West Byfleet

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West Byfleet is a village in Surrey which grew up around its relatively minor stop on the London & South Western Railway: the station, originally Byfleet and Woodham, opened in 1887. More than Template:Convert from the medieval village of Byfleet, the initial concentration of a new development soon established its own economy apart from that of a dependent London commuter village and spread in most directions to its borders including to the border of the old settlement, divided by the shielded London Orbital motorway today. The first place of worship was dedicated in 1912, the parish of West Byfleet associated with it was established in 1917. The village is bounded to the north by the Basingstoke Canal and to the east by the M25 and the Wey Navigation Canal. Forming part of the contiguous development centred on London and its 'stockbroker belt' just outside the M25 motorway, it is 8 miles from London Heathrow and equidistant between the business parks of Woking and Brooklands. In local government it forms a ward on the same basis as its parish in the Borough of Woking.

History

The history until the establishment of the parish in 1917 is that of Byfleet, which saw most of its current developed land, which was formerly fields in the east and densely wooded heath in the west turned into Victorian and Edwardian smallholdings and large houses in the Victorian and Edwardian periods (1831-1911).<ref name=m>Template:Cite web</ref> The railway station, see transport, opened in 1887, primarily to enable commuting.

The village's first church was dedicated in 1912, the parish of West Byfleet associated with it was established in 1917.<ref name=m/>

Amenities

The Waitrose supermarket has occupied two former units since the early 21st century. There is also a Tesco Express with fuel pumps on Old Woking Road, alongside the Harvester restaurant.

Other commercial units consist largely of service businesses including restaurants, estate agents and hairdressers and the largest banks. This retail offering has made it for such services a focal point for other neighbouring settlements of: Pyrford, New Haw, Woodham, Byfleet and Ripley and an alternative to Woking. In the 2010s fashion and style shops have complimented the stores offered (e.g. C'est Si Bon and Blush). An art gallery and vintage gift emporium have also established a West Byfleet focus.

The retail centre of a high street-style network of roads declined in breadth at the end of the 20th century losing traditional size outlets in hardware, wine, electrical goods and greengrocery. In 2010 Aviva as landlord of the former Woolworths store re-let approximately half to Costa Coffee and the other half to a Lloyds Pharmacy.

The Basingstoke Canal with its tree-lined path to Woking, the Aldershot Urban Area and Basingstoke passes straight forming the northern border of West Byfleet, which is shaped approximately as a right-angled triangle, with that angle being in the south-west corner and the canal being the hypotenuse.

The town has one main football club, West Byfleet Albion (not to be confused with West Bromwich Albion) who play in the Guildford and Woking Alliance League.

Schools

Most secondary school students attend Fulbrook School, St John the Baptist School or Bishop David Brown School. Primary level schools are:

  • West Byfleet Junior School
  • The Marist School.

Churches

  • Church of England - St John's Church, originally part of the Byfleet parish until West Byfleet was established as a parish in 1917.
  • Roman Catholic - Our Lady Help of Christians
  • St Mary's Church, Church RoadTemplate:Clarify and a Methodist church on Rectory Lane. The West Byfleet Golf Club is located on Sheerwater Road, providing a Golf Pro Shop, whilst also offering catering, society and open golf events. [1] In 1949 a Supermarine Spitfire crashed and exploded in flames beside West Byfleet Golf Course after a mid-air collision with another Spitfire over Woking.

Soil, topography and elevations

File:Conifer trees on Parvis Road, West Byfleet (geograph 2673824).jpg
Evergreen trees such as pines are supported by the sandy soil of Parvis Road in the west, an uneroded upcrop of the Bagshot Formation

The surface undulates gently from the west to the east, where West Byfleet's land is drained in the parish of Byfleet itself by the River Wey. Soil ranges from sandy acidic soil in the west to more alluvial soil in the east, underlain by a mixture of gravel and clay.<ref name=m/> Elevations range from 18m Above Ordnance Datum to 33m.

Conservation area

Old Avenue and some offshoot roads are the neighbourhood on average with the largest plots and homes of the parish, centred on West Byfleet's conservation area, in planning terms set out as a tree-lined avenue.

Notable inhabitants

  • Sir Sydney Camm, Hawker aircraft designer, see also Brooklands
  • Sir George Edwards, Vickers aircraft designer, see also Brooklands
  • JC Carroll composer (inc. of The Sound of The Suburbs)
  • J C Stobart (1878–1933), author lived latterly by West Byfleet Golf Course, but buried at (Old) Byfleet (inc. of The Glory That Was Greece)

Demography and housing

2011 Census Homes
Ward Detached Semi-detached Terraced Flats and apartments Caravans/temporary/mobile homes/houseboats Shared between households<ref name=ons/>
(ward) 1,205 310 239 566 0 0
The average level of accommodation in the region composed of detached houses was 28%, the average that was apartments was 22.6%.
2011 Census Households
Ward Population Households % Owned outright % Owned with a loan hectares<ref name=ons/>
(ward) 5,626 2,320 38.2 37.6 351

The proportion of households who owned their home outright compares to the regional average of 35.1%. The proportion who owned their home with a loan compares to the regional average of 32.5%. The remaining % is made up of rented dwellings (plus a negligible % of households living rent-free).

Transport

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Roads

Motorways are in reach but do not concentrate the traffic in particular parts of West Byfleet. Access to the M25 is via any one of two junctions of the motorway-standard section of the A3, Template:Convert east (Cobham) or south (Pyrford), or via a busy road through New Haw for which roads join to the east to travel the average of Template:Convert north to the north-west of Addlestone.

Rail

The South Western Main Line has a minor stop in the village, providing typically 4 trains per hour to London and other destinations in various directions to the south-west including Woking. Branch lines off this general SW axis connect to other cardinal compass points of the compass (west and south) in the country at Weybridge and at Clapham Junction stations. Currently for destinations north of Oxford a change should be made in London for faster connections. Template:Clear

References

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Bibliography

Gardner, Robert (2006) ‘From Bouncing Bombs to Concorde – The Authorised Biography of Aviation Pioneer Sir George Edwards, OM’ (Sutton Publishing Ltd, Stroud, Gloucs.)

Stevens, Leonard, R (2001) ‘A Village of England – Byfleet’

Wakeford, Iain (2004) ‘West Byfleet – A Self-Guided Heritage Walk With Notes and Illustrations on the History of the Village and the Basingstoke Canal’ (Iain Wakeford, Old Woking, Surrey).

External links

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