Height limits could be set on new buildings in town centre

LIMITS on the height of new buildings in Woking town centre might be introduced after the borough council leader announced a consultation with residents over future developments.

The Citizens Panel is to be revived and a residents’ forum and other feedback groups are to be introduced early next year.

Council leader Cllr Ayesha Azad has announced resident consultations over new building plans in Woking

Ayesha Azad, who took over as leader last month promising to improve communication with local people, said that it was time the council had a conversation with residents on how the town has developed during the past few years.

Cllr Azad said the Victoria Square development will bring retail and residential benefits to the town – but added it was “a landmark and not a starting point for all future development”.

She said: “The time has come to have another conversation with residents about the housing challenges we face and how best the council can address them while taking into account people’s concerns.”

A particular talking point has been the height of new developments in Woking town centre

“We need dialogue between the council and residents to be frequent, open and authentic. As far as I am concerned, the town centre development question is just the start of getting residents more involved in decision-making.”

Cllr Azad said membership of the Citizens Panel will be open before the end of this year with details about how to get involved be announced very shortly.

In a separate development, Liberal Democrat councillor Liam Lyons is seeking to have council regulations changed to limit the height of new buildings.

Cllr Lyons, who is on the planning committee, said: “Residents are becoming increasingly concerned that the development of the town centre is getting out-of-control, particularly with regard to the size and height of new buildings.

“I believe it’s perfectly possible to deliver a housing strategy, with more reasonably-sized buildings, that better fit the current character of Woking, both in the town centre and throughout Woking.”

He tabled a motion to the council meeting on 3 December, requesting the council ask officers to produce a report setting out existing guidance and the impacts of any changes.

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