Proposals to deliver significant road and rail infrastructure improvements moved a step closer after being awarded central government investment.
Working in partnership, Surrey County Council and Woking Borough Council have been awarded a £95 million grant from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government. The investment will be used to address inadequacies of the A320 Guildford Road and Victoria Arch, which creates a pinch-point for traffic causing significant congestion, and to improve pedestrian and cycle routes. In addition, proposals include the replacement of the century old Victoria Arch railway bridge.
Making these infrastructure improvements will unlock additional housing capacity for 13 identified development sites within Woking Town Centre. It is expected that these sites could deliver up to 3,304 additional homes over and above the 1,251 homes planned in the Site Allocations Development Plan Document. Of the total 4,555 proposed homes, 1,913 (42%) would be affordable housing.
Through a partnership approach between Surrey County Council, Network Rail and Woking Borough Council, the funding will enable the delivery of two key objectives.
Incorporating the removal of the one-way gyratory system south of Victoria Arch (Guildford Road northbound, Victoria Road eastbound and Station Approach southbound) and the introduction of a two-way carriageway. It will also include enhanced pedestrian/cycle routes as well as four new controlled crossings.
Replace Victoria Arch with widened bridge
The widening works will create a dual-carriageway and a five metre wide footway/cycleway on both sides beneath the new bridge. This will improve north and southbound traffic flow, as well as provide safe and user-friendly extra space for pedestrians and cyclists. The new bridge will also support Network Rail’s longer term objective of delivering additional rail capacity on the main lines through Woking and additional capacity at Woking Train Station.
To achieve these objectives, it is necessary to acquire all properties located on ‘The Triangle’, an area of land surrounded by Guildford Road, Victoria Road and Station Approach, immediately south of Victoria Arch. The site, once acquired and cleared, will enable the delivery of a replacement bridge and development of more than 300 homes.
Cllr David Bittleston, Leader of Woking Borough Council, said: “For well over 30 years, we have been seeking a way of addressing infrastructure deficits in Woking Town Centre, in particular, solutions around the A320 Victoria Arch bottleneck.
“Central government has recognised the potential Woking Town Centre has to deliver thousands of homes, many of which will be affordable housing, through investing in the A320 and Victoria Arch road and rail infrastructure improvements.
“By focusing our development within the town centre, a policy clearly set out in our adopted Local Plan, we can build the affordable homes that families desperately need, meet our housing targets and protect our precious green belt which our residents tell us is of utmost importance.”
Cllr Colin Kemp, Deputy Leader of Surrey County Council, added: “We’re delighted that this funding has been awarded as it will help deliver infrastructure improvements in both road and rail as well as facilitate new housing in Woking and the surrounding area.
“This shows that by working together, we can provide the necessary road and rail infrastructure which supports the continued growth of Woking.”
Over the coming months, detailed plans will continue to be developed in partnership with Surrey County Council, Network Rail and Homes England.
At this stage it is anticipated that the new road and rail proposals will be delivered by March 2024 with the housing provision delivered by 2030.
The 13 town centre development site identified in the Local Plan are:
- Royal Mail Depot, Oriental Road
- Former train station car park, Oriental Road
- New Central extension, Guildford Road/York Road
- Police Station/Magistrates Court, Station Approach
- Station Plaza, Oriental Road
- Land adjacent Magistrates Court, Heathside Crescent
- The Triangle, Guildford Road
- Former Job Centre and associated land, Goldsworth Road
- Former BHS site, Church Street East
- Concorde/Griffin House, Christchurch Way
- HG Wells Conference and Events Centre/former Rat and Parrot Public House, Church Street East
- Former Woking News and Mail site, Poole Road
- Church Gate, Church Street West