During this week’s meeting of the Town Centre Oversight Panel councillors were given a preview of the next round of display materials that will be used to inform residents about the progress of the Victoria Square project. The exhibition stands should be available for viewing in Wolsey Place next weekend. The Victoria Square proposals entail a drastic change to the town centre, stretching from Victoria Arch to Bandstand Square and incorporating the former Post Office and Woking Fire Station, which is to be relocated.
The proposals for the site have been evolving for a number of years and have developed to combine retail, hotel and leisure use with almost 400 new one and two bedroom flats and expanded town centre parking provision. The project will deliver a major new Marks & Spencer store, including a foodhall and cafe; seven additional retail units including a bigger Boots store; a 190-bedroom four star hotel including a spa, gym, conference facilities; several restaurants, an additional 380 new parking spaces; and a medical centre.
A planning application is due to be submitted by the council and will be considered later in spring. I am fully supportive of this project and am keen to see it come to fruition. My only hesitation is in the size of the new buildings. At 34 storeys, one of the four towers will be the tallest building in Woking and around a third bigger than New Central. I have raised concerns about height during the oversight process and will make representations when this comes to planning committee. At the same time, I hope residents will agree that this is an exciting project that has the potential to take Woking to the next level by redeveloping the current rather tired marketplace and providing us with more job opportunities and a much great variety of retail, housing and leisure options.