Olly Wells

Former Liberal Democrat Councillor for Knaphill Learn more

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Notes from discussion with residents on the Brookwood Farm development, Knaphill

by admin on 27 April, 2011

Talking to residents recently about the consultation regarding the development of the land at Brookwood Farm, there are, as is to be expected, key themes which come up time and time again.  These recurring themes, are the points around which I will formulate my checklist of aspects I will look for in the details of the development as they emerge over the next two consultations and in the final plans that are likely to come to the planning committee in the autumn.

Two of the largest concerns from residents are interlinked, the number of and type of dwellings as well as the access to the new development.  Nearly all the residents I have spoken with take a view that the new development should be in the region of no more than half the maximum number of homes being considered, taking a lead from existing properties, especially the newly developed properties in Raynes Close.  There is considerable concern about access to the development, with strong consensus, with which I firmly agree, that it is not possible to have access through any of the existing roads in the area such as Grindstone Handle Corner, Oakwood Gardens, Coresbrook Way, Oak Tree Road or Spravel Road. However there is also concern that the likely access at the Redding Way – Bagshot Road junction will not be able to cope with the additional traffic, in what is already a congested road.  It is unlikely that another access point will be found and for this reason, the size of the development must be limited, to ensure capacity at this junction is not breached.  In a similar way, it is important that should any plans be approved at the planning stage, adequate attention is given to other local infrastructure such as schools, doctors and dentists.  Residents can be sure that local Liberal Democrats understand this.

Having already mentioned road access, it is important to look to ensure that plans have considered access by foot, for Knaphill and Brookwood residents wishing to pass through the development, for new residents to the development, for people wishing to access the country park and for residents in the immediate vicinity whose roads were not built to cater for large pedestrian access to roads that had not yet been built.  I am thinking of Grindstone Handle Corner and Oakwood Gardens in particular when I say this.

The proposed extension to the Brookwood Country Park is important, although it must not be used as a distraction from the main development, as some have perceived is being attempted. Concerns surround how water will be managed to ensure that we will not create a new set of properties susceptible to flooding.  It is also important to see how the development can enhance and assist with the redevelopment of the canal.

A fundamental question regarding the housing development and the country park, is where they will sit in relation to each other.  Will the country park surround the development on all sides, setting the housing further away from existing housing, further down the land, or will it be located close to existing housing?  The majority of residents I have spoken to, have identified this as key, with the subtle use of the slope of the land and allowing the country park to surround the development, the slightly preferred design, as long as such a design does not create potential hotspots for anti-social behaviour. A delicate balance needs to be struck for this to be achieved.

Parking is an area that also requires careful consideration.  It is important that some parking is provided to ensure that existing local roads do not become a car park for visitors to the country park, at the same time, there is not capacity on local roads for the country park to become a destination of choice for significant numbers of people from outside Woking, and for this reason parking should be limited.

I have been pleased that on the whole residents are pragmatic about the development, most understand that it is extremely likely that the land will be developed and that it is now important to make sure the development is one that is in the best interests of current and future residents, as well as of a size, that Knaphill and Brookwood can sustain.

Please remember to take part in the consultation by visiting the website about it.  I am happy hear from residents about this development or any other issues regarding Knaphill, my contact details are on this site.

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