Local campaigners accuse Cayman Island developers of ignoring fundamental facts
The following media statement was issued by the Wisley Action Group on Jan 4, 2016
Local campaigners have accused the owners of the former Wisley airfield of making misleading statements and claims connected with their proposals to build a ‘new town’ on the green belt at Ockham.
‘Three Farms Meadows’ has been described by Wisley Property Investments [WPI] as lowest Grade 4 land when, in reality, the majority is Grade 3 prime agricultural land – as advertised by Knight Frank in 2014. And it has not “been removed from the Green Belt within the emerging GBC Local Plan” as WPI has repeatedly claimed.
“WPI has specifically stated that the land has been taken out of the Green Belt as part of the Guildford Greenbelt Review and this is simply not so,” says Helen Jefferies of WAG, the Wisley Action Group.
And WAG maintains that this “fundamentally misleading statement” is only one of many regularly presented by this Cayman Island-based company – including claims to already have direct access onto the A3 at Ockham Interchange; an existing daily bus service; areas of land which it does not own and which are unavailable to them; and a statement that it is the only assembled site available for development now as part of the 5 year housing supply.”
All of this, and more, is untrue and ignores fundamental facts, according to WAG.
“It is well documented that the approval for the access route was only for a waste composting facility with limited truck movements,” says Mrs Jefferies. “As this development will not now take place, the approval for the spur road will lapse and a new application must be approved.
“The claim of a daily bus service is false as there exists no service other than a school bus. Equally WPI’s application is based on an assumption of utilising land which they don’t own and which has been expressly excluded by local land owners. And the notion that this land would be available to contribute to the 5 year housing supply is contradicted by the fact that the site is subject to up to 3 years work by Thames Water – subject to funding – and Natural England agreeing a SANGS area of 10 ha per 1,000 population.“
Pollution levels in the area have also been misrepresented, according to WAG. Referring to nitrogen oxides [NOx] levels at Wisley, WPI representatives have stated that; “new residents will not be negatively affected due to predicted concentrations of these pollutants being below the relevant air quality objectives as set out in the UK Air Quality Strategy,” which WAG says is untrue.
“Current data available suggests that NO2 levels should not exceed 40. The NO2 level at Wisley has been recorded as 44 in both 2011 and 2012 and nearly 45 in 2013. And levels are rising.”
WAG also points to WPI’s web site which claims the site has 70 acres of hard standing or the equivalent of 70 football pitches.
“This is a typically flagrant exaggeration of reality since 70 acres represents just 35 football pitches – exactly half,” says Mrs Jefferies. “But WPI seems unconcerned about allowing the facts to interfere with their ambitions.”
And WPI claims to have undertaken a comprehensive consultation programme, which included engagement with stakeholders, is blatantly untrue, says WAG.
“One of the key heritage properties, adjacent to the site has objected and stated that they have never been consulted at any time. And neither WAG nor Ockham Parish Council or the Ockham & Hatchford Residents’ Association has any record of an invitation to discuss the project.”