Amanda Boote, Independent Woking Borough Council (WBC) ward councillor for Byfleet and  West Byfleet and Surrey County councillor for "The Byfleets", has expressed serious concerns over the proposed development at West Hall in West Byfleet.

Ms Boote, who has just been made deputy mayor-elect for May 2024 and will be mayor next year, detailed her misgivings for the News & Mail.

“I am extremely concerned about the proposed development at West Hall and I, with my fellow Independent ward councillors, have been fighting for the land in question to remain in the Green Belt for many years,” she said.

“I took a petition to Parliament on this issue in February 2019, as well as serving one to Woking Borough Council, and we have lobbied both WBC and the Government to make them aware of why we feel that building on this land would be a ludicrous idea.

“West Byfleet is the second largest centre in the borough and has been designated as the only District Centre, and it is appropriate that West Byfleet should contribute to the provision of additional housing within the borough.

“According to the West Byfleet Neighbourhood Development Plan (July 2017), West Byfleet had a population of 5,626 across 2,320 households, just over 5% of the borough.

“Since that time more than 500 new dwellings have been approved by WBC in West Byfleet and the proposed development on land adjacent to West Hall in West Byfleet would add a further 461, meaning the number of dwellings in West Byfleet will have increased by approximately 50% over the 10 years to 2027.

“This is something like one third of the borough’s new housing target of 292 new dwellings per year over the same period. The West Hall proposal also includes the provision of 15 Travellers’ pitches, some 79% of the requirements of the whole of Woking borough.

“West Byfleet is contributing much more than its fair share of new housing and Travellers’ pitches within the borough. As part of the recent site allocation DPD we also lost 50% of our Green Belt, vs 2% for the borough.

“I am in favour of the provision of more housing in our borough, especially affordable housing. But this needs to be done in a joined-up way with the provision of the supporting infrastructure: roads, parking, public transport, education, flood alleviation and healthcare.

“It is not surprising, given West Byfleet’s population has already increased by approximately a quarter since 2017 with no material enhancement to those local infrastructure items I’ve listed, that they are all already inadequate.

“This contributes to the widely held belief locally that residents of The Byfleets are ignored by Woking Borough Council.

“My key concerns are the further gridlock that the additional traffic will create and provision of additional primary healthcare capacity, as well as provision of education and the impact of flooding.”

Woking MP Jonathan Lord has launched a petition seeking residents’ views on the proposed development at Residents can add their name to the petition and complete a short survey.