Parking Consultation

Back in February, I blogged about possible parking changes that residents and businesses had proposed. These changes had been submitted to SCC in December and officers had drawn up some maps:

I promised I’d publish the consultation details when I knew them which I’m doing here. It’s worth noting that I’ve not been notified of the consultation directly, and I had to get a flyer that had been pushed through the door of Sean the baker. Luckily I popped in there this afternoon.

The formal proposed changes can be viewed here: Work your way through the site and our division is Woking South West. Please read it fully so you understand what is being proposed.

You can also view the proposals at the following locations:

  • Woking Borough Council Civic Offices.
  • Surrey County Council, Quadrant Court, Woking, GU22 7QQ.
  • Woking Library.
  • West Byfleet Library.
  • Knaphill Post Office.

The consultation dates run from today through to 1 September 2017.

You can respond to the consultation by either following the SCC link above, or writing to the following address:

Mr David Curl, Parking Team Manager, Hazel House, Merrow Lane, Guildford, GU4 7BQ.

As usual, if you have a view, you need to respond to the consultation. I’m also happy to meet up with anyone that wishes to have a chat.




A322 Corridor Consultation (Brookwood Crossroads)

WBC have published today the proposals for the A322 corridor changes that I have been requesting for the past few years. Further details can be found here: Consultation Details

WBC are also hosting two public drop-in events at The Vyne Centre in Knaphill, where people can discuss the proposals with the highway engineers. No booking is required.

  • Thursday 20 July, 4pm to 7pm
  • Saturday 22 July, 10am to 12.30pm

The Vyne Centre for the Community, Broadway, Knaphill, Woking, GU21 2SP.

I’m a bit miffed that there is no effort to bring the roadshow to Brookwood as I requested and I have taken that up with officers.

There is a an online form that can be used to submit a response: Consultation Form

As Brookwood Crossroads is part of this, I urge you to have your say and follow the links above. The consultation ends on Monday 31 July 2017.



Selfish Parking

I often get complaints from people about selfish parking by parents picking up children from the school. It’s very difficult to do much about it as these selfish people really couldn’t care less about anyone and their priority is to save themselves a few seconds of time. WBC has a school rota whereby officers go round all the schools stopping people from parking in such a way that others have to put themselves in danger to pass.

Classic point is the selfishly parked car below, forcing people to either walk in the road, or duck down under a tree. I have of course, reported this vehicle to Mrs Green, the Police and WBC officers. I did contemplate blanking out the index plate, but then decided not to waste further time on it.


Utter disgrace.



Meadows & Country Park

I’ve found out a little more about the Meadows; it would appear that a care home operator has acquired the site. The conclusion I draw is the obvious one; they intend on building a care home.

I’ve no idea why the path across the new country park hasn’t been done yet. I was assured it was going to have started by the end of May. I have sought an answer.

Control of the country park hasn’t yet been vested in WBC and at this stage, they are thinking of what to call it. I think the working title is Brookwood Farm Country Park. On the basis that the Brookwood Farm housing estate isn’t in Brookwood or Heathlands and the country park is, I think the name is inappropriate. Brookwood Country Park (the obvious choice) is already used in Knaphill on the other side of the A322, so that is ruled out.

WBC have asked the Brookwood and Bridley Neighbourhood Forum for some ideas. To that end, at the Brookwood School Fayre next Saturday, representatives of the BBNF will be on hand with a couple of surveys, one of which is asking for possible names and gauging popularity of various potential  names. Pop along and give your view.



The Meadows and the Wessons Site

The Meadows is the old NHS building between the Esso garage and The Nags Head. It’s been unused for about three years. It’s become an urban exploring site for some, a hang out for others, a place to rob the copper piping of, and a site to vandalise for no reason by the unscrupulous.

I have, in the past, asked WBC if there was any chance it could be acquired and turned into key worker accommodation or flats for young people to rent. It’s finally been acquired and the boarding has been put up in preparation for development.

What I do know is that WBC haven’t acquired the site, and so I don’t have a clue who has bought it or what they intend on doing with it. We shall have to wait and see what sort of planning application comes forward.

Incidentally, it is officially in the Knaphill ward and not Heathlands so I don’t have much, if any influence. It used to be in the old Brookwood ward and is not in the Brookwood and Bridley Neighbourhood Area.

Some of you will remember the controversy around the Wessons site about three years ago.  As I’m sure many of you will be aware, the former Wessons site has been a blot on the village for many years. It was the most contaminated site in Woking Borough and the pollution it created was deadly to wildlife and a significant inconvenience and health hazard to nearby residents. A developer came forward with a proposal to remediate it but there was a penalty the village would need to accept.

People have been concerned about the height of the development and that it is too high. I look at it, and can see why people think that, especially when viewed from Sheets Heath Lane. What I’ve done is ask the Planning Enforcement team to check the development is following the agreed plans, which I can confirm they are. I’ve also looked into whether the contamination problem has been resolved.

For those of you unaware of the issues caused by the site, during the lifetime of the yard, creosote had been allowed to seep into the ground. This in turn entered the groundwater which caused localised environmental damage.

Due to the heavy clay soil conditions, and the length of time that the contamination had taken place, remediation of the ground would be difficult. However, by taking a pioneering approach to the remediation, a solution was found. This involved mixing the contaminated soil with a binding agent that would ‘lock in’ the contaminants which created an impermeable barrier that has stopped any further leakage into the watercourse.

Since remediation of the land, the Council has not received any reports of contamination. Tests has shown that it is not leaching out and the subsurface has been used as part of the foundation for the new building.

Following the successful remediation of the Wessons site, this process has been used across the country, ensuring historic contamination issues don’t continue to pose a risk to local residents and the wider environment; nor blight the future use and sale of the land. I find this quite satisfying, knowing the process was first used in Brookwood.



Coblands Site

I’ve been appraised of what officers think makes the Coblands site viable, given the improvements I wish to see to the crossroads, and the opportunity to implement a local first policy on the properties. The three most important issues that residents have communicated to me over the past few years are physical restrictions on the size of the Traveller site, improvements to Brookwood Crossroads, and houses for local people. This development would not get my support unless I could go back to residents and say we’ve achieved those aims.

The draft site plan which I believe will be submitted as a planning application is for 126 houses / apartments. This is fewer than the 140 I was originally told it might need to be which means the lobbying I’ve done has had a positive effect. The bulk of these properties have 2 bedrooms, a significant number have 1 bedroom, about six with 3 bedrooms and three with 4 bedrooms. 60% of the 126 will have a local first policy which is good news for young people in Brookwood or those with a strong connection to Brookwood, together with anyone that wishes to free up their much larger property by downsizing. This local first policy is one I hope to see properly developed and rolled out across the borough.

I’m going to outline what I think people will be concerned about and what I’ve done to try and mitigate those problems.

Automatically people will be concerned about the additional traffic. To a point, I agree, but I think the improvements to the crossroads will in the main stop the crossroads becoming any worse and will in fact improve throughput. It’s predicted that at least an additional ten cars westerly, and seven cars easterly will get through the crossroads on each cycle. The Coblands site isn’t going to produce that many cars every three minutes. In fact, SCC have laughably stated that it won’t make a material difference to the crossroads, but they conveniently ignore the cumulative effect of development over time which has had a material impact and as far as I’m concerned, we now have reached critical mass and something has to be done. Developing Coblands creates the funds necessary to achieve this.

I hope some young people from Brookwood will move out of their parental houses and move to this site. Where I live in West Hill Close, six out of the ten houses have adult children living with them. If some of these people move to Coblands, they are not going to add to the traffic as they already use the roads, and it may help with some of the on-street parking issues in Brookwood.

As the number of young families fall in the village, simply because they are unable to afford to live here, so do the number of children from the village attending the school. This means that to keep the school viable, children come in from the surrounding areas, frequently being driven in. More children living at Coblands will hopefully allow for a higher concentration of Brookwood children using the school which assuming the parents walk rather than drive, will assist with the overall traffic issues.

The amount of parking contained on site is very much debatable as to whether it will be sufficient. I simply don’t know whether it will be enough or not, but I have responded to the Parking Standards SPD consultation raising that very issue. I’m aware the BBNF have also raised a similar issue. I have asked for dedicated motorcycle bays with anchor points to be provided and I’m assured they will be. I strongly believe that motorcycles are part of the solution to congestion rather than part of the problem. I am on the Local Development Framework committee this year and will be influential in pushing these kind of issues as subsequent WBC policy is developed.

I accept that some local services, like Doctor’s surgeries might see a slight increase in use because of this, but I’m not convinced it will make a substantial difference.

The blocks of apartments will be three storeys. This has been reduced from four as I made it very clear that I would oppose the entire development if there were any four storey buildings. Brookwood is a village and the highest buildings are officially two and a half and if this development was along the length of Connaught Road it would be totally unacceptable, even with three storeys. My work with the BBNF has been driving forward towards an emerging Neighbourhood Plan which states a maximum of two and a half storeys for Brookwood village along Connaught Road and its off-shoots.

I’m slightly disappointed there are no bungalows, however bungalows tend to be a poor use of land, hence their high values. What the BBNF and I have done, is create an emerging policy to protect the existing bungalow stock in Brookwood village, making it harder for developers to demolish any bungalows and build houses instead.

Assuming the Traveller site is physically constrained, the crossroads are improved and a local first policy is implemented, I will be supporting this when it comes through as I believe it to be in the best interests of the majority of residents in Brookwood, especially the next generation. I accept that you may not agree with it as it doesn’t benefit you.

I’m very happy to talk to anyone that wishes to raise any points with me as there may be stuff I’ve not thought of which I need to pick up with officers, please contact me through the usual channels.



Coblands, Path and Parking Standards SPD

Nothing exciting to report on Coblands. If you’ve been past there recently then you know that steps have been taken to fully secure the site.

I have been informed that the expected planning application will be in by the end of June and that as a large development, it will have a target decision time frame of 13 weeks. As soon as it goes live I shall put the link here. It will go to Planning Committee, probably either September or October.

One of my key goals and something I’ve been pressuring people on is the make up of what ends up there. Still nothing is set in stone, but it will be a development of primarily one and two bedroom apartments and houses, with a few three bedroom houses added in. There will be a local first policy on everything that remains controlled by WBC / Thameswey indefinitely.

I am still lobbying certain key people as this is slight deviation from normal policy which I hope will become standard policy across the whole borough.

40% of the dwellings will be sold at market value. This funds the improvements to Brookwood Crossroads and subsidises the delivery of the affordable dwellings.

40% of the dwellings will be affordable to rent at a level of around 60% – 95% of market rate following WBC’s standard policies.

20% will be classed as affordable but sold at a discount to local people with protections in place to ensure they stay classified that way.

Getting 60% odd reserved for local people first is a major achievement and the 20% at an affordable to buy for local people is a first in Woking.

I accept some people will be opposed to it, but I hope the majority will see this as delivering good improvements to Brookwood, real benefit to the residents of the Brookwood and Bridley Neighbourhood Area and I hope people support it.

A kick-off meeting of WBC officers will be held next week with Cala Homes to thrash out the final details of the new path across the new Country Park. Work will have begun by the end of May, and may well start sooner. The path surface will be the same at the bonded canal path.

I have submitted my representations to the Planning Policy team regarding the Parking Standards exactly as written previously in this blog. Thank you to those residents that have provided input. Don’t forget you are free to respond yourselves at: . You have another week.

That’s it, cheers.