A FRAMEWORK that will guide future development, including building heights, in Woking town centre will form a major part of the borough’s next statutory strategic planning document.

The decision means Woking town centre’s Masterplan policies will be integrated into the borough’s new Local Plan, when the current plan ends in 2027.

It is expected the plan will include townscape guidance, supported by a borough-wide design code which would consider heights across the borough, not just the town centre, and a clear position on where tall buildings are appropriate.

Cllr Liam Lyons, the council’s portfolio holder for planning and regulation, said: “A key pledge of this administration was to give residents their say on the future development of Woking town centre, particularly around the design and height of buildings.

“I am extremely pleased the work and principles developed as part of the draft Masterplan are already being used by officers to help shape future development schemes.

“I am also satisfied we have met this key pledge. 

“It is right that our vision for the future of Woking town centre, and the rest of the borough, should be incorporated into the Local Plan.

“Not only will the Local Plan provide communities, businesses and investors with a clear planning framework that would consider building heights across the borough, it will ensure that decisions about development in Woking will be made in Woking.”

Between July and October 2022, a comprehensive 12-week borough-wide consultation on the council’s future development framework proposals for Woking town centre was held. 

During the consultation period, more than 850 formal consultation responses were received from almost 450 individuals and organisations.

Cllr Will Forster, deputy leader of the council, said: “If we can definitely deliver in the town centre, it eases pressure in the green belt”.