THE changing face of Woking town centre can be seen from these photographs of the work being undertaken to construct the new Victoria Square complex.
The one on the right was taken about 11 years ago showing Cawsey Way looking towards the railway line. The angled building that served as a café at one of the entrances to Wolsey Place is just about the only feature recognisable in the recent image of the construction works.
In the photograph taken around 2006, the partly-build Centrium luxury apartments can be seen at the top and the recent view shows the 15-storey block towering over surrounding buildings.
In a recent visit to the Victoria Square organised for all the local media, the project managers showed that most of the preparation work is complete.
All is going to plan but the recent cold snap could prove difficult if temperatures drop far below zero as this affects the concrete being poured into foundation pillars and other parts of the building.
The fairly extensive rain and drizzle are, however, welcome as they help to keep down the dust and perform a better task than sprayers that are designed for that purpose.
Paul Walker, the project manager for construction giant Sir Robert McAlpine, said high winds were a potential problem because of the use of 1,000-tonne cranes and the effect on moving heavy parts around the site.
Mark Ireland, the prime site project director, said that the substructure of the three towers had been redesigned. Originally, engineers planned very large piles to take account of the clay soil. But this had been recalculated and the piles have been dramatically reduced in size but increased in number. This made the operation cheaper, quicker and would also help to spread the load more evenly across the piles.
The only excavation left is that for the foundation of Tower 1. One of the senior managers said he did not expect to find the bones of any long-lost king, or even old Cards programmes, as the areas below previous buildings had all been dug out.
If anything of archaeological or local historical, interest is revealed, then the relevant authorities would be contacted for advice.
There will be a Green Car Park, to add to the Red, Blue and Yellow ones in the town centre, between Tower One and the hotel.
The old spiral ramp off Victoria Way will be replaced with one that will have a double ramp and will connect to every floor of the Red Car Park.
Behind the hoardings along Victoria Way is a traffic management system that means the heavy construction vehicles are not mingling with normal traffic.
Once the buildings start to go up, after the cranes have been set up early next month, the lorries will drive into the site, be offloaded, and then continue on to the road without having to make difficult manoeuvres.
All being well, the £460 development should be complete in just three years’ time.
Cawsey Way, with the busy bus stops outside the old fire station, will then be a memory that might one day feature in a version of the Peeps into the Past that features every week in the News & Mail.