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WAG Calls Taylor-Wimpey’s Wisley Consultation a ‘Wafer-Thin Cosmetic Veneer’

Published on: 30 Sep, 2020
Updated on: 1 Oct, 2020

A view across the Wisley site also known as Three Farms Meadows.

A local consultation programme by Taylor-Wimpey for its proposed development at “Three Farms Meadows”, the former Wisley airfield, is a “wafer-thin cosmetic veneer of community liaison”, says the Wisley Action Group (WAG).

In a letter to Antonis Pazourou, Taylor-Wimpey’s community and green infrastructure project manager, WAG criticises the company’s headline figures obtained from online surveys and published in a recent company promotional leaflet circulated in the area.

Tony Edwards, WAG communications manager, wrote: “While described by your company as an ‘extensive community consultation programme’, the reality is that a grand total of just 47 people responded during the designated months of July and August, as confirmed by your PR executive this week.”

Mr Pazarou admits the low number of responses but said: “We have committed to an extensive engagement programme to give local people the chance to help shape the emerging plans for the former Wisley Airfield and would like to thank everyone who has taken part in the consultation to date.”

Mr Edwards had also pointed out Taylor-Wimpey’s claim that 54% of respondents agreed with plans to give transport priority meant no more than 25 people had indicated support.

He continued: “Such statistics are both minuscule and meaningless when the community has been looking for the ‘open and transparent approach’ you had promised.

“Instead of focusing your ‘community liaison programme’ on quizzing a handful of residents about what are, at this juncture, innocuous questions about incidental issues, might we suggest that a catalogue of meaningful information regarding the company’s long-term plans and ambitions should immediately start to flow from Taylor-Wimpey.

“We urge you to dispense with the PR flim-flam and focus on the facts so a worthwhile dialogue can begin.”

WAG has previously criticised a Taylor-Wimpey leaflet which described the open farmland at the former airfield as “disused”. The campaign group say the former green belt land has been farmed for generations.

Mr Pazarou’s response lists the consultation activity:

  • A series of stakeholder introduction letters and meetings;
  • 8,739 leaflet invites to two webinars, distributed to the local community, with offers of alternative consultation methods;
  • The webinars, advertised by radio and press release, were attended by 228 members of the community, with more than 150 questions asked;
  • A dedicated project website including links to the videos of the webinars which have been watched more than 615 times;
  • A rolling programme of meetings with parish councils, amenity and stakeholder groups, including two which have included representatives of Wisley Action Group; and
  • Development of a Community Liaison Group made up of 14 local community and stakeholder representatives meeting at least once a month.

He added: “A report of the first stage of consultation has been published on www.wisleyairfield.com and includes statistics based on the 47 responses to a questionnaire which was part of the initial consultation exercise.

“More information on the upcoming consultation is available on www.wisleyairfield.com. The next round of the consultation will also be widely advertised via leaflets, adverts, media, newsletters and discussed with the Community Liaison Group.

“We value the feedback we have received from the local community and we will be holding further consultation later in the year. Our vision is to deliver a sustainable new community and we want to work together with local people to make this happen.”

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test 6 Responses to WAG Calls Taylor-Wimpey’s Wisley Consultation a ‘Wafer-Thin Cosmetic Veneer’

  1. David Roberts Reply

    September 30, 2020 at 12:11 pm

    WAG is absolutely right. Take local infrastructure, for instance. Taylor Wimpey’s Q&A document promises “better provision for sustainable modes of transport… such as cycle and bus services”. The only other detail offered is a vague undertaking to “explore segregated off-carriageway routes wherever possible”. That implies road-widening requiring the felling of woodland.

    There’s a lot that Taylor-Wimpey is not telling us, since their surveyors have been busy on local roads all summer and are no doubt working to a brief. On local social media, many residents have expressed alarm and suspicion at this activity. I have repeatedly asked the developers what is going on, but have received no reply. Both my borough and county councillors are in the dark.

    Taylor-Wimpey should share the main elements of their thinking now, so that their emerging plans can be shaped by local public opinion rather than left to a gladiatorial contest over a take-it-or-leave-it planning application. Their lack of transparency is unbelievably incompetent – almost as if they have a death-wish for their own eventual planning application.

  2. John Perkins Reply

    September 30, 2020 at 12:24 pm

    Most of the glossy leaflets went straight in the recycling, unread. That might have been the intention because they were indistinguishable from junk mail.

  3. Janet Lofthouse Reply

    September 30, 2020 at 2:11 pm

    This farmland is central to Ockham and surrounding villages and needs preserving for future generations. Development should instead be on disused and derelict land around the Guildford outskirts which are obsolete and eyesores.

    The Wisley land is valuable and surrounding villages have open views and use of footpaths and former green belt for walking with openness to the Surrey Hills.

    The expected development will ruin Ockham and surrounding villages, all of which are historic. It is not wanted by villagers at all.

    • Jim Allen Reply

      October 1, 2020 at 9:15 am

      To sort out these problems accuracy of description is key. For example, Ockham is a collection of hamlets not a collection of villages, much the same as the Wey Navigation is a navigation not a canal; a difference in flood control of 300mm.

      Unless accuracy is employed when it gets to planning appeal the argument won’t be ‘eggs is eggs’ but ‘egg is omelettes’.

  4. Colin Bowes Reply

    September 30, 2020 at 3:16 pm

    My wife and I were two of the 47 respondents but the conclusions Taylor Wimpey have drawn in no way represent our views. I am solidly against this development, so yes it’s PR flim-flam.

  5. Jules Cranwell Reply

    October 1, 2020 at 7:38 am

    When will our council get the fact that we are in a new normal? We can no longer afford to import 60% of our food, given what we have learned through Covid and Brexit. We need this fertile farmland.

    The government has also joined the global compact on protecting biodiversity. This cannot be achieved by concreting over our fields.

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