Woking Hoe Valley free school gets greenbelt site approval

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Campaigners have accused the council of not listening to their concerns

  • 21 October 2015
  • From the sectionSurrey

Artist's impression of Hoe Valley SchoolImage copyrightHoe Valley SchoolImage captionA three-storey building for 840-pupils has been approved for greenbelt land in Mayford

Plans to build a free school and leisure centre on greenbelt land in Surrey have been approved.

Woking borough councillors backed proposals for Hoe Valley School, off Egley Road, Mayford, to be constructed by 2017 at a meeting on Tuesday.

The authority said there were “special circumstances” for using greenbelt land and there was no evidence it would lead to “unrestricted sprawl”.

Campaigners have accused the council of not listening to their concerns.

The free school opened on a temporary site in Woking Park in September.

‘Not nimbyism’

Councillors approved plans for a permanent three-storey building for 840 pupils, football pitches, a running track and a council-run leisure centre to be constructed on an 11 hectare (27 acres) site in Mayford.

Mayford resident Sandra Simkin said more than 80% of people who had taken part in a Mayford Village Society’s survey had objected to the plans.

“There aren’t very many children actually in Mayford itself, so who is the school being belt for?”

“It’s not nimbyism. The thing that has upset most people in Mayford is the running track proposal and the leisure centre.

“If the leisure centre is only one mile away from the one in Woking Park, why do we need another leisure centre?”

Mayford Village Society says it represents 700 residents.

Chair of governors, Lynne O’Reilly, said: “There is a clear need for this school. The children of south Woking don’t have a secondary school they can get into.

“That’s the reason why Hoe Valley school has been created.”

“We understand residents have concerns and in May when we were putting our plans together we engaged quite positively and constructively with them to try and make sure we understood those concerns,” she added.

She also said the sports hall was a small facility that would be used by the school and the local community.

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