Deadline due for Urban Extension feedbackBy Amy Taylor
March 20, 2013
JUST over a week remains for public feedback on the long-awaited plans for the Aldershot Urban Extension.
The blueprints for the first phase of the development, renamed Project Wellesley, are available for comments until March 29 and despite several "positive" public meetings and exhibitions, concerns are still being raised.
Traffic congestion is the biggest fear for residents, with many taking to the Rushmoor Borough Council planning website to air their views.
Both the idea of increased car journeys and the need for additional parking on the site have been flagged up in comments on the plans.
One positive comment however said the site, which runs parallel to Farnborough Road between the Basingstoke Canal and Knollys Road, up to Ordnance Road and the railway line, was the "perfect spot" for thousand of new homes.
“Aldershot is brilliantly located and this will be a popular choice for families priced out of other areas who will contribute to the town,” it said.
Two parish councils have flagged up congestion as an area of concern.
Church Crookham, in its submission to Rushmoor, said it would expect contributions for highways to be "restricted for use in the local area and to be spent directly on schemes that mitigate the impact of congestion caused by these additional homes".
It also highlighted health provision and school places as areas still requiring work by the developer, Grainger, particularly in light of the recent Ministry of Defence announcement that Aldershot would be getting 750 more soldiers and their families from 2015 as part of a £100m army base shake-up.
Two additional primary schools would be built from scratch on the site, and extensions are planned at the Connaught School for secondary places, but army staff confirmed that neither Grainger nor Rushmoor would have been aware of the MoD plans before the announcement.
John Beresford, development director for Wellesley, said that healthcare had been mentioned by people attending the most recent public exhibition last month, adding that the health centre in Hospital Hill, which is directly on the site boundary, was already poised to cope with new demand.
Ash Parish Council echoed the concern of Church Crookham when chairman Nigel Manning said the plans in place to cope with "at least 8,000 more cars" were insufficient.
He said it needed more than just the current plan to put a ramp onto the A331 from the site, and comments on the online plans seemed to agree, asking for additional access to ease the pressure on crowded roads such as the A31 and Farnborough Road.
Another added that it would bring a "substantial increase" to the amount of traffic using Ash Road and the High Street.
The loss of army heritage land on the brownfield site running next to Farnborough Road was also raised as a concern, but plans are in place to safeguard the buildings of interest and draw attention to the site’s history through walking tours and memorial areas.
These will wind around the site, taking in six listed buildings, including Cambridge Military Hospital and the Observatory.
A ‘local neighbourhood centre’ will be the focal point of the first phase of 3,850 homes, and it is proposed that this will feature a retail unit, probably a medium-sized supermarket, as well as 1,500sq-m of other shop space, along with room for offices, a pub or restaurant and a nursery or children’s day care centre.
More information on the Aldershot Urban Extension plans can be found on the Rushmoor Borough Council website.