West Byfleet

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This Local Plan summary for West 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 West 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 West Byfleet

The West Byfleet area includes the village centre next to West Byfleet station and the surrounding residential area, built during the inter war period. West Byfleet is located to the west of the M25 motorway, which separates it from Byfleet. Many of the residential areas with fewer houses have considerable character while the housing to the north of the station is generally older.

The focus of the Local Plan for West Byfleet 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 the village centre and existing residential areas, while important open spaces and historic buildings will be protected. Only very limited types of building will be permitted in the Green Belt, including buildings for sport, agriculture and house extensions.

The following includes a brief description of some elements of the main features of the West Byfleet area together with more general information and the relevant Local Plan polices.

West Byfleet village centre

West Byfleet village centre is the second largest shopping centre in the Borough after Woking town centre. The centre in 1999 had over 90 businesses including a range of shops, offices, banks and restaurants.

The centre is focused around Old Woking Road/Parvis Road, Station Approach and the Railway Station. Two shopping parades in Station Approach and Rosemount Parade have a very distinctive architectural character (Arts and Crafts) and have been designated as Conservation Areas by the Council to protect this. The Local Plan:

  • seeks environmental improvements and better access to the centre. These will be in keeping with the Council's own programme of improvements which have included repaving, new signs and landscaping (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 it does not involve the loss of the supermarket which plays an anchor role in the centre and that an adequate range of shops remain (SHP1, SHP3, SHP4, SHP8)

Existing residential areas

Outside the centre, West Byfleet is mostly residential with a range of different types of housing. The residential areas around Old Avenue, Dartnell Park, and south of Old Woking Road have a particular character with fewer houses and large leafy gardens. These have been designated as Urban Areas of Special Residential Character (UASRC) while Old Avenue has also been designated as a Conservation Area. Within these areas, housing proposals will be critically examined to ensure the special character of the area is maintained.

Opportunities to build more housing within the built-up area are limited. However, housebuilders may seek to redevelop sites to provide additional housing. In these cases, 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)
  • ensure that any new housing within the Urban Area of Special Residential Character does not detract from the very special character of the area which has low density, high quality housing (HSG20)
  • 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 an infants and a junior school, church and community hall. 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)

Built Heritage and Conservation

There are a number of areas within West Byfleet which have been designated as Conservation Areas to protect their historic character. These include the Basingstoke Canal, Byfleet Corner/Rosemount Parade, Birchwood Road, Old Avenue and Station Approach.

There are three buildings which are nationally recognised as Listed Buildings for their architectural and historic interest and others which are locally Listed. These are the Church of St. John the Baptist, Broadoaks (former home of the Charrington brewing family) and the Broadoaks Model Dairy. There are also a number of sites in the village centre and on Dartnell Park where there may be archaeological remains. The Local Plan:

  • ensures that any development preserves the historic character of the Basingstoke Canal, Byfleet Corner/Rosemount Parade, Birchwood Road, Old Avenue and Station Approach 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 assessment in Areas of High Archaeological Potential as part of a development proposal (BE16)

Green Belt

Land to the east of the village centre is within the Green Belt and is mostly used for agriculture and recreation. The Green Belt protects the narrow gap between West Byfleet and Byfleet and prevents the two villages from merging. The Local Plan seeks to:

  • protect the Green Belt areas from new building for purposes other than agriculture or outdoor recreation in order to protect its character (GRB1)

Natural environment and landscape

There are a number of important ecological, wildlife and landscape features in the area which are protected. The Basingstoke Canal is a fully navigable waterway and a nationally important wildlife site which has been designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). The Canal is also an important landscape feature.

The valley of the River Wey and Wey Navigation south of Parvis Road is also an important landscape feature which contributes to the character of the area. The River Wey is a regionally important watercourse habitat which has been designated as a Site of Nature Conservation Importance (SNCI). Areas in the valley are at risk of flooding. The Local Plan seeks to:

  • ensure that development does not harm the nature conservation value of the SSSI (NE1)
  • protect the regionally important SNCI from development which harms its 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.
  • ensure that any development preserves the landscape value of the Basingstoke Canal as a Canal Corridor (NE6)

Industrial and office development

The Camphill Industrial Estate provides a range of local employment opportunities. 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.

The Local Plan identifies the former MoD site at Broadoaks, Parvis Road for potential redevelopment to provide modern offices. Proposals will however need to respect the Listed Buildings on the site and its open character. Local Plan policies:

  • allow industrial or warehousing development at Camphill 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)
  • allows office redevelopment at Broadoaks provided it has no greater impact on the open character of the Green Belt than the existing buildings (EMP6). A planning application has been submitted for an office redevelopment of the site to provide around 18,000 sq.m. of floorspace (194,000 sq.ft.). Following a Public Inquiry, the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions granted planning permission for this redevelopment in December 2000.

Recreation and open space

There are a number of recreational sites in the area, including West Byfleet Recreation Ground which been designated an Urban Open Space as it contributes to the character of the area. All recreational sites within the area are protected from development. Local Plan policies:

  • resist the loss of both informal and formal recreational space (REC3, REC4)
  • ensure that improvements to the recreational facilities in the area do not have a adverse impact on the environment (and respect the quality of the landscape) (REC5, REC7)
  • protect the important area designated as Urban Open Space at West Byfleet Recreation Ground from development, because of its contribution to the character and appearance of the area (BE7)

Major Roads

The A245 (Sheerwater Road/Old Woking Road/Parvis Road) is a major route passing through the area. It provides good road connections with other areas of the Borough and beyond and suffers 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 these issues, 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). (Note: a scheme of improvements has been drawn up to improve conditions on Parvis Road)

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. Public transport accessibility in the area is moderate compared to the town centre, with West Byfleet station and bus services passing through 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 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 768746, email wokbc@woking.gov.uk.