WOKING Borough Council planners have recommended McLaren’s proposals to expand into greenbelt go ahead.
The verdict was reached on Tuesday night after weeks of speculation. Plans to develop on the eastern side of the A320 had already been approved, but the Formula 1 and technology company decided to relocate this to the western side so the facility is closer to current operations.
The new McLaren Applied Technology Centre would be 57,000sq metres – about the size of seven football pitches – as an extension to the McLaren Production Centre. The building would feature a wind tunnel, workshops, research and development space, training facilities, and space for vehicle preparation and assembly.
There would also be 860 parking bays, cycle parking and a replacement helipad. The site borders a Special Protection Area for wildlife owned by the Horsell Common Preservation Society, which manages 911 acres of green space. They are concerned that such a massive development would impact on wildlife and nearby residents.
McLaren argue that they are a major iconic player in Woking, with nearly 3,000 employees.
A spokesman said: “We have an opportunity to grow, employ more people and provide opportunities for young engineers.”
At the meeting, of the 11 committee members present, nine voted for recommendation of the plans, while the remaining two abstained.
The next stage is for the application go to Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, for approval.