Home Environment and health RHS Wisley trees saved from A3 widening

RHS Wisley trees saved from A3 widening

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The Chinese Pavilion in the snow at RHS Garden Wisley. Picture; Carol Sheppard/RHS
The Chinese Pavilion in the snow at RHS Garden Wisley. Picture; Carol Sheppard/RHS

Travel distance to garden increased by 7 miles

Plans to widen the A3 will no longer threaten 500 of RHS Wisley’s most important trees but will increase travel time to the gardens.

Some 10,000 sqm of woodland was at risk under the £175 million upgrade of the A3/M25 roundabout and was the subject of a petition signed by 134,000 people.

However, it will now take longer to get to the garden – The RHS appealed against the closure of the Wisley Lane junction with the A3, which will add seven miles to some visitors’ journeys.

An RHS spokesman said: “We are absolutely delighted that Highways England’s (HE) preferred option to widen the A3 will not land grab 10,000 sqm of woodland, which would have destroyed more than 500 important trees from RHS Garden Wisley.

The treeline at RHS Wisley, no longer under threat by A3 widening plans. Picture; RHS/Carol Sheppard
The treeline at RHS Wisley, no longer under threat by A3 widening plans. Picture; RHS/Carol Sheppard

Solution to access routes problem

“However, we are concerned that the proposed plans could still threaten the future of Wisley and we welcome the invitation to continue working with Highways England (HE) to find a solution to some of the proposed access routes to the garden.

“We are disappointed that HE’s current proposals remove all connection from Wisley Lane to the A3 (without suitable replacements we have been seeking), which would then result in an additional seven miles journey for some visitors.

“All visits to Wisley would be subject to increased travel time as a consequence of the preferred route, which would put some people off visiting and could harmfully impact the charitable income of the RHS.

“We have already provided HE with a scheme that achieved their objectives relating to safety and congestion and also wouldn’t impact RHS Garden Wisley.

Wisley Glasshouse on a frosty winter's day. Picture; Carol Sheppard/RHS
Wisley Glasshouse on a frosty winter’s day. Picture; Carol Sheppard/RHS

Reducing general traffic delays

“While overall the current HE proposals will help to reduce general traffic delays, our proposals would add further benefits and reduce overall travel distances on the A3.

“We will continue to work to protect RHS Garden Wisley and ask HE to seriously consider other viable options, which would provide much simpler access to Wisley, reduce travel distances and avoid diverting traffic through Ripley.”

Under the approved plans, the interchange between the M25 and the A3 will be redesigned to create four dedicated link roads for all drivers making left turns at the junction while drivers turning right will use a new enlarged junction roundabout.

The A3 will also be widened from three lanes to four between Ockham and Painshill in both directions with two lanes remaining over the M25.

New bridge and link road

The plans also include improved routes for pedestrians and cyclists, a green bridge linking Wisley and Ockham Commons, and access to RHS Wisley via a new bridge and link road to the east of the A3.

Highways England regional delivery director for the South East Chris Welby-Everard said: “We will continue to work with stakeholders and residents in working up the details of our design and there will be a further opportunity for people to have their say in another consultation next year.”

For more information, visit www.highways.gov.uk/m25j10.

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Mandy Watson is a freelance journalist and an incurable plantaholic. MandyCanUDigIt grew from the tiny seed of a Twitter account into the rainforest of information you see before you. Gardening columnist for the Sunderland Echo, Shields Gazette and Hartlepool Mail and editor of the Teesdale Mercury Magazine. Attracted by anything rebellious, exotic and nerdy, even after all these years. Passionate about northern England and gardens everywhere. Falls over a lot.

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