Woking groups pledge to work together for football club’s future

WOKING FC, local residents and councillors from all parties have pledged to work together for the future of the club after plans for a new stadium – and the building of more than 1,000 flats next door – were rejected by the borough council planning committee.

During the debate at the committee meeting last week, councillors from the ruling Conservatives, the Liberal Democrats, the Labour Party and the Independent group said they wanted the Cards to succeed and that the council should find ways of giving support.

A CGI picture of the scheme rejected by the planning committee for proposed new football stadium and blocks of flats

Katie Bowes, from South Woking Action Group, which led opposition of the size and scale of the proposed five blocks of flats, said in a statement after the plans were turned down that SWAG  wanted to reaffirm its support for Woking Football Club.

“We recognize that this entire development has struck the heart of many in Woking, and we want the football club to succeed,” Ms Bowes said.

“Our opposition has never been against the club; we have only ever opposed the overdevelopment of our community which would have caused irrecoverable harm to its character, harmony and sustainability.”

Rosemary Johnson, the Woking FC chairman, said in her reaction that she was obviously disappointed by the planning committee decision but praised the engagement with local residents during the consultations.

“Whilst many have opposed the development, we have still met, discussed and engaged regularly and, as a result, got a fuller understanding of the issues,” Mrs Johnson said.

“As a community club we have to work with all; our commitment is always to work for the good of the whole of Woking through pursuing elite football success that brings the town honour, identity and recognition.”

Ann-Marie Barker, leader of the opposition Liberal Democrats on Woking Borough Council, said she would like to meet with the club, SWAG and other local interests at the earliest opportunity to discuss the way forward for the Cards.

“It is time to look to the future,” Cllr Barker said. “Woking is proud of its football club. It is part of the community. So many want it to succeed. We owe it to our community to find a solution.”

For more on this story, see the 2 July edition of the News & Mail

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