GREEN belt land on Egley Road is to be stripped this month in preparation for the construction of the controversial Hoe Valley Free School.
Works to remove trees and ready the site for development of the 840-pupil facility were signed off by the Secretary of State in late January after the council issued their rubberstamp in October.
The original planning application – submitted after the school had been granted a temporary home in the car park of Woking Leisure Centre – was met with fierce opposition by Mayford residents.
They claimed that the proposals were too imposing for their small village, and that the community leisure complex aspect of the plans – to be operated by Woking Borough Council and expected to welcome some 5,000 guests per week – would cause an already traffic-heavy Egley Road to burst at the seams.
So heated was the reaction that it acted as a catalyst for the ruling Woking Conservatives to subsequently file a complaint against Lib Dem Councillor Will Forster in relation to comments made about a meeting of the Executive concerning the bid to build on green belt land.
Chairman of Governors at Hoe Valley School, Lynne O’Reilly, hopes that the focus can now be placed firmly on nurturing pupils in a new educational space.
She said: “We are delighted that work is beginning on our permanent site and to see the plans start to become a reality.
“Our students are engaging enthusiastically with the project team and the architects to get to know their new home and to give us their thoughts and ideas.
“The school’s teaching staff are designing an exciting and innovative curriculum for the years ahead, and are looking forward to delivering this in these state-of-the-art facilities.”
Hoe Valley officials expect to be in their new home, to be financed by the Education Funding Agency, for the start of the 2017 academic year.
Woking Borough Council will pay for the community leisure facilities.