Update 22 November: Elmbridge Cabinet agreed to move forward as recommended in the report.
In June this year, we reported the results of the Esher vision consultation. As part of the consultation we suggested that Esher had the potential to be the civic heart of Elmbridge, a vibrant, diverse town centre, providing residents and visitors with the opportunity to socialise, to come together and take part in shared, fun activities and you responded positively to that vision.
The catalyst for the vision for Esher town centre was the need to assess the Civic Centre in Esher. The Civic Centre and the surrounding car parks are part of Esher High Street, but they seem very separate. To establish Esher as the civic heart of Elmbridge, the Civic Centre needs to be more accessible and integrated into the High Street; it needs to serve its employees, as well as its residents and contribute to the vitality of the high street.
You told us through the consultation, that any potential development of the Civic Centre should reflect the council’s commitment to visible, transparent, and accountable governance – we wholeheartedly support this, and our community will be part of the journey at every step.
We told you that the next step was to work through some feasibility studies and to explore the options and funding requirements. On 22 November, Elmbridge Cabinet will receive an update report on this work. This will include the scope and proposed budget based on the second-stage feasibility review of the site and potential options for redevelopment - either retain the Civic Centre and develop surplus land, or to develop a new Civic Centre which will accommodate Elmbridge Borough Council plus our partners and develop surplus land on the site.
If agreed, both options will undergo further detailed review to ensure the right decision is made, with consideration always being given to what is best for our community and employees, our carbon zero ambitions and the financial sustainability of the Council.
Cllr Simon Waugh, Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Leisure, Culture and Commercial Strategy