Woking Borough Council and William Lacy Group: building on redundant land

The Rydens Way development provided 24 open market and 18 affordable eco-friendly homes ranging from one bedroom flats to four bedroom houses. The homes have been built on land that had previously been reserved as a bypass.

For many years the area had been poorly used and maintained and littered with vehicles parked in a haphazard fashion, making the area unsafe and unattractive. The plans included major highway improvements, enhanced public transport facilities and significant environmental and open space improvements.

The new plans were met with significant resistance from many quarters, but now the homes are complete and the new road network is in place there is a clear recognition of the substantial improvement to the area. This is evidenced by the support that has been received for the further plans for the construction of 11 houses on the last phase of the site that have now received detailed planning at local level.

There was a real need to transform the quality of this part of Old Woking. The Rydens Way scheme of 42 new homes with its extensive landscaping, improved public transport links and upgraded parking provision has breathed life into this area. The new homes range in size from one bedroom homes to four bedroom accommodation and include 14 affordable homes, all built without the need for public funding. The Rydens Way project is a splendid example of what can be done to transform an area, if there is vision, clear objectives and a committed development team.

Ray Morgan, Chief Executive, Woking Borough Council

The development layout and the design of the new homes were prepared by PRP Architects in conjunction WITH the William Lacey Group, resulting in a style of architecture that complemented the local street scene and the neighbourhood setting. A series of meetings with residents were held to explain the benefits of the new scheme and to address any concerns that were raised.

Building 42 new homes, together with the construction of a new arterial road network, in the centre of an area surrounded by 600 existing homes, was a challenging prospect. This required close liaison with the local community to ensure that complete services of public and private transport and access for emergencies and pedestrian access were maintained throughout the construction period.

The affordable homes were allocated by Woking Borough Council and the homes for sale were sold on the open market. The first phase of the development is now complete and the regeneration of the area has breathed new life into this part of Old Woking.

There is a good community spirit on the new development. One example is the ‘Incredible Edible’ network that have used very small parts of the development to grow vegetables, herbs and fruit for the benefit of the residents.

Planning approval has now been granted for the second phase of development: 11 new family homes. The first phase of the redevelopment transformed the area and this was translated into significant backing by the community at the public exhibitions showcasing the proposals for the last phase of development.

The key to the success of this development has been teamwork. We have enjoyed an excellent working relationship with Woking Borough Council, the agents who acted on behalf of the council and of course our own management team who all worked so hard to bring the Rydens Way development to a successful conclusion.

Chris Lacey, Chief Executive, William Lacey Group