The Weybridge Regeneration project WeyBetterWeybridge has made incredible progress since its launch in late autumn 2020.
Organising working groups, agreeing a name and vision with resident input, and building an overarching project timeline for all stakeholders. The project has also adopted a two-phase programme of works for a campus-style approach to regenerate two (north and south) sides of Church Street (A317) and has agreed phase focus.
The project’s current timeline envisions design, financing and planning works in 2021-22, with some areas of construction to see completion as early as 2023-24. More accurate timings for various project stages will be updated and made public as the project embarks upon and progresses through official planning channels.
In the campus-style approach, the north side broadly refers to the old Weybridge hospital site, plus adjacent land owned by Surrey County Council (SCC), such as the Youth Centre and related paths and roads. The south side includes the Weybridge library also owned and operated by SCC, the Community Centre and Churchfields car park owned and run by Elmbridge Borough Council (EBC) and border areas of its Churchfields recreation ground.
Lord Andrew Mawson, chairman of the social enterprise Wellnorth Enterprises, is leading the regeneration project and heads its Project Board. This Board counts as its members representatives of key stakeholder organisations, such as Ray Lee, Strategic Director at EBC, and Tim Oliver, Leader of SCC, and members of the Weybridge community, including Project Champion Lesia Scholey, Paul Povey, head of the Weybridge Town Business Group, and Dave Arnold, chairman of the Weybridge Society.
The project works via two large task groups overseeing and inputting into specific areas: vision, design and communications for Task Group 1; business, finance and organisational issues for Task Group 2. All who participate in these task groups are stakeholders in the project, working for EBC, SCC, NHS bodies or Weybridge community organisations, but cooperatively for the project rather than merely representing their own organisations. The guiding principle of work is to focus on Weybridge as a single coherent place that is to be improved rather than as a recipient of a myriad disconnected services.
Since the project’s inception in November 2020, architects embedded in the project through Wellnorth Enterprises have been working on concept plans and drawings, incorporating various schedules of accommodation provided by the authorities (EBC, SCC, NHS) and taking in local feedback through task groups. The project champion has been actively working in the community to communicate the project and find new participants who can help shape it and make it a success. Wellnorth acts as a neutral and independent facilitator.
This complex process has now landed the project at its current stage: figuring out how to best place certain activities and facilities across the north and south sites and starting on massing studies. In March, the Project Board agreed to prioritise work on the creation of medical facilities and associated health and social services on the south site, as a first phase and as the preferred option.