Wisley Airfield – strong opposition from residents and public bodies, including Effingham Residents Association and Effingham Parish Council

Dorking-and-Leatherhead-Ad

Wisley Airfield comments top 1,500 as people make feelings known

By Dorking Advertiser  |  Posted: May 12, 2015

soon to disappear? Three Farms Meadows, where a developer hopes to create a ‘new town’

MORE than 1,500 people have submitted their views on plans to create a “new town” on mainly green-belt land near Effingham, Bookham and Cobham.

Developer Wisley Property Investments submitted plans in December to build 2,100 dwellings on the site of the former wartime Wisley Airfield at Three Farms Meadows.

If approved by Guildford Borough Council (GBC), the proposal would further see the creation of a primary school, nursery, medical centre and shops.

However, the plans have been met chiefly with strong opposition from residents and public bodies, including Effingham Residents’ Association and Effingham Parish Council.

As many as 1,735 letters of representation were received by GBC during its mandatory consultation for the plans, even dwarfing the 595 about the controversial Howard of Effingham proposals.

Among those to declare an objection was Elmbridge Borough Council, which said the plans would have a “significant impact” on the green belt and the surrounding highway network.

The Campaign to Protect Rural England agreed, writing: “Our main objection is based on the harm to the green belt, with no case being made for ‘very special circumstances’, particularly as housing need in Guildford has yet to be quantified.”

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 Effingham and Bookham.

Some, however, have signalled their support for the proposals, which the developer claims would include up to 800 affordable homes if given the go-ahead.

Nick Commandeur, 25, wrote: “As a young professional who grew up in Bookham, I am very much in favour of the plans to build more houses in the area.

“Despite having a good job and having worked hard at school, college and university, it is highly unlikely that I will be able to afford my own home soon.

“As much as there is a duty to protect green-belt land there is also a duty to house the next generation in the face of an expanding population.

“The cost of housing is tremendously expensive in this area, and I support anything that can be done to ease the shortage.”

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.”

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