WOKING Liberal Democrats have criticised the Conservatives for ‘appearing to predetermine’ the decision to allow McLaren to expand on Horsell Common.
They state that many questions remain unanswered about the company’s planning application. The Lib Dem Parliamentary Candidate for Woking, Chris Took, said: “While I welcome the employment and innovation that McLaren bring to the borough, I know many local people have a number of questions and concerns over this application.
“McLaren have permission to build on the other side of the road. Having put local residents and the council through all the work of dealing with, and responding to, that application, what are the real reasons for starting again in a new location?”
Lib Dem campaigner and former councillor, Ann-Marie Barker, said: “I’m a little surprised that Woking’s Conservative MP, Jonathan Lord, has given his support to McLaren’s latest expansion plans on Horsell Common without considering the impact on residents or the natural habitat.
“McLaren’s latest application follows a successful one in 2012 for land across the A320 from the existing site. But it would seem there are too many issues with that location so the company decided on a new application next to the existing site.
“McLaren say they will sign an agreement not to go ahead with the currently approved plans if the new application is accepted.
“They say approval for the new plans would replace the permission they were previously given for the other side of the A320, and that there would be a legal agreement on this. I worry that this agreement would not be watertight and could allow further development anyway.”
Ms Barker also raised concerns about the lack of a visitor centre which had been agreed for the first development on Horsell Common.
She added: “Many questions remain unanswered about McLaren’s bid to expand, including why they did not inform the Horsell Common Preservation Society – who own the freehold of some of the land – of their plans until the application was being submitted.”