Agenda item

Announcements from the Leader

To receive any announcements from the Leader.


The Leader made the following announcements:


“The 2023 Spelthorne Business Awards competition has officially been opened to enter. There are 17 categories which businesses can enter, including two new ones for Best Hospitality and Leisure Business and the Retail Excellence Award. This is an excellent initiative designed to celebrate the broad spectrum of businesses in the Borough and the deadline to enter is 02 October 2023.


The Council’s Housing Team hosted the Spelthorne Homelessness Prevention Forum on the 05 July. Over the past few years, some of our most vulnerable residents have been given a new lease of life because of the work of the Housing Team and this was recognised when they were announced as finalists for Team of the Year at this year’s MJ Awards. The team have led in many innovative housing schemes and services including the step-down service for people being discharged from hospital, the conversion of part of the Council offices to provide affordable housing for people on the housing register, and the White House and Harper House schemes which provide accommodation for homeless people and families in need of emergency accommodation.


Spelthorne hosted an interactive eco-conference for pupils from local primary schools on the 03 July. Led by environmentalist Phil Williams, the ‘Action Speaks Louder’ conference covered a range of topics including the climate emergency, waste, exploitation, deforestation, pollution, plastics, fast fashion and transportation.


The final of the Spelthorne Business Plan Competition was held recently at BP in Sunbury. Six finalists pitched in a Dragon’s Den style final for the chance to win £3,500 and a year’s package of business support to help them get their business started. The standard of the entries was extremely high again this year and after much deliberation, first place was awarded to Natalie Morris of Doodlekids which supports children with special needs through art, creativity, positivity and wellbeing.


Young people aged between 7 and 16 from across Spelthorne attended the Surrey Youth Games in June. Free sessions in a range of sports including swimming, dance, tennis, street basketball, judo and non-contact boxing were organised by the Council in the run up to the event with the aim of giving children the opportunity to get more involved in sport. The emphasis was on joining in, having a go, learning new skills and boosting confidence. A fun day was had by all the children and there was lots of positive feedback from parents. The Council would like to say a massive well done to everyone who took part and made it such a fantastic day.


I am delighted that we will soon be reaching the mid-point ‘topping out’ milestone for our new Leisure Centre. The project will include an eight lane 25m main pool, learner pool, splash pad and spa. Further sports facilities include a 6-court sports hall, three squash courts, 950 square metres of fitness space, two studios, one spin studio and a multi-use room which combines to create two further badminton courts. As well as providing fantastic facilities and a vital hub for the community, the Centre is being built to the highest environmental standards.


I am now going to pass over to the Deputy Leader, Councillor Bateson who will be providing an update to this Chamber on some positive news regarding Debenhams in Staines-upon-Thames”


The Deputy Leader made the following announcement:


Planning permission has been refused for the re-development of the Debenhams building in Staines-upon-Thames following an appeal by the developer. On the 6 June 2022, Spelthorne Borough Council refused the planning application for the demolition of the former Debenhams Store and redevelopment of the site to provide two residential towers, fifteen storeys tall for 226 apartments and commercial units. The original refusal decision by the Planning Committee was based on three reasons: design and appearance; impact on Heritage assets, non-heritage assets and Staines Conservation Area, and lack of affordable housing. The applicant lodged an appeal, and a Planning Inquiry was held in May 2023 which consisted of eight days of discussion and a site visit. Following the inquiry, the inspector dismissed the appeal on Thursday, 13 July 2023. This Council will continue to robustly defend its planning and conservation designation decisions for sites both in Staines-upon-Thames and across the Borough in the interest of our residents and their environment. I would like to express thanks to planning colleagues for their valued work which has brought such an excellent result to this Council”.