Fairoaks: See residents’ reaction to unveiling of revised plans to transform airport into a garden village

April 19, 2018
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Residents filled the small church hall in Chobham to witness the unveiling of revised plans to build a large garden village on the site of Fairoaks Airport .

The community engagement event at St Lawrence Church on Tuesday (April 17) was the first of five exhibitions displaying the latest proposals for the controversial development .

Among the revised proposals are 500 fewer homes, a new link road, additional employment space, 137 acres of suitable alternative natural green space (SANG) and nine kilometres of footpaths and trials.

While some residents believe planners have “listened” and made “positive” amendments following the first unveiling last February, others have branded the proposals as “absolutely ludicrous” and “unrealistic”.

Ian Cox, managing director of Fairoaks Garden Village, said he understood concerns but studies into traffic and housing have been undertaken to ensure the development will benefit the local community.

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Latest on Fairoaks Garden Village Plans

What are the plans?

Architects JTP organised a number of events at the end of February 2017 to publicly display the initial proposals, which included 1,500 homes.

Proposals have since “evolved” following public feedback , Get Surrey was told.

The plans include 500 fewer homes, 137 acres of SANG land, additional employment space and a road running through the village linking Chertsey Road and Guildford Road to address the potential increase of traffic flow.

Along with the 1,000 homes planners believe up to 1,000 jobs will be created, and it is hoped that if planning permission is granted people will “live and work” in the garden village.

Proposals for the large garden village have “evolved” since last year’s consultation events
(Image: Hannah Dodd)

The Fairoaks Garden Village vision includes mixed housing without “an affordability gap” to target people in the “middle ground”, a £7 million primary school, village green, pub and village centre equipped with shops and a café.

Meanwhile a “community land trust” is planned to initiate community ownership and stewardship of assets, responsibilities and services.

“The two key messages from from last time were ‘too many houses’ and ‘we have enough traffic problems already’. We understand those concerns,” Mr Cox told Get Surrey .

(Image: Hannah Dodd)

“There were 1,500 houses, now there are 1,000 – that’s a third drop to reduce the density and our traffic consultants have done traffic modelling.

“We are proposing a new link road between the A319 and A320 which will help disperse the traffic and take the pressure off Chobham.

“We are proposing improvements to the junctions that have problems and looking at the A320 feasibility study.”

Listening to the community

Following last year’s community engagement events, local residents have been vocal over criticisms of the ambitious plans.

However, one anonymous resident told Get Surrey he thought the new plans proved the developers had noted the previous concerns.

“I think they have listened. They have reduced the density of houses which is a positive thing,” he said.

“The communication has been good, I understand they have a tough job.”

The event at St Lawrence Church was the first of five exhibitions displaying revised plans
(Image: Hannah Dodd)

Another onlooker, who also asked to be anonymous, said: “First impressions, it looks good, if it’s got to be, it is a very nice development.”

However she added: “But in practical terms it is absolutely ludicrous.

“It’s a tragic loss to lose Fairoaks Airport but I don’t think there is anything we can do about it.

“I am only worried about the traffic, the rest of it looks fine.”

‘It is absolutely unrealistic’

However some locals remained critical of the plans, arguing it is “unrealistic” and will “scar” the surrounding area.

Shona Fahy said she has lived “happily” on the corner of Fairoaks Airport for around 20 years.

“This development removes the airport that surrounds us with housing which is not why we moved to Chobham and not why we moved to that particular part of Chobham either,” she said.

Shona Fahy has lived next to Fairoaks Airport for around 20 years
(Image: Hannah Dodd)

“Our concern is this development is not appropriate for this area. Whatever they say about cycle lanes, there will be a phenomenal amount of traffic.

“There will have to be new roundabouts put in if this goes ahead.

“The whole area will be scarred and changed if this development goes ahead.”

“We do understand peoples’ concerns and that they see it as a threat,” said Mr Cox
(Image: Hannah Dodd)

Douglas Mancini, chairman of campaign group Fairoaks 2020 , formerly known as No Fairoaks New Town branded the proposals “unrealistic”.

“Our main issue is the presentation that the site can be something to benefit the community and the community has made it clear that they want the airport to continue.

“People will commute to London, contributing to the amount of traffic. If you are travelling to London from Woking you are lucky you can get on a train.

“It is absolutely unrealistic.

Douglas Mancini, chairman of Fairoaks 2020
(Image: Hannah Dodd)

“The idea of ‘live and work’ will not be for peoples’ children or grandchildren, it will be for the businesses that move in and bring their workers – it won’t work.”

Mr Mancini said that the map showing the new road through the village linking Chertsey Road and Guildford Road “leads to nowhere” and argued the plans lack important detail.

Referring to the Joint Venture Agreement which states key players will sell the site to another party if planning permission is granted, he added the planners “have no intention to build houses here”.

‘We understand concerns’

At the event, Mr Cox told Get Surrey : “We have increased the employment space we are proposing, that has the potential to increase the amount of people who can work at the village.

“We do understand peoples’ concerns and that they see it as a threat – we want them to see the benefits as well as the threat.

“We do understand peoples’ concerns and that they see it as a threat,” said Mr Cox
(Image: Hannah Dodd)

“We are not proposing to build in or on the fields around Chobham. This is a separate village. We would like to think of it as a separate village with its own character.

“This is different and we want to engage with the community – we believe there is a demand for it.”

JTP architect Charles Campion said: “There are lots of options for people to live and work – 1,000 homes and 1,000 jobs.

“People can see the plans have evolved,” said architect, Charles Campion
(Image: Hannah Dodd)

“We know there is a housing crisis, people cannot afford a place of their own. This can be part of the solution to that in this area.

“We are committed to working with the community, and people have said to me they are surprised that we listened to what people said to us last time, it is part of a process.

“From talking to the community, people can see the plans have evolved.”

Upcoming events

The event on Tuesday was the first of fix public exhibitions displaying the plans. Members of the public are invited to attend the following future sessions.

  • Woking – Saturday April 21, 11am – 5pm, Woking Shopping Centre
  • Ottershaw – Monday April 23, 12pm – 6pm, Christ Church
  • Woking – Tuesday April 24, 12pm – 2pm, Heather Farm, Horsell
  • Chobham – Wednesday April 25, 5pm – 9pm, Chobham Cricket Club

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Article source: https://www.getsurrey.co.uk/news/surrey-news/fairoaks-see-residents-reaction-unveiling-14546529


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