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Epsom Station Plans Go Ahead

April 24, 2010 9:02 AM
Jonathan Lees & Colin Taylor outside Epsom Station with a Taxi Operator

Jonathan Lees (right) and Cllr Colin Taylor (centre) talking to taxi drivers at Epsom station

After considerable debate the planning committee has passed the latest proposals from Solum. An existing planning permission could have gone ahead if the latest application had been refused.

Both plans were generally the same height, slightly lower than Hudson House.

The new plan has some benefits including - a station booking area that is twice the size of the existing one, urgently needed affordable housing, excellent cycling storage and cycle routes. There is also improved disabled access and decent toilets. The plan includes a hotel and 3 retail units and covered seating whilst waiting for buses and taxis. Councillors were assured that if the hotel failed as a business the vacated area could easily be adapted.

The main objections and concerns were about the removal of the existing taxi rank, which means taxis and buses will be parking on the main highway. Surrey County Council used their traffic modelling system and evidence from CCTV footage to demonstrate what they expect to happen. It was clear that there would be some increase in delay at peak periods but the traffic light control system should be able to manage the flows. There will be parking for more taxis with an additional rank near the 'teardrop' turn. The entrance to this area will be designed to ensure that taxis do not need to drive round the one-way system to reach it.

The planning committee also discussed the design, landscaping and residential amenity (including noise pollution). Councillor Kelly requested some amendments to the planning conditions to reduce the inconvenience to residents of the new development and the existing flats at Hudson House and Central Walk. These included stricter control on delivery times which could otherwise have occurred before 7am, careful consideration of refuse collection and the provision of ample litter bins for the passing public. Assurance was also given that Network Rail would not be allowed to add any masts or aerials to the top of the new building.

After the discussion Councillor Kelly, seconded by Councillor Carlson, proposed a refusal, with particular reference to traffic, security, developer contributions and design. The advice from council officers in the planning and legal departments was that the developer would secure a win if an Appeal was lodged and the council would likely incur costs. The plans were subsequently passed by a small majority.

University for the Creative Arts will be asked to design the artworks to be incorporated into the station area.