Fringe Box



Anger Over Traffic Impact of Golf Club Scheme

Published on: 21 Apr, 2024
Updated on: 22 Apr, 2024

Entrance to Merrist Wood Golf Club. Image Google Street View

By Emily Dalton

local democracy reporter

A Surrey golf club has been accused of being a “landfill site in disguise” after anger at the sheer volume of heavy lorries that could be needed to drop waste off at the site. 

The owners of Merrist Wood Golf Club, off Holly Lane, Worplesdon, are hoping to redesign and reconstruct the existing course including water features and the creation of a heathland and wetland habitat.

The remodelling would include making use of nearly 600,000 tonnes of recovered “inert materials” across the 55-hectare site. Inert waste is discarded materials that do not biodegrade or chemically react with other substances.

These plans, which are currently under consideration, could see around 141 heavy goods vehicle (HGV) movements at the sites for up to 256 days a year across the possible two years of the renovation project. A six-hour period is proposed for these movements meaning at peak times there could be one HGV movement every 2.5 minutes.

Holly Lane Access Point for HGVs for proposed development. Image Google Street View

The planning application has received 55 objections and only one letter of support. Opposing the application, locals have raised concerns the HGVs would exacerbate an already congested road and increase wear and tear. One resident said: “Everything is just a constant worry. We moved here for peace and now it feels like it has been taken away.”

Road safety issues were highlighted by some residents, suggesting footpaths will be “destroyed” and there will be “no safe place” for students and parents to cross the road for Merrist Wood College and Fairlands School. Locals expressed fears about how the HGV movement would impact on school-run times and rush-hour traffic, citing the narrow lanes as already dangerous.

Despite residents’ anxieties about the development’s impact on the road, Surrey County Council (SCC) officers have concluded that “there are no unacceptable highway and transport impacts”.

The applicant argues the many road journeys over the construction period will be less disruptive than traffic caused by piece-meal course maintenance. As the source of the inert soils is still unknown, it is likely routes from both the north and the south will be used to access the site.

Comments asked what “inert materials” will consist of, with some dubious of where the matter will be sourced. Sceptical commentators have described it as a “landfill scheme in disguise” with the amount of material suggesting it is being “dumped on the site”.

Rather than “borrowing” existing soil on the course, inert waste is described as the “best way” to create new terrain. Planning documents state if inert waste material was not used in the project, “virgin” soil would have to be used.

Constructed in 1996, the applicant argues the 18-hole golf course has “deteriorated” and “suffers from a number of underlying design defects”. Taking over the course in 2020, Lavershots Oaks Ltd complained the club has a “poor reputation’ and is ‘failing’ as a sports club and as a business.

The Guildford MP Angela Richardson has written to residents affected by the Merrist Wood Golf Club planning application to alert them to the proposals and the consultation. She raised concerns about the traffic disturbance, congestion caused and whether detritus will be left on the ground.

The Wooldridge Group (formerly known as Lavershot Oaks), which specialises in civil and contract build projects, filed for administration on February 5 this year. The Wooldridge Group has been approached for comment.

Consultation on the application ends April 16.

See the planning statement and design and access documents here.

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Responses to Anger Over Traffic Impact of Golf Club Scheme

  1. Janet Ashton Reply

    April 21, 2024 at 3:16 pm

    Perhaps Ramsey Nagaty would comment on the impact to the green belt given his roles as chair of the Guildford Greenbelt Group (GGG) and borough representative for CPRE (Campaign for the Protection of Rural England)?

  2. Peta Malthouse Reply

    April 21, 2024 at 9:11 pm

    It is not just Fairlands that will be effected, all access roads to Rokers are already congested. From the A3, A31 and the M3 minor roads emanate that are single-carriage, winding and in poor repair. SCC just sees somewhere to dispose of rubbish.

  3. Nicola King Reply

    April 22, 2024 at 7:10 am

    The feared impact this will have on the school and students of Merrist Wood is reported, but everyone seems to be forgetting about us horse riders. I have to use Holly Lane because it’s where my horses are, it’s the only road I have to access for any riding I do.

  4. Peter Wilkinson Reply

    April 22, 2024 at 8:08 am

    Glad to see this is getting the attention it deserves.

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