Major housing opportunity missed at Whiteley Village in Elmbridge as permission rejected for sheltered housing for older people
Walton on Thames 27th September 2018 Whiteley Homes Trust is hugely disappointed that its application to build additional extra-care homes for up to 120 pensioners of limited financial means has been rejected by an independent inspector, appointed by the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government.
The Trust is the provider of over 90% of the enhanced sheltered housing and extra-care for older people in Elmbridge* and has over 100 people currently on its waiting list, making the proposed development a vital expansion on its current support to over 500 residents living on the Trust’s 225-acre site.
This rejection at Appeal came after Elmbridge Council’s officers, with whom the Trust had been working to devise a suitable scheme for over 2 years, had recommended the scheme for approval. Had planning consent been granted the Trust would have created vital income to build the 60 additional charitable almshouses designed for dual occupancy for the borough’s poorest pensioners, through the construction and sale of 40 private leasehold extra-care apartments.
In his report, the Independent Inspector cited the exemplary work of Whiteley Homes Trust and the growing lack of suitable housing locally: “There is a clear local need in Elmbridge for all forms of elderly persons’ accommodation, and indeed this need is both urgent and growing. It is important in the public interest that solutions are found, and the needs of older people met. The two linked developments now proposed would help to meet a significant proportion of this need. Moreover, they would do so in a way that would address both ends of the market, and with a generous 60:40 split in favour of the affordable sector. They would also cater for a very wide range of individual needs, in terms of physical ability, dependency and personal care requirements. In addition, the new accommodation would be provided and managed by a charitable organisation with an exemplary record in their field, who clearly have a willingness to innovate, and a desire to achieve the highest standards. These considerations weigh heavily in favour of the appeal.”
The inspector concluded, however, that these merits were not sufficiently special to outweigh the impact on green belt, and were not “limited” infill, the appeal was dismissed on that basis.
Chandra McGowan, Chief Executive Whiteley Homes Trust, comments: “Not only is this a tragedy, given the lack of affordable housing across the country, it is also a lost opportunity for joined-up care and support for older people, something which both Surrey County Council Adult Services and the local NHS are grappling to fund. For example, in January this year the estimated saving target for Surrey County Council was £100 m.
“Whiteley Homes Trust’s proven ability to provide support in this type of community setting is hugely beneficial to individuals, incredibly efficient in terms of public resources, and has a proven impact on longevity**. We already have existing infrastructure in terms of facilities, staffing and expertise, and the land to use for more quality accommodation- an asset we are being prevented from using to maximum benefit for public good. In a time of increasing austerity in the provision of state support this makes the judgment even more onerous on local taxpayers.
“We had previously identified with Elmbridge which parts of the estate we could use for infill, but this seems to have had little bearing on the final decision and adds to the inconsistencies in decision, despite our fundamental objectives being the same. I will be discussing this with Rob Moran Chief Executive of Elmbridge Borough Council. Interestingly, we were given permission last year to develop a new care hub and convert an old nursing home to extra-care facailites, both being within our grounds and therefore in the green belt. The building of these fabulous new facilities is underway and will provide hugely beneficial services when they open next Spring, to the village and also more widely across the Elmbridge community. The innovative solutions in the recently rejected planning application were aimed at assisting our ageing population and could have increased support for more, older people of limited means. The decision is even more incoherent and inexplicable given the perilous state of housing, care and support for people who are reliant on state benefits and for a council that is struggling to find solutions to meet the needs of older people.”
The state- of- the- art new Care hub which is under construction (completion Spring 2019) will enable work in partnership with 3rd parties including Surrey University and others to explore and develop technological innovations to support and enhance the lives of residents. The Trust plans to share its learnings through the Whiteley Foundation for Ageing Well for the greater good of society.
With support from a number of sponsors, in 2017 the Trust launched the Whiteley Foundation for Ageing Well with the aim of sharing its knowledge of older people and to learn from others about what it means to live well in later life in the modern world. The Foundation is taking the lead in engaging with others who share its ambition that a long life should also be a good life.
The properties proposed in this appeal would have provided an opportunity to test the best ideas in a real-life environment designed to be ‘future-proofed’, and to compare the results with retro-fitting technology to older properties. The Trust has had initial discussions with the Prince’s Foundation for Building Community and the Almshouse Association with a view to a joint publication of lessons we learn in building Almshouses of the Future.
Elmbridge is one of the most expensive boroughs in the UK with average house prices (Zoopla September 2018) in Weybridge of £899,375, Walton £624,746 and in Esher reaching £1,060,106.
* Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA) for Kingston North East Surrey 2016
** Longevity Boost at Whiteley Village – in February 2017, Cass Business School published research showing that people – especially women – living at Whiteley Village enjoy up to 5 extra years of life than the general population.
Media contacts: Anne Kavanagh, Whiteley Homes Trust T: 07966 447 024 firstname.lastname@example.org
You can view/download the October issue of the Villager magazine HERE.
The Villager Magazine – October 2018
Thinking about future issues of the magazine I wondered just how many interesting stories and anecdotes there are in the Village. For example, at another retirement scheme, I came across two residents. One had been a RAF pilot in the war and the other flew for the South African air force. It turned out that both had been imprisoned in the same Prisoner of War camp. What were the odds that years later they would end up living in the same retirement scheme? In the same place was a retired professional dancer who called her prosthetic leg “Matilda” (as in the song, “ I’ll go no more a-waltzing, Matilda, with you.”). Yet another lady told me of the time she was a sixteen-year old schoolgirl when war was declared in 1939, and she was left stranded in Paris with a few francs in her pocket. How she got home to England, dodging both the ticket inspectors and the unwanted attentions of young soldiers could be written up as a play.
I get to hear some fascinating stories and I am often left saddened that they will never be told again. There are lots of amazing and amusing stories out there and I’ll bet you have one or two. Why not share your stories with us? If this is something you’d like to do you could write to or email the editors or give us a call and one of us could write it up for you. Please be assured
you would have the final say before ever it was published.
Email: email@example.com or if you wish to discuss in person please contact Sue Kirby, Rachael Milling, Mary Chapman, Max Cordell, Len Curtis or Helen Johnstone.
Max Cordell – Village Magazine Committee
You can view/download the September issue of the Villager magazine HERE.
The Villager Magazine – September 2018
Highs and Lows
As some of you may know, my eldest daughter is leaving home this week. It’s a bitter sweet time, as I know she is setting out on her own path for the future, but I shall miss her. Most of us have coped with change and loss in our lives, both very human experiences, and the kind of everyday events that can bring people together. It’s often an opportunity to share an experience and get to know someone just a little better. It’s also a time when you can provide support simply by knowing just how they feel.
I enjoyed Paula, Colleen’s and Daryl’s articles this month because they talk about how tolerance, thankfulness and feeling safe and secure, enable us to live life in full colour – even when things around us change and at times life is hard. What never changes is the roller coaster of life that keeps serving up unexpected highs and lows.
So, our wonderful opportunity at Whiteley is to recognise when people around us need a hug and to be around to celebrate the good times with them too.
Chandra McGowan – CEO
General Office – Relocation
Please note that the General Office is no longer based in the Administration Building but has been relocated to Reception in Whiteley House (opposite St Mark’s Church on North Avenue)
- The doors to Whiteley House close at 5pm.
- Guest House: Anyone wishing to make booking payments or to collect/drop off keys, should do this at the Clubhouse during normal opening hours (see Village Magazine for details).
- General Office email box: This will be monitored regularly – please refer to the Village Magazine for all key contact numbers.
Should you have any queries regarding this change please do contact the team on Whiteley House Reception (From 9am—5pm): 01932 842360.
You can view/download the August issue of the Villager magazine HERE.
The Villager Magazine – August 2018
Having read reports that this summer so far has been beaten some of the records of the summer of 1976, it is no wonder our usually very green grounds are looking rather sandy looking! But hey, the upside is we have had day after day of blue sky and sunshine!
All this lovely weather has coincided with great national sporting events such as The World Cup and Wimbledon, and as always Villagers have played their sporting part with all the club
tournaments happening during the summer months.
At the time of writing the Village Fayre is days away and there is a hub of activity in the Village. Working in events myself, I know how much work goes into making these events successful, there are many months of preparation and leading up to an event there are many hours of hard work put in. Well done to you all, for all your efforts.
This month we have The Annual Flower show to look forward and I am sure you are all busy growing your produce/plants, baking, creating and crafting away, good luck!
As we move into September there are more events to look forward to, look out for details of the WW1 Celebration Tea Party and the Dog Show in this edition.
Well that’s all from me for now, other than to say hope you enjoy the rest of this lovely summer!
Natalie Brotherton – Editorial Team
You can view/download the July issue of the Villager magazine HERE.
The Villager Magazine – July 2018
Summer is finally here and the weather is being kind to us. Looking back at June we had a sterling day at the Whiteley Village Races with a record number of runners this year. Many people have said how nice it was to see the village so busy on such a lovely day. My hat goes
off to all the volunteers and staff that supported the day so well, as without them the day would not be the success that it was. It makes me very proud to be part of a team of people that work
so hard for the benefit of our beautiful village and its residents.
Some of us also had the great honour of representing the Trust at two events held at Buckingham Palace for the charities HRH The Prince of Wales is patron of, such as the Whiteley Homes Trust, as part of his 70th birthday celebrations (some photos are featured later in this edition).
In June we also saw the start of the new Café Church which was well attended and a great time for some reflection and friendship with a bit of learning too. This month is set to be a busy one with the ever popular Village Fayre and Flower Festival on the weekend of 21st and 22nd
July. I know just how many months of hard work goes into organising these events and I am sure it will all pay off with something for everyone to enjoy and hopefully some great weather too!
I was delighted to be asked to write this editorial and when the magazine committee approached me they didn’t realise just how timely their request would be – for as you will all know by now, I am moving on. My time at Whiteley has been interesting, challenging and
inspiring but after three years working at Whiteley I have been offered the chance to work on the Isle of Wight for the local authority there. I have always split my time between the village and the island and this is the perfect opportunity for me to move to the island full time. By the time you read this I will be on my summer holiday in Israel but I will be returning on 9th July and will be working until the end of the month, so will hopefully have the opportunity to say goodbye personally to as many of you as possible before I leave. My thanks and very best wishes to each and every one of you.
You can view/download the June issue of the Villager magazine HERE.
The Villager Magazine – June 2018
Events and activities are what make Whiteley Village special and there is plenty of both on offer here at Whiteley. The wet weather of winter and spring delayed the opening of the outdoor activities at Whiteley Village but now they are in full swing – Putting, Bowls and Golf are all available. There are plenty of indoor activities too; if you are interested just contact the club secretaries listed at the back of this magazine.
In June we host the Whiteley Village Races (10th June, 8 am to 12.30 pm). At the time of writing we already have twice as many entrants as we had this time last year. Laura Cole, Volunteer Coordinator, is looking for villagers to help with the bag drop, the car park and for race marshalling. Please get in touch with her if you can help.
It’s not too early to start thinking about the main event of the year, either. The Whiteley Village Fayre (21st July) is a great day out for all the family and major fundraiser for the Village. Money from the Fayre goes towards the Welfare Fund, Huntley House, The Library and the Care
Homes and it is this money that enables the clubs and societies to function. So please give your support to the Village Fayre in whatever way you can, however small. Please tell your friends and family, consider buying raffle tickets (available from your section reps) or perhaps you
can help in some way on the day?
We hope you enjoy this edition of The Villager Magazine.
You can view/download the May issue of the Villager magazine HERE.
The Villager Magazine – May 2018
As always at this time of the year the Village is looking superb, with the trees blossoming cheerfully despite the horrible weather. April was a definite wash-out, but hopefully things will
improve now May is here. The allotments are beginning to show signs of growth, with hopeful gardeners looking forward to putting their biggest and best produce into the Flower Show on the 11th August. Preparations have begun for the Village Fayre on 21st July, and excitement is building. The Library stall is amassing books and jig-saws, so I for one will be replenishing my bookshelves. There will be lots of other opportunities for spending money and having a jolly time!
As so often, I have been reflecting on the good fortune which led us to find Whiteley Village when we were facing an uncertain future in the Lake District. It rains more than we expected, but so far we haven’t been flooded as we might well have been in Hawkshead. I suppose living in a first floor flat helps… Coming as we did from a village which was being killed off by holiday and second homes, to this thriving community has been lovely. Thanks go to William Whiteley
and his heirs!
Rachael Milling – Village Magazine Committee
You can view/download the April issue of the Villager magazine HERE.
The Villager Magazine – April 2018
Well its been a year since I started working at Whiteley and I have witnessed all the changing seasons. I have to say by far my favourite is Spring, the Village looks at its best, with the blossom on the almond and cherry trees, and the bulbs flowering. Walking around the Village in the sunshine really highlights the efforts made both past and present to make this a beautiful place to live and age well.
I have enjoyed my first year working in the Events and Marketing Team. My particular focus has been on co-ordinating content for the Villager Magazine, alongside the Villager Magazine committee, who have been great to work with. Working on the magazine has given me the opportunity to meet with lots of Villagers, hearing their stories and taking photos. One thing I have learnt… is that no one likes their photo being taken, and I am fully with them!
Spring has brought two successful events, firstly the Murder Mystery Evening for MacMillan, what a fun night was had by both Villagers, Staff and Trustees. Next was the Easter Farm Festival which proved to be a great success. Thank you to all those who helped support these events. Moving forward we have more events to look forward to, the first of which is St George’s Night, followed by Whiteley Races & Village Fayre Day. Hope to see you all there.
You can view/download the March issue of the Villager magazine HERE.
The Villager Magazine – March 2018
Some of you may have noticed that I wasn’t around in the Village during January, and I understand there were quite a few “stories” about the reason for my absence. I thought I would therefore take the opportunity to tell you myself that I was taking some planned “time-out” in order to get a different perspective on our strategy for the future. This was something the board thought would be extremely useful and fully supported.
It was a fabulous opportunity for me to revisit the things we have achieved in the last 4 years; to reflect on what we might have done differently, and to look forward. Each day was different and
usually filled with people, places and even poems that I love. But also, some silence and contemplation alongside my ever- companionable cat. Every activity inspired me to look more creatively at this current moment in time for Whiteley and to ask myself some new questions about the future.
What is clear is that the next phase of the Whiteley story is beginning and that this is a big responsibility for all of us. Agreeing a common set of values that will help us live in harmony with neighbours whilst also learning to welcome differences, will be fundamental to how the story of the village unfolds.
P.S – I have a little box of treasures from my time away, if anyone is interested to come and see some of the things I discovered, please let me know and I would be more than happy to chat about them over a cuppa.
In the meantime here are 3 questions you could help me with –
• How does it feel if you don’t have a part to play in this community ?
• What would need to happen for Whiteley Village to be known as a welcoming community ?
• What are the things that bind us together as a community?
You can view/download the February issue of the Villager magazine HERE.
The Villager Magazine – February 2018
February, and here we are with spring not far away.
We do look forward to receiving input for the magazine from the Villagers. Recipes, poems and snippets of interesting information are all welcome. Look out in next months’ magazine for details of a short story competition which the Villager Magazine Committee would like to run. We hear of the such interesting lives many of you and/or your families have led, so we thought it would be good to gather these stories to share with the rest of the village.
Wishing you all a happy February and lots of Valentine cards!
The Villager Magazine Committee
Whiteley Village awarded a Make a Difference Award from Surrey Choices.
Surrey Choices held their Award Ceremony at Denbies Wine Estate on Tuesday 16th January for customers & employers that have gone that extra mile and deserved to be celebrated.
Whiteley Village was nominated and won an award for all our help securing and facilitating last years’ group placements with Brooklands College Students and as a result members of the Facilities & Estates Team proudly accepted this award for Whiteley Village.
From May to July last year students from Brooklands College were offered a block of six weeks work experience at Whiteley Village. Approximately 20 students came to the village for 4 hours each day, 2 days a week to help with gardening activities including helping with planting, edging pathways, cutting back hedges and tidying villager gardens as well as some administration work and village surveys (counting lamp posts and marking bench locations). They were supervised by 2 tutors as well as staff from our estates department including Nik Reynolds, Stuart Cameron and Michael Whitfield.
If you would like more information or would like to discuss similar opportunities please contact our Volunteering Department on 01931 825487