Calling Sheet’s Heath Volunteers

Sheet’s Heath, together with Brookwood Heath, Prey Heath and Smarts Heath are some of the last pristine, unmolested countryside in Woking. All of them are located in the Heathlands ward.

For those with time and a desire to maintain this habitat, a volunteer session is being run next Monday to prepare the heath for the summer growing period. Please see below for more details.

Kind regards,


Electric Vehicle Parking, Heath Drive

It’s not always easy trying to keep up with everything going on in the Brookwood, particularly when it is led by SCC rather than WBC. I was surprised last night on my way to the Club to see that parking was suspended on Connaught Road by the terrace opposite the Club and in Heath Drive for the purposes of installing on street EV charging points.

Two years ago I was talking to officers about where in Brookwood a pilot could be run to test systems and see what worked. At the time, it required a minimum of four bays to be converted as the costs didn’t work for fewer than that. I resisted the changes because people I spoke with were none too keen on losing four bays as petrol / diesel engine cars are banned from these bays.

The proposals here are for four bays at the entrance to Heath Drive. These will be EV only between the hours of 08:30 to 18:00, Monday to Saturday with a maximum stay of two hours. Outside of these hours I assume it is the usual free for all and anything may be parked there providing it is legal. The image below should help you get an idea of what and where this is happening.

Straightaway I can see problems, however what SCC have done is begin a consultation process which as usual, has been badly advertised. That consultation started two days ago and runs until March 2nd and is your chance to have your say.

Where I’m more than a bit concerned is that it appears that some works are happening now / this week. I assume it is putting in the infrastructure to support these charging points. Of course, this is before the consultation has even really started. This instantly smacks of a done deal and that the consultation really is a box ticking exercise which is very frustrating.

I don’t have a problem with EVs and they are certainly part of the solution with regard to localised air pollution. I’m not convinced that their overall impact on the environment is less than an equivalent hybrid / petrol car when considering the lifecycle of manufacture through to scrapping. My concern here is that these bays will have a wider impact on what is already a nightmare parking spot and whilst the intent is good, I’m concerned by the number of bays, and the hours of operation.

I’m going to write to our County Councillor and find out what is going on as well as the Portfolio Holder for the environment at WBC as I expect he was consulted. In the meantime may I suggest you have a think about the ramifications of the above and if it affects you then please submit comments via the consultation:

Kind regards,


Railway Station

Last week I met up with my contact in South Western Railways to run through the issues the railway station presents to Brookwood residents. He brought along a railway engineer with him as well which was very handy.

I’ve always viewed the railway station as fantastic piece of the history of Brookwood having opened in 1864. It’s bothered me that the railway companies have shown little respect to the history of the station when they have made modifications. Finding out a heritage team exists and that they can advise on improvements is good news now I’m aware of it.

There are about to be some refurbishment works to bring the platform one waiting room up to more modern standards with significant regard paid to environmental efficiency. This will see new lighting and heating put in. There’s also a chance to have a display of the stations’s heritage and its links to the cemetery installed round the same time and we’re looking into that.

We talked about the access challenges for people with mobility problems and people with push chairs when using platform two. The unsatisfactory argument at the moment is that passengers should use platform one to get on and off trains, and travel via Woking or Farnborough to use a lift depending on which direction you are heading. I’ve always found this wrong as it adds at least 40 minutes to journey times.

One of the challenges has been getting funding. In 2017/2018 the station served over a million passengers for the first time. There was a slight increase in 2018/2019, and then of course, Covid hit and less than a fifth of those totals used the station in 2020/2021. The most recent figures have seen passengers increase back over half a million, but it is still a long way short of past use.

Funding is complicated and I know the station isn’t in the current round of funding up towards the end of this decade. I believe it now needs to be pushed / lobbied by the local MP to gain traction and so it is my intention to have a discussion with Jonathan Lord MP and see what we might be able to achieve.

There used to be a weird noise by the car park behind the accountants that drove one or two residents mad. We believe this was the ANPR system and I reported it at the time; it wasn’t noisy when we checked it out this time.

SWR have a programme of works to install defibrillators at stations or signpost people to alternative ones if they are close by. I pointed out that there was one on the wall of Brookwood Club and they are investigating whether to install one themselves or just signpost to the Club.

There might also be a good bit of news for the residents along Connaught Road that have to live with the extended car park at the end of their gardens. When the new level was built, it shut out the natural light to the laurels growing there and it has caused significant light pollution, particularly late at night with car head lamps pointing directly into bedrooms. I’ve banged my head against a brick wall on this now for four years, but the engineer fellow that joined us offered up a potential solution of a low running barrier that would stop much of the light. There is nothing guaranteed here yet, but I feel a massive step in the right direction has been taken as at least SWR are talking about what could be done rather than their previous stance that there wasn’t anything they could do.

I’ve worked hard to keep good relations with SWR and I think we have achieved some good things there and I look forward to continuing that to try and make the station a good neighbour of the village.


Crossroads and Hermitage Bridge

There will be some disruption during the day on Monday 14th at Brookwood Crossroads while the drains are examined and cleared. It’s scheduled between 10:00 to 16:00. The task is list is as follows:

  1. Remove the stuck jetting hose from the system,
  2. Jet and plot to understand where the three gullies are routed, and if there are any issues with the system and whether it links into the Thames Water system that crosses the crossroad junction heading Brookwood Lye Road, and
  3. Clean and jet all other gullies around the junction.

This is good news as there is much flooding around here.

This leads nicely on to the Hermitage Bridge which will be closed for up to six weeks, also from Monday. I think the footway will also be closed and that might cause major delays for pedestrians as the walking diversion will have to be 40 plus minutes. The notice isn’t clear.

The closure is to enable maintenance works to be performed. The works description is as follows: Brickwork repairs, painting, replacement of corroded rivets on bridge structure, strengthen of edge member on the towpath span, graffiti removal steelwork repainting on corroded areas.

I imagine most Brookwood residents, including me will drive on down there forgetting the bridge is closed and will then be left with an annoying choice.

Kind regards,


Brookwood Lye Road Petition

The Brookwood Village Association has launched a petition regarding Brookwood Lye Road calling for the widely consulted schemes, including the roads and affordable housing proposals to be fully implemented.

They have sought my advice and I have helped with some of the process related aspects of the petition.

I’m very pleased to see this and I fully support it as despite my efforts I’ve not been able to get Brookwood Lye completed as we in Brookwood and those people currently living there deserve. It’s gone on far too long. I believe, with the weight of Brookwood and other villages calling for this, we will hopefully reach a successful conclusion.

An online e-petition has been launched, and I do believe a paper version will be available locally for those that prefer to use that medium, although I’ve not been made aware of exactly where yet.

The e-petition may be found here.


Brookwood Lye Road Update

Since I was first elected in 2012, I have been trying to get improvements to the crossroads, the Traveller site regularised, and decent affordable housing on the rest of the Brookwood Lye Road site.

In 2017, highway plans were presented as part of a road show that many people attended that made Connaught Road two lanes exiting Brookwood and Brookwood Lye Road three lanes entering the crossroads. You can read my post about it here:

I have also been working on plans to get the Traveller site regularised and in 2020, finally a planning application came forward to create 19 pitches effectively in the back garden of the bungalow down Brookwood Lye Road. I supported it at the Planning Committee in February 2021 and it was successfully passed. My post about it is here:

A few weeks later, a new plan for the housing was submitted which I thought was really good, was an imaginative little area of mainly two and three bedroomed homes and would deliver the housing we need locally. A roadshow was arranged and it was enthusiastically received by the residents of Brookwood. I wrote about it here, and included a map of the plan:

Since then I have quietly continued to push for a conclusion that delivers the road improvements, the decent Traveller accommodation, and the 128 houses / flats that Woking so desperately needs.

I found out very recently that Woking Borough Council has decided to take a different path and abandon all the work previously done. There are a number of reasons for this, but principally it is due to the WBC’s planning department choosing to not enforce the infringements of planning law at the Traveller site.

The new proposals will see the Traveller site physically expanded by at least 100%, probably to around 50 pitches. This is being done by a sleight of hand by classing the new area, not as a Traveller site, but as ‘park homes’. The park homes will be managed by the current owner of the Traveller site and it seems only the officers of the Council and senior Members of the Council believe that they won’t become transit pitches for Travellers and contribute nothing to the desperate housing needs of Woking residents.

In addition, there will be insufficient land left to develop the 128 houses, and this will now be reduced to around 60, probably none of which will be affordable.

Finally, just to top it all, none of the highway improvements will be coming forward.

To summarise, the proposals are for the Traveller site to be at least doubled in size, less than half the housing will be built and there will be no improvements to the crossroads. No one has been consulted, asked their opinions or anything.

To say I’m devastated is an understatement. I live yards from the crossroads and have spent ten years doing everything I can to get this turned into a nice area Brookwood could be proud of, sadly, the Council has other ideas and is choosing to pursue a route that will lead to less decent housing, worse congestion and almost certain increased social issues for the residents and businesses of Brookwood to put up with, all without asking anyone or caring if that is what they want.

There are no concrete plans yet, only proposals, so using the usual channels, please let me know what you think so I can make sure the Council understands Brookwood’s views.


South Western Railway Customer and Communities Improvement Fund

South Western Railway have just opened up their Customer and Communities Improvement Fund (CCIF) to new applications.

CCIF is South Western Railway’s programme to support projects that have a community benefit or address an area of social need across their network.

CCIF is intended to support small and medium-sized projects which can be completed over the course of the year.

For more information click this link.

Kind regards,


Brookwood Lye Woods

Some of you may have noticed clearing works being undertaken on the woods down the Brookwood Lye Road. This land is owned by Surrey Wildlife Trust and has a blanket TPO on it.

Having checked this out with officers I can confirm that there is nothing to worry about here and include below a statement from SWT regarding the works:

‘Network rail sought permission from us to access their embankment to undertake essential work, this was originally planned 12 months ago and has now started.

They are clearing a pre existing access track, removing bramble and fallen trees primarily, they have ecologists on site supervising the work! There is a felling licence in place and we have an on going thinning program with Merrist Wood College for this woodland area, in line with the site management plan and approved by the Woking Borough Council Tree Officer’.

Kind regards,


Connaught Road Closure

A copy and paste from a SCC Highways email I’ve received. Overall, it looks like one day of disruption for the residents of Brookwood. As soon as I know when that will be, I’ll make it known, but it will be anytime from June. The map below gives a visual overview of the closed bit and the proposed diversion.

‘The Surrey County Council Connaught Road (A324) Brookwood Temporary Prohibition of Traffic Order 2022

Surrey County Council propose to make the above-mentioned Temporary Order under Section 14(1) of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984, the effect of which will be to prohibit vehicles from entering or proceeding in that length of Connaught Road (A324) Brookwood as extends from its junction with (A322) Bagshot Road and (A324) Brookwood Lye Road to its junction with (D3601) West Hill Close. Alternative Route – Connaught Road; Bisley Camp Road; Queens Road; and A322 Guildford Road/Bagshot Road or this same route in reverse.

The Order is required to facilitate telecoms pole replacement and/or new pole installation and/or cabling and/or utility maintenance works to be carried out by, or on behalf of BT Openreach within the length of road described in this notice. These works are anticipated to be carried out over 1 day between the hours of 9.30am and 3.30pm within the 12-month period of operation of this Temporary Traffic Order which commences on 30 May 2022. Advanced warning signs will be displayed, and the temporary closure will only operate when the relevant traffic signs are displayed. Access for pedestrians and dismounted cyclists will be maintained at all times. Vehicular access to premises within the affected length of road including access by emergency vehicles to these properties will be maintained if safe to do, if necessary, via the diversion route. During certain phases of the works, vehicular access to premises may be restricted, when this is the case such restriction of access will apply for no more than eight hours within any 24-hour period’.

Kind regards,