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Transcript of WCRA hosted public meeting with Kier

Transcript of WCRA hosted public meeting with Kier

wcra-logo-200WCRA 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:

  1. An introduction and ground rules for the session presented by WCRA (Bill)
  2. Updates from Evolution on the development (current status, timetable, outlining the plans) (the Kier & TVHA team).
  3. Q&As from the floor.
  4. 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:

Q. In 2009 bore holes were drilled to 20m and still had water in, how will they find dry ground to build on?
Kier: Will be sucking water out to reduce the water. There will be 1m foundations and they will only drain to 1.5-2m. They don’t need to remove the water but limit the water at level by draining it to existing meadows, storm cells and soakaways helping natural drainage as there is none their at the moment in 3 ways: 1. Majority of the site is permeable with drains and paving over hard non permeable surfaces 2. Attenuate water on the site so the flow is the same as water off the site (water will be held and distributed slowly with the aid of wide pipes) 3. Monitor the flow through the site and its impact further off the site i.e. 20-30 miles away
Q: How have they taken into account the water table around the red line i.e. wetlands around as the site are classed as an SNCI?
Kier: The water table will not be reduced it’s only the run off that will be stored and then released.
Q: What will happen to the water?
Kier: At a controlled flow rate it will run off the site controlled by size of pipes. There will be static water under ground and it will remain constant.
Q: The site is flooded now and this causes a backup in toilets on the road (Quartermaine / Newlands), how will this be impacted?
Kier: Unaware of that and therefore couldn’t comment
Q: What will the security on the site be?
Kier: Padlock gate, secure perimeter (inside the site) and monitor the need for security people. There will be no alarms going off. The secure boundary will be on our land probably 3-4ft away from the fence and later the permanent boundary will go up on the boundary line. The temporary fencing will be in place for around 3 years.
Q: Stripping vegetation and removal of topsoil will impact on wildlife habitat, what measures are in place to prevent them?
A: All surveys have now been done and findings are: Reptile – 1 snake found (likely to be low as land previously grazing land only) Bats – None found during 3 surveys, however bat and bird boxes will be put on the boundaries asap consulting ecologists for suitable locations. The roof at Withy has too small access points so no bats are nesting in it. At this time of year they will be roosting in old trees and deep underground. Deer and dormice were also raised by the floor and area of concerns for the area.
Q: Last year the removal of trees very close and on the boundary occurred and as a result some of the wood was left in the ditches between Moor Lane and Westfield Common. Who is responsible for clearing the scrub and making sure the ditches stay clear to fulfil the drainage responsibilities?
Kier: It is our responsibility to clear and remove anything they clear WCRA Chair confirmed that the ditches were on common land and those particular shrubs shouldn’t be involved anyway.
Q: What are the site operating timings?
Kier: Traffic will start from 7.30am on site but no machine noise until 8.30am. The access will be via QM Avenue initially only ground and Kier staff. There will be a one way system once the road through the site has been built leaving Westfield Way. There will be no traffic turning on public highway – this will happen on the site. Initially the traffic will be low loaders putting machines on the site.
Q: What will be the damage by lorries over the road over the 6-7 years of development and who will repair this?
Kier: Assume the local authority is correct when it says the road will stand up to it, otherwise it is the local authority that has the responsibility of repair as it is a public highway.
Q: Can’t get two lorries down Balfour Avenue without blocking the road how will this be handled?
Kier: Will hold traffic on the site to ensure that doesn’t happen, they will do as much as possible but Balfour Avenue is out of their remit of site control (other people may be having deliveries or building work etc) as it is a public highway.
Q: Are there any extra amenities i.e. doctors surgeries, schools etc
Kier: No, they have put a levy into the council and it’s up to the council to decide what to spend it on. After much discussion the floor requested another meeting with councillors to answer the questions that were out of the developers remit.

Any Changes:

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.

Q: Posed regarding noise made by the pumping station?
Kier: Will come back with more details on the noise in the pumping house but reassured that they are designed to go into urban areas. A member of the floor interjected that the pump will be underground and it would only be the housing and lifting equipment at ground level (as the building is single storey).


The following have been completed:

  • Contamination
  • Archaeological
  • 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.

Development Name:

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.

Q: Are they aware of the traffic priority coming out over going into Balfour Avenue?
Kier: Yes There will be a connection to the pumping station in Bonners Close yet to be confirmed. This will be confirmed at the next meeting.

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.

Q: The main concern Westfield Road end of site where it has a dead end with open land common land – footpaths as shown on the map. There will be too much temptation to park on common and walk on to the site, how will this be stopped?
Kier: There will be gateways etc on site there is no assumed access.
Q: Will there be permanent solid fences across that end of site?
Kier: No specified answer
Q: Emergency access at end of Newlands – if Balfour Avenue gets blocked there is still no emergency access!
Kier: No specified answer
Q: Foot traffic SW, NE & SE corner of site (path and cross road) across common land
Kier: No specified answer

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.
Q: Will there be a contact number for any residence issues particularly on the above?
Kier: Yes, Chris and Farne are onsite full time.


(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!)
Q: In the affordable housing any shared ownership?
Thames Valley Housing (TVH): No, only social renting and private renting. Following criteria to include: Currently on the Woking housing waiting list In line with Woking’s Criteria May-June 2014 TVH will be visiting people in current accommodation, collect references, environment. It will be a bidding process leading to and verified by a home visit Local letting plan with a good mix of population and sustainable To be long term/ life time with no under or over occupancy (slightly low occupancy will be allowed to accommodate at growing family) To fulfil Woking’s Priorities
Q: It has been rumoured that Sheerwater estate will be rehoused here as their houses are being demolished for the new estate.
TVH: Not as far as known, TVH will confirm with the council on this subject.

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.

Post Meeting

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:

  1. not being able to hear the speakers as people were talking amongst themselves.
  2. disquiet over generalisms and lack on demonstrable knowledge of the development in the local context, e.g. relationship to roads.
  3. 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.

In addition

  • 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.