The village shops
St Christopher's, a 20th century church, is in the village
|Hinchley Wood shown within Surrey|
|Area||3.2 km2 (1.2 sq mi)|
|Population||5,068 (2011 census)|
|• Density||1,584/km2 (4,100/sq mi)|
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Ambulance||South East Coast|
|EU Parliament||South East England|
Hinchley Wood is a largely residential suburban village approximately 12.3 to 13.4 miles south-west of Charing Cross in central London, and within the Greater London Urban Area. It developed largely because of the railway line which has a station and many of its residents are commuters to London, the village has one main parade of convenience shops, services and a nearby petrol station; throughout the area is a light smattering of small businesses. The suburb is served by a railway station, and has the London dialling code 020.
In 1999, Hinchley Wood residents took on McDonald's to defeat a plan to turn one of its few pubs into a fast-food outlet. In 1997, the pub had earlier provided a historical footnote when former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and his wife, Raisa, visited it when their flight home to Russia was delayed. The longest dual carriageway section of the A309 bisects the district as well as the railway line, and acts as a spur road to the urban motorway standard A3 road. The main parade is directly north of the traffic lights forming one of the junctions of the road within the boundaries, and almost adjoins the mainstay of the village's retirement flats. The village has no high-rise buildings and gained its first place of worship in 1953 (see villages in England for this standard definition).
The only old listed building is the 16th century Old Farm House in the town. Its listing states '... C16 with C18 addition to front left, C19 addition to right. Timber framed core, stuccoed over with plain tiled roofs. Large brick stack to rear and ends. 2 storeys with 2 tripartite wood casements to centre of first floor...' and is now on an ordinary street.
Initially the farmland on which Hinchley Wood was to be built was part of Thames Ditton. In 1925 Esher Council considered a petition from the small number of residents of Manor Road, in which ribbon development from Thames Ditton was taking place, for the provision of a new station between Surbiton and Claygate on the railway that had opened in 1885. The Southern Railway was not interested in a new station; the low population would create negligible new custom; the opening of the Kingston Bypass changed the commercial viability of new station.
Immediately the speculative possibilities created by the bypass were considered. Furthermore, even as it was being built a sewer was laid under it, at Manor Road, to facilitate development. The opening of Hinchley Wood railway station brought about the rapid emergence of Hinchley Wood as a coherent, identifiable settlement, with a housing stock so plainly superior to that typical of the 1930s.
At its annual general meeting in 1927, the chairman called attention to "great increment in the value of the land, which goes into the pockets of vigilant people at our expense". G.T. Crouch agreed to contribute £2,500 towards the cost (about one-third) of the building of the station. Having been given planning permission to build Hinchley Wood in September 1929, Crouch struck a deal with the Southern Railway for the construction of the station. To persuade the Southern Railway to build it, Crouch had to help pay for it. Although the Southern Railway knew that a new settlement would bring new business, it also knew the benefit to Crouch.
The Inland Revenue had large offices on the north side of the railway station that have become a housing development.
In 1953, the community's church in the Church of England, St. Christophers Church was built.
Transportation and growth
Hinchley Wood railway station was built at the point where conveniently the tracks forked already, making it the more economically built and manned. Additionally, the Southern Railway bought some more land on which to build a goods yard, which in the event was never built because competition from road haulage became too great, but the land was retained; ultimately this allowed a car park to be provided.
When the station opened, Hinchley Wood comprised a couple of dozen houses and a petrol filling station in a field that bordered the bypass. Development took place around the shops that were built next to the station.
The speed at which the houses in Hinchley Wood were built was phenomenal, with the peak years being in 1933–34 when 750 residents moved in, many of whom were London commuters. The Hinchley Wood Residents' Association was formed in 1931 and quickly became an effective voice for the community on Esher Council.
The train service in the 1930s, although more frequent and faster than today, was the regular cause of complaint: such was the rapid growth of Hinchley Wood that overcrowding of trains became an issue as well as their timing.
The local authority has varied from Conservative to Residents Association since its 1974 formation.
Countryside and recreation parks
Hinchley Wood is within easy walking distance of Littleworth Common, just to the east southwards, where it meets Esher Eagles Rugby League club then followed by, in the south west, a historic but now small wood which shares its name with the community. Telegraph Hill is also southwest of Hinchley Wood and is the largest nearby walking spot and has some visitor attraction for its Grade II (architecture) listed 'Semaphore House' semaphore tower described as "c1822. Rendered brick on projecting plinth with hipped slate roof. 3-storey square tower to centre...C20 glazing bar sash windows throughout".
Hinchley Wood has two schools, Hinchley Wood Primary School and Hinchley Wood School, one of the main secondary schools in the area.
Demography and housing
|Output area||Detached||Semi-detached||Terraced||Flats and apartments||Caravans/temporary/mobile homes||Shared between households|
The average level of accommodation in the region composed of detached houses was 28%, the average that was apartments was 22.6%.
|Output area||Population||Households||% Owned outright||% Owned with a loan||hectares|
The proportion of households in the settlement 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).
Trivia and in the media
Hinchley wood has independent cafés and small supermarkets. Nonetheless in 1999 McDonalds sought to widen its reach, by opening a rare pure suburbia outlet. Hinchley Wood residents, organised as Residents Against McDonalds (RAM), took on McDonalds to defeat a plan to turn their local pub into a drive-through fast-food outlet. The residents defeated McDonald's on 16 June 2000 after a 552-day continuous occupation.[better source needed] The pub has since been demolished and has been replaced by retirement flats.
Hinchley Wood unwittingly featured in an irreverent semi-comical book Crap Towns to be ranked "48th worst" in the United Kingdom. The local councillor stated "People like it here because it is a quiet place, very convenient for the city and, if you want to get to Kingston, it is easy as well. You have all the peace and quiet you want and it is near the countryside and the rivers. While we do not have a pub in the village we do have a strong community spirit." in response to the ranking. The town lost the status in later editions.
||Weston Green||Giggs Hill Green, Thames Ditton||Thames Ditton/Long Ditton|
|Sandown Park, Esher||Long Ditton, Tolworth|
- Key Statistics; Quick Statistics: Population Density United Kingdom Census 2011 Office for National Statistics Retrieved 21 November 2013
- National Heritage List online edition accessed 16-04-2012
- Hinchley Wood history from the Surrey Advertiser
- National Heritage List online edition accessed 16-04-2012
- "McDonalds foiled at Hinchley Wood (Surrey)" Wussu.com
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Hinchley Wood.|