Elmbridge Borough Council

Election results for 2019

    Elected in 2019
    Elected in 2019
    Elected in 2019

Most Recent

  1. Conservative councillor defects to Brexit Party

    Rebecca Curley

    Local Democracy Reporter

    Mike Bennison

    A long-standing Conservative councillor in Elmbridge has defected to the Brexit Party.

    Mike Bennison, who represents Hinchley Wood, Claygate and Oxshott on Surrey County Council, said he would continue to serve his constituents to the “high standard” he feels he has shown. He becomes the county’s first Brexit Party councillor.

    He said he had no choice but to leave the Conservative Party after he was told he would not be re-selected for the next local elections.

    Mr Bennison, who has been a councillor for 20 years, also represents Cobham and Downside on Elmbridge Borough Council.

    He said he was “absolutely dumbfounded” when he was told he had been turned down to represent the Tories in the borough elections next year and county elections in 2021.

  2. Elmbridge remains under no overall control

    Elmbridge has remained under no overall control after the Conservatives lost three seats and ended up with 21 - four short of the 25 needed for a majority.

    The Lib Dems gained one and independents gained two.

  3. Land still sought for traveller sites

    Rebecca Curley

    Local Democracy Reporter

    An attempt to find two sites in Surrey to act as permanent transit bases for the travelling community is a “work in progress”, according to one borough leader.

    James Browne, leader of Elmbridge Borough Council, said council leaders were also trying to identify two more temporary sites that could be used in a similar way.

    In an update to members at a full council meeting on Wednesday, he said the injunction order the borough had obtained last year banning unauthorised encampments and fly-tipping had been a success.

    Surrey’s council leaders have had several meetings with the county’s Police and Crime Commissioner David Munro to discuss the issue of finding transit sites.

    Mr Browne said: “There is an ongoing work in progress looking for two permanent sites in Surrey – one to the west of the county and one to the east.”

  4. 'Slum boats' damaging riverbank

    Rebecca Curley

    Local Democracy Reporter

    Molesey riverbank

    More enforcement is needed of “slum boats” along the Thames Path and the riverbank should be covered by the same protection order for unauthorised encampments in Elmbridge, say residents.

    Members of community group Friends of Hurst Park said there were powers available for harbour masters and environment officers to take action.

    They have called for more joined-up thinking between Surrey County Council (SCC), Elmbridge Borough Council and the Environment Agency to tackle the problem.

    They said over the years the riverbanks through Molesey had been “appropriated and damaged by unauthorised mooring” with councillors adding that slum boats and tramp boats – boats moored illegally or without authorisation – were “frustrating residents”.

    Concerns were raised at SCC and Elmbridge Local Committee on Monday.

    Jill Sanders, of Friends of Hurst Park, asked for towpaths and river edges to be included in the projection injunction Elmbridge has for unauthorised encampments.

    In her question to the committee she said: “We now have not only slum boats, tramp boats and abandoned boats, but also land-grabbing of our public realm along the Thames Path, with fences, barricades, keep out notices, and stripping away of vegetation.”

    Her concerns were echoed by councillors who said they received emails from lots of people worried about the illegal moorings and that it was a “flagrant disregard for residents”.

    SCC leader Tim Oliver said he would raise the matter with the Environment Agency.

  5. Demolition of Esher council building 'undemocratic'

    Rebecca Curley

    Local Democracy Reporter

    An Elmbridge Borough Council building in Esher that's used for various charities - including marriage guidance - is set to be demolished.

    But there's concern that the proper council procedures have not been followed before that happens.

    Harry Fletcher House in Community Walk, Esher, is used by Relate West Surrey and Esher Citizens Advice Bureau.

    At a meeting of Elmbridge Councillors, several said that plans to demolish the building and use it on a short-term basis as a car park, had not been discussed by the council's overview and scrutiny panel first. One, Cllr Roy Green, said that without that happening, the process was undemocratic.

    Cllr Tim Oliver, who is also the leader of Surrey County Council, said the building was at the end of its life and that the borough had "bent over backwards" to help the CAB find alternative accommodation.

    Council leader James Browne has now promised that the building will not be demolished before overview and scrutiny has had a chance to consider the situation.

  6. Plan to help Walton high street

    Rebecca Curley

    Local Democracy Reporter

    Business ratepayers in Walton-on-Thames are to be balloted over a proposal to turn the town centre into a Business Improvement District.

    A Business Improvement District is funded by business ratepayers who pay a 1-1.5% levy into a pot which can be spent on extra activities and campaigns for the high street, to increase footfall.

    Business ratepayers will be able to vote on a business plan. Elmbridge Borough Council cabinet members agreed to put forward £40,500 in a mix of grants and loans to the Walton-on-Thames Trading Alliance to help the project.

    If approved and adopted, the Walton BID could raise around £898,000 over five years based on the 1.5% levy.

    A full campaign setting out the benefits and costs of the BID with a ballot for ratepayers is expected to take place over three months starting in September.

  7. Slow progress on hospital refurbishment plan

    Rebecca Curley

    Local Democracy Reporter

    The future of Molesey Community Hospital is still uncertain, as councillors slam the length of time it has taken for a decision on a refurbishment as "appalling".

    Residents were consulted on the future of the clinic and health care facilities at the site in 2016 with a decision made a year later to keep hospital beds at the location.

    But councillors said they were "still waiting" to hear what will happen with the site.

    Speaking at an Elmbridge Borough Council overview and scrutiny meeting on Thursday, Julian Wilmshurst-Smith, head of contracting for Surrey Downs Clinical Commissioning Group, said funding for a business case has been secured and it could take up to eight months to finalise details of whether it will be a rebuild or a refurbishment.

    Plans on the table include bringing two GP practices on site as well as speaking to Surrey County Council about providing more adult social care services and talking to Kingston Hospital about out-patient facilities.

  8. Pets' 'poop bins' to be scrapped

    Dog walkers in Surrey can throw their pets' "poop bags" away with other rubbish, rather than using special bins.

    It comes after a successful trial of scrapping the dog poo bins at Esher Common in Elmbridge.

    Countryside officers now want mixed-use bins used across all their open land in the borough.

    A report by the council's Countryside Consultative Group to go before councillors on 17 January says dog walkers can now even throw away the poo bags in their own black bins at home.

    It's because national guidance has changed and it is no longer necessary to separate dog waste from other types of household waste.

  9. Meals on Wheels costs to rise

    Rebecca Curley

    Local Democracy Reporter

    The cost of Meals on Wheels and Dial a Ride in Elmbridge is set to rise as the council reviews charges for frontline services.

    Initiatives are being put forward by Elmbridge Borough Council to address the reduction in grant money from Surrey County Council (SCC), and the increasingly ageing population in the borough.

    They include an increase in fees and charges for frontline services.

    The cost of a three-course meal with the Meals on Wheels service would rise by 20p to £4.20. A return journey with Dial a Ride would go up by 80p to £4.

    From April the council will lose £220,000 a year in grant income from SCC - a 75% reduction in cash for day centres and Meals on Wheels and a 100% reduction in grant for some carers' and telecare services.

    Elmbridge council officers stated in their report: "We are very disappointed with the significant Surrey County Council reductions in grants that we have been receiving for over 20 years and we acknowledge that it is because of these significant grant reductions and a staffing requirement to maintain safe services that we are looking to implement these proposed increases in 2019."

  10. Council had 'no alternative' to traveller injunction

    Rebecca Curley

    Local Democracy Reporter

    The leader of Elmbridge Borough Council said they had "no alternative" but to seek a three-year High Court injunction banning illegal traveller encampments in the borough.

    Tim Oliver said the injunction - which covers all the borough's parks, open spaces and car parks - "wasn't a step I think any of us particularly wanted to take," but added: "The level of damage and cost to this council that we experienced over the summer had got to the point where we had no alternative."

    The council said that 27 camps were set up this year, which it described as an "unprecedented increase".

    The charity Friends, Families and Travellers (FFT) that works on behalf of Gypsies, travellers and the Roma community, said it was "deeply saddened" by the court order.

  11. Tennis club must soundproof courts

    Rebecca Curley

    Local Democracy Reporter

    Artist impression of homes at Stompond Lane

    A tennis club in the home borough of Wimbledon champion Andy Murray has been told to soundproof its courts to avoid disturbing neighbours.

    Walton Lawn Tennis Club has been ordered to take measures to limit noise from its courts, bar and mechanical equipment.

    The measures are part of the planning conditions imposed when permission was granted for a major housing development.

    Building work is already under way for 54 homes, a nursery and landscaping in Stompond Lane, Walton.

    Planners at Elmbridge Borough Council have asked for a solution to be found before they grant permission on noise and mitigation measures.

    The matter is due back before the committee in January.

  12. Surrey football club's housing development rejected

    Rebecca Curley

    Local Democracy Reporter

    Elmbridge Borough Council (EBC) has rejected plans for a housing development that was intended to help clear the financial debt of a football club.

    Molesey Football and Social Club managers submitted proposals to build 50 flats next to the club’s Herds Renault Stadium in Grange Close, West Molesey.

    But councillors said the designs, which included proposals for new changing rooms and a clubhouse, were “unneighbourly” and lacked sufficient open space for children living in the new homes to play outside.

    The Bostik Football League South Central Division side also wanted to build a day nursery and covered seating following the demolition of the existing clubhouse.

    A total of 91 objections had been lodged by residents living in Grange Close.

    Speaking on their behalf, resident Andy Winbourne said: “Local residents do not want this development to go ahead in this way.”

    Paul Dickinson, agent for the applicants, Molesey Football and Social Club, Rushmon Homes and PA Housing, argued the proposals met Football Association standards and the development would “leave the club debt free” and allow it to “continue to make a social contribution to the local community”.

    The club had racked up debt over the years due to “lengthy legal issues”, Mr Dickinson told the committee.

    Liberal Democrat Cllr Christine Elmer, who used to live near the football ground, said: “I think this is over development and unneighbourly. The road was not designed to take that amount.”

  13. Residents call for speed limit reduction over 'lorry damage'

    Rebecca Curley

    Local Democracy Reporter

    Elmbridge Council Civic Centre

    Homeowners along the A245 in Surrey say lorries carrying out late night deliveries to a depot are causing damage to houses.

    People living on Byfleet Road want the speed limit reduced to 40mph.

    Dr Joanne Horgan presented a petition to Surrey County Council and Elmbridge Borough Council Local Committee on behalf of residents.

    She said: "We have a problem with lorries in the middle of the night travelling at very, very high speed along the road. The main problem is the noise which wakes us up and the physical shaking of the house, which is causing damage."

    Members on the committee also said the road was dangerous for cyclists.

    Councillor Ian Donaldson said: "I cycled this road with Elmbridge Cycle Group and it's very, very dangerous for cyclists, especially after the roundabout. So reducing it to 40mph and looking for a cycle lane would be very useful."

    Nick Healey, Surrey County Council highways manager, said Highways England had agreed to look at improving the A245 Byfleet Road as part of their wider Wisley Interchange project for Junction 10 of the M3.

  14. Police 'powerless' to deal with unauthorised traveller camps crime

    Rebecca Curley

    Local Democracy Reporter

    David Munro, Surrey Police and Crime Commissioner

    Police are powerless to act on crime committed at unauthorised traveller camps unless they have the evidence to prove it, according to Surrey's Police and Crime Commissioner.

    David Munro said officers shared the view of residents but could not always act on intelligence about illegal activity.

    This year saw an "unprecedented number" of illegal incursions on land in the county, but Mr Munro warned there was a difficult line to distinguish what was the difference between crime and anti-social behaviour.

    "People expect an arrest and charge just as they would for any other crime. But on the ground the police need the evidence and it's very difficult to get that," he said, adding: "I'm fully aware that a lot of residents are very upset by what they see as crime being committed. And some are [crimes].

    "Police do share their view."

    But he stressed sometimes it was anti-social behaviour and not actual crime being committed.

    He said it was hard for police to act on many reports as they needed evidence.

    He urged residents that if they see a crime happening they need to get times and any video or photos, adding: "Typically, the first time we know about an encampment is when they are already there."

    His comments were made at Surrey's police and crime panel last week, where he praised Elmbridge Borough Council.

    It was granted a protective injunction in August banning the setting up of an unauthorised encampment and fly-tipping on all identified public land, meaning it does not have to obtain court orders for removals of camps.

    Mr Munro has been pushing for Surrey's council leaders to set aside land to act as a transit site which can hold travellers for a certain number of days.

    The neighbouring county of Sussex has three and Mr Munro said they now received a third of all Surrey's number of incursions.

  15. Thames Ditton crossing campaign

    Rebecca Curley

    Local Democracy Reporter

    Cherry Jones and Danny Jones, relatives of Teresa McArdle
    Image caption: Cherry Jones and Danny Jones, relatives of Teresa McArdle

    The nephew of a woman who died after being hit by a van as she tried to cross a busy road is continuing his campaign to get a pedestrian crossing installed.

    Danny Jones believes his aunt Teresa McArdle may still be alive if action had been taken sooner to install the crossing in Portsmouth Road, Thames Ditton.

    Safety measures are set to be put in along the road with Surrey County Council building a refuge island.

    But Mr Jones says he and his family do not feel they have been listened to as they wanted a full crossing.

    Councillor John O'Reilly, chairman of the Elmbridge Local Committee, said: "Our thoughts remain with Mrs McArdle's family and we listened with great respect to their concerns when this came before the committee.

    "The committee considered a number of options and as the funding has been agreed, we're planning on putting in a pedestrian island to improve safety for those crossing there. We shall of course be keeping this under close review."

    In April, 32-year-old Hamza Lamnouar, of Macleod Road, Horsham, was sentenced to community service after pleading guilty to causing death by careless driving.

  16. Walton Birds Eye HQ set for redevelopment

    Rebecca Curley

    Local Democracy Reporter

    Former Birds Eye HQ

    A major development for the former Birds Eye headquarters in Walton-On-Thames, in Surrey, is one step closer to being finally approved.

    Members of Elmbridge Borough Council's North Area Planning Sub-Committee voted to permit the application for 375 flats and to demolish the iconic 1960s listed building known as Walton Court.

    The plans will now go through to the full planning committee on 30 July.

    The site in Station Avenue has been derelict for nearly 10 years.

    More than 100 letters of objections were received from residents living nearby.

  17. Tories keep control in by-election victory

    Rebecca Curley

    Local Democracy Reporter

    David Lewis
    Image caption: David Lewis, Conservative candidate for Elmbridge Borough Council by-election

    Conservatives have retained majority control of Elmbridge Borough Council after a by-election win.

    David Lewis won Oxshott and Stoke D'Abernon seat on Thursday, 12 July with 1,297 votes - a 72% share of the vote.

    Dorothy Ford, (Liberal Democrats) won 463 and Nicholas Wood (UK Independence Party) gained 42 votes.

    The win means Tories hold 24 seats at EBC.

    The Liberal Democrats and Residents Association groups hold 24 seats between them, but are not a combined coalition.