As the construction plans for the Victoria Arch widening scheme have progressed, technical surveys and modelling have evidenced that the existing location of the Day Aggregates access road, located on the south-side of the Guildford Road (next to the Victoria Arch railway bridge), severely impacts on the scheme’s overall success.
As part of the widening scheme, we are investigating proposals to relocate the Day Aggregates access road from its existing location to Bradfield Close, just off York Road.
The access road's relationship with the Victoria Arch widening scheme
The Victoria Arch widening scheme, funded by central government, will deliver key strategic outcomes for town centre communities and the council. The scheme is central to our wider plans to provide enhanced access to an attractive and user friendly town centre.
When complete, it will provide additional road capacity, reduced air pollution, safer access for pedestrian and cycle journeys, and more reliable bus journeys. Ultimately, it will significantly contribute to our long-term sustainable transport measures, deliver our requirement to unlock town centre sites for much needed housing and strengthen Woking’s vibrant business economy.
These future benefits will be achieved by a series of highway enhancements on both the north and south sides of the arch. The new carriageway will provide seamless travel through this part of the town centre and better access underneath the railway and to the railway station for cyclists and pedestrians.
In addition, the scheme offers Network Rail with the rare window of opportunity to replace the ageing Victoria Arch railway bridge, renewing the railway infrastructure in Woking which are essential for the vitality and sustainability of the rail network.
Given these factors, we have taken on the additional responsibility for relocating the access road as part of the widening scheme. These works include:
- conducting in-depth technical surveys to review relocation options for the access road
- consulting with and supporting affected residents
- drafting and submitting two planning applications, and
- subject to planning approval, delivering the approved plan of works.
Why we must consider relocating the existing access road
Currently, the Day Aggregates access road is situated on a busy stretch of the A320, within 25 metres of the highway running underneath the Victoria Arch railway bridge. This location requires all site vehicles to enter the access road from the south and to exit onto the A320 in the northbound direction.
The access road is frequently used by heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) and articulated lorries which, due to the access road’s and main highway’s space constraints, are required to cut across the public carriageway to enter and exit the site.
These actions cause regular traffic congestion, damage to the pedestrian footways and the central pedestrian crossing. More seriously, this unsatisfactory arrangement significantly increases the risk of side impact accidents to pedestrians, cyclists and other road users.
To allow for the new railway bridge’s construction and widen highway with increased height capacity, the existing road level must be lowered by 1.2 metres. This involves significant excavation works to keep the access road’s gradient at a safe angle for HGV use and hugely impacts on major underground utility services, such as telephone, internet, gas, water, etc.
Additional challenges include:
- The need for new traffic control measures at this junction which will slow and stop traffic flow.
- Reduces the objective of improved and safer pedestrian and cyclist flow across the access road.
- The site is safeguarded by the Surrey County Council Minerals Plan 2011 Core Strategy Development Plan Document and access to this site must be maintained.
To complete this work, we need to close the current access road and create a temporary access via Bradfield Close, just off York Road. This will include traffic restrictions to ensure HGVs using this access only do so via the Guildford Road junction. This proposal will be submitted to the local planning authority over the coming months.
In addition, and after careful review of the scheme’s pre-construction technical reports, safety concerns and traffic congestion (on the main A320) create challenges for retaining the current access. Therefore, a second proposal will be submitted to the planning authority to seek permission for a permanent access to York Road via Bradfield Close.
Ahead of the application submissions, the project team is assessing the wider planning impact of the plans on the surrounding residential streets. These considerations include:
- A heavy goods vehicle (HGV) restriction strategy to introduce highway weight limits to prevent HGV vehicles using the surrounding residential roads.
- A review of the on-street parking on York Road, between Guildford Road and Bradfield Close, to allow sufficient road width for all users.
- Road surfacing requirements on York Road, between Guildford Road and Bradfield Close, which support HGV movements and keep the road in good condition.
As part of the final planning applications, the contractor surveys, results and considerations will be included.
The applications and associated documents will be available for review and comment from members of the public during the statutory public consultation period.
Pre-planning resident engagement
In July 2021, we wrote to over 500 residents in York Road, Bradfield Close, Waverley Court and Montgomery Road to advise them of proposals to relocate the existing Day Aggregates access road. The direct engagement was targeted at residents who may be directly affected by the future proposals and requested residents to submit their feedback about the plans.
During a four-week engagement period held from Monday 26 July to Monday 20 August 2021, we hosted one to one sessions with residents from 24 households.
The sessions provided local residents with the opportunity to find out more about the proposals and to put forward their feedback and ask questions.
From these sessions, we have collated a list of frequently asked questions. These will be updated on a ongoing basis.
About the planning process
The final planning applications will be submitted to the Woking Borough planning authority later this year and are likely be considered by the Planning Committee in early 2022.
Following receipt of the applications, the local planning authority will conduct a formal public consultation with affected residents. During this time, residents, businesses and any other interested parties will be able to review the planning applications and submit comments via the online planning portal.
As part of the statutory planning process, residents and businesses surrounding the proposed sites will be informed of the planning applications by post, including how to comment.
Additionally, public notices will be published in the Woking News and Mail, on the Woking Borough public notices section of this website, on our engagement and consultation website (Woking Community Forum) and displayed around the proposed sites.
Woking Borough Council: 29 October 2021
Cllr Colin Kemp, Woking Borough Council’s Portfolio Holder for Infrastructure, said: “At the start of the pre-planning engagement period undertaken with local residents in and around York Road, we outlined our intention to submit two planning applications for new temporary and permanent access roads by the end of October.
“The feedback received from participating local residents was extremely helpful and provided us with valuable insights to consider. Of which, a key consideration we’re investigating is reducing the amount of land required from the Waverley Court development to deliver the permanent access road proposal.
“To achieve this, we have required more time to engage with Day Aggregates and the landowner (Network Rail) about the need to adjust the yard’s internal layout to accommodate the alternative access plans and finalise the planning application boundary line.
“Our technical discussions with Day Aggregates, Network Rail and specialist contractors are progressing and remain ongoing. After these conversations have been finalised, we will need to complete further environmental and ecology surveys which will be used to support the final planning applications. We anticipate it will take a further 4 to 6 weeks before they are ready for submission.
“In addition to the statutory planning consultation requirements, we will update the Victoria Arch widening scheme website pages and inform local residents and stakeholders when the planning applications are available to view and how to comment on them.”
Day Aggregates: 14 September 2021
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