13 points on the traffic impact of a ‘new town’ at Wisley
WPI are developers. Their vehicle is based offshore. They refuse to disclose their ownership.They purchased Green Belt land in 2012. They wish to make pots of money by building a ‘new town’. GBC says a new town must be at least 1,800 houses. WPI propose 2,500 houses. This may add 5,000 cars to the road network. WPI claim that there’ll be a new bus service – every 10 or 15 minutes.
2. GBC working with WPI to ‘promote’ this site in the Local Plan
GBC is colluding with WPI to promote this site. It has commissioned loads of work to study the feasibility of this site. This of course is highly improper. GBC is supposed to promote the public interest – including protecting the Green Belt. It is not GBC’s job to promote the private interests of developers who are trying to make pots of money by changing the use of land.
3. Is this site sustainable from a traffic point of view?
NO! it currently has next to zero transport infrastructure. See the Settlement Hierarchy published by GBC. The site is 100% within the Parish of Ockham. Ockham gets as sustainability score of 4 (on GBC’s own flawed scoring system). That’s the second lowest score in the entire borough.
4. WPI claim to have access to the A3 to and from the site
One of the many internally contradictory and misleading claims which WPI make is that the site has a ‘permissioned access’ onto the A3. This is specious rubbish.
5. Access via Elm Corner
The site currently has an access via the hamlet of Elm Corner – which forms part of the Parish of Ockham. Elm Corner does have an access onto the A3. But it has no acceleration and deceleration lane. It is consequently rather dangerous. The Highways Authority tolerates this situation because a) it has been there since before the A3 was turned into a three lane motorway b) the number of cars entering and leaving Elm Corner is very low – as there are so few houses. However the Highways Authority has in the past refused permission for filming projects to access this site from Elm Corner on the grounds that large flows of daily traffic would impede the flow of traffic on the A3 and cause a traffic hazard. Given this, it is absolutely inconceivable that the Highways Authority would ever permit access to a ‘new town’ of 2,500 houses via Elm Corner.
6. Access via a planned new road onto the roundabout at Ockham Road North/Stamford Brook
This roundabout provides an exit for southbound traffic on the A3 to Ripley and the Horsleys. It also provides access to the northbound lane of the A3. It provides no access to the southbound carriageway of the A3 going to Guildford/Portsmouth.
Wharf Land, from which WPI purchased the site, received permission to use 17 out 117ha of the site as a waste processing facility. They won this permission on appeal to a planning inspector. They got permission subject to over twenty different conditions and because the Inspector accepted that the Surrey Waste Plan was short of waste sites.
That permission cites as a condition the building of a new access from the southbound carriageway of the A3.
7. Permission for an access for a waste site does NOT constitute ‘permissioned access’ for a new town
The permission to access the A3 is exclusively for a waste site. The permission is not transferable to a new town proposal. First WPI need permission from SCC to relinquish the 17ha now set aside for waste processing. That permission is not a foregone conclusion. Second, WPI needs to re-apply for permission to build an access for a 2,500 new town. That’s not a foregone conclusion either.
8. A new town of 2,500 houses is a BIG DEAL.
To put this in context that is THREE TIMES MORE HOUSES than currently exist in the WHOLE of Ripley (which currently has 697 homes).
East Horsley has c 1, 493 homes (see GBC Settlement Profile). The proposed ‘new town’ is therefore 67% BIGGER than East Horsley. (That’s not counting West Horsley – which currently has 1,111 homes).
What they propose is a new town of the same size as the whole of East and West Horsley put together. And they propose to pack it in much more densely. They do not disclose how many hectares East and West Horsley cover. But it is certainly a multiple of the 60ha of the Three Farms Meadows site which Pegasus Consulting claim can be developed.
9. GBC has commissioned SCC to do a traffic analysis – of the impact of ALL of the proposals in the Local Plan.
This analysis is set out in the Local Plan ‘Evidence Base’.
The WPI new town is a small part of the overall analysis – which itself is subject to some major provisos:
a) it is based on ‘trip analysis’ data derived from an out of date census – at least 10 years old.
b) It is based on data provided by GBC – and not disclosed or tested
c) It is top down:
SCC wrote: ‘This study was undertaken at a strategic scale and consequently not all impacts of developments have been identified. However, developments of, and above, a certain scale will require individual transport assessments to be commissioned …’
10. Projected Level of Service (LOS)
SCC use LOS to measure road capacity. The scale runs from A to F.
A is ‘Free Flow’.
F is ‘Every vehicle moves in lock step with the vehicle in front of it, with frequent slowing required. Travel time cannot be predicted, with generally more demand than capacity.
So a ‘new town’ is fine? No. Under ‘scenario 5’ (the relevant scenario) ‘A3 northbound between Ockham and Wisley is rated, guess what, F!
11. Ratio of Flow to Capacity (RFC)
The other tool SCC uses to measure the performance of a stretch of road is RFC.
‘An RFC value greater than 1 means that the stretch of road or turning movement has a higher lever of traffic flow than its theoretical capacity. As a result flow breakdown and extensive queues can be expected’
What is the RFC value for the A3 between Ockham and Wisley under scenario 5?
It is 1.02.
Remember that’s based on out of date census data.
12 What’s the traffic like now?
Anyone who uses the A3 knows that between Ripley and Jnctn 10 of the M25 the A3 slows to a standstill EVERY MORNING. (Our children go to school in Guildford. We see this every morning.)
That’s the situation today.
13. Strategic thinking
One of Guildford’s strategic advantages is its location between London, Heathrow and Gatwick.
If the traffic on the M25 between Heathrown and Gatwick gets worse – or gets and RFC score of over 85% then Guildford will have shot itself in the foot and destroyed one of its present competitive advantages.
That’s what the geniuses down in Millmead are spending our taxpayers’ money on.