Horsell Common SANG project

8 August 2022 update

A section of newly created boardwalk made from recycled plastic going over a ponded area and surrounded by trees and shrubsWe are pleased to confirm that work was started in June on the construction of the scheme to create three holding ponds with a combined capacity of over 16 million litres of surface water from the Rive ditch system. The aim of this project is not only to increase capacity of the drainage system to alleviate flooding from the further community around the common, but to introduce new wetland ecosystems around the common to further enhance the biodiversity of the area.

As part of the works, we will be installing new hibernacula's (underground chambers that amphibians and reptiles use throughout the winter to protect themselves from the cold) around the site to support the reptiles in line with the ecology assessment that we had undertaken for this site.

As part of our mission statement to create an area accessible for all, we are installing 400m of recycled plastic boardwalk over the new ponds and creating over 2km of all-weather hard standing and free draining footways across the site.

Work is scheduled to be completed in late October weather dependant; we apologise for any inconvenience during this work.

Background on the scheme

Horsell Common is one of only a handful of privately owned areas of common land in England with public access. The Horsell Common Preservation Society Trustees who manage the common, do so with great care out of respect for the wildlife living there and the general environment. They are responsible for managing Horsell Common, Pyrford Common, Littlewick Common, Woodham Common and various parcels of adjacent land proposed to extend the current Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspace.

A Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspace (SANG) is a recreational site, created to attract existing as well as new away from designated sites that need protecting due to their valuable ecology and are sensitive to recreational activities such as dog walking

Horsell Common Preservation Society has teamed up with Surrey County Council and Woking Borough Council as they have identified an opportunity for providing flood storage within the proposed SANG extension which will help alleviate downstream flood risk to housing within Woking.

Surrey County Council has identified this area for flood storage potential. We are working closely with Horsell Common Preservation Society in designing storage areas which have high storage potential whilst minimizing the excavation volume. The report and design are still at the draft stage but will be available to view at a later date once they have been finalised.

The initial stages of the project are underway and involve the removal of some trees and scrub to clear the areas where the SANG will be created. We are hoping to carry out the construction phase within the summer months of 2021 as this will be an ideal time to reduce the impact of the works on the wider environment. Further information as to the exact starting dates will be advertised once known.

Looking at the wider area

The creation of the SANG extension will provide additional storage and provide a benefit to the surrounding areas of the common but Surrey County Council and Woking Borough Council are still looking at other measures that will reduce the impact of flooding in and around Woking town in addition to the SANG

  • Rains gardens are being designed to store storm water with one being installed at Blackdown Close and another nearing completion in Alpha Road. More are being planned and designed for the roundabout leading to Morrison's and the junction of Walton Road/Boundary Road
  • Working with residents to help identify ways of reducing the impact of flooding by installing Flood resilient doors
  • Surveying highway drainage to make sure it is fully functional
  • Advising resident on other drainage solutions
  • Working with adjacent landowners to make sure ditches are kept free flowing

Previous updates

27 May 2022 update

Commons Consent from the Secretary of State has now been approved.

The team are aiming to start work on this project mid-June and the work is expected to last 3 to 4 months.

21 February 2022 update

Our partners the Horsell Common Society are awaiting Commons Consent from the Secretary of State.

14 September update

Application has gone to the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs for consent to carry out the works on Horsell Common.

Preparation for trial holes to investigate the position and depth of utility services by the end of September.

9 August update

The creation of the S.A.N.G at Horsell Common is still scheduled for delivery this financial year but we had to put the scheme on hold. This is due to a delay in the Commons Consent from the Secretary of State via the Planning Inspectorate (PINS) under s.38 (3c) of the Commons Act 2006.

All other high-risk activities associated with the project are in place and are listed below but, without the Commons Consent, we can't proceed any further with the construction phase of the scheme

High-Risk Activities Completed

  • Funding Secured
  • Procurement Completed
  • Contractor Appointed
  • Design Finalised
  • Stakeholder Engagement underway
  • Principle Designers and Contractors Appointed (CDM Regulations)
  • Local Planning consents agreed
  • Natural England Agreement
  • Supporting Ecology Report