Fringe Box



Letter: Wisley Objectors Offered Letter Templates Too

Published on: 23 Nov, 2022
Updated on: 23 Nov, 2022

From: Taylor Wimpey

Developers of the former Wisley Airfield site

In response to: Quality, As Well As Quantity, of Comments Should Count in Weighing Wisley Application

Since completing the purchase of the former Wisley Airfield, Taylor Wimpey has engaged with the local community to develop proposals for the site through a wide-reaching community consultation and engagement programme which has taken place over four chapters.

To date, we have held four design review panels, seven community events, 15 community liaison group meetings, over 40 pre-application meetings with local authorities and over 200 stakeholder meetings. During this process, we have received feedback from a wide range of interest groups and residents, and we continue to engage.

As part of our wider programme of engagement, we spoke with a wide cross-section of Guildford residents about our proposals, including some students from the University of Surrey. For any resident who wished to show their support, we supplied a customisable letter which allowed them to add their own reasons for supporting the application.

Taylor Wimpey has not paid for anyone to write letters in support of the application for the former Wisley Airfield. The supporters who have submitted comments are people that are genuinely interested in living in Guildford in the future. We welcome their support and are disappointed to find that they are having the validity of their views questioned.

It is standard practice to provide templated letters for submission to planning consultations both for and against. We are aware that similar customisable letters have been used by local stakeholder groups, including opposition groups, to encourage feedback.

Similar customisable template letters in opposition were distributed by Villages Against Wisley New Town (VAWNT) and were advertised on their Facebook page and through posters in local shops, as shown in the attached image. See below.

VAWNT notice invites readers to write in for objection letter templates.

A letter template offered by VAWNT

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Responses to Letter: Wisley Objectors Offered Letter Templates Too

  1. Jim Allen Reply

    November 23, 2022 at 8:54 pm

    I do wish people would stop the political rhetoric. The hard facts are on this site.

    The government promised to return the site farmland land following its use as an emergency airstrip in the war, 80 years ago. But the promise was broken.

    Sufficient water suppy for over 2,000 new homes is questionable.

    Sufficient electrical power supply is also questionable.

    The site is at a distance from Guildford that will, for almost all residents, require reliance on private cars and the current car-per-house ratio is two cars for each home.

    If you are a commercial traveller with a company car, an airport worker or a service engineer with a van, the site, so close to J10, might be excellent.

    But it would not be my choice. Simply building houses and just hoping the infrastructure will cope is one thing, providing a sustainable family home is another.

    • Frances Porter Reply

      November 25, 2022 at 8:44 am

      I agree with Jim Allen. If they manage to supply the water, they certainly will not deal with the flooding issues, no matter how many ponds they put in.

      Poor Stratford Brook will be polluted from all the building works runoff. Thames Water will be discharging into the local rivers even more frequently. They can’t cope even now. The flooding in the surrounding area at the moment is surely warning enough.

      They talk about a communal heat/power source and there have been numerous articles citing aggrieved house owners saddled with huge bills as they are classed as business and pay business rates.

      There is no choice to get anywhere without a car, cycles on the local narrow country lanes are too hazardous, the buses they suggest won’t start till the whole site is built so most people will have got used to using their car, so the buses will be unviable and stop.
      The poor GP surgeries, schools and nurseries in the area are already bursting at the seams.

      Wrong location! Wrong location! Wrong location!

  2. Ben Paton Reply

    November 25, 2022 at 1:33 pm

    Taylor Wimpey says it has “engaged with the local community”.

    Their ‘way’ is: ‘We are a FTSE100 company and will bombard you with endless propaganda until you all submit.’

    The experience of locals is that any ‘off-message’ comments quickly result in ostracism.

  3. Guy Murray Reply

    November 25, 2022 at 5:00 pm

    “The supporters who have submitted comments are people that are genuinely interested in living in Guildford” – Guildford is 8 miles away from this site so I would suggest that the supporters look closer to Guildford, especially if they are university students. In Guildford there will be better a much better existing infrastructure for them.

    Maybe Taylor Wimpey should focus on looking at developing sites in Guildford rather than the former Wisley Airfield site. Perhaps the response is to simply counteract the overwhelming number of objections that have been submitted compared to a very few number in support.

    However, as with other development sites the number of objections appears to be irrelevant in the eyes of Guildford Borough Council and their own agenda. Ultimately the developers can make more money by developing this site with higher housing prices than they could achieve in Guildford.

  4. David Roberts Reply

    November 27, 2022 at 2:23 pm

    Key point: Taylor Wimpey have been forced to admit that they wrote these student letters, which deceptively appear as “Public Comments” on the council website. In reality they are commercial propaganda, like the support letter from Buglife, which receives £10,000 a year from Taylor Wimpey.

    It is dishonest to suggest a parallel with how 1,200 private residents, or residents’ groups, have chosen to react to this planning application. Unlike the developers, they have not spent years building a case, do not stand to gain tens of millions of pounds from the council’s decision and merely want to defend their environment and way of life. Several important organisations, including Elmbridge council, also object.

    Councillors need to be clear: there is no more than a handful of genuine public expressions of support for this project. Support from any quarter is practically zero.

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