Former Government Office/Toby Jug Site Hook Rise, Tolworth

In 2019 this site was purchased by the Guiness Partnership. They began building the 211 housing units in November 2020 . You can read their newsletter here:-

16/10482  Former Government Office/Toby Jug Site Hook Rise, Tolworth owned by Meyer Homes

Our residents association attended the Development Control Committee meeting on the 11th of July.  We shared our five minutes speaking time  with three other objectors (5 minutes for all objectors is all that is allowed under planning rules and if there is more than one objector then the five minutes  have to be shared!  However, we also sent in a written objection.  We objected for many reasons which included:-  high levels of noise and vehicle generated air pollution which are some of the highest in the borough.  High density, if 705 homes was considered to be too dense then logically 950 homes must be even denser.  Our residents’ association also argued that the size of the area which RBK and the developer have used to calculate the density was overstated.  They claim that the building site  is 4.4 hectares. However, they have included some areas which either do not belong to them or are for road travel and not building on.  We believe it should be 3.9 hectares.  However, the RBK planning officers were not prepared to discuss this.

Despite the many objections all Councillors on the DCC, with one exception, approved the application for 211 homes and provisional planning permission for the remaining 739.This means that errors picked up from the 211 can hopefully be corrected on the next batch.

We were very disappointed that the Liberal Councillors who had campaigned with us against the planning applications on this site for many years and yet after only three months in administration, turned coat, and voted for it.  We were also disappointed that the two Conservatives, including Kevin Davis, who had always said that the infrastructure should come before building also voted for it.

There will only be 368 car parking spaces for the 950 housing units.  The small number is all that Transport for London (TfL) will allow as they want to keep the additional number of cars to a minimum. Because people who live here are expected to travel by public transport or bicycle!  There will be about 1,500 bicycle racks so no problem!

We believe that the carrot that enticed the DCC to approve this application was the 30% affordable homes.  This is when the developer offers 20% discount off of the commercial rate of the property.  30% is less than the 35% stipulated by RBK but more than they usually get.  There will also be £5m to help TfL improve the Tolworth roundabout.  £2.5m from Meyer Homes and £2.5m from Lidl.  However, TfL told us  that even after the new  work has been completed although we will not be any worse  off than we are now we will not be any better. This does not exactly fill us with confidence as the roundabout is already very congested.  Councillor Bamford also claims that they voted for the application because the secretary of state’s inspector suggested the site could hold more homes. We do not accept this because they did not say how many more and a further 205 homes on an already dense site is rather too many.

Following on from the DCC’s agreement to the application, it was necessary for Sadiq Khan the Mayor of London to agree the application.

Our residents association and many, many residents were very disappointed with the DCC’s decision.  Therefore, CDRA decided to write to the Mayor of London to ask him to call in the application. We submitted the many legitimate objections that we had.  We received a reply from GLA planning department:-

‘Your comments will be presented to, and considered by, the Mayor at Stage 2 when he makes his final decision on this case. The case will be referred to ourselves following resolution of matters for the proposed S106 legal agreement, including affordable housing and highways’

Unfortunately we later received a letter from the Mayor advising that he was not intending to ‘call in’ the application which means Meyer Bergman are free to go ahead with this appalling development.

Well at least we tried.