Ockham Road South Update From Affinity Water

Affinity Water has notified the Parish Council that Ockham Road South will be closed throughout November, the first week in December and much of January to allow for the installation of a new water main.   Affinity Water is holding a ‘Community Drop in Event’ on Wednesday 11 October in the East Horsley Village Hall to listen to concerns from residents and local business owners.  The following is an explanation from Affinity Water as to why the work is necessary.

“The works are due to start on Ockham Road South are essential. With a growing population and a rise in developments across our region, combined with environmental challenges of hotter, dryer, longer summers, the stress on our water resources is significant. The purpose of the work is to improve our network infrastructure by building water resilience in the area by installing 600m of new water main. This in turn will allow us to continue supplying high quality drinking water to the local community long into the future. The pipe will be laid on Ockham Road South from the junction of Lynx Hill down to the junction of Guildford Road (A426). 

This specific section of Ockham Road South has been designed to act as a critical support system to push more water into the area. Affinity Water are regulated to provide a minimum pressure and flow volume to each and every consumer, we have seen a steady decline in this area, particularly during periods of high demand. During those periods there is a negative impact to the supplies in the area in the form of low pressure. With additional demand coming onto our network daily with the construction and development of housing projects, the need to support the area with more water is accelerated. 

Affinity Water have been in conversation with the local authority, Surrey County Council (HA) with the intention to secure the required road space for the construction of this project for well over a year. The co-ordination of any works between a Utility and a HA takes into account other works in the area, clashes with other diversion routes for example, community events, proximity to schools etc.  The window of opportunity on this occasion has been set by the local Highways Authority. They are responsible for co-ordinating the road network and we know there is a significant volume of other works being carried out in and around this area. The National Highways works and the Junc10 improvements for example where their planned closures impact our works and vice versa. It is not by any means an easy to try and co-ordinate everybody. Affinity Water have explored all available options to differ the work, to January for example, however we are informed there is not sufficient availability to complete these works at other times than the dates provided. This is due to clashes with the motorway works and other scheduled works being co-ordinated. 

Our permit of works has been granted for the dates of 31 October – 31 January. 

Planned works of this nature comes with a commitment, we are required to send out advanced communications two weeks prior to works starting, we are also required to place Advance Warning Boards out on site, again two weeks prior. As a wholesaler we have an obligation to inform the retailers of any business owners within the vicinity of our works. I can confirm this was done in early August. Our communications team have scheduled letters, emails and text messages to all those within the area of impact, to arrive over the coming days. 

Our intention of course is not to create major disruption, we always look to work with residents and business owners to mitigate impact as far as reasonably practicable. This may include, ‘Business Open As Usual’ signs being placed out, maintaining access where safe to do so. A road closure is always a last resort and one we will only ever undertake on the grounds of safety. Ockham Road South is narrow and one that comes with archaeological challenges alongside, with listed walls and structures along the route. We need to protect these, members of public and of course our own teams throughout. 

As the road is traffic sensitive, Surrey CC have instructed us to stop works in December, we are provisioning for our last day on site to be around 8 December, coming back on the 8 January to recommence. In that time the road will be re-opened and we will clear site completely. 

For businesses that are able to evidence there has been a negative financial impact as a direct result of our activities, a Loss of Business Claim can be submitted regarding compensation. However, this would only be considered on completion of the works to ensure an accurate financial assessment can be made on any loss presented.

Affinity Water Customer Letter

Twenty's Plenty

Led by the Twenty’s Plenty pressure group, the UK-wide campaign to reduce speed limits on residential roads to 20mph was given a boost at Monday’s East Horsley Parish Council (EHPC) meeting when members voted unanimously to add its own backing to the crusade.   

Cobham Downside has enjoyed the benefits of slower driving around its green for sometime now and more recently the A244 running through the heart of Oxshott has become subject to a 20mph limit.

Surrey Highways are aware of our ambition and the next step is to draw upon the support of East Horsley residents who for so long have been urging greater speed calming. This will be done by way of a petition which will be launched soon on this site.   

Forest Road | Closed from 24 July | 3 days

Forest Road will be closed to vehicles entering or proceeding from its junction with the access to the property known as “Briar Cottage” to its junction with Glendene Avenue. An alternative route will be in place: Forest Road, Howard Road, Effingham Common Road, The Street, (A246) Guildford Road, (B2039) Ockham Road South, and Forest Road, or this route in reverse. This is required to facilitate utility works for, or on behalf of UKPN.  These works are anticipated to be carried out over 3 days, between the hours of 8am and 5pm and will commence on 24 July 2024. Access for residents, pedestrians and dismounted cyclists will be maintained at all times. All other traffic, including the emergency services will be required to use the signed diversion route.

Speed Limit Reduced on The Drift

Hard on the heels of finally achieving a 20mph limit in Chalk Lane, your Parish Council’s long running quest to bring about a reduction in The Drift has also been successful. The previous 60 mph limit has now been lowered to 30mph.

A246 Road Death

For some years East Horsley Parish Council’s Road Safety Task Group has been pressing Surrey Highways (SH) to take steps to curb excessive speeding and dangerous overtaking on the downhill stretch of road from Outdowns to Green Dene. Drawing on local knowledge and data collected by the village Speedwatch team, it was pointed out that, if nothing was done, a serious accident was likely at some stage.

The Task Group’s urgings went unheeded and tragically the collision that was dreaded duly occurred on Sunday morning when a motor cyclist lost his life.

EHPC fervently hopes that measures will now be taken by SH to reduce the risk of such devastating circumstances happening again.   

Judicial Review of Wisley Airfield development to be applied for

An Extraordinary meeting of Ockham Parish Council (OPC) was held on 1 July and was attended by members of VAWNT and WAG and local residents. The purpose was to confirm if a Judicial Review (JR) was viable. Thanks to the generosity of residents, the costs of the important first steps of that JR can now be met. OPC therefore decided they can proceed by instructing a specialist solicitor to apply to take the case to a JR in the High Court. 
 
If the court approves the case, within the next month, there will then be a hearing later in the year. The retained KC and expert witnesses are already lined up ready to take the case. Meanwhile, VAWNT and WAG will continue to fundraise for the next steps (see our previous updates for their bank account details if you still wish to donate).

Wisley – KC advises there is a case for a Judicial Review

Since the recent decision by the Planning Inspector to recommend the Wisley Airfield development by Taylor Wimpey, Villages Against Wisley New Town (VAWNT) and Wisley Action Group (WAG) have been busy. 

They have received formal advice from Richard Harwood KC about the grounds for a Judicial Review (JR).  They followed up with a lengthy discussion with him and their transport and ecology experts, in which the Inspector’s Decision was thoroughly reviewed. Together they have concluded there is a reasonable chance of successfully challenging this at a JR. 

The KC has advised that threequarters of challenges that are allowed to proceed to a JR have a positive outcome for the claimant. This is another compelling reason why plans to challenge the Decision are an investment in the future of our community.  The next step is to submit a case for approval and, if approved, it will be approximately six months before it gets to a court hearing. 

Fundraising is ongoing and critical as the JR application cannot go ahead without sufficient funding to take the case forward.  Time is of the essence so please donate asap as the case needs to be submitted by Friday 5 July. 

WAG have put their bank account details into the public domain, in order to accept donations:

Bank transfer to: Wisley Airfield Action Group 

Sort code: 20-35-35

Account: 10574287

Whilst they would prefer bank transfer, you can also donate through their Crowdfunding account (a fee is charged):  

https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/p/vawnt-campaign-to-save-the-countryside?fbclid=PAZXh0bgNhZW0CMTEAAaZvB_wYCz1a5KVzC6xhUHpvEBOqdYeTr2e3JkjXqts-NxSWdWOtK_VSovU_aem_BtwtIyKOTFWMLgtLRg81WQ

Thank you for your continued support and to everyone who has already donated. This continues to be a mass community initiative against unsustainable development.  

Wisley Appeal Next Steps

A packed East Horsley village hall on Monday 10 June demonstrated the high level of local concern about the recent Planning Inspector’s decision to approve the Taylor Wimpey planning application for 1,730 houses on the former Wisley Airfield. Representatives from Villages Against Wisley New Town (VAWNT) and the Wisley Action Group (WAG) summarised the main points of the Inspector’s report and emphasised their surprise that such a decision could be made against all the evidence provided by their experts and the strong opposition of most of the local community. For example, evidence about the impacts of the development on traffic flow, wildlife and air quality were seemingly given little weight.

VAWNT and WAG are now considering whether there is a case for a Judicial Review of the legality of the decision and they are waiting to receive advice from their King’s Counsel – expected in the next few days. If there are strong enough grounds for a Judicial Review in the view of the King’s Counsel then an initial application would be made, which would be reviewed and a determination made whether the case should go to a final hearing.

The Inspector’s decision is final unless successfully challenged in the High Court on a point of law. Any challenge is not an opportunity to look at the merits of the case or to re-run the arguments. The Court’s role is to consider whether the decision was reached in a lawful manner.

Any application for a Judicial Review must be made by 5 July and needs substantial fundraising before then – estimated at £200,000. 

The fundraising is urgent and if individuals feel strongly that the development should continue to be opposed effectively, then VAWNT and WAG ask that you consider making even a small a donation.  They will send you their bank details if you email them at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Remember that the Taylor Wimpey development at Wisley is not the whole story. Two outline planning applications have also been submitted to build another 270 houses on the site, on behalf of two other developers (represented by Hallam Land and CBRE).

If WAG and VAWNT can’t raise the funds to pursue a Judicial Review then such a challenge will not be possible and may open the door to even more development.

 

Updated Timetable Published For The Wisley Airfield Public Inquiry

An updated timetable has now been published by the Planning Inspectorate for the Wisley Airfield public inquiry, a copy of which can be found attached HERE

Land at Wisley Airfield Update - APP/Y3615/W/23/3320175

At the Wisley inquiry this week the Rule 6 parties concluded their evidence and cross-examination. Representing East & West Horsley Parish Councils, Colin Smith, delivered his evidence in chief on Tuesday 17 October 2023 with a subsequent cross-examination two day's later from Taylor Wimpey's barrister, which lasted all morning. 
 
Having reached the midway point of the inquiry, seven witnesses for Taylor Wimpey will shortly be presenting their evidence over two weeks starting 31October 2023 to be cross-examined by the various Rule 6 parties lead by the WAG/OPC/RHS barrister, Richard Harwood KC, with the support of the Horsleys'  parish councils.

WISLEY APPEAL: Funding Request

There has been new public funding request issued from Wisley Action Group (WAG), Villages Against Wisley New Town (VAWNT), Ockham & Hatchford Residents Association (OHRA)  and Ockham Parish Council (OPC), to help support their costs of sustaining the appeal. See link for  Funding Request Letter

Wisley Appeal: Timetable Update

The planning appeal by Taylor Wimpey into the proposed development at Wisley Airfield began on Tuesday 26 September 2023 in the Baptist Church in Guildford. 

The first day of this public inquiry saw opening submissions from all the Rule 6 parties, including East and West Horsley Parish Councils delivered by our planning consultant, Colin Smith. Guildford Borough Council (GBC) and Surrey County Council made short submissions later that afternoon. 

The next two days saw traffic and transport evidence presented by John Russell of Transport Consultants, Motion Group, speaking on behalf of joint Rule 6 party comprising Wisley Action Group (WAG), Ockham Parish Council and RHS Wisley. He was subjected to over six hours of intense cross-examination by Taylor Wimpey’s barrister.

The public inquiry now has a break and continues on Tuesday 10 October 2023 in the GBC chamber in Millmead with the three remaining WAG witnesses giving their evidence: Dr Ben Marner on air quality, Andrew Baker on ecology and Richard Hall of Planning & Design Group on planning.    

Next will come the Horsleys evidence from our planning consultant, Colin Smith. This will probably be on the morning of Thursday 12 October although the precise timing depends on how long previous witnesses actually take.

We will be followed by the Send/Ripley team, then various residents speaking for Villages Against Wisley New Town (VAWNT) on Tuesday 17October. The subsequent day of Wednesday 18 October has been fixed for any members of the public who wish to speak.

The seven witnesses for Taylor Wimpey are expected to begin giving their evidence on Tuesday 31 October and will probably take up all of the subsequent two weeks, although precise timings have still to be announced. 

Closing of the public inquiry is scheduled for Tuesday 29 November 2023.