The following is an open letter to John O’Reilly, leader of the ruling Tory group ion Elmbridge Council by Trevor Sherwood, a former councillor and long-standing Conservative after the recent public exhibition of the council’s plans for Waterside Drive.
Your presentation on Wednesday was very good as a show, however the content was flawed on many points which most people realised. We are very disappointed that you won the vote to spend the £65K of ratepayers funds, as it is money down the drain and a very high risk gamble, as it is not expected that you will win the hearing and also your plan is to build on Green Belt Land, where it is unlikely that you will get consent. Some of the flaws in your and fellow Conservative arguments are: 1) You say that you have no plans to sell the Stompond Lane site for development, but this can’t be correct as where else would you get the stated £6.5m to develop the Waterside Drive site. 2) The current maintenance costs for Stompond Lane is £70K pa so your figure of £250K pa is far too high and not realistic. I have spoken to nobody that believes this figure which your whole argument was based upon. 3) It has been stated that it is the Football Club’s long term plan to develop the whole 7.5 acres but this is not possible as the land is owned by EBC and not the Club. 4) The Club have offered £1.7m “OR MARKET VALUE” for the strip of land to build the 10 houses along Stompond Lane, so they are not asking for it to be donated or pick it up at a bargain price, as has been stated. The Club is reasonably near the centre of Walton and want to remain there near the heart of the community. I understand that their plan is to make a little money from the 10 houses in order to build a new stadium, a children’s nursery, a gym and a modern clinic with medical theatre on site. This would generate additional revenue streams for the Club to grow and prosper and be a great service to the residents of Walton. Also they may be prepared to take on some of the maintenance responsibility which again makes your figures totally unrealistic. I believe that negotiations have been going on since before the lease expired in 2004, so the matter should have been resolved years ago. EBC has allowed the site to become rather run down over this period and it seems to me the Club are wishing to bring it up to a high standard and to its previous glory. As a long standing Conservative voter I am disappointed that it is mainly the Conservative Councillors who seem to be fighting both the Club and the wishes of Walton Residents.
Kind Regards, Trevor Sherwood