SHEER HOUSE REDEVELOPMENT
– LATEST NEWS –
SHEER HOUSE LATEST – August 2021
SHEER HOUSE CAR PARK CLOSING
Just a reminder that the Sheer House Car Park closes to the public at the end of this August.
Alternative short stay parking can be found at West Byfleet Railway Station Car Park available from 10am weekdays and all day on Saturday & Sunday costing, via Ringo,
- 1hr £0.80
- 2hr £1.60
- 3hr £2.40
- 4 hr £3.20
As a passing footnote did you know Sheer House was an award-winning development?
According to the Woking News & Mail on the 8th May 1965 (page 6), ‘The design of the Sheer House shopping centre at West Byfleet has gained its architect, Mr NGE Turner, the first award by Guildford Chapter of the Royal Institute of British Architects under a new award scheme sponsored by the chapter to promote good design in local architecture’. The practice of Messrs Scott, Brownrigg and Turner, were apparently presented with a ‘circular wall plaque’ commemorating the award at an exhibition of work by members of the South Eastern Society of Architects in Guildford the previous week.
Thank you to the local historian Iain Wakeford for the information
Keeble Brown reported for RVG as follows:
We are delighted to share the news that Woking Borough Council planning committee voted unanimously to grant consent for our Reserved Matters application this week. The decision to approve the detailed designs means we remain on track to start construction by the end of the year.
In the meantime, we will continue to keep the local community updated on the demolition programme and other initiatives through our Facebook page, website and regular newsletter.
In addition to this week’s good news, Squibb Group is continuing to mobilise for demolition and this is progressing well. They will start with ‘internal strip out’ – removing items from inside Sheer House for the first few weeks before moving on to removing the Sheer House building and the retail units. We expect this more visible demolition to commence in approximately four weeks’ time. We will keep you updated and provide further updates over the coming weeks.
On 20 March Keeble Brown wrote on behalf of Retirement Villages Group:
People familiar with the Sheer House site in West Byfleet will know that it is due for demolition ahead of the regeneration of the entire site. We are pleased to confirm an important step forward in this process.
Retirement Villages Group can now confirm the demolition contractor will start pre-demolition works on site this month, with preparations beginning next week. The work will be undertaken by Squibb Group Limited, a leading demolition contractor, specialising in precision demolition.
Initially Squibb Group will carry out further site surveys and inspections of all the buildings as well as setting up site offices and equipment. All on-site operational procedures and the set-up of offices and amenities will be designed to follow the government’s and Public Health England’s guidelines for Covid-19. Specifically, as a member of the construction sector, Squibb Group Limited is guided by the Construction Leadership Council’s standard operating procedures, which follow the advice of the authorities.
Operations, beginning with Sheer House and the low-level retail units, will start to remove any hazardous materials, such as asbestos. The public library and the public toilets will not be included in this initial phase of the work. These will remain available to the public for as long as possible. As previously confirmed, the project team is liaising with Woking Borough Council and Surrey County Council’s Library Services to explore options for temporary library premises.
The public car park will also remain accessible. On occasion, some parking spaces may be unavailable for public use. Clear notice will be given of any temporary closures, the duration of which will be as short as possible. As with the library, the project team is liaising with councillors to explore options for alternative public parking arrangements once the public car park at Sheer House is closed off.
Looking ahead, Squibb Group Limited plan to erect a significant amount of protective scaffolding. Most of this will be erected within the site but a small quantity will need to be erected on some surrounding pavements. All of this will be done to comply with the regulations, licencing requirements and, most importantly, health and safety standards. Safety is always our priority.
As we discussed at the public Zoom events, overall, clearing the site is expected to take 30 weeks. This includes the initial pre-demolition activities.
We expect to have more details next week and we will be able to answer any questions. In the meantime, Squibb Group Limited has issued a letter with additional information and contact details.
We will continue to work with the West Byfleet Community Liaison Group and other stakeholders to make sure that people are kept up to date with the demolition programme and to respond to any queries. Our email newsletter will provide details of the work involved and news of any potential disruptions. If you have not already signed up, please visit www.sheeerhouseredevelopment.
This news marks an important milestone and reflects Retirement Villages Group’s commitment to bringing about the long-awaited regeneration of this central location in West Byfleet.
On 27 January Keeble Brown wrote on behalf of Retirement Villages Group:
On Monday 25 January we received confirmation from Woking Borough Council that our Reserved Matters Application is now validated. This means all the submitted documents are available for viewing and comment https://bit.ly/3pkDwKJ. We have also uploaded some of the submitted design documents to our website here: https://sheerhouseredevelopment.co.uk/information-packs/
The council is accepting feedback from the public until 15 February (we understand this date may be extended). Although there are elements of the proposals that are now determined, for example those relating to the consented applications, the project team will continue to respond to comments and suggestions.
We have agreed with the Council’s planning department to aim for the application to be considered during the planning committee meeting on 6 April 2021. We know this is an ambitious target, but we believe we can achieve it.
As we have written in previous emails, we are very aware of the public’s desire to see the Sheer House site brought back to life as soon as possible. With continued local support and a positive response to our Reserved Matters application, we are hopeful people will start seeing real progress on site in the next few weeks.
Public Square: Furniture Palette
We hope that people will notice how many of their suggestion and comments have been reflected in the designs for the Public Square.
We received several thoughtful suggestions about the types of features local people would like to see in the more public spaces. Thanks to your feedback, our proposals now include a book exchange, static chessboard tables and a drinking fountain.
We have also positioned the water feature and some of the planting and benched seating to improve the amenity in different weather conditions and to encourage greater use of the square in different season. For example, it would not be practical for the water fountain to be operational all year long, and so it will be designed and positioned so that the area can be used for other activities, such as a Christmas tree, May Pole or a seasonal market.
The December 2020 Newsletter included:
The latest planning application was approved on 8th December. This did not significantly change the size, height or mass of the previous plans, but did change the mix of space. For full details of the article and additional details please click on the following link.
AXA Media Release – June 2020
For immediate release
West Byfleet’s Sheer House site on track for £90m redevelopment
The redevelopment of Sheer House, which lies close to the centre of West Byfleet and the local railway station, has taken a major step forward after Retirement Villages Group, one of the UK’s leading developers of homes for later living, confirmed its acquisition.
The new owners will be investing £90 million to create a retirement led, mixed-use development. They are proposing around 200 homes with a mix of apartment sizes for sale and rent. The scheme will feature a wide range of amenities including a wellness centre, a new pedestrianised square enclosed by boutique-style retail and leisure uses, a replacement public library and car park.
The site was acquired from Prime Finance (West Byfleet) SARL, which had already obtained outline planning consent for 255 apartments, and new retail space.
James Ahearne, Development Director at Retirement Villages Group, said, ‘Our proposed scheme will deliver integrated place-making centred around the new public square at the heart of West Byfleet. We know that the public expects an improvement on the old office block, car park and shopping arcade, and has done for some time. We are intent on curating a solution that will be seen as an integral part of the village.
‘As well as the public library and carparking, we hope to attract independent local businesses to occupy the retail units, which will be included as part of the redevelopment. This will generate both enhanced community value and deliver amenity to our residents.’
James added, ‘Our project team will be consulting closely with the local community and stakeholders as we seek approval for minor changes to the consented scheme to enable construction to start as soon as possible.’
For further information, please contact William Jankowski: William.firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to Editors
Retirement Villages Group was acquired by AXA Investment Managers – Real Assets in 2017. The Group currently has 16 retirement villages, mostly located in the south west, midlands and south of England. The first retirement village was established at Elmbridge Village in Cranleigh, Surrey in 1981. This is considered to be the UK’s first dedicated retirement village.