Councillors refuse plans for two more tower blocks

COUNCILLORS dug their heels in last week to resist two more tower blocks being built in Woking town centre.

The borough council’s planning committee refused applications for 28 and 39-storey buildings.

The proposed Crown Square development as it would be seen from Chobham Road

Members said they were alarmed that there would be no affordable homes in the total of 676 flats proposed for the two blocks, but a key sticking point was the height of the buildings.

Cllr Liam Lyons said the 39-storey block – proposed for the former BHS store site in Commercial Way – would be “just too tall”. The council had previously allowed a 21-storey tower at New Central in Guildford Road and then the 34-storey residential block being built in Victoria Square.

An artist’s impression of the 39-floor block proposed for Commercial Way, close to the Grade II listed Christ Church

“We thought 34 storeys would be a flagship but it’s being used as a benchmark,” he said. He added that he was uncomfortable with the town’s new skyline as seen from places like Horsell, and Guildford Borough Council had objected to the applications because of the effect they would have on the view from its area.

An objector who spoke to the committee, Dr Anthony Fraser, said residents had not been consulted on the impact an increase in high-rise buildings would have on their town centre. He warned that as many as 23 tower blocks could be built, with construction continuing into the 2030s.

The deputy chief executive, Douglas Spinks, pointed out that the council’s core strategy was to build new homes in the town centre, rather than on Green Belt land. But no limit had been put on the height of buildings.

For the full story get the 26 March edition of the News & Mail

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