Borough Council purchases Dukes Court complex

Woking Borough Council has purchased the Dukes Court complex, acquiring another large chunk of prime commercial property.

The authority has bought the five interlinked buildings at the eastern end of the town for £72.35 million to ensure that they remain as offices and job locations.

The purchase is added to Wolsey Place shopping centre, which the council purchased for £68 million in 2010, as part of its quest to help keep the town competitive.

THE FUTURE ? A computer-generated image of the proposed Woking Gateway development, with tower blocks in the Victoria Square scheme to the left.

Dukes Court, which has 224,000 sq ft of office space, is one of the largest central Woking office sites, bounded by Duke Street, Broadway, Stanley Road and Chertsey Road.

It houses a HM Revenue and Customs branch, Kuwait Petroleum, Kuwait Aviation, the Paradigm Geophysical oil and gas exploration company and the Fidessa Group financial services conglomerate.

A council spokesman said: “With more 500,000 sq ft of office space either lost or in danger of being lost for residential use, Woking Borough Council considered it critical that Dukes Court remains as offices.”

One office block due to be lost to homes, Elizabeth House is next to Dukes Court. Thameswey Housing, a borough council enterprise, is converting the building into 157 homes.

The council intends to create a landscaped public plaza, surrounded by shops and restaurants, between Elizabeth House and Dukes Court, after closing Duke Street.

The leader of the council, Cllr David Bittleston, said: “Over recent years Woking has lost vital employment space and we recognise that the current investment market is reluctant to invest in speculative office developments.

“Without prime town centre office space, there is a genuine risk that jobs for local people and future employment opportunities could be lost. The purchase of Dukes Court enhances our wider investment and supports the growth of the town’s eastern quarter.”

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