Residents set to fight plans for 17-storey block of flats

LOCAL residents are gearing up to oppose plans for a 17-storey block of flats in Woking town centre after succeeding in stopping the building of five tower blocks, including one of 38 storeys, in Goldsworth Road.

Plans for 243 flats in Church Street West and Vale Farm Road were submitted to the council on Christmas Day.

An artist’s impression of the refused tower blocks redevelopment, looking along Goldsworth Road to the town centre, with the Victoria Square construction site in the background

Bernadette Fischler, a spokesman for the Oaks and Vale Farm Residents’ Group, said the development, which would involve demolishing Church Gate, Premier House and 10 houses in Vale Farm Road, would be more appropriate at a lower level and density.

She said the residents’ group is beginning to organise opposition to the scheme.

The planned block would be four to 17 storeys high with 243 flats, 105 of which would be single occupancy. There would be 66 one-bed flats for couples, 56 two-beds for three people, with the rest for four people, including four duplex apartments.

The expected 360 occupants would have 66 car parking spaces and 243 bike parking spaces.

Several residents have submitted comments to the council opposing the scheme with eight objecting. Some said that buildings in the area are no more than seven storeys high and that the proposed flats would overlook their homes.

The Oaks and Vale Farm Residents’ Group led the opposition to an application for 900 flats in a Goldsworth Road development, which was rejected by five votes to three by the borough council planning committee recently.

Ms Fischler said that decision was “a milestone success to celebrate” but warned “there is no doubt that the developers will come back with a vengeance and appeal.”

She added: “We believe it will ruin the townscape and distract from Victoria Place as a flagship development.

“We do not want to endure eight or more years of disruption from building sites, including road closures, more heavy vehicles, dust, vibration and noises and lack of access to the city centre.

“Instead, we’d be happy to see a mid-rise development with the number of dwellings consistent to the numbers of dwelling and offices space listed in Woking’s Site Allocation Development Planning Document (DPD).”

Ms Fischler told the News & Mail that the residents’ group is in favour of development of the area and that building on brownfield sites was preferable to development on greenfield ones.

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