A 25-storey Woking high-rise can go ahead after it was ruled the block of 224 flats would fit with the town centre’s proliferation of towers – and the council’s efforts to block them “held little weight”.

Developer Abri applied to build the affordable block last year but Woking Borough Council’s planning committee threw it out, arguing it would create a “ghetto” that would “segregate” people on lower incomes.

This despite the promise of more affordable homes than had been managed in the past three years.

However, a planning inspector overturned the decision, saying the town’s towers – together with the decision to cram housing into the centre of Woking – meant the new building would fit right in.

He added that the council’s draft town centre strategy, which sought to limit high rises, was effectively useless and ‘held little weight” as it was unlikely to come into effect any time soon.

Sam Stone, director of land and planning at Abri, said: “We’re grateful the plans for Technology House [on Goldsworth Road] have been approved on appeal.”

The original plans were to make every home in the block available at affordable rates. Since then the position has changed to where they can only guarantee 40 per cent, 90 units, though aiming for more.

According to the inspector, the town centre, including unbuilt plans, had a “substantial bearing” on the final decision.

They said: “I have given most weight to what is already built and can be seen in the existing street scene, townscape and landscape.

“Woking is referred to by the main parties as being subject to several regeneration projects, largely in the western part of the town centre, including Victoria Place, a 34-storey development. 

“Additionally, the allowed EcoWorld scheme 1, at land to the north and south of Goldsworth Road, comprising 37 storeys, is a significant part of the arguments made.”