BROOKWOOD FARM – KEY PLANNING POINTS
- THE RIGHT TO DEVELOP BROOKWOOD FARM
Brookwood Farm has been agriculture land since the 1800’s but it is not, in a legal sense, part of the Green Belt. The site is one of the safeguarded housing sites as designated in the Local Plan of 1999 and Core Strategy. The safeguarded site lies between the Urban Areas and the Green Belt.
- THE NUMBER OF DWELLINGS
Key to the whole development is the number of dwellings being planned for Brookwood Farm. The size and shape of land available for development is limited on the east by existing housing, Coresbrook Way, to the north by Bisley Common, west Sheets Heath and south the SANG, suitable alternative natural green space.
Cala Homes always maintained that the site could accommodate 297 new dwellings whilst using one road access via Redding Way. Senior representatives of WBC have stated that by converting the current T junction at Bagshot Road/Redding Way into a full crossroads the fourth arm is safe to take vehicles from 400 dwellings on Brookwood Farm.
In the Planning Officers Report for the extension of Sainsbury’s, Redding Way (PLAN/2011/0160) there is the following words:
The recent S278 Highway Act agreement with SCC for a fourth arm on the A322/Redding Way signal junction allows for scenarios of up to 400 dwellings and their associated traffic movements entering the road network from Brookwood Farm from this point.
The key words are scenarios of up to 400 dwellings. If you build 400 one bedroomed dwellings for senior citizens then the traffic flow will be different to that if you built 400 three and four bedroomed family dwellings. A S278 Highways Act Agreement is an agreement where a highway authority may, if they are satisfied it will be of benefit to the public, enter into an agreement with any person and that agreement between the County Highways Authority and Woking Borough Council (WBC) to construct the fourth arm at the Redding Way/Bagshot Road junction.
A far more important document is a Planning Office report dated 20 June 2006 as a response to a planning application from Woking Borough Council, below is an extract from that report.
PLAN/2006/0400 OUTLINE APPLICATION FOR THE ERECTION OF A RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENT ON A 5.82 HECARE SITE, TO INCLUDE A MINIMUM 60% AFFORDABLE HOUSING.
This was an outline application, submitted by WBC was later withdrawn. There are two key comments from Surrey’s Highways Authority:
SCC Highways raise the issue of the impact of likely traffic movements on the highways network. Their considerations are based on an assumed level of development at 30-50dph and indicate that the likely traffic flows from this level of development may have a significant impact. This would result in the requirement to upgrade parts of the highway outside of the site.
It was accepted that the proposed fourth junction arm could accommodate up to about 200 dwellings on the total Brookwood Farm site.
It is noted that the existing main access to the site is designed to accommodate up to 200 dwellings. However, if a greater number of dwellings were to be proposed at the Reserved Matters stage, then that issue could be adequately addressed at that stage. Developers would need to demonstrate that an access serving more than 200 dwellings (across the whole safeguarded site – not just this application site) could be secured. If this is not possible, then development would be limited to 200 dwellings (across the two sites). Similarly the acceptability (or otherwise) of using Sparvell Road as a formal access, as opposed to an emergency access, would then be able to be determined.
The above demonstrates that Cala and WBC’s plan to use a single access road at Redding Way for traffic associated with 309 dwellings was never going to be approved by the County’s Highways Authority.
- INFRASTRUCTURE – ROADSighways Authority
The National Planning Policy Framework and Woking’s Core Strategy state that good infrastructure is an integral part of good planning.
The planning by the developer and the local authorities to manage the impact of traffic going into and out of the proposed development site at Brookwood Farm is somewhere between poor and not existent.
Surrey County Council’s congestion strategy includes the following objectives:
- Improve the reliability of journeys
- Reduce delays for all transport modes on key routes and at congestion hot spots.
- Improve the provisions of journey planning information for travel in Surrey.
Given the above strategic objectives how does the following statement made by Bellamy Roberts in the transport assessment report for Cala Homes stand.
9.23 Overall the traffic impact analysis shows that there will, inevitably be some additional delays and queuing on the signalised junctions near the site. However, the increases are small in the overall context of what is already a congested network.
Basically what Cala Homes are saying to residents of Knaphill is; sorry, if you travel along the Bagshot Road we know your journey to work is subject to queuing and delays and our new housing estate is going to add to your problems.
To mitigate against the increased pressure on the A322 the developer plans to introduce a new traffic management system that will involve linking the traffic lights at Redding Way, Connaught Road and Cemetery Pales with a queuing management system. These controls are planned to prevent queuing back from one junction to another.
How this type of queuing management system will work at a junction like Brookwood Crossroads, where all four roads carry heavy traffic loads throughout the peak travel hours, is unknown and untested.
The following points come from various replies we have received from Surrey’s Highway Authority.
- The proposed traffic management system has not been proven.
- SCC has reservations with Cala’s estimated traffic impacts on the A322/Redding Way and A322/A324/Cemetery Pales traffic light junctions.
Cala’s traffic modelling results showed a lot of additional traffic congestion, which did not well reflect their statements about the development traffic impact. Recently we received revised traffic modelling information and we have provided some immediate feedback, because the same problems seem to persist.
The second sentence in paragraph 38 of the National Planning Policy Framework is as follows: Where practical, particularly within large-scale developments, key facilities such as primary schools and local shops should be located within walking distance of most properties.
We have a proposal that meets part of the above recommendation. A new school is planned to be built for children in the age range 7 to 11. This means that for the majority of families on the new estate the nearest school for children between the ages 4 to 6 will be Knaphill Lower School. Knaphill Lower School is usually over-subscribed and children living in the centre of Knaphill are being allocated places elsewhere including Bisley.
The plan to create a two site primary school in Brookwood could mean that children of families living in the centre of Knaphill will be denied access to Knaphill Lower School.
The location of schools will lead to higher car use as first schools are outside the walking distance of 400m for many families already living in Knaphill and on large parts of the proposed new estate.
To try and hide the facts the addendum to the Transport Assessment by Bellamy Roberts believes that only an additional 5 cars will travel from Connaught Road turning left into Bagshot Road and then left into the new school during the morning rush hour.
- TRAFFIC FLOW FIGURES
The following figures have been produced by Bellamy Roberts for Cala Homes.
The developer believes that traffic going to and from the new school will only impact on the morning peak hours. Morning peak being 0700 – 0900.
School related traffic going from Connaught Road to the new school on Brookwood Farm a total of 5 vehicles.
School related traffic coming out of Brookwood Farm truning right into Bagshot Road and then right into Connaught Road for the Lower School a total of 14 vehicles.
The estimated amount of extra traffic movements brought about by the splitting of Brookwood School during the morning peak is totally unrealistic.
- OVERALL TRAFFIC FIGURES
Brookwood Crossroads (A322/A324 junction). This junction is already trying to operate at well about its design capacity and the developer believes that the development on Brookwood Farm will increase the traffic by 176 vehicles or 8% during the morning peak.
How can an increase of 8% of traffic at an already congested junction meet SCC’s congestion objectives?
The Redding Way junction will see morning peak traffic increase by around 14% but this figure has to be question as Cala Homes only expects the 312 dwellings to produce 93 vehicles leaving the Brookwood Farm development during the morning peak. To that 93 vehicles the developer has added 39 vehicle movements linked to the school traffic. So if the plan was to retain the single access road at Redding Way the developer states that 132 vehicles would have expected to leave the whole development site during the morning peak. With the opening of Sparvell Road that figure is reduced to 78.
Cala’s own figures estimate an additional 209 vehicle movements on the stretch of the A322 that passes through Knaphill during the morning two hour peak travel period.
- SPARVELL ROAD
In December Cala Homes and WBC accepted the need for a second vehicle access to Brookwood Farm. Using the proposed new school building as the reason for a second access road is a smoke screen. Cala Homes got their traffic modelling wrong and under pressure from Surrey County Council had to rerun their figures.
It was stated earlier that back in 2006 it was recognised that a development of this size would require two vehicle access roads and back in 2006 Sparvell Road was identified as the second vehicle access road.
In 2006 Sparvell Road was identified as a second vehicle access road as and when Brookwood Farm was to be developed but no investment has been made to improve the road system around this area of Knaphill.
It is important to stress that traffic leaving Sparvell Road can only turn left and so the additional traffic will have an impact on Chobham Road and very little examination of this side of the infrastructure is included in the reports made available to members of the public.
The developer, Cala Homes, and Woking Borough Council have only been interested in the infrastructure that is directly connected to Brookwood Farm and not the impact this large development will have on the whole community.
The KRA have carried out their own traffic study at Sparvell Road and over two mornings between 07.25 and 08.30 between 69% and 79% of the traffic leaving Sparvell Road turned right into Chobham Road.
WBC and SCC are still developing their implementation programmes that are required to support the development plans included in the Core Strategy.
It is important that the draft discussion paper titled ‘Woking Borough Transport Strategy & Implementation Programme’ was made available to a select few in October 2012. This document should be made available to the public before any decisions are made on Brookwood Farm development.
- THE ALTERNATIVE PLAN
- All development is kept to the north of the Redding Way access road.
- The development to include the new school and dwellings up to a maximum of 200.
- Access from Sparvell Road into the development site is to be restricted to emergency vehicles.
- Surrey County Council and the National Highways Agency seek to find a solution to the problems with the A322 between Knaphill and Cemetery Pales’