Fringe Box



Letter: Wisley Plan – the Whole Thing Is Preposterous

Published on: 16 Sep, 2023
Updated on: 16 Sep, 2023

From: David Roberts

In response to: Developer Continues to Insist Its Ill-conceived Proposals Carry Local Support

I have just commented on the silliest planning application (22/P/01175) that I have ever seen, and that is saying a lot!

To justify their proposal to build thousands of houses in an isolated, totally car-dependent, rural location [the former Wisley Airfield], the developer Taylor Wimpey proposes to install 24 chicanes and street lighting along Long Reach, a country lane miles away in West Horsley. Their intention is to turn it into a cycling super-highway.

Not only does Long Reach not connect either with the proposed development or any village centre but it is not even on the way to anywhere. It is an utterly rural lane, running along a ridge through the green belt, unbuilt along its western side, from which there are far-reaching views over open fields towards Clandon. There are skylarks there and the sunsets are beautiful.

There are no street lights anywhere else in West Horsley and the village’s Neighbourhood Plan, approved by Guildford council and by local referendum, specifically rules these out. No study has been conducted on how the proposal would displace traffic onto other roads, or who among Taylor Wimpey’s 5,000 hoped-for customers would be mad enough to pedal this gruelling route rather than jumping in the car to pop down to Effingham Junction station or the shops in East Horsley – a much shorter drive.

The whole thing is preposterous and, I hope, a sign of terminal desperation on Taylor Wimpey’s part. If the inspector cannot see this, she is bonkers.

It is inexplicable why relatively small projects, such as North Street, generate ten times as much public controversy as this daft plan for Wisley New Town. The whole borough should be up in arms for, if we don’t protect Guildford’s countryside, developers will continue to treat urban regeneration with contempt.

See also: Inquiry Dates Set for Former Wisley Airfield Plan Appeal

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Responses to Letter: Wisley Plan – the Whole Thing Is Preposterous

  1. H Trevor Jones Reply

    September 16, 2023 at 11:10 pm

    I thought that part of the Wisley plan was to have good public transport and cycling provision to avoid everyone having to go everywhere by car, but perhaps it’s still not good enough.

    People also objected to new housing at Dunsfold, and to tall buildings at North Street. But we do need new housing, so let’s not be entirely negative about proposals for housing and seek how they can be improved rather than opposed.

    • Ben Paton Reply

      September 17, 2023 at 2:42 pm

      No one has any obligation to help improve a daft, corrupt planning application any more than anyone has a duty to help a burglar plan his break-in more effectively.
      Applicants who keep coming back with the same proposal for the same site for no better reason than to make themselves money should be penalised not encouraged.
      The local community has been put through this charade several times since 1981 (when HM Government sold the land back to the King family) – most recently in 2017 when the Inspector’s report stated that the site was ‘not sustainable’.
      Cllrs Spooner and Furniss foisted a corrupt local plan (first devised by Cllrs Mansbridge and Juneja) on the Borough in 2019. Painting lipstick on the plan does not make it any less ugly.
      Yes we need new social housing – not fake ‘affordable’ housing. This development is not suitable for social housing – not having any jobs or transport nearby. To call it ‘affordable’ is just dishonest.

    • Jules Cranwell Reply

      September 20, 2023 at 9:25 am

      Seriously, do you beleive that folks from the new city are going to cycle with their kids to schools or doctors etc. in inclement weather? That’s of course if they can get places, as these are already at capacity. Even in fine weather, it is extremely unlikely, apart from a handful of committed cyclists. No, the majority will be driving their Chelsea tractors.

  2. Valerie Thompson Reply

    September 17, 2023 at 9:53 am

    Further to the plan to introduce this mad cycle way to Horsley shops and station with 24 chicanes along Long Reach, I would like to point out that there are houses at the southern end, access to the new Manor Farm development of over 100 houses, a football club, a SANG (established to offset development in Effingham) a garden centre and a distribution depot on the former Tyrells site, the latter two establishments using large HGV vehicles.

    How Taylor Wimpey could think that making this narrow road into a suitable cycle track is a good idea is beyond belief.

    Not only do they want Long Reach to be unusable to normal traffic but they wish to continue the route down a lane, privately maintained by its residents, cross the railway and continue on a shared cycle/ pedestrian path which would need considerable widening. The whole route would be twice as long as the existing road, Ockham Road North.

    Please send your comments to GBC Planning portal ref. 22/P/01175.

  3. David Roberts Reply

    September 17, 2023 at 2:00 pm

    I am touched by Mr Trevor Jones’s naïve optimism. What reason does he have to think that Taylor Wimpey are remotely interested in paying for “good public transport and cycling provision”?

    Apart from the cycle route I have described, the only thing they’ve proposed – extremely implausibly – is a bus service in perpetuity to Horsley station. In practice, this means setting up a service company funded by residents of the new town.

    Taylor Wimpey could soon shed this liability by selling it on as a commercial concern. Either the payments would then rise to unsustainable levels or the bus service would dwindle and the company go bust.

  4. Jules Cranwell Reply

    September 19, 2023 at 7:04 pm

    Taylor Wimpey will never stop their inaccurate claims about this development. They are desparate to fill the coffers of ther share-holder’s dividends and the bonuses for their directors.

  5. Lisa Wright Reply

    September 20, 2023 at 9:52 pm

    For the benefit of those that don’t know the area. Here is a map.
    Blue is the proposed new Wisley town.
    Red are the two stations, East Horsley and Effingham Junction.
    Yellow is the existing road, Old Lane, from Wisley new town to Effingham Junction station.
    Green is the proposed cycle route on Long Reach from Wisley New Town.

    Now can everyone see why the whole thing is a pointless, point scoring exercise by the developer with a worthless value to anyone living in the Wisley New Town?

    Martin, I have emailed you a picture

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