Fringe Box



Letter: Burpham – West Horsley’s Exercise Area

Published on: 21 Aug, 2014
Updated on: 21 Aug, 2014
Riverside Nature Park - Reed reflections - Jim Allen

Riverside Nature Park near Burpham

From Jim Allen

This morning, whilst out walking in the Burpham and Riverside Nature Reserve, I had a conversation with a stranger which went like this:

Me: “Are you aware of the local plan intends to build 3,000 houses here and a new road across the river flood plain from Slyfield?”

Response:  “Yes I’m from West Horsley and they want to build 170 houses there.”

Me: “Oh so why did you come to Burpham?”

Response: “So I could walk the dogs … and do some shopping… I could have gone to Leatherhead or Cobham but there’s nowhere to walk the dogs.”

So it would seem that Burpham and Riverside Nature Reserve  is so important to West Horsley as a servant to their needs that they travel all the way here because their green belt does not have anywhere to use as a dog toilet (this person had no signs of carrying a poop scoop).

But there is not a peep out of the campaigners of the Horsleys to save their shopping and recreation area here in Burpham.

Oh how the other half live!

Share This Post

Responses to Letter: Burpham – West Horsley’s Exercise Area

  1. Ben Paton Reply

    August 21, 2014 at 1:39 pm

    It is not actually true that no one from West Horsley has spoken up against a new town in Burpham. Many members of the Guildford Greenbelt Group (GGG) live in the Horsleys and they and GGG have consistently spoken up against building anywhere on the green belt – including Burpham.

    Too much Downton Abbey perhaps confuses fact with fiction?

  2. Jules Cranwell Reply

    August 21, 2014 at 4:39 pm

    Mr Allen is a vox populi of one. Be serious.

    This chap was obviously having you on. As a dog walker, we have Sheepleas, many footpaths, accessible fields, within dog-walking distance of any dog. These will mostly be gone, if GBC get away with concreting over the green belt.

    And yes, we are against any development in the green belt, as Mr Allen should know well.

    • Jim Allen Reply

      August 22, 2014 at 10:59 am

      No the walker was not ‘having me on’.

      They were coming to shop in Burpham Sainsbury’s specifically because they could walk their dog as well at Riverside Nature Reserve; apparently they can’t do that at Leatherhead or Cobham nor, by implication, on they own home turf.

      The Guildford Greenbelt Group (GGG), apparently, are in support of the Slyfield re-generation project, as part of the Wey Valley regeneration. The site is an alleged brown field site, over a third of which is allotments – not so brown field. The project would also involve, by ‘2016’, a road through the green belt and across a flood plain. It would also require the moving of a water-works, at £65 million, to gain land valued at £17 million.

      If the houses are needed, whatever the number, we need to spread them around and not form a ghetto in one tight location.

      • Robert Burch Reply

        August 22, 2014 at 2:30 pm

        To help on this topic, take a look at the site maps available as part of the local plan:
        Slyfiled Area Regneration Project (SARP) site:
        Clay Lane link road:

        These show that the SARP site is to the west of the river and that the link road is to the north of the current Slyfield site. The Riverside Nature Park is to the east of the river and not obviously affected by the SARP. See map here:

        The land covered by the SARP shown on the council’s maps is largely not accessible to the public as some of it is the site of an old open landfill. The allotments affected are to the west of the sewage works and south of Waterside Road. From the map, the allotments affected look to be considerably less than a third of the site.

        There are also allotments near the Nature Park at Bowers Lane which do not appear affected by SARP. SARP includes 1,000 houses, there are also a potential 2,000 houses at Gosden Hill Farm on the other side of the A3.

        The access road would indeed go across green belt land, but that does not have to mean more building on the green belt than the road itself. The cost of a new sewage works will be very high, however Thames Water have to replace the sewage works at some point in the next 5-10 years (as I understand) and so would incur this cost anyway.

        The debate is whether this can be brought forward to facilitate SARP. Thames Water have denied that any deal has been done with the council over SARP, contrary to what Cllr Mansbridge said in January. See here: The current local plan does not reflect Cllr Mansbridge’s statement on SARP from this article as it has been put in the 11-15 year category.

        I thoroughly recommend the Riverside Nature Reserve. Despite the proximity to the A3 and associated noise, it’s a beautiful place and you’ll find my running through it at the weekends (and I don’t have a dog!)

        In terms of “picking your battles”, I would encourage Mr Allen to back SARP as it can help deliver the housing Guildford needs, but to fight development at Gosden Hill Farm which would largely be developed to suit people moving into the borough.

        • Jim Allen Reply

          August 23, 2014 at 5:07 pm

          Why would I back SARP? This is why:

          1/ An extra predicted HGV’s 265 per day onto Clay Lane (with subsidence of 1mm per year) between the river and the A3, plus hundreds of cars joining the 1600 vehicles a day predicted for the Aldi Store at the junction of London Road and New Inn Lane.

          2/ Destruction of Bellfields Allotments, which the local plan claims are important.

          3/ A new “rat run” from Park Barn, through Stoughton, to the A3.

          4/ A longer route to a main A road route. The Woking Road is an A road, Clay Lane is a C road. 135 homes will be directly affected by additional traffic Noise should the new link road be build and each one will have to be provided with noise insulation. In comparison no houses would be affected if the A320 Moorefields Junction was sorted. This proposal is NOT Sustainable.

          5/ Proposal to build a new water-works which would still require a pumping station at the old location.

          6/ Slyflield industrial estate is built on sludge from the water works, any rejuvenation will require all the sludge to be removed. Note the back road (Westfield Road) in Slyfield Estate, a neat switchback caused by subsidence into the historic 17th century river course.

          7/ Noise levels will rise by the Wey navigation an additional 50-60db on top of the current 80-90db, measured on the A3 last week.

          8/ The Wey tow-path will no longer be a haven of tranquillity.

          And that’s just for starters.

          The flood plain was a metre deep in water over Christmas – flowing at 705 million litres an hour… It remained water logged until April.

          Our sewers flood in Burpham if the water level in the river rise to 80% of maximum (2.05m) at the Merrow stream Environment Agency measurement gauge. Any rising of flood levels on the flood plain will cause sewage problems in Burpham

          What seems a wonderful idea has very serious flaws. Why smash the side of the house in when the front door is jammed, why not sort out the front door? The problem of access at Moorefield’s could be sorted by simply re-phasing the traffic lights.

          A second road is simply not required. No proof of requirement has ever been displayed, other than conjecture. Just seems like a good idea. That’s not proper planning due process.

          Why move the water-works when it it could, for far less money, be left where it is and modernised to cope with the additional housing coming to the borough. Note, if Gosden Hill is developed a new sewer will have to be installed all the way to the water-works, wherever then located, as the current pipes are at capacity. The proposed new site is at least two metres deep in sludge spread across the area since 1890. Where is this going to go?

          Finally, what is wrong with spreading the housing quota around the whole borough, as proposed? If it is not ‘the other guy’ is going to get the lot. And the way the current argument is going it’s ok to destroy the green belt of the Wey valley (“A road from the commercial estate won’t ‘really’ damage the tranquillity of the Wey – honest!”) but it’s not ok to build a few houses in the borough’s villages, which might affect the value of the houses there.

          As for winning battles – watch this space.

  3. Susan Parker Reply

    August 21, 2014 at 6:21 pm

    I’d endorse what Ben Paton said here. Just to remind everyone, the constitution of GGG states:

    “Supporters have come together to support our five key objectives:
    • brownfield land should be used for building before any green fields;
    • housing numbers must reflect real local need, not developers’ wishes;
    • existing legal protection for the green belt and the AONB should stand;
    • green fields matter – they are not just building land and;
    • the Metropolitan green belt is for the benefit of all”.

    We don’t want to see building on Gosden Hill farm, and this is part of the urban sprawl that we want to resist.

    That “all” in our constitution doesn’t just mean the residents of Guildford – it means everyone who uses the green belt as a stakeholder – visitors, tourists, cyclists, residents in the town and countryside alike. We don’t only object to building on one site, we object to building on the green belt and on all green fields where there is a brownfield alternative, and we seek to restrict the number of homes built to those that reflect real local need, as opposed to the wishes of developers. We consider that there are brownfield alternatives within Guildford which will meet all our reasonable housing needs for the foreseeable future.

    We also think that the pressure to build ever more retail development should perhaps be reconsidered in the light of increasing internet shopping, existing retailers under pressure, and the need for smaller units for homes, which would be, because smaller, more affordable for younger people. Nor is it clear why we need much more office space when we have empty office developments.

    Part of the problem with the local plan process is that the council have sought to set one area against another, as if it is a matter of choice between areas for a given housing number – but we should recognise that this is a fundamentally false choice. It is the housing number that is wrong, and we should recognise that.

    We should all stand up against building unwanted executive homes just to generate profits for house builders (and a community infrastructure levy to generate funds for the council).

    We’d urge everyone to express their views to the council as part of the current consultation process.

    Susan Parker is an organiser of the Guildford Greenbelt Group.

  4. David Rose Reply

    August 21, 2014 at 11:56 pm

    On the subject of dog poo, we went for a family walk through Sleepleas at West Horsley.

    I have to say this was about four or five years ago, but we haven’t been back as the dog mess that littered a main footpath was disgusting.

    We turned back after 15 minutes of walking.

    It seemed as if dog owners, whether they were local or not, had no intention of cleaning up after their pets, despite signs that I think had been put up by Surrey Wildlife Trust asking them to do so.

    Out of interest, can anyone say if the paths are clear these days?

  5. Mary Bedforth Reply

    August 22, 2014 at 7:16 am

    Wise words from Susan Parker. I would like to thank her.

  6. Mary Bedforth Reply

    August 22, 2014 at 2:34 pm

    Readers may be interested to see this from the rather annoying GBC website where it seems it takes three or four clicks to get anywhere and, if not careful, you get the “Cookie Policy” up where you need your cursor to go when using the scroll button:

    “Win a Leash Pod to clear up after your dog – residents reminded ‘Any bin will do’

    Dog walkers can take part in an online competition to win a Leash Pod later this month, as part of a campaign to remind owners that when it comes to disposing of bagged dog poo, ‘any bin will do’. A Leash Pod attaches to a lead and can be used to conveniently and safely carry dog mess until a bin is available.

    Stickers will be placed at secret locations around the borough every day from 26 to 29 August. A photo clue will be posted on Twitter (@GuildfordBC) every morning, with the first person to correctly tweet the location and the breed of dog on the sticker named the winner.

    Cllr Matt Furniss, Lead Councillor for Environment says: “We all know that dog mess is unsightly, but it can also be a health risk and can even cause blindness. There’s no excuse not to clear up after your dog – if it’s wrapped, it can be disposed of in any litter bin. You can also buy a Leash Pod from our depot for just £10.”

    The environmental education team is visiting several locations this August to encourage owners to keep our parks and streets clear of dog mess. The trailer will be out and about with dog warden Pete Burnage on the following dates:

    Thursday 21 August – Ash – Coronation Gardens
    Wednesday 27 August – Guildford town centre – rotunda outside the Friary Centre.

    To buy a Leash Pod for £10, contact the Council’s Woking Road depot on 01483 444499.;

  7. Lisa Wright Reply

    August 22, 2014 at 11:42 pm

    If Slyfield is ‘regenerated’ which parish will get the new sewerage plant?

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 *