Woking Council listens to concerns over football club plans

October 21, 2019 6:44 PM

Woking Council listens to concerns over football club plans

Following a petition from local people and a motion from Councillors, Woking Borough Council has agreed to listen to residents' concerns about plans to redevelop Woking Football Club and will now seek a more measured development.

During last week's Full Council meeting, Councillors were presented with a petition against plans announced at the end of July to build a 10,000 seater stadium for Woking FC with over 1,000 properties around it.

After receiving the petition and hearing an excellent presentation from the petitioners South Woking Action Group, Councillors unanimously supported a resolution from local Lib Dem Councillor Will Forster which requested that GolDev, the Football Club and other stakeholders reassess their plans to redevelop the Laithwaite Community Stadium and surrounding area in light of this petition and concerns of local people.

Councillor for Hoe Valley, Will Forster, said:

"I attended the consultation events and saw local people react with shock at the scale of the plans. Once residents were aware of the proposals, a petition against plans from effectively 10% of my ward of Hoe Valley was gathered very quickly over the summer."

"Local residents do not want tower blocks to be built next to bungalows, or a large stadium built that even the football club themselves say is beyond the capacity they need. They do not want to see local infrastructure struggle to cope with the impact of this proposed development."

"However, local people are still very supportive of Woking FC - they want the club to thrive and get a new ground that fits its needs. I think my residents, and those further afield, want the club and their partners to drop these plans and agree a new plan to redevelop the stadium that is both appropriate for Kingfield and Westfield, and viable for the Club."

After a motion from Lib Dem Leader, Councillor Ann-Marie Barker, the Council agreed to reverse its previous policy for a 10,000 seater stadium and instead will look at options for a smaller ground that both local residents and Woking FC would prefer.

Leader of the Lib Dem Group, Councillor Ann-Marie Barker, said:

"It is very clear that the community support our local football club and want to see it thrive. Both on and off the pitch Woking FC contributes so much. But when you see that typical gates at the Laithwaite Stadium are around 2,000 and in the Football League proper a 5,000 capacity stadium is sufficient, looking at a range of lower stadium capacities may help to find a plan more acceptable to all."