SURREY County Council has agreed to foot half the bill for Woking’s stunning new £150million Bandstand Square development scheme.
The 120,000 sq ft project will include a gleaming new Marks & Spencer superstore, business-class hotel and 190 top-of-the-range apartments.
Marks & Spencer will act as the anchor store in a sparkling new 60,000 sq ft unit.
An additional 60,000 sq ft of space will be occupied by other retailers in a project that is due to break ground in spring 2014.
Woking Borough Council are set to rubber-stamp their 50 per cent share of the total cost of the scheme at a meeting today.
The development is expected to open its doors to shoppers in time for Christmas 2017.
Woking’s fire station and bustling market will be relocated as part of the project.
John Kingsbury, leader of Woking Borough Council, told the Woking News & Mail Surrey County Council’s decision was “great news for Woking”.
He told Tuesday’s Surrey County Council meeting at County Hall that the ambitious project would generate up to 1,000 local jobs.
Cllr Kingsbury (right) added: “Woking has pursued this initiative since it entered into a development agreement with Moyallen, head lessees of the Peacocks (2009), and acquired the leasehold interest in Wolsey Place (2010).
“The council owns the freehold of both shopping centres. The council did so to stop the decline in its town centre which, like many across the country, was suffering as a result of the recession, and to influence the future redevelopment of the town.
“We have committed ourselves to improvements in our town centre and the Bandstand Square development is the pinnacle of this phase of our ambition and direct intervention.
“The development will be a multi-million pound regeneration which should create up to 1,000 private sector jobs in retail and leisure.
“The proposed scheme will provide new quality retail, restaurant, hotel and residential accommodation.
“All this is totally in accordance with the local development framework which has recently been subjected to an examination in public and been found to be sound.
“For the scheme to be achieved we need Surrey County Council as a partner by bringing to the scheme its property and its finance to help promote economic activity.
“With Surrey County Council as a partner we are confident that the development is viable and deliverable.
“Woking’s council had already approved the scheme in principle when it determined its investment programme for 2012-13 onwards.
“I expect Woking council to approve the recommendations from the executive when it meets on Thursday evening.
“I believe that our joint endeavour will provide a positive sign to the private sector and it will come forward with further new development in Woking town centre.”