statement from the Residents Association
The Byfleet, West Byfleet and Pyrford Residents’ Association (“RA”) are pursuing a number of avenues with our Councillors and with the West Byfleet Neighbourhood Forum (“WBNF”).
We are supportive of Rebecca and Emma’s efforts on the playground. Their work was has been outstanding. They have mobilised public opinion and have highlighted the shoddy conduct of Woking Borough Council (“WBC”) and their disregard for the essential facilities that should be available to local children for their enjoyment and for their health. If you have not already signed their petition we encourage you to do so.
Indeed we are strongly of the view that the Playground should NOT be moved and that renovation work should commence immediately
We have written to Councillor David Bittleston who is the leader of WBC bringing to his attention the shocking state of the children’s play area and reiterating the annoyance and frustration of the community that in spite of funds being allocated and approval being in place nothing has happened.
The RA is also deeply concerned that Marston’s PLC hope to receive planning permission to build a pub on the West Byfleet Recreation Ground (“RG”) to be positioned next to the school. It would appear that WBC have been in discussion with Marston’s for some time and over a year ago invited them to draw up plans.
Councillor Bittleston has confirmed that he takes the concerns of the community very seriously. There will be a WBC Executive Meeting next Thursday (28th June commencing at 7.00 pm) at which the WBC Chief Executive will submit a paper on these matters. This is a public meeting so please attend if possible and it will also be webcast.
Other Relevant and Significant Issues
1. The possible building of a pub on the West Byfleet Recreation Ground is not in accord with the WBNF Plan. This Plan which was the result of lengthy and detailed public consultation has legal status. Over 90% of those who voted in the referendum supported it.
The WBNF Plan designates the RG as “Local Green Space”. Development will not be permitted other than in very special circumstances. A pub does not qualify as “very special circumstances”.
The suggestion that it should be positioned next to a junior school defies all responsible thinking and common sense.
WBNF with the full support of the RA have a duty to protect and defend its Plan. A pub on the RG would be in violation of the Plan.
2. The RG was bequeathed to the local community for recreational purposes. It is currently owned by a Recreation Ground Charity and the sole trustee is WBC. In 2011 WBC leased the land to Greenwich Leisure Limited.
There is considerable concern that WBC in entering into a lease of the RG and now considering permitting commercial development on it are acting beyond their powers.
The RA have agreed that if necessary they will fund the seeking of a legal opinion on these matters.
In the meantime if any resident has the appropriate legal experience to advise us on these matters we would be most grateful.
The RA will review any planning application within the context of the above.
Thank you for your support.