The 300-acre ex-DERA site at Chobham Common has been a frequent subject on this blog. The whole site is part of the Green Belt in Surrey straddling the M3 within Runnymede Borough Council area but adjacent to Chobham and Windlesham in Surrey Heath. There are some buildings on the site, particularly on the smaller North Site.
There is already a ‘hybrid’ planning application being processed for the North Site for a large business park and 200 new homes. This does not depend on the site being removed from Green Belt, so it is strange that RBC want to remove the whole site. One possible reason is that the developer actually wants to build more intensively on the North Site than the current application.
The latest news is about the South Site. This is largely undeveloped at the moment. It was used many years ago to test tanks and armoured vehicles on so there is a test track but very few buildings. The developers say they want to build 1,300 homes on the South Site. This would devastate the rare wildlife on Chobham Common which is a Site of Special Scientific Interest, a National Nature Reserve and a Special Protection Area. Also, there is no transport infrastructure to support new homes here. The roads cannot cope already and this development would cause gridlock in Windlesham, Chobham and Sunningdale.
Early next year, RBC’s Local Plan, which includes removing the entire DERA site from Green Belt, will go before the Planning Inspectorate. I will be addressing the Examination in Public on behalf of the Windlesham Society where I am the Planning Officer.
In the meantime, the public consultation for Longcross South is 28-30 Nov. I’ll be going to that to ask why the North Site has to be removed from Green Belt and to object to the impact of the South Site development on local villages. See you all there!