2nd October June 2020
Berkeley Homes proposals for 22-30 Sturt Road Online Meeting
Update from Graham O'Connell:
Representatives from the MFG&D Society Committee met online with Berkeley Homes on 1st October as part of their consultations prior to making a planning application. This sort of early consultation is fairly standard for larger developments.
Representatives from Berkeley Homes ran through a short presentation about their ambitions for the site at 22-30 Sturt Road, Frimley Green, which incorporates the former Mitie site and the Generation X Scaffolding site. They are aiming for a mixed development of 160 apartments and houses with two entry points (the existing gated entrances).
Their plans for a virtual exhibition space looked good and go live at 5pm on Friday 2nd October. It will be open for 2 weeks and residents can leave their feedback on the website:
People are strongly encouraged to do just that.
The site was identified in the Surrey Heath Borough Council Local Plan as suitable for housing which in effect is an invitation to developers. It is unlikely that any in principle objections to building here would succeed and, as a brownfield site, it is a good deal better as an option than a greenfield one.
We raised a wide variety of issues and concerns which seem to have been taken seriously but ultimately it will be their choice what they put forward in a planning application. Amongst those issues raised were the scale and density of the development - it is usual for developers to try and squeeze in as much as possible, so this came as no surprise to us. We mentioned affordable housing and they are still in discussions with the council on this; we think it is likely that the council will be pressing for around 30% but the developer will want less.
Access to the site was discussed and we asked for mini roundabouts to be considered, they will pass this on to their traffic consultants, Motion. A Traffic Plan has not yet been completed but they are well aware of local feeling about traffic lights, so that is not likely to feature as a mitigation for the extra cars. We talked about parking and they have either one or two spaces per property depending on size, which seems to us to be inadequate especially as there is no suitable alternative parking nearby.
We raised issues relating to the local environment, water management, drainage (especially connected to the railway bridge area), local energy production (eg solar panels and heat pumps) and noise issues. They have some limited plans in these areas, and claim to be especially well known for their water management, but we will be looking closely at this whole area for a significant and good quality response in the planning application.
They will be retaining the Victorian Pumping Station building (the site used to be the local water works many years ago) and that is very positive. Some of the apartment blocks will be 3 or 4 stories high, about the same as the current office buildings, and will be reasonably screened.
We encouraged them to talk with the local Clinical Commissioning Group and the Frimley Green Medical Centre. We also recommended specific schools and others they should consult. They mentioned that the Community Infrastructure Levy, which goes to the council to pay for improvements in local infrastructure, is likely to run into millions of pounds. This is welcome but we are keen to make sure that is prioritised correctly and not dissipated across the whole Borough.
Overall, the consultation was informative and constructive for all parties. The proof of the pudding, however, as in all these cases, will become apparent later.