Monstrous development proposed in residential area

July 31, 2018 9:41 PM
By Louise Morales + Deborah Hughes

WBC agreed that a proposal for 992 flats on westfield avenue was viable.

This was disclosed in part one (public) papers for the first time at last Thursdays meeting of the full Council following pressure from the Lib Dem members for openness and transparency with residents regarding this development which has been subject to Part 2 (private and confidential) discussions since March.

Cllrs Deborah Hughes & Louise Morales outside Woking Football Club (Woking Lib Dems) Cllr Deborah Hughes and Cllr Louise Morales outside Woking Football Club (Woking Lib Dems)For the first time in four months the Lib Dem ward councillors can discuss this proposed development with their residents. However, it should be noted that the plans and other aspects of the deal are still not disclosed to the public against the urgings of the ward councillors.

The Executive summary introducing the paper stated that in early April the Council agreed to enter into a viability agreement with GolDev to secure a 10,000 seat football stadium at Kingfield, conditional on a viability study being performed.

In July the Executive recommended to Council that the proposals put forward by GolDev were considered to be viable. There was a further recommendation that land in Egley road be acquired by the Council, this land is currently greenbelt. The proposal is for David Lloyd's to be relocated to this site along with the building of another 61 houses and apartments.

The papers for the full Council last week were amended at the eleventh hour to disclose part of this agreement into the public domain. However by so doing the vote on whether to move forward was made following the part one debate, and no further discussion on the confidential aspects of the part two paper was permitted. A vote in the Council went 22 for the Executive recommendations and 3 against.

The future of the football club and the need for more housing are not the issue here. The land upon which this development is proposed at the end of Westfield Avenue is not appropriate for such a high density of flats.

In addition to a new 10,000 seater football stadium (built to EFL League 1specification) and all the additional build that goes with this, the flats will be on the site presently occupied by the stadium, David Lloyd and some privately owned properties on Kingfield road. It has not been disclosed to the public the height of these flats, as still on the confidential papers, but local councillors are concerned that the height of these flats may be completely out of keeping with the neighbourhood?

"The new stadium will effectively be financed by new residential development" according to the council papers. The development at present is for 147 studio apartments, 348 1 bed apartments and for 497 2 bed apartments. The proposed parking associated with the flats is at present 671 spaces.

Local Councillors challenged the statement that disclosure of this information "will enable residents to be fully engaged at this early stage". Firstly how does the Council plan to engage with the residents? Local Councillors have asked for a full public consultation on the plans. However this will not be possible whilst the plans remain confidential.

The viability of the proposals have at present only been considered in the context of providing the finance for the rebuild of the football club. Again no viability has been considered in respect to the impact on the local environment, residents and associated infra structure.

The Council seem content to leave all such discussions to the planning committee which is the next step in this process.

Local Councillors for the Hoe Valley, Cllr Deborah Hughes and Cllr Louise Morales , will continue to lobby for early full disclosure of the plans and a full public consultation of residents.

The ward Councillors spoke out against this inappropriate development in the Council meeting. Kingfield and Westfield are not in the town centre, the extent of the proposals is totally out of keeping with the neighbourhood.