A proposal to drive a new road through the heart of the Surrey Hills at Hambledon to relieve anticipated traffic congestion and HGV issues when Dunsfold Aerodrome is developed into housing is being fiercely opposed by Hambledon Parish Council.
The suggestion from the Guildford Society was presented at a recent meeting at Waverley council and despite Surrey Highways officers rejecting the idea, county councillors agreed to give the matter further consideration.
It envisages a new highway from Loxhill on the outskirts of Dunsfold at Hook House Lane, across the hills and fields of Burgate Farm and round the flanks of Hydon’s Ball to emerge on to the Hambledon Road at Feathercombe. It would then use Hambledon Road and Station Lane to reach a new “Milford Parkway” station and the A3
The Guildford Society, a registered charity with the stated aim of preserving and enhancing the environment of Guildford, submitted a written question to the Waverley Local Committee, which comprises members of both Surrey and Waverley councils.
In a covering letter, Alistair Smith, chairman of the society, wrote: “The link scheme we propose, some 12 kms long, is likely to be complex, expensive and controversial, as part of it would necessarily pass through some sensitive countryside and would need to be treated appropriately”.
The countryside involved can be seen in the photographs accompanying this article.
The written question asked the two authorities to consider commissioning a feasibility study into creating an east-west road linking the A281 in the Dunsfold area with the A3 at Milford.
Worryingly for the residents of Hambledon – and no doubt for lovers of the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty – Colin Kemp, deputy leader of Surrey County Council and in charge of infrastructure matters, said he was prepared to look into the idea of a feasibility study, notwithstanding a response from one of his senior planning managers that the council was not prepared to consider such a request.
The meeting was chaired by Victoria Young, a county councillor who represents Hambledon. She did not commit to a view on the matter but told members that she had sought the advice of her Conservative colleague Mr Kemp. “He is prepared to look into the possibility of what might be some sort of link road in the Dunsfold/Cranleigh area and Milford and the A3”, she told the meeting.
The Guildford Society proposal follows its concerns on the impact of traffic generated by the planned new development of 1,800 houses (rising to a potential of 3,400) on the airfield site. The only major road in the area is the A281, which is already heavily congested as it approaches Guildford through Bramley and Shalford.
Hambledon Parish Council has expressed it opposition to the idea with Cllr Young and challenged the Guildford Society over its proposal.
Although extremely alarming, it is important to keep the issue in perspective. It is only a suggestion from an un-elected civic society. SCC has not committed to holding a feasibility study, but has said it would look at the idea. It would be a major infrastructure undertaking and would be hugely expensive, to say nothing of the widespread opposition it would face from a host of conservation groups.
Victoria Young told the parish council that she has spoken again to Cllr Kemp. “He explained that he has asked officers to do a desktop exercise to look at the possibilities of such a road, and to give him a “gut” feel as to the feasibility and costs. If it were deemed worth considering further, there would then need to be a formal feasibility study which would cost a substantial sum and I am not clear that this money is available. They would not get to this point before early 2020.”