What is the future of the ‘Almond Villa’ site?

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What is the future of the land locally known as Almond Villa, at 31-33 Broadway, Knaphill?
It has been a village “‘eyesore” for many years; things seem to go quiet for a while and then every few years the topic resurfaces and there is talk about the potential development of the site.

The original house and garden belonged to the Brookwood Hospital. In 2007 WBC’s Planning Department granted permission for the building to be demolish and for the erection of a new ‘Care Home’  (PLAN/2006/1092), but no action was taken and the building was allowed to fall into disrepair.  In March 2009 vandals gained access to the site, started a fire and made the property even more ‘unsafe’, so it was demolished. Local residents have had the joy of looking at the boarded up site and the collection of litter scattered around it ever since.

Things have been quiet during the rest of 2009 and into 2010, but in October last year WBC received a new Planning Application, from The Surrey Primary Care Trust  (PLAN/2010/0971): ‘Outline application seeking means of access only for 10 dwellings (8 x two bed houses and 2 x three bed houses)’ . The Application was refused “on grounds that it had not been demonstrated that the site could adequately accommodate 10 units of this size without resulting in an overdevelopment of the site and the provision of an inadequate residential environment for its proposed occupiers”. So nothing is likely to happen now, but the site is clearly being looked at for future development, and the current focus seems to be for housing rather than as a ‘Care Home’.

‘Almond Villa, like the ‘Old Library Site’ is one of the scruffier parts of Knaphill village; locals can look to the future and hope that the sites will be improved and made more attractive. But what is the old saying….”Be careful what you wish for.”……When the plans for these two “eyesores” are discussed by Woking Borough Council,  Surrey County Council, The Primary Care Trust (if that is still existence at that time) and other interested parties….let us hope that they properly consult local people so that whatever is developed on these sites there can be provision for community space and clear benefit for those who live and work in the village.

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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.

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