Planning proposals for the Downside Goods Yard access road

In a previous statement, the council stated that the proposed permanent access road, impacting on Waverley Court properties, has been revised. How has the plan been updated?

Pre-planning engagement with affected residents

In July 2021, the project team wrote to over 500 residents in York Road, Bradfield Close, Waverley Court and Montgomery Road to advise them of proposals to relocate the existing goods yard access road. During a four-week engagement period, the team hosted one to one sessions with residents from 24 households. 

The feedback received from participating local residents was extremely helpful and provided the team with valuable insights to consider. One of the main considerations raised was the amount of land required from the Waverley Court development to deliver the permanent access road proposal. 

In February 2022, the project team hosted a public engagement session to present the latest information about the plans for the aggregates yard access road and to answer questions. Over 80 interested parties attended the event. 

View the slides from the public engagement session

Works to revise the initial planning proposals

Taking into account the feedback provided by local residents and other affected parties, the project team has undertaken investigatory studies which aim to lessen: 

  • the impact on the number of properties that would require demolition,
  • the environment and safety of the directly affected properties, and 
  • the landowner’s (Network Rail) and its main tenant’s (Day Aggregates) site operations including during the Victoria Arch bridge construction works.

Further investigative studies have confirmed that there is no alternative option available for a temporary access to the goods yard site during the bridge construction work. This means the temporary access road proposal via York Road and Bradfield Close remains the only viable short-term option.

The temporary access road proposal does not involve the demolition of any residential properties. The access would be achieved via York Road and Bradfield Close and may be needed for a substantial period of time given the scale of the works proposed. Planning consent is likely to request permission for the temporary access to be in place for up to five years. 

Initial redesigns of a permanent access route show a reduction in the number of properties that would require demolition in Waverley Court and removes the need to secure any properties on York Road. However, this design would need to be further considered in the event that the reuse of the existing access to the goods yard is not possible. 

UPDATE: Two planning applications have been submitted to the Local Planning Authority (LPA) to propose temporary and permanent access road arrangements for the Downside Goods Yard in Woking Town Centre. A temporary access road via York Road and Bradfield Close and a permanent access road via the existing access in Guildford Road are proposed. Read the planning applications webpage for a summary of the applications and the latest information.

Compulsory purchase order (CPO)

A decision on the use of CPO powers would be considered if it was determined that a permanent access via York Road and Bradfield Close is the only viable option and if planning permission is granted.  

The use of CPO powers is always a last result and this process follows extensive negotiations to reach a voluntary agreements. 

If the planning application is permitted and a CPO is required to deliver the scheme, Full Council approval (from Woking Borough Council’s elected councillors) would be sought. A CPO can only be made by public bodies. 

A CPO would authorise Woking Borough Council to buy the land, subject to the Council following the usual procedures for compulsory acquisition. For example, the giving of notices, allowing a period for objections and allowing any objectors the opportunity to submit objections at a public local inquiry. 

To justify a CPO, the Council must consider and justify that there is a compelling case in the public interest to acquire the land. The public benefit must outweigh the private loss arising from that acquisition. 

Appropriate compensation would be made available to those entitled to claim it, under the relevant provisions of the statutory compensation code.

Will York Road and Bradfield Close need to be reconstructed to deal with the increased traffic, namely HGVs? 

No work is required to the existing roads. However, the mini roundabout at the junction with York Road and Bradfield Close will require some repair works, which will be included as part of the temporary access road planning proposal.

Will the temporary access road proposal include a maximum duration which clearly defines how long it is allowed to remain in place? 

The temporary access would be achieved via York Road and Bradfield Close and may be needed for a substantial period of time given the scale of the scheme works proposed. If planning consent is granted, there is likely to be a condition applied for the temporary access to only be in use while the bridge works are being constructed. 

What happens if the permanent proposal to reuse the existing access road (next to Victoria Arch) is not viable and/or approved?

The need to find a permanent access road solution remains challenging. The project team is revisiting the options to reuse and reopen the existing site access to the goods yard once the road widening and replacement bridge works are completed.  

Questions submitted by members of the public

A significant number of questions have been received from members of the public during our engagement work, which remains ongoing. The summary questions and answers outlined above aim to provide responses to the main points and topics raised by local residents.

  • On 29 October 2021, Councillor Kemp issued a statement indicating that the proposal may be adjusted to reduce the potential impact on Waverley Court. I should appreciate more detail on this if possible.
  • Will the Council structure the planning applications so that planning permission for the permanent route alteration is granted before the temporary route permission and will a strict time limit be placed on the temporary permission? My concern is that if the temporary permission is given first and then the permanent alteration is refused then we will be left with a temporary route for a significant length of time - possibly years. Provision needs to be made by Woking Borough Council to ensure this does not happen.
  • Are you prepared to use Compulsory Purchase powers to enable the access road to be routed via York Road? If so, do you believe you will have public support for such an action?
  • Will Bradfield Close need to be reconstructed to deal with the increased loading? 
  • Will the planning applications be structured so that the permanent permission is granted before the temporary and will a time limit be placed on the temporary access?

  • Is the permanent access via Bradfield Close the only option?