Wisley Airfield homes development: Sewerage system will be ‘unable to cope’ claim
Campaigners from the Wisley Airfield Action Group
The existing water infra-structure would not be able to cope if more than 2,000 new homes are built on the former Wisley Airfield site, according to Thames Water.
In a letter to Guildford Borough Council, the utility company claims that an upgrade to the system could take up to three years and would be subject to funding approval.
Helen Jefferies is a committee member for Wisley Action Group (WAG) which is campaigning against the development.
She said: “Thames Water’s letter clearly states that they have concerns regarding sewage treatment capacity at Ripley sewage treatment works, to accept proposed flows from the proposed development.
“This would mean that the undertaking by Wisley Property Investments (WPI) to deliver houses within a five-year time frame would be unlikely to be met.”
WPI’s planning submissions indicate that 73 houses would be built in 2016/17 and a further 194 in 2017/18 – a total of 267 houses within the next four years.
“Obviously this could not happen if there is a three-year delay due to an urgent need to up-grade sewage systems,” said Mrs Jefferies.
“And that kills off any possibility of complying with the five-year requirement.
“We find it odd that WPI did not wait until Thames Water presented its report in May this year before presenting what is clearly a somewhat premature planning application.
“There appears to be an unhealthy element of haste in the proceedings.”
Mike Murray, representing WPI, said: “In designing a sustainable development on the former Wisley Airfield, we’ve considered the provision of all infrastructure the community will need.
“These include those which will be provided on-site, like the primary school, shops and healthcare facilities, as well as services like electricity and water.
“We have worked with Thames Water and other providers to identify improvements to the local infrastructure to accommodate the new development, and have allowed for financial contributions to this work where we will not be doing it ourselves.
“Our studies have shown that the site can be provided with all the necessary infrastructure for sustainable development, as has been detailed in the planning application.”
Initial designs for town
WAG is also concerned about a potential risk of flooding to land on the outskirts of the proposed development area, which it claims is not addressed in WPI’s planning submissions.
“Incredibly the developer’s assessment report is mainly about the risk to the site on the hill or plateau which forms part of Three Farms Meadows,” said WAG committee member Peter Doyle.
“It does not address the risk to land around the site and does not deal with issues associated with Stratford Brook and its impact on the risk of flooding elsewhere.
“Most glaringly, the assessment fails to address or acknowledge the widespread flooding in the area from December 2013 to February 2014, when Ockham Road North became impassable at the A3 roundabout.
“But that happens to be the precise location for the main entrance to the proposed new town.”
However, Mr Murray said: “Our investment will make flooding in the local area no worse than it is at present, and our direct connection to the A3 interchange will provide a better engineered route from the A3 to Old Lane, which avoids flood areas.”