Hundreds object to plans for 2,100-home ‘new town’ at Wisley Airfield

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HUNDREDS have voiced objections to a plan to build more than 2,000 new homes on mainly green belt land near Effingham, Bookham and Cobham

By Dorking Advertiser  |  Posted: April 03, 2015

OPPOSITION: 2,100 new homes are planned for Wisley Airfield, located to the east of Effingham, Bookham and Cobham Photo: Google Maps

In December, developer Wisley Property Investments submitted plans to create a “new town” on the site of the former wartime Wisley Airfield.

If approved by Guildford Borough Council (GBC), the proposal would result in the creation of 2,100 homes, along with a primary school, nursery, medical centre and shops.

However, the plans have been met with strong opposition from residents and public bodies, including East Horsley Parish Council and Elmbridge Borough Council.

A consultation period for the plans held by GBC ended on Wednesday, with the vast majority of 725 letters of representation sent to the local authority making their opposition clear.

In a strongly worded letter, Effingham Parish Council raised fears over the strain thousands of new residents would place on the infrastructure of neighbouring villages and the village’s secondary school.

The submission read: “The application states that children will go to the Howard of Effingham School.

“This is not just an astonishing presumption about school places and their availability but is an assumption totally at odds with reality. The Howard is currently at capacity.

“People should not be squashed together like sardines in order to line the pockets of developers. These dreadful plans are oppressive in nature and wrong in so many ways.”

Members of Wisley Action Group, set up to oppose the plans, said the plans would have a detrimental effect on services such as doctors, dentists and local roads in Cobham and Bookham.

Nicholas Clemens, clerk for East Horsley Parish Council, said members “strongly” objected to the application and urged GBC to reject it.

He wrote: “It is a wholly inappropriate site for such a massive development, being very low on sustainability, contrary to the established pattern of development in the area and it will have a major adverse impact on traffic, infrastructure and the local environment.”

In response to the objections, Mike Murray, project manager for the developers, said: “Our proposals will create a sustainable new community at Wisley Airfield, which contains a 70-acre concrete legacy from the days when the airfield operated.

“GBC’s green-belt study has identified the site as suitable for development, and it is an allocated site in the emerging local plan.

“We have designed a community around shops, offices, a nursery, a primary school, a large parkland area and playing fields. A medical facility and elderly care home are at the heart of the development.

“The site will also deliver up to 800 much-needed affordable homes.”

A decision is scheduled to be made by GBC’s development committee in September.