Fringe Box



Inquiry Dates Set for Former Wisley Airfield Plan Appeal

Published on: 15 Sep, 2023
Updated on: 15 Sep, 2023

Wisley Airfield plans. Credit: Taylor Wimpey And Vivid

By Emily Coady-Stemp

local democracy reporter

RHS Wisley has set out concerns about the impact a planned nearby development of 1,730 homes could have on it terms of noise, pollution and its visitors.

Details have been released of the inquiry that will take place into Taylor Wimpey’s appeal to build the homes on the former Wisley Airfield.

The site is across the A3 from the gardens, and close to the junction 10 upgrade works being done on the A3 and the M25.

The developers appealed against Guildford Borough Council for not making a decision within a specified timeline, though the council said documents were submitted by Taylor Wimpey late in the process.

The appeal means the decision has been taken out of the borough council’s hands, and the application will now be decided by a government inspector after 24 days’ of hearings.

The dates and locations of the inquiry are now available, with it being held at two separate venues.

The first date is September 26, at 10am at the Guildford Baptist Church, in Millmead.

The 24 days will not run consecutively, and start times will vary between 9am, 9.30am and 10am.

From September 26 to 28 the venue will be the Guildford Baptist Church, before it moves to the Guildford Borough Council offices.

Appeal documents show that Wisley Action Group, Ockham Parish Council and RHS Wisley have submitted a joint statement of case document, setting out their thoughts on the application.

Campaign group called Villages Against Wisley New Town objects to the proposed development of 1700 homes at the former Wisley Airfield. Guildford Borough Councillors will debate the application

They describe the plans as “entirely unsustainable” both regarding the location and size of the development.

The statement said: “RHS Wisley is an internationally significant charitable scientific and destination garden which draws high levels of traffic each year. It has also been the subject of substantial investment in recent years.

“RHS Wisley has real concerns that transport impacts on this key historic facility has not been fully considered in the proposals; both in isolation and when combined with other development happening in the area.

“The impact of transport on the operation of Wisley will be felt in terms of visitorship and financially (as well as through pollution and noise on the heritage asset that includes the valuable plant collection).”

In terms of harm to heritage assets, the document lists the Grade II* Chatley Semaphore Tower, other Grade II listed buildings and the Grade II* Wisley Gardens.

It said: “[The harm] will be increased in respect of RHS Wisley by the more open views caused by the extensive removal of trees for the M25 J10 project.”

Taylor Wimpey’s statement of case said the planned development would have “limited impact” on its surroundings and that the benefits “significantly and demonstrably” outweighed any actual or perceived harm.

The benefits of the scheme were highlighted, among others, as new and expanded bus routes and a network of cycle routes in the area, a net gain of tree cover across the site as well as protecting all ancient and veteran trees and reducing traffic through Ripley.

The full list of dates for the appeal is as follows:

September 26 to 28

October 10 to 13, 17 to 20 and 31.

November 1 to 3, 7 to 10, 21 to 24 and 28.

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Responses to Inquiry Dates Set for Former Wisley Airfield Plan Appeal

  1. Keith Francis Reply

    September 18, 2023 at 2:04 am

    Doesn’t RHS Wisley consider the exclusive use by it of nearby fields for parking at its own events objectionable?

    For a recent event people were additionally being encouraged to use the Woking Community mini-bus from Woking railway station which was never its intended purpose and could, due to its limited service, leave people stranded at the Wisley Gardens.

    Although there will be the “loss of a few trees on RHS Wisley land at the current A3/Wisley Lane junction” the A3 will then be widened as it passes the RHS Garden where many non-native trees are being removed to be replaced with varieties more suited to “support the notable or protected species” that live at the site.

    I hope that the inspector and the objectors have read and take note of the “National Highways M25 Junction 10 /A3 Wisley improvement scheme Habitat factsheet” that explains the reasons for the overall site improvement works which are to be phased over several years and they allow for the new estate on Wisley airfield.

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