’s call for potential Suitable Alternative Natural Green Space (SANG) sites. The designation of the community park as a SANG will ensure its protection from development in the future and ensure this element of Green Belt is retained in perpetuity.

The proposed Community Parkland at Hersham Park will provide over 2.5km of pathways through the site that will benefit the physical and mental wellbeing of the wider community.

This outdoor green space will offer a varied landscape, which will include one larger pond, smaller water features, woodland glades, and the more open landscape towards the south. The open space and new native planting across the entire scheme will encourage a new level of biodiversity.

The new community park will be accessible to all and will be designed in line with Natural England’s best practice guidelines. A dedicated car park will be provided off the site’s existing Assher Road access, which will be closed to the proposed community hub and café.

For the first time, local residents will be able to freely explore this part of the countryside on their doorstep, which was previously restricted to specific footpaths around and through the golf course.

Would the site support Elmbridge Borough in creating Suitable Alternative Natural Green Space (SANG) sites?

This new community park will make a significant contribution towards Elmbridge Borough Council’s call for potential Suitable Alternative Natural Green Space (SANG) sites. The designation of the community park as a SANG will ensure its protection from development in the future and ensure this element of Green Belt is retained in perpetuity.

Identifying and creating additional SANG is a key benefit to the Council. Elmbridge Borough Council targets a provision of 8 hectares (ha) of freely accessible space, per 1000 residents living within 5km to 7km of the Thames Basin Heathlands, which are Special Protection Areas for various protected bird species. This scheme will provide over and above the level of SANG land required for the new occupants meaning it can be allocated to other smaller developments within the area.

What would the community park look like?

The proposed Community Parkland at Hersham Park will provide over 2.5km of pathways through the site that will benefit the physical and mental wellbeing of the wider community. This outdoor green space will offer a varied landscape, which will include one larger pond, smaller water features, woodland glades, and the more open landscape towards the south. The open space and new native planting across the entire scheme will encourage a new level of biodiversity.

The new community park will be accessible to all and will be designed in line with Natural England’s best practice guidelines. A dedicated car park will be provided off the site’s existing Assher Road access, which will be closed to the proposed community hub and café.

For the first time, local residents will be able to freely explore this part of the countryside on their doorstep, which was previously restricted to specific footpaths around and through the golf course.

What will be included at the community hub?

To ensure the scheme is sustainable and provides features which are specific to the local need, a new community hub is proposed in the centre of the development. It overlooks the proposed pond area and open space, meaning it will be an attractive area for retail and communal spaces.

How will the development support sustainable transport?

The proposed Hersham Park development is a sustainable location for new homes, given its location adjacent to Hersham Station and its proximity to other transport links, with public bus services running frequently to the likes of the larger cities such as Kingston-upon-Thames and Guildford as well as smaller town centres such as Walton-on-Thames, Weybridge, and Esher.

A network of walking, cycling and bus routes will be prioritised within the design of the proposed development. Several food shops, schools and other local facilities are within close walking distance, thereby reducing the need to increase traffic levels in the immediate vicinity.

Will the Green Belt be affected?

Within Elmbridge, there is an urgent need to provide housing to meet local requirements. The Borough’s Green Belt designation is particularly deep and extends over 57% of the Borough, with the Council’s own data showing that, of the 9,345 new homes needed, it would only be possible to accommodate 7,000 within existing urban sites or brownfield sites. The method to do this would be increasing densities, building higher and inevitably, losing parking spaces.

The need for housing is increasing across the Borough. With the limited supply and availability of brownfield sites, and the potentially unsustainable solution of building up and around what is currently there, this location offers a sustainable solution with significant numbers to aid the housing requirement.

The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) states that if Green Belt land is to be released to deliver housing targets, first consideration should be given to land that has been previously developed; is well-served by public transport; and/or where the impact of removing land from the Green Belt can be offset through compensatory improvements to the environmental quality and accessibility of the remaining Green Belt land.

Hersham Golf Club is a significant area of land – 30 hectares (ha) – that currently acts as greenbelt between Hersham and Esher. The proposed development would only encompass 12ha of this site, leaving ample green spaces to maintain a boundary between Hersham and Esher. This would therefore have no adverse implications in terms of the Green Belt purposes, and would also enhance accessibility to the Green Belt for the wider community.

Does planning policy allow Green Belt development?

The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) states that if Green Belt land is to be released to deliver housing targets, first consideration should be given to land that has been previously developed; is well-served by public transport; and/or where the impact of removing land from the Green Belt can be offset through compensatory improvements to the environmental quality and accessibility of the remaining Green Belt land.

Will the Green Belt be revised at Hersham Park?

Aligned to NPPF policy, exceptional circumstances exist to justify revision of the green belt boundary at Hersham Park, due to the exceptional pressure to provide much needed housing for local people to meet Elmbridge’s housing demands (whilst retaining the integrity of the Green Belt):

  • The development will contribute to the housing needs of Elmbridge Borough, as this cannot be delivered on urban sites alone;
  • A significant part of the site comprises Previously Developed Land (PDL) – the car park, clubhouse, adventure golf, maintenance yards and floodlit driving range;
  • The separation of the settlements of Hersham and Esher is maintained with no adverse implications in terms of the Green Belt purposes, as 85% of the Green Belt designated land remains intact;
  • The Green Belt at this location is uncharacteristically deep compared to the surrounding Green Belt land. The proposed development releases only 12 hectares of land (15% of the total greenbelt parcel that stretches to the river Mole), out of a total of 81 ha and would have no adverse impacts in terms of the Green Belt defining purposes;
  • The site is a sustainable location, well served by public transport, located adjacent to Hersham Station and local bus routes;
  • The site immediately adjoins an existing settlement of Hersham;
  • The development will deliver increased public access to 30 hectares of land that was previously only accessible to golf club members, rather than the wider community;
  • The provision of the community park will provide publicly accessible Green Belt land in perpetuity, and will deliver a site-wide biodiversity net gain.

How will the development be accessed?

The proposed development at Hersham Park will have a primary access route, via the existing entrance at Assher Road, with a secondary and emergency access being created further to the south, off Molesey Road.

How will traffic impacts be managed?

Conversations with Surrey County Council are ongoing, and will enable our dedicated transport consultant team to assess specific junctions and areas of high traffic. These surveys will be completed once traffic levels are back to ‘normal’ after the reduced activity from the COVID-19 Pandemic. This will ensure the data is accurate and reliable in informing the application.

The proposed development would be accessed via the existing entrance at Assher Road, with a second access being created further to the south, off Molesey Road. The site would prioritise sustainable transport options within its design, with extensive links to buses, trains, cycling and walking options.

What will roads and highways in the development look like?

The internal road layout has been designed around a perimeter road, with residential streets limited to 20mph to ensure prioritise safety for cyclists and pedestrians, and segregated public parking areas. There will also be a prioritised public footpath network within and around the site, as part of its road infrastructure. Parking is primarily on private driveways, with some homes sharing private parking courts. Elsewhere, parking is provided in dedicated areas close to the apartments they serve. All houses will have their own electric charging point and flats will have access to shared points to charge.

Will the development offer car parking?

The internal road layout has been designed to prioritise safety for cyclists and pedestrians, and to offer segregated public parking areas. Alongside this, parking is primarily on private driveways, with some homes sharing private parking courts. Elsewhere, parking is provided in dedicated areas close to the apartments they serve. All houses will have their own electric charging point and flats will have access to shared points to charge.

Will the development impact on flood risk and drainage?

A comprehensive Flood Risk assessment has been undertaken to consider the proposed development land and surrounding areas. While parts of Hersham Golf Course fall within the Environment Agency’s Flood Zone 3 (high risk land assessed as having a 1 in 100 or greater annual probability of river flooding in any year), all residential development falls within Zone 1 and 2 (ie low or medium probability of flooding).

Based on the Strategic Flood risk assessment, minor measures be required to mitigate any risk of flooding. These include raising the base site level for the residential and commercial structures and internal road networks, as well as providing new balancing attenuation ponds to direct the flood risk away from homes and infrastructure. The ponds will be located in the new community park, and will be served by a network of swales and ditches within the landscaped areas and alongside the roads to direct water away from homes and to the water features.

What are the impacts for ecology?

Overall, the site would aim to deliver an important biodiversity net gain for the local area. Flora and fauna habitat surveys have been undertaken to identify any protected species on site to ensure they are safeguarded during and after construction. Where necessary, any species affected by the development will be relocated to within the Open Parkland. Bat and bird boxes, along with a wildlife corridor along the railway embankment, will ensure native species are encouraged to remain in the area.

In addition to tree planting within the park, the former golf fairways and tees will be allowed to re-wild and will be overseeded, where necessary, with species-rich grasses and areas of wildflower meadows. Overall, a biodiversity net gain will be delivered across the whole site.

How will biodiversity be preserved and enhanced?

In addition to the on-site measures, such as bat and bord boxes, and tree planting within the park, the former golf fairways and tees will be allowed to re-wild and will be overseeded, where necessary, with species-rich grasses and areas of wildflower meadows. Overall, a biodiversity net gain will be delivered across the whole site.

Will any trees be removed?

The scheme at Hersham Park has been designed to maximise the retention of trees across the site. While some trees will be lost through the development process, the current plan has been informed by a detailed arboriculture survey, and has been designed to retain the majority of high-quality (Category A trees) and as many Category B trees as possible. Tree planting is proposed along the new streets and within the landscaped areas across the site. Significant native planting is proposed throughout the community park to provide a net gain.

How can I input and share my thoughts?

As a local resident, your views and feedback are extremely important to us in shaping our plans. We are committed to involving the local community in our proposals from the outset.

As such, we are holding an online consultation event at 7pm on Monday 1st November 2021. You can register to attend on this website.

In addition, on Wednesday 10th November 2021 an in-person public exhibition event will be held at Hersham Centre for the Community, Queens Rd, Hersham, Surrey, KT12 5LU from 4.00-6:30pm.

Everyone is welcome to attend both events. Should you be unable to join us, you will be able to view a recording of the online consultation event and download the presentation for both sessions on the project website. We would also like to encourage local residents to leave feedback or ask questions via the dedicated online form on our website.

Can I leave online feedback?

Yes, our website has an online feedback form that you can fill in to share your thoughts with us.

How can I contact you?

We value your feedback and welcome your thoughts on our proposals for Hersham Park. If you would like to get in touch, you can do so through completing the online feedback form or contacting Duncan Flynn at Cratus Communications on 07769 653 052 or dflynn@cratus.co.uk

Hersham Park Consultation Website:

https://hershamparkconsultation.co.uk/