EMOTIONS were high in the Civic Offices on Tuesday night when the council’s most ambitious and largest town centre development to date was given the nod at a planning meeting.
The Victoria Square project is a major part of Woking Borough Council’s regeneration programme and involves a comprehensive retail-led, mixed-use design to be delivered by Bandstand Square Developments Ltd, a joint venture between the owners of Peacocks Shopping Centre – Moyallen – Surrey County and Woking Borough Councils.
Subject to conditions, the project will involve 125,000 sq ft of retail floorspace anchored by Marks & Spencer, a 23-storey hotel and two residential towers of 30 and 34 storeys, a medical centre, a 380-space car park, and two plazas.
The 190-bed four-star hotel is to have conference facilities for 400 people as well as a spa and gym at basement level.
The Victoria Square site comprises the former Woking Market (relocated to Market Walk), the old post office at Globe House, the existing fire station, the bandstand area (now relocated and up and running in Woking Park), and existing retail units including Boots, which will be relocated into the scheme.
The project will also take in part of Export House, the Red and Yellow Car Parks and some of the surrounding road network, including service access to Wolsey Place, the closure of Cawsey Way and Church Street West, and create a new junction at Goldsworth Road and Victoria Way.
High Street is to be one way westwards with new bus stops and a cycle lane.
The go-ahead means that work can now be started on the already approved redevelopment of the western part of the town for a new state-of-the-art fire station on land at Goldsworth Road.
Councillor Saj Hussain said: “This is the biggest local development of the decade and will create more than 700 jobs. It will also feature a much needed hotel and medical centre, and will bring the town together.”
Leader of Woking Borough Council, John Kingsbury, said: “I am delighted that the Planning Committee have supported this exciting scheme and look forward to working with partners to bring forward the development in 2016 after the relocation of the fire station.”