Thank you for taking the time to visit our consultation website. Across the next few pages, we explain our proposals to transform the existing retail units at 9-21a High Street, Walton-on-Thames through a scheme which will provide modern, purpose-built retail units and residential apartments above and to the rear.
The consultation period for comments on the proposals has now closed. Thank you if you have submitted feedback to us already. All the comments we received are being carefully considered before a planning application is prepared.
To present the plans, and to provide an opportunity for interaction with the local community, we held an online webinar on Wednesday 30 March 2022. A recording of this session can be found in the Public Consultation section below.
If you have any difficulties accessing any of this information, please do not hesitate to contact the engagement team who will be very happy to help and answer any questions you may have. Please note that any visuals or photographs shown on this website are for illustrative purposes only and will be subject to change.
Following the review of consultation responses and liaising with Elmbridge Council, the proposals have been updated. The proposed changes are summarised below:
- Removal of 4th storey to rear of Block A and one typical floor of Block B thus reducing the number flats from 70 to 61 in total;
- Changes to the roof material (to all slate) and dormers (dark grey metal cladding) of Block A;
- Changes to the rear elevation of Block A to reflect to approach to the High Street façade;
- Associated changes to the gable ends of Block A;
- Minor reduction in Class E floorspace
- Adjustments to the parking layout;
- Removal of the proposed play space; and
- Additional landscaping introduced to soften car park.
Elmbridge Council is currently consulting on these proposed scheme changes as part of its determination of the planning application. The planning application can be viewed via the online portal using the following reference 2022/1680.
News and progress of the project will be updated on this website. If you would like to be kept up to date with our emerging plans, please do take a couple of minutes to register with us.
The application site comprises the existing retail units at 9-21a High Street, on the north-eastern side of the High Street in Walton-on-Thames town centre, and the service area to the rear. The existing retail units vary in size, configuration and quality but are generally outdated by modern standards.
Walton-on-Thames is a busy and popular place to live and work. However, like many town centres are experiencing, fragilities in the retail market have been worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic, and positive investment is needed to help reignite the town centre and its key function as a retail and service destination. This proposal will positively contribute towards the recovery of the High Street.
The site is a sustainable town centre location, where there are links to public transport facilities and various local amenities. The emerging design has sought to make the most efficient use of the site, whilst respecting the locality, building on the local character and reflecting site-specific opportunities and constraints.
The following pages describe the emerging proposals in greater detail. In summary, the proposals will provide much needed modern retail floorspace and high-quality residential accommodation across two new buildings.
Background & Context
The proposed development site relates to the existing buildings at 9-21a High Street, which is situated directly opposite The Heart shopping centre. The dominant surrounding uses in this part of the town centre are retail, offices and residential.
Walton-on-Thames town centre is a key destination for retail and service facilities in Elmbridge. It is a sustainable location for new residential development and Elmbridge continues to face the challenge of having sufficient development land to meet local housing demand. The Council’s most recent Local Housing Need Assessment (2020) also identifies the critical need within Elmbridge for smaller units (i.e. 1–3 bedrooms).
It is proposed that the existing premises within the application site would be demolished and the proposed scheme would be new-build.
The emerging planning application has undergone extensive pre-application discussions with Elmbridge Borough Council’s planning department, and has taken into consideration comments received from Councillors and key stakeholders. We have actively listened, and responded to, the Council’s concerns about building height and massing to the High Street frontage as part of these discussions.
A planning application is being prepared for a mixed-use development, comprising five new purpose-built, high street retail units and 70 new homes (comprising a mix of 1 and 2 bedroom apartments) with private amenity space to the rear. The emerging scheme also includes car and cycle parking and an area of shared outdoor amenity space.
The proposal will be split between two new buildings: a high street fronting mixed-use block (Block A) with retail at ground floor level and residential above; and a block to the rear containing only residential (Block B). A mix of one and two bed flats of different occupancy sizes are proposed, with 47 flats in Block A and 23 flats in Block B. The tallest part of the development (a set-back sixth storey on Block B) is located to the rear of the site, where there is already a precedent for taller buildings such as The Heart development on the opposite side of the High Street.
The site is located within the centre of the High Street. Its context is a broad mixture of Victorian style properties, new builds and recently constructed or refurbished developments. A range of building sizes and forms exist within the surrounding area, with large-scale developments to the rear of the site, along the High Street and as part of The Heart shopping centre development. The proposed building on the High Street has been designed to give the appearance of individual buildings in order to respect and assist the building’s assimilation into the character of the High Street.
The site is accessed via the existing service road access off Church Road (A3050). As the proposed development is in a town centre location, it has good access to a range of local amenities nearby as well as connections to public transport links close by.
Through extensive pre-application discussions with the Council the applicant has worked hard to develop an appropriately designed scheme for the site, in particular:
Visual appearance – In response to feedback given through the pre-application process, we have reduced the overall height of the building and have followed a more traditional design approach. The detailed design of the proposals has been informed by extensive analysis of the local context, focussing on the character of the High Street, its heritage and specific features which positively contribute to the local vernacular. The current proposals seek to emulate the variance in roof form along High Street and maintain its traditional character, whilst also delivering a scheme which maximises the opportunity to deliver much needed housing within the town centre.
Sustainable development – The proposal represents an efficient redevelopment of prime land within a town centre. The site is well connected to public transport, services and amenities and is a very sustainable location for the development of new homes. The site is well position ed with links to existing pedestrian crossings and key routes within the local pedestrian network. Further, providing new homes with shops and amenities on residents’ doorsteps provides a sustainable approach to new development whilst also directly increasing footfall and expenditure to support the town centre’s shops and services.
Town centre vitality – The development will create a wider mix of uses within the site and remove the potential for increased vacancies in this part of the town centre, supporting the health of Walton-on-Thames High Street as a place to shop, visit and enjoy. The residential accommodation will overlook the High Street and has a main entrance onto it, generating activity that supports social interaction and natural surveillance as well as providing increased residential footfall to support local shops and services throughout the day and into the evenings.
Parking provision for a town centre location – A parking court is proposed to the rear of the High Street properties and accessed from Church Road. 29 car parking spaces are proposed, which aligns with the ethos that this is a sustainable town centre residential location with less demand on the private vehicle. Electric vehicles charging points will be also included in the proposals.
Cycle parking – This is proposed for all residential units (70 spaces), in well-designed self-contained secure bicycle storage within the development. Four further cycle parking spaces are proposed to be provided for staff of the retail units. This is in accordance with local standards.
Affordable housing provision – The proposal will deliver a policy compliant element of affordable housing (40%) which equates to 28 units.
Amenity space for residents – The proposed design offers opportunities for community interaction and activity. The mews court area to the rear of the properties is a well-designed space that includes an amenity play space and planting. Self-contained balconies and roof terraces provide private outdoor spaces for the apartments to the rear.
Loss of light – The proposed design has been informed by detailed analysis taking into account the potential for impacts on neighbouring properties. A detailed Daylight and Sunlight Assessment is being undertaken and will be provided in support of the planning application.
Flooding Risk and Drainage – The site is located in Flood Zone 1 and is therefore at a low risk of flooding from fluvial sources. A detailed Drainage Strategy will be provided as part of the planning application, which will set out the approach to managing surface water drainage across the development including the provision for Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS).
Waste collection arrangements – The existing service road allows for refuse vehicles to access the residential bin stores proposed for the rear of the development. Retail servicing will take place from the high street front lay-by (as existing) whist retail bins will be contained within a store and emptied from the service road.
If approved, our proposal will:
- Deliver modern, attractive new shop units to invigorate this part of the High Street
- Provide a high-quality design which will complement the existing character of this part of the town centre
- Make optimal use of this important site and build efficiently at an appropriate density for the town centre location
- Integrate sensitively with the existing High Street streetscene
- Contribute materially towards meeting identified housing need in Elmbridge (including affordable homes), particularly for small units (1-2 beds)
The public consultation period has now closed. Your feedback is important to us. All the comments we have received are being considered and shared with the project team.
On Wednesday 30 March 2022 we held a live public webinar to explain our proposals and give you the opportunity to ask questions and make suggestions.
A recording of this session can be viewed below.
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If you would like to be kept up to date with our emerging plans, please take a couple of minutes to register.
Have Your Say
Our consultation period has now closed.
Thank you if you participated in our consultation. Just to reassure you, your thoughts, ideas and any concerns you told us about will only be seen by the project team and will not be made public.
Please register for updates via our website so we can update you with any event changes and on news as the project develops.
There is a need for new homes in the Borough and the proposal site represents a brownfield redevelopment opportunity in a sustainable town centre location.
Conversion of the existing properties and building above those would be impractical and costly. Therefore, it is proposed to demolish the existing buildings and provide high quality new-build, commercial and residential accommodation, which will better meet occupants’ expectations for modern properties.
70 new homes with private amenity space are proposed. The homes will be spilt between two new buildings: a high street fronting mixed-use block with retail at ground floor level and residential above (Block A); and a block to the rear comprising residential units only (Block B).
The evidence base for the Elmbridge Local Plan identifies a clear local need for 1 and 2 bedroom residential units and this proposal responds to that. Smaller units are also particularly suited to town centre living.
Yes – the proposals are fully compliant with Elmbridge Borough Council’s policy for the delivery of affordable housing. 28 of the residential units will be affordable homes, equating to 40% of the overall scheme.
29 car parking spaces for use by new residents are proposed. Each space will include a fast electric vehicle charging point.
70 cycle spaces for use by residents shall be provided in a well-lit, secure covered location within Block B and 4 cycle spaces for use by retail staff will be provided in Block A. Visitors to the site will be able to park their bikes using existing Sheffield Stands on the High Street.
The large retail unit in the proposed scheme has been designed specifically for Boots and it is their intention to remain an anchor to this part of the high street. We would like W H Smith to occupy one of the new retail units and it is our understanding that they wish to remain in Walton-on-Thames. We are working with them to understand the likely gap in trading that would be inevitable during the construction period. The proposals will have no effect on M&S Food’s underground car park.
Why are new retail units being proposed, given the number of vacancies in the town centre at present?
The application site forms a key part of Walton High Street, and retail is the most appropriate use to secure for this site at ground floor level. Whilst other parts of the town centre are experiencing vacancies, overall, investment in the retail offer of this part of Walton High Street, which is opposite the entrance to The Heart Shopping Centre, is likely to have wider benefits for the town centre. The proposals will replace the existing shop units with better configured, modern units.
Our intention is to submit an application for full planning permission to Elmbridge Borough Council this Spring.
If our planning application is successful, construction is likely to begin early next year, with the construction period lasting around 12 months in total.
If you have any questions, or would like more information or help, please do get in touch.
Send us a message and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can. Email: email@example.com
If you want to chat to someone, give us a call: 0207 446 6818
Register for updates
If you would like to be kept up to date with our plans, please take a couple of minutes to register.