Last night I spoke at a meeting of Woking Borough Council’s Planning Committee on behalf of residents in Little Riding, Oriental Road and Maybury Hill who asked me to object to the application for increased opening hours by the Asda supermarket.
Asda had applied to extend its trading hours from 8am to 7am in the morning, and from 8pm to 11pm in the evening. However, residents are concerned that the location has suffered from traffic, noise, light and air pollution in recent years and believe that the scale of development at the retail park is overtaking the capacity of the local infrastructure to cope with the demand. Some 24 parking spaces have recently been lost owing to the construction of the new Costa Coffee unit.
The Lion Retail Park is an unusual site in that it is in a predominantly residential area with houses in very close proximity to the shops. While residents are not against additional trading and longer opening hours as a matter of principle, they understandably want to make sure that the expansion and development of the retail park is being done in a way that is consistent with its location in what is otherwise a quiet and peaceful part of Woking.
Following my representations, councillors on the Planning Committee voted to restrict opening hours from 8am to 10pm. During the meeting I also obtained reassurances that the council will not allow 24-opening hours at the retail park. I was pleased to be able to secure another victory for my residents and will continue to exercise vigilance to ensure that the quality of life for everyone living near the retail park is protected.
Residents on Oriental Road and Maybury Hill will have noticed ongoing roadworks over the last few weeks. This work is being done as part of Surrey County Council’s Project Horizon, a programme of maintenance that will see £100 million spent on essential pothole repairs over the next five years.
Some people have expressed annoyance that the work is being carried out during the night and over the weekend, as this is creating noise disturbance for those living in Maybury Hill. I have also received complaints that the workmen are parking their vehicles inconsiderately in front of people’s driveways in Little Riding.
I have taken these issues up with the County Council and been advised that the reason for allowing the work to carry on through the night was to ensure the minimum amount of congestion on Oriental Road and the least disruption to businesses trading in the Lion Retail Park. While this may create a degree of noise nuisance for residents, it was felt that a balance had to be struck and hence a decision was taken to carry out the work while the roads would be quieter. The fact that the repairs are being done outside normal working hours also means they should hopefully be finished more quickly than might otherwise be the case.
The County Council tells me that, following my representations, they have spoken to their contractors and been given assurances that they will no longer park their vehicles on Little Riding. However, if residents have any further complaints then please do get in touch and I will be happy to raise them with the relevant authorities.