Improvements to the Goldsworth Park Recreation Area and Lake

posted in: Lake, Recreation, Recreation ground | 41

The Goldsworth Park Lake and Recreation Area Users Group, of which the GPCA is a member, has been discussing improvements to the area and Woking Borough Council has now circulated the first draft of the landscape master-plan as a basis for consultation.

goldsworth-park-draft-concept

It includes:

Football Pitches

Two new junior football pitches – which will be progressed this summer under the existing Playing Pitch Strategy project. All being well, the initial works are expected to be completed by October and would then require a year long maintenance programme to bring the pitches up to the required standards.

Cycle track

New 600m long surfaced cycle track – this will replace the existing cycling facilities (i.e. the BMX track) and the skate ramp.

Car parking

The existing multi-use games area to be converted into additional car parking – approx. 40 spaces.

Multi-use games area

New upgraded multi-use games area adjacent to existing play area. It is propose that the new MUGA would be fenced, similar to the ones at Byfleet Recreation Ground and Vyne Field.

Outdoor gym

Outdoor gym equipment along the access road leading to the hockey pavilion. An image of the equipment that has recently been installed at Woking Park and Vyne Field is attached. The proposal is that the same equipment is provided at Goldsworth Park and in a similar configuration as a gym rather than a trail, which had been suggested.
Open Air Gym Equipment

Habitat improvements to woodland

Improved access through the woodland – this area would need further detailed design to incorporate additional wetland / wet woodland areas with input from Surrey Wildlife Trust.

Landscaping of north shore of the lake

This landscaping would just involve management of existing and possibly new planting but would not impact on the existing structure of the bank or the existing platforms. Again, this will require more detailed design in consultation with users.

Provision of café / refreshment kiosk

The Council has been approached by a few different food vendors interested in running a small refreshment kiosk at Goldsworth Park Recreation Ground. A couple of these providers have suggested a semi-permanent structure that would remain on site, while others have suggested a mobile unit that would only be on site during operating hours. Before they enter into any negotiations, the Council would like the views of the user group and residents about what they would or wouldn’t like to see at Goldsworth Park Recreation Ground in terms of food and drink provision.

Please forward any comments or suggestions to the Chair of the GPCA (chair@ourgoldsworthpark.org.uk) (not to WBC) by 21st August 2015.

 

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41 Responses

  1. Claydon Road Resident

    The Claydon Road Residents will vehemently oppose the proposed football pitches and will require consultation ahead of any works being agreed. I shall alert Woking BC and our MP as this proposed does not consider the impact to the resident’s in this road

  2. Alan Dean

    I live at 13 Darvel Close, which is immediately adjacent to the proposed junior football pitches. The plans seem broadly sensible and, indeed, I rather like the proposed outdoor gym.

    I have three concerns:

    1. Car parking.

    This is by far the largest concern I have. Claydon Road already suffers significant kerbside parking most evenings – due to leisure visitors to the existing facilities – sometimes to the extent of making access difficult. I note the inclusion of an additional 40 parking spaces in the plan. I would strongly suggest adding signage at the entrance to Claydon Road to direct drivers to the provided parking, otherwise I suspect that parents will seek to park as near as possible to the new football pitches (i.e. in order to walk along the footpath next to my home). I suspect that this will also cause problems with people using the residents parking area as if it is public parking – this tends to happen less often at present due to the nearest parking to the existing pitches being at the top of Claydon Road which, as mentioned, tends to become heavy with parked cars each evening. Therefore, I suggest clearer signage on the residents parking area otherwise I fear that there will be tensions between residents and visitors over parking.

    2. Anti-Social Behaviour

    Has advice been taken from the police as to how best to minimise anti-social behaviour? The residents already suffer a certain amount of this (notably during the summer months) and the plans are designed to attract children, teenagers and young adults into the area along with the obvious risk of bad behaviour.

    3. Noise

    A number of trees have recently been removed from the border of the path directly between my home and the new pitches. This will, obviously, result in more noise from the new facilities: is there a plan to replace these as a noise baffle?

  3. Liz Wilkinson

    I have been shocked this morning to find a notice placed by a resident on the noticeboard at the park, with the news and proposed (obviously a foregone conclusion by the look of it). Do we really need another two football pitches and all the other stuff which is planned. Leave the woodland alone and the hump – our wildlife has enough to contend with without do-gooders making all existing wild areas more accessable to the public. More rubbish, more noisy destructive unwanted human wildlife at night, more vandalism. GREAT!

    The outdoor gym will be a complete waste of money as the one in the park in the way to Sainsbury, and I can guarantee it will be vandalised on a regular basis. Its all a nice idea but as usual, no one seems to have thought anything through. Someone went to a lot of trouble planning and building the kindfisher bank, but with no trouble at all, can give the go ahead to bulldozing and clearing the little but of natural habitat that we do have. Is anyone actually aware that since the grass has been allowed to grow, our bat population has increased, we actually have cinnabar caterpillars on the mound, there is a plethera of wildlife just sitting there waiting to make way for these so called improvements. I despair.

    Why has there been no mention in the Goldsworth News of these proposals. This is the first I have heard of it and I am sure that there are even more residents who are unaware.

    • admin

      These proposals were not released in time for the last issue of Goldsworth News. A drawback of publishing alternate months is that calls for responses may fit between issues. It is hoped this website will mitigate this problem.

  4. ANDREW SWANSTON

    1 Why were we and our local councillors not informed of this until now? Lack of communication always causes conflict.
    2 What are the dimensions of the two proposed new football pitches?
    3 What will the surface of the new cycle track be?
    4 What provision is to be made for drainage? This area floods in winter.
    5 The proposed extra parking places will be a waste of money. Users will simply park, as they do now, in Horsell Birch and Claydon Road.
    6 The unlamented and absurd public toilet was supposed to be vandalproof. Are we to expect the same of the outdoor gym? Red rags and bulls spring to mind.

    • admin

      These are draft proposals sent out for comment. They are issued by way of communication in an attempt to avoid conflict. Other comments and questions will be collated for submission to WBC.

    • Simon Barron

      If people are parking illegally in your road, then contact the police or local authority.

  5. ANDREW SWANSTON

    Please would you provide answers to my questions. Thank you.

    • admin

      The draft proposals were created by WBC. GPCA has no information other than that included in the post so are unable to answer your questions. GPCA will collate responses for submission to WBC. GPCA could make the Community Hall available if felt appropriate and WBC officers are available to attend.

  6. Robert Meetens

    Being a resident of Claydon Road, I heartily endorse all of the above comments. In addition, I would be interested to know if there is a demand for these facilities and if so how was this demand determined. So far no mention of the cost of this development has been made nor the source of its funding.

    Looks like a community relations disaster in the making!

  7. Bob Challoner

    Research on the internet reveals that Woking Council is receiving grants this year of £10,000 from Prudential Ride London for the gym equipment and £110,000 from the Sports Council for “improvements to Goldsworth Park Recreation Area”. It would seem therefore that these proposals will go ahead regardless of residents’ views.

  8. Andrew Swanston

    I think Mr Challoner is right and that there is also funding from Sport England. What is more, the council has no plans to communicate directly with residents of Claydon Road, Darvel Close and Tresta Walk, some of whom are elderly and do not have internet access. They are, they say, consulting with ‘User Groups’ but that does not apparently include those of us who walk in the park every day.

  9. Simon Barron

    A great idea and long overdue.

    My children play in the local football team, which has over 300 boys and girls from under 7 to under 15 , great that the council is finally recognising the great work they do for the local community, by improving the facilities.

    • Jason Ayres

      Mr Barron. You are clearly very PRO this pitches – May I ask. Are you a resident of those streets adjacent to the proposed pitches, specifically Claydon Road?. I think not and you have no common datum to those residents that have lived adjacent to the existing pitches and seen the scope growth. Notwithstanding the parking issues it creates from the lazy home or away players who elect to clog up Claydon Road rather than drive to designated parking in the park. You say flippantly, call the police, but what priority do you think this attracts ? And fundamentally why should we ? It is quite easy to declare benefits for the younger players, but other areas of the park are already marked out for playing and are under utilised. Do please correct me if you are a resident of Claydon Road, but until then, I don’t think you can offset the general sentiment of the impact this will have to those residents, noise, congestion, house values etc against the benefit for c300 kids because I believe you don’t live there.

  10. M E U

    I agree with the observations made above. One of the other things I would like to ask is if these proposals go ahead what arrangements will be made for the people and their canine companions? The field (known as the ‘rough field’) is the only area on the weekend where dogs are able to run free, chase balls, play with their mates, and enjoy themselves. There are a goodly number of residents who are there every day with their dogs, and the dogs need more exercise than just walking on lead.

  11. A parent

    Hi MEU
    Perhaps people with dogs could make alternative arrangements to walk them elsewhere – the common. This would allow children to play on Goldsworth Park without worrying about dog mess, being attacked by dogs, dogs chasing their balls, etc, etc.
    The children of the local community should be a much higher priority than selfish dog owners.

    • Tachon

      Hi A parent,
      Well said. Why are such people always thinking about dogs? Yes you are right, our children should be and ARE of higher priority than those selfish dog owners.
      Let our people walk freely without dog mess or being chased by dogs or even attacked by them.
      This is a wonderful idea to open up the space and it will allow so many more children the opportunity to play freely enjoying a game of football.
      It should have happened years ago.

      • M E U

        Tachon, let’s not tar all dog owners with the same brush. We happen to clean up after our dogs, using bins provided. However, my dogs seem to be cleaning up after all the children who drop their food, sweet wrappers, bottle tops, tissues, etc. all over the park. Perhaps the council would like to hire them.
        Our dogs do not chase people, annoy them or attack them. They have been taught how to behave themselves. They approach when invited to do so. Quite unlike the child who threw a branch, no, not a stick, a branch at one yesterday hitting him. The dog was minding his own business and walking to heel. What did the parent do? Laugh at their precious high priority child.
        I have invested a lot of time training our dogs, and am rightfully proud of them.

        Why are the owners of children so selfish and thinking only of themselves? Dogs may be the only companion some people have. I walk every day with several people who are in that category.
        And for your information, people walking their dogs at Goldsworth Park are there several times a day, seven days a week, fifty-two weeks a year. How often are the weekend sports family there? Yes, I answered my own question.

        • Simon Barron

          So why does marking out two football pitches stop you walking your dogs during the week, and any time that the pitches are not being used?

    • M E U

      A Parent…oh yes, clever idea, Horsell Common. All the people who live in walking distance of the park should now jump in the car and drive to the Common. Very Green.

      Supposedly the park is a COMMUNITY area, that is available to ALL the community. Obviously not according to you.

      As to worrying about the dog mess – shall I tell you how many times in 8 years, and how much money I’ve spent at the vets because someone’s child dropped their rubbish all over and I didn’t see it before one of my dogs did?
      I CLEAN up after my dogs…but yet I have to worry about what droppings children leave.

  12. Woking Residents

    Improvements to the Goldsworth Park Recreation Area and Lake – Draft Master Plan

    “Consultation” paper

    We are looking at a paper entitled “Improvements to the Goldsworth Park Recreation Area and Lake”. It is a consultation paper that explains “All being well, the initial works (on the two new junior football pitches) are expected to be completed by October …” Consultation paper or “done deal”?

    It is a consultation paper that gives the impression of two grass football pitches. Yet, we are hearing the surfaces will be artificial, requiring fencing and that financial contributors will be looking for floodlighting to maximise their investment.

    It is a strange consultation paper. The paper has been prepared by Woking Borough Council (“WBC”) as part of a consultation process that fails to consult with residents that will be grievously impacted by the proposals.

    The consultation process is unclear. In a typical planning application, the process is laid down with the rights, responsibilities and protections of the applicant, the local authorities and the residents clearly defined under the law. In this case it appears the “applicant” is WBC and the consultation process has been passed to the Goldsworth Park Community Association.

    Could someone please explain the process by which this initiative will be progressed? Do residents have any protections under the law or is WBC allowed to proceed at will?

    For our part we wish to communicate with those responsible for the initiative; not an unelected “User Group”.

    Ecology

    In 1979 the land to the north of Goldsworth Park Lake was unkempt and unmanaged. It teemed with wildlife; frogs, toads, newts, grass snakes, voles, mice, hedgehogs and insects. Sparrow hawks hovered in the sky all day looking for prey. Bats swooped across the land feeding on the insects.

    We couldn’t leave a bathroom window open at night when taking a shower; the ceiling would be covered with flying insects.

    Then it was decided to manage the land. The wildlife was destroyed. No sparrow hawks. We can shower with the bathroom window wide open now; no flying insects. No bats.

    Then the excellent people at Serco decided to let the grass grow; cutting paths across. What a great idea. Visually attractive, fun for the kids (getting “lost” in the long grass) and good for the insects. The bats returned. Recently the grass has been cut. No bats.

    So, when considering “improvements” to Goldsworth Park Recreation Area and Lake, please consider the environmental and ecological impacts. It is quite difficult to improve on nature and, if you do, there is always a price to pay.

    Have the improvements been or will they be subject to environmental and ecological impact assessment?

    Flooding

    The whole area is subject to flooding. The last prolonged period of heavy rain saw the creation of a “second lake,” in the area where the football pitches are proposed, that stood throughout the winter and well into the spring.

    If grass pitches are to be drained, where will the water go? If the pitches are to be artificial, where will the water go? What surface is planned for the cycle track? If the surface impacts on drainage, where will the rain on another 3,000 square metres of land go?

    This link provides information about the Parley Brook

    http://www.windowonwoking.org.uk/sites/goldsworthparkcommunityassociation/GPnews/parleybrook

    which runs underneath the area where the improvements are proposed.

    The link below, to the Environment Agency (enter GU21 4XE to generate the map), shows the Brook and notes the land is categorised as a Flood Zone 3.

    http://maps.environment-agency.gov.uk/wiyby/wiybyController?value=gu21+4xe&lang=_e&ep=map&topic=floodmap&layerGroups=default&scale=9&textonly=off&submit.x=17&submit.y=12#x=498362&y=159387&lg=1,2,10,&scale=10

    We are not entirely sure about the precise definition of Flood Zone 3 but

    http://planningguidance.planningportal.gov.uk/blog/guidance/flood-risk-and-coastal-change/flood-zone-and-flood-risk-tables/table-1-flood-zones/

    indicates a higher than otherwise flood risk or at least land where “water has to flow or be stored in times of flood.” (We occasionally get applications for home insurance rejected because our property is in a flood area.)

    The lake was created as part of the Goldsworth Park housing development during the 1970s. Owned by Thames Water plc, the lake is a balancing pond, designed to prevent flooding by taking in the runoff from the surrounding residential area during heavy rainfall through three large concrete inlet pipes and storing it until it is safe to release the water into the local streams and river system. The water level is controlled automatically by an underground weir and pump.

    Have the improvements been or will they be subject to a flood risk assessment? Do the improvements have the support of the Environment Agency and Thames Water plc?

    Football pitches

    The consultation paper gives the impression of two grass football pitches. Yet, we are hearing the surfaces will be artificial, requiring fencing and that financial contributors will be looking for floodlighting to maximise their investment. Once floodlit, the “junior” football pitches will become ideal for adult training and five-a-side football.

    Along with the football pitches will come the players, their relatives, officials and spectators. They will shout and scream. We hear the shouts and screams (and foul language) from the senior football pitches already; what will it be like when the spectators are the other side of our garden fence?

    With the players, their relatives, officials and spectators will come their cars. They will not park in the car parks in the centre of the park (far too much trouble) but in Claydon Road. As well as parking in Claydon Road they will change in Claydon Road and leave their litter in Claydon Road.

    How do we know this? Because it is happening already; courtesy of the football and hockey activities at the Woking Hockey Club.

    The parking situation at the top of Claydon Road, at the junction with Littlewick Road, is simply dangerous. If these proposals go ahead it will only get worse. Two football pitches, forty-four players, plus reserves and officials. Forty-four relatives? Forty-four spectators? It’s not difficult to imagine one hundred cars all trying to park in Claydon Road and taking advantage of the short cuts to the football pitches through the passage ways. Then someone decides to hold a tournament with players, their relatives, officials and spectators arriving from across the county!!

    The football pitches appear very close to homes in Claydon Road. The ability of these homeowners to enjoy their gardens with any degree of peace and quiet will be completely destroyed. It will be like living on the touch-line; all day and every day. With floodlights, homeowners will be able to go to bed to the sounds of shouting and screaming.

    Has any consideration been given to the impact of these proposals on these homeowners?

    Cycle Track

    The young people and the organisers of the cycling activities that take place near the children’s play area are superb. Well organised, sensible car parking, they cause no trouble to anyone. They deserve good facilities.

    However, will a 600metre by 5 metre cycle track change the nature of these activities? Will the track be used under supervision or allow open access? What will stop the cycle track being used by motor cyclists? (Scare mongering? We’ve lived here since 1979 and have seen it all before.) What provision will be made for first-aid? Accidents are bound to happen.

    What will the cycle track surface be made of? (See flooding above.)

    Car parking

    What calculations have been made to give confidence that car parking arrangements will be adequate? What steps will be taken to prevent parking in Claydon Road? (“Understandings” with user groups are of no value. Officials at Woking Hockey Club have reneged on their predecessors’ assurances and refuse to take any responsibility for the anti-social and dangerous parking of their members or facility users.)

    Multi-use games area

    The present and proposed arrangements appear to present few issues.

    Outdoor gym

    A nice idea and sensibly located. What plans are there to prevent vandalism and to ensure the equipment remains safe to use at all times?

    Habitat improvements to woodland

    The last thing the wildlife in the woodland wants is “improved access”. It is quite capable of looking after itself. Improved access for humans will see the wildlife, including the insects and crows, heading out. We will be left with a sterile area, bereft of wildlife and littered with rubbish.

    Landscaping of north shore of the lake

    The improvements appear to present no issues.

    Provision of café/refreshment kiosk

    This could be a good idea if sensibly located near Goldwater Lodge and proper provision made for the prevention and management of litter.

    Key Questions

    1. Are these proposals subject to any planning rules and regulations and do the residents of Claydon Road, who will be grievously impacted by the proposals, have any real say?

    2. Have the improvements been or will they be subject to environmental and ecological impact assessment?

    3. Have the improvements been or will they be subject to a flood risk assessment? Do the improvements have the support of the Environment Agency and Thames Water plc?

    4. The football pitches appear very close to homes in Claydon Road. The ability of these homeowners to enjoy their gardens with any degree of peace and quiet will be completely destroyed. It will be like living on the touch-line; all day and every day. With floodlights, homeowners will be able to go to bed to the sounds of shouting and screaming.

    Has any consideration been given to the impact of these proposals on these homeowners?

    5. What will the cycle track surface be made of? (See flooding above.)

    6. What calculations have been made to give confidence that car parking arrangements will be adequate? What steps will be taken to prevent parking in Claydon Road?

    • Bob Challoner

      I spoke to WBC’s Leisure & Culture team yesterday and ascertained that:

      1. The football pitches will be grassed, not artificial. Apparently the proposed start in October has slipped but the Council is in tending to progress work as quickly as possible to have the pitches ready for the start of the 2016/17 season. The public will not have access to the area whilst the the ground is levelled, drained, seeded and managed which I suggest could take a year.

      The officer could not tell me how the demand for additional pitches has been established i.e. how often in the past year have all of the existing pitches been in use at the same time

      2. The cycle track is in the early stages of discussion with the local cycle club, but is intended to be paved in tarmac and would be used for track racing. Apparently WBC does not think there is enough provision made for cyclists in the Borough!! The track width would be 5m (over 16ft), wide enough for two cars to pass. There is no intention of placing it within a fenced area and it would be usable by anyone at any time. Any management/supervision of use would only occur when organised events take place and the officer suggested that segregation of track users and general public could be provided satisfactorily by a plastic tape barrier I too raised the issue of the track becoming a magnet for every moped/scooter/motorbike owning teenager to use for impromptu racing after dark. WBC’s officer did not believe this would happen and stated that if it did, the Council would rely on the police to take action under their anti-social behaviour powers. Equally the officer did not share my concern about the close proximity of the track to the public footpath with no physical barrier between them.

      3. To date the proposals have only been put to groups and other parties the Council officers think may have a user interest. They have not been put out to councillors for consultation or discussion. The Council is “in the very early stages” of developing ideas apparently although clearly someone has already decided the footbal pitches will go ahead.

      4. A conversation with the Council’s duty planning officer confirmed that the new football pitches and presumed associated landscaping (using the spoil to create the new mounds?) would require planning consent. So far as I can establish an application has not been made yet. I would assume all of the proposals shown would require an environmental impact assessment to be prepared.

      It seems to me the Council’s consultations to date have focussed on wants of the usual local suspects- cycling and football. Why no facilities for other sports such as a junior rugby pitch or tennis courts?

      In response to “A parent” and “Tachon”, I think they should remember this is a public space accessible to all including dog owners whether they like it or not. Indeed, dog walkers are the majority users of the field in question with many travelling in daily from other parts of the Borough to use the amenity- in 18 months of walking a dog three times a day I rarely seen anyone other than dog walkers on the field (apart from the groups of teenagers who use the skateboard ramp as a meeting place and rubbish tip). Can I suggest as part of the improvements the Council is asked to provide a fenced area on the field for exercising dogs in and hence segregate them from the likes of “A Parent” and “Tachon”. The cost of some low fencing, poo bins and a couple of gates would be modest compared to that of the other proposed facilities.

      • Simon Barron

        I’ve never seen such hysteria in relation to a fairly modest proposal to improve the lives of local children by marking out some football pitches.

        Goldsworth Park Rangers FC, the local children’s football club and a registered charity has over 350 boys and girls from age 6 to age 15. It exists on a shoe string, with no facilities other than the pitches on the rec and a small storage room provided by the council. It is run entirely by volunteers.

        yet it still manages to put on training sessions and matches for all those kids every weekend. If you come over during the season on a Saturday morning you will see the rec completely full of kids having fun and doing exercise. on a Sunday morning when matches take place you will see every pitch in use from 10:00 to 2:00.

        I am surprised that the local community is not in support of a club that is giving children opportunities for exercise, teamwork and fun, in a structured environment.

        Having two new pitches is therefore much needed. They will be used for children’s football on a Saturday and Sunday morning

        And I fail to see why it will detract from the lives of local residents:
        Dogs can still be walked on the pitches, as happens currently.
        The pitches are not floodlit so won’t be in use at night time to disturb residents.
        The club has been recognised by the FA for its use of the Respect code – which encourages watching parents not to shout from the touch line.
        Parents watching their children play are all told to park in the car park on wishbone way.
        If anyone is parking illegally in your roads then please contact the police. If the hockey club are using your roads at night then take it up with them.

        All in all two new pitches can be assimilated into the rec quite straightforwardly and without impacting the lives of local residents.

        • Woking Residents

          Two junior, grass, football pitches, for use on Saturday and Sunday mornings between 10:00 and 2:00, sounds pretty low key. But our experience is that an idea develops both initially and in subsequent years to anything but. We see the Goldsworth Park Rangers FC website/Facebook page is already commenting about the lack of a club house or any other facilities.

        • Jason Ayres

          I’ve never seen such hysteria in relation to a fairly modest proposal to improve the lives of local children by marking out some football pitches.

          REPLY: As mentioned previously, a classic retort perhaps from someone who does not live in Claydon Road, will not observe nor care for the impact to privacy at weekends for those residents adjacent to these pitches. Will not see further congestion in their own residential road and feels that to counter a poorly considered plan, expects the local police or residents to mop up the issues of lazy parking.

          Goldsworth Park Rangers FC, the local children’s football club and a registered charity has over 350 boys and girls from age 6 to age 15. It exists on a shoe string, with no facilities other than the pitches on the rec and a small storage room provided by the council. It is run entirely by volunteers.

          yet it still manages to put on training sessions and matches for all those kids every weekend. If you come over during the season on a Saturday morning you will see the rec completely full of kids having fun and doing exercise. on a Sunday morning when matches take place you will see every pitch in use from 10:00 to 2:00.

          I am surprised that the local community is not in support of a club that is giving children opportunities for exercise, teamwork and fun, in a structured environment.

          Having two new pitches is therefore much needed. They will be used for children’s football on a Saturday and Sunday morning

          ANSWER: Perfect, so without choice, I am compelled on my weekends to listen to cheering, screaming and periodic whistle blowing. Whereas the majority of users and their parents have the Relatively luxury of driving away then opening their doors and experiencing quiet garden time at weekends.

          And I fail to see why it will detract from the lives of local residents:
          Dogs can still be walked on the pitches, as happens currently.
          The pitches are not floodlit so won’t be in use at night time to disturb residents.
          The club has been recognised by the FA for its use of the Respect code – which encourages watching parents not to shout from the touch line.
          Parents watching their children play are all told to park in the car park on wishbone way.
          If anyone is parking illegally in your roads then please contact the police. If the hockey club are using your roads at night then take it up with them.

          ANSWER: As mentioned, total lack of understanding of the impact to those living with these pitches on their doorstep. You think the lack of floodlights prevents anti social behaviour ? It has already been mentiond, this is a COMMUNITY area and there are more recreational users of that area then there are footballers, so the needs of the many must outweigh the needs of the relative few. It not just dog walkers. And YES. I livemin Claydon Road and YES I have kids that use the park AS IS.

          All in all two new pitches can be assimilated into the rec quite straightforwardly and without impacting the lives of local residents.

          ANSWER: not worth the electrons replying to this gross misjudgement.

  13. Gavsonli

    We think it is great that money is being invested to upgrade the area. I’m just sad to see the BMX track go as there aren’t many around and we use that almost daily. It would be great if that could stay or at least an alternative BMX track included in the development.

  14. Gavsonli

    Please note that we do have issues at night time and early morning hours disturbing with groups taking their cars into the parking area doing wheel spins and greatly disturbing the peace. We’re not sure what the answer is but it would be great if the design could take this into account to deter this somehow.

  15. Jason sherwin

    It seems to me that it’s more important to look after wildlife and dogs than to protect the future for our children. People are always complaining about kids hanging around causing trouble surely 350 kids keeping fit,out of trouble and learning about respect is better.
    To be honest we live in leafy Surrey and were not exactly short of wildlife and areas to walk dogs.
    Personally I would also like to see a splash park included along with a long overdue clubhouse for the kids.
    People need to remember kids are our future not dogs and caterpillars.

  16. Bob Challoner

    I don’t think anyone would criticise the excellent work done by Goldsworth Park Rangers and other volunteer-led organisations in encouraging children (and adults) to participate in sport and exercise. However, there is more to sport than football and cycling, and I would like to know to what extent the Council has engaged with other sports when determining the types of facilities it could provide. Also, this is public space and the Council must ensure that no one group of users or residents will be unduly disadvantaged by whatever is finally done.

    The concerns and support that have been expressed are entirely reasonable and valid, and the Council must ensure they are all considered and addressed when finalising its proposals. Inconsiderate parking is a problem in many parts of Goldsworth Park- try negotiating Sythwood and Willowmead Close around 9.00 and 3.00 during school term time. The police have tried occasionally to exercise some control over this but to no avail and I see no reason why they would be any more successful in addressing such problems in Claydon Road. I noticed yesterday that Squires Garden Centre reserves the right to charge non-customers £25 for using their car park, presumably because they are fed up with soccer mums and dads parking there.

    I am sure part of the problem here has been a lack of clarity about what is proposed- I too had heard that the new pitches would be artificial, not grass. If their current ill-considered positioning immediately next to the footpath can be adjusted I would not have any issues with grass pitches. Of more concern to me is the proposed cycle track which I understand is intended for racing and would take up a good half of the present open field area. No doubt organised events would be carefully managed and controlled but 24/7 accessibility seems to be inviting abuse of the facility and its apparent close proximity to the footpath puts the track’s users and the public at risk.

    It seems to me that a public meeting with Council officers to discuss the proposals before they are developed further would go a long way towards clearing the air.

    • Andrew Swanston

      Bob
      I agree with everything you say and the council are aware of their communication shortcomings. They are reconsidering the proposals in the light of comments from residents and users and have promised a meeting before anything is implemented. Whether or not planning consent is needed is unclear.
      Positioning a football pitch seven meters from private gardens is an absurd idea. Equally one wonders at the environmental impact of covering 3000 sq meters of grass in tarmac. Can that really be a wise thing to do? Hopefully both issues will be re-addressed.

  17. Richard Ferries

    I agree almost entirely with Bob Challoner’s comments. The proposed siting of the football pitches is ill conceived almost beyond belief. Given the amount of land available, is it really a good idea to place these pitches as close as possible to a street consisting largely of small to medium bungalows where the majority of occupiers are past retirement age? Is it common sense to place the pitches as far from the parking area as possible? There is little doubt that Claydon road and it’s small parking areas currently used by residents, will become a convenient last minute dumping ground for parents cars, and the usual litter left behind when they leave. The needs of many older residents seem to have been totally ignored by this proposed development. It would appear that the pitches will border on the current footpath, if not on it! Where will the parents and spectators stand?. As there are no changing facilities, are we to assume that participants will be using the street to change into their sports kit as they currently do by the hockey pitches. Has even the merest thought been given to the level of noise generated around juvenile football pitches. Are the only sports in Woking football and cycling. Are there no Tennis clubs, no Cricket clubs, no bowling clubs that could benefit from the available space? I cannot see any merit in these proposals whatsoever, other than an opportunity to develop another natural amenity. For the residents of Claydon road, this is simply a nightmare scenario.

  18. Andrew Swanston

    Re my comment above, I should have added that now that the council are reconsidering, I think we should give them time and space to do so and then respond to their revised proposals when they are known.

  19. Goldsworth Park Resident

    Reading all the great responses it is clear that WBC have stirred up quite a storm amongst users of Goldsworth Recreation area. We shouldn’t be arguing with each other and perhaps seeking compromise and making sure that WBC do not ride roughshod over the populace. Over the last 20 years having been a parent bringing up children for many of them and now a regular dog walker for the last three, it is a sad day when that whole area is going to be overdeveloped and have such a huge impact on the local environment. For many of all ages, this area is a tranquil buffer between the hustle and bustle of busy suburbia which is right on a lot of people’s ‘doorstep’, many of whom do not have a car or the need for one due to the good public transport facilities in the area. One reason why many are attracted to the area in the first place. Now, it would seem that WBC have lost sight of their green agenda credentials and actively encouraging the masses from all around to drive and congest a valuable open green space. One I hasten to add has seen the sight of deer, fox, a variety of birds, wildfowl, for which none of the landscaping proposals suffice.
    The proposals to provide facilities for a variety of users are commendable, but available funding seems to have influenced the decision makers too much and have been led to too much development in order to spend or lose it.
    There must be a compromise that can be achieved: lose the 600m long 5m wide cycle track and make a 400m 3m wide track, you would be amazed at how much less landtake and more fit within the local space; lose one football pitch (sorry to ruffle feathers but 300 is a minority compared to the regular users of all ages who visit the area); and then leave an open space for others and the local wildlife.
    PS. No, I don’t live in Claydon Road but on the St Johns side of the main estate. It has been a sheer delight to live in such an area with so much diversity including wild habitat no matter how small. Once lost it is never regained for future generations and all those growing children. Then you will have to get in car and travel elsewhere.

  20. A parent

    Interesting to see that dog owners seem to have won by persuading the council to postpone these much overdue improvements to lives of local kids.

    It’s a shame they aren’t as concerned in clearing up after their animals, or even interested in keeping to the rough grass they seem to cherish keeping so much.

    Over recent weeks before every kids football match on the rec teh football coaches and parents are having to clear up dog poo that these selfish dog owners seem to feel is fine to leave lying around without regard to the significant health risk it poses.

    If you’re so keen on the rough grass then keep your dogs there to poo to their hearts content and leave the football and cricket pitches for children to play without worry.

  21. A dog walker

    It would also be nice to see the football coaches and parents clearing up the drinks bottles, bottle tops, used tissues, sweet wrappers, crisp packets, coffee cups and all the other detritus that litters the pitches after they have been used on Saturdays and Sundays.

    • Club Volunteer

      You have no grounding to say that the rubbish is left by football people, ive being managing a team for 8 years and maybe one or twice had to pick up rubbish left by players and supporters.

      However ive lost count of the amount of times i have had to clear Dog mess from the pitches, or worst still from Children where i hadn’t noticed it before hand, im afraid the dog mess is only coming from one place !!! Surely Dog Walkers can see its a football pitch.

      I feel sure their is a happy medium, perhaps by working together the Dog walkers can help us to find a way to prevent dogs using our pitches. In turn im happy to talk to them about the suggestion i have made to the council that would solve the parking and pitches issue but to date has fallen on deaf ears.

  22. Andrew Swanston

    There is now a petition opposing the plan to create two more football pitches in Goldsworth Park. The web petition is at http://petitions.woking.gov.uk/GPNorthMeadow/.

    Here are 7 reasons why we ask for your signature.

    1. There are already seven football pitches in the park.
    2. North Meadow (the site of the proposed pitches) is the last remaining meadow land in the park and an important habitat for wildlife.
    3. The meadow is enjoyed by people of all ages and abilities who come from around the borough to use it.
    4. The pitches would be only about 30 meters from neighbouring houses.
    5. Nine football pitches and no meadow would not represent a balanced use of the space available.
    6. The plan is driven by the availability of money from Sport England, not by need or policy.
    7. Indeed, if carried out, it would be in direct contravention of the council’s own stated 2015/16 Key Priorities, namely ‘to improve the quality and access to green spaces, to provide wildlife corridors and cycle/pedestrian routes, to enhance the environment, contribute towards biodiversity, promote programmes of cultural activity and protect and conserve heritage’.

  23. Jason Ayres

    A very succinct summary by Mr Swanston. The provision of yet more football pitches represents an imbalance of use of a public park. With so many schools and other green spaces it seems infinitely more sensible to find alternative locations if indeed, there is a need to meet a desired ratio of access to football pitches. The meadow represents what is, the last area of undeveloped greenspace. It is enjoyed by a cross section of park users although we seem
    to have zoned in on dog walkers. As Mr Swanston mentions, the intent to add more
    Pitches at the expense of the meadow is a direct contravention of one of the councils other leading policies on protecting green space – please respect the desires of those who enjoy the meadow on their doorstep and look at alternatives to satisfy the football fraternity.

  24. Alastair Hawkins

    As a local resident I am in complete agreement with the above and have signed the petition in an effort to prevent this seemingly unecessary addition of 2 more football pitches, on a currently unspoilt and natural piece of land.

    My wife and I enjoy walking in this area and regularly see it being used for many purposes, including school visits, family picnics and games, joggers, walkers (with and without dogs), and students enjoying it after school etc.

    Not to mention the impact this would have on local wildlife. We frequently see birds of all varieties using this space, all of whom would be permanently displaced should the pitches get built.

    To re-iterate the above comments, this green corridor is the ‘lungs’ of the park and the only such area left in the park. I would urge you all to sign the petition to help prevent this development from happening.

  25. For GPRFC

    Goldsworth Park Rangers Football Club Statement

    Further to recent news on various web sites and in this weeks local Newspapers, GPRFC are disappointed to learn of the petition by a few local residents to vote against the Council’s proposal to add a further two junior sized football pitches at Goldsworth Park.

    The Club fully respects their opinion and decision to sign this petition but with a strong Community Club, with over 400 playing members, over 50 qualified volunteers, hundreds of parents and helpers, looking after many teams, we remain upbeat as to the future of a successful registered Charity in the Community.

    The Committee will continue to work closely with the local authorities, The FA, and all other governing bodies to provide the best facilities we can for our Children to enjoy playing football in a safe and friendly environment.
    All recent conversations and meetings with the local Council have been positive and today’s news that the Clubs annual Fun Festival will be fully supported by them was gratefully received by Club Officials.
    Furthermore, the Club will soon announce our very special guest at the Tournament, which has already attracted over 150 teams, competing over the weekend of 11-12th June 2016
    End of Club Statement

    Club Secretary
    Tel :- 07710 947571

  26. Andrew Swanston

    May I please correct two points made in the above statement.

    1. Residents do not have a ‘vote’. On certain matters, their local representatives on the council do, and are fully supportive of the residents’ position, as are councillors for other wards.

    2. The expression ‘a few local residents’ is inaccurate. In four weeks, nearly 900 residents of the borough have signed a petition against the proposal to convert North Meadow into football pitches, and our MP, as well as local councillors, Beaufort School (who use it for outdoor teaching) and Toad Hall Nursery have also publicly stated their opposition to the proposal.

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