Deepcut public meeting draws over 500 residents

Deepcut public meeting - 24th Feb 12The Deepcut redevelopment public meeting attracted huge numbers of local residents from across the Borough last night. Deepcut Village Centre hosted the event and reached maximum capacity of 300.

Some local residents and Borough and County Councillors were denied access to the venue but windows and doors were opened so that residents outside could hear proceedings.

During the event residents from outside the venue could be heard shouting views so that those inside could hear.

Deepcut Public Meeting - 24th Feb 2012

As venue reached its capacity of 300, concerned residents are forced to listen from outside

Chair of the Deepcut Liaison Group Angela Mitchell said “We are really very sorry for those residents who wanted to attend the meeting but could not due to the venue reaching capacity. We were advised by Surrey Police that approximately 200 people were outside the venue. The response has – been astonishing and to get 500 people to a public meeting on a Friday night is unprecedented. In my view this shows how strongly local residents feel about their concerns regarding the plans for the redevelopment of Princess Royal Barracks and the impact it will have on residents across the Borough”.

Members of the panel which included Surrey Heath MP Michael Gove, SHBC Deputy Chief Executive Chas Bradfield and John Taylor from Defence Infrastructure Organisation took some tough questions from members of the Deepcut Liaison Group and Dettingen Park Estate Owners Committee.

Deepcut Public Meeting - 24 Feb 12

It is estimated over 200 residents gathered outside the meeting

In his address to the public meeting Michael Gove said about traffic “Unless there is massive investment in infrastructure its just not sustainable”. The Surrey Heath Residents Network captured Michael’s address on video which you can watch here – Michael Gove at the Deepcut public meeting 24th Feb 12 More footage from the meeting will be made available shortly.

Items under discussion included:

  • Traffic – There was overwhelming support for the view that people should object to 1200 houses unless there are significant improvements to the infrastructure before building commences
  • Construction traffic– The vote showed it should not be sent down the small roads behind Dettingen Park and should come down DBR to the new roundabout with Main Street.
  • Size & location of supermarket. – the vote showed that residents want a local supermarket (5-800 sq. metres) not a supermarket to serve the wider area with 50% of the shoppers coming from outside Deepcut.(1400 sq. meters) They want the supermarket to be built in the middle of the new development approximately behind the church, to the north of the school. Siting it close to DBR and the new roundabout at Newfoundland/Blackdown Roads will cause significant traffic problems.
  • Loss of trees and open green space.- The vote showed that the plans should follow the recommendation of the core strategy and the inspector and retain Blackdown park, and trees should not be removed to provide allotments.
  • South of Brunswick Road the trees should not be torn down for houses while the tarmacked Transport depot is dug up to plant trees. The proposals from Natural England were laughed at. The houses should be built on the transport depot site.
  • The new development should not build immediately north of Dettingen park (on the edge of the cricket pitch) and a buffer zone must be retained around North Minden house.
  • Gypsy / Traveller provision – There was a unanimous vote in support for the view that is not an appropriate site for travellers anywhere in Deepcut.
Deepcut Public Meeting - 24 Feb 12

Even borough and county councillors were unable to get inside the venue

Member of the DLG David Rushmer said “It is vital that residents respond to the latest DIO proposals by the 9th March. They have indicated that they intend to submit a planning application very soon. DLG will be meeting in the coming days to discuss the public meeting and to formulate some guidance notes for local residents in order that they can easily respond. We ask residents to keep an eye on the Residents Network web site and to subscribe to the free community email distribution list so that the DLG can advise when the guidance notes are available. I would also like to remind residents that it is local councillors who will ultimately decide the outcome of a planning application. It has been indicated that due to the proposed size of the Deepcut development, this will not be heard by a normal planning committee but by a full meeting of the council. This means every councillor in the borough will have a vote on the plans, so it is important that you make your views known to every councillor at SHBC as well as your MP, The planning Department at SHBC and the DIO. DLG will be publishing details of all the councillors along with the guidance notes”.

Michael Gove advised local residents he would be attending a meeting with members of DLG, SHBC, SCC and DIO next week and that he wants local residents to write or email him with any concerns. His email address is

Images with thanks Alan Meeks

18 thoughts on “Deepcut public meeting draws over 500 residents

  1. Blackbird Pie

  2. Joanna Bowley

    Thanks to everyone, especially Paul Deach for organising and running this meeting. There is now no doubt about the community’s strength of feeling against this development. Let’s keep the pressure up!

  3. Brian Curnow


    Congratulations for the way you handled the meeting. Firm but sympathetic. That was excellent. I didn’t know there were so many like minded rebels in our midst!

    Isn’t it stupid that Councillors are muzzeled from expressing their true opinions by the previous Government’s silly Local Government laws? The sooner the Government gets the Freedom Bill and it’s derivatives in place the better in my view.

    So now what? Well the Council’s Core Strategy and Deepcut Supplymentary Document clearly needs to be rewritten to reflect the peoples wishes.

    Personally I still favour some development at Deepcut. To me a Stage 1 of say 350 houses would seem sensible, but it needs to be spread over say 10 years. But nothing can happen until the Infrastructure is improved and that costs significant amounts of money and only the MOD could provide that..

    Deepcut Bridge does need rebuilding, but where is the huge amount to do that coming from? Certainly not from the Borough as we read it, and is it necessary? What are the alternatives? There are several possibilities..

    Lets just see how these things develop now that we know how the residents really feel.

  4. Anonymous

    I personally think last night was a demonstration of the feelings towards these plans and of the poor way in which the council and the DIO have handled this. I thought it was appauling the way the Deputy CEO of the council had next to no answers and the DIO guy seemed to either not know his own plans or not really care! Difficult to hear from outside, but I am sure I did not miss any logical answers!
    Paul, can you please send out the numerous ways to complain about this as it was impossible to hear towards the end …I also have the CEO’s email address at the council ( Karen Whelan ), if you would like that shared for people to also email her.

    1. Ralph warren

      can you supply Karen Whelan’s email address. I think we should include her, Chas Bradfield and Brian Townley (head of Town Planning & Homes) in all emails and communications

  5. Alisa Whiteland

    Really pleased at the huge turnout. I was one of the people outside and we were all saying another meeting should be held at a larger venue. We only have until 9th March to object so that won’t happen. I can’t help but feel the residents just haven’t been listened to and we have a big battle ahead!

  6. Len Williams

    Thank you for holding the meeting and having the situation properly explained. It is clear that the redevelopment is being pursued on commercial, and quota filling, grounds with scant regard for the existing, and future, residents qualities of life. The scale of the project should be re-assessed, the opening of Brunswick road included, the traveller’s site scotched. Not mentioned at the meeting was the fate of St Barbara’s. While not part of the development this is another crisis hiding in the shadows ! Keep up the good work.


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