We have continued getting involved with local councillors and council bodies; our secretary, Phil Stubbs, attended the SCC Local Committee meeting and has produced this update for you. Whatever happens, KEEP sending in letters and objections to WBC and SCC Highways, your local councillors and MP Jonathan Lord.
- Bagshot Road is trying to operate at traffic levels well beyond the design of the road especially at Brookwood Crossroads.
- In the 1990’s it was shown that the amount of traffic on the A322 warranted a bypass. A bypass that was planned but cancelled on the grounds of cost. It was the planned bypass that opened up Brookwood Farm for development.
- There has been a total lack of real community consultation over the proposed pedestrian access at the north of the site.
- Natural England has reported that they have no objection to the proposed development and the plans to offer an alternative green area in Brookwood Country Park.
- All local primary schools are full and for 2012 over 25% of parents failed to get their first preference for admission of their children into local schools.
- There remains outstanding work on GP coverage and the impact the increased traffic from the development will have on the air quality.
There are two major issues on the road network and the impact the Farm development will have on the infrastructure. The first is the overall impact vehicles serving 300 dwellings will have on the already congested A322 (Bagshot Road). The developer states that their proposed traffic management plans will ease the flow of traffic on the A322 but there remains a difference of opinion between the developer and Surrey Highways Agency on the effectiveness of the proposed scheme.
Surrey Highways should not take a gamble on an untested road management system. It is the residents who will have to live with consequences if the system fails.
Before writing their final report Surrey County Highways must take into account other developments along the A322 corridor. Building has started on the old Vauxhall site in Bisley (Fox garage); the Fox pub site is on sale as development land. Pirbright Camp is to house a full regiment.
Surrey Highways Authority are arguing that new residents who will be living in the northern part of the Farm development will need a new footpath so that they can access bus services from the A322 and access to the local schools without having to walk down the spine of the state and exit at the Redding Way junction.
The proposal is for a new footpath to enter the estate close to Grindle Handle Corner. The KRA understand that Cala Homes have argued against this proposal and it is opposed by residents who live in that area. There is also the question of the impact a new public right of way would have on Bisley Common.
Natural England has stated that they have no objections to the proposed development. Natural England is responsible for checking that nationally protected areas like Thames Basin Heath on Sheets Heath are not seriously disturbed. To counter any development close to a protected area the developer and local authority have to provide suitable alternative natural green space and Natural England have stated that WBC’s plans for Brookwood Country Park meets that criteria.
Surrey Education Authority has confirmed that all local schools are oversubscribed. To help alleviate the problem two new classrooms are to be built at St. Johns School in Victoria Road. In the case of the Knaphill Junior and Knaphill Lower schools Surrey Education Authority have confirmed that there is no room for any significant expansion within the current school boundaries. In the case of the schools at Bisley, Brookwood and Pirbright the Ministry of Defence have stated that a regiment currently based in Cyprus is to be relocated to Pirbright barracks and therefore these two schools will be full. In fact Surrey Education have been informed that there will be a requirement for the County Authority to find 200 school places for the children coming over from Cyprus with the regiment.
Woking’s secondary schools are also overs subscribed.
So what does this mean? First parents are going to have limited choice in the school their children will attend and it is likely that many children starting at primary school will fail to gain admittance to their nearest school. The above will lead to more traffic carrying children to and from schools. This latter point must be taken into consideration by Surrey Highways.
The question of GP coverage has yet to be addressed and the KRA will shortly make contact with Surrey County Council and Surrey NHS to look at current GP coverage and what plans are being put in place to increase surgery facilities.
WHAT CAN YOU DO
All those opposed to the current plans for Brookwood Farm should keep up the pressure on local Councillors and our MP. We should not underestimate the impact that 200+ new families will have on local facilities such as schools and GP coverage plus the increased congestion on the A322. Neither Surrey County Council nor Woking Borough Council has any plans to improve local facilities and the Highways Authority has no plans to significantly improve the flow of traffic along the A322 or the A324.
This is the wrong time to open up Brookwood Farm for development and it should be postponed until the various authorities have come up with concrete plans to improve the provision of school places and GP coverage plus there has been a full assessment of all developments along the A322 and A324 corridors and the plans for a bypass are revisited.