Updated: Dec 5, 2021
A320 Ottershaw Roundabout to St Peters Way
Surrey County Council are preparing to submit a Planning Application (awaiting validation) for the A320 scheme at the Otter roundabout and along the A320 to St Peters Way.
I have been ‘engaged’ with SCC on behalf of OWARA since May 2018 seeking to secure the most effective and least damaging solutions to the Village and environs. With little co-operation from SCC until early this year, SCC have now presented a scheme which they intend implementing subject to securing Planning Consent. The Community will have 21 working days in which to consider the Application and submit their representations.
The major objective of the scheme for the A320, is to accommodate the increased traffic volumes being generated by the housing sites contained in the RBC Local Plan published in 2018 and effective until 2030. This was to include the ‘free flow’ of traffic and to ‘increase the capacity’ of the A320. Their first proposal in 2018 displayed an ‘enormous’ roundabout which many will recall.
In recent months several iterations of their proposals have been produced culminating in the scheme of 8th November 2021, which remains very significant in size, but has taken regard of a number of representations and comments made by our Local Councillors, MP, OWARA, and me.
Independently, having engaged an independent International Highways Consultant to advise , propose alternative solutions and examine those of SCC, below I schedule a series of my comments and observations arising. These are based on the scheme provided to me by SCC on 8th November 2021 (This may not be the final proposal to be submitted by SCC).
The KEY issues are:
1. The ‘free flow’ of traffic is NOT achieved as the bottleneck of the single lane at the South exit toward Woking remains unaltered. This is the cause of most of the tailbacks to and along Saint Peters Way
2. The three lanes of the A320 from Ottershaw to St Peters Way remain, albeit slightly widened. The Capacity is NOT increased.
3. No provision has been made for increased traffic volumes post 2030 arising from the next Local Plan which is now in the course of preparation for introduction in 2025.
4. A minimum estimate of £6.4m is proposed to be spent and fails to achieve the key objectives.
These comments are those of Michael Freshney personally and are not representative as attributable to any organization. They are not conclusive and may be amended/extended when the planning Application is published. They are provided for individuals and organisations to consider when examining the SCC Planning Application, but for they to form their own views and conclusions
1. The scheme now is smaller than that originally proposed and incorporates less Green Belt.
2. A previous proposal with the A320 adjacent to Brook Hall has been dropped.
3. It preserves and enhances the Ottershaw car park
4. It gives safer access from the car park to Brook Hall and the Shops.
5. It provides for larger green landscaped areas to shield the village from the roundabout.
6. There is potential for this car park to be reserved for Brook Hall and Shoppers use only on a time limited basis.
7. It does not preclude the potential for expansion of the Village infrastructure, facilities and traffic improvements north of Murray Road.
8. Pedestrian crossings and cycle routes across Chobham, Guildford and Murray roads may be electronically signalised.
9. The joint footpath and cycle way from the roundabout to St Peters Way is to be widened to 4 metres.
10. The 3 traffic lanes from the roundabout to St Peters Way are to be widened to standard lane widths. Currently sub-standard. (Remaining 2 lanes North and 1 lane South)
11. It proposes a significant increase in the number and coverage of light columns
12. The new Oblong (round) about will be landscaped. (Landscaping yet to be designed)
13. The enlarged ‘tongue’ of land separating Guildford Road and Chobham Road will be landscaped (landscaping yet to be designed)
14. The large mature Trees on the West side of the road to St Peters Way (Alongside the Christmas Tree farm) are proposed to be retained.
15. The scheme provides manoeuvrability for very large articulated vehicles.
16. Landscaping is proposed around the Local car park and alongside the east side of Guildford Road North,
17. The landscaping (yet to be designed) Is intended to provide visual , sound and pollution emissions mitigation.
18. The Pedestrian Crossing on s exit of roundabout on Guildford Road is slightly closer to the village foot routes
19. The right turn lane from Murray Road into Brox Road is longer giving more room for queuing vehicles.
20. The entry to the roundabout from Murray Road is proposed as signal controlled allowing clear and safe access onto the roundabout from Murray Road.
21. The indicative bus stops on Murray Road provide for full lay by off the main carriageways.
22. A right turn facility from Brox Road onto Murray Road has been provided.
23. Access for properties fronting Murray Road have been significantly improved from previous proposals.
a) The scheme is very substantial in size and dominates the village.
b) The size of the proposed ‘oblong’ roundabout plus a ‘spur’ island is 8.5 times larger than the existing roundabout.
c) It creates further substantial separation of the two halves of the Village.
d) It makes no provision for increased development and traffic volumes beyond 2030, thus resulting in the need for further highways mitigation, redesign, and construction.
e) It fails to resolve the cause of much of the congestion leaving unresolved the single lane ‘bottleneck’ at the exit of the roundabout heading towards Woking.
f) It fails to increase the capacity of Guildford Road North leaving only 3 lanes (2 North, 1 South).
g) It fails to address any of the ‘rat runs/short cut’ traffic congestion and excess speeding along Brox, Slade, Chobham and Foxhills roads. These are outside of the scope of the A320 scheme and are due to be addressed as a separate project in SCC.
h) It removes the existing tree belt between Foxhills Road junction and the telephone Exchange
i) Traffic speeds on the large oblong roundabout will increase and cause entry from side roads difficulty and be dangerous.
j) The signal-controlled entry onto the roundabout from Murray (and Brox )Roads will slow the flow of traffic and cause congestion at peak times.
k) It removes a significant belt of trees and greenery along the southeast corner of Great Grove land above and to the left of the existing car park.
l) Light pollution from the increased number and area of lighting cover will occur.
m) There is no material improvement to the Foxhills/Chobham Road junction
n) There is no pedestrian Crossing provision from the north side of Chobham Road nor the southwest side of Foxhills Road.
o) The Foxhills Road exit onto Chobham Road whilst reconfigured will continue to present a ‘bottleneck’.
p) The cost of the works was estimated in 2018 by SCC as £6.4m. This has been recently confirmed by SCC as the same figure. Independent expert Consultants indicate their estimate to be more than £10m.
q) The construction works are forecast to extend over 18-24 months. There are no published plans how traffic and major noise and pollution disruption will be managed during this period.
r) The Murray Road eastbound bus stop is moved a considerable distance further away from the village.
s) There is no pedestrian/cycle crossing North of the roundabout.
t) The provision of a long term car park on the N Side of Murray Road has been withdrawn.
u) The ‘raised table’ between Brook Hall and the short-term Car Park is unnecessary. The signalised pedestrian crossing adjacent will act as the traffic speed management.
The national Cycle Route shown on the southwest side of Guildford Road toward the Trident garage, is inadequate in width to accommodate pedestrians and cyclists safely.
TO BE DETERMINED
i. The positioning of bus stops and seating thereto.
ii. The method of restricting short term car park for Brook Hall and Shopping use.
iii. The provision for a long term carp facility to preserve short term parking for the shops and Brook Hall
iv. The landscape design including tree screening and size of replanting throughout.
v. Traffic calming, parking controls, speed limiting measures and pedestrian crossings on Brox, Slade, Murray, and Foxhills Roads, which is now being addressed by a new SCC project team outside of the A320 Project.
vi. Electric charging points in the car parks.
vii. Bus stops real time information displays.
viii. Why is the Northbound Chobham Road Lane duplicated with a similar northbound segregated lane?
ix. Are the trees shown to be retained actual surveyed locations, numbers, and canopy spreads?
x. Will the works interfere with the root spreads of the retained trees and hedges?
xi. A large area of land is indicated as a drainage holding lagoon, in addition to one on the oblong roundabout. There is no indication of the necessity for this.
xii. Provision and siting of CCTV, To monitor Anti Social Behaviour and traffic management.
xiii. The details of the layout and management facilities and controls of the car Park. (A Runnymede BC matter)
xiv. The levels and extent of existing noise and atmospheric pollution and the projected levels after inception of the scheme.
xv. How access to the Xmas tree farm is to be provided.
xvi. Access to the telephone exchange building is eliminated. How is that to be resolved?
xvii. Third party land is required in various areas. Has that been agreed with the landowners or is compulsory purchase process to be applied?
xviii. How long will Compulsory Purchase take?
9th November 2021