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WWF-UK this week at the HG Wells Centre has been putting flesh on its plans to build a new UK HQ on Woking’s Brewery Road car park. The low-rise, open-plan building with a curving roof will be built above the car park, “floated” in the architects’ words, so that few existing car park spaces will be lost – but at the moment there will no longer be any room for coaches, which may turn out to be a snag.  Included in the plans are an education and visitor centre, with the intention of attracting school parties, a public piazza and gardens, the retention of many of the trees around the car park, and re-landscaping of the canalside area. The rickety old bridge over the canal, above, is to be replaced by the council at the same time. WWF, which celebrates its 50th anniversary next year, wants to move from its “clappped-out” current home at Panda House, on an industrial estate in Godalming, and “express itself” in an eye-catching – and they hope, award-winning – green new building. Despite the recession, it has the funds to do it. There were about 100 people at the public presentation I attended on Wednesday afternoon, one of three being staged by WWF.  They were mostly elderly, mostly from Horsell, and mostly hostile – the same sort of people who successfully fought the proposed transfer of Surrey county council’s  HQ from Kingston to Woking a number of years ago. They will no doubt fill the letters pages of local papers with their objections over the next few weeks, even though the Brewery Road site has long been zoned for development. However, one resident who lives close to the canalside had to admit: “This plan is the best I’ve seen so far.”  To find out more about WWF’s intentions, there is a temporary email address:  newhq@wwf.org.uk

February 2011 update:  Good news! Despite the grumbling from Horsell, WWF has gained planning permission for its Woking HQ

http://www.woking.gov.uk/news?item=00004D53C4C9.C0A801BA.00001B72.0003

One Comment

  1. I see they have been granted permission for this now. Should be interesting…


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