THE redevelopment of Sheer House, in the centre of West Byfleet, has moved a step closer after Retirement Villages Group confirmed its acquisition of the site.

The new owner plans to invest £90 million to create a retirement-led, mixed-use development.

It is proposing about 200 homes with a mix of apartment sizes for sale and rent. The scheme will also feature a range of amenities including a wellness centre, a pedestrianised square enclosed by retail and leisure use, a replacement public library and car park.

The site was acquired from Prime Finance (West Byfleet), which in 2017 obtained outline planning consent for 255 apartments, and new retail space.

James Ahearne, development director at Retirement Villages Group, said: “Our proposed scheme will centre around the new public square at the heart of West Byfleet. We know that the public expects an improvement on the old office block, car park and shopping arcade, and has done for some time. We want a solution that will be seen as an integral part of the village.

“As well as the public library and car parking, we hope to attract independent local businesses to the retail units, which will be part of the redevelopment.”

He added: “Our project team will be consulting closely with the local community as we seek approval for minor changes to the consented scheme to enable construction to start as soon as possible.”

Retirement Villages Group is liaising with local organisations to establish a framework for consultation, which it aims to make as inclusive as possible given current social distancing restrictions.

These make an in-person exhibition unlikely, and the process is more likely to be conducted across a mix of website, email and social media.

Liberal Democrat councillor Graham Chrystie welcomed the new developer for the site.

“Sheer House decay and the declining area around it have dragged down the area for some time now, and our formerly vibrant village needs regeneration fast,” he said.

“Popular shops have closed and I’m delighted that Retirement Villages Group has purchased the site and is keen to start work in the autumn. There is great potential for a really good development complementing the village."

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For the full story, see the 2 July edition of the News & Mail