|Borough of Elmbridge|
Elmbridge shown within Surrey
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Region||South East England|
|Incorporated||1 April 1974|
|• Type||Non-metropolitan district council|
|• Body||Elmbridge Borough Council|
|• Leadership||Leader & Cabinet (Conservative)|
|• MPs||Philip Hammond
|• Total||37.2 sq mi (96.3 km2)|
|Area rank||226th (of 326)|
|Population (2011 est.)|
|• Rank||160th (of 326)|
|• Density||3,600/sq mi (1,400/km2)|
|• Ethnicity||94.0% White
|Time zone||GMT (UTC0)|
|• Summer (DST)||BST (UTC+1)|
|ONS code||43UB (ONS)
|OS grid reference||TQ1402064766|
History of Local Authority and Politics
The borough shares a long boundary with Greater London—the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames to the north and the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames to the east. Running anticlockwise from the northwest, Elmbridge borders the Surrey boroughs of Spelthorne, Runnymede, Woking, Guildford and Mole Valley. Elmbridge is almost entirely within the bounds of the M25 motorway. There is only one civil parish, Claygate, while the remainder of the area has two rather than three tiers of local government. Responsibility for some designated services is with Surrey County Council, such as social services and transport.
In common with the nearby Surrey boroughs of Spelthorne and Epsom and Ewell, much of Elmbridge is a continuation of the built-up area of suburban London, and the areas of Molesey, Long Ditton, Thames Ditton, Hinchley Wood, Esher and Claygate lie within the social and commercial orbit of neighbouring Kingston upon Thames (East Elmbridge, for example, is served by Kingston Hospital, while Molesey, the Dittons and Claygate fell under the jurisdiction of the Metropolitan Police for more than one-hundred and sixty years). During the period of review towards a 1992 report by the Local Government Boundary Commission for England (Report No 627, 'The Boundaries of Greater London and the London Boroughs'), the Commission received a submission 'from a small London borough (Kingston upon Thames), making a case for increased size'. The final report noted Kingston's claim 'that it could define its "objective community"', while a further report of the same year (Report No 666, 'Review of Greater London, the London Boroughs and the City of London') noted Kingston's recommendation to encompass 'within its authority a wider area of Elmbridge, including Long and Thames Ditton, Hinchley Wood, Weston Green and the Moleseys'. In the light of this, and in the light of Report 627's conclusion that 'there were considerable anomalies in the boundaries, especially the outer London boundary in South West London around Kingston', the report considered 'that there was a strong case to align the boundary [of Greater London] with the edge of the built-up area, thus bringing into London boroughs parts of Surrey'. The report thus recommended 'a wider review of these boundaries in the future'.
Elmbridge is named after the Elmbridge hundred, which appears in Domesday Book of 1086 as Amelebrige. The district was formed on 1 April 1974 following the Local Government Act 1972. The name thus derives from the river Amele or Emley (now known as the River Mole) rather than Elm trees.
Prior to 1974, the borough was split between the Esher Urban District, whose council had existed since 1933, and the Walton and Weybridge Urban District. The council's arms were created upon the formation of the present day district, being formed out of symbols taken from the local towns and villages with the Latin motto meaning until the rivers cease. Its headquarters in Esher, the Civic Centre, opened in 1991.
After elections (held on a one third up-for-election basis in three out of four years) on 3 May 2012, there are 33 Conservative councillors, 20 Residents' Group councillors, 6 Liberal Democrats and two Hinchley Wood Residents' Association councillors.
Elevations, Landscape and Wildlife
The northern third of the borough is flatter and fertile with free draining slightly acid loamy soil, similar to the south, as described in the Surrey article. In the next third, the first of the remarkable acid soil heaths in west Surrey begin to appear in places here [n 1], characterised by undulating heaths: these sandy and stony reliefs start in the east in the Esher Commons, covering the central swathe of the area including Oxshott Heath and Woods and areas of Weybridge and areas surrounding Wisley, a natural soil for pines, other evergreen trees as well as heather and gorse, described as naturally wet, very acid sandy and loamy soil which is just 1.9% of English soil and 0.2% of Welsh soil. Claremont Landscape Garden and Fan Court (now independent school) is on part of this elevated soil as is St George's Hill. Most undeveloped land in Elmbridge is Metropolitan Green Belt.
The central band of forest/heath includes part of the Wisley and Ockham Commons reserve within the national wildlife trust scheme: see Surrey Wildlife Trust, several pine heath based golf courses and in the north there are reservoirs, on the side of which there is sheep grazing.
The Mole, passing the Grade I Church in Stoke D'Abernon, Cobham Mill at Grade II and Painshill Park and the Wey, passing Silvermere Golf Course and the Brooklands circuit, hotel and retail park, cut through the borough from south to north reaching the River Thames which denotes the northern border, stretching from Weybridge to Thames Ditton apart from inclusion of inhabited islands such as Wheatley's Ait[n 2]. The Wey and Mole have sources beyond gentle valleys which cut through the high North Downs to the south.
Settlements within the Borough
- From East to West:
- Long Ditton
- Thames Ditton
- Hinchley Wood
- Weston Green
- Molesey (East Molesey)
- Esher including West End
- Hersham including Burwood Park[n 3]
- Molesey (West Molesey)
- Walton on Thames including Fieldcommon and Ashley Park
- Cobham including Fairmile and the hamlets of Hatchford and Downside
- Stoke D'Abernon
- Weybridge including St George's Hill
Famous Residents and Affluence
Home to some of the county's highest earners, Elmbridge is known for its varied landscapes, large average garden size, proximity to London (parts of the borough lie closer to Charing Cross than many outlying areas of Greater London) and an assortment of very large homes (mansions), especially in southern and western parts of the borough, such as Cobham, Oxshott, Weybridge and the southern part of Esher. In 2011. Elmbridge was named the best place to live in the country in the 'Quality of Life Survey' for the third consecutive year. In the most recent survey in 2013, Elmbridge finished in sixth place.
This area has been labelled England's Beverly Hills by sections of the press. Famous residents, past and present, include Sir Cliff Richard, Mick Jagger, George Harrison, John Lennon, Ringo Starr, Ronnie Wood, Andy Murray, Kate Winslet, John Terry, Gary Lineker, Mick Hucknall, Frank Lampard, Didier Drogba, Theo Paphitis, Chris Tarrant, Peter Crouch, Michael Aspel and Shilpa Shetty.
The main north-south road is the A244 for instance to London Heathrow Airport and starts in the borough at Walton Bridge leading to Esher and Oxshott then to Leatherhead. The east-west Leatherhead to Horsell, Woking road, the A245 leads by Cobham and Brooklands, Weybridge.
As to rail, the South West Main Line cuts through the borough, with four stations from Esher to Weybridge, one of which several express services call at: Walton on Thames in the Ashley Park estate of the south of the town. The branch lines have services with four stations in the borough via Cobham and Stoke D'Abernon to Guildford; and a branch to Thames Ditton and Hampton Court railway station in East Molesey, both within Transport for London's Zone 6.
Cycling is very popular, with the Thames Path passing through the north of the borough and the 2012 Summer Olympics hosting both of the main road cycling events in the borough with most of the road section around Hampton Court and with the sections of the routes taken to and from Box Hill.
The economy is diverse, with a strong local service sector, including numerous bars and restaurants, homes built and being built for city workers as the majority of locations have access to one of the Home Counties fastest commutes, trades including interior supplies, fitting, gardening, golf course/landscape management and a developed public/education sector. Of international renown are the employers Sony Corporation, Procter & Gamble, JTI (formerly Gallaher) and Toshiba Information Systems alongside the local corporate venues and day-out attractions of Sandown Park Racecourse and Mercedes-Benz World. As of 2012, Elmbridge residents had average weekly earnings of £1162.
Notes and References
- Surrey County Council
- Surrey Domesday Book
- "A Topological Dictionary of England".
- The History of Elmbridge Borough Council
- Elmbridge B.C. Website by Party Member retrieved 2012-10-16
- Cranfield University National Soil Resources Institute, Soilscape map
- Stoke D'Abernon Church of St Mary: Historic England. "Details from listed building database (1030111)". National Heritage List for England.
- Cobham Mill: Historic England. "Details from listed building database (1190885)". National Heritage List for England.
- Surrey Press & Herald "Elmbridge Stumps up £1Bn Annual Income Tax" Claire French, 20 May 2013
- Daily Mail "A Little bit of Paradise: Surrey spot tops survey of the best place to live" Becky Barrow, 3 January 2011
- The Guardian "Fleet, Hampshire: still the happiest, wealthiest place in Britain" Rupert Jones, 21 December 2013
- Bennett, Oliver (21 January 2011). "Is Elmbridge Britain's Beverly Hills?". The Independent. Retrieved 16 October 2012.
- National Rail Timetable of Journey Times into London Terminicompare slower times of Brentwood, Woking, Amersham, St Albans vs Walton on Thames for example
- BBC News - Hart in Hampshire remains UK's most desirable place. Bbc.co.uk (2012-12-22). Retrieved on 2013-07-17.
- Elmbridge twinning info