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Notes of Public Meeting – 14 September 2019

We are most grateful to those who attended our meeting this Saturday, especially with it clashing with a Woking FC home game and on such a glorious day. We are especially grateful to our MP, Jonathan Lord, who was in attendance, not to mention a number of local councillors, which shows this is clearly a relevant and important issue to the residents they represent. Most of the residents in attendance live within a 10 to 15 minute walk from the Woking FC.

Andy Caulfield, Katie Bowes and Monique van Bellen chaired the meeting, providing updates on the actions that a core group of volunteers have been doing since the South Woking Action Group was formed, at the end of July. It was confirmed that the South Woking Action Group is not a legal entity, it is a campaign group and our current core focus is to work with the Woking FC, the Council and the developers to create a proposal that is suitable and sustainable for the surrounding neighborhood. The group supports investment in Woking FC, as we recognize its value as a community asset and is in need of improved facilities. The group also supports development in the surrounding area but in a way that respects the character of our community and is in-line with Council policy.

Katie Bowes advised attendees that the petition she created on August 6th, which obtained over 400 signatures in less than a month, has been closed so that it can be presented to the next Council meeting on 17th October at 7pm. Katie will be allowed 3 minutes to present the petition and her concerns to the Council and she would appreciate the support of Woking community at-large. Everyone is encouraged to attend the meeting in person to demonstrate the significant interest of the public in this proposed development.

Some volunteers have been undertaking comprehensive research into local and national planning guidelines and frameworks. Monique commented that once a formal planning application is submitted, a team of volunteers will work together to provide everyone with a summary of how the application fails to meet current planning guidelines. Based on research findings, the current Cardinal Court proposal breaches a number of Woking Council’s planning guidelines.

Also as part of our research, we discovered that each local resident or worker in the Woking Borough has the right to submit questions to the Executive to be answered at Executive meetings. The group encouraged those present to submit any questions they had about the current proposal, the future of the neighborhood or anything else to the Executive. Questions to the Executive can be emailed directly to Ray Morgan (ray.morgan@woking.gov.uk).

Will Forster, local Hoe Valley Borough Councillor and South Woking Country Councillor, addressed the group, reassuring residents that he and the local councillors will continue to support residents in their aspiration to modify this development via internal council procedures. He stated that a significant amount of material about the proposed development, previously made known to councillors, is still not in the public domain. This is an area he and his colleagues will continue to press the Council for disclosure, in the interests of increased openness and transparency about the development. He suggested another avenue for residents to voice their concerns is via the Woking Joint Committee meeting scheduled for September 25th at 6pm (see link below for information).

https://mycouncil.surreycc.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=411&MId=6934&Ver=4

Jonathan Lord, local MP, also addressed the meeting, applauding the considered approach and civil tone of the session and stipulated that he thought the proposal seemed “far too bulky for a residential area”.

It was clear that many of those present shared the same concerns in terms of:

  • The role and interest of the Council in the development?
  • The suitability of GolDev (the developers) and Dukelease and their relationship with Woking FC and the Council?
  • The proposed density and height of the housing which will entirely change the character of the neighborhood and sets a precedent for other ‘non city centre’ low-lying residential areas.
  • Justification for a 10k capacity stadium for Woking FC based on average attendance and on-going financial viability of Woking FC.
  • Grave concern about the lack of adequate parking provision for the development as a whole, which would exacerbate the existing and long-standing local parking problems, especially on match days.
  • It was clear that there was no great opposition to the plans to improve and develop Woking FC as a community asset however the greater concern was whether it is in the interest of the wider community for it to be funded by such an unprecedented and disproportionate housing development.

Andy encouraged those present to support Woking FC by joining the Cards Trust.

Future actions:

  1. Attend Woking Council Meeting on October 17th at 7pm when Katie Bowes, will present her petition to the Council.
  2. Submit your questions to the Executive (please speak to Monique or Lorin if you would like more information on how to submit your questions).
  3. Volunteer to help with either research or leafleting or anything! Email info@southwokingactiongroup.org.uk.
  4. Subscribe to our email mailing list and follow our Facebook and Twitter pages.
  5. Comment on any online articles we generate on our campaign, share the features on your personal social media pages and spread the word about the proposed development and what SWAG are doing within your own networks.