Concerns expressed to a large-scale development of the Woking Football Club site in the summer of 2018, galvanised many residents of the Hoe Valley ward into forming the Hoe Valley Neighbourhood Forum (HVNF), in order to influence the future plans and character of where they live. Following public consultation HVNF was instigated and formally accepted by Woking Borough Council in July 2019.
Due to resident concerns over this development HVNF hosted an open meeting at which the South Woking Action Group was formed. This group worked extremely hard on our behalf to ensure the planning application was refused by Woking Borough council and also the Secretary of State, on appeal.
To take the ambitions of the Forum forward, a small committee was formed from within the resident volunteers to develop a Neighbourhood Plan. Unfortunately due to unforeseen circumstances and the outbreak of the covid pandemic the neighbourhood pan has taken some time to come together. Since taking on the responsibilities of chairman my committee has worked extremely hard to produce this neighbourhood plan. We hosted meetings, conducted surveys, hosted workshops, set up a website and social media platforms together with distributing information to all households.
The Plan has been developed thanks to the hard work of my committee members, covering specialist areas such as green spaces, history, the protected areas and wildlife species together with the aspirations of the residents in order to protect and enhance the attributions of the three villages of Old Woking, Kingfield and Westfield and the protection for the biodiversity for the benefit of the residents. It is the aspiration of the HVNF that we look to the future in order to create a vibrant and safe place where residents can be proud to live.
My thanks go to Mr Tom Simpson, the Council Officer assigned to advise us, to Mr Ernest Amoako, Council Head of Strategic Planning for his expert advice, and last but by no means least to the Committee who have all given so much time and effort in producing this local plan.
Robert (Bob) Shatwell