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Hoe Valley scheme officially opens to public

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The Hoe Valley scheme, which has removed almost 200 homes and a number of community buildings from the threat of regular flooding and regenerated the Hoe Valley area of Woking was officially opened on Thursday the 22nd of March by Dame Sarah Goad, Lord Lieutenant of Surrey, and the Mayor of Woking, Cllr Ken Howard, at a ceremony attended by local MP, Jonathan Lord, and Borough Councillors.
It marks the completion of the Hoe Valley Scheme, one of the Borough's biggest civil construction projects for a generation. VolkerFitzpatrick was the principal design and build contractor for this scheme.

The £44 million scheme, delivered by Thameswey Development Ltd on behalf of Woking Borough Council, and its partner in the flood defence work, the Environment Agency, has significantly reduced the flood risk in the area, provided state-of-the-art community facilities and extensive public open space and new wildlife habitats.

Speaking at the official opening, Cllr John Kingsbury, Leader of Woking Borough Council, said: "The Hoe Valley Scheme is the realisation of a 20 year vision by the Council to regenerate the Hoe Valley and significantly reduce the risk of flooding that has blighted the area for years. Under budget and on time, the scheme has transformed and revitalised an area of the Borough that was once a domestic waste site, into an area for people to enjoy for generations to come.

"The scheme has allowed us to make necessary and important improvements to the highway infrastructure, rebuilding three highway bridges and two pedestrian/cycle bridges across the Hoe Stream, notably Elm Bridge. We have relocated nine community groups, formerly housed in inadequate temporary accommodation, into two new state-of-the-art community buildings that have been designed around their needs. We have also made new land available for development to accommodate over 150 new homes.

"All of this would not have been able to happen without full cross-party support, particularly through the Councillors' Oversight Panel under the chairmanship of Cllr Richard Sharp.

"I would like to take this opportunity to thank the team that has made this vision a reality: the contractors, VolkerFitzpatrick and Turner & Townsend, the Environment Agency for their support, Officers who have run the scheme and, finally, local residents for their patience and understanding during construction works.

"This project is good for residents, good for the economic vitality of the Borough, and makes me proud of what we can achieve in Woking."

Ian Tomes, Environment Agency Flood and Coastal Risk Manager, added: "The scheme is an excellent example of partnership working between the Environment Agency and Woking Borough Council over many years. The project has delivered a multitude of benefits including a significant reduction in flood risk for 200 properties in the town. This is a ground breaking scheme that the town should be proud of and one that the Environment Agency is delighted to have supported through the Regional Flood and Coastal Committee."

Deon Scholtz, Construction Manager at VolkerFitzpatrick, said: "A scheme of this nature was always going to be a significant construction challenge, but by working as a partnership all those involved have been able to react, adapt and overcome any issues arising throughout the duration of the project. The Hoe Valley project has also clearly demonstrated the benefits of collaborative working and is projected to finish under budget and ahead of time."

Key facts and figures

  • Over 320,000 man hours have gone into constructing the Hoe Valley Scheme.
  • Over 4km of reinforced concrete walls and earth embankments have removed almost 200 residential properties from the flood plain and protected the gardens of a further 60 properties, while earth bunds protect Westfield School from flooding.
  • Over 12 acres of contaminated land, or approximately 220,000 tonnes of soil, from the former Westfield Tip site has been excavated, remediated to remove glass, plastics and other contaminants, and replaced to form a new park and a housing development of over 150 new homes.
  • A new state-of-the-art community building costing £5 million provides a permanent home for nine local community groups: 7th Woking Scouts, Air Training Corp and Army Cadet Force, District Scouts and Resource Centre, Girl Guides, Sea Rangers, Westfield Football Club and Woking Boxing Club.
  • Specifically adapted to suit the needs of each community group, the purpose-built, highly energy efficient building benefits from: a low maintenance ‘living' roof, providing a habitat for local wildlife
    roof-lights, sun-pipes and light-wells that serve to bring natural light into the building
    being powered and heated using sustainable technology.
  • The Hoe Valley Community Building has been awarded a ‘Very Good' standard from BREEAM, the environmental rating system for new buildings.
  • Rehoused the Sea Cadets in a purpose-built building alongside Goldsworth Park Lake featuring meeting rooms, a fully equipped kitchen, office areas and a special boat yard area at the back of the building.
  • The creation of a new, landscaped, country park, was designed to promote mixed ecology and encourage wildlife bio-diversity, featuring two new play parks, footpaths and cycleways to increase accessibility to all areas of the park.
  • A programme of habitat reinstatement has been completed to encourage wildlife back to the Hoe Valley, through the creation of ponds, meadowlands, bat boxes and habitates for water voles and Greater Crested Newts.
  • Almost 1,000 saplings have been planted as part of the Hoe Valley Scheme.
  • The Hoe Valley Scheme has recently been shortlisted for Environment Project of the Year, at the prestigious Construction News Awards.

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