Leading housebuilder Linden Homes has been hailed by Woking MP Jonathan Lord for its “magnificent” transformation of an old industrial building on the edge of the town.
Mr Lord visited the riverside site at Old Woking on Friday March 30th to see for himself how the company was successfully refurbishing the old Gresham printworks near the River Wey into 70 apartments and 18 townhouses.
The Conservative MP was given a personal tour of the Gresham Mill development by the managing director of Linden Homes’ Guildford region, Peter Youll, who discussed with him issues such as the government’s new simplified planning policy.
Mr Lord’s visit comes just weeks after prime minister David Cameron visited another Linden project, Boxgrove Gardens in Guildford, to launch the government’s New Buy scheme for 95 per cent mortgages aimed at boosting the property market.
Mr Lord said: “I am very impressed. I think the front aspect is just magnificent, which, combined with the parkland and the river, makes for a delightful site. I can see why a lot of people would like to live here.”
The development will have a water turbine fitted to produce 10 per cent of the homes’ electricity needs, and elsewhere in the neighbourhood Linden has also provided a new public football pitch.
Mr Lord added: “The government is very keen for brownfield sites to be used because everyone is, understandably, very protective of our countryside and greenbelt. For brownfield to be used again and in such sympathetic manner is absolutely terrific and very much in keeping with the government's agenda for growth.
“Having more appropriate development on brownfield land is absolutely what this country needs.
“Woking has set its stall out to use innovative ways to use alternative energy and natural energy. This scheme completely fits with that and is yet another way in which Woking is leading the way in the use of renewable energy.”
Just over 30 of the 88 planned homes have already been sold to a mix of ages ranging from 25 to 90 years old. It is hoped to have construction finished by the autumn next year.
Mr Lord said: “One of the joys of being MP of Woking is that across the borough you have a real mix of communities and to have a development like this in Old Woking is really good.
“I’ve been told that several people moving here are from the Woking area but there will be many new people too and that will help to revitalise our town. To have a development like this that feels very rural but is only half a mile from town offers people the best of both worlds.
“It's very sympathetic both to the old industrial heart of the site and to the glorious countryside that surrounds it and I was delighted to have the opportunity to check on the progress to date.”
Peter Youll said: “It was very encouraging to hear Mr Lord’s comments about our development – of which we are very proud.
“We have tried incredibly hard to integrate the new apartments and houses sensitively with their rural and historic surroundings and I think you only have to see it to appreciate how well it works.
“As one of the country’s leading house builders, it is very important for us to meet policy-makers like Mr Lord face-to-face to raise concerns, praise the good decisions, and work together to tackle Britain’s housing shortage.
“We are determined to play our part to the full with developments such as Gresham Mill which respect their surroundings, offer quality new homes, and really enhance the community.”
The Gresham Mill scheme is on the former site of the Unwin Brothers Ltd family-run printing company which was established in 1896 and thrived at what then St Martha’s printworks, only leaving in 2007 due to a merger.
Its new name, Gresham Mill, harks back to the first record of river-powered flour-making there in the Domesday survey.
The current main building looks out over the water and gardens which have been landscaped to resemble a nature reserve.
For further information, contact Lyndsay Scanlan or Amy Bryant-Jeffries at Remarkable Public Relations on 01962 893 893.
19 April 2012
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