On Tuesday 4th November Councillors on Woking’s Planning Committee will discuss the latest plans for the development of Woking town centre. This is the land from the old market ground down to Toys r Us, including land currently used for the fire station. The Council presents this as good news as it will bring M & S back to town plus a new large hotel, restaurants and apartments. What Councillors have failed to communicate is the impact this development will have on commuters, shoppers and anyone else who uses our buses to travel to and from town.
The development requires the closure of Cawsey Way (the road that goes past Toys r Us, Wolsey shopping centre and the side of Boots) and the High Street, that will go across the old market ground, becomes a one way road down from the railway station.
So the buses from Knaphill (28, 34, 35 & 91) on reaching Victoria Way will turn left travel along Victoria Way to the roundabout, at the far end, up Chertsey Road and Stanley Road to reach the bus stops on the Broadway (next to the railway station). Please note officially this is not a bus station. There will be a new bus stop on Victoria Way,this will be the one nearest to the shops, and it will be near the Lightbox, close to the junction of Victoria Way and Chobham Raod.
The so called transport experts state that the journey time to the railway station will only be extended by 2min 86 seconds. This may be true on a sunny Sunday afternoon but on a wet Friday morning in the rush hour the extension in time will be nearer 10 minutes.Commuters can alight at the Lightbox and then hot foot it through town. The elderly or anyone slow on their feet are going to find it much harder to reach the shops.
We are told that this is progress but what it demonstrates is that in the eyes of Woking Borough Council and the County Council bus passengers will be treated as third class citizens. What happened to the idea of an integrated transport system or Woking having a public transport hub? Just words.
Surrey County Council are concerned with the level of subsidy they pay to Arriva the bus company. This redesigning of the road network in Woking is not going to entice more commuters out of their cars and on to the buses. Then there is the added congestion on Victoria Road as the nearside lane becomes a bus only lane.