Scale of leisure centre plans cause concern

FEARS about the future of Mayford have been on the rise since villagers became aware of the extent of an application to develop on the green belt.

Last week households received a letter from Hoe Valley School governors in a bid to garner support for a plan to secure a permanent site off Egley Road, currently under consultation.

Although residents initially agreed a new school is needed (with its own sports facilities), they feel they have been misled by the sheer scale of the proposals which involve a ‘grossly out of proportion’ independent community leisure complex on land bet-ween Railway and Egley Roads.

The sports centre would include an eight-lane running track to rep-lace Sheerwater’s six-lane facilities (earmarked for demolition as part of the area’s regeneration), two full-size and three five-a-side football pitches, two multi-use games areas and parking to include a bus drop-off point.

At its peak, the complex would be expected to receive up to 2,000 people for some events.

The governors’ letter urged: ‘Show your support by registering a supportive message on the planning portal and ensuring that the small but vocal minority who claim to speak for Mayford do not frustrate the wishes of the community at large’. The circular included links to a choice of four letters, but only in support of the plans.

The letter infuriated Old Hill resident Mary Kingston, who told the News & Mail: “I was astonished. It is malpractice for the applicant to try to influence the outcome of a planning application. I have yet to meet anyone living in the area who is in favour of this massive development. Many front gardens are hosting a ‘save our green belt’ placard.”

Mary has written an angry reply to the school governors.

She added: “I only learned about the proposed school et al when concerned neighbours from Hillside knocked on my door towards the end of July. I had about seven days left to make my objections to the initial consultation.”

Campaigner Jackie Curry said there had been more than 200 objections to the scale of the plans.

To date, Woking Borough Council’s planning website includes a daunting 624 documents referring to PLAN/2015/0703.

On behalf of residents, Jackie, who has lived in Egley Road with her husband Simon for 25 years, has worked hard to compile a
comprehensive 16-page dossier detailing their objections, which she has submitted to the council.

She told the News & Mail: “Had they just stuck to building the school itself, this would never have happened, but the plans are grossly out of proportion.

“Some 46 per cent of Mayford residents are over the age of 55 and many elderly villagers hadn’t realised the scale of the plans.”

Last month the News & Mail reported how ‘Say No to Losing Green Belt’ placards mysteri–ously disappeared overnight in
a second spate of thefts.

They had been supplied by Mayford Village Society for private householders’ land at the owners’ requests.

They were put up in Saunders Lane, Saunders Copse, Mayford Green, and Smarts Heath, Guildford, Westfield and Egley Roads.

Residents have until Thursday (September 24) to comment on PLAN/2015/0703 at www.woking.gov.uk.

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