Phase one of an impressive and much-anticipated retail and residential complex in Woking town center opened today (March 23) with a ribbon-cutting ceremony outside its flagship Marks & Spencer (M&S) store. The development is part of a £ 700 million investment in the Surrey town.
Construction on the new Victoria Square development started in 2017. Despite a delayed finish, shoppers are now able to start enjoying the amenities on their doorstep under a stunning glass atrium.
The development is a joint venture between Woking Borough Council and Moyallen Group and will play a key role in Woking’s future growth ambitions. In addition to the retail space, Victoria Place will feature over 400 residential apartments in two sky-high towers.
READ MORE: Inside new M&S Foodhall Woking set to open as part of Victoria Square development
Wednesday’s opening ceremony was attended by the mayor of Woking, councilor Liam Lyons, and the leader of Woking Borough Council, councillor Ayesha Azad. The occasion marked the official opening of phase one of the development and its anchor M&S store – the retailer making a return to Woking after a 13-year hiatus – with shoppers queuing up outside and eager to explore the extensive new foodhall.
Located in the Henry Plaza, the M&S boasts 50,000 square-feet and offers customers a “market-style” food shopping experience, plus clothing and home departments and a 100-seater M&S Café.
“It’s brilliant for M&S to be back in Woking after 13 years away,” said deputy store manager at M&S Woking, Paddy Sunderland. “The market-style foodhall is one of our renewal formats. There is a nice atmosphere – we aim for a feel of a supermarket but with the feel of a fresh food market as well. “
Other well-known retailers to open their doors today included formal wear specialist Moss Bros, athletic footwear brand Sketchers and a Gail’s bakery.
“The opening of Victoria Place Woking marks the start of an exciting new era for the borough and is a significant milestone on our journey to making Woking one of, if not the most, exciting and vibrant boroughs in the south east,” said councillor Ayesha Azad, leader of Woking Borough Council.
“We set out to breathe new life into the town center with our ambitious multi-faceted transformation. Victoria Place Woking will define our borough and benefit current and future generations for years to come. “
Local shopper Zena Chrystie has been “excited” for the prospect of the M&S foodhall after moving to the area five years ago. “Of course, [construction] was delayed and then Covid hit, so I thought they would never open it up, but here we are and I am delighted it has opened today – it was worth the wait, ”she said. “I’m a great M&S shopper and up until now I have been going to the West Byfleet store, so to have this on my doorstep, a few minutes drive from me, is amazing.”
Victoria Way reopened on February 10 after it was shut in October. The road shut after panels on the new Hilton hotel fell to the ground . Now on track to open later this year, the Hilton hotel will feature 189 guest rooms.
An Italia Conti performing arts training center and Sports Bowl tenpin bowling are also set to open as part of the complex in 2022. Under the glass-covered atrium, Henry Plaza has also become the permanent home to two new pieces of public art by popular British sculptors David Worthington and Sean Henry.
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