£14 million Bookham housing development accused of destroying green spaces

Report from the:

Dorking and Leatherhead Advertiser

By Leatherhead Advertiser  |  Posted: October 07, 2014

By Jennifer Hardwick jennifer.hardwick@essnmedia.co.uk

Bookham development

A HOUSING association which wants to redevelop a Bookham housing estate has been accused of destroying green spaces and avoiding taking environmentally friendly measures.

Circle Housing Mole Valley originally announced its intention to knock down 46 properties on Bookham’s Middlemead Estate in 2011.

The proposals for the £14 million redevelopment were submitted to Mole Valley District Council in June and are expected to be considered next month.

The Orlit homes, located on a two-and-a-half hectare site in Middlemead Road and Sole Farm Avenue, are considered “beyond economic repair”, having been built as temporary structures between 1945 and 1951.

Bookham resident John Dwyer, who lives in nearby Lower Road, said: “Along with the destruction of the existing green space, which Middlemead children can currently use, the other green on the estate will be used as the construction centre throughout the rebuild, depriving local children of any play space for a year, or however long the rebuild will take.

“The planning application makes clear Circle’s belief that local children should cross roads to use the spaces available on the recreation ground or Bookham Common.”

He added: “The scale of the proposed Middlemead development will set the tone and standard for future building in the area. But I believe the proposed development falls far short of being sustainable or environmentally friendly.

“I think future residents are entitled to ask, is this a safe, benign environment for a child to grow up in? One that meets the environmental aspirations of the 21st century. Or is it rooted in the 20th-century assumption that the needs of drivers trump every other consideration?

“The energy standards for the proposed housing fall well short of what future generations are entitled to expect. Not one of these new homes will be fitted with either solar thermal panels or solar photovoltaic panels.”

In response, Circle Housing Mole Valley’s managing director, David Searle, affirmed the organisation’s commitment to providing “warm, affordable and energy-efficient places to live”.

He said: “We’re working with the council to make sure these new homes are of the highest possible environmental standard.

“Solar and photovoltaic panels are just one of the many ways this can be achieved. By using the latest construction and insulation techniques, we will reduce CO2 emissions by ten per cent, and the homes will be more sustainable in the long term.”

He added: “While any construction work of this kind does limit the availability of open spaces, we can reassure families this development has been designed to have an open and spacious feel.

“Every home will also have good size secure gardens where children can play safely.”