FAQs

Q: What has been proposed? Isn’t the site in the Green Belt?

Our proposals make the best use of the 70 acres of concrete runways and hardstanding at the former Wisley Airfield to provide 2,068 much needed new homes, up to 800 of which will be affordable.

The site has been allocated in the Council’s emerging Local Plan as a Potential Major Development Area. Their study of the Green Belt identifies Wisley Airfield as a site suitable for development.

Q: Why is it needed?

With house prices more than 14 times average incomes, homes in Guildford are amongst the most unaffordable in the country. More homes are desperately needed.

By the council’s own estimates, more than 693 new homes are needed every year just to meet local housing requirements.

Only 781 affordable homes have been delivered in Guildford over the last decade. Just 17 in 2013/14.

Wisley Airfield can make a huge contribution to this need by providing 2,068 new homes of which up to 800 could be affordable.

Q: Have you consulted with residents? What do they think of the plans?

In a recent survey of 1,002 residents, undertaken by the independent market research company Marketing Means, 46% of people supported the plans for Wisley Airfield and 30% were opposed.

In an additional survey undertaken by Marketing Means, 65% of 287 18-35 year-olds supported the scheme and only 19% were opposed.

We also held a number of public exhibitions in order to display the plans to local residents and gather their opinion. At these exhibitions two thirds of respondents were positive or neutral.

Q: Hasn’t the site always been rural? Won’t it change the character of the area?

Wisley Airfield was built in the 1940s and 1950s and includes 70 acres of concrete and hardstanding – equivalent to 1,120 tennis.  It was used to test aircraft, including the V-bombers until the 1970s.

The site is a logical place for development. It has a consented direct access from the A3 and is within five miles of nine railway stations.

Q: Won’t the plans harm the local plants and animals?

We’re proposing a new parkland area for new and existing residents in excess of that asked for by Natural England.  The development will double the amount of high quality habitat on Wisley Airfield, to encourage more wildlife on the site.

To put it in context, we are providing an open space larger than Stoke Park.

Q: What financial contribution will the development make? How can this be guaranteed?

The development will be required to make a number of contributions towards local services such as secondary schools, healthcare and other local services. If planning consent is granted, these will be part of a legal agreement with Guildford Borough Council.

Q: Isn’t the airfield only accessible by car?

Wisley Airfield is very well connected. It’s within five miles of nine mainline railway stations, including Effingham Junction, which is a short cycle away. For non-cyclists, our proposals include plans for buses to run through the site to major local destinations with a target frequency of 15 minutes.

However, with shops, offices, a school, nursery, a healthcare facility and sports fields onsite, the need to travel is reduced.

Q: Will the proposals increase the risk of flooding?

No. Our studies have concluded that there should be no additional flood risk and we are not planning to build on land at risk from flooding.

Q: Have you taken into account other planned developments in Guildford?

Guildford Borough Council has reviewed Wisley Airfield in the context of other planned developments in the Borough. Their Planning Officers concluded that Wisley Airfield is a good site for new homes and services and as a result have allocated it as a Potential Major Development site in the draft Local Plan.

Q: Won’t there be more traffic on the roads?

We’ve completed a thorough Transport Assessment and have identified a number of necessary road improvements which we will deliver as part of the proposals.

On top of improvements to the A3 these include:

  • Improvements to Ripley High Street
  • Send roundabout safety improvements
  • The potential closure of Elm Lane to improve safety and reduce congestion on the A3
  • Traffic measures on local roads to prevent rat running through local villages.

It is expected that the improvements will also increase safety for cyclists and pedestrians using the roads.

Q: The local schools are full, when will the school be built?

The Primary School will be built in the first phase of development. The school will open at a time agreed with Surrey County Council.

We will also be providing a ‘Through School’ which will include secondary provision for new and existing residents.

Q: Won’t there be more strain on local services?

Rather the opposite. The new community at Wisley Airfield will provide services to the surrounding community. The masterplan includes new shops, a two form entry primary school, offices, a large park, a health care facility, a care home, a crèche, sports facilities and more.

Q: Haven’t you already got planning permission for a waste processor?

The consented waste facility has not been included in Surrey Waste Partnership’s Waste Strategy and there has been no interest in operating it. From them or from commercial operators.

Q: Is the site big enough for all those houses?

Yes. Our award winning masterplanners, Fielden Clegg Bradley, have designed a development which combines the benefits of modern living with the pleasure of the countryside. It meets all the necessary technical criteria.

Q: Is the site in line with current policy?

Planning policy is under constant review to ensure that it matches the needs of the community. Wisley Airfield has been identified in Guildford Borough Council’s draft Local Plan as a Potential Major Development Site.

Q: Can you still develop on the site if the VOR beacon is in place and operating?

The VOR beacon is due to be phased out between 2017-20

The buildings that are built before the removal of the beacon will be controlled by planning conditions. For example they will not be built within a certain distance, or beyond a certain height in relation to the beacon.

Q: How will residents access Elm Corner during construction?

Elm Lane will only be closed when the alternative access has been built. The new access will come off Ridgeway Avenue, the main road through Wisley Airfield and is part of a range of safety improvements to the A3.