AGREEMENTS have been made with developers for the next section of Woking town centre to be regenerated – with three more tower blocks planned to join those being built in Victoria Square.
Woking Borough Council has formally signed up Coplan Estates Ltd to carry out the one-and-a-half acre Woking Gateway redevelopment.
The project replaces buildings between Commercial Way and High Street, bounded by Victoria Square to the west and Chapel Street to the east.
It features a 39-storey flats block five floors taller than the highest tower in the current regeneration and includes 475 homes, offices, shops, restaurants and community facilities.
The leader of Woking Borough Council, Cllr David Bittleston, commented: “I am delighted that we have formalised plans for the growth and evolution of Woking, complementing our Victoria Square development and positively impacting the local economy.
“Coplan’s expertise and experience in the successful delivery of similar schemes for local authorities is exciting news. We look forward to working with them as we re-energise and reinvigorate the area.”
Coplan has worked with local authorities on mixed-use redevelopments within the M25 motorway and towns in the South East for more than 12 years.
Its managing director, Nick Doyle, said: “We are hugely excited to be selected as Woking Council’s development partner on the Gateway project.
“As specialist mixed-use developers for local authority partnership schemes, we understand the requirement of councils and needs of communities, working hard to ensure that our schemes are beneficial to everyone.”
Woking Gateway will continue the redevelopment of the town centre towards the railway station. It will replace the 1960s and 70s buildings in Commercial Way and the mainly Victorian shops and restaurants in High Street.
Commercial Way businesses affected include HSBC and Halifax banks and William Hill and Paddy Power bookmakers. The Lighthouse community hub in High Street – which houses Woking Foodbank – and the Hockey Museum in Chapel Street will have to find new premises.
The council has said it will use its compulsory purchase powers to acquire this block if necessary. A report to its executive committee last year said many of the existing low-density buildings are in a poor state of repair and are of limited economic use.
Coplan is expected to submit a planning application in the summer, aiming to start work in 2021.