Yes work has started on Brookwood Farm although the planning application has yet to go before the Planning Committee. The work that is under progress is clearing the land next to the A322 Bagshot Road ready for installation of the full crossroads at the junction with Redding Way and an archaeology dig is also being carried out.
A322/Redding Way Junction
Changes for this junction have been discussed over several years and detailed plans were drawn up in 2005 when an application was submitted to build 12 houses on Brookwood Farm. The subject was last raised when the planning application for the extension to Sainsbury’s on Redding Way was before the Planning Committee. My understanding is that Surrey County Council, as the highways agency, already has the authority to go ahead and change this junction from the current T junction to a full crossroads.
The question is why now?
Just to remind everyone SCC Highways stated that this change to the junction will have the general effect of reducing the operational capacity of a junction. Also the design of the new junction can accommodate the traffic movements of about 200 dwellings to remain within the operational capacity of the junction.
It is standard for any development of this size being checked to see if it is of any archaeological importance but the timing of this work is interesting.
As we know there was a high degree on consultation before Cala Homes submitted their planning application and one would have expected that if WBC had any concerns about the history of this site then it would have been carried out prior to Cala Homes committing themselves to the cost of preparing a full planning application with the various specialist reports that were submitted with the actual application form.
We could also understand why a survey would be undertaken during the application determination period (technically that is where we are now), if that was a direct response to a request by the Planning Officer following representations made by local residents or Statutory Consultees. We are unaware that such concerns have been raised, we are sure we would have heard. Of course the KRA are not party to any statutory consultation responses since WBC never publish on their website such documents until after an application has been determined. So much for transparency.
The normal procedure would be for a request from the local authority to a developer to carry out such a dig after planning permission has been agreed and as a condition to build. This would make sense as the developer has been given permission to build and therefore cost of the archaeological dig would not be wasted.
So we come back to the question, why now?
In our opinion the clue to the answer is in the fact that this work started after Cala Homes had submitted their amended plans, amendments that had been incorporated into the original plans following talks with WBC and SCC. So have the authorities given Cala Homes sufficient information for them to believe that the amended plans will be given a favourable tilt when the Planning Officer makes his report and recommendation to the Planning Committee?