Woking FC cannot afford to run the new ground
Not true – WFC has conservatively gone through the running costs of the new ground and will at least break even. This is not based on filling a 9000 capacity stadium every week. The new ground will bring in extra income by hiring out rooms for functions and rent from the retail and medical centre. With a new ground we also believe we will be attractive for new investors whose money will go into the team and not propping up existing worn out stands.
Woking FC does not need a 9000 capacity ground – it only attracts 2000 fans each game
In the National League the average attendance will remain around 2000, perhaps with a slight increase because of better facilities. However, the club’s stated business plan is to achieve promotion to the EFL and the stadium is clearly designed to accommodate the much larger crowds that would be attracted when/if this occurs. The new capacity does immediately ensure fans can see our bigger games such as the Watford cup tie where we could have sold many more tickets than the current capacity. The stadium will also be able to accommodate many more away supporters which currently is very limited. As the club advances up the leagues there will then be a consistent demand for capacity crowds.
The groundshare will kill off the club
Not true – we will be announcing where the groundshare will be shortly. Our developer partners have given an undertaking to compensate the club for any loss of income during this period.
We will destroy Meadow Sports Field by using it for storage and a builder’s yard for the development
Not true – we are not using Meadow Sports Field at all and that was made clear in the planning application. The option was considered a long time ago but dropped.
We will destroy the lives of residents on Loop Road by using it for construction traffic.
Not true – we are not using Loop Road for construction traffic and that was made clear in the planning application. The option was considered a long time ago but dropped.
The new medical centre is not needed
It is needed and was proposed as a response to our consultation with the Woking public who raised concerns about the impact on our local surgeries. They were right; our research showed they are over-subscribed. So we have put in a medical centre that not only provides for the new flats but adds considerable extra capacity to the neighbourhood.
No one will want to take on the medical centre – it’s all a dream
Not true – we are actively engaging with two practices who have shown a keen interest to extend into the medical centre to provide more doctors. We will make an announcement regarding the tenant as soon as we can.
North West CCG do not support the new medical centre
Not true – the mere fact we had not met them yet does not mean they do not support the proposal. They have confirmed they are committed to improving local services and we have arranged to meet them now we have tenants on board.
You can’t run a medical centre without lots of parking
Not true – many centres do not have any parking. However if our preferred tenant wants more parking this will be provided.
Thames Water have not been consulted and object on the grounds the sewage cannot cope with the additional flats
We have spoken to Thames Water and the infrastructure required to meet their requirements will be met.
The area comprises bungalows and no more than 2 storey homes – the scheme is out of character with this.
Not true – look at Westfield Avenue immediately next to the development and look at the 11 storey Craigmore Tower. We have 3×10 storey and 1×11 storey block tucked away in the centre of the site. The rest are much lower.
No changes have been made to the scheme since the public consultation.
We have made many changes but the key ones to note include a new medical centre with a capacity of 14,400 patients. We have also moved the parking to the basement and increased it from 500 to 855 spaces in line with council policy. Every space will have an electric charging point. There will be no car movement other than on match days around the new stadium. We have also reduced the heights of some of the blocks and introduced a concierge building to take deliveries and manage visitors.
There are no benefits for local residents?
We are providing a new medical centre, localised shopping to include a convenience store and a coffee shop. And, of course, a new sustainable football stadium for Woking FC that will be able to be used for other community activities during the week.
The roads cannot cope with the extra traffic
Our traffic engineers have looked at this very closely. When you factor in that with David Lloyd, the Gym and the Snooker Hall all moving, the actual increase of additional traffic will be minimal. We are also providing folding cycles for every flat to encourage residents to leave their cars at home.
The local primary and secondary schools cannot accommodate the influx of children that will be housed in the new development?
We will be making a large contribution to the Council’s Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL). This CIL is money is paid to Woking Borough Council to improve the local facilities such as school places and other infrastructure to off-set the impact of the development. The medical centre will provide a net increase in places on the GP register.
The club will not be able to maintain the new facilities.
The club has worked very closely with the developer and the specialist stadium architect to develop stadium proposals that will deliver our vision for the future. We have assessed the viability and the business case with specialist consultants and we are clear that these proposals will make the club more sustainable. The new stadium will be easier to maintain and will generate revenue on non-matchdays crucial to our survival.
The new plans are not financially sustainable for the club.
The new stadium will give us the facilities we need to generate more revenue on matchdays and crucially for 52 weeks a year through the retail, leisure, business and community uses it will provide. This is the business model adopted by clubs we compete against at our level across the country. We have studied the new facilities at clubs like Wrexham and Barnet and spoken with their owners and operators. We have seen for ourselves that this approach works for club’s like ours. It is also clear that the club is not sustainable if it remains at Kingfield in its present condition.
GolDev have no experience of this size of project and cannot deliver it
GolDev have a strong track record of delivering successful property development projects. Dukelease has more than twenty years’ experience delivering exceptional residential and mixed-use schemes. Their current portfolio comprises more than twenty development projects, including fourteen successfully completed schemes and seven live sites totalling 1.1million sq. ft of space approaching £900m in value.
Woking FC supporters do not support the plans.
Our fans have been involved in the development of the new stadium proposals throughout. We carried out a detailed survey on the vision for the new stadium designs in April and May 2019. Over 300 supporters participated in the survey: Only 6% did not support the proposals – 75% have given us their full backing. We know our supporters back these proposals, and they will make their support heard once the planning application has been submitted.
Woking FC do not want a stadium of this size.
The club has previously stated that the 10,000-capacity target was a council policy objective set in the 1990s, that does not mean, however, that we do not support it. The final capacity in the proposals is 9,026 and we believe that is the right capacity for Woking FC (see answer above). We know that with the new facilities we will be able to improve matchdays for all supporters and attract a new generation of fans to our matches. This has been the experience of clubs up and down the country who have invested in new stadiums over recent decades. Kingfield has been our home for almost 100 years and any new structure on site will be designed to be our home for the next 100 years. We do not want to be boxed into this site with a smaller stadium that limits our ability to adapt and to grow in the future.
We want the Council to take ownership of the plans.
The Council has been working closely with us and the Club throughout the development of the proposals.
The plans were presented as a ‘done deal’.
This is simply not the case. We have engaged in an extensive programme of consultation with local residents and WFC supporters throughout the course of this year.
A project website about the proposals both for the stadium and the residential have been live since April.
Our supporters survey process in April and May saw 350 people attend a fans forum and over 300 people respond to the consultation, with 75% responding positively to the plans.
We ran an extensive consultation programme throughout July and August, holding four public consultations over 10 days and two sites. We sent leaflets with information about the proposals to over 6,000 households encompassing all of Hoe Valley and Mayford, which included a feedback form for people to respond to the consultation by freepost. Everyone who wanted to provide feedback was able to do so for 2 months online via the online feedback form. As a result of this process, around 1,000 attended the consultations and over 600 responses were received.
In November we submitted a raft of changes to the scheme which is well documented.
The Council should just give the club a loan to redevelop the stadium?
This would not represent the best use of taxpayer’s money. The club does not wish to be saddled with the debts of repaying a Council. What the club needs is a new stadium that will enable them to become self-sufficient so that we do not have to rely on loans and wealthy benefactors. This approach would not deliver the new homes Woking needs, nor a new leisure centre for David Lloyd and this brownfield site would be underutilised.
There is a lack of affordable homes.
191 of the new homes to be provided at Cardinal Court will be affordable homes and these will be built first. This will be more than three times the amount of affordable housing completions in Woking in the last two years. The 36 family homes that will be built at Egley Road will be owned by Woking Borough Council for them to use as they see fit. These affordable homes are on top of the significant financial investment in a new stadium for WFC and a new David Lloyd leisure centre.
Reduce the capacity of the ground so we don’t need so much housing.
There is a mistaken belief that if you reduce the capacity of the stadium by, say, 1,000 this will significantly reduce the cost of the development and will reduce the size of the development by 100 units, for example. This is incorrect. This is not a large stadium and the simplest way to reduce the capacity would be to pay the addition costs to install seating behind both goals, which are currently designed for standing. This would reduce the capacity to around 7,000, because you can accommodate more people on a standing terrace than you can on a seated one (the ratio is 1.7 to 1). This would reduce the capacity but wouldn’t save a penny on the amount of concrete or steel required to build the stand. Most of the costs in the stadium are in providing the multi-purpose facilities – the mechanical, electrical, fit out and furnishing – that are essential to generate the revenue 52 weeks a year the club needs to survive. There is no point building a new stadium without these facilities.
Woking FC will be held ransom by the developer who owns everything
Woking Borough Council will continue to own the freehold of the land and WFC will be granted a 250 lease at £1 pa
A capacity of just over 9,000 is disappointing. We should aim higher and look to build a stadium capable of holding or being further developed to at least 15000 so we could potentially progress to the Championship in the future. Has this been considered?
Yes it has, but the Championship brings a whole raft of additional issues – primarily that the Stadium would need to be capable of being converted to all-seated. Whilst the current design allows this, the capacity would drop and the land take to expand to enable a 15,000 all seat stadium would have been so massive as to be wholly unviable on this particular site even before issues such as the additional car parking and traffic management are considered.
There is no guarantee the stadium will get built.
The planning permission will be secured by a legally binding agreement between the various parties including the Council. This will ensure the affordable housing within Block One (191 dwellings) is built first. The agreement will also state that no more than 600 dwellings can be occupied until the stadium is complete. All the land acquisitions will have been competed before the works start and the project needs to be completed fully for the developer gets a return on the investment
The medical centre will be private and not serve the community.
This will be primarily for NHS services. However we are open to permitting some other supporting and specialist medical facilities.
The same developer’s proposals for a new stadium at Braintree Town football club were a disaster and had to be thrown out
Not true – the developer worked collaboratively with Braintree Football Club to provide a new ground. The relationship was very positive and would have progressed, however, the Council preferred an alternative site and it was only for that reason that the collaboration on the first site ceased.
Using the ground for professional rugby will mean double the disturbance for local residents with the ground attracting large crowds every weekend
There are no proposals to let the ground to a rugby team. The current design of the stadium would need significant changes to accommodate rugby. For example the changing rooms would have to be expanded.
The design is not of sufficient quality
The regeneration proposals were presented to an independent team of experts through a design review panel process that is endorsed by the Government. They praised the quality of the design and had no issue with the heights of the buildings.
The Woking Community Stadium project is being developed by Woking Football Club and experienced property developers GolDev Ltd. GolDev Woking Limited is a joint venture between GolDev Ltd and Dukelease. Woking Football Club Limited is a company incorporated in England and Wales (Company number: 03329172). Registered office The Laithwaite Community Stadium, Kingfield, Woking, Surrey, GU22 9AA. GolDev Woking Limited is Registered in England and Wales (Company no. 11339840). Registered Office: 73 Cornhill, London, United Kingdom, EC3V 3QQ.