In a secret session held behind closed doors last night, Conservative councillors decided “not to defend the planning Appeal” for the Toby Jug site.
The planning application was previously refused by the Council last July and was due to go to Appeal in the spring (to be heard by the Government’s Planning Inspector.)
The application was “made exempt from the public” under conditions in the Local Government Act 1972. This happens where the “presence of the public” is likely to result in the Council breaching confidential information.
Councillor Malcolm Self speaks out on Conservative refusal to defend Tolworth residents
What does this mean for local residents?
It is believed the decision taken by the Conservative Council will give the developer, Meyer Bergman, the thumbs up to build a minimum of 705 units.
The decision will be a huge blow to local residents who have campaigned for years against the over-development of the site, formerly owned by Tesco.
Outraged Tolworth and Hook Rise councillor, Lorraine Rolfe said: "The Conservative Administration has sold residents of Tolworth down the A3. To have done this behind closed doors after residents have campaigned for so many years is adding insult to injury.
I am allowed to say, WE VOTED AGAINST THIS DECISION.
Frankly, I’m disgusted - residents will now see how they cannot trust this Conservative Administration. We have always been against cramming too many units on this site.
We need homes - affordable homes - but let’s make sensible decisions about the number of homes that can be reasonably accommodated on any site.”
1. In July 2016, the Council refused a planning application at Development Control Committee for 705 homes to be built on the contentious Toby Jug site. The reasons for refusal were concerns about density and the adverse effects the development will have on the traffic. The developer submitted a Planning Appeal to the Government’s Inspector whilst also planning to submit a further planning application for a significant increase in the number of units. The second application is still a live planning application in the Council’s system.
2. Link to committee report: Update on planning application and appeal at Former Government Offices site (King George's Gate), Hook Rise South, Surbiton. https://moderngov.kingston.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=138&MId=8055&Ver=4