The site history
Written evidence pertaining to the Abbey shows that Chertsey dates back at least to the 7th Century. However, further archaeological evidence points to the existence of Chertsey long before this. The land was originally given to a prince by the king to build a monastery. The town was granted its market charter in 1249 and was an ideal location due to the arable landscaping, producing good market gardening, and its proximity to London. Due to its location between London and Windsor, Chertsey became a busy coaching town. The town is also known for ‘The George’ in Guildford Street that is thought to be the oldest licensed premises in Surrey having been in existence since 13th century. The arrival of the railway in Chertsey in 1848 changed the character of the town with a huge increase in the population assisted by new residential development that continued until the introduction of the 1947 Town and Country Planning Act to safe guard the green belt.
The history of the site
The site is located next to Chertsey train station that was opened in 1848 with the initial section of the Chertsey branch line. The existing station is a Grade II listed building opening on 1st October 1866.
The site itself contained only a public house called the Kingsarms, which was built in 1855 and was situated on 4-10 Guildford Road with the northern section of the site (the site specifically) shown as open space. The pub operated until closure in 1980’s and was demolished around 1994, when the two office buildings and the care home were construction.
The site includes the demolition of one office building and one care home built late in the last century and are of no archaeological importance. However, as identified in the Chertsey Local Plan, the site is on the boundary of the Area of High Archaeological Potential. To understand this fully, desk top studies were completed for the history of the site and its uses.
The Chertsey Conservation area covers a vast area of the town centre, a mere 150m away, and this area contains a number of Nationally and Locally listed buildings. There are also several national listed buildings closer to the site, but at a suitable distance that any proposal on the site will have no negative impact on the character and heritage of both the listed buildings and the local area.
The public house that was previously constructed on the site in 1855 included a basement. It is likely that any items of archaeological importance will have been disturbed both during the construction of the public house and the ongoing use of the basement, thus rendering any disturbance to archaeological items from this project highly improbable. However, the necessary archaeological surveys will be undertaken to confirm this.