Eight Developments set to Change Face of Woking 

As the flagship Victoria Square development reaches its full height, SurreyLive looks at the latest on the developments set to make Woking a very different place

Woking’s Victoria Square development has now reached its full height, and there’s plenty more planned for the town centre, Woking is a town literally on the up. With the new Victoria Square development reaching its full height in September and other major developments planned for the town centre and elsewhere, SurreyLive brings you the latest on the changing face of Woking.

As well as the major building projects under way or planned, some smaller developments have already been completed. Albion House, opposite the station, has reopened after extensive refurbishment while Harrington Place – a 147-flat development on the former site of St Dunstan’s Church and named after parish priest Frank Harrington – is expected to open shortly.

Read on for all the latest details of Woking’s skyscrapers and new housing developments that will make the town a very different place over the coming years.

Victoria Square

Two years after construction started on Woking’s flagship development, Victoria Square is still on course to be completed in late 2020. Over the past two years, residents of Woking – and even some as far away as Guildford – have watched the three towers rise to their full height of 34 storeys, along with a bill that has spiralled to £540 million.

Finally, in early September, Woking Borough Council and its partners held a “topping out” ceremony, celebrating the installation of the final, highest roof beam and the point at which the structure was completed. The basic form of the development is now in place, but work remains to be done fitting cladding to the outside and finishing the flats, hotel rooms and shops inside. The replacement Red Car Park will also have to be built before Victoria Square can fully open.

There will also be leisure components, with council chief executive Ray Morgan telling councillors on September 16 that the bowling alley currently located at the Big Apple in Chobham Road would move to the site along with another leisure operator that could not yet be named.

“I think there’s lots of criticism that we are building a retail centre,” Mr Morgan told members of Woking’s overview and scrutiny committee. “We are not. We are building a town centre and regeneration of place, and members of the council signed up to that and have forgotten.”

He added: “It’s not a white elephant, it’s not a folly, it’s not a retail scheme, it is a revitalisation scheme for your town centre.”The “phased handover” of the building is due to start in late 2020, with Boots, M&S and the hotel opening around September 2020 and the whole thing finished by spring 2021.

Woking Gateway

As work on Victoria Square ends, the council hopes to start construction of an even bigger set of towers just across Commercial Way.Plans are still being formulated for the Woking Gateway by the council’s development partner Coplan Estates, with the aim of submitting a formal planning application soon and beginning work in 2021.

The three towers, including one 39-storeys high, were first proposed in November 2017, as work on Victoria Square got under way, and will include around 470 flats and 47,000sq ft of commercial space.

The council currently estimates the cost of the project at £200 million, less than half that of Victoria Square. Given the experience of that development, which started with a budget of £150 million in 2012, the Gateway’s costs could well rise considerably.

BHS Tower

Another 39-storey building was proposed in June for the other end of Commercial Way, on the site of the former BHS building.Developers Cortland had originally planned a tower of around 33 floors for the site, but the planning application that was finally submitted included 39 and prompted council opposition leader Ann-Marie Barker to speak out against more skyscrapers in the town centre.

“Affordable housing is a massive need in our area but most of these developments are not geared to affordable family homes,” she said, calling for a smaller 15-storey development instead. “Skyscrapers are not the answer. They are not what Woking needs.”

The plans, which included 310 flats, received more than 80 letters of objection from residents and were due to be voted on by the council’s planning committee by September 16.

However, no decision has been made or even discussed by the planning committee and the future of the BHS site remains uncertain.

Church Street East Tower

Another development that seems to have stalled is the council’s own proposal for a 34-storey tower in Church Street East.

The plans, submitted by the council’s development company Thameswey in July 2018, included 174 flats in the main, octagonal tower and a smaller, five-storey office block next door to replace Concord and Griffin House, which currently occupy the site.

The planning committee was supposed to have decided on the proposals by the end of October 2018, but almost a year later the plans are still listed as “pending consideration” on the council’s website and little progress appears to have been made.

Goldsworth Road

A third development that has been left in limbo is the plan for three tower blocks in Goldsworth Road, just across from Victoria Square and next to the new fire station.

Developers Willmott Dixon received planning permission in October 2016 for three towers of 17, 25 and 34 storeys containing 560 flats and the development was supposed to proceed ahead of Victoria Square.

However, no progress has been made on the development since 2016 and Willmott Dixon has since sold most of its interest in the site to Malaysian company Ecoworld, which is formulating a new planning application.

At a meeting of Woking’s overview and scrutiny committee on September 16, council chief executive Ray Morgan told councillors: “Unfortunately, their head office in Kuala Lumpur has put the planning application on hold until Brexit is resolved.

“Unfortunately for us [the development] should have been in and running, the construction should have been ahead of what we’re doing. Unfortunately, it’s held up and that major investor is just waiting to see.”

Victoria Arch

Further into the future, the council is also looking to radically alter the road layout immediately south of the railway line

The keystone of this plan is to widen Victoria Arch, which carries the railway over Guildford Road, to allow more traffic to flow through what is one of the town’s main arteries.

The council believes this will help open up yet more possible housing sites in the town centre that could see more than 3,000 homes built in the coming years.

However, the plans involve demolishing “The Triangle” – the buildings sandwiched between Station Approach and Guildford Road – a proposal that has brought strong opposition from shopkeepers whose businesses will be knocked down.

The government has invested £95 million in the project and the council is currently going through the process of buying land in The Triangle with the aim of completing the works by 2024.


Beyond the town centre, Woking Borough Council has embarked on a major redevelopment of the Sheerwater estate, which will involve demolition 573 homes and replacing them with 1,200 new ones along with a leisure centre at Bishop David Brown School and other amenities.

The work has already begun, with construction of the new leisure centre and the first 92 homes around Murray Green scheduled for completion in summer 2021.

In the meantime, the council is expected to grant final funding approval for the whole project on October 17 and then give authority for any compulsory purchase orders necessary in December.

Although most homeowners have agreed terms with the council, chief executive Ray Morgan told the council on September 16 that “barely a handful of people” remained who had not. In the meantime, many houses have been boarded up and some have likened the estate to a “ghost town”.

Woking FC Stadium

Plans to redevelop Woking FC’s Kingfield stadium are still in their early stages, but have already drawn considerable opposition.

Residents in the surrounding area have formed the South Woking Action Group to fight proposals for a new 10,000-seater stadium and 1,100 home development, branding the plans “a monstrosity”.

The group intends to present a petition against the development to the council on October 17, though the council has previously said it is supportive of the club’s “long-term vision”.

Developers GolDev are expected to submit a full planning application before the end of 2019 with work on the project beginning in May 2021 and taking two years to build. The development will be by far the biggest project GolDev has worked on.

Thanks to GetSurrey for the post:- https://www.getsurrey.co.uk/news/surrey-news/eight-developments-set-change-face-17024397

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