Residents reject offer to shape garden village

RESIDENTS have almost unanimously refused the offer to help create a ‘vision’ for a garden village at Fairoaks Airport.

The consensus of people at community planning sessions in Chobham Village Hall last Friday and Saturday was that there should be no large-scale housing development on the airfield land.

Most people who answered in exit polls conducted by Chobham Society – 188 – said they did not want the airport to be taken out of the Green Belt. Just three said they were in favour of a garden village and six were undecided.

The sessions were run by JTP Architects ‘masterplanning’ consultants, who sought ideas and opinions for building a new community of 1,500-plus houses, on behalf of the Fairoaks owners.

Typical of the responses written by those attending, read out by JTP partner Charles Campion, was: “We already have a garden village. It’s called Chobham.”

The sessions attracted more than 200 people over the two days, which included visits by coach to the airport and adjoining land earmarked as a SANGS – new recreation land aimed at keeping people away from nearby vulnerable heathland.

Chobham Society committee member Nigel Eastment told the News & Mail: “From talking to people coming out, it was clear that the major concern was traffic. There was talk of water, sewage and environment but always it came back to roads, and people struggling with the current traffic levels.

“The fear is that significant measures such as road widening, roundabouts and even dual carriageways will forever change the character of both Chobham and Ottershaw and act as a huge car park as the traffic moves slowly to the next bottleneck.”

Surrey Heath MP Michael Gove was at the Friday session and went on one of the visits. Until now, he has not responded to requests for comments on the garden village but he told the News & Mail: “I was grateful for the opportunity to hear a range of views from my constituents at Friday’s meeting.

“I hope to help facilitate more meetings to ensure the community’s voice is heard loud and clear.”

See next week’s News & Mail for a full report.

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