At the SCC / WBC Joint Committee on Wednesday two subjects were on the agenda which potentially will affect Brookwood. One was a bit of a shock to me as it went further than I had expected, however, it needs to be stressed that both items are for consultation at this stage, with the primary, most contentious item not starting before June. I have informed the BBNF of the proposals as it will need to form a view. I’ll deal with the easy one first.
The decision to go out to consultation on the parking proposals was agreed as listed in my previous blog post here: Brookwood Parking Review Maps. This consultation will begin soon, although at this stage I’m not entirely sure who will be directly consulted, but as soon as I have details of the consultation web site, I shall post the details here. Depending on the timing I will try and get this in the Brookwood News. There are some proposals here which will almost certainly upset a handful of residents.
The other item calls for major improvements to Brookwood Crossroads, but for once, only considering the flow of local traffic. This I have pushed hard for ever since I decided to stand for election back in 2011. However, proposals that I thought were primarily dead have been raised for consultation. This is actually a very good idea as it gives residents a clear option of what the village is prepared to sacrifice to make a gain. I’ll deal with both Brookwood Lye Road and Connaught Road.
My post from last week outlined proposals for the Coblands site with future development. As part of that a significant improvement to the flow of traffic down Brookwood Lye Road to the crossroads was considered essential. I’m clear in my view that the housing can’t happen without the crossroad improvements. It’s now clearer as to what is being proposed. Essentially, there will be three westerly lanes running up to the crossroads which will enable a minimum of an extra 11 cars to pass through the crossroads each light cycle. Anyone using it knows, that the maximum currently that can get through is about 15 cars, which plummets if a lorry or a vehicle is slow to get off the lights. An increase of this nature is a significant improvement. This will be achieved by the acquisition of the four properties leading up to the lights and the front gardens being used to widen the road. Some of these acquisitions have already taken place. I support this.
The Connaught Road side is more of a challenge and I thought had been dropped although on reflection I welcome the fact it is going out to consultation as it allows the village to express a view. Unusually, I intend on sitting on the fence at this stage, as being a politician, that’s what we do. I also have a potential conflict of interest living so close and I’m not sure what I actually want to happen here.
The options for improvements are more limited on this side because of the nature of the road, the housing and the proximity of West Hill Close. Essentially the proposal is to knock down West Hill Cottages and widen the road, significantly improving throughput. West Hill Cottages are the properties behind the hedge as you enter Brookwood. This will allow a minimum of an extra seven cars to stack prior to the lights changing increasing the throughput but by not as much as the other side of the crossroads, however it will make a difference.
Secondly, and very importantly, all the properties immediately at this point are special, very old ‘Surrey style’ which pre-date even the Victorian properties in the village. They are rare in Woking.
So, we’ll have a choice, lose some real character and improve the ability for Brookwood residents to leave the village or resign ourselves to no improvements on the Connaught Road side to keep those character properties. As I live in West Hill Close, I am a bit close in my opinion with a potential conflict of interest so I will need to check with the WBC Monitoring Officer where I stand.
The crossroads proposals are part of proposals for a package of work to improve the A322 corridor which I, together with the Knaphill Councillors have been calling for since before the Brookwood Farm development was granted permission. One of the improvements I wanted to see and residents completing BBNF questionnaires supported was the re-routing of the A324 down Cemetery Pales and improvements to the Cemetery Pales junction. I can state very clearly that this has been rejected for several reasons; the Cemetery is Grade I listed and having a major road running through it is undesirable, it would require the demolishing and rebuilding of the walls, and crucially it would mean having to move graves. In ruling this out, recognition is made that there must be improvements to the Brookwood side of Pirbright Tunnel although with no clear way of knowing how to fund those.
There are some good changes proposed for junctions in Knaphill, all of them I support, but locally will be resisted in a couple of cases and there is going to be an exhibition at The Vyne sometime in the future. I will be requesting that exhibition, together with an exhibition on the Coblands proposals, visits Brookwood village around the same time.