'Epsom should merge with a London borough like Sutton', says councillor

Should Epsom become part of London?

Should Epsom become part of London?

First published in News
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This Is Local London: Photograph of the Author by , Chief Reporter

Epsom and Ewell should become part of London and merge with another borough like Sutton, according to one of the market town's councillors.

Last month, Barney Stringer, a director of London planning consultancy Quod, raised the question of whether London is too small.

His query, which was based on the release of data from the 2011 Census, showing people’s journeys to work, considered whether the map of London could be re-drawn "to reflect the reality of its huge economic pull on the wider south east".

Recognition of the market town’s proximity to London, a mere 18 miles to the centre of the capital, and its position as London’s gateway to Surrey, can already be seen in its inclusion in the proposed Crossrail 2 project.

Mr Stringer’s blog article, outlining his premise, said: "In many cases entire districts - Epping Forest, Spelthorne, Epsom and Ewell, and Three Rivers - provide fewer jobs for their residents than London does.

"Is it time re-draw London’s boundaries once again, to embrace these areas that already function as part of the city?

"Or are there other ways to integrate London’s hinterland, perhaps by giving the Mayor of London greater powers over transport and housing beyond London’s boundaries?"

Epsom and Ewell was considered for inclusion within Greater London in the early 1960s, but it is understood that the idea was not welcomed and the proposition did not come to anything as the original plans, for what became the Greater London Council, in 1965, were scaled back considerably and excluded the borough.

Asked what it thought about Mr Stringer’s suggestion, an Epsom Council spokesman said: "The argument would appear to be that because so many people commute to London - 40 per cent of workers in the borough commute to London - the borough should become part of London.

"This ignores that 60 per cent of workers don’t commute to London or the boundary of London has never had anything to do with commuting."

This Is Local London:

The blue areas on the above map indicate areas in which more people work in London than their home districts.  Picture: Barney Stringer / OS / ONS Census 2011

But Epsom Residents’ Association councillor Mike Teasdale said he has always felt the borough should be in London "one way or another" - even if this means Epsom and Ewell merging with the London boroughs of Sutton or Kingston.

He said: "One of the problems is Epsom’s a small borough so the council is pushed in terms of income and would benefit quite considerably financially being part of London.

"There would be transport benefits for individuals and we would get more access to grants and funding.

"But I don’t think Epsom and Ewell could become a London borough on its own as it’s too small so it would have to merge with either Sutton or Kingston.  

"If the council really thought about it now, we may well change our minds.  It’s down to individual councillors." 

Epsom Labour councillor, and prospective parliamentary candidate, Sheila Carlson disagreed. 

She said Epsom would not "sit well" in London and that any decision on whether to change the boundary "should not be taken by a few elected councillors".

"It’s always been a bit strange that places like Croydon, Mitcham, Kingston have Surrey postal codes but they’re not in Surrey as far as local government is concerned," said Coun Carlson.

"I don’t think Epsom and Ewell sits very well in London. 

"It’s different - it has a different feel and in the past the council has liked the distance. 

"For example, when we were in the Metropolitan police district we didn’t actually get quite enough police backing because we were considered to be a fairly quiet area. 

"As soon as we moved into the Surrey district we got a lot more help and we did need that additional policing."

Coun Carlson said moving Epsom into London could be to the detriment of its hospital as the arguments made for its survival have revolved around it being located in Surrey, not London. 

But she acknowledged that it is "crazy" that Epsom does not have the Oyster Card and that pensioners in the borough are only entitled to free bus passes, whereas in London free travel on the Underground and trains is also available for them.

She added: "I think people on the whole quite like being in Surrey. 

"They like the idea of Epsom and Ewell being a small market town and a move into London may well change that perception."

Epsom Liberal Democrat councillor Julie Morris said she would be against the change as she believes it would compromise the borough’s green space.

"Epsom and Ewell has a very strong identity in terms of acting as a buffer to the greater London sprawl. 

"Does that greater London sprawl need to sprawl out more?  I would suggest it doesn’t.

"Housing and employment shouldn’t just be focused on London, we need to look at the country as a whole.  The south east is already quite prosperous. 

"It’s the proximity of the greenbelt in the borough that has to be sacrosanct. 

"The moment it gets subsumed into London I could not see many benefits for the preservation of the greenbelt.

She said getting Epsom into Zone 6 is more of an "amendment to an anomaly" and that residents are keen to preserve the borough’s character.

"There will be people who can’t see further than the Zone 6 argument, but if Epsom was already in Zone 6 a huge majority would be in favour of keeping its identity in Surrey," added Coun Morris. 

Epsom Conservative councillor Darren Dale said he is often asked the question as his ward, Stoneleigh, borders Sutton. 

But he is against Epsom becoming part of London as it would involve "giving more and getting less" and may lead to Epsom being overlooked in favour of other London boroughs with a greater social need.

He said: "Epsom and Ewell has always been known as a market town. 

"It would be difficult to keep that alive if we became part of London. 

"It would then just be another London borough".

For Robert Leach, UKIP’s candidate for next year’s General Election and an ex-Residents’ Association councillor in Epsom for 12 years, the issue is of "sentiment".

"Epsom looks more towards Surrey.  It’s a rural area, it has lots of green space. 

"It’s very different from the London boroughs such as Croydon.

"I think it’s an identity thing really.  We see ourselves as suburban valuing lots of green space."

To read Mr Stringer's article click here.

What do you think? Leave a comment below or contact Hardeep Matharu with your views by calling 020 8772 6346 or email hmatharu@london.newsquest.co.uk.

 

 

Comments (13)

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12:10pm Wed 20 Aug 14

JDavid7 says...

I can see their point regarding wanting to remain and keeping that identity. I find in Sutton many people still prefer to say they live in Sutton and not in London. I still think the newer parts of London should get London postcodes to avoid confusion i.e Croydon and Sutton. (Again I know many in Sutton would highly disagree!)
I can see their point regarding wanting to remain and keeping that identity. I find in Sutton many people still prefer to say they live in Sutton and not in London. I still think the newer parts of London should get London postcodes to avoid confusion i.e Croydon and Sutton. (Again I know many in Sutton would highly disagree!) JDavid7
  • Score: -2

4:40pm Wed 20 Aug 14

treblegold says...

I disagree entirely with the proposition that Sutton and Croydon should have "London postcodes". I should much prefer a return to the pre-1965 administrative boundaries under which Sutton was part of London administratively as well as geographically. The arguments against Epsom becoming part of London administratively apply to Sutton as well, and it is unclear what benefits Sutton has gained from being part of Greater London.
I disagree entirely with the proposition that Sutton and Croydon should have "London postcodes". I should much prefer a return to the pre-1965 administrative boundaries under which Sutton was part of London administratively as well as geographically. The arguments against Epsom becoming part of London administratively apply to Sutton as well, and it is unclear what benefits Sutton has gained from being part of Greater London. treblegold
  • Score: -2

5:16pm Wed 20 Aug 14

Dstudent says...

Absolutely impossible for them to join zone 6. Like Watford they will join zone 9.
Absolutely impossible for them to join zone 6. Like Watford they will join zone 9. Dstudent
  • Score: 5

7:57pm Wed 20 Aug 14

Binsanity says...

Sadly, as the population grows and the infrastructure needed to sustain it increases we will become conjoined and engulfed withn our local metropolis. Wherever we are. Call me old fashioned but "oh for an old English field by an old English village with an old English pub supping an old English pint". Nay lad, just call me old.
Sadly, as the population grows and the infrastructure needed to sustain it increases we will become conjoined and engulfed withn our local metropolis. Wherever we are. Call me old fashioned but "oh for an old English field by an old English village with an old English pub supping an old English pint". Nay lad, just call me old. Binsanity
  • Score: 7

9:12pm Wed 20 Aug 14

treblegold says...

I disagree entirely with the proposition that Sutton and Croydon should have "London postcodes". I should much prefer a return to the pre-1965 administrative boundaries under which Sutton was part of Surrey administratively as well as geographically. The arguments against Epsom becoming part of London administratively apply to Sutton as well, and it is unclear what benefits Sutton has gained from being part of Greater London. I've corrected a typing error in my comment above: obviously before 1965 Sutton was part of Surrey administratively (not London).
I disagree entirely with the proposition that Sutton and Croydon should have "London postcodes". I should much prefer a return to the pre-1965 administrative boundaries under which Sutton was part of Surrey administratively as well as geographically. The arguments against Epsom becoming part of London administratively apply to Sutton as well, and it is unclear what benefits Sutton has gained from being part of Greater London. I've corrected a typing error in my comment above: obviously before 1965 Sutton was part of Surrey administratively (not London). treblegold
  • Score: -2

1:33pm Thu 21 Aug 14

LiberalsOut says...

So we would have another Conservative \ Lib Dem coalition then?
Careful waht you wish for
So we would have another Conservative \ Lib Dem coalition then? Careful waht you wish for LiberalsOut
  • Score: 2

2:14pm Thu 21 Aug 14

Niki R says...

Sutton is a London borough, however you try to dress it up. Epsom is not. A merger would be met with horror by many...
Sutton is a London borough, however you try to dress it up. Epsom is not. A merger would be met with horror by many... Niki R
  • Score: 2

2:19pm Thu 21 Aug 14

Hove Ex-Pat says...

"If" Epsom & Ewell moved to coming under the London Boroughs, & left Surrey, then it should do so as the Borough of Epsom & Ewell, & not part of any other borough. It was suggested, many years ago, that all boroughs within the M25 should be London boroughs. there was some sense in that idea, although that would mean parts of Leatherhead & all of Ashtead merging with Epsom & Ewell. However it would cost an absolute fortune to do, as usual had it been done years ago it would have been easier & cheaper. A bit like the promised Epsom by pass that was promised, but never happened.
"If" Epsom & Ewell moved to coming under the London Boroughs, & left Surrey, then it should do so as the Borough of Epsom & Ewell, & not part of any other borough. It was suggested, many years ago, that all boroughs within the M25 should be London boroughs. there was some sense in that idea, although that would mean parts of Leatherhead & all of Ashtead merging with Epsom & Ewell. However it would cost an absolute fortune to do, as usual had it been done years ago it would have been easier & cheaper. A bit like the promised Epsom by pass that was promised, but never happened. Hove Ex-Pat
  • Score: 2

2:23pm Thu 21 Aug 14

JDavid7 says...

treblegold wrote:
I disagree entirely with the proposition that Sutton and Croydon should have "London postcodes". I should much prefer a return to the pre-1965 administrative boundaries under which Sutton was part of Surrey administratively as well as geographically. The arguments against Epsom becoming part of London administratively apply to Sutton as well, and it is unclear what benefits Sutton has gained from being part of Greater London. I've corrected a typing error in my comment above: obviously before 1965 Sutton was part of Surrey administratively (not London).
I'm relatively new to Sutton - I moved here from The West Country just over a year ago to work in London. I obviously have no idea what it was like when it was part of Surrey but the only reason for the London postcode is to avoid confusion. It makes no difference to me if Sutton is part of Surrey or London but if you asked a hundred people where they thought Sutton was you would be a mixed bag of answers. I believe it is London administratively and Surrey when concerning postal matters?
[quote][p][bold]treblegold[/bold] wrote: I disagree entirely with the proposition that Sutton and Croydon should have "London postcodes". I should much prefer a return to the pre-1965 administrative boundaries under which Sutton was part of Surrey administratively as well as geographically. The arguments against Epsom becoming part of London administratively apply to Sutton as well, and it is unclear what benefits Sutton has gained from being part of Greater London. I've corrected a typing error in my comment above: obviously before 1965 Sutton was part of Surrey administratively (not London).[/p][/quote]I'm relatively new to Sutton - I moved here from The West Country just over a year ago to work in London. I obviously have no idea what it was like when it was part of Surrey but the only reason for the London postcode is to avoid confusion. It makes no difference to me if Sutton is part of Surrey or London but if you asked a hundred people where they thought Sutton was you would be a mixed bag of answers. I believe it is London administratively and Surrey when concerning postal matters? JDavid7
  • Score: 3

2:59pm Thu 21 Aug 14

Forty_two says...

This story reminds me of an odd occasion I had when visiting some friends in a pub in Ewell. A number of those present described me as a "Townie" because I came from "London", you know that place which begins less than 2 miles away.
This story reminds me of an odd occasion I had when visiting some friends in a pub in Ewell. A number of those present described me as a "Townie" because I came from "London", you know that place which begins less than 2 miles away. Forty_two
  • Score: 4

11:08pm Thu 21 Aug 14

ResidentTony says...

JDavid7 wrote:
treblegold wrote:
I disagree entirely with the proposition that Sutton and Croydon should have "London postcodes". I should much prefer a return to the pre-1965 administrative boundaries under which Sutton was part of Surrey administratively as well as geographically. The arguments against Epsom becoming part of London administratively apply to Sutton as well, and it is unclear what benefits Sutton has gained from being part of Greater London. I've corrected a typing error in my comment above: obviously before 1965 Sutton was part of Surrey administratively (not London).
I'm relatively new to Sutton - I moved here from The West Country just over a year ago to work in London. I obviously have no idea what it was like when it was part of Surrey but the only reason for the London postcode is to avoid confusion. It makes no difference to me if Sutton is part of Surrey or London but if you asked a hundred people where they thought Sutton was you would be a mixed bag of answers. I believe it is London administratively and Surrey when concerning postal matters?
So long as towns like Kingston and Sutton continue to have a foot in both London and Surrey, they should try to get the best of both worlds (and avoid getting the worst of both worlds).
[quote][p][bold]JDavid7[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]treblegold[/bold] wrote: I disagree entirely with the proposition that Sutton and Croydon should have "London postcodes". I should much prefer a return to the pre-1965 administrative boundaries under which Sutton was part of Surrey administratively as well as geographically. The arguments against Epsom becoming part of London administratively apply to Sutton as well, and it is unclear what benefits Sutton has gained from being part of Greater London. I've corrected a typing error in my comment above: obviously before 1965 Sutton was part of Surrey administratively (not London).[/p][/quote]I'm relatively new to Sutton - I moved here from The West Country just over a year ago to work in London. I obviously have no idea what it was like when it was part of Surrey but the only reason for the London postcode is to avoid confusion. It makes no difference to me if Sutton is part of Surrey or London but if you asked a hundred people where they thought Sutton was you would be a mixed bag of answers. I believe it is London administratively and Surrey when concerning postal matters?[/p][/quote]So long as towns like Kingston and Sutton continue to have a foot in both London and Surrey, they should try to get the best of both worlds (and avoid getting the worst of both worlds). ResidentTony
  • Score: 6

9:54am Fri 22 Aug 14

Knotted says...

The report ascribes Councillor Mike Teasdale as a Residents' Association Councillor. He is not. He is the sole Conservative representing the Stoneleigh Ward.
The report ascribes Councillor Mike Teasdale as a Residents' Association Councillor. He is not. He is the sole Conservative representing the Stoneleigh Ward. Knotted
  • Score: 2

9:35am Thu 28 Aug 14

mangad says...

ResidentTony wrote:
JDavid7 wrote:
treblegold wrote:
I disagree entirely with the proposition that Sutton and Croydon should have "London postcodes". I should much prefer a return to the pre-1965 administrative boundaries under which Sutton was part of Surrey administratively as well as geographically. The arguments against Epsom becoming part of London administratively apply to Sutton as well, and it is unclear what benefits Sutton has gained from being part of Greater London. I've corrected a typing error in my comment above: obviously before 1965 Sutton was part of Surrey administratively (not London).
I'm relatively new to Sutton - I moved here from The West Country just over a year ago to work in London. I obviously have no idea what it was like when it was part of Surrey but the only reason for the London postcode is to avoid confusion. It makes no difference to me if Sutton is part of Surrey or London but if you asked a hundred people where they thought Sutton was you would be a mixed bag of answers. I believe it is London administratively and Surrey when concerning postal matters?
So long as towns like Kingston and Sutton continue to have a foot in both London and Surrey, they should try to get the best of both worlds (and avoid getting the worst of both worlds).
Kingston and Sutton don't have feet in both London and Surrey. They're completely London - both administratively and ceremonialy. The only real thing going on is that the residents of both like to think they're still in Surrey. Oh and the fact that Surrey's council HQ still sits in Kingston, despite it not being part of Surrey any more.
[quote][p][bold]ResidentTony[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]JDavid7[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]treblegold[/bold] wrote: I disagree entirely with the proposition that Sutton and Croydon should have "London postcodes". I should much prefer a return to the pre-1965 administrative boundaries under which Sutton was part of Surrey administratively as well as geographically. The arguments against Epsom becoming part of London administratively apply to Sutton as well, and it is unclear what benefits Sutton has gained from being part of Greater London. I've corrected a typing error in my comment above: obviously before 1965 Sutton was part of Surrey administratively (not London).[/p][/quote]I'm relatively new to Sutton - I moved here from The West Country just over a year ago to work in London. I obviously have no idea what it was like when it was part of Surrey but the only reason for the London postcode is to avoid confusion. It makes no difference to me if Sutton is part of Surrey or London but if you asked a hundred people where they thought Sutton was you would be a mixed bag of answers. I believe it is London administratively and Surrey when concerning postal matters?[/p][/quote]So long as towns like Kingston and Sutton continue to have a foot in both London and Surrey, they should try to get the best of both worlds (and avoid getting the worst of both worlds).[/p][/quote]Kingston and Sutton don't have feet in both London and Surrey. They're completely London - both administratively and ceremonialy. The only real thing going on is that the residents of both like to think they're still in Surrey. Oh and the fact that Surrey's council HQ still sits in Kingston, despite it not being part of Surrey any more. mangad
  • Score: 1

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