Developers EcoWorld London will shortly submit revised plans to follow new fire safety rules and demolish a small building to keep active their planning permission for the substantial redevelopment of Goldsworth Road in Woking.

Planning permission for five tower blocks was granted when a Planning Inspectorate public inquiry allowed an appeal by Goldsworth Road Development LLP – the vehicle by which EcoWorld London delivered the plans – against the decision of Woking Borough Council to turn down the initial application in January 2021.

The initial scheme was recommended for approval by council officers but refused by the council’s planning committee.

However, the development was given the green light about a year later. Since then the site has remained largely dormant, although the popular Fiery Bird live music venue is now leasing premises along Goldsworth Road.

In light of the evolving regulations relating to the fire safety of tall buildings, EcoWorld will need to submit an amendment to the permission, so amending the design of the consented scheme prior to construction works commencing.

They have not yet progressed amendments to the design as they have been waiting for the new rules and requirements to emerge and settle, in advance of engaging the design team.

In the meantime, EcoWorld are progressing with the implementation of the planning consent and are aiming to demolish one of the smallest buildings within the site later this year in advance of the planning permission expiry in January 2025.

The building in question is 8 Church Street West and this is expected to take place in August/September and to take no more than four to six weeks. During the demolition works, they will aim to minimise the disruptions. EcoWorld will be performing works during the council’s construction hours and do not anticipate any out of hours works.

The deputy leader of Woking Borough Council and the portfolio holder for the voluntary sector, Will Forster, said: “I am pleased to hear that EcoWorld are proposing to change their plans to take an extra staircase in their planned tower blocks and follow the latest fire safety rules.

“EcoWorld do not currently have any further plans for demolition of existing buildings and will continue to engage with the local community through our tenants including Useful Wood, York Road Project and Phoenix Cultural Centre [home of Fiery Bird].

“The borough council recently granted some funding to support Phoenix to make their venue as accessible as possible.

“I am relieved EcoWorld have been able to relocate the tenant that occupied 8 Church Street West [BIS, a local building contractor] into one of their vacant properties on site at 27 Goldsworth Road.”

There was comment at the time of the public enquiry that one of the proposed tower blocks at that point, 37-storeys tall, had only one staircase. That particular block would have been Woking’s tallest tower, three storeys higher than at Victoria Square.

The plans cover land on both sides of Goldsworth Road near its junction with Victoria Way.