Dunsfold Park: Residents raise ‘serious concerns’ as plans unveiled

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The planning application which could see 1,800 homes and community facilities built at the site has attracted criticism from residents

Designs of what Dunsfold Park could potentially look like

Designs of what Dunsfold Park could potentially look like

A primary school, health centre, a combined church, a market square, leisure and community centre, shops and restaurants, a large country park and 30,000 square metres of additional employment space are included in plans for a development of 1,800 homes at Dunsfold Park.

The plans have already attracted criticism from residents who say the local infrastructure would not be able to cope with the additional demand.

Around 173 people attended a consultation at Cranleigh Arts Centre on Wednesday to ask questions and give feedback.

The developer, Dunsfold Park, says the masterplan is to create a balanced community by providing jobs on-site and affordable homes for the wider workforce and community.

Designs of what Dunsfold Park could potentially look likeDesigns of what Dunsfold Park could potentially look like

Literature published for the scheme says: “By transforming the entire Dunsfold Park site, we have an opportunity to create an attractive, pedestrian-friendly place to live and work that incorporates significant areas of public open space and facilities for recreation, shopping and learning.”

The so-called ‘new village’ centre will be focused around a market square and will have all the services and facilities ‘expected from a working village’.

But, although popular throughout the borough, with 80% of respondents to a survey wanting 3,600 homes to be built at the site last year, residents near Dunsfold have raised ‘serious concerns’.

Jill Rayner, from Dunsfold, said: “It looks nice but we don’t have the infrastructure.

“The roads can’t cope. The A281 is already busy and trying to get into Guildford is a nightmare.

“By going ahead with these plans, they are putting traffic on narrow and pot-hole-filled roads that are already busy.

“I am not against it in principle – people need homes to live in – but they need the infrastructure in place first, otherwise it’s not going work.”

To deal with the need for upgraded infrastructure, Dunsfold Park has suggested a number of improvements.

The main access to the development will be via a new access road from the A281.

Modifications would be made to junctions with Kings Road, Broadford Road, Station Road, Snowdenham Lane, Barrihurst Lane and Elmbridge Road.

A ‘high-quality’ bus system link between Dunsfold Park and the surrounding towns, villages and railway stations has been proposed, as well as improvement of footpaths and cycle routes including the Downs Link.

A car club and car share scheme has been proposed in a site-wide travel plan to promote ‘sustainable travel choices’ to residents and employees.

Waverley Borough and Bramley Parish Councillor Richard Seaborne, attended the consultation this week.

“There are some good points and beneficial aspects to what they are proposing but that has to be compared to the major concerns about traffic on the A281, sending traffic down very narrow, rural lanes,” he said.

“That, I think, is the major challenge at Dunsfold: having to find a sustainable solution from that, although not seeing all the information, it’s difficult to see how they will overcome that challenge.”

Cllr Seaborne emphasised the importance of people giving their feedback, whether against or in support, while discussions and plans remain under discussion.

More than 80% of Dunsfold Park is currently brownfield land, with the site inaccessible to the general public.

Under the proposals, a significant amount of the site would remain untouched, with the development set in ‘hundreds of acres’ of new parkland and green space.

The new open space would include a large country park, providing space for sports and games, as well as paths for walking, running and cycling.

Dunsfold Park director Jim McAllister said: “It was great to see more than 170 people at our public exhibition yesterday.

“We had good positive discussions with residents and stakeholders about how Dunsfold Park could deliver 1,800 new homes on brownfield land, helping to provide young families with the opportunity to continue to live and work locally while providing an alternative to development on Waverley’s green fields.

‘We are now reviewing all of the completed feedback forms with a view to submitting a planning application towards the end of the year.”

To give feedback on Dunsfold Park’s plans, email Matt Browne on matt@sp broadway.com or call 020 3405 3460.