Thank you to the 350 local residents who came to the first Cobham Green Belt Group meeting on Wed 22 Jan 2014. The Cobham Village Hall was overflowing and interested residents had to stand wherever there was a spare space (even at the back of the stage).
Residents came to hear about three building developments which if approved would be built on local Green Belt land and to share their views.
The meeting began with an introduction by Sir Gerry Acher followed by Sue Kilpatrick who spoke about why we should be concerned about the Green Belt.
Speakers then gave the audience a brief talk about the Wisley Incinerator at Redhill Rd Silvermere, The Wisley Airfield and Chippings Farm, Elvedon Rd, Portsmouth Rd, Cobham.
After giving some detail about the Waste Incinerator proposal, Richard Mulhall gave the good news that the Waste Incinerator which was due to go to appeal at the beginning of March 2014 had just been withdrawn by the applicant. It was a good example of local community groups working together to object to developments which would have a lasting impact on their local communities.
Helen Jeffries from the Wisley Airfield Action Group then spoke about the Wisley Airfield housing proposal included in the Guildford Borough Council Options and Issues consultation. Although not at a planning application stage at the moment, it is a major concern as it would involve building 2175 homes on Green Belt land adjacent to a Thames Basin Heaths Special Protection Area (TBHSPA) and the whole site is designated as a Site of Nature Conservation Importance (SNCI).
Finally Alistair Mann then spoke about the third development at Chippings Farm, Elvedon Rd, Portsmouth Rd, Cobham. This development would occupy 55 acres of Green Belt and provide 500 homes and land for a new Secondary Free School. Alistair explained the main concerns apart from the loss of Green Belt are the impact on traffic and that the additional school places created by the new school would be largely taken by the new housing development.
Questions and views were then taken from the floor and it was good to see how much local residents care about the issues involved in building on the local Green Belt.
Gerry Acher then concluded the evening by asking for a show of hands of those who would like the Cobham Green Belt Group to continue and organise opposition to developments on the Green Belt, including petitions if necessary. A unanimous show of hands of over 90% of those present confirmed that the Cobham Green Belt Group should continue and make plans and publicise how the community can help in opposing such developments.