BANDSTAND SQUARE is set to receive a £150million facelift, Woking Borough Council has announced.
Council chief executive Ray Morgan, flanked by leader of the council John Kingsbury and key stakeholders from Woking Shopping, also revealed that Marks & Spencer would act as the anchor store in a gleaming new 60,000 sq ft unit.
An additional 60,000 sq ft of space will be occupied by other retails in a project that is due to break ground in spring 2014.
Woking Borough Council will cover 50 per cent of the overall cost of the development, with the remaining funds being drawn from outside funding partners.
Mr Morgan said the outside parties would be finalised by December this year and confirmed that Marks & Spencer was the ‘vital trigger’ to their involvement.
He added said: “We are delighted that Marks & Spencer have agreed to become our anchor store.
“This project has come from understanding what the town desired and is another step to improving Woking town centre.
“It follows our core strategy and we are pleased with the amount of retailer interest.
“Everything is geared towards trading in time for Christmas 2017.”
Director of Woking Town Centre Management Tim Buckley said: “This is a massive step forward for the town and is a demonstration that Woking is open for business.”
A planning application for Bandstand Square will be submitted early in the new year with approval all but assured. And 190 apartments, plus a new business-class hotel, will also rise up with building work estimated for completion in 2017.
It is estimated the development will generate more than 1,000 new jobs and will complete the integration of the Wolsey Place and Peacocks shopping centres.
Customers will be able to circulate through the two centres with an “enhanced quality retail experience”.
But the project is not without its stumbling blocks.
Construction cannot begin without first relocating the fire station from its current home in Church Street.
Council chiefs also confirmed that an alternate road system will need to be installed, thus creating a need to rehome Woking’s bustling market stalls.
With the acquisition and subsequent demolition of the former Post Office and Globe House in Victoria Way, Gala Coral staff will also need to be suitably relocated.
A spokesman for the betting company said the council had their full backing.
They said: “The council has kept us informed about its plans and we are in discussion with it to relocate our employees during 2013.
“This will enable the site to be cleared in preparation for construction in 2014. It is most encouraging that the council is leading on improving the town and at the same time taking care to retain existing employment.”