With the financial challenges facing Woking Borough Council and the government’s pressure to get them in order, no-one will disagree that Woking has to learn to live within its means by turning off its borrowing taps and recoup money from bad property investment decisions made over the past decade.

The Anchor pub in Knaphill is one such investment with the potential to recover some losses. Without going into the history of why the council paid over the odds for The Anchor, the question is what the council plans to do with this asset. The building is locally listed and could be put to good use.

Yet it would be easy for the council to try to offload the building to a developer with the tacit agreement to demolish it, but many residents believe this would be wrong. Also, the limitation is the size of the car park, and previous plans to build new wings failed for several reasons, one being parking.

It is envisaged that taking the site to market with new planning permission without the council developing it will attract higher market prices from developers and help the bankrupt council offset the debt. At the same time, developing the vacant Anchor premises will address the broken window syndrome, as we all know what happened to the Robin Hood pub once it was left empty.

Therefore, it is welcome news that the council has put in a revised planning proposal to build a two-storey side with a rear extension to provide eight self-contained residential flats, a restaurant/café/licensed ground-floor premises with parking, and landscaping.

However, adequate parking is crucial because Knaphill residents regularly complain about the number of cars parked in the village on pavements, grass verges and double yellow lines. Although the revised planning application mentions parking space, even a minimum of eight, one per flat, will be inadequate, as households often tend to own more than one car.

On top of that, parking will have to be allocated for the businesses and their clientele, adding further chaos. Hence, it will require thoughtful designs to alleviate the acute parking shortage for residents and break the monotony of the concrete jungle with greenery and open living space.

Redeveloping The Anchor with proper planning will regenerate the high street and alleviate the existing shortage of affordable housing to prevent key workers and young people from being priced out of the area.

Identifying similar brownfield sites in other wards will further help the council to ensure that it meets its responsibilities to plan for 15 years under the National Planning Policy Framework to deliver almost 300 additional dwellings annually within its core strategy of housing provision in the borough.

Exploring ways to regenerate high streets in Knaphill and other wards is vital. Knaphill has an excellent village atmosphere to attract trade currently passing through without stopping and can do better than just an arterial thoroughfare hub with traffic lights for cars.