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The Council is in the final week of the last phase of public consultation on the Core Strategy for the new Local Development Framework, and they are still proposing that Virginia Water has “Category 1 status” for housing development.
That puts Virginia Water in the same category as the three main towns in Runnymede (Egham, Chertsey & Addlestone) as most likely to be sustainable locations for new housing development. All the other villages in Runnymede are allocated into lower categories where new housing development would be more difficult.
The decision to include Virginia Water with the towns seems to be mainly based on the fact that we have a railway station, but they are claiming that we also have “a good range of facilities and community services”. This ignores the fact that our facilities are soon to be decimated if a 32,000 square foot supermarket is built on the Bourne Car Park site (so many of the small shops will close), and Surrey County Council proceed with their plan to close Virginia Water Library.
They also say we have “Good access to Station and other public transport”. While we do have a good train service, our “other” public transport (bus services) are pretty poor unless you want to go to Staines during weekdays. Then they give us high marks for “Availability of vacant or previously developed Brownfield Sites” - presumably this means the St Ann’s Heath School field (70 starter homes coming soon), the Bourne Car Park (145 apartments on top of the new supermarket) and the former DERA site (rumours of up to 2000 new executive homes).
The Core Strategy also identifies constraints that could restrict future development in each of the towns and villages, and the constraints for Virginia Water are listed as “entirely within the SPA 5km zone” (so English Nature will object to additional housing that does not provide new open space for recreation/dog walking), and “water treatment infrastructure” (meaning that the Sewage Treatment Works at Lyne Lane are already operating above design capacity and cannot be expanded to take any more. They seem to have not considered the problems we experience with road congestion (and the certainty that that can only get much worse if the proposed Incinerator and Minerals Extraction sites go ahead), or increased pollution in the area (from increased traffic and from the proposed incinerator).
We are already experiencing a lot more HGV lorry traffic on the local minor roads because of the “temporary” use of the DERA North site by several Goods Vehicle operators, and the current SCC approved projects for importing 30,000 tonnes of inert waste to Trumps Farm, and their green waste composting trials at the Trumps Farm Closed Landfill site.
Thus it seems that the quality of life of the residents of Virginia Water and its immediate surroundings are under serious threat. The existing infrastructure cannot cope with any of these major changes, let alone the cumulative impact of all of them.
In these circumstances, we encouraged concerned residents to submit an objection to the way the Council is proposing to treat Virginia Water as a town rather than a village. The closing date was 7th April 2006
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