Built predominantly in the 1950’s, the Sheerwater Estate is a community in Woking, comprising approximately 600 homes across a 30 ha neighbourhood. Sheerwater suffers from high levels of deprivation relative to both Surrey and Woking, and is within the 20% most deprived areas of the country and the most deprived area in the borough. As such, the area has been identified as a ‘Priority Place’ in Woking Borough Council’s Core Planning Strategy for regeneration.

 

In partnership with Woking Borough Council (WBC), New Vison Homes (NVH) – which was a 50:50 joint-venture between Pinnacle Group and Balfour Beatty – successfully secured planning consent for a new masterplan. The plan seeks to introduce a more sustainable tenure mix, moving away from a predominately single-tenure estate, while restoring the imbalance between existing housing typologies and housing need. A large proportion of the new affordable homes within the plan are designed to be family accommodation.


Overview


In October 2012, WBC adopted its Local Development Document, Woking Core Strategy, which identified the ward of Sheerwater and Maybury as a ‘Priority Place’. This established the principle of regenerating the estate to address the high levels of deprivation in the area.


In 2012, NVH won the housing management and regeneration contract tendered by WBC for all of its 3,500 Housing Revenue Account homes. NVH then went on to work in partnership with WBC and the local community from 2013 to 2017, developing a masterplan for the regeneration of Sheerwater.


Proposals


The proposals see substantial investment into Sheerwater, delivering new housing, recreation, community facilities and infrastructure, dramatically transforming the area. NVH has worked proactively with WBC, residents and statutory agencies, including the local planning authority and highways agency, over the past few years. After an extensive period of engagement with the local community, NVH obtained approval for a hybrid application on 26 July 2016. This consisted of outline approval of the whole masterplan area and detailed approval for the first phase, including 92 homes and a new leisure centre, one of the cornerstones to improving the health and wellbeing to the local and wider community.


The masterplan proposes to deliver a number of social, economic, financial and environment outcomes for the Sheerwater community, including:

  • 984 new homes, a net gain of 579 homes – introducing a more sustainable tenure mix to the locality with a focus on family-sized accommodation
  • No loss of affordable housing, and a 30% increase in the number of affordable rooms 
  • Specialist self-contained assisted living apartments
  • Significant improvements to the public open spaces, providing a safe and functional environment with improved cycling and walking links throughout the area
  • A new leisure centre and associated sports field
  • A new public park that will form a wildlife corridor, enhancing bio-diversity and acting as a focus for the community at the heart Sheerwater
  • A new local centre in the heart of the neighbourhood, consisting of retail provision, community centre, youth club and a health centre
  • £15m of much-needed community infrastructure
  • A range of economic opportunities, including the creation of more than 1,100 Full Time Equivalent (FTE) jobs and training opportunities
  • A local procurement plan to maximise local spend, training and the involvement of local businesses and the community

The new, multi-phased development resolves the existing tenure imbalance, facilitating a strengthened and more self-reliant community for the residents of Sheerwater.