Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is Extra Care Housing and how does it help people? 

Extra Care Housing is specialist, high-quality accommodation designed for older people who need additional support and care to keep living independently. Each self-contained flat has its own front door and each development offers communal facilities with activities to encourage people to participate and develop a supportive community.  An onsite care provider will support residents to maintain their health and wellbeing and staff are available 24 hours a day to respond to emergencies.

We know that with the right housing and the right care, in the right place, people are less likely to feel isolated or lonely, will live independently for longer, and are less likely to require hospital admission.  Extra Care Housing delivers homes designed with care and support in mind, with facilities and staffing in place to help older people to live as independently as they wish.

Why is new Extra Care Housing accommodation needed?

Currently there is not enough affordable Extra Care Housing in Surrey. This means that many older people who can no longer live in their existing homes because of their needs, often end up having to move into a care home.  With more Extra Care Housing available, older people can live long-term in a supportive and well-designed community.

How will the residents’ needs be supported?

Our Extra Care Housing will be: 
• Designed so that residents can live their life their own way
• Created with our residents' future in mind 
• Within the heart of the community
• Designed to support and promote our residents' independence. 

SCC will commission care and support for each individual and this will include:
• Care – help with personal care and daily living tasks in the home
• Support – help to understand and maintain their tenancies, complete household tasks, look after their home, maintain and make use of external space for recreation, engage in social activities, link with the community and secure employment as appropriate

Does Extra Care Housing work well for people?

Extra Care Housing works well for many people. Surrey’s existing Extra Care Housing provision has provided accommodation with care and support for many older people over a number of years, enabling them to live as active members of their local communities.

• Extra Care Housing is designed to overcome challenges with our existing accommodation:

• changing resident expectations including high demand for self-contained flats which aren’t always readily available

• older properties which cannot accommodate changes to residents’ care and support needs over time e.g. for wheelchair accessibility and lifts; and

• the need for facilities that maintain privacy and dignity e.g. ensuite bath/shower rooms.

Is similar specialist accommodation available across Surrey?

The independent sector is building a limited number of new homes for older people, but they tend to be available on a market-led rental or leased ownership arrangement. This is why there is still insufficient affordable accommodation to meet demand.

With this development, SCC seeks to re-purpose and re-develop an SCC-owned site, to deliver against its large-scale ambitions for accommodation with care and support across Surrey so that everyone has a place they can call home, with appropriate housing for all.

Who is the housing for?

The accommodation is intended for older people in need of care and support to maintain their independence. Some may have a physical disability, sensory impairment or mental health needs.  All potential residents will be assessed to confirm their suitability for Extra Care Housing and to ensure that their care and support needs can be met.

Will these homes be limited to Surrey residents?

Yes - individuals will need to have eligible care and support needs and be eligible for funding from SCC – so all will be deemed either to reside in Surrey or to have the right to reside in Surrey. 

SCC will consider local connections and as far as possible support people to remain in their communities; however, the primary consideration will centre around offering accommodation that meets the needs of the individual.

How long will people live in the accommodation?

Extra Care Housing is designed to be flexible and adaptable, so that residents don’t have to move out of their homes if their needs change. Ideally with care and support, residents will be able to remain for the rest of their lives, and people will only have to consider moving into a care home when their care needs require on-site nursing input to be met.

Why was this location chosen?

This location matched Surrey County Council’s key selection criteria for an Extra Care Housing site:

• it’s within easy walking distance of amenities like shops, health services, libraries etc.

• it has good access to public transport routes, so residents and staff don’t have to be reliant on cars

• it balances locality with natural features which will benefit residents and visitors

Will all the homes be wheelchair accessible?

Yes – all of the accommodation has been designed to meet the latest Building Regulations standards for accessible, adaptable homes.

Will the building be secure?  / How will the building be secured? 

The development will follow Secured by Design principles for new homes with improvements to suit the specific needs of the residents, e.g. access controls, external security lighting and a video door entry system.

How much parking will there be / Where will visitors park?

Car parking arrangements will be tailored to meet the needs of the specific residents, staff and visitors.

Will there be electric vehicle charging points?

All parking bays will have electric charging points, designed to meet existing and future demand.

Will there be floodlights?

No - the external lighting has been designed to illuminate car parks, paths and gardens in a way that will encourage wildlife etc. whilst still maintaining safety and security for residents.

How many staff will be employed at the site?

This will be largely dependent on the needs of the residents. It’s likely that there will be 24hr support for residents with additional care workers attending at key times of day.

Will there be onsite carers?

Each resident will have their own care and support needs and a care package will be tailored to meet those needs for each individual. One or more care workers will be on site throughout the day and overnight; but it is not possible, at this early stage, to be precise as to staff numbers, attendance rotas and shift patterns as each will depend on the exact needs of the individuals - which may change over time.

Will carers come and go at all hours of the day and night?

Care workers will attend as needed to fulfil individual residents’ support plans. Activity is likely to be greater during the day. There will be peak times for activity, e.g. personal care and breakfast in the morning and dinner and personal care in the evening – but these peak activity periods are less likely to coincide with the school run, for example. Residents will also be out and about, participating in leisure activities and potentially employment, just like any other member of the community.

Overnight vehicular activity will be limited and care workers providing night cover will ordinarily remain on site 10pm - 7am. SCC will work with service providers to ensure that care worker resource is used effectively; and due regard given to minimising disturbance to neighbours, particularly at night.

Who will maintain the gardens?

A Housing/Estate manager will be appointed to maintain the landscaping and residents will be encouraged to participate in gardening as a leisure activity, should they wish to do so.

How can I comment on the Planning Application?

Information is available on the Online register of planning applications for minerals, waste and our development - Surrey County Council ( You can visit the website to make comments on an application and/or use it to check on the progress of applications under consideration. 

How will people be able to apply to become tenants at the new extra care scheme?

Applications will be welcomed from people who are struggling to keep living at their current home and who really need the affordable housing, care and support offered by Extra Care Housing to remain as independent as possible.

Anyone who applies will have their needs assessed by Surrey County Council. Where that person will clearly benefit from a tenancy in the Extra Care Housing community, their application can be examined for its suitability. Some aspects which will be looked at include:

• How much care and support the person needs to remain independent

• The applicant’s age – individual exceptions can be made where it’s clear that the community would be the best place to help the person to keep living independently

• How urgent the person’s need is to become a tenant

SCC will then decide who can be provided with a tenancy and, if there is a waiting list, who should be prioritised when a flat becomes vacant.

Will there be activities for the residents?

A key focus of Extra Care Housing is providing enjoyable activities for residents. We recognise that to make the development an enjoyable place to live, the management team will work closely with residents and other parties to arrange a variety of activities focused on well-being, engagement, and fun, to maximise residents’ enjoyment of their homes.

Could you give me any idea of the anticipated costs to buy/rent on completion of the project?

The homes will be offered on an affordable rental basis with the rent set at a level that can be met by housing benefit. Residents will be occupying the new homes under secure tenancies. There may be cases where people are not in receipt of housing benefit and may have limited means, but they will pay the same level of rent to ensure the homes are affordable for everyone. Unfortunately, it is too early to give a figure on how much the rent will be as housing benefit varies by location and is set regionally with periodic adjustments by government.

How will the residents get around? How will the carers that are needed for this property be able to get access?

Although SCC hasn’t produced a travel plan for this development, as part of the site suitability exercise carried out during feasibility studies, SCC identified availability of and distance to local transport. As a result, SCC plans provision for electric car club vehicles with electric charging on site so that residents without cars don’t have to rely only on public transport. 

The transport consultants will have taken local buses into account when assessing the parking provision. If a site is not considered to be sustainable with easy access to bus and rail facilities, then parking provision will not be reduced as much as if transport and facilities were closer.

An electric minibus is an interesting idea and would possibly work for the residents but not necessarily for staff as they come to work at different times during the day.  

SCC will work with the local community to see what already exists and what can be made available. The development will have parking spaces for residents’ private cars and car club bays so that residents do not have to rely only on buses, taxis or Dial-a-Ride. Residents can hire a Car Club vehicle to go shopping or to go out with family.

Can we have some guarantees from SCC that if any of the roads are damaged from this development, that they will earmark a certain amount of money to rectify them?

SCC and its development partners will have people scrutinising the construction work. If roads are reported as having been damaged during the development, the contractor will be required to make repairs. 

This site is perfect to also include key worker housing e.g. care workers / teachers as well.  why has this not been considered? 

The site is too small for both key worker and extra care housing. SCC is considering where and how to develop key worker housing, but extra care housing is the area of greater need.  

Are this building going to be prefab (built off-site) or built on site? 

It is our intention that the design of the site will incorporate modern methods of construction such as prefabrication - this is something that is being strongly encouraged by SCC to minimise disruption to neighbouring residents.  

Would encouraging local staff to work here reduce car usage?  

Yes. SCC acknowledges the benefits of having care workers based locally who don’t have to travel long distances to work. 

How many members of staff will be on site at peak times? Who will arrange staffing? What times are staff on site?  

SCC will enter into a contract with a care provider who will manage staffing. There will be 24-hour coverage. Unfortunately, at this early stage it isn’t possible to provide an exact figure for the number of staff who will be onsite at peak times. 

The Epsom and Ewell local plan is due out for public consultation in Feb 23, how has it been possible to design this development without visibility of the local plan policies on design, height and mass?

The starting point for any development proposal must be the current (adopted) local plan that provides the current planning policy guidance. If a new local plan is developed during the period within which this development goes through the planning process, the new local plan will be considered once it is adopted; but the overarching principle is to follow is the adopted local plan because any new plan can take up to 2 years from publication to adoption. 

Are these flats going to be owned by Surrey County council but then managed by a housing association, or are they going to be sold? 

SCC will be entering into a development partnership and the developer will take out a 125-year lease on the building once it is completed. The developer will be required under the terms of the lease to offer extra care accommodation at an affordable rent for the entire duration of that lease. The flats will not be sold or be subject to right to buy.  

Would you consider 10% of the properties to be for people with capital so they are able to access the services you’re providing as this is a unique service? 

One of the eligibility criteria for this development is ability to be funded by Housing Benefit and eligibility for housing benefit is affected by the amount of capital the applicant has. 

How does the development address SCC’s green agenda and reduce SCC’s carbon footprint?  

The scheme is fully electric to prioritise air quality and make use of the decarbonised grid. SCC will use low energy lighting, passive ventilation, solar panels and air source heat pumps for hot water generation. The green space will include native planting to promote biodiversity. Modern construction materials and methods will be selected to minimise the carbon footprint during and post-construction. 

The original plan showed a 3 storey plan but this is a 4 storey building and this isn’t in keeping with the area height-wise. Why is SCC seeking to grant itself the right to set a precedent in this regard?  

Earlier sketches have shown various heights and layouts for the building, of which this is the most cost-effective. SCC has prioritised minimising the building footprint to maximise green space, as well as placing the building as far as possible from adjoining residences to prevent overlooking and overshadowing. This resulted in a part 3- and part 4 storey building with the tallest section situated furthest away from the most sensitive boundaries of the site. 

As this is an application to develop land owned by SCC, planning regulations permit SCC to submit the application to its own planning team who will review it against planning policy in the Epsom and Ewell BC local plan. SCC will then undertake a statutory consultation which will involve Epsom and Ewell BC inviting residents to submit their comments. 

Will local residents be able to access and use the community room? Will the green area be open to local residents?  

The community spaces are primarily for the residents and for families and visitors. However, there may be events open to the wider community, for example in collaboration with a local school. However, the community space will not be a general community facility. 

The garden at the back of the development is for the residents of the development rather than for the general public. However, residents will be able to bring visitors to the green area.  

Has noise been considered? 

SCC has its own control of noise and pollution requirements with which any developer will have to comply. The construction traffic management plan will ensure that the least amount of disruption is caused to residents.  

Is access to the new development secured or gated? 

The setting will have a mixture of communal and private spaces. Access to residents’ flats will be carefully controlled. The communal facilities will be open to visitors. We want to ensure the development is welcoming and we have no plan to put gates on this development.  

Will the lane between Cuddington School and the playing field be kept? 

SCC owns the public footpath and we know it is used as a route between the various schools in the local area. There are no plans to permanently close this footpath; in fact SCC has recently invested in new secure fencing to protect the site boundary 

How are residents informed about the consultation? Is the Consultation robust?  

YourShout posted letters by first class mail to a significant consultation area which will be detailed in the Statement of Community Involvement. The events were also advertised on social media. Your Shout has also been engaging with local stakeholders including councillors and local community groups.   

CommunityUK is used extensively by local authorities and developers to undertake engagement events like this.  The platform has been built to address issues of accessibility, participation and interactivity. It allows an equal access to all residents to hear what the developer says, and in turn, allows the developer to listen to comments and questions from local people. One of the great benefits of this format is that these events are recorded, allowing you to watch them back at any time you choose.  All the questions will be timestamped allowing to watch only the questions that are relevant to you.  The recordings will also have auto-generated subtitles added to the videos. 

The format includes a YouTube live stream, a Watch page for those who prefer not to register their details, and emails to remind residents to participate and share their view. 

Anyone who is unable to attend one of these events can call our freephone helpline, which is open during office hours, and we will send any materials.  We also offer a FREEPOST address for people who prefer to use the post, as well as an event hotline during these events.   

We're really pleased with the level of engagement on this project - we've had over 143 questions, which is a significant amount; so, it's clear that there is a great deal of interest.  We can promise you that all the comments and questions will be analysed and, where the developer can take account of these comments, they will do so. You should also remember that local residents can influence the outcome of this project after this event.  For instance, there will also be formal consultation on the outline planning application. 

Have you done any research into how local schools which are in very close vicinity are going to be affected by the development?  

There may be opportunities for beneficial community activities which will promote interaction between local school children and older adults, for example inviting residents to attend a Christmas concert given by school children. 

What forms of renewable energy will be used?

The decision on the type of heat pump depends on the available land. For a ground source heat pump, an underground heating loop is needed to draw energy from the ground, and that equates to double the floor area used for this development. For a multi-storey site, it would require a huge amount of ground to be dug up, involving deep drilling. Air source heat pumps are the preferred option for reasons of ease of maintenance, installation costs, time to build and reliability. The government is also encouraging the use of Air Source Heat Pumps to promote renewable energy. 

Solar Photovoltaic panels will be installed across the site and will operate alongside thermal panels to generate hot water through the Air Source Heat Pumps. 

It is too early to give a percentage of sustainable materials; however, the development will be working towards SCC targets. 

Will these residences be social housing or private purchases? Are you saying all flats will be affordable rental for people on benefits? 

All the flats will be affordable, and the basis of affordability is that they can be funded by Housing benefit. This does not, however, mean everyone in the flats will be on Housing benefit. It is not a private setting. The accommodation will not be available for private purchase. 

Green spaces like this field are good for the mental wellbeing of all of us. Are you not concerned that that this is going to be lost to the community? 

There are numerous green spaces in this area including Auriol Park and the local allotments. This playing field has not been in use for well over 10 years and SCC will be able to generate wildlife havens on the site whilst providing older people in need of care and support with much-needed, appropriate, affordable homes. 

Will the height of the proposals block the light from people’s lives and whether it has privacy implications of having a scheme that size? 

As the development exceeds the required distance between the building and its neighbours, it will not affect daylight/sunlight reaching nearby buildings. A report by SCC’s specialist rights of light consultant confirms that the proposal will not block light from people’s houses. 

The development will impact the habitats of wildlife such as owls, woodpeckers, bats and foxes. Can you elaborate on the studies you have done?

Surrey Wildlife Trust Ecology Services (SWTES) carried out a preliminary ecological appraisal (PEA) to determine general principles in relation to habitats and biodiversity and to establish how the site can support protected species. Habitats identified include grassland, trees, hedgerows and scrub; with potential to support invertebrates, reptiles, breeding birds, badgers, bats, and small mammals. Additional surveys were then carried out to establish whether any endangered species occupied the site. No reptiles were recorded. Bat activity surveys identified Common Pipistrelle bats on the southern and western boundaries. No badgers were identified. Vegetation removal was carried out under ecological supervision to check for hedgehogs. The invertebrates surveys will be undertaken in 2023. 

Biodiversity studies are time-limited so some cannot be undertaken until 2023 otherwise they will be out of date by the time the planning application is submitted. There are no plans to destroy any natural habitat by removal of trees. SCC’s ecologists will prepare a biodiversity net gain report with an indication of the types of species and the mitigation associated with the development. We anticipate that the development will increase biodiversity on the site. 

Where is the new entrance for the building planned and does this impacts the Tree Preservation Order (TPO) for the oak trees in the school field?  

SCC is in discussions with the Scouts on the location of the access from Salisbury Road. The Oak trees which are subject to a TPO will not be affected by this development. 

What boundary screening is going to be retained or introduced for that part of the development that abuts the rear of Thorndon Gardens properties and the Scout facilities? 

SCC plans to retain all the existing screening along the western and southern boundaries. Although the planting is less intense along the public footpath, this boundary will also be retained and additional trees and shrubs will be interspersed with the existing planting. 

SCC can guarantee all existing trees will be kept unless they are diseased, particularly on the site boundaries as they form the screening between the site and neighbouring properties. A few trees of lesser quality may need to be removed, for example  if they are in the way of the new access road, but they will be replaced within the landscaping scheme. SCC is keen to protect all the wildlife on the site, and pays special attention to endangered species.