Transcript of WCRA hosted public meeting with Kier
WCRA organised and hosted a meeting that took place 6-8pm at the Moorcroft Centre on Wednesday 24th October 2014.
The aim of the meeting was to promote dialogue between the Community & the Evolution Consortium (Kier & Thames Valley Housing) who are the developers of the new housing site planned for Oaklands Nursery.
A suggested agenda was put forward by WCRA to guide the meeting.
A suggested agenda was put forward by WCRA to guide the meeting and comprised the following:
- An introduction and ground rules for the session presented by WCRA (Bill)
- Updates from Evolution on the development (current status, timetable, outlining the plans) (the Kier & TVHA team).
- Q&As from the floor.
- Close by WCRA (Bill).
Prior to the meeting WCRA provided Kier with a list of topics to structure item 2. The topics comprised:
- Recapping on what is proposed
- Highlighting anything that has changed since consent.
- Update on recent surveys carried out.
- Development timetable – and potential disruptions / diversions.
- Utility connection.
- Paths across the common or through hedge boundaries.
- Input into the Common Management.
- Respect for existing residents at the boundary of the development.
- When Kier communication and community engagement will start.
- Community funding initiatives.
WCRA also invited all three local councillors to attend the meeting – Simon Bellord (Mayford & Sutton Green), Will Forster (Westfield, Kingfield & Barnsbury) & Derek McCrum (Westfield, Kingfield & Barnsbury). Councillors Forster & McCrum attended the meeting.
Attendance was good with around 70 people turning out to hear proceedings.
Evolution sent along a 4 strong team including:
- Farne Conway (Technical Manager)
- Katy Hazlewood (TVHA Tenancy Manager)
- Chris Ott (Project Manager)
- Mr. ? Williams (Director)
Item 1 – Introduction
The meeting was chaired by Bill Corney, WCRA Chairman who explained that the aim of the meeting was to give Kier an opportunity to explain the full scheme, including any changes, timescales etc and for the Community to be able to pose any questions or concerns that they have over the development period.
Item 2 – Recap
The following statements were made in regard of item 2:
- Kier started explaining that nothing had changed from the planning application/consent.
- They explained their anticipation for the first 3 months starting on 4th November 2013 commencing with creating a temporary compound at QM Avenue to make the site fit for use.
- They would secure the boundaries, mend any holes in fences, initially temporarily to secure but will become permanent blending in with a professional job.
- The shrubbery will be cleared along their side of the boundary (the red line on the support material shows the legal boundary).
- Top soil will be removed and stacked for storage to a maximum set height.
- Drainage will happen early on as the site is prone to flooding at they will be dewatering down to 1.5m.
- The greenhouses and other structures will be demolished.
- Withy’s House is the temporary office (as it has utilities already) until their own compound in the centre of the site becomes operational – probably Jan/Feb).
- Courtyard will be established on stage 1, 2 and 9 early on to stone to create a car park for contractor’s onsite. There will be no offsite parking for contractors.
- There will also be improvement works for Mr Turners Farm as previously agreed i.e. ditches for drainage.
- The pumping station will also be sited and the road formation to gain access to the site will also happen in the first 3 months (weather pending).
Item 3 – Questions from the Floor
The following questions were raised:
Clarification is required to the play area as they would like to move it 20-30ft across the site to retain the high ecological value (dense coppice towards QM avenue site) which is in progress at the moment. There is no change to the size of the play area but moving it would add to the biodiversity of the site, it will also reduce the chance of flooding to the play area. The rest of the site has little ecological value as it was farmland.
Planners commented on the design of central homes and had concerns over the amount of render. Therefore this has changed to less render and more brick.
Colours of boarding will be a natural colour across the site with no distinction between private and social housing.
The following have been completed:
- Top Soil testing (to be confirmed to see if it can be used or not, testing will include pesticides)
- Reptile & Bat
- Site boundaries
No future surveys are to be done.
The results concluded that although foot and mouth carcasses were burnt onsite and small areas of the site have cattle graveyards that extensive tests for foot and mouth, anthrax, BSE, scapes and also ammonia there were no trace of any pathogen or substance of harm to human health.
- November 2013 to July 2018
- Assemble at 7.30am until 4.30/5pm Monday to Friday
- Work starts at 8am Monday to Friday
- 8am-1pm on Saturdays
Development sequence will be provided at the next meeting but will be starting on the western side of the site explained as phase 1 (QM Avenue) and phase 9 (Moor Lane side).
Kier have allowed 14 months for the first wave which is plenty of time as should only take 12 weeks. They will stick to timing and signage this gives space and communication with supplies to have a smooth building relationship. They will also be policing their conditions to their workers/suppliers.
Something like Kingsway or similar, it was only decided yesterday by Kier. The site name is not so important (they claim) but the road names will be.
An exercise will be proposed for these to include the residents and Thames Valley about the road names.
Thames water will upgrade work to sewers on Newlands Avenue. The scope and timing to be confirmed and residence will be informed. Gas, electric, BT, Virgin work will be on site with the high voltage electric supply on Balfour Avenue. Off-site work for these utilities will occur and when confirmed will also be passed on. The utilities will be run through footpath on the right side of the road and through ducts laid when the road work was recently done on Balfour Avenue. Estimated to be done in the spring. There will be an onsite speed limit of 10mph. Kier suggested a proposal to WBC to put speed notices on Balfour Avenue.
Paths Across Common Land:
It is proposed that there will be some connections through common land as a product of 106 Agreement, a side agreement.
Kier are under obligation to make best endeavours to put access off and on site. This is not part of planning agreement between SCC & WBC. There is a planning process how these are put in. Kier learnt this evening about Surrey Wildlife Trusts involvement in a long term management plan for the common and so suggest to pool resources of their landscape architects, the residence associations, SWT, WBC and SCC which may result in rudimentary paths or cut grass so to appear benign rather than striking paths. If the planners consider it appropriate then it can go to planning.
With regards to the above questions, Kier could not be sure as they couldn’t visualise what the area and connections being referred to. To be followed up at other meetings.
Following on from this discussions occurred at the following statements made:
- Site hours will be maintained
- All traffic will be parked on site
- No road network back up
- Noise and dust will be within set guidelines
- The road will be cleared of debris etc
- Only 4 people will use Moor Lane while Withy is the site office (a surveyor parked during the day on ML obstructing drive access – Kier apologised for this as they should have parked in the compound).
- No construction traffic will access via Moor Lane.
(Thames Valley took the lead on this section)
- They advocated joining WCRA as it is a good way for regulations and good communications!
- A development website will be launched due to be live in mid-November – the content will include information, community engagement, investments etc.
- Investment in local projects etc for long term (ideas are requires so please put these forward). There is a community chest with funds for groups and voluntary organisations, local youth group projects.
- There will be more meetings – initially monthly once the build starts. At the next meeting they will be more support materials and community vision for comments.
- Thames Valley Housing is already working with agencies in the area as the first wave of houses will be released next year. They will be getting 5 properties every couple of weeks rather than all at the end of the project (unheard of!)
Item 4 – Close
The meeting closed due to running out of time at Moorcroft. Thanks were made to all those attending and any emails could be sent to WCRA to pass on while there is no formal approach direct to Kier.
WCRA wrote to Evolution with feedback & compiled a list of questions & concerns.
On the whole people that spoken to were pleased with the event.
The main themes of any negative points raised relating to the meeting were:
- not being able to hear the speakers as people were talking amongst themselves.
- disquiet over generalisms and lack on demonstrable knowledge of the development in the local context, e.g. relationship to roads.
- No understanding of the Common Land statutes or SNCI requirements.
Here is a summary of the questions / points:
- What is the development site being called?
- When is the website getting launched? What is its URL?
- What exactly is happening on the 4th / 5th Nov?
- Please publish a more accurate schedule of works?
- Please provide details of the fence boundaries around the site?
- Where exactly is the play area being moved too? West / South? How close will it be to existing properties in Quartermaine / Newlands?
- When will an alternative right of way from Moor Lane to Newlands be available?
- Why is there a planned rooftop garden in the block of flats adjacent to the SW corner? Surely this will overlook existing residences?
- Are Evolution reps attending the Management Plan consultation on the 20 Nov.
- Why are you talking about delivery of paths across common land. This is subject to consent from the Planning Inspectorate? What exactly do you think you have the rights to do?
- When is Withay being knocked down?
- How many roads will there be on the site? How many will need named? Please dont name anything after Councillors or do other vanity actions (not supprted by community).
- Will there be / when will there be an opportunity for community group to bid for funds?
- Can Evolution arrange the seating differently for the next meeting – the table arrangement (gossiping) prevented everyone from hearing the speakers (this is an action for us as well)
- Please explain the Snr executives statements about clearing woods and hedgerows and the margins of the site. Doesn’t he realise that these in common land are protected under statute law?
- Please make sure all Evolution speakers understand the road connections and local planning designation of the surrounding area (this appears to apply to the Snr guys statements, i.e. general sentiment is happy to hear from the knowledgeable ones not general waffle)
- Can we find out more about the eligibility for housing arrangements. Many locals are hearing that Sheerwater residents (being displaced by the Sheerwater redevelopment) have been told they are a getting houses on the development.
- How many dev vehicle movements can be expected on a typical day?
- Please explain the flooding mitigation and pump station arrangements.
- What arrangements will be put in place with residents to stop them parking on Moor Lane and the Common e.g. will they be kicked out?
- Have you discussed the water discharge onto the Wey Navigations? This is a protected area.
- Evolution should be more clear on explaining what matters are within their control. Roads, Schools, facilities, paths across the common are all local authority matters.
- Please ensure that you are aware of local context, e.g. SNCI, Common land, Green belt, roads etc.
- The majority of WCRA members support the retention of Moor Lane as a country lane free of development traffic.
- There are a number of people ‘late to the party’ raising issues relating to matters already determined, e.g. road accesses. Whilst we indulge the airing of these at meetings they don’t necessarily represent the agreed WCRA position on things.