Councillors reject plans for care home on playing fields in Ewell

The playing fields in Old Schools Lane, Ewell

The playing fields in Old Schools Lane, Ewell

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Controversial plans for a care home to be built on playing fields in Ewell were rejected by a narrow majority of councillors last night.

Charity Nonsuch Abbeyfield was refused planning permission for sheltered housing, with 60 flats and round-the-clock care, in Old Schools Lane.

At Epsom Town Hall, six councillors voted to reject the application, four councillors voted in favour and two councillors abstained.

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Council officers had recommended refusal because the development would lead to a loss of open space and harm the conservation area.

But they did acknowledge the need for elderly accommodation and highlighted the charity's plan to improve the remaining pitches.

Maurice Pagella, a trustee at Nonsuch Abbeyfield, said they were disappointed by the decision, but said: "The project is certainly not dead."

Mr Pagella said: "There was a lot of debate and quite a lot of confusion and some of the councillors were somewhat concerned they had not got all they advice they should have done from officers."

Ewell councillor Michael Arthur, who spoke in opposition to the plans, said: "It was a long debate and very crowded with people. It was a very, very finely balanced thing."

Coun Arthur said the "rural quality" of that part of the conservation area and its green open spaces need to be preserved.

He said: "Building on there with a big, bland building - in my opinion - was not a fitting feature in Ewell Village."

Campaigners had formed Old Schools Lane Playing Fields User Group and collected more than 1,500 signatures in a bid to block the development.

Andrew Tibble, chairman of the group, said: "It’s a victory for planning policy and the environment.

"It won’t be a complete victory from our perspective until we can encourage the owner to promote its continued use as a sports field. That’s our next battle."

As part of the project Nonsuch Abbeyfield planned to acquire the 12-acre site from a Catholic educational charity, the Salesians.

In light of the planning application, Mr Tibble said the Salesians stopped the use of the playing fields at the end of last month.

Of the meeting, he said: "There was a lot of strong feeling on both sides. It was always going to be a fine line.

"I’m pleased the open space is being protected. The full satisfaction will be if it can still be used by the community as playing fields."

We want to house those who need care and to offer them something better than the isolation and loneliness that they often face living alone. 

Last night at the meeting Mr Pagella told councillors: "We want to house those who need care and to offer them something better than the isolation and loneliness that they often face living alone. 

"They are not vocal – but they are growing in number – and we think they need your support.

"Is Epsom and Ewell a caring community which looks after its members when they are vulnerable?  Or is it a town which allows its older people needing care to remain shut away in isolation, out of sight?

"We believe they deserve to be at the heart of our community. Better ways of supporting them should be embraced, not rejected."

What is your reaction to the decision?

Please leave a comment below or email alice.foster@london.newsquest.co.uk

Comments (8)

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2:54pm Fri 5 Sep 14

EwellMan says...

Good News. Well done to Ewell councillor Michael Arthur who took a stand to save out green spaces. The other 4 councillors should be named and shamed as obviously dont live in the area or dont give a monkeys what Epsom and Ewell is turning into.

I agree we need places like this but there is plenty of availble offices or brown field locations that could be purchased for this use.

and as for Mr Pagella comment "Is Epsom and Ewell a caring community". Get a grip your a digrace trying to make people feel bad for not wanting their green spaces filled up with buildings. Comments like that are really low of the low and something you would expect from a scumbag developer and not someone in your position.

Without green spaces and pitches for our children and adults to exercise and enjoy i think we will have more places to house people that dont socialise with others, have mental and obesity issues.
Good News. Well done to Ewell councillor Michael Arthur who took a stand to save out green spaces. The other 4 councillors should be named and shamed as obviously dont live in the area or dont give a monkeys what Epsom and Ewell is turning into. I agree we need places like this but there is plenty of availble offices or brown field locations that could be purchased for this use. and as for Mr Pagella comment "Is Epsom and Ewell a caring community". Get a grip your a digrace trying to make people feel bad for not wanting their green spaces filled up with buildings. Comments like that are really low of the low and something you would expect from a scumbag developer and not someone in your position. Without green spaces and pitches for our children and adults to exercise and enjoy i think we will have more places to house people that dont socialise with others, have mental and obesity issues. EwellMan
  • Score: 7

11:07pm Fri 5 Sep 14

I am not Madonna says...

Ewell will lose so much green space if the planning committee allow everything to be accepted. There has got to be a line drawn, or we will become a concrete jungle. The proposal for 4 houses to be built in the back garden of 93 Chessington Road is a typical example of how inch by inch, the area is at great risk of being built on. This plan proposes to remove part of the safety barrier at Bakers Field exit which has just been put in . This will endanger chidren, cyclists and pedestrians as well as cause no end of problems with road traffic. You can make your voice heard by going onto Epsom & Ewell Council website. Application ref: 14/00670/OUT http://eplanning.eps
om-ewell.gov.uk/onli
ne-applications/
Ewell will lose so much green space if the planning committee allow everything to be accepted. There has got to be a line drawn, or we will become a concrete jungle. The proposal for 4 houses to be built in the back garden of 93 Chessington Road is a typical example of how inch by inch, the area is at great risk of being built on. This plan proposes to remove part of the safety barrier at Bakers Field exit which has just been put in . This will endanger chidren, cyclists and pedestrians as well as cause no end of problems with road traffic. You can make your voice heard by going onto Epsom & Ewell Council website. Application ref: 14/00670/OUT http://eplanning.eps om-ewell.gov.uk/onli ne-applications/ I am not Madonna
  • Score: 2

9:03am Sat 6 Sep 14

labyrinth says...

Meanwhile, there is more 'low of the low' style special pleading going on, with reference to Epsom & Ewell's next big decision, to be taken at October's meeting. Will the council give heed to the massive local objections to the plans by Nonsuch School, to have built a huge 'Sports Hub' designed to be a 'centre for excellence in football' and to host wide-ranging sports tournaments - with a vast plastic dome erected, dominating the quiet, peaceful Warren Farm?
Or will they give in to the 'low of the low' pleading by those in favour of it, this time invoking 'the disabled' as in, 'this will be great for the disabled's participation in Sports?' - there being no evidence at all that this 'Sports Hub' will be in any way especially accessible or helpful for anyone with special needs of any kind?
The reality is that the school already has superb sports facilities - take a look at their website - including a David LLoyd centre with a pool which Olympians would cherish - and this development is a commercial enterprise which will import masses of traffic into an already crammed area - and will be open until after 10 pm at night. This is another encroachment on our green spaces, and one which the council should definitely reject.
Meanwhile, there is more 'low of the low' style special pleading going on, with reference to Epsom & Ewell's next big decision, to be taken at October's meeting. Will the council give heed to the massive local objections to the plans by Nonsuch School, to have built a huge 'Sports Hub' designed to be a 'centre for excellence in football' and to host wide-ranging sports tournaments - with a vast plastic dome erected, dominating the quiet, peaceful Warren Farm? Or will they give in to the 'low of the low' pleading by those in favour of it, this time invoking 'the disabled' as in, 'this will be great for the disabled's participation in Sports?' - there being no evidence at all that this 'Sports Hub' will be in any way especially accessible or helpful for anyone with special needs of any kind? The reality is that the school already has superb sports facilities - take a look at their website - including a David LLoyd centre with a pool which Olympians would cherish - and this development is a commercial enterprise which will import masses of traffic into an already crammed area - and will be open until after 10 pm at night. This is another encroachment on our green spaces, and one which the council should definitely reject. labyrinth
  • Score: 0

2:10pm Tue 9 Sep 14

RR49RR says...

How can Councillors be so short sighted? How can you possibly reject a proposal for much needed senior care facilities and the provision of first class sporting facilities available to the local community and schools on what is currently private and mostly locked up grounds that is remote and largely anonamous AND AT NO COST TO LOCAL RATE PAYERS ??? Also think about the employment opportunities locally etc. RR.
How can Councillors be so short sighted? How can you possibly reject a proposal for much needed senior care facilities and the provision of first class sporting facilities available to the local community and schools on what is currently private and mostly locked up grounds that is remote and largely anonamous AND AT NO COST TO LOCAL RATE PAYERS ??? Also think about the employment opportunities locally etc. RR. RR49RR
  • Score: -1

10:36pm Tue 9 Sep 14

EwellMan says...

RR49RR wrote:
How can Councillors be so short sighted? How can you possibly reject a proposal for much needed senior care facilities and the provision of first class sporting facilities available to the local community and schools on what is currently private and mostly locked up grounds that is remote and largely anonamous AND AT NO COST TO LOCAL RATE PAYERS ??? Also think about the employment opportunities locally etc. RR.
Seriously? Are you Mr Pagella in disguise?Are you for real?

What is short sighted about saving this vast green space from being half concreted over in this densly populated and congested part of Epsom and Ewell. Something that is used by locals, outsider teams and schools,

The Grounds are locked when not in use yes, the same could be said for many sporting facilities throughout the whole country.

I dont think on the edge of Ewell village as being remote - remote to where? Scotlane? Of course it is.
Largely anonymous - of course ewell and these facilities are anonymous to people outside the area like other areas failities are likely to be anonymous to residetns in Ewell, this are not anonymous to people living in the Ewell and the families for decades who have used them during the week and weekends.

Lets get a few fact straight here, sheltered housing is a necessity but does not come "At no cost to the local rate payer", this may not have been paid for by my council tax but sure would be paid for from my income tax or national insurance.

Lastly, employment opportunities for locally? May be advertised locally but i can assure you 75% plus of these jobs would of gone to ousiders, more than likely from Eastern Europe. Anyway why is this a done deal? There are loads of sites across Epsom and Ewell or even Surrey that could be built as Sheltered housing, Abbeyfield should be working with the council to find such a site rather than trying to pick sites like this that are precious to locals and just annoy them .
[quote][p][bold]RR49RR[/bold] wrote: How can Councillors be so short sighted? How can you possibly reject a proposal for much needed senior care facilities and the provision of first class sporting facilities available to the local community and schools on what is currently private and mostly locked up grounds that is remote and largely anonamous AND AT NO COST TO LOCAL RATE PAYERS ??? Also think about the employment opportunities locally etc. RR.[/p][/quote]Seriously? Are you Mr Pagella in disguise?Are you for real? What is short sighted about saving this vast green space from being half concreted over in this densly populated and congested part of Epsom and Ewell. Something that is used by locals, outsider teams and schools, The Grounds are locked when not in use yes, the same could be said for many sporting facilities throughout the whole country. I dont think on the edge of Ewell village as being remote - remote to where? Scotlane? Of course it is. Largely anonymous - of course ewell and these facilities are anonymous to people outside the area like other areas failities are likely to be anonymous to residetns in Ewell, this are not anonymous to people living in the Ewell and the families for decades who have used them during the week and weekends. Lets get a few fact straight here, sheltered housing is a necessity but does not come "At no cost to the local rate payer", this may not have been paid for by my council tax but sure would be paid for from my income tax or national insurance. Lastly, employment opportunities for locally? May be advertised locally but i can assure you 75% plus of these jobs would of gone to ousiders, more than likely from Eastern Europe. Anyway why is this a done deal? There are loads of sites across Epsom and Ewell or even Surrey that could be built as Sheltered housing, Abbeyfield should be working with the council to find such a site rather than trying to pick sites like this that are precious to locals and just annoy them . EwellMan
  • Score: 2

12:05pm Wed 10 Sep 14

JJJJ12345 says...

This is a poor decision.

The development would have secured sport in perpetuity on the site and provided much needed housing. Instead this decision has guaranteed that the gates to the site will now be permanently shut - basically a space that no-one can see and no-one can use

The enhanced sporting facilities (including improved drainage and quality of pitches) are essential to providing a lasting legacy for sport in the community for the ever increasing number of youngsters taking up sport through to veteran teams.
This is a poor decision. The development would have secured sport in perpetuity on the site and provided much needed housing. Instead this decision has guaranteed that the gates to the site will now be permanently shut - basically a space that no-one can see and no-one can use The enhanced sporting facilities (including improved drainage and quality of pitches) are essential to providing a lasting legacy for sport in the community for the ever increasing number of youngsters taking up sport through to veteran teams. JJJJ12345
  • Score: 0

12:47pm Wed 10 Sep 14

I am not Madonna says...

We need to retain green space....used or unused. Can't green open space not be kept just as it is, used or not used. It's not like we are living in extreme desperation. This is a 'first world' issue. It's not like its a tragedy, we live in an area of amazing facilities and recreation. Why should every single square inch of land be seen as a potential building space. It's completely ridiculous to think that way. It's mostly about money - not people or environment when you peel back the layers. The Committee did the right thing in this case. If we ever became a London Borough, prepare for a concrete jungle. Green space is underestimated until it's gone. Let's not think of it as a waste - seriously - green space used or unused is NOT a waste of space. Think about it. If the whole country was built on where there was any spare green space , we would be in a very sad state. We live in the suburbs, green, rural, low rise (ish)...who want's to keep it that way ?
We need to retain green space....used or unused. Can't green open space not be kept just as it is, used or not used. It's not like we are living in extreme desperation. This is a 'first world' issue. It's not like its a tragedy, we live in an area of amazing facilities and recreation. Why should every single square inch of land be seen as a potential building space. It's completely ridiculous to think that way. It's mostly about money - not people or environment when you peel back the layers. The Committee did the right thing in this case. If we ever became a London Borough, prepare for a concrete jungle. Green space is underestimated until it's gone. Let's not think of it as a waste - seriously - green space used or unused is NOT a waste of space. Think about it. If the whole country was built on where there was any spare green space , we would be in a very sad state. We live in the suburbs, green, rural, low rise (ish)...who want's to keep it that way ? I am not Madonna
  • Score: 0

12:54pm Wed 10 Sep 14

Tesla66 says...

Ewell Man

Face facts - we need care homes as the poulation ages. And what's the big deal about green spaces? There's plenty of greenery in Ewell without this patch of barely used land being quarantined from use by anything other than ramblers.

And what's with the anti Eastern European stance? Aren't we all supposed to be one Europe?

You need to calm down a bit.
Ewell Man Face facts - we need care homes as the poulation ages. And what's the big deal about green spaces? There's plenty of greenery in Ewell without this patch of barely used land being quarantined from use by anything other than ramblers. And what's with the anti Eastern European stance? Aren't we all supposed to be one Europe? You need to calm down a bit. Tesla66
  • Score: -1

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