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Just how much does having motor racing giant McLaren in the borough actually benefit Woking, increasing numbers of residents are beginning to wonder. The latest doubts have emerged after McLaren changed initial plans to expand its technology centre, which had been agreed, on a site on the other side of the A320, to a blueprint adjoining its current HQ, above, that has a much greater impact on the surrounding green belt countryside. Horsell Common Preservation Society has said that McLaren  promised to keep the land which it now plans to build on as open countryside when it was granted permission for its existing building in 1996. The Woking Advertiser quotes a McLaren spokesman as saying that the firm is “an important employer in Woking, providing high quality jobs for over 2,000 people, who all work in an iconic facility which has won countless architectural and environmental awards”. The spokesman added:  “However, we recognise our proposals cannot please everyone. But the planning process is just that – a process – which allows for consultation and discussion. The council will decide whether our scheme is acceptable, but meanwhile, we will engage openly with and listen to all interested parties.” The council is due to make a decision on whether to allow the plans next month. In 2012 McLaren emphatically denied that it had promised to set up a visitor centre in Woking as a condition of its original planning permission, despite the council’s long-standing hopes – a stance that some saw as the company turning its back on the town. In 2013 Woking council’s chief executive, Ray Morgan, said that McLaren’s continuing failure to provide a visitor centre in the town “remains an embarrassment”. Woking’s Conservative MP, Jonathan Lord, is reported by the Woking Advertiser as saying:  “It’s my understanding that this planning permission is going through all the correct processes … this development would bring future high quality jobs to this part of Surrey.”


  1. Hello. Would it be possible for Horsell Common Preservation Society to reproduce you article on the new McLaren development proposal in our newsletter please?

    • You’re very welcome, Paul. Wokingmatters appreciates all the good work that Horsell Common Preservation Society does.

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