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Protecting the community
Preserving wildlife
Supporting local business


Response to Revised Planning Application - Autumn 2019

Tuesday, 29 October 2019

Here are the main points we suggest you make to your council.  It's best if you use your own words, as they will have far more weight.  We've included links for each council at the end.

Benefit to the Community

  • It conflicts with the relevant adopted and emerging development plans, e.g. the draft SHBC draft Local Development Plan that emerged during the summer.
  • The proposal would cause significant harm.  The recent changes bring no net benefit, and in fact the number of affordable homes, the amount of open space proposed, and the number of jobs created are all less than in the original application.
  • As there is no doctors' surgery included, there will be great additional strain on already-overburdened medical services.
  • Many existing businesses will be forced to close.
  • The loss of medical emergency flights will cost lives, and the siting of a replacement helipad in the middle of a housing estate would be unsafe, environmentally damaging, and economically unviable.

Traffic and Roads

  • The development will not be "self sufficient", as claimed; it will result in thousands of extra car journeys on already-congested roads.
  • The major changes proposed to the road network, e.g. banning right turns at the High Street/Chertsey Road junction in Chobham, are not workable, and would have significant knock-on impacts locally if implemented.

Green Belt & Ecology

  • The Green Belt remains a key part of Government strategy to prevent urban sprawl.  Its loss can only be justified in Very Special Circumstances, and these do not exist - measures the owners claim are VSC are simply attempts to comply with transport policy, i.e. would have to be complied with anywhere, Green Belt or not.  It is a matter of record that housing need is not accepted as a VSC.
  • The ecological damage from loss of flora, fauna and open landscape would be significant, and a SANG would not be a satisfactory substitute.

UK Aviation Network

  • Fairoaks Airport warrants protection because of its strategic importance to the UK general aviation network.  Flights lost at Fairoaks could not go elsewhere - all alternative airfields are either too expensive, too busy, surrounded by too many existing homes or have insufficient facilities.  The value of current business flights at Fairoaks has been ignored.

How to respond:

Click here for Surrey Heath BC and quote ref 18/0642.

Runnymede BC: Email your comments to, quoting ref RU.18/1615.

Woking BC has already registered their objection, but it would do no harm to let them know, too, quoting ref PLAN/2019/0925.

In all cases, you'll need to include your name and address.

If you'd like further detail, the Chobham Society has posted a very good response to the application, which you can find by clicking here.  We'll also be circulating a flyer to local households in due course setting out these key points.


Woking Borough Council Object to Fairoaks Planning Application

Saturday, 19 January 2019

Woking Borough Council Objects to the Fairoaks Planning Application - 15th January 2019

The WBC Planning Officer’s prior recommendation was ‘no objection’, but this was comprehensively overturned at the meeting by the chair.  Omitting a few extraneous bits, his words were:

"WBC objects on the basis that it has not been demonstrated that the proposal will not have a detrimental effect on key infrastructure and facilities within the borough.... advise SHBC that WBC is NOT satisfied that there is a robust, Very Special Circumstances etc. [case], is NOT satisfied as to the impacts on local highways, schools, noise, environment, air quality, flooding, drainage, maintaining the Thames Basin Heaths Special Protection Area, and is NOT satisfied about the impact on Horsell Common and local ecology."

This was put to the meeting, and passed nem con.

Whilst this is of course excellent news, we recognise that this is an still early stage of the fight:

  1. The main basis for rejection was the lack of sufficient information, rather than objection in principle.
  2. One councillor said she agreed with the objection because the proposed housing density wasn’t enough;  she said WBC require 30-60, whereas the FGVL plan was ‘only 25’.  She quoted the Council for the Protection of Rural England in support of this.


Follow this link to view a video of the whole committee meeting, the most interesting part starts at about 1hour 25 minutes in.Video of WBC Planning Meeting Tuesday 15th Jan 2019

Response to Planning Application

Saturday, 10 November 2018

Here's a summary of major objections to the Fairoaks Housing Estate application (SHBC18/0642 and RU.18/1615):

  • It conflicts with the relevant adopted and emerging development plans, e.g. the draft SHBC draft Local Development Plan that emerged during the summer.
  • It conflicts with national planning policy, which requires that large development in the Green Belt should only be approved in "very special circumstances".  It is a matter of record that housing need is not accepted as a VSC.
  • The benefits claimed by the applicant are generally not benefits at all, they are mitigation for the harm the development would cause.
  • The harm the applicant claims the development would cause is understated.  Together with the previous point, this means the developers' case is grossly overstated.
  • The estate would generate an enormous amount more traffic on roads that are already unacceptably congested.  The proposed new road through the site would in no way compensate for this.
  • Most of the site is open greenfield:  to put 1,000 homes on it would obviously affect the site’s openness and would harm the landscape and biodiversity.
  • The loss of the airport would harm the local economy.  The alternative airports that the applicant claims could be used instead of Fairoaks are not suitable.

Keep Fairoaks Flying

Write to your Councillor

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Surrey Heath Borough Council is the planning authority for Fairoaks Airport and they will decide its future.

We’ve prepared a draft email that you can send to show the leader that you support Fairoaks Airport. Feel free to copy & paste the text below into your email to each council.

You may also wish to send a similar email to Runnymede Borough Council who are also involved in the proposed development. You can contact their council leader using the details below.

Surrey Heath Borough Council

Councillor Moira Gibson
Leader of Surrey Heath Borough Council
Ward: Windlesham
copied to Karen Whelan
Chief Executive of Surrey Heath Borough Council

Runnymede Borough Council

Councillor Patrick Roberts
Leader of Runnymede Borough Council
Ward: Englefield Green East
copied to Paul Turrell
Chief Executive of Runnymede Borough Council

Template Email to the Borough Council

Subject: Save Fairoaks Airport!

Dear Councillor,

Fairoaks Airport is an asset that Surrey Heath Borough Council should cherish and promote. It has been operational since 1937, training hundreds of civilian pilots each year and is an important base for emergency medical flights – 152 in 2016 alone. It supports over 300 skilled jobs in the local economy. Fairoaks Airport is a vital link in the national General Aviation network – worth £3 billion to the UK economy each year.

Fairoaks Airport is also part of our precious Green Belt and 23 species of rare wildlife currently co-exist within the airport boundary. Developing the airport site for housing will put these creatures at risk.

Any development will not provide housing for those who need it most – these will be executive houses in the countryside. They are the wrong houses in the wrong location. The extra traffic caused by 1,500 new homes will clog our already over-crowded roads completely.

I am not opposed to developing new homes, however, in a four square-mile area around the airport, nearly 9,000 homes have already received or are due to receive planning permission. Fairoaks is the wrong place for even more.

I therefore call on you to urge Surrey Heath Borough Council to reject any plans to develop Fairoaks Airport for housing.

Yours sincerely,

[Your Name and Address]

Ownership Timeline

Tuesday, 22 August 2017
The ownership of Fairoaks Airport is one of the confounding issues behind the proposals for Fairoaks New Town. To understand the situation we find ourselves in today, it is useful to know something about the airfield's history leading up to the new town development proposals and the interests that are driving them.


Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Your donation is crucial!

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

With the owners of the airport prepared to spend hundreds of thousands of pounds to persuade the Council to accept their plans – they have already employed a PR agency and a firm of architects – Fairoaks2020 needs your support today.

We urgently need to raise £100,000.  This will help pay for legal advice from the country’s top aviation lawyer and to continue our campaign of engagement with key decision makers in central government, Surrey Heath and elsewhere.  We need our local MPs, all 41 Borough Councillors, and very many local and county-wide voluntary groups and organisations to understand the strength of feeling about the Fairoaks housing estate proposals.

We have established an overall target of £250,000 for the next 18 months – typical of the funding other airfields that have recently been saved have needed.

We are very grateful for any donation you are able to make to support our cause.

Any funds remaining at the end of our campaign will be donated equally to Aerobility and the Chobham Church Tower Restoration Fund.





Email for our details or to discuss making a donation.



Please make your cheque payable to 'Fairoaks2020 Ltd' and send it to:

1-3 Poole Road
Woking, Surrey
GU21 6WW

The History of Fairoaks Airport

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

The first flights in and out of Fairoaks took place in 1934 when it was used as a landing strip by a private owner who sold his farm to the Secretary of State for Air (Air Ministry) in 1936.

Tower 1950s 400x414In June 1937, the Air Ministry announced that they would be setting up a flying school at Fairoaks for the training of new pilots enlisted in the RAF under an expansion scheme.

The School was opened on 2 October 1937 by General Aircraft Limited who had been selected by the Air Ministry to manage the school.  The School was one of nine new schools and commenced training, initially with three flying instructors, 24 RAFVR pupils and 6 Tiger Moths.  The School was closed in 1953 having trained over 6000 pilots.

Fairoaks Airport enjoyed a busy and important return to civilian usage after the Second World War and continues to be of great significance to the international aviation community as well as the local community it serves.  

For information on historic aviation events, you can read Fifty Years of Flying Heritage by Historic England.

Famous Airfield Users

  • King Peter of Yugoslavia - learnt to fly with No.18 EFTS in 1945
  • Gary Numan - owned 3 aircraft based at Fairoaks
  • Cliff Robertson - TV and film actor learnt to fly at Fairoaks
  • Dick Emery - comedian based his aircraft at Fairoaks
  • Diana Britten - UK female aerobatic champion currently based at Fairoaks
  • Ian Whittle - son of Frank Whittle, inventor of the jet engine has his aircraft based at Fairoaks
  • Alan Mann - racing driver, owned the airfield for many years
  • Mike Hawthorn - winner 24 Heures du Mans learned to fly and kept his aircraft at Fairoaks
  • Sir Jack Brabham - 3 time F1 world champion kept his aircraft at Fairoaks
  • Ron Flockhart - Scottish racing driver kept his aircraft at Fairoaks
  • John Cooper - race car creator kept his aircraft at Fairoaks
  • Duncan Hamilton - Le Mans winner kept his aircraft at Fairoaks
  • Willie Carson, Walter Swinburn and Richard Hanson (jockeys) were regular visitors
  • Katie Melua - singer learned to fly at Fairoaks
  • Formula 1 driver Jenson Button and Jason Plato (Team BMR) both visit the airfield multiple times each year

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