On the 1st of July the Planning Committee of Woking Borough Council voted 9 for and 2 against the rejection of the planning application to build a 3 storey block of flats on the site of the old library building. The grounds for rejection were that the design of the proposed building was in clear breach of the local development plan, also known as the Core Strategy. It was in beach in that it was out of character with building in the immediate area and given the number of flats proposed there was a strong case of over development. The policy in question is CS 21. The second reason for rejection was the lack of dedicated parking and the lack of access for service vehicles. This was in beach of policy CS 18.
Our Ward Councillors Saj Hussain and Melanie Whitehand both spoke during the debate and Councillor Hussain actually proposed the rejection of the plans. The motion was seconded by Councillor Ian Eastwood. The majority of speakers were against the proposed plan. This was a difficult decision as the flats would be of affordable rent.
A number of Councillors raised issues with regards the memorial garden that was planned for the front of the proposed property. The main argument being that it was too small and was an insult to those it was meant to recognise. The memorial garden is not mentioned in the reason for rejection because, technically, it is not a planning issue.
So where does the Council go from here? New Vision Homes may come back with a revised plan or the Council may suggest an alternative use for the land. What would residents like to see this piece of land being used for? Please feel free to contact us with suggestions.