Residents fear impact of vast free school plan

GetSurrey is reporting that residents of Mayford are unhappy at plans to build a new secondary school in the Surrey village, with one suggesting life will become ‘hell on Earth’. 

Mary Kingston lives adjacent to Egley Road, the site earmarked for the location of the 840-pupil Hoe Valley secondary school, an eight-lane running track, a stadium and leisure centre. 

Ms Kingston said: “In a circular from the school I have been told the community of Mayford is in favour of this development, and the architects, Hunters South, say they’re mitigating the worst effects on me and my neighbours.

“But I am not convinced, and I cannot see anything other than noise, light pollution, car pollution and absolute traffic mayhem coming out of this.

“Living here when all is built will become a hell on earth.”

Last week, Hoe Valley’s temporary site by Woking Park and the town’s leisure centre made education history as the borough’s first free school opened up their doors to welcome in students. 

For the first two years, the school is expected to work from the temporary buildings and by September 2017, it is hoped the permanent Egley Road site will have been approved and built.

The application, which was lodged in June, proposes two teaching wings, a main hall, dining and reception areas and a sports field.

There would also be leisure facilities for use by members of the community including a sports hall with five badminton courts, gym and studios, and a full athletics facility with running track.

Owing to the fact the proposed site for the permanent school on Egley Road is in the green belt, Woking Borough Council’s planning committee will have to be satisfied that “very special circumstances” have been proved to allow the development. 

The school governors believe they will succeed in doing so because of the need for more school places…

More at: Mayford residents fear impact of vast free school plan


With the urgent need for more places, is this kind of local unease over planning for new or expanding schools something we are going to be seeing a lot more of?

Any thoughts on how the competing positions of local residents and school planners can best be reconciled? Please share in the comments or via Twitter…


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  1. According to Woking Annual Report 2013/14:
    ‘The Green Belt plays an important role in and around the Borough, and it is essential
    that strict controls continue to apply over inappropriate development. Within the Core
    Strategy it states that redevelopment within the identified Major Developed Sites in the
    Green Belt and some infilling within the defined Mayford settlement boundary would
    be supported as long as the integrity of the Green Belt is not compromised.’
    Whether a 840 pupil secondary school in Mayford equals ‘some infilling’ is a debatable point.

  2. According to Surrey’s school projection plan, there will be a need for extra secondary places in Woking.  Surrey said it was working with three free school proposals.  Only one, Hoe Valley, had ‘progressed’ and was listed as being in South Woking.  Mayford is a small village with less that 2000 people situated about 2 1/2 miles south of Woking.
    Again, it’s debatable whether a small village in the Green Belt is a suitable place for an 840 pupil secondary school given the majority of children would be bused in.

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