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M25 Junction 10 Revamp In Doubt As Secretary Shapps Delays Decision Again

Published on: 17 May, 2021
Updated on: 18 May, 2021

By Hugh Coakley

The plan to increase capacity and improve safety on M25 Junction 10 has been delayed again, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has decided.

The busy M25 junction 10 interchange with the A3 is in an environmentally sensitive area.

Anti-scheme campaigners said there were “serious doubts about the viability” of the £250 million project, questioning whether proposed changes achieved anything “fundamental”.

Construction had been expected to start in December 2020 but a surprise Whitehall announcement extended the deadline till May 2021, pending consultation on acquiring land to compensate for the loss of environmentally sensitive areas (see M25 Junction 10 Decision Delayed By Secretary Of State).

On Wednesday, May 12, a Highways England (HE) website announced the latest delay, saying “a final decision [by the SoS] on whether we can continue with our proposals” would be made in November 2021 to enable “further consideration of environmental matters”.

A3 traffic approaching Junction 10 of the M25

An HE statement denied the delayed decision was due to impact on traffic flows caused by the pandemic or home-working trends. A spokesperson told The Dragon “We anticipate further correspondence from the Secretary of State within the next two weeks.

“It is expected this will provide an explanation for the delay and, in all likelihood, a request for further environment-related information, which we will provide.”

The junction improvement included dedicated lanes for all left-turning traffic and a new elongated roundabout to increase capacity for right-turning traffic. This was aimed to easing congestion and improving safety for the 300,000 daily journeys at the interchange but, although supported by many drivers, some residents and local groups objected.

Cllr Colin Cross

Colin Cross (R4GV), GBC councillor for Lovelace (Ripley, Wisley & Ockham) and SCC councillor for the Horsleys, called the junction improvement proposals a “waste of money”.

He said: “Nothing fundamental was being achieved at the junction other than scrapping the traffic lights there and they were never much of a problem because when you got on the M25 it was mostly at a standstill anyway.”

Protesters against the housing development by Taylor Wimpey on the former Wisley Airfield, said the delays revealed “serious doubts over the viability of the [M25] project” and the decision would affect the development.

Tony Edwards

Tony Edwards, of the Wisley Action Group, said: “Taylor Wimpey will, of course, be unable to present their anticipated planning proposals for Three Farms Meadows, the former Wisley airfield, unless and until the interchange works are approved, and that is looking increasingly unlikely.

“The environmental issues are immense and any plans to change the junction 10 scheme seem likely to restart the whole interchange consultation process, with resultant delays measured in years rather than months.”

Antonis Pazourou, Taylor Wimpey’s community and green infrastructure project manager, said their next round of consultations would start on Wednesday, May 19.

Cllr John Rigg (R4GV, Holy Trinity), lead for regeneration, said: “The delay will not affect our programme to plan a review of the Local Plan. As part of this, we will consider the A3 and the possible impact of any changes which may or may not be made to it on issues such as congestion, safety, pollution and capacity.”

At time of publication, no comment from Conservative, Labour or GGG borough councillors was available.

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Responses to M25 Junction 10 Revamp In Doubt As Secretary Shapps Delays Decision Again

  1. Helen Jefferies Reply

    May 17, 2021 at 8:14 pm

    There is not a chance that this scheme can be delivered for £250 million as anyone who has been involved with any building project in the last 18 months will attest. Prices for materials have increased hugely and there’s a fair chance that labour costs have increased too.

    I’d suggest that the cost of the current scheme is close to £300m million all for a quicker route to the car park which is the M25. Poor value for money for taxpayers for sure. To say nothing of the environmental harm to the Thames Basin Heath Special Protection Area, the lack of support from one of the borough flagship employers (the RHS) and the lack of support from local Parish Councils and residents alike.

  2. Ramsey Nagaty Reply

    May 18, 2021 at 8:17 am

    The M25J10 proposals were not supported by GGG as they would result in the felling of mature trees and create additional traffic flows through Ripley and to RHS wisley.

    Such a development would have generated a huge carbon footprint contrary to Govt policy to achieve zero carbon and GBC climate emergency declaration.

    The recent High Court ruling over the A38 has resulted in the SoS cancelling works on the A38 for these reasons.
    The non-supply of road infrastructure expected is yet another reason for review of the Local Plan and reconsideration of the scale of development at strategic sites.

    Ramsay Nagaty is leader of the GGG group at GBC

  3. William Brewster Reply

    May 18, 2021 at 10:51 am

    The junction 10 roundabout is outdated and needs rebuilding along with the Ripley roundabout as everything is land banked near Ripley for housing development and Taylor Wimpey will build on the Wisley airfield.

    Unfortunately, Ockham had a handful of millionaires who just refuse to accept housing near their homes while the rest of us have to put up with government housing directions.

    Imagine what the millionaires of Ockham would say if the airfield was full of planes landing all the time.

    • John Perkins Reply

      May 19, 2021 at 8:50 am

      I wasn’t aware roundabouts had a shelf life. Are all the older ones in the country outdated?

      Mr Brewster is surely aware that Three Farm Meadows was never an airfield until it was requisitioned by the government during WWII for that purpose. Flying ceased almost 50 years ago.

      Even millionaires are entitled to enjoy the benefits of the homes they purchased without being disturbed by billionaire developers and their clients.

    • Ben Paton Reply

      May 19, 2021 at 11:57 am

      If Mr Brewster is hopeful that his ‘handful of millionaires’ theory will catch on, he may be disappointed.

      120,000 people signed a petition against the development of Three Farms Meadow. The press reporting of this can be read on:

      There were also tens of thousands of objections to the Local Plan. However, you look at it more people objected than Mr Brewster’s ‘handful’.

      What evidence does Mr Brewster have to support his assertion that all the objectors were millionaires?

      If Mr Brewster takes exception to individuals because they are “millionaires” he should take a close look at the pay packages of the senior management teams at Taylor Wimpey, Persimmon and Berkeley Homes. Some of them are paid over a million pounds per annum.

      Another Trumpian trick that Mr Brewster plays is to suggest that the alternative to building the third largest settlement in the Borough (after only Guildford itself and Ash & Tongham) is to create an airport. That’s another red herring. The airfield was only ever a private runway for Vickers and was closed when what is now BAe rationalised its production facilities in around 1970. No planes have flown there for some fifty years.

      The reason Mr Brewster gives for replacing J10 is that ‘everything is land banked near Ripley for housing developer’. Perhaps he speaks for the housing developers?

  4. Jules Cranwell Reply

    May 18, 2021 at 3:37 pm

    Another nail in the coffin to Taylor Wimpey’s planned assault on this high-grade farmland. It would also breach the council’s zero-carbon commitment. Excellent.

  5. David Roberts Reply

    May 18, 2021 at 4:29 pm

    Given the current state of public finances, there is no way this project should be prioritised over, say, health or social care. Another nail in its coffin is the recent judgment over the A38 in Derbyshire:

  6. Adam Aaronson Reply

    May 18, 2021 at 6:54 pm

    I wonder whether there any former ministers or even former Prime Ministers lobbying Mr Shapps by text on behalf of Taylor Wimpey?

  7. Valerie Thompson Reply

    May 19, 2021 at 9:51 am

    Has Mr Brewster ever seen the airstrip at Wisley? It is short, with a broken surface and has not been viable as an airfield for many, many years. The area, properly called Three Farms Meadows, appropriated by the government for a wartime airstrip, as I have stated before, was meant to have been returned to farmland after the war. It was not. It should never be built on. There have been many stated reasons why it is not suitable.

    To accuse all the residents of Ockham as millionaire Nimbys is appalling. There are people who have lived there in small houses for a long time. This is a rural community and should remain so.

    The only required alteration to the road system along the A3 is a widening where the Ripley Road joins it heading east. Traffic, intending to go to Wisley Gardens should not have to join the main carriageway, but be able to use a slip road directly onto the Garden access road.

  8. Jan Lofthouse Reply

    May 19, 2021 at 11:56 am

    I am hoping Wisley airfield will be put back into the green belt to save these beautiful villages and open spaces ie Ockham Ripley East and West Horsley, East and West Clandon, Wisley and Cobham.

    Build on the derelict land around Guildford instead.

  9. Bibhas Neogi Reply

    May 21, 2021 at 8:46 am

    Cllr Colin Cross commented: “Nothing fundamental was being achieved at the junction other than scrapping the traffic lights there and they were never much of a problem because when you got on the M25 it was mostly at a standstill anyway.”

    A bit unfair about the M25 I think. The motorway is one of the four ring roads around London that was thought to be needed, but the rest is a history of short-sightedness and shortage of funding for roads for which almost every government could be held accountable. In comparison, for example in France, tolled motorways were built to alleviate congestion on inadequate regional routes. The M25 flows not too badly except for very peak periods but then the variable speed limit system tries to streamline flows albeit at a slower rate.

    But what about the widening of the A3 both north and south of the junction and other ancillary improvements?

    I am not keen on the option Highways England has adopted. The elongated roundabout would improve flows a little but not as much as would be achievable if the routes were kept separated, as in the discarded options of high-level viaducts for either the M25 or the A3 free-flow slip roads.

    A possible but much less intrusive option would be to run the off-slip roads from the M25 partially in tunnels and keep the existing roundabout to cater for the on-slip routes from the A3.

    I wanted to check whether any of the 21 options that HE had looked at included such an option but I could not find them on the internet. I suppose they have been removed once the preferred options were chosen.

    I include the description of such an option I have schematically drawn up as shown on my website in the attached link:

    Maybe it is too late for opening up the possibilities but if the scheme is delayed indefinitely, would it be worthwhile exploring both the financial and environmental benefits of such a scheme?

    • Bibhas Neogi Reply

      June 10, 2021 at 6:49 pm

      I wrote to Highways England with my suggestion that I have described above and got a reply yesterday. HE said it was too late to consider tunnel options.

      I understand their reluctance but I have replied to HE’s response by giving them a rough but very generous estimate of the cost of such an option. I believe it is a safer and better option since it keeps the M25 and the A3 traffic separated, and with minimum disturbance during construction, it is also environmentally less intrusive.

      My estimate for this option is £100 million. This would save some £50m or more but obviously, the option needs to be worked up in order to obtain a more refined estimate.

      In view of the fact the Secretary of State has further delayed the scheme’s consent, I wonder should HE explore this option in the meantime? It is possible that the scheme could be further delayed beyond November 2021 for an indefinite period.

      Let’s not forget that the widening of the A3 through Guildford has been shelved for the third time.

      A potential saving of £50 million or more is no light matter. Of course I may be wrong in my very rough estimate but I would welcome that to be proved.

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