An exciting future for Elm Grove in Walton - get ready to tell us what you think

29 Nov 2023

Elmbridge Borough Council, which is jointly run by the Liberal Democrats and Residents Association, has an ambitious vision for the Elm Grove site in Walton-on-Thames. You can listen to Lib Dem Councillor Robin Stephens present the proposals at the recent Elmbridge Council Cabinet meeting here. A consultation on the Elm Grove Development Brief will run from 5 December to 29 January and face-to-face, drop-in sessions will also be arranged to enable residents to discuss the plans. We will provide the details on both here when they are available: we urge all Walton residents to let the Council know their views.

The site is central to the Council’s Vision for a sustainable and thriving Elmbridge. An exciting proposal from the local NHS and its community and voluntary sector partners could see the development of an NHS neighbourhood hub at Elm Grove, with joined-up health, care and wellbeing services delivered for the benefit of all in the community. 

The proposals that are being consulted on can be delivered without detriment either to the recreation ground or the community facilities that currently use the Elm Grove site, as EBC have already made clear here. We reiterate the main points about the proposal below for ease of reference and we hope that residents will read the extra details in the Development Brief before coming to their own conclusions on its merits.

Current community and other facilities that are based at the Elm Grove site, including the recreation ground, will not be forced out by any future development. 

  • The recreation ground is valuable green space and there are absolutely no plans to develop it. 
  • The Walton-on-Thames Bowling Club will not be moving from the site. 
  • The Elmbridge Eco-Hub, which has a temporary home at the site, will continue to be supported by the Council during the redevelopment and will be helped to find a permanent home nearby. 
  • The Youth Centre is run by Surrey County Council; EBC are continuing discussions with them about a partnership.
  • The Montessori Nursery will not be moving; the Council is helping them with repairs to their building, which is Grade II listed. 

No decision has been made on residential development at this site. Parts of the site are designated as Brownfield so the Council is required to include them in our Local Plan as potential sites for housing. But if residents indicate that they support the NHS Neighbourhood Hub proposal, housing will not be built at Elm Grove. This consultation is therefore our way to gauge community enthusiasm for this option: building a health and wellbeing neighbourhood hub, supporting local residents and enabling the Walton community to thrive, while protecting the green space at the site.

The Development Plan is *not* a Planning Application. It does not set out decisions that have been made by the Council but instead puts forward a series of options for consultation and the parameters, including national and local planning policies and guidance, in which any future scheme will be considered. Any future planning applications for this site would still have to go through the full planning application process including local community consultation. They 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.

Please let the Council know your views either via the survey, when it opens, or at the drop-in events which will be publicised shortly.