CONSULTATION Q&A

During the consultation we received a number of additional questions via our question cards about High Street, Transport and Transform Leatherhead in general.

Please see our responses below:

Topic: High Street

Q. Outside the Leatherhead institute there is only 1 disabled parking bay, there should be 2. Disability parking is okay on Bridge Street. If there is more seating added to the bottom of the high street, there will be anti-social behaviour again. It used to be an awful area. Trees will die unless watered regularly.

A. The consultation options propose two disabled parking bays outside Leatherhead Institute.

Increased activity on the High Street, through introducing a wider mix of uses, including housing, seeks to mitigate the risk of anti-social behaviour.

Q. If the High Street can be reformed then why is it that the house/flat which is above a business hasn’t been repaired or even attempted?

A. Unfortunately as the properties above the High Street are within private ownership this is not something we can directly influence.

In other towns, improvements to the public realm, have over time, led to increased investment by other landowners in their properties.

Q. Why is a food van allowed to park outside boots opticians? And please, no more food outlets.

A. The Leatherhead and District Chamber of Commerce manage the street market on Thursdays and Saturdays. 

All market traders on the High Street in Leatherhead need to have the benefit of a street trading consent.

Q. Are you going to make all business premises level access? You have already missed the chance to do that in Church Street.

A. Unfortunately this is not within MVDC’s control.  Whilst the Equality Act 2010 imposes a duty to make reasonable adjustments, that could be achieved through ramps or assistance.  If there are particular premises which residents are unable to access, the business may be unaware of the barriers and may welcome a conversation.

Topic: Transport

Q. Leatherhead needs a faster commuter service to develop the town. A service to include Dorking, Ashtead, Epsom, Wimbledon, Clapham Junction and Waterloo. An evening service needs to be developed as well.

A. Southern Railway operates Leatherhead Station.  On their website, they provide a number of different options for getting in touch, from Meet the Manager, to Customer Cabinet, a Passenger Panel and the Access Advisory Panel (https://www.southernrailway.com/help-and-support/listening-to-you).  Please do contact them to pass on your views and we will also raise this with them.

Please see Southern’s Performance Improvements Plans which are available via their website. https://www.southernrailway.com/about-us/how-were-performing/performanceimprovement-plan.

You may also be interested in the forthcoming Transport for the South East public consultation which is open to all and includes a drop in event at Woking on 17th October 16.30-18.00.  More information can be found at  https://transportforthesoutheast.org.uk/

Q. Could you please provide the population estimations used for traffic and housing in the Leatherhead area?

A. The traffic model utilised 2018 traffic data and 2033 forecast traffic data, using an industry standard tool for estimating traffic growth for future years. 

The estimate of housing need is now derived from a standard methodology introduced by the Government in 2018.  That methodology uses 2014 household growth forecasts and an affordability ratio to derive local housing need.  Further details may be found in MHCLG Planning Practice Guidance.

Topic: Swan Centre

Q. Has consideration been given to covering the Swan Centre, to give an indoor market facility? Being open to rain and wind at the moment is a major disadvantage.

A. We have considered the idea of enclosing the Swan Centre very carefully.  The advice we have received is that we should not be trying to create a shopping mall as we will not be able to compete with places like Bluewater, Westfield, Guildford or Kingston.  Traditional covered shopping malls are costly to maintain and this increases the operational cost to the retailer.  The recommendation we have is to open the space up more creating more of an open streetscape to attract markets and events, creating low cost spaces for independent and local retailers.  Having said that, we appreciate the English weather, and there are some lower cost non-structural options for creating covered areas that can be explored as part of the design development.

Topic: North Leatherhead

Q. Can we have some planting on the Kingston Road opposite the Rec in North Leatherhead?

A. We would be happy to have discussions with the highway authority, Surrey County Council to look at options to make this part of the town more appealing.

Topic: Finance

Q. How much is this going to cost?

A. Overall it is estimated that it will take around £240m in investment over the course of about ten years.

The funding for this will come from a variety of sources. Our latest funds flow forecast provides more details, you can view it here >>

When the Transform Leatherhead Masterplan was approved in July 2016, a fund of £1 million was established for activities such as feasibility, viability, design and planning.  This was from MVDC’s existing revenue reserves. The revenue reserve has not been created through borrowing. 

The funding of each project is being considered on a case-by-case basis.  Private funding is likely to be raised via joint venture partnerships being entered into.  MVDC’s objective is to reduce its financial liability whilst retaining an element of control in the delivery via joint ventures with public sector developers.  Opportunities for further grant funding continue to be explored.

Topic: Vision

Q. Does the vision of Leatherhead need changing or just its reputation (I hear a lot of bad things about Leatherhead)?

A. The Masterplan identified that Leatherhead needs an offer that is unique to the town and a greater variety of uses.   This can be delivered by enhancing and building upon the historic market character and better showcasing the successful attributes such as its heritage and riverside. This will be complemented by transformational improvements to deliver a greater variety of uses and improve public realm to encourage vitality and footfall.   This will achieve Leatherhead’s vision as a modern market town where people of all ages can shop, eat, relax and have fun by the riverside.  This includes the creation of new gateway buildings like Claire House and James House, redevelopment of the Swan Centre, High Street Improvements and improved traffic, pedestrian and cyclist connections around and through Leatherhead.

Topic: Bull Hill

Q. What is the intended housing mix at the proposed development in the Urban Quarter? Is a retirement area an option?

A. Currently we are considering a mix of uses that includes: community space, open space, employment, housing, multi-storey car park, footpaths & cycle paths.

There will be a full consultation as we progress.