A developer planning to build 1,000 homes, a primary school and a medical centre on greenbelt land in Walton has “pulled the wool” over residents’ eyes, opponents claimed.
Bonnar Allan wants to create Drake Park, a 147-acre garden village, on greenbelt land off Fieldcommon Lane, complete with a supermarket and pub.
The 1,000 homes would include a range of one and two bedroom flats, three and four bedroom town houses, four bedroom semi-detached houses and four and five bedroom detached houses.
Despite optimism from Nigel Rankine, development director at Bonnar Allan, who said people were excited about the plans, residents of Walton and Hersham hit out at proposals and claimed they were fighting a “constant battle to save greenbelt”.
Mick Flanningan, 60, of Rydens Road, said: “It is a terrible proposal and they are trying to pull the wool over our eyes. They are dressing it up but I’d rather they didn’t sacrifice our greenbelt to do it.
“They talk about needing more space for families to play in but how can they provide more space when they are putting 1,000 homes and stuff on it. They’re just trying to delude us.”
Mr Flannigan said the amount of traffic site would generate also concerned him.
He said: “They just don’t seem to think it is a problem and are quite happy to have all the access from the Molesey Road. There is no mention of the traffic congestion they are going to cause. I was told 2,000 more car journeys per day.”
But Mr Rankine denied the site would have a negative impact on the roads.
He said: “We have done traffic surveys and talked to Surrey County Council’s highways and they don’t say there is a problem with the roads dealing with this size development.”
Residents also aired concerns that the development would “completely change the area”.
Irene Sherlock, of Hurtwood Road, said: “About 40 per cent will be housing trust and my concern is how many will be local people and how many will be from outside of Elmbridge. I own my house and I don’t know how that is going to affect my house price.
“I think it is just totally going to change the area. I am not against change but this is a huge project and this is greenbelt land. Why here? There must be brownfield sites.”
Questions were also raised about the proposed 300 place primary school and whether children already living in the area would gain places at the school.
Mr Rankine said: “We will probably generate a demand for about 200 places and then we will make it larger than this so children could come from the surrounding area.
“We will be guided by Surrey County Council over this and while we have not had detailed negotiations, we have been encouraged in terms of making a primary school here."
Asked why Bonnar Allan had not chosen to build a secondary school, Mr Rankine said the plans were “not set in stone by any means”.
Further exhibitions take place at Esher Rugby Club, Molesey Road, on June 19 and 20 from 3pm to 8pm and at Lower Green Community Centre, Farm Road, Esher, on June 21 from 11am to 3pm.
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