During the last few weeks a number of letters have been printed in the Surrey Advertiser which are based on a misunderstanding of the transport impact of the planned development at Dunsfold Park. It would be useful to set out some of the key facts of the travel plan, which we are proposing for the new Eco-village and which is legally binding on us.
By concentrating a new small settlement at Dunsfold Park, with its existing employment and services on site, it enables us to provide a whole range of measures to encourage less driving, and in lower impact, eco-friendly, vehicles. If we get planning permission at Dunsfold Park we have guaranteed we will:-
- link the provision of some of the on-site housing to the existing employment on Dunsfold Park to reduce the need to travel.
- provide other necessary facilities on site to reduce the need to travel. These include a convenience shopping, a nursery, a primary school, a surgery, sports and leisure facilities, eco-friendly swimming pools, a range of care for the elderly and business support facilities – all paid for by Dunsfold Park Ltd.
- encourage walking and cycling in the local area – there will be a new safe cycle route to Cranleigh and improved cycle routes to surrounding villages.
- provide a free bicycle to every new household as well as facilities to either buy at a discount or rent other bicycles.
- provide frequent high quality bus transport, to Cranleigh, Guildford and Godalming 7 days a week starting very early in the morning (around 6am) and continuing well into the evenings with very low fares for Dunsfold Park residents. The anticipated price for a journey to Guildford is £1 each way. These buses will be supported by separate permanent funding which we will also put in place provide the funding for a travel planning officer to help residents and businesses reduce the need to travel.
- provide real-time networked travel information in homes and business on site so they can use and share transport more easily.
- provide a car club so that people who only need a car occasionally can rent one when they need one. These cars will be either electric or bio-fuel.
- charge a reduced exit fee when people leave the site in an electric or biofuelled car but a higher charge on fossil fuelled cars.
As readers are already aware, the quality of electric cars is rising constantly and government measures are making them more attractive. You may well have seen Dunsfold Park staff in the area in our electric Smart cars. We have also talked to financial institutions about including the cost of an electric car as part of a mortgage offer. However we will be encouraging commuters and shoppers to use the bus as often as possible. We are also very aware that fuel and other motoring costs will rise substantially in the future, which will make bus travel more and more attractive. Already some buses on the A281 have standing room only.
Other towns and new developments have tried some of these measures before and managed to reduce car use - so we know these measures work, but nobody so far has ever brought them together in one place. That is what makes Dunsfold Park unique because, by combining all these measures, our new Eco-village will generate many fewer car journeys than the equivalent number of new houses built anywhere else in this area - for instance, in or adjacent to any of the towns or villages in the Borough of Waverley.
Our plans are for an attractive, new Eco-village set in 350 acres of carefully landscaped parkland, which is currently a large working aerodrome, of no landscape value and with sufficient concrete and tarmac to build a new road from London to Brighton – the senior planning consultant from Friends of the Earth UK has visited the site and he agrees with us that this is genuine, brownfield site. We want to provide homes for local people, in an area in which there is very little land available for development but where there is a huge need for housing.
Should our proposals be successful, we would of course want to work closely with surrounding communities, to enable them to benefit from the facilities, which we will be providing and we hope that the future will bring a more constructive dialogue with the surrounding villages.