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Another High-Rise for Woking

Published on: 20 Jan, 2024
Updated on: 20 Jan, 2024

Indicative CGI from Church Street East

By Chris Caulfield

local democracy reporter

A new 11-storey tower block will join the Woking town centre skyline – although this time it’s not being funded by loans given to the now bankrupt council.

Plans have been approved to demolish the existing buildings in Cleary Court, Chobham Road and parts of Christchurch Way, into an 11-storey office block with shopping and space for a cafe or gym on the ground and first floors.

The building will double the available office space in the town centre and includes a new public space that connects the north of Victoria Way to the town centre and rail station.

Pink outline shows impact of the proposed building on Woking’s townscape,

Katie Davis on behalf of the applicant told Woking Borough Council’s Tuesday, January 16, planning ommittee that the demand for office space in the last 18 months had never been higher as employers sought best-in-class space in the wake of the pandemic.

She said: “Woking is rapidly running out of options in terms of supply” adding, “there have been no new office buildings built in the town for many years. The redevelopment of this rather tired and disjointed but very well located site couldn’t come at a better time.”

She said the applicant had really done its homework and visited development options in other commuter towns before choosing Woking.

The development will become a “beacon for sustainable construction”, bring 1,000 new jobs, and “pump millions into the economy with a boost to both evening and daytime trade.”

The buildings along Chobham Road are mostly three-storey Victorian terraces with shops on the ground floor and offices above although. Cleary Court itself is a four-storey 1980s building.

Cllr Chris Martin

Cllr Chris Martin, (Lib Dem, Pryford) said: “There are some concerns from residents that Woking doesn’t need more offices and actually looking at the amount of grade-a office space that is currently available this more than doubles what’s currently available in the town centre.

“Whilst I would prefer it to be a couple of storeys lower I could get over that and accept it’s really a high quality building and the officers have done a great job bringing that height down from where it was in the pre-application process. It’s a private development that isn’t being funded by Woking Borough Council and the residents, so I think it’s a good step in the right direction.”

The plans were approved subject to finalising how much the developers should pay towards community projects through what is known as a Section 106 agreement. The developers also said they would look to improve delivery access to the site.

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Responses to Another High-Rise for Woking

  1. John Cooke Reply

    January 20, 2024 at 4:18 pm

    Do these people ever think about what they are saying?

    On reading this article I did a very quick search on Rightmove Commercial: there are over 360,000 square feet of office space available in Woking town centre, on the first page and from the first nine listings! So it seems doubtful Woking needs more office space.

    Second, I’m pretty sure “sustainable construction” is not sustainable if you knock down an office block to build a new office block.

    At least the council’s not financing this one, as far as we can tell.

  2. Dave Middleton Reply

    January 22, 2024 at 5:58 pm

    While I suppose it’s for the people of Woking to decide on the future of their town, I’ll be sad to see the terrace of Victorian-era shops, with living accommodation above them on Chobham Road, opposite Central Buildings, demolished for yet another bland office block.

    I’ll particularly mourn the loss of the ‘Ghost Sign’ on the side wall of number 41A Chobham Road, marking the location of the Allnutt Brothers Corn and Grain Stores. Allnutt Brothers traded from that premises from at least 1898.

    Another little piece of Woking town’s history to be gone forever.

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