Groundhog day returned for the people of Chapel Lane and Bagshot as a whole, as Cala homes rolled into town to present their latest proposals to plaster houses over the last remaining part of green space in Bagshot and attempt to further diminish the village status of Bagshot.
Many residents attending the event in the forlorn hope of a genuine consultation process left disappointed as it became very clear from an early stage that this was a tick-box exercise before formal planning will be submitted (in 2019 according to one of the representatives there). The representative consultants left residents with a dim view of Cala Homes, as they smirked and responded defensively to the villagers concerns. This is the first time Cala have attempted to develop in the village and the arrogance on display was somewhat disconcerting.
All of the major reasons for an even larger amount of houses (44) than have previously been rejected (15 and 40 respectively) remained, with very little but token attempts to address them. The main items being:
– Unsuitable, dangerous access with just the one track Roman lane giving access to the new larger amount of cars. The proximity and thus use of this lane by nearby schools was waived away by the same traffic consultant that had overseen the previous failed applications. A laughable small portion of path was now included, but this was on the site land, so didn’t resolve any of the major safety concerns raised before. Completely incorrect information on how the lane was used was made, with claims that everyone treated it as a one way system, which for most of the day is simply untrue, despite what their surveys say.
– Absolutely no consideration for the fact this will destroy what the locals call “the last lung of Bagshot”. They had pictures of Bagshot up on boards which clearly showed that Bagshot now looks like a large housing estate, with this one last Oasis now under threat once more at Chapel Lane. Bagshot has done more than its fair share with regards to providing homes, but this fell on deaf ears for the dismissive and at times, combative consultants that Cala sent to go through the motions.
– Plans for flood protection were presented, but the surveying was done at the height of the record hot and dry Summer of 2018. The area is prone to flooding, hence the name water meadow and with the concreating over of this wildlife filled area, the plans seemed woefully unprepared to prevent major flooding down to the railway bridge tunnel and down into the housing estate further down the hill. Of course Cala claimed otherwise.
– No real mention of preserving the wealth of wildlife was made. Unlike previous applications that provided for SANGs, this was claimed to be unnecessary, as long as they provided a cash bung for councils to protect and maintain other more deserving areas.
Matt Davies of the “Save Our Chapel Lane” campaign commented:
“Unfortunately this event was even worse than we had expected. Rather than improve on universally rejected plans of previous developers, Cala has gone for a punishment beating approach, by adding more housing, less provision for green spaces and no regard for existing villagers enjoyment of this last peaceful and natural area.The total disregard from the same Consultants involved in previous rejected proposals is disturbing. It’s now past time for our council to stand up for Bagshot and call a halt to this process as totally unsuitable and unfair; while immediately withdrawing it from all further plans. In the meantime, Save Our Chapel Lane will fight this tooth and nail on behalf of the residents of Bagshot and will do everything to prevent this final insult to our village after everything we have tolerated so far. I call on all villages to join this campaign to Save our Chapel Lane and preserve Bagshot’s village status.”
Any organisations wishing to discuss this issue further or get more detail on the range of issues not mentioned here, please contact Matt Davies at any time.