Fringe Box



Housing Development Continues To Divide Opinion As Hedges Removed

Published on: 9 Sep, 2019
Updated on: 11 Sep, 2019

By Hugh Coakley

Developers removed a 100m length of hedgerow last week in Keens Lane, Worplesdon, as part of the construction of 141 houses, a 70-bed care home and 355 parking spaces.

With environmental concerns being much debated at the moment, opinions on social media were sharply divided.

Comments ranged between those who accepted the removal of the hedgerow with “Get some perspective. I’m sure the birds will find a new home,” to those who were angry at its loss: “It’s environmental vandalism, at the hands of Guildford Borough Council.”

Picture taken in June 2019. The hedge pictured on the left has now been removed as part of the Keens Lane housing development.

The same view after the hedgerow was removed, post the bird-nesting season.

Residents in Keens Lane were not happy with the development.

Jean Ludgate, who has lived in Keens Lane since 1978, said: “The reality of the construction and the hedges being taken out is horrible. The wildlife that was there before is not there now. The reality is that it has all gone now.

There were over 200 comments on the removal of the hedgerow on Facebook with opinion divided for and against. This post decried the loss of the hedgerow and the environmental impact. Click on the images to enlarge the view in a new window.

“I can also see more accidents happening on the road with the way that they have positioned the junction.”

A number of Keens Lane residents, standing next to the remaining hedge as birds were busily singing, were resigned as they spoke to The Guildford Dragon NEWS onSunday, September 8: “We knew that it was coming down but it is still a shock. Where are all the animals going to go now? There are so many brownfield sites that could have been used for the houses.”

Another view on Facebook.

They were also concerned about the location of the junctions and potential accidents, saying: “The new junctions do not seem to be in a logical location. We have seen near misses since the construction started.”

Construction preparation started on site in June 2019 with groundworks including piling in the soft and wet areas on the site in July. Brickwork for the houses will start in mid-September, says the latest newsletter from the developer, Taylor Wimpey.

The Dragon had reported on concerns by residents and others that hedges would be removed during the bird nesting season. At the time, both Guildford Borough Council and Taylor Wimpey, stressed that an independent ecological inspection would be carried out before any hedge removal. “In time” says the developer’s newsletter, “we will need to remove the entire hedgerow to perform Section 278 road widening works on Keens Lane.”

The planning application for the project, now named Montague Place, was approved in November 2018 by Guildford Borough Council after a split decision by the planning committee.

Keens Lane development masterplan, now to be named Montague Place.

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Responses to Housing Development Continues To Divide Opinion As Hedges Removed

  1. Harry Elson Reply

    September 9, 2019 at 11:17 pm

    Let’s be in no doubt this development is a done deal. All the ranting and raving will not bring back the way Keens Lane was. It’s all gone.

    How did developers obtain the highways authority’s permission to allow the entrances onto the lane in such a dangerous position? The failure to widen the road by at least three metres and have parking bays for deliveries and visiting cars will be a big problem in the future.

    Just look at Findlay Drive at the weekend, it’s full to bursting with cars and vans. At least we will be able to park on the new estate but, more likely, the new residents and visitors will be looking to park in Findlay Drive because of the pressure on space.

    I am curious to see what provision there will be for parking and the size of the garages, if any, on the new development. Will they be large enough for the current large SUVs?

    We will watch with interest.

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