THE FIGHT CONTINUES
MARTYRS LANE CONSULTATION – Nov 2017
The Martyrs Lane consultation closed last March and we are still waiting for WBC conclusions as a result of the process. We believed there were approximately 3000 responses and conclusions would emerge as revised site allocation proposals to be put forward to the final stage of consultation – Regulation 19. However this has not happened yet and we now think these proposals will not now be available until the New Year.
In the meantime we owe our members and all residents in the area a big thank you for the support provided during the consultation and magnificent way people donated funds for us to pay off the consultants we hired and establish a small fighting fund for the next stage of the process. Even though we have cleared the debt we incurred the fight goes on and further campaign funds will be needed at some point. If you can help further then further donations will be very much appreciated and can be made by cheque or bank transfer at any time:
Cheques, payable to PYRFORD CAMPAIGN FUND, by post to: Joy Sachak, PNF Treasurer, The Old House, Pyrford Road, Pyrford, GU22 8UE and bank transfer to Pyrford Campaign Fund, (Account number: 76166868, and Sort Code: 30-99-80)
For the record the notes that follow represent our advive to residents during the Martyrs Lane consultation
Upshot Lane and Aviary Road fields are once more under threat from developers and your views should be made known through a Woking Council Consultation on the development of green belt land to the east of Martyrs Lane, Woodham. This Consultation has now opened and runs from 6th January until 5pm on 27th February 2017.
The Consultation specifically asks for your views concerning “,,,the possibility of substituting the safeguarded sites in the draft Site Allocations Development Plan Document (DPD), which was published in 2015, with a site on land east of Martyrs Lane. This is to meet future development needs of the Borough between 2027 and 2040”.
How to respond to the consultation
Details of the consultation can be found at http://www.woking2027.info/allocations . There are a number of ways to submit your representation but we recommend:
- The electronic Response Form. If you are intending to include any supporting documentation alongside your representation then it is recommended that you use this method
- E-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org To ensure your email is received by the Planning Policy team within the deadline, please do not email your representation to individual officers at the Council and make sure you include your full postal address and post code.
- Alternatively by post to: The Planning Policy Team, Woking Borough Council, Civic Offices, Gloucester Square, Woking, Surrey, GU21 6YL. This method of communication should only be used if you are unable to submit your representation electronically.
Alternatively click Martyrs Lane Standard Ltr for personal response template. NB this file will appear in Downloads and opens as a Word document.
The Key Consultation Documents
- The Announcement Letter
- The Consultation Details
- The Martyrs Lane Sustainability Details
- The Martyrs Lane Habitats Assessment – http://www.woking2027.info/allocations/hradec16.pdf
The Martyrs Lane Site for Possible Substitution
- McLaren parcel – 23.4 hectares – bounded in yellow
- Army Camp parcel – 5.0 hectares – bounded in blue
- Surrey County Council parcel – 8.5 hectares – bounded in green
- New Zealand Golf Course parcel – 76.0 hectares – bounded in brown
Martyrs Lane site – Total Area – 112.9 hectares – bounded in red
Points to Consider in Responses
1 Previously Developed Site – Pyrford’s unique semi rural setting is largely unspoilt with open views south with our two threatened fields forming a key part of the escarpment. Our two fields have been farmed for centuries and last summer produced good cereal crops which emphasise the distinctive character of the area highlighted in the Pyrford Neighbourhood Plan.
Martyrs Lane 3 sites to the north of the golf course are almost unused, partly pre-developed and derelict. There is no landscape element, no known footpaths and the public seem not to use it. In 2012 planning permission was granted to McLarens for a 60,000 sq m factory facility in the northern part of the site, to the south of the River Bourne on land extending to over 22 hectares. You can view the views of Mr Freeland, a senior WBC planner, upon the WBC web-site and see his recommendation that there was no concern about the development being a risk to unsightly merger of buildings nor sprawl which would harm the Green Belt. The application was presented to the Secretary of State who agreed it. The factory was cancelled but the work done to demonstrate its viability as a factory stands and the building of houses is viable instead.
The Army Camp land parcel hosted around 50 army buildings during the war as well as anti aircraft gun emplacements to defend the Vickers Factory at Brooklands a short distance away. The land still retains several former Army buildings, disused sports fields and general debris, including scrap cars. The SCC waste site ( to be retained ) has a derelict 7 hectares at the rear. Both of the sites have been offered up to WBC for sale and green belt release for several years now.
The 3 sites to the north of the New Zealand Golf Course should have been prioritised by WBC in its initial Regulation 18 Consultation but seem to have been overlooked. Instead our two fields plus land in Mayford/Hook Heath and Byfleet were advanced as the recommended sites for release from Green Belt.
2 Site Capacity – 1024 Dwellings – There is confusion in WBC documents about how many new dwellings are required on safeguarded land in the period 2027-2040 with figures ranging from 900 to 3500. The Forum maintains there is only one figure required and that is the total houses estimated by WBC for the 6 sites in the original Regulation 18 Consultation of June 2015 and is repeated in the Announcement Letter and Consultation Details (see para 1.11), for this consultation and referenced above. This figure of 1024 is made up as follows:
- Land south of High Road, Byfleet (Proposal GB4 in the draft Site Allocations DPD. Anticipated capacity is 85 dwellings);
- Land to the south of Murray’s Lane, Byfleet (Proposal GB5 in the draft Site Allocations DPD. Anticipated capacity is 135 dwellings);
- Land to the north east of Saunders Lane, between Saunders Lane and Hook Hill Lane, Mayford (Proposal GB10 of the draft Site Allocations DPD. Anticipated capacity is 171 dwellings);
- Land to the north west of Saunders Lane, Mayford (Proposal GB11 in the draft Site Allocations DPD. Anticipated capacity is 210 dwellings);
- Land rear of 79 – 95 Lovelace Drive, Teggs Lane, Pyrford (Proposal GB12 in the draft Site Allocations DPD. Anticipated capacity is 223 dwellings); and
- Land east of Upshot Lane and south of Aviary Road, Pyrford (Proposal GB13 in the draft Site Allocations DPD. Anticipated capacity is 200 dwellings).
3 Building on NZGC is Not Necessary – The area north of NZGC totals about 36.7 hectares. This is nearly 6 hectares more than the effective area of of 31 hectares included in the 6 original sites, after building constraints are considered. Therefore there is no need to build on New Zealand Golf Course (NZGC) in order to satisfy the requirement for 1024 dwellings on land safeguarded for development in the period 2027-2040. 4 Green Belt Constraint. Click here for more details of Dwelling Density.
4 Green Belt Constraint – The Brett Woking Green Belt report stated that Parcel 9 (which includes the two fields in Pyrford) has very low suitability for removal from the green belt. This category is described as land fundamental to the green belt. Martyrs Lane is categorised as having low suitability and should therefore be selected before the fields in Pyrford on this criteria.
5 Environmental Constraint – The Brett report considered Pyrford land to be in category Major Environmental Constraint. The land is classified as grade 3 agricultural with some grade 2. The parcel is identified as an ‘Escarpment and rising ground of Landscape importance.’ This designation is protected in Woking Core Strategy CS24. Martyrs Lane falls into category Minor Constraint and should therefore be selected for safeguarded development land ahead of the Pyrford fields.
6 Landscape character and sensitivity to change. – The Brett report considered Pyrford land (parcel 9) to fall into categories – little or no capacity for change and low capacity for change. The area is considered to have a strong unspoilt rural character. The Surrey Landscape Character Assessment says of the land encompassed by parcel 9 ‘the enclosed farmland, experienced from the public rights of way network, give the area a rural feel.’
Pyrford Neighbourhood Plan states of this area that ‘The area has one particularly ancient tract around the medieval St Nicholas’ Church and the escarpment along Warren Lane and Church Hill. It is believed the area represents one of Surrey’s last remaining examples of natural beauty, in a farming setting.’
The Brett Report designated Martyrs Lane as having low capacity for change. The site has no local or national landscape designations. The site has been partially developed in the past and has included both military and civilian dwellings during WWII and in the post-war years.
7 Economic and Social Benefit
Economies of Scale – One larger site of 1024 properties would provide economies of scale, making it easier to resolve infrastructure issues like water, waste, and electricity when compared with the provision of equal services on 6 separate sites spread across the whole borough. Fewer residents would be impacted by traffic disruption from a single site rather than that incurred by 6 separate sites.
Affordable homes – land values of northern sites are much less than the 6 original sites suggested and this facilitate the provision of Affordable Housing. WBC requires to meet Affordable Housing targets whilst avoiding the need to provide housing outside the Borough. Housing in Pyrford is expensive and more executive type homes will not provide the key worker homes needed by employers such as McLarens and St Peter’s Hospital.
Employment – There are three large employers close by the Martyrs Lane site – Mclaren, Animal & Plant Health Agency and St Peter’s Hospital. The latter needs affordable housing for its employers who work shifts and bus 446 passes Martyrs Lane to the hospital. We stress that what is affordable to one is not to another and Martyrs Lane gives much more opportunity for key workers than the 6 original sites.
The selection of Martyrs Lane would allow new and efficient infrastructure to be put in place on the northern sites, probably at a lower cost to that incurred on the 6 original separate sites. Not perhaps fully self contained but providing much needed new facilities. Also there would be less disruption to existing communities than with the original 6 sites. Current intentions for West Byfleet area pre-2027 will mean substantial increase in highway movements from Shere House, Broadoaks and West Hall which will result in approximately 950 new homes. This is more than enough which is more than enough for the Pyrford/ West Byfleet area.
Road Congestion – Summary information compiled from the Surrey County Council (SCC) traffic reports dated 28 January 2015 and 7 September 2016 suggest that the average impact of 900 dwellings at Martyr’s Lane based on the 10 “worst” roads or junctions will have less impact on traffic conditions than the development proposed for Mayford, or the combination of developments proposed for Byfleet + Pyrford. These traffic studies suggest Martyrs Lane would alleviate the congestion likely in West Byfleet from traffic emanating from the 6 separate sites across Woking.
Road Links – The Martyrs Lane site has the benefit of main road links – Chertsey Road to Woking and in the other direction Chertsey and the M25, also from Woodham Lane there is access to Sheerwater and West Byfleet.
Currently, safeguarded sites in Pyrford & Byfleet are accessed by B or C roads. Traffic flow along the A245 through West Byfleet & over M25 bridge is close to theoretical maximum.
Traffic Access – The existing roundabout at the northern end of Martyrs Lane would enable easy access for both development and resident vehicles to the A320.
Healthcare – The West Byfleet Health Centre is fully subscribed. With the potential number of new dwellings at Martyrs Lane, there would be an opportunity to build a new health centre and relieve current healthcare resources at West Byfleet facility.
Schooling – Pyrford CofE Primary School is already full and has taken many pupils from the Maybury area, Martyrs Lane site would be an ideal opportunity to build a new school as part of the development plan.
Public transport – Martyr’s lane already has better bus services than other sites. Currently 446 runs on Chertsey Road until 22:00 in the evening and has a Sunday Service. Buses in Pyrford cease at c18:00, Byfleet at 19:00 and Mayford at 20:00 and there are no Sunday Services. McLaren also operate an employee bus service that could contribute to Martyrs Lane connectivity services and arranging adequate services at one site will be easier than to several dispersed sites.
9 Amenity and Heritage
Amenity value – Green Belt land in Pyrford is very accessible and actively used by walkers, runners, cyclists and others from all across the Borough. By contrast Martyrs Lane is not easily accessible and in comparison rarely used by the public despite it’s Green Belt status. The Pyrford Green belt is an irreplaceable asset and has several conservation areas which could now be linked up due to the acquisition by a landowner of significant historic and pristine land in the area. Together with other projects such as historic house restoration Pyrford’s adjoining 2 fields are even more unsuitable for development noe, than 5 years ago when the last Green Belt Review was published.
Heritage – The Surrey Landscape Character Assessment describes some of the heritage features of the western section of character area SS10, which includes parcel 9,
‘the historic wooded grounds of Pyrford Court are grade II listed, and a Conservation Area covers Pyrford Village. Pyrford Common is designated as a Site of Nature Conservation Interest’.
To these features can be added the Aviary Road Conservation Area and the network of ancient footpaths. The two fields are integral to the heritage setting of the area.
Martyrs Lane has limited public footpaths through the area and has no known heritage value. It is not an integral feature of local designated heritage sites referred to in the Hankinson Duckett report such as Church Of All Saints, a Grade II listed buildings, 0.4km west of the site.
10 Other Planning Considerations – Well contained by Urban Boundaries to north and west and if northern 3 sites selected then golf course to south is thought to be good retainable green space. Entire 112 hectares provides a viable new Green Belt Boundary but there is no requirement to allocate all land for housing.
No local nor national landscape designation on the Martyrs Lane site.
No listed buildings on the 3 northern sites and there is no known heritage value to the land on Martyrs Lane to the north of NZGC.
The Martyrs Lane site land is enclosed and it is believed that it is not utilised for leisure or recreation.
Martyrs Lane can provide a viable direction for WBC housing expansion which will provide new homes in an area which has capacity instead of trying to further overload the areas encompassed by the 6 original sites safeguarded sites in Byfleet, Pyrford, Hook Heath and Mayford.