Roads, schools, health cover and the Brookwoood Farm Development
In July 2011 Woking Borough Council published their draft Core Strategy, this document is the blueprint for how the Council plan to develop the Borough over the next 15 years.
On 6th September 2011 the KRA were invited to meet with Council Officers to offer comments on the draft. At that meeting we raised two major issues in connection with the Councils planned development of Brookwood Farm; the congestion on Bagshot Road (A322) and the lack of school places in the local primary schools. Although the Council Officers pointed out that WBC were not responsible for either roads or schools, they were the responsibility of the Count Council we take every opportunity to remind them of our concerns.
I offer this background information because when the planning application comes before the Councils Planning Committee the Planning Officer will argue that in recommending acceptance they are only carrying out the plans included in the Core Strategy.
Roads: – There is still major disagreement between the County Authority and Cala Homes over the effectiveness of the traffic management plans that Cala have put forward as mitigation for what will be a significant increase in traffic joining the A322 at Redding Way junction. The data shows that the proposed new crossroads at Redding Way will have to operate at above its design capacity from the conclusion of the house building. Brookwood Crossroads is already having to operate above its design capacity and residents know what problems that brings with regular queuing. How can this be seen as ‘good planning’. The proposed traffic management system is unproven but there is one way that Cala Homes and their engineers could prove that the system will work by installing the traffic management system before they start to build the new estate. In fact WBC’s Core Strategy states that in some cases it may be necessary for infrastructure changes to be put into place before development commences.
Schools: – Surrey County Council has confirmed that there is little room to increase the size of either Knaphill Lower School or Knaphill School and that the Authority are looking for a site for a new school. The Government, in their new Planning Policy Framework, state that there should be a primary school within walking distance of any major development. In this case there is a school within walking distance of Brookwood Farm but it is oversubscribed. Surely Woking Borough Council will check that there are concrete plans in place for a new school before granting any planning permission for development on Brookwood Farm and that money has been made available to build that school.
Health cover: – One area that, so far as we know, WBC have not carried out any investigation is the issue of GP and NHS dentist coverage. The two nearest surgeries to Brookwood Farm are The Vyne, Knaphill and Pirbright. Both surgeries are limiting new families joining their lists and therefore the question that has to be answered is where will the new families have to go get prompt good health care?
There are other issues that the kRA investigating and we plan to keep residents up to date with information as soon as we obtain it. I will conclude this report with another quote from the Councils Core Strategy;
‘The Council will work in partnership with infrastructure service providers and developers to ensure that the infrastructure needed to support development is provided in a timely manner to meet the needs of the community’.
For the KRA the community means the current residents of Knaphill and from what we have seen to date the Council are in a closer partnership with the developer that it is with service providers like the County Council.