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Updated: County Council Causing Delays to Weyside Development Claims Borough Councillor

Published on: 3 Mar, 2022
Updated on: 5 Mar, 2022

Weyside Urban Village. Image from GBC/JTP design and access statement. Click on images to enlarge.

By Emily Coady-Stemp

local democracy reporter

Surrey County Council is causing “costly and problematic” delays to the Weyside Urban Village scheme in Guildford, a borough councillor has claimed.

See also: Plan for Guildford’s New Sewage Works Goes to County Council for Approval

The Weyside development, which will include 1,500 new homes, retail and communal green space, is planned for land around the Slyfield Industrial Estate near the A3, where the Guildford Sewage Treatment works are currently.

3D view of the Weyside Urban Village (Design and Access Statement) showing indicative heights of the buildings.

Cllr John Rigg (Residents for Guildford and Villages, Holy Trinity) said to Guildford Borough Council’s overview and scrutiny committee meeting on Tuesday night (March 1) that the “exciting” scheme was “exactly what authorities should do” because it was taking formerly developed land to provide new housing.

SCC Response

On March 4 a spokesperson from Surrey County Council said: “We are working closely with Guildford Borough Council on this exciting scheme at Weyside, which we’re keen to progress. We have agreed that the delivery of highway works will be brought forward in agreement with Guildford Borough Council, and have not said that any work to the highway must be undertaken prior to development starting.

“We are seeking assurance that the proposed highway works – particularly those works to the bridge over the River Wey on Woking Road – are deliverable and have the support of landowners before the borough council advances the development.”

The development was given approval by the secretary of state last month, with plans approved including moving allotment holders to a new site known as North Moors and to an extension of existing allotments at Aldershot Road.

Outline plan for the Weyside Urban Village.

Cllr Rigg said: “Weyside scheme is really a fantastic, exciting one and it’s doing exactly what authorities should do, that’s taking old areas, old brownfield sites and creating something new and positive.

Cllr John Rigg

He said the problem was with delivery now, since approval had been granted by central government, but was needed from Surrey County Council for road improvements.

He said: “They don’t cost Surrey County Council a bean, but they want them in place before they are needed, presumably to meet existing demand.

“This is holding us up and causing delays which are costly and problematic.”

He said that the delays affect the whole project and were sometimes “not really taken into account”.

Cllr Rigg also described the project as a “journey” saying that moving a council depot, a community waste site and allotment holders was “a sequence of bits” on the way to finally cutting the ribbon.

He said: “And you can see how problematic moving people to brand new, very smart allotments can be. So it’s going to be a journey.”

Jim Allen being presented with a mayor’s community award in 2016.

Burpham resident Jim Allen who has campaigned again the housing scheme from the outset said before SCC’s response was given: “Is SCC trying to tell them something? The technicalities speak for themselves? The base concept is seriously flawed.

“They are moving the most fundamental piece of infrastructure, a sewage treatment works (STW), for any population from an ideal location to an unstable site.

“By the time the new STW comes online in 2027 the existing STW will be under capacity by 18 per cent, so there will be insufficient sewage capacity, for the phase 1 houses, until then. Also, there is insufficient water supply, for an additional 1,500 homes.

“Then there is a flawed traffic management: a single entrance, left turns only and insufficient parking while public transport options are poor and the Arriva bus company has left the scene.”

See also: 1,550-Home Weyside Urban Village Gets Approval To Proceed

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Responses to Updated: County Council Causing Delays to Weyside Development Claims Borough Councillor

  1. Ben Paton Reply

    March 4, 2022 at 8:59 am

    The ‘Golden Thread’ that is supposed to run through the National Planning Policy Framework is “sustainability”.

    We know that global warming is a reality. So how is it sustainable to build all these houses in a flood plain next to a river?

    England excels at producing rules that look good. But lawyers and politicians make a living out of circumventing them.

    Presumably, the Environment Agency was supposed to approve this? Well we know all about its “standards”. Just look at the state of England’s rivers. Almost none safe to swim in. Most are polluted with raw sewage. Is this “regulator” an upholder of objective standards? Or Father Christmas to developers, giving them what they ask for?

    Just as has happened in Ukraine since at least 2011, the government today has blind eye knowledge of future catastrophe, it is looking the other way. Ignoring the environment will cost everyone more in the (not so) long run.

  2. Robert Burch Reply

    March 4, 2022 at 3:26 pm

    Can Jim Allen and/ or Ben Paton please speak to those who are responsible for making decisions to check if their assumptions are flawed as claimed?

    What does Thames Water say about Jim’s assertion that there won’t be enough water or sewage capacity; the company is responsible for both and will be the ones holding the problem if Mr Allen is correct.

    And has Ben Paton asked the Environment Agency what they say about the flooding issue, and so on, affecting this development?

    • Jim Allen Reply

      March 4, 2022 at 9:03 pm

      If Mr Burch wishes to see the numbers they are publicly available! Or he can contact me through The Dragon.

      • Robert Burch Reply

        March 9, 2022 at 2:59 pm

        Many thanks for the response. It’s not figures I’m interested in, but Thames Water’s views on the development.

        Are they happy for it to go ahead and are they committing to supply the water needed and deal with the sewage produced from this and the general growth in the area?

        • Jim Allen Reply

          March 9, 2022 at 5:42 pm

          Their views are well known they would NOT be moving unless someone else was paying. Effectively compulsory purchase of their current site by the action of GBC and the stupid of the WUV.

          As to the numbers, they are of the utmost importance when known future need exceeds capability to provide or supply. 18% undersupply of foul water treatment and only 49 homes worth of drinking water for currently 1550 boxes. Really sums it up!

    • Ben Paton Reply

      March 5, 2022 at 11:55 am

      As anyone who has ever tried knows, it is a waste of time trying to talk to Thames Water or the Environment Agency.

      Neither are accountable to the public. It is as futile as the public consultations for the Local Plan. Even if they note the objection they have no intention of doing anything. It is doubtful they even have the resources to do anything.

      The Environment Agency is a failed organisation. Its budget has been cut by how much? 50 per cent? Its nearest regional office is how many miles from Guildford?

      Anything less than a radiation leak does not move the needle for the few remaining people answering the phones.

  3. Fleur Robertson Reply

    May 5, 2022 at 4:18 pm

    Since when is a cultivated field a brownfield site? Allotments are a green space, not a brown one, which is why – in this doublethink – the green space of North Moors, which was in the green belt – can now apparently be used as allotment land.

    GBC want to have it both ways, with allotments defined as brownfield sites when they want to build on them, and defined as green when they want to use green belt land for them.

    I don’t agree that this North Moors site is desirable either. It is full of methane outlets due to the old landfill site that was right next door. Who knows what is in that ground, leaching into what allotment holders are trying to grow? Plus, unlike the 100-year-old Bellfield site, this site is isolated, at the back of an industrial site, not surrounded by houses, and out on its own. It won’t feel safe, and it’s almost certainly going to be prey to vandalism.

    I cannot see why – other than greed – the comparatively small amount of land that the allotment at Bellfields covers cannot be left in its entirety, rich in wildlife and fertile soil as it is. It would go some small way towards proving the green credentials of the developers. Yet since they’re building on a flood plain, I suppose that idea is, one might say, dead in the water.

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