‘Kingsmoor Park’ is the name chosen for the new housing development in the farmland sandwiched between Quartermaine Avenue and Moor Lane.
The site comprises 9.75 hectares of farm land and former nursery gardens sandwiched between Westfield Common in the west, the existing housing estate (Quartermaine, Newlands etc) to the north, the river Wey floodplain to the east and the green belt boundary at Moor Lane to the south.
Historically this land has been used for a nursery fardens and farming- indeed Moor Lane Farm is still an active enterprise. The land is owned by Surrey County Council.
The site had been allocated in the local plan as an area reserved to meet unfulfilled housing needs within the borough. This followed a change introduced by the Labour government in its first term which allowed agriculture land to be classed as Brown Field sites.
The proper and accurate name of the site is actually the “Land North of Moor Lane, Woking”. Over the years this has become shortened to the Moor Lane site – which is a little unhelpful and disingenuous.
The Proposed Development
WBC is intending to develop the site to meet its requirement to provide social (affordable) housing within the Borough.
In order to build and run the new estate WBC has applied for a grant from central government to fund the development. This funding is being provided under PFI. They have applied for £44m worth of funding to assist with capital costs and pay the housing developer who wins the contract to run the site over the 25-30 years of operation.
The private finance initiative (PFI) provides a way of funding major capital investments, without immediate recourse to the public purse. Private consortia, usually involving large construction firms, are contracted to design, build, and in some cases manage new projects. Contracts typically last for 30 years, during which time the building is leased by a public authority.
In order to obtain the funding WBC needs to fulfil certain criteria – including % of social housing, size of site etc. The proposal also needs to be commercially viable for the development organisation which adds additional pressure to make the site larger to incorporate open market housing (i.e. housing for sale)
Outline Planning Application (June 2006)
An outline planning application was submitted by Woking Borough Council in June 2006 describing a plan to build upto 470 new houses on the site. Many matters were reserved, i.e. development matters would be decided at a later date. This application was approved despite lots of concerns raised by locals.
Access Planning Application (May 2009)
One of the reserved matters was the means of access to the site (i.e. the road network in and out of the site). An planning application for site access was submitted on the 18th May 2009. Residents have until the 11th June 2009 to submit objections / raise concerns on the access matters.
The application is requesting access via:
- Westfield Way
- Quartermaine Avenue
- Newlands Corner
A timetable for the rest of the site development is available on the WBC website. The main milestones are:
- June 2009 – Decision on Access.
- Autumn 2009 – Public Consultation on master plans submitted by each of the potential developers.
- Dec 2009 – Preferred Housing Developer selected.
- Mar 2010 – Detailed Planning Application submitted.
- Sep 2010 – Housing Constuction commences.
A number of organisations operate within in the area and are concerned about the proposed development. These include:
- The Westfield Common Residents Association (formally the Moor Lane Area Residents Association) aka WCRA.
- The Moor Lane Action Group (MLAG).
- The Willow Bank Residents Association.
These orgnisations are concerned about the scale of the development, impact on transport and other infrastructure, lack of social cohesion, environmental impact, protecting our open spaces, flooding, green belt protection and about ensuring the transparency of the development process.
WCRA is a non-political association dedicated to protecting the interests of our residents.
We invite you to join us.