West Byfleet’s Sheer House design proposals submitted

The long-awaited redevelopment of the Sheer House site in West Byfleet took another step forward this week when the detailed designs, the so-called Reserved Matters, were submitted to Woking Borough Council. 

Stewart Dick, chairman of the residents’ associations representing Byfleet, Pyrford and West Byfleet, said, “Almost everyone wants to see the end of Sheer House, although not without some anxiety about what might replace it. If the way that Retirement Villages has approached the project so far is anything to go by, I think we can at last look forward to a fantastic new development. The manner in which Retirement Villages has engaged with the community is an object lesson for any future major developments in our Villages. We have been pleased to see how much the designs evolved to reflect the needs and concerns of the whole community.” 

Retirement Villages is the UK’s longest established retirement community operator. The company aims to replace the 1960s office block and shopping precinct with 195 apartments for retirement living. It will combine a range of shared community facilities, exciting new retail units, a wellness centre and community space all centred around a village square complete with water fountains, trees and public seating. Space for a replacement public library, cycle parking, soft landscaping, substantial green spaces and a new, secure public car park with 67 spaces are also included. 

Speaking on behalf of Retirement Villages, James Ahearne, Development Director, said, “Our mission is to create positive life choices for older people – based on community, wellbeing, and flexibility.  We strive to support people to live their best lives for longer, while ensuring the planet, and our healthcare system, offer the same opportunities to future generations. Thanks to the time, effort and insights provided by local people we are confident that our scheme will not only help support our residents but also benefit the whole of West Byfleet.” 

The Reserved Matters application has been validated by the planning authority and posted on the planning website, https://caps.woking.gov.uk/online-applications/, where it is available for viewing by members of the public. Woking Borough Council’s planning committee is expected to decide on the application before Easter. 

Since acquiring the site at the end of June 2020, the project team’s engagement programme has developed strong links with local people, community groups and other stakeholders, including the Community Liaison Group, which was established with the support of local representatives, councillors and the West Byfleet business association. 

Anyone wanting to comment or make suggestions about the proposals is invited to contact the project team, which is continuing its consultation and engagement with local residents on the emerging designs and contactable via www.sheerhouseredevelopment.co.uk or freephone 0800 0614979. 

Guy Flintoft, Planning Director at Retirement Villages said, “It is so important to have that genuine engagement with the local community so that this scheme, with all its benefits and potential, is truly integrated from the moment we open our doors.”