Woking Borough Council
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This Local Plan summary for Brookwood is one of a series of guides covering Woking Borough. It aims to provide a general user friendly overview of how the Woking Borough Local Plan 1999 will manage future development in this area. The Local Plan sets out the Council's policies for the development and use of land and includes the key considerations for determining planning applications. The Council also produces a number of other key strategies which feature policies that are not covered by the Local Plan.
The Brookwood Local Plan Summary covers Brookwood ward and includes Brookwood village, the surrounding countryside and the Percheron Drive development on the former Brookwood Hospital at Knaphill. Brookwood is a small village at the western edge of the Borough lying between the Basingstoke Canal and the main London to Southampton railway line. Green Belt surrounds the village and includes areas of agricultural and recreational land and Brookwood Cemetery. The urban area of Brookwood and the properties at Percheron Drive, Knaphill are excluded from the Green Belt. There is little scope for new building in these built-up areas.
The focus of the Local Plan for Brookwood and the surrounding area is on protecting the environment and ensuring that any new development is in keeping with the existing character of the area. As a result, development of a modest scale, appropriate to the area concerned, will be permitted in built-up areas. However, important open spaces and nature conservation sites will be protected. This is particularly important for Sheet's Heath, Smart's Heath and Brookwood Heath which are recognised wildlife sites. In addition, the Basingstoke Canal and Brookwood Cemetery are protected for their wildlife and historic landscape interests. Only very limited types of building will be permitted in the Green Belt areas surrounding Brookwood Village and Knaphill.
The following includes a brief description of some of the main features of the Brookwood area together with more general information and the relevant Local Plan policies.
Brookwood Cemetery covers an area of 143 ha (353 acres). The land was bought by the London Necropolis and National Mausoleum Company in 1852 to use as a cemetery as land was becoming scarce in London. Since most of the Company's original design is still intact, the Cemetery was designated as a Conservation Area to protect its character. The Cemetery has also been included on the National Register of Parks and Gardens of Historic Interest. The Cemetery contains a range of heathland, grassland and woodland habitats which are regionally important for wildlife and it is designated as a Site of Nature Conservation Importance (SNCI). The Local Plan seeks to protect these attributes by:
The Basingstoke Canal is an important feature of the Brookwood area. The Canal is a fully navigable waterway through the Borough and is a nationally important wildlife area through designation as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). Adjacent to the Canal is Brookwood Lye, a regionally important meadow and marsh wildlife habitat which has been designated as a Site of Nature Conservation Importance (SNCI).
The Canal and adjacent land has been designated as a Conservation Area to protect its historic character and a canal corridor to preserve its landscape features. The Canal and its towpath also provide recreational opportunities. These opportunities will be increased by providing public access to open land north of the Canal as part of a new Country Park. The Local Plan:
Brookwood contains a number of heathland areas, including Sheet's Heath, Smart's Heath and Brookwood Heath. This is the remainder of the heathland which once covered the whole Brookwood area 200 years ago. All of these are wildlife sites of European and national importance through designation as Special Protection Areas (SPA) and Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). SPAs are important bird habitats. Brookwood Heath is also a wildlife site of European Importance and is a Special Area of Conservation (SAC). These areas are of international importance because they are home to endangered species. The heathland in Brookwood is generally open to the public and so provides recreational opportunities.
There are a range of other wildlife sites within the area which are of regional significance. These have been designated as Sites of Nature Conservation Importance (SNCI) to protect the grassland, meadow, pond and woodland habitats. The Hoe Valley is an important landscape feature for the southern part of the area. Overall, the Local Plan seeks to:
Brookwood village is entirely surrounded by Green Belt. In the Green Belt to the north of the village lies Sheet's Heath and Sheet's Heath recreation ground, whilst to the south are Brookwood Heath and Brookwood Cemetery, two large golf courses, and some housing areas including the small settlement of Fox Corner. The Green Belt protects the narrow gap between Brookwood and Knaphill to the north east and prevents the two settlements from merging. The Local Plan seeks to:
Brookwood village centre lies along Connaught Road. It is a loose knit collection of buildings mixed with trees and hedges. The centre is relatively small and contains a mixture of residential and commercial uses with the main shopping area close to the railway station. Although the village centre has good road access, on street parking causes congestion for through traffic. A controlled parking zone has been introduced to prevent all day commuter parking. In 1999, the centre contained a range of shops including a post office, butcher's and a convenience store which provided for the basic needs of the community. However, more comprehensive facilities are provided in either Knaphill village centre or at Sainsbury's, Redding Way, Knaphill. The number of shops in the village has declined over recent years due to changes in shopping habits.
The architectural quality of many buildings is good with a large amount of development constructed during the late Victorian/Edwardian period in similar materials which gives the Centre a coherent character. There are few opportunities for further development. The Local Plan seeks to:
The village of Brookwood is predominantly residential with a mixture of Victorian properties along the main road and more modern housing in culs-de-sacs to the rear. There is a mixture of predominantly terraced and detached housing. The Percheron Drive development off Redding Way is a modern housing area developed during the early 1990s on part of the former Brookwood Hospital. Further housing has been developed and more is planned on those parts of the Hospital site outside the Summary area. In total, about 1,000 houses will be built on the hospital site. Opportunities to build more housing within the built-up area are limited, but in some cases house builders may seek to redevelop existing sites to provide more houses. In these cases the Local Plan policies aim to:
There is a range of community facilities serving the local area including a school and village hall. Local Plan policies:
The area has five buildings which have been Listed for their architectural and historic interest. There are also twenty three buildings which are locally listed. The nationally important buildings are the American Military Chapel, together with the flagpole and entrance walls near the chapel in the Cemetery, Crastock Manor, Smarts Heath Road and Bridley Manor House, Berry Lane. The Local Plan seeks to:
There is a range of recreational facilities in the Brookwood area including heathland, land alongside the Basingstoke Canal and the play area off Connaught Crescent. The Local Plan seeks to improve recreational opportunities along the Hoe Valley by identifying a footpath route. The Local Plan seeks to:
Several major routes pass through the area including the A322 (Guildford to the M3 and M4) and A324 (Woking to Aldershot), providing good road connections with other areas of the Borough and beyond. These are important through routes which suffer from heavy traffic, particularly at peak times. As well as being inconvenient for road users, this can damage the quality of the environment in the area.
The particular problems associated with the Brookwood cross roads where the A324 and A322 meet is recognised by Surrey County Council. To address this, the Local Plan:
Local Plan policies aim to support initiatives which reduce the demands on the road network by ensuring that alternatives such as public transport, walking and cycling are safe, convenient and accessible. Currently (2000), public transport accessibility in the area is not good compared to other areas of the Borough, even though bus and train services are available from the village centre. Local Plan policies:
Detailed proposals for maintenance and improvement of roads, cycle and pedestrian routes and public transport are not part of the Local Plan. These are set out in the Surrey Local Transport Plan (Woking Area Implementation Programme).