Byfleet

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This Local Plan summary for Byfleet 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 Byfleet, 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 Byfleet

Byfleet is primarily a residential area characterised by medium density suburban housing. Largely surrounded by Green Belt, the area is separated from other built-up areas of the Borough by the M25 motorway. To the north of Byfleet (beyond the Borough boundary) lies Brooklands which has been redeveloped for offices and retailing although the central portion (the former runway) is in the Green Belt.

The focus of the Local Plan for Byfleet and the surrounding area is to protect the environment whilst ensuring that any new development is in keeping with the existing character. Therefore, development of a modest scale, will be permitted in the village centre and existing residential areas. However, important open spaces and historic buildings will be protected. Only very limited types of building will be permitted in the Green Belt areas surrounding Byfleet.

The following includes a brief description of Byfleet and the relevant Local Plan policies.

Local centre

Byfleet village centre stretches from the War Memorial in the west to Clock House in the east. In 1999, it contained a good range of shops and other local services including a village hall, library and Heritage Centre, together with a number of commercial activities. The centre is served by three main car parks at the War Memorial, Village Hall and Plough Green. Plough Green and the War Memorial have benefited from environmental improvement schemes in recent years.

The village centre in 1999 contained over 70 shops. In recent years Byfleet centre has suffered competition from new stores in Brooklands and three large stores which opened in early 1999 at the Wey Retail Park, Royston Road on the edge of the village centre. As a result of changes in shopping habits, the Local Plan aims to regenerate the village centre, to ensure its continued vitality and viability, without fundamentally altering its character. To address this, the Local Plan:

  • seeks to restrict the growth of further out of centre shopping (SHP2)
  • supports improvements to both the environment and access to the village centre. These will be in keeping with the Council's own programme of improvements which have included repaving additional landscaping and entrance signs (VCN3, VCN4)
  • encourages small office, shop, leisure and community developments (SHP3, EMP2, REC5, CUS1, VCN2)
  • allows the change of use of shops to other uses appropriate to the area (financial services and restaurants/takeaways) which maintain the economic health of the centre, provided an adequate range of shops remains (SHP1, SHP3, SHP4, SHP8)

Natural environment

Within this area are a number of important sites of both ecological and environmental interest, particularly alongside the River Wey. The River Wey, Manor House & Byfleet Mill and Common Meadow Pond are regionally important Sites of Nature Conservation Importance (SNCI) which include river and flood meadow habitats.

The valley of the River Wey and Wey Navigation is an important landscape feature which contributes to the character of the area. The section of the Wey Navigation north of Parvis Road is not considered to be an important landscape feature. There are also areas where there is a risk of flooding. The Local Plan seeks to:

  • protect the regionally important SNCI from development which harms their nature conservation value (NE2)
  • ensure that any development in the valley of the River Wey and Wey Navigation both respects the quality of the landscape (NE6) and does not lead to an increased risk of flooding (NE11). Development will not normally be permitted in the flood plain.

Green Belt

The land to the east, south and west of Byfleet lies within the Green Belt. This area includes agricultural and recreational activities. The Green Belt protects the narrow gap between Byfleet and Brooklands/Weybridge to the north east and prevents the two settlements from merging. The Local Plan:

  • protects the Green Belt areas from new building for purposes other than agriculture and outdoor recreation (GRB1)

Built heritage and conservation

There are twenty two buildings Listed for their architectural or historic interest in the Byfleet area including the Manor House and Byfleet Mill. Half of these are of national importance and are consequently Listed, with the rest Locally Listed.

A Conservation Area has been designated around the western end of the village centre to protect its special character. Although it is mostly outside the Borough, it should be noted that the Brooklands airfield and motor racing circuit has been designated as a Conservation Area to protect its special character. Only a small section of the River Wey north of Plough Bridge is within the Woking Borough part of the Brooklands Conservation Area. There are additionally a number of Areas of High Archaeological Potential in Byfleet which could contain archaeological remains. As part of a development proposal, the Local Plan:

  • ensures that any development preserves the historic character of the Byfleet Village and Brooklands Conservation Areas (BE9)
  • ensures that development does not harm the character or setting of Listed and Locally Listed Buildings within the area (BE10 - BE14)
  • requires archaeological assessments in Areas of High Archaeological Potential as part of a development proposal (BE16)

Residential area

Byfleet is predominantly a residential area characterised by medium density suburban housing. Opportunities to build more housing within the built-up area are limited, but in some cases house builders may seek to redevelop sites to provide more houses. In these cases the Local Plan policies aim to:

  • allow the construction of new housing in the urban area, provided the development reflects the character of the area (HSG18)
  • allow house extensions which reflect the form of the building and do not harm the character of the area (HSG23)

Community facilities

There are a range of community facilities serving the local area including halls, day centres and a school. Local Plan policies will:

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

Recreation and open space

The open areas of land surrounding Byfleet include both public and private recreational facilities, which supplement those in the built-up area. These include the Byfleet Recreation Ground, Woking Rugby Club's Ground and the former Astra Sports Club. There are also allotments at Winern Glebe and Eden Grove Road. The Local Plan seeks to:

  • resist losses of recreational and allotment sites unless adequate alternative provision is made (REC3, REC12)
  • protect the important areas designated as Urban Open Space at Plough Green and the areas adjoining Parvis Road from development, because of their contribution to the character and appearance of the area (BE7)

Industrial and office development

Byfleet contains a significant area of industrial and commercial activities centred around Abbot Close and Canada Road. This area provides a range of local employment opportunities and extends eastwards outside the Borough along Wintersells Road towards Brooklands. This is an important industrial area which should be retained. However, some of the buildings may require redevelopment to provide suitable accommodation for the needs of modern businesses. Local Plan policies:

  • allow industrial or warehousing development at Abbots Close Industrial Estate provided it does not harm the environment of the area (EMP4, EMP5)
  • allow the redevelopment of existing employment sites elsewhere in the area to provide suitable modern business accommodation. These should be broadly similar in scale to the existing buildings (EMP3)
  • will not permit the loss of any existing employment sites unless the business activity adversely affects local residents. In such cases a less harmful employment activity or housing will be permitted (EMP7)

Major Roads

The M25 motorway passes through the area. The Council is concerned that further widening of the motorway would lead to increased noise and pollution. The Local Plan therefore:

  • resists further widening of the M25 motorway (MV22)

Several other major routes pass through the area including the A245 (Parvis Road) and A318 (Oyster Lane/Barnes Wallis Drive/Sopwith Drive), 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. To address this, the Local Plan:

  • supports the implementation of a route management study for the A245 by Surrey County Council, which will establish and examine the needs of all road users whilst taking account of environmental considerations (MV26)

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 moderate compared to other areas in the Borough, with bus services passing through the village centre and Byfleet and New Haw station lying on the edge of the area. 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 increased 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).

Useful Contacts

For any other information, please contact the Council on 01483 755855, email wokbc@woking.gov.uk.