West Hill Cottages

I’ve seen a rumour circulating regarding the two properties facing Brookwood Crossroads suggesting that they are in a poor state of repair and will be knocked down. It’s untrue, so please don’t believe it.

The truth is very simple. Both properties have been acquired as a portion of the land will be used to improve the crossroads. This has been done on the basis of a willing seller (in both cases). To be clear, when agents of WBC contacted the owners of the properties to enquire as to whether they would be happy to sell to the Council, they confirmed they were and the deals have now been done.

The intent has not changed in over two years which is why I’m surprised someone with absolutely no knowledge has made stories up. The plan has been for the work to be done, which will likely involve removing the tree and the hedge, widening the carriageway and then building a wall at the new boundary. The properties would then go back on the market so that someone else could enjoy these quirky dwellings.

WBC doesn’t want the properties, but it is easier to do the kind of work required here with full ownership of the land in place rather than trying to negotiate with residents and buying a small parcel of land.

If the Council Tax payer is lucky, once all the works are done and the wall built, the properties will be worth more than they are currently. The area will certainly look nicer without the hedge and we’ll be able to see those beautiful cottages once again.

As always, contact me if you have any concerns about the goings on in Heathlands and remember that stuff written on social media is often based on opinion rather than facts unless backed up with evidenced links.



Brookwood Lye Development

I recently caught up with the project manager in Thameswey responsible for the development at Brookwood Lye. To recap, Thameswey is WBC’s housing delivery company and currently owns most of the site and will select a builder to build out the site once planning has been approved.

I’m wary of giving dates, because so far all dates I’ve provided have been woefully optimistic and as far as I’m concerned we’re about one year behind where I wanted to be.

A previous application was submitted in October 2017 and a number of issues were raised by me, the Environment Agency, WBC’s drainage engineer and the Local Planning Authority. It is the concerns raised at this time that have caused the delay. My primary issue was one of the blocks of flats that was close to the Brookwood Lye Road. It was too close and was out of character for the street scene. This has been changed, as has, the large block of flats abutting the railway line which has now been split into three buildings.

The total number of dwellings has stayed the same at 126, and I’ve received no indication that the mix will change, i.e. 50 sell at market value, 50 affordable rent and 26 sell at an affordable level. All the affordable dwellings will have a local first policy for a short period before being opened up to the rest of the borough residents.

I will have a stab at timescales. The new planning application was due to be submitted before May. If that runs through the process smoothly, we can expect it to be at Committee in September. It is unlikely to be presented to Committee unless the chances of it being granted are high, so assuming it is granted permission in September, the current view is that clearing the site will begin over the winter period and building would start in the spring 2020. Take this paragraph with a pinch of salt because I’ve been wrong every time so far!

I think the cross road improvements will come along during the development although I’m not currently up to speed on the latest proposals. They are still making their way through the SCC/WBC Joint Committee.

As ever, happy to answer any questions on this if you have any, and once I have more information, I will publish it here.



Voter ID

In the forthcoming election on 2nd May, Woking Borough Council is once again taking part in the Voter ID trial. Like last time, I support this initiative and personally believe it strange that one can vote without showing ID in something as important as local and national elections that drive the lives of millions of people, yet need to provide ID to do very basic tasks elsewhere in life.

Nobody is disenfranchised by this as WBC will accept a wide variety of IDs, and if someone does not have any acceptable ID, they can apply for a Local Elector’s Card. WBC will even assist with the required photograph if necessary.

Please see the following website for details: https://www.woking.gov.uk/council-and-democracy/voter-id