Councillors have refused an application by Watkin Jones and McKay Securities for 366 Build-to-Rent flats in the centre of Woking.

Plans, submitted by Turley, were for a building, varying in height from five storeys to 28, at a 0.44-hectare site, between Chertsey Road, Church Street East and Chobham Road, currently occupied by a Big Apple entertainment centre, the HG Wells Conference Centre and the Metro Hotel.

The application included 10,000 sq ft of commercial space and 8,500 sq ft community space.

But councillors at Woking Borough Council’s planning committee meeting on March 17 voted by five to one to refuse the scheme on the grounds of design, scale, height, proportion, mass and bulk and lack of affordable housing.

The developer had pledged £987,500 in lieu of affordable homes.

Cllr Liam Lyons said: “I would like the message to go out to developers that if you want to build in this town, you build the requisite affordable homes.”

Homes in the scheme, designed by Carey Jones Chapman Tolcher architects, would comprise 50 studios plus 204 one-bedroom (two people), 51 two-bedroom (three people) and 61 two-bedroom (four people) flats.

It would be owned and operated by Watkin Jones’ rental housing operator, Fresh Property Group.

At the same meeting councillors refused a scheme by Cortland Developments for 310 high rise homes just yards from the Watkin Jones scheme.

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