Brookwood Farm Planning Submitted

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12/6/12

Well the amended plans are almost up for their stated deadline of the 13th June but you can submit objections right up to the decision date. We have again digested the plans to see what amendments have been made and what they mean and have come away with severe indigestion! No concerns have been allayed and in most cases more have arisen. The air quality report alone showed very clearly there is a severe problem at both the Redding Way junction and Brookwood junction yet no mitigating comments are available.

We’ve composed yet another letter to WBC which will be available shortly which states our continuing ire and concern.

Incidentally, yes we have noticed the digging happening at the site which is either highly presumptuous or possibly concerned with the existing houses which many will have noted have scaffolding around them… We have contacted Douglas Spinks and are awaiting an explanation.

3/5/12

We can now confirm that according the the Deputy Chief Executive of WBC, Douglas Spinks, an air quality assessement has been requested. This report will only become available online when WBC have assessed by ‘relevant consultees’…

2/5/12

Whilst the attention of many in local government  is on the local election the work on this planning application continues. The KRA has joined forces with the residents associations of Brookwood and Sheet’s Heath to scrutinize this application. As reported earlier a delegation from the KRA met with a representative from Cala Homes and a representative from the consultants who carried out the transport assessment for Cala Homes and we are grateful for their time. Since that meeting the KRA along with representatives from Brookwood and Sheet’s Heath have met with mangers from Surrey Highways and we must report that there were differences between the Cala Homes report and the position as seen by Surrey Highways. The KRA are now trying to find out exactly where the parties stand on the application.
Since this planning application was submitted the ground rules have changed with the Government launching a new ‘National Planning Policy Framework’. One of the main thrusts of these guidelines is that decision making should involve the community, more that has been the case in the past.We await to see if Woking Borough Council plan to make any changes to the way they handle planning applications. More on this point in our next electronic newsletter.
Returning to Brookwood Farm, missing from the list of studies and reports that have been submitted by Cala Homes is any study of the impact the development will have on air quality in the Bagshot Road area. We have asked WBC why no such study has been commissioned.We also await information from WBC on their  monitoring points around the whole of Woking and Bagshot Road in particular. The results from the monitoring point in 2010 were poor and therefore we await the data for 2011.
23/4/12

We have had numerous suggestions and input from residents over this plan for Brookwood Farm and having met with those responsible (see below) we have been able to compose a letter to Woking Borough Council in objection to the proposal as it stands. The letter details what we have been able to identify as technically deficient or sub-standard, poor planning or incorrect assumptions, or not in keeping with planning policy. It includes issues raised by residents that contacted us and accounts for changes in planning regulation and adds a caveat that we may want to add further comments at a later date. Those wishing to view the letter can do so by clicking here or on the letter to the right.

12/4/12

Members of the KRA committee have met with representatives from Cala Homes and their consultants who carried out the transport assessment. The meeting was constructive and clarified a number of points.

The first point to make is that the transport expert agreed with what the KRA have been saying for months the A322 ‘Bagshot Road’ IS CONGESTED. The attention turns to Surrey Highways to see what suggestions they are going to come forward with to ease the situation or limit the size of any development that has new traffic joining this congested road.

AIR QUALITY CONCERNS
If you have been on WBC web site and read some of the detailed reports attached to the planning application, well worth a visit,  there does not appear to be an air quality report amongst the documents available online; Cala Homes told us that this was because Woking Borough Council did not request one during their pre-application discussions! The KRA consider that this is totally unacceptable, particularly so since the Council’s own validation checklists identifies the need for such a report where a …. proposal is likely to have an adverse effect on the quality of the air”. That is most certainly the case with this development, as confirmed by Cala’s own Transport Assessment which demonstrates that the proposed traffic management system will result in significant, additional traffic delays. As such, the impact of exhaust emissions from an increased number of stationery vehicles simply cannot be ignored. Congested or slow moving traffic significantly adds to air pollution and Bagshot Road is already listed as an area with poor air quality.

 

The KRA have written to WBC pointing out this omission and believe that the  application can not progress until a study on the impact that the Brookwood Farm development would have on the air quality in the vicinity of Bagshot Road.

You CAN still submit your comments

WBC will still accept comments from residents although the official public consultation period is closed. Write to developmentcontrol@woking.gov.uk the heading for your email should be PLAN/2012/0224 BROOKWOOD FARM DEVELOPMENT. Also copy your local Councillor in on your message.

Traffic Management

That the A322 is congested is not is dispute; the way in which proposed or estimated increased levels of traffic will be managed has been put forward as a ‘traffic management system’. If I have understood this correctly, then sensors would be placed near the Brookwood lights and along Bagshot Road near Redding Way; as the sensor detects queuing approaching Redding Way then those lights are turned red to prevent further build up of traffic, especially across the junction. This allows those exiting Redding Way a clear exit which is not currently the case at peak hours. Brookwood junction lights are then turned green to clear that junction and subsequently allow further flow down Bagshot Road. The upshot is that you will end up with two medium queues in place of one long and one short but it should maintain a clear junction with no net increase in delay other than that introduced by increased traffic.

We should also note that the traffic assessment has accounted for the proposed expansion of Sainsbury’s store at Redding Way and an estimated annual increase in cars; it has not accounted for proposed developments in Deepcut, Pirbright or the potential for development at the site of the Fox Garage. When considered by SCC, they noted what they considered to be a low estimate of additional traffic and have asked for a reviewed set of figures to be submitted.

4/4/12 KRA / Cala meeting scheduled

We have now pencilled in the date where representatives of Cala and the residents’ association can go through the plans and transport analysis. As we have been from the concept stages of this project, we shall be questioning the processes used and ensuring, as far as we can, that regulatory process is applied rigorously. We have attended all consultation events and entered into frequent communication with Cala so that we may see how plans are keeping in line with promises made.

 

2/4/12 Cala newsletter pending

Expect some newsletters through the post from Cala in the hear future! I’ve just received the following email from their communications agent:

“Dear Sir or Madam,

 Proposals for Brookwood Farm

Since the third event in September last year, the team has undertaken a full analysis of all comments received, as well as further technical work to support the proposals, and a planning application has now been submitted to Woking Borough Council.

The attached newsletter will provide you with an overview of changes that have been made since the event in September, full details of the submitted proposals, and responses to some of the common concerns following the third event.

More than 2,000 newsletters will be sent out in the next week to the local community, so you may also receive a paper copy in the post.

Should you require any additional information or have any further questions, you can contact a member of the project team, using the details listed in the newsletter.

Kind regards,

Rebecca Parish

For and on behalf of CALA Homes”

For those interested, the newsletter is attached here

1/4/12 Meeting accepted

We have heard back from the agents of Cala Homes who have ACCEPTED to meet with us to go through their plans. High on the agenda will be to go through the transport analysis (134 pages of it…) and we have specifically requested a transport expert to attend.

For those of you as concerned as we are about school places, we had Tim Hall as guest speaker at our recent AGM; he was both helpful and as informative as he could be without having made a study of the development plans. He did confirm however that it is down to Woking Borough Council to assess school places as a part of the planning process so we shall also be asking WBC to comment.

28/3/12 Independent petition launched

A quick update on the story – it seems that the news of the planning application is spreading like wildfire throughout the area and beyond. With other developments in Deepcut and Pirbright, residents are rightly very concerned about the state of the roads and area as a whole. It seems the subject raises some exceptionally passionate debate in the village with one resident, Jackie Barney, having created a new petition, aiming for at least 1000 signatories, against the Cala Homes project, which you can find at http://www.thepetitionsite.com/793/086/998/say-no-to-brookwood-farm-development/ . We commend the creation of the petition by Jackie as we as a body are not in a position to do so and no-one else thought to. Oddly, while the petition is being signed, not many are logging in to the council site to lodge formal objections which are required to carry real weight in the application process so the residents’ association would urge those concerned to use the WBC planning portal to lodge objections they see fit.

The KRA have contacted Cala Homes in order to take them up on an offer they made for a post application meeting. During the meeting, if accepted, we will want to go through the transport report and get their opinion on several other topics.

23/3/12 Planning submitted

We all knew it was coming and now it’s confirmed as the application described as ‘Erection of 297 No dwellings with open space, sports pitches, ancillary building and facilities, allotments, access road, car parking and landscaping’ has formally been submitted to the planning office.

If the link above doesn’t work (the planning software at WBC can be twitchy!) the plan is number PLAN/2012/0224

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About Author

Andy is a business systems and operations consultant for The Business Delicatessen and has helped the KRA over several years. He is former editor of the magazine and also runs Fat Crow Design.

7 Comments

  1. Hi,

    Whilst the petition will be useful to see the significant public objection to the planning application, it is my understanding that Woking Borough Council will only consider the petition as ‘one’ letter of objection.

    If people wish to object and have their voice heard they should so so either through

    http://www.woking.gov.uk/planning/publicaccess

    or by emailing their objection to:

    developmentcontrol@woking.gov.uk

    quoting the planning app ref PLAN/2012/0224

  2. Is there any truth in the matter that Woking Borough Council have a hole in their budget due to the £44m spend on the Hoe Valley Project? Cllr John Kingsbury said the project was delivered on time and on budget. But is it fair Knaphill has to fit the bill?

  3. Our understanding is that Woking Borough Council took out a loan to pay for the Hoe Valley project and money the Council receive following the devlopment of Brookwood Farm will go to pay of that loan. How much the loan was for and how much of the money Woking will receive from Cala Homes is unknown.

  4. In addition to the money that Woking Borough Council will receive from Cala Homes, they also stand to receive £2 million, over six years, from the Government’s New Homes Bonus (as indicated in the Cala Homes News letter). Therefore, the WBC has an invested interest in approving the Cala Homes scheme.

    It is important to ensure that all regulatory procedures are followed to the letter and that no “fast tracking” or “shortcuts” are taken during the planning application process.

    One of the key concerns raised by local residents is the increased volume of traffic in the area and the inability of the local infrastructure to cope with this increase. Therefore, the recent rubber stamping of other schemes in the area, without raising objections, by the Surrey Highways Authority (as previously noted on this website: http://knaphill.org/2012/02/almond-villas-site/), is particularly worrisome.

    Local Councillors should ensure that all relevant departments/authorities/agencies, whether for schools, transport, environment etc should be made to give the proposed scheme the full attention it requires during the planning application process.

  5. One interesting point on traffic is that when the Council discussed the building of the twelve house that have recently been occupied on Brookwood Farm Surrey Highways informed the Council that they planned to make the T junction with Redding Way into a full crossroads. Surrey Highways stated that by going from the current T junction to a full crossroads it would slow down the traffic flow across that junction. The benefit of installing the fourth arm of traffic lights would mean that the new junction could cope with traffic from 200 dwellings on the Brookwood Farm site. This application is for 297 plus the 12 that have already been built makes over 300. Lets see how Surrey Highways will answer that point.

  6. Good work KRA! Respect

    Has anyone focused on the conflict of interest?

    I heared that the sale of land from Woking Council to CALA will only take place if approval is given which must run into several Milion £££!!!!! Woking Council would also get even more money from Govvie New House Bonus scheme.

    Can the residents of Knaphill really expect a fair decision given the money involved!!!!

    I think in any other situation this would be seen as Major Conflict of Interest!

    I heared this down the pub has anyone looked if its true?

  7. You are corect, Woking Borough Council will make a considerable sum of money from the sale of land at Brookwood Farm. The amount of money from the sale of the land will be determined after planning permission has been granted. So th size and the number of dwellings is important because it will determine the price. We understand that the majority of the money from the sale of the land will go to payoff loans that were taken out on projects in other parts of the Borough.

    On the money from New House Bonus scheme Woking Borough Council do not ring fence that money and again it could go to projects in other parts of the Borough.

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