SHEER House ‘should be demolished’ – that was the predominant feedback from visitors who were invited to comment on the regeneration of West Byfleet District Centre, according to the new owners.
Chiefs at Altitude Real Estate said they were impressed by the positive response of local businesses and residents after they recently held a pre-consultation day at the Cornerstone Centre.
Local stakeholders, businesses and residents were invited to view display boards and a model showing the existing site layout, its constraints, its wider village context, and examples of public space and buildings from similar sites.
There were 150 visitors, including councillors and Woking MP Jonathan Lord, who were asked to leave comments on their aspirations for the site and for the village as a whole – around half the guests left responses.
Altitude Director Steve Tillman said: “We were very pleased to welcome so many local people and to have the chance to discuss the site with them and hear their views.
“This was simply an opportunity to listen to the hopes and concerns of businesses and residents to understand the wider issues of the village before we start to pull together our plans for the site.”
He added that the general feedback was very positive, with the majority welcoming the potential transformation of the site, and most believing that the dated 1960s office building that is Sheer House should be demolished.
Additional suggestions included calls for new public space for use as a meeting place and for community events, better parking and a revised road layout.
Mr Tillman said: “Our design team has since met to consider all the comments to see if, and how, they could be implemented in our proposals. Obviously, with so many people attending, there were a number of conflicting views – some outside our control – but overall it was a positive day with some very useful feedback that we can follow up and incorporate into our ideas.”
Once the plans have been worked up and pre-application meetings have been held with Woking Borough Council, a public consultation with more comprehensive proposals for the site will take place, the dates for which, Altitude have promised, will be widely publicised.