The Public Inquiry was held (24th – 28th April 2023) and attended by many residents. Around 25 residents gave evidence in person.
The Inquiry was then adjourned, with a site visit by the Inspector, legal representatives and the applicants originally scheduled for Friday 26th May. This was postponed due to illness and then took place on the morning of Friday 21st July. Later that same day, a public session was held at Long Ditton Village Hall, where the Inspector heard closing legal statements from all legal representatives.
The Inspector will now write a report with his recommendation, which could take anywhere from 1-6 months to produce, given the volume of evidence.
Once completed, the Inspector’s report will be submitted to the registration authority, which in our case is Surrey County Council.
The report will then go before the Planning and Regulatory committee, which is comprised of Surrey County Councillors, for a decision on Village Green designation.
We submitted almost 500 Evidence Questionnaires and every single one is counted as evidence supporting the Village Green (VG) application.
We have received over 630 financial donations towards the VG campaign.
Over 15 local businesses and organisations have supported the campaign, in one form or another.
Two Residents’ Associations have given financial assistance, with another two providing written support.
The Inspector said he was impressed with the volume of supporting evidence questionnaires and the number of witnesses prepared to provide oral evidence.
The three Long Ditton Elmbridge ward councillors, (Neil Houston, Jez Langham & Liz Laino) with extra special support from Rodney Whittaker (Ramblers Association & Open Spaces Society), plus support from Esher councillor, Richard Williams, worked with the team to persuade Elmbridge to, not only drop their objection, but to voluntarily register Stokes Field Nature Reserve as a Village Green.
Whatever the outcome, as residents we have done what we can to protect our local green open spaces. Sincere thanks to everyone who engaged and did their bit, whether it was completing an OSS Evidence Questionnaire, folding letters, stuffing envelopes, delivering flyers, posting letters, making a financial donation, participating in the Quiz Night, giving oral evidence, or simply visiting the Public Inquiry – thank you.’