Fringe Box



Ash House Buyers Claim They Were Not Informed of Road Bridge Project

Published on: 27 May, 2024
Updated on: 26 May, 2024

The view across Foreman Road in Ash now with the bridge under construction (see comparative photo below).

By David Reading

People who bought houses near the site of the new Ash road bridge say they were horrified to hear about the project after they had moved in.

Two families have told The Guildford Dragon NEWS that searches undertaken as part of their proposed purchases showed no mention of the intention to build a bridge, or of the fact that Foreman Road would effectively become a main road with a major roundabout leading to the bridge.

The residents affected live on the edge of Foreman Road, on the opposite side to the bridge, which is now under construction and expected to open to traffic in the autumn. They say life has changed drastically since work began – with loss of privacy and constant noise – and will change permanently when the bridge and new road open.

They believe Guildford Borough Council was at fault for not flagging up the project when the searches were made – a claim strongly rejected by the council.

One of the residents, Richard Lamb, of Vyne Walk, said: “When we purchased our house in December 2018, the searches showed no information at all with regard to any proposed developments within a 500-meter radius of our property.

“In April 2019 we had a leaflet through the door from a local resident making us aware that there was a proposal in place to build a road bridge over the railway line. Concerned, we contacted Guildford Borough Council, who communicated to us via email saying this was not their responsibility and were quite dismissive.

“After several lengthy emails, their final admission to me at the end of May 2019 made it very clear that this project had been in consultation since 2016 and it was claimed that Thakeham, the builders of our home, knew all about it. It was said that Thakeham had contributed £600,000 to the project.”

Mr Lamb claimed: “When we put in our reservation in September 2018 my wife casually asked the representative who walked with us to the house, ‘What is happening with the field opposite?’ The response we got was that planning had been put in many times but had always been refused.

“Thinking this was for housing we accepted the possibility houses might be built one day but never did it cross our minds that a road bridge with a very large roundabout was going to be put in front of Vyne Walk.”

Thakeham Homes insist that at the time, they had no idea what would happen in the future with regard to local plans and policy.

It is a fact that the bridge project has been under consideration at Guildford Borough Council for some years.

The project is listed in the June 2016 version of the council’s draft Local Plan.

A feasibility study was carried out for the council by AECOM in March 2017. And  a traffic survey work took place in September 2017.

In February 2018, the Government announced that the council’s bid for funding was successful and granted £10 million via the Housing Infrastructure Fund for the new bridge.

The bridge was finally given council approval in January 2021.

Mr Lamb says that in 2018 he had the choice to buy a cheaper property on a main road but made a commitment to fully invest in the current home as it was on a quieter road.

Addressing Mr Lamb’s complaints, GBC has told him in an email that information provided to him would have depended entirely on the searches that were raised and the information available at the time.  When he bought the house in 2018 there was no planning application for the bridge and the Local Plan had yet to be adopted.

The email added that if the relevant questions were asked, the search would have answered “yes” or “no” as to whether there were any proposed road schemes within 200 metres of the centre line of the property.  An answer of “yes” would only be given if a scheme was in consultation, had been approved by the council, or was subject to a delegated authority.

Mr Lamb says the results from local searches stated categorically there were no proposals for major changes that could affect their home.

He argues that although the bridge had not passed planning when he bought his house, the drawings in early 2018 on the GBC website highlighted the council’s clear intent. And indeed there was a public forum meeting in Ash in April 2018.

He has replied to GBC: “For me this whole episode raises concerns about the integrity, transparency and direction that GBC is taking when adopting/proposing planning policies.”

Tony and Sandra Raymond, also of Vyne Walk, found themselves in a similar situation to Mr Lamb.

One of the reasons they moved to this semi-rural location was that Mr Raymond suffers from asthma.

Mr Raymond said: “This is a horrific situation we find ourselves in.

“Our survey took place in January 2018 and we received a report on February 4. Nothing showed up to stop us going ahead so we moved in on November 15.

“We were so happy to move to such a beautiful location – a quiet road where we could see trees, horses, deer and many different birds.

The view across Foreman Road before construction commenced.

“Little did we know at that time what was planned. We are now faced with a major road, a roundabout outside our house, more houses and worst of all – a road bridge.

“We can honestly say that if we’d had any idea about all this work and the transformation of Foreman Road we most definitely would not have bought this house.”

Mr and Mrs Raymond are among a number of residents in the area who are exasperated by the building work that has been taking place, citing both noise and loss of privacy as the main issues.

Mr Raymond said: “The current work is creating a nightmare.

“It’s difficult to have the windows open because off all the noise. At night we had an issue with generator noise and bright lights.

“As you can tell, this has had an effect on our mental health, with heightened anxiety and stress.”

Kelly Eyre, of Foreman Park, said the loss of trees resulting from the bridge project had impacted severely on quality of life. “Every day we suffer loss of privacy now that the trees have been removed. There is constant noise even at weekends. We brought this house because it was quiet and private and now it’s no longer either of those things.”

Asked by The Guildford Dragon for a comment on claims that searches omitted to mention the bridge, GBC’s lead councillor for Planning Policy, Fiona White (Lib Dem, Ash Wharf), said: “The information provided as part of the local authority searches depends on the type of searches requested and when they are submitted.  If there is a question about the accuracy of the search responses, this should be raised with the purchaser’s solicitor or the relevant team within the council.”

And a spokesperson for Thakeham Homes said: “When we developed the homes at Vyne Walk, the land referred to was in the private ownership of others.  We did not know what might happen in the future with local plans and policy.

“Thakeham did not have information that was not already in the public domain about Guildford Borough Council’s plan.”

Share This Post

Responses to Ash House Buyers Claim They Were Not Informed of Road Bridge Project

  1. Jim Allen Reply

    May 27, 2024 at 9:08 pm

    Buyer beware! My first purchase was a flat In Paisley Scotland. Not a follower of football, I didn’t know the wall at the end of the block wasn’t a factory but a football ground St Mirrens, Love Street.

    That was the last time I failed to do my own research what buying my homes.

    I have known the “problem” of the crossing at the Dover Arms since using the route to get to stock car racing in the 1970s.

    If they had asked the locals pre-purchase they would have told the story.

  2. DIane Kivi Reply

    May 28, 2024 at 3:48 pm

    The affected homeowners’ course of action should be to approach those who carried out their local searches and to ask them for compensation, to cover their loss.

    Guildford Borough Council have been talking with the Ash community for many years about replacing the level crossing with a bridge.

Leave a Comment

Please see our comments policy. All comments are moderated and may take time to appear.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *