Brookwood

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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 Local Plan summaries contain a brief discussion of the development issues within each area and how policies will affect them. They also contain details of any specific proposals for the area, together with an extract of the Local Plan Proposals Map. As well as policies on specific development issues, the Local Plan also includes general policies on related matters such as design, landscaping, parking and the effects of traffic which apply to all developments. Although the summary provides an overview of the policies for Brookwood, reference should be made to the Local Plan for the full text of any policies. Relevant Local Plan policies for each issue are shown in brackets.

About Brookwood

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

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:

  • protecting the regionally important Brookwood Cemetery SNCI from development which harms its nature conservation value (NE2)
  • ensuring that any development preserves the historic character of the Cemetery as both a Conservation Area (BE9) and as a historic park and garden (BE17)

Basingstoke Canal and Proposed Canal Side Country Park

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:

  • ensures that development does not harm the nature conservation value of the SSSI (NE1)
  • protects the regionally important Brookwood Lye SNCI from development which harms its nature conservation value (NE2)
  • ensures that any development preserves the historic character of the Conservation Area (BE9) and its landscape value as a Canal Corridor (NE6)
  • identifies a large area of land to the north of the Basingstoke Canal as a Country Park to enhance the recreational provision in the area (REC16)

Natural Environment

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:

  • ensure that development does not harm the nature conservation value of the Brookwood Heath, Sheet's Heath and Smart's Heath SSSI, SPA or SAC (NE1)
  • protect the regionally important Sites of Nature Conservation Importance (SNCI) at Blanket Mill Farm; Bridley Copse; Crastock Manor Pond, Hoe Valley; Crastock Woods, Hoe Valley; land North of Sheet's Heath and West Hill Golf Course from development which harms its nature conservation value (NE2)
  • ensure that any development in the valley of the Hoe Stream both respects the quality of the landscape (NE6) and does not lead to an increased risk of flooding (NE11)

Green Belt

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:

  • protect the Green Belt areas from new building for purposes other than agriculture, outdoor recreation and cemetery use (GRB1)

Local Centre

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:

  • retain shops. The plan will only allow alternative uses of shops where there is no market for the current use. In such cases, changes to financial services or restaurants/takeaways may be permitted, as these will attract customers to the centre (SHP1, SHP6)
  • seek improvements to the environment and access to the village centre. These will be in keeping with the Council's own programme of improvements which have included new planting and a community notice board (VCN3, VCN4)
  • encourage small office, shop, leisure and community developments (SHP3, EMP2, REC5, CUS1, VCN2)

Residential Areas

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:

  • allow the construction of new housing in the built-up area, provided the development reflects the character of the area (HSG18)

Community facilities

There is a range of community facilities serving the local area including a school and village hall. Local Plan policies:

  • resist the loss of community facilities unless there is no longer a need for the facility or where adequate alternative provision is made (CUS2)

Built heritage and conservation

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:

  • ensure that development does not harm the character or setting of Listed or Locally Listed Buildings in the area (BE10 - BE14)

Recreation and open space

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:

  • resist the loss of both formal and informal recreational open space (REC3, REC4)
  • ensure that improvements and/or enhancements to the recreational facilities in the area do not have an adverse impact on the environment (and respect the quality of the landscape) (REC5, REC7)
  • identify a footpath route along the Hoe Stream to enhance recreational opportunities (REC14)

Major Roads

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:

  • supports the implementation of a route management study for the A322 and A324 (from Brookwood cross roads to Woking town centre) by Surrey County Council, which will establish and examine the needs of all road users whilst taking account of environmental considerations (MV26)
  • reserves land for a new road between Bisley Common and Brookwood cross roads to replace the existing A322 (MV24). However, since Adoption of the Local Plan on 27 August 1999, this road has been abandoned by Surrey County Council and will not now be built.

Public Transport, Walking and Cycling

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:

  • support proposals which lead to improvements in pedestrian and/or cycle facilities (MV17, MV18)
  • support infrastructure developments and priority measures which lead to improvements in bus services together with their links with other types of public transport (MV20, MV21)

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).

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