Opponents defy ‘new town’

OPPOSITION to a ‘new town’ being built on the eastern edge of Woking borough is gathering pace, as a consultation begins Friday 6th January on proposals to take a large chunk of the area out of the green belt for housing.

Leading the way for objectors is Woodham & Horsell Neighbourhood Forum, which has compiled an extensive document to submit to Woking Borough Council on why the scheme should not go ahead and is holding a public meeting on Wednesday next week (11 January) to discuss the proposals.
The group has also set up a website (www.nomclarennewtown.uk) opposing the so-called ‘McLaren New Town’ on land to the east of the Martyrs Lane amenity tip, bordered by Ottershaw, Horsell, Woodham and New Haw.

New Zealand Golf Club, which would lose three-quarters of its course if development goes ahead, is also preparing a strong objection.

Woking Borough Council agreed at the end of October that the site, between the A320 Guildford Road and Woodham Lane, should be assessed for safeguarding the housing needs between 2027 and 2040.

The land has been included in the borough’s Site Allocations Development Plan Document, instead of six smaller sites in Byfleet, Mayford, Hook Heath and Pyrford. Part of it had already been approved for development, originally as an extension to the McLaren Technology Centre on the other side of the A320.

The neighbourhood forum is urging local people to attend Wednesday’s, which starts at 8pm in All Saints Church, Woodham Lane.

“We are raising public awareness of the possibility that 3,500 or more houses could be built on this land,” said forum Chairman Joanne Ryder.

“New homes should be sustainable within the borough without placing all the burden on a single ward. Using several sites over the borough would be far more sustainable and have less overall impact on the infrastructure facilities.”

Mrs Ryder was referring to rumours that a developer had its sights on building a new housing estate on New Zealand Golf Course land, which the club has stated ‘is not available and not for sale’.

Although the council says the site is contained by boundaries that can stop urban sprawl, such as the River Bourne to the north and the A320 to the west, the forum says it should stay as a green belt buffer between communities.

It also cites the risk of flooding from the Bourne, the extra pressure that would be put on the already busy A320 and Woodham Lane by vehicles from the ‘new town’, and the lack of public transport and infrastructure such as schools, shops and GP surgeries.

A council spokesman said this week: “We are suggesting the land be put aside for housing after 2027. The number of houses and facilities such as schools and shops is yet to be decided and any number of homes to be built is pure speculation at the moment.”

PUBLIC consultation begins tomorrow (Friday 6 January) and ends at 5pm on 20 February.

Documents are available for inspection at the Civic Offices in Gloucester Square, Woking, Monday to Friday from 9am to 4.45pm. They can also be seen at Woking, Byfleet, West Byfleet and Knaphill Libraries during normal opening hours.

Information on the council’s future development plans for the borough can be found at www.woking2027.info/allocations.

Representations can be made on the website or can be emailed to planning.policy@woking.gov.uk or posted to the Planning Policy Team, Woking Borough Council, Civic Offices, Gloucester Square, Woking GU21 6YL.

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