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The government has predictably given the go-ahead to McLaren’s plans for a new applied technology centre on the green belt land on the other side of the road from their existing facility, pictured above, on the edge of Woking. Woking council had referred the planning decision to the Department for Communities and Local Government and the secretary of state, Eric Pickles, decided not to “call in” the decision. It wasn’t long ago that the prime minster, David Cameron, paid a visit to McLaren’s luxury sports car plant and praised its export efforts.  So a planning refusal was never going to happen. McLaren has promised that Woking town centre will get a Formula One visitor centre as part of the deal: but those with long memories will recall that the racing car firm pledged a visitor centre when securing its original planning permission some years ago. So we can only wait and see.  Undoubtedly a McLaren visitor centre would be a feather in the cap for Woking and attract people to the town. Now – this time – it’s up to McLaren to honour its promises.

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