Monthly Archives: September 2014
Earlier in the summer a number of residents expressed concern about an application for a fire road across the northern boundary playing field of St Dunstan’s school to provide emergency access from Onslow Crescent. It was felt that the proposed access road will take up an unacceptably large proportion of the main playing field, limiting future recreational activity.
Residents also sought reassurances that the school would limit this road to fire access only. Onslow Crescent is already congested at pick up and drop off times, and there were fears that the proposed new access route could be used as a relief road, further exacerbating the problem.
Following these representations my fellow Mount Hermon East ward councillor, Cllr David Bittleston, raised the matter with planning officers and was able to secure a condition which confirmed that the access road will only be used for fire or emergency access. A series of protective restrictions were also put in place, with the council being required to approve any pruning or removal of trees, to ensure taht there would be no loss of amenity for residents.
This weekend I had the pleasure of attending the second Woking Food & Drink Festival in Jubilee Square. The event, which was three times larger than last year, featured 60 high quality food and drink stalls, live culinary demonstrations courtesy of Tante Marie and other local businesses, a hog roast, a baking competition and cookery courses for schoolchildren, as well as live music and performances from the Phoenix Cultural Centre.
On arriving at Jubilee Square I was surprised by just how many people the festival had attracted to Woking. Retailers at the Peacock Centre and Wolsey Place have said that footfall over the three day period increased by as much as 35,000 people, giving a tremendous boost to the local economy. The festival also adds to the growing and diverse range of entertainment, cultural, culinary and social events in Woking’s calendar, helping further establish our reputation as a borough where people come to live, work and shop.
I would extend my congratulations to all the businesses, sponsors and council employees who helped make this year’s event happen – thanks for all your hard work.
Residents have expressed some concern about a planning application which has been submitted for nine houses on Blackness Road, off the junction at Guildford Road and Claremont Avenue. This comes on top of previous development at the bottom end of Constitution Hill and a recent successful application for four new properties at the old Peartree Lodge site.
I am opposed to this application on a number of grounds. Blackness Lane serves as a pedestrian entrance to Woking Park and is wholly inappropriate for use as an access road to the potential new houses. The junction onto Guildford Road is also a tricky one with a restricted line of sight and multiple attention points and so is not suitable for use as road access for the new development. More generally, I am concerned that this part of Woking, which is quite far south from the town centre where the bulk of the new houses and flats have been built, is not suitable for this kind of in-fill development.
Some fears have been raised by the Woodlands Community Group that additional development at this location could have land slippage impacts, and they have also drawn attention to a covenant which requires the council to keep the area as parkland. These fall outside the scope of material planning considerations and I would encourage anyone who wishes to object to focus their representations on the impact on traffic flows, loss of amenity and concerns about the suitability of the access road.
As I live in Constitution Hill it would not be appropriate for me to make representations or to speak on this application at committee. I have, however, had lengthy discussions with the Residents’ Association and I understand the other Mount Hermon councillors are aware of residents’ objections and are working to ensure that these issues are fully considered before any decision is taken.
The South Woking branch of Woking Conservatives will host our annual lunch party on Saturday 11th October at Strathmore, on Onslow Crescent. Our guest speaker this year will be Sir Richard Ottaway MP, Member of Parliament for Croydon South and Chair of the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee.
Sir Richard will speak about the role of the Foreign Affairs Committee and on current events in Iraq, Syria and Ukraine. With foreign policy currently high on the agenda, this will surely be a fascinating talk. Tickets for the event are £18 which includes drinks and a three course lunch. If you would like to attend please contact Cllr David Bittleston on 07800 844877.