Michele Theil reports on the ongoing debate surrounding Ashdene House and the major flare ups it has led to on social media.
Ashdene House on St Jude’s Road, Englefield Green is being considered as new student accommodation flats. Planning application for the building to be demolished and then rebuilt as 29 student flats was registered a few weeks ago.
Many residents in Englefield Green were not pleased with these proposals. In fact, at a public consultation on Oct 4 of this year, 89 people were asked to fill out a questionnaire regarding the issue. 83% of the respondents did not want Ashdene House to be turned into student flats and would prefer it to be given over to social housing schemes.
People in the popular Facebook group ‘Englefield Greenies’ have commented their stark objections to this student accommodation. One person said that “the green is fast becoming a campus”. Others spoke up about the noise that often accompanied student houses.
An elder Egham-based resident cited Article Eight of the Human Rights Act, which is the “right to respect for private and family life… [and[ home”, as a way of ‘protesting’ against the rebuilding of Ashdene House. One of the major concerns of this particular person was the lack of parking that would accompany the 29 flats. It is assumed that the lack of parking spaces in the plan would thus lead students to park their cars on the road, sometimes in front of other properties. Many Englefield Green residents, students or not, already park their cars along the roads without issue. However, there have been cases of cars parked in front of driveways or just the house itself, which has been inconvenient and annoying. There are no confirmations of who is responsible for these incidents but the ‘Englefield Greenies’ group largely place the blame onto RHUL students.
The post on the page stated that “as these people from university are parking everywhere, even in front of your property etc and sometimes preventing access,, [sic] This is destroying your legitimate rights……. [sic]”. This is a legitimate concern from residents as roads are becoming incresingly inundated with parked cars.
A commentator opposed the rebuilding of Ashdene House simply because it would destroy the beauty of Englefield Green village, stating the proposed plan looks like it will be “an ugly huge building”.
Quite a few of these same residents have written letters of objection to Runnymede Borough Council (RBC) in response to this, hoping that RBC may halt, or at least delay, the work.