A large portion of the Green Belt in Woking may be lost to a scheme by racing car manufacturer McLaren to build a 64,000 sqm industrial complex on the eastern side of the A320 Chertsey Road.
The land that McLaren has earmarked is previously undeveloped agricultural/horticultural land opposite the company's present HQ site and the proposed building would be approximately as large as their current two facilities combined.
McLaren's supporters argue that the benefits outlined by the applicant would outweigh the harm to the Green Belt. CPRE does not agree that "very special circumstances" apply, and has lodged our objections to the borough council. At the same time, McLaren is forming a partnership with GSK to run a training facility for staff in what was initially intended to be a museum and visitor centre on the original site.
The significant increase in traffic that would be generated by these two projects combined is of great concern to us, not only because of the road congestion but also the close proximity to Horsell Common, a Site of Special Scientific Interest.
While office space remains empty and other employment land is unoccupied, CPRE does not believe the Green Belt should be build on to meet targets set prior to the current downturn in the economy.
Written by Barbara Beck (CPRE)
(Reproduced with the author's permission)