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As Planning Decision Looms Wisley Protesters Gather to Send Their Message

Published on: 9 Jul, 2023
Updated on: 10 Jul, 2023

By Martin Giles

Over 100 protesters gathered on Ripley Green today to make their opposition to the proposed development of the former Wisley Airfield known.

The planning application from Taylor Wimpey is due to be heard by the Guildford Borough Council’s Planning Committee tomorrow (Monday, July 10) at 7pm. The meeting agenda can be seen here.

One of the protesters, Stephen Compson, who has lived at Elm Corner next to the former Wisley  site for 30 years, was asked what makes him feel strongly about Taylor Wimpey’s proposal.

Affected resident Stephen Compson and his wife Kate at the Wisley protest.

He said: “It’s the capacity of the infrastructure around the airfield. Ripley, Ockham and Horsley cannot cope with an extra 2,000 houses. It’s bad enough as it is. With the extra houses, we’re just not going to be able to cope.

“I think it would just add on to the levels of congestion and it’s the congestion which would be the major problem. And it will damage wildlife around the commons.”

He then added his view on the current work to increase the capacity of Junction 10: “It is appalling, absolutely appalling. We are routinely restricted from getting on to the M25 and the A3. We’ve had issues because we run our grandchildren to and from school. The delays to the works have also caused problems and its made life almost unacceptable.

Tree felling by the A3/M25 Junction 10 as part of the work to increase its capacity. Image Chris Campbell

“We’ve got all the noise, the dust, all the lorries, trucks, the diggers, the whole lot.  I am also critical of the RHS, who by not giving any land up have wiped out huge swathes of virgin woodland on our side of the A3.

“They are hypocritical. It’s all very well Alan Titchmarsh hugging trees at the gardens on BBC but at the same time their actions are basically wiping out hundreds and hundreds of trees on the Elm Corner side. It’s totally unacceptable.”

Cllr Catherine Young, Ramsay Nagaty and Helen Jefferies

Cllr Catherine Young (R4GV, Clandon & Horsley), Helen Jefferies, Wisley Action Group organiser, and Ramsay Nagaty (chair, Guildford Greenbelt Group) also attended the event and spoke to Martin Giles. Click on the play arrow to listen…

Over 100 gathered on the green at Ripley to protest.

Frances Porter of Ockham & Hatchford Residents Association added: “The experts that have been paid for by donations to Ockham Parish Council and Wisley Action Group have paid to study all the information and do their own surveys and the data and the traffic modelling and that is proving that Taylor Wimpey’s evidence just isn’t there, it isn’t standing up and not really dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s. So we ask how can you believe their evidence?

Taylor Wimpey has been invited to comment.

See also: Date Set for Wisley Airfield Planning Application Debate, But Councillors Won’t Have Final Say

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Responses to As Planning Decision Looms Wisley Protesters Gather to Send Their Message

  1. Keith Francis Reply

    July 10, 2023 at 3:36 pm

    Can all the protestors confirm that neither they nor their family present and future will take any advantage from the Wisley airfield development including its housing, schools, shops, doctors, jobs, open spaces and road improvements and public transport etc?

    • Frances Porter Reply

      July 12, 2023 at 10:36 am

      The problem is there will not be any doctor facilities, maybe a local shop if they are lucky, no secondary school as SCC will not put one there, the open public footpaths and bridleways are amazing open spaces for all to enjoy at the moment, the fields bring valuable crops to feed the UK, all this will be lost, the transport plan is faulty and the bus service will fail as people will have to use their cars as the bus will not be able to fulfil their requirements.

      The site is surrounded by narrow winding country lanes that cannot be improved so pretty clear there will be no benefit to local residents, just loads more traffic, more problems getting doctors’ appointments as the new residents will have to go to existing surgeries.

      Most worryingly all the facilities will be part of a Community Trust that will be funded by the homeowners. If you think a mortgage and council tax is not enough of a financial burden how will people be able to afford an extra levy on their property that is just not fair.

      So I can confirm there will be no advantage to the area.

      Frances Porter is a member of Villagers Against Wisley New Town

  2. L Edwards Reply

    July 10, 2023 at 8:08 pm

    Only 100 people protested! Surely we all agree that more houses are needed for our children and grandchildren in the South East. It would be interesting if there was a straw poll which asked residents where would be the best place to build new houses in the area. I would imagine the former Wisley airfield would win over such sites as the Hog’s Back.

  3. David Roberts Reply

    July 12, 2023 at 1:21 pm

    Messrs Francis and Edwards need to do their homework.

    100 people is a lot of people for a short-notice protest of this sort. More than 1,400 have taken the trouble to file objections on the Guildford council website – an unprecedented number – against only about 100 letters in favour, almost all of them cursory, written by the developer for tame Surrey University students to sign. Many of the objection letters are extremely detailed and must have taken a lot of thought and effort.

    On top of that, consider the 20,000 or so voters in the most affected council wards (Lovelace & Send and Clandon & Horsley) who in May elected 6 R4GV and GGG councillors who strongly oppose the Wisley project, overwhelmingly rejecting the candidates from the national parties, which have all taken an ambiguous position on it. This result was extraordinary and quite unlike the rest of the borough.

    It is clear from these numbers that Taylor Wimpey have zero support in the east of the borough. If this is not the case, let them show it!

    There is no need for a straw poll. Everyone knows where Guildford residents (especially young, less well-off, working residents) want to buy homes: in the town and suburbs where jobs and the necessary basic infrastructure such as schools, shops and buses already exists. There is absolutely nothing at all at Wisley.

    As for the “housing, schools, shops, doctors, jobs, open spaces and road improvements and public transport” that the scheme supposedly offers, councillors have unanimously seen that most of these benefits are just empty or deceitful promises by the developer. There is no school, no doctor’s, not a single shop within two-three miles, and there are no meaningful improvements planned to local roads, no jobs except a few connected to the project itself and no prospect of any public transport except a slippery and implausible promise to pay for a bus in perpetuity and no open space except the tiny bit that would be left after these green fields have been built on.

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