30 November: Further information on how you can help shape the future of Elm Grove.
From 5 December 2023 (at 5pm) to 29 January 2024 an online questionnaire will be available to gather your comments.
We will also host some face-to-face sessions to allow you to find out more about the development and ask any questions:
- Drop-in session 1: Wednesday 13 December, 12-2pm, at PA Housing, Case House, 85-89 High Street, Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, KT12 1DZ. No booking required.
- Drop-in session 2: Monday 15 January, 5-7pm, location TBC.
Our website will also be available with a range of information from the draft Development Brief, the survey, questions and answers and maps showing the site.
We will update this news page on Tuesday 5 December.
22 November update
On 22 November, Elmbridge Cabinet agreed a draft Development Brief for the Elm Grove site in Walton-on-Thames, which will allow for early engagement with the Walton community and allow us to listen to how they would like to shape the future of Elm Grove.
We have a Vision for a sustainable and thriving Elmbridge and this draft Development Brief speaks to that sense of supporting communities to thrive.
But what is a development brief?
If we start with what it’s not – it is not a planning application. This is important to know as we are asking the residents and businesses of Walton to help shape future development on this site before any decisions are made.
A Development Brief is a planning document which sets out parameters to guide future development, including how any future scheme will be required to meet national and local planning policies and guidance.
Most of all it all allows for early community engagement, asking the community to help shape future development on a site.
What’s included in the Elm Grove site?
In the case of the Elm Grove site, it is not just Elm Grove Recreation Ground. You will see the draft Development Brief includes a wide area which currently houses a nursery, Walton Bowling Club, the Elmbridge Eco Hub, the Youth Centre and the recreation ground.
This site has been identified in the draft Elmbridge Local Plan as an area of potential residential development in the 6 -10 years timeline, however, an approach by the local NHS has provided us with the possibility of looking at alternative opportunities for the site and bringing those plans forward.
The local NHS and it partners are committed to exploring the potential to offer more joined-up health, care and wellbeing services from the Elm Grove site through a neighbourhood hub. These hubs are a unique opportunity to support communities and reduce health inequalities by considering the many factors - social, economic and environmental - that influence someone’s potential to thrive. A broad mix of professionals from across the healthcare, voluntary and community sectors could work from these locations to share expertise, reduce duplication, and focus efforts on preventative support and cohesive care.
What about the current users?
Some people may hear this news and be concerned that the current users of the Elm Grove site and the recreation ground will be negatively impacted or forced out by any future development. We want to provide reassurance that this will not be the case.
The recreation ground at Elmgrove is a valuable green space and recreation ground in Elmbridge and the draft Development Brief supports that. There are absolutely no plans for development on the recreation ground. The aim is to reconfigure and enhance the recreation ground, with an improved play area, more trees to help alleviate flooding on site (which will also support an improved football pitch and pavilion), to keep the tennis courts, and integrate the bowls club into the recreation ground with a new bowling green.
Walton-on-Thames Bowling Club has been located at Elm Grove for 100 years and it will continue to be part of this site, albeit in a different location. We are working closely with the club to ensure they have the facilities they need as part of any redevelopment.
The Elmbridge Eco-Hub is a much loved and valuable community group on the Elm Grove site. We have supported the team behind the Hub for the last few years and we will continue to do as part of any redevelopment. We have been speaking with the Hub about their long-term plans (the current location was always temporary) and we will ensure they find their forever home either on site or close by.
The Youth Centre is included in the site boundary for the Development Brief. We are having ongoing discussions with Surrey County Council, who are the owners of the building, car park and multi-use games court, to identify partnership opportunities.
Walton Montessori nursery will remain in its current location. We are working with them on repairs and internal improvements to their Grade II listed building, as well as reconfiguring their garden to make the best use of space.
As you can see from the draft Development Brief, the future of the recreation ground, the nursery, the Eco Hub, the bowls club are all protected with in the core objectives of the document.
How can I help shape the future of Elm Grove?
From 5 December 2023 to 29 January 2024 an online questionnaire will be available to gather your comments.
We will also host some face-to-face sessions (dates and times to be confirmed) to allow you to find out more about the development and ask any questions.
Our website will be available with a range of information from the draft Development Brief, the survey, questions and answers and maps showing the site.
What would the potential scheme for the Elm Grove site look like?
We are too early in the process to determine what the site could look like, and we want your views on how it is shaped.
Under our current planning policies, any development would be in keeping with the local area.
It is also worth reiterating that any future planning applications for this site would still have to go through the full planning application process including local community consultation.
Any future development application would also have to provide documented evidence to ensure parking, traffic, public transport provision, air quality, carbon management, biodiversity, and other important considerations, are all reviewed as part of the plans.
Councillor Robin Stephens, Portfolio Holder for Planning, Enterprise and Local Economy, is encouraging the local community to engage with development brief consultation:
“The Walton-on-Thames community has the opportunity to help shape the future of the Elm Grove site. You can tell us what matters most to you on this site and to ensure its value to the community is strengthened through this Development Brief process.
“Please take the opportunity to review the details on our website and to drop-in into one of our face-to-face sessions during the course of the consultation period.”