Old Woking

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This Local Plan summary for Old Woking is one of a series of guides covering Woking Borough. It aims to provide a general user friendly overview of how the Woking Borough Local Plan 1999 will manage future development in this area. The Local Plan sets out the Council's policies for the development and use of land and includes the key considerations for determining planning applications. The Council also produces a number of other key strategies which feature policies that are not covered by the Local Plan.

View the map of Old Woking here.

The Local Plan summaries contain a brief discussion of the development issues within each area and how policies will affect them. They also contain details of any specific proposals for the area, together with an extract of the Local Plan Proposals Map. As well as policies on specific development issues, the Local Plan also includes general policies on related matters such as design, landscaping, parking and the effects of traffic which apply to all developments. Although the summary provides an overview of the policies for Old Woking, reference should be made to the Local Plan for the full text of any policies. Relevant Local Plan policies for each issue are shown in brackets.

About Old Woking

Old Woking lies to the south of the Borough, and includes a mixture of Green Belt and urban area. To the south and east of the area is open countryside, while the urban area of Woking is to the north and west. Old Woking was the original settlement of Woking, centred on St. Peter's Church before the modern town developed around the railway station. To the east and north lies the Hoe Valley. Within the area there is a mixture of residential and industrial uses, agricultural land, and areas of nature conservation and archaeological importance. There is also a substantial amount of open space and common land close to the area including Woking Park and Mill Moor. Additionally, the historic site of Woking Palace lies to the east of the urban area.

The focus of the Local Plan for the Old Woking area is on protecting the environment and ensuring that any new development is in keeping with the existing character. As a result, development of a modest scale, appropriate to the area concerned, will be permitted in the existing residential areas, while important nature conservation sites and historic buildings will be protected. Whereas in the village centre, proposals which maintain and enhance its vitality and viability will be considered. Only very limited types of building will be permitted in the Green Belt areas around Old Woking.

Local Centres

There are two local centres in the area; Old Woking and Rydens Way. In 1999, both Old Woking and Rydens Way contain a limited range of shops.

Old Woking village centre is a small centre of historical significance which is reflected in its narrow streets and concentrated pattern of development. In addition, the centre also has many period buildings constructed of traditional materials which give it a distinctive character, eight of these are Listed. The centre is mainly residential in character interspersed with a variety of shops, pubs and offices which provide limited services for the local community. Community facilities (churches, community halls and health centres) are very limited although there are large areas of open space nearby.

In addition, there is a small parade of shops at Rydens Way.

Within these centres, the Local Plan aims to:

  • retain shops. The plan will only allow alternative uses of shops where there is no market for the shop. In such cases changes to financial services or restaurants/takeaways may be permitted, as these will attract customers into the centre (SHP1, SHP6)

Additionally, in Old Woking, the Local Plan aims to:

  • seek improvements to both the environment and access to the village centre. These will be in keeping with the Council's own programme of improvements which have included landscaping, provision of additional street furniture and new signs (VCN3, VCN4)
  • encourage the regeneration and diversification of the village centre by permitting small office, shop, leisure and community developments (EMP2, SHP1, REC5, CUS1, VCN2)

Residential areas

Much of the area is characterised by inter war estate type housing which includes terraced and semi-detached housing. Opportunities to build more housing within the built-up area are limited, but in some cases house builders may seek to redevelop sites to provide more houses. In these cases, the Local Plan aims to:

  • allow the construction of new housing in the urban area, provided the development reflects the character of the area (HSG18)

Community Facilities

There is a limited range of community facilities in Old Woking which can only be lost when: there is no longer a need or adequate alternative provision is made (CUS2)

Built Heritage and conservation including Woking Palace

The area has a number of buildings which have been Listed for their architectural or historic interest including twenty three which are of national importance together with others of local importance. Whilst the area was substantially developed during the inter war and immediate post war period, Old Woking is an historic centre. The settlement is based around St Peter's Church which is a Grade 1 Listed Building. This is the highest grade nationally, and there are only four in Woking. Old Woking was the first Conservation Area to be designated in the Borough. In addition, there are also a number of sites which may contain archaeological remains.

Woking Palace is an important feature of the area, lying to the east of the village centre. The Palace site has been nationally recognised for its historic interest and is a Scheduled Ancient Monument. The Palace had important royal connections during the medieval and post medieval periods, most notably with Edward III and Henry VIII. The site was purchased by the Council in 1988, and in September 1994 it adopted a strategy for its long term conservation, repair and presentation. To improve access to the site, the Council is proposing to establish a Country Park around the Palace. This proposal is covered later in the summary.

The Local Plan seeks to:

  • ensure that development does not harm the Woking Palace Scheduled Ancient Monument (BE15)
  • ensure that any development preserves the historic character of the Old Woking Conservation Area (BE9)
  • ensure that development does not harm the character or setting of the Listed and Locally Listed Buildings in the area (BE10 - BE14)
  • require archaeological assessments in Areas of High Archaeological Potential as part of a development proposal (BE16)

Natural environment and landscape

The River Wey and Hoe Stream are important features in the area, particularly for their landscape and ecological attributes. They are designated as Sites of Nature Conservation Importance (SNCI) to protect the regionally important watercourse. In addition, there are SNCIs at Oldhall Copse and Roundbridge Farm to protect the marsh and grassland habitats. Parts of the area close to the River Wey and Hoe Stream lie within the flood plain.

The Local Plan seeks to:

  • protect these regionally important Sites of Nature Conservation Importance from development which harms their nature conservation interests (NE2)
  • ensure that any development in the valleys of the River Wey and Hoe Stream both respects the quality of the landscape (NE6) and does not lead to an increased risk of flooding (NE11). Development will not normally be permitted in the flood plain.

Green Belt

Much of the Old Woking area is designated Green Belt. Whilst the Green Belt area is mainly agricultural, there are a number of other uses including a sewerage works and a printing works. The Local Plan seeks to:

  • protect the Green Belt areas from new building for purposes other than agriculture and outdoor recreation, in order to protect its open character (GRB1)
  • allow the conversion of existing buildings in the Green Belt to other uses which protect its open character and do not harm the open character of the area (GRB3)

Recreation and open space

Old Woking contains both formal and informal recreational opportunities, including the playing fields at Rydens Way. The are also a variety of local footpath routes around the area. Local Plan policies:

  • resist the loss of both formal and informal recreational space (REC3, REC4)
  • ensure that improvements and/or enhancements to the recreational facilities in the area do not have an adverse impact on the environment (and respects the quality of the landscape) (REC5, REC7)

Woking Palace Country Park and proposed Hoe Stream footpath

To supplement the recreational facilities in the area, the Council is proposing a new Country Park around Woking Palace and a footpath along the Hoe Valley. The proposed Country Park will help to protect the Scheduled Ancient Monument.

  • identifies a footpath route along the Hoe Stream to enhance recreational opportunities (REC14)
  • identify land around the Woking Palace Ancient Monument for the provision of a Country Park to enhance recreational provision in the area (REC17)

Industrial and office development

The Old Woking area provides a range of local employment opportunities. The Local Plan seeks to retain these. However, some of the buildings may require redevelopment to provide suitable accommodation for the needs of modern businesses. The Plan seeks to address this by:

  • allowing industrial or warehousing development at Old Woking Industrial Estate provided it does not harm the environment of the area (EMP4, EMP5)
  • allowing the redevelopment of existing employment sites in the area to provide suitable modern business accommodation. These should be broadly similar in scale to the existing buildings (EMP3)
  • not permitting the loss of any existing employment sites unless the business activity adversely affects local residents. In such cases a less harmful employment activity, or housing development may be permitted (EMP7)

Major Roads

Several major routes pass through the area including the A247 (Kingfield Road) and the B382 (Old Woking Road), providing good road connections with other areas of the Borough and beyond. These are important through routes which consequently suffer from heavy traffic, particularly at peak times. As well as being inconvenient for road users, this can damage the quality of the environment in the area. To address this, the Local Plan:

  • supports the implementation of a route management study for the A247 by Surrey County Council, which will establish and examine the needs of all road users whilst taking account of environmental considerations (MV26)

Public Transport, Walking and Cycling

Local Plan policies aim to support initiatives which reduce the demands on the road network by ensuring that alternatives such as public transport, walking and cycling are safe, convenient and accessible. Currently (2000), public transport accessibility in the area is poor. Local Plan policies:

  • support proposals which lead to improvements in pedestrian and/or cycle facilities (MV17, MV18)
  • support infrastructure developments and priority measures which lead to improvements in the provision, accessibility and diversity of bus services together with their increased integration with other types of public transport (MV20, MV21)

Detailed proposals for maintenance and improvement of roads, cycle and pedestrian routes and public transport are not part of the Local Plan. These are set out in the Surrey Local Transport Plan (Woking Area Implementation Programme).

Useful Contacts

For any other information, please contact the Council on 01483 768746, email wokbc@woking.gov.uk.