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Letter: M25 J10 Woodland Decimation Shows What Happens If Wisley Development Goes Ahead

Published on: 25 Dec, 2022
Updated on: 25 Dec, 2022

From Chris Campbell

Member of Villages Against Wisley New Town (VAWNT)

Now the work on the M25 Junction 10 has started, I have been shocked to see the destruction of trees and wildlife habitats along the A3 and M25.

Photo from a drone over the M25 Junction 10 construction site (December 2022). Click on the image to enlarge in a new window.

These named areas shown on the drone photo as Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and Special Protection Areas (SPA) are all designated sites due to their rare heathland habitats for protected species such as Nightjars, Woodlark, Dartford Warblers and Sand Lizards.

Borough residents and national campaigners from Transport Action Network had considered taking the decision by Grant Shapps to approve this to a judicial review. Their case was based on the damaging effects on CO2 emissions in construction, extra traffic and loss of trees. But the government then amended their carbon strategy legislation by saying that each scheme was so small in the scheme of things that it would all comply in the end.

See Project Team ‘Disappointed’ With SoS Decision To Slash M25 J10 Environmental Mitigation

However, the UK government is now refusing to release the carbon emission figures behind its transport decarbonisation plan, which campaigners say could make proposed road schemes financially unviable.

Campaigners say meeting these legally binding targets will be possible only with a drastic reduction in motor traffic, which could make many new road projects financially unviable.

There are 32 million cars on the UK’s roads and they are growing both in number and size. Transport is the country’s largest emitting sector, and produced 24 per cent of the total in 2020.

Site clearance at the M25 Junction 10 road improvements.

The M25 Junction 10 scheme is running months behind schedule for its 3-year completion and costs have now escalated from £250 million to £370 million.

Witnessing the environmental damage from this road scheme has emphasised how important it is that GBC withdraws its previous concept of building Wisley new town, a development of 2,100 houses with 5,000 more cars right alongside this vital area of nature conservation. It will only put further pressure on the designated sites.

Fortunately, Michael Gove’s statement on December 5 now encourages exactly that in local authorities being able to take back control of housing figures and most importantly choosing the right locations when he stated: “These reforms will help to deliver enough of the right homes in the right places and will do that by promoting development that is beautiful, that comes with the right infrastructure, that is done democratically with local communities rather than to them, that protects and improves our environment, and that leaves us with better neighbourhoods than before.”

Doubtless, as they approach the borough election in the spring, councillors will be very aware in their planning policy on this site of Gove’s saying they must make “plans that take account of the concerns of the local community”.

Local campaign group Villages Against Wisley New Town (VAWNT) are urging Guildford Borough Councillors that this site is simply the “Wrong Location, Wrong Location, Wrong Location”.

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test 7 Responses to Letter: M25 J10 Woodland Decimation Shows What Happens If Wisley Development Goes Ahead

  1. Helena Townsend Reply

    December 25, 2022 at 10:00 pm

    Out of interest can it be explained where 5,000 cars are coming from? From what I can see Taylor Wimpey has submitted plans for 1,730 houses so I don’t understand why these houses will have more than two cars each.

    Of these homes, it looks like a lot are fairly modest in size, including a number of flats where one car would be expected.

    • David Roberts Reply

      December 30, 2022 at 4:43 pm

      This is easily explained. Taylor Wimpey do not own all the land allocated for housing at Site A35 in the Guildford Local Plan. Some is owned by Hallam Land, who want to build 70 houses on it, and some by CBRE who have room for even more (see https://www.westhorsley.info/_VirDir/CoreContents/News/Display.aspx?id=50340).

      The total site allocation is for 2,100 houses but, if initial planning applications are approved, the developers are likely to come back for more on spurious “financial viability” grounds, as they have in Effingham. On the basis of the average local household size of 2.4 people, the total population could easily be 5-6,000 – mostly adults.

      Jobs and local services (shops, schools, doctors, trains, buses) are all several miles away, so everyone will need to drive. Not all households will have two cars, but add in normal delivery traffic, tradesmen, bin collections and visitors and the added burden on the local network of flooded country lanes will probably exceed the 5,000 vehicles projected.

      This is on top of the roughly 800 additional cars generated by current new housing in the Horsleys.

  2. Bob Cowell Reply

    December 28, 2022 at 9:16 am

    Two points:
    1) When the junction is open it should reduce emissions by traffic moving more effectively rather than stop/start.
    2) There is a massive shortage of homes so, if not on Wisley Common then where? (There are not enough brownfield sites around, I suspect.)

  3. Jim Allen Reply

    December 28, 2022 at 12:13 pm

    Is there a massive shortage of homes or a shortage of homes available because so many are lying empty brought by foreigners as investment rather than homes. Approximately 30 per cent of The Cloisters in Burpham have never been occupied since built. Brought off plan from abroad.

    With half a million accommodation units lying empty across the country perhaps the law on leaving them empty should be change?

    • Jules Cranwell Reply

      December 29, 2022 at 6:12 am

      This has been addressed in Canada, where ‘buy to leave’ properties have punitive taxes levied. Why can we not do likewise in the UK. In London there are entire developments bought by overseas buyers, largely from China, lying unoccupied.

  4. Stuart Barnes Reply

    December 30, 2022 at 10:42 am

    Is there no way to stop the uglification of what used to be our green and pleasant land? The population increase driving all the development is caused, primarily, by virtually unrestricted immigration which must cease.

    The current pretend “Conservative” government is not going to put a stop to it; the Starmer socialists will not do so; and the Liberals do not seem to have any policies.

    Is it time for Farage to make a comeback or the rump of genuine Conservatives (about 50 per cent?) remaining in the party to split off to create a real opposition?

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