Revised plans revealed at Wisley Airfield

Dorking and Leatherhead Advertiser

Revised plans revealed to create new ‘town’ with school and more than 800 homes at Wisley Airfield

By Dorking Advertiser  |  Posted: January 29, 2016

TOWN OF THE FUTURE? This bird’s eye image shows the site at Wisley Airfield which could be developed Credit: Google Maps

CONTROVERSIAL plans to create a “new town” on green-belt land near Effingham, Bookham and Cobham have been revised to include a secondary school and more than 800 one and two-bedroom properties.

Wisley Property Investments submitted plans in December 2014 to build more than 2,100 dwellings on the site of the former wartime Wisley Airfield at Three Farms Meadows.

That scheme was subsequently withdrawn.

At the start of this month the company submitted new plans which now propose 2,068 properties and a 4-form secondary school, in addition to the primary school, nursery, medical centre and shops already suggested.

The new plans mean the consultation period on the proposed development has been extended by Guildford Borough Council until the end of February.

The plans have been met with strong opposition from residents and public bodies, including Effingham Residents’ Association, Effingham Parish Council and the Cobham Green Belt group.

Gerry Acher (pictured), chairman of the Cobham Green Belt group called the plans an “abomination”.

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He said: “The additional 5,000 residents is the equivalent of adding 50 per cent to the population of Cobham, Downside and Hatchford.

“The resulting impact on light pollution, traffic and infrastructure has been gravely underestimated. Suggested measures in mitigation are inadequate.

“The cumulative impact of development on the neighbouring boroughs of Elmbridge and Mole Valley has not been taken into account .

“This huge proposed development would damage habitats of the protected and endangered rare species in contravention of the EU birds directives and habitats regulations.”

But in a statement included with the plans, Wisley Property Investments said the new settlement could be a “commuter hub”, claiming that telephone surveys undertaken in March 2015 indicated that 46 per cent of respondents support the proposals, and 16 per cent are neutral.

The statement added: “The development would complement existing villages, providing additional, well-connected local infrastructure including a new education, leisure and health provision. This will relieve the pressures on overstretched existing services and amenities, such as schools.

“Wisley’s new settlement masterplan includes an indicative housing mix which includes 805 one and two bedroomed properties (circa 40 per cent of the proposal). This provision will potentially meet a significant proportion of affordable housing needs, which are focused on smaller properties.”

Comments on the new plans should be sent by post to the Planning Department, Guildford Borough Council, Millmead House, Millmead, Guildford GU2 4BB or by email to planningenquiries@guildford.gov.uk, quoting application number 15/P/00012 and including a postal address.

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