First phase of £350m regeneration project in Woking completes

First homes at Canalside, Sheerwater. Credit Nick Caville

The first phase of the £350 million transformation of a post-war housing estate in Woking, Surrey, is now complete with work on the second phase underway. 

Canalside, the long-awaited regeneration of Sheerwater, will deliver nearly 1,100 energy-efficient homes, half of which will be affordable, set around new public parkland, with car-free streets and landscaped, pedestrian and cycle-friendly links connecting individual neighbourhoods, community facilities and green spaces.

Following a renewed masterplan and design work by global interdisciplinary design practice BDP and delivered by ThamesWey, Woking Borough Council’s independent housing delivery company, the new community is specifically designed around multi-generational living, responding to both the housing crisis and the needs of an ageing population.

Canalside will include an assisted living facility for older and vulnerable people in a prime location at the centre of the development, and age-friendly apartments mixed in amongst family homes throughout the new, interconnected neighbourhoods.

Construction has recently finished on the first 92 homes and the first residents have started to move in this month. 

The masterplan includes unique, traffic-free streets and public open areas between homes and buildings have been designed to create safe spaces to encourage residents to sit, relax, socialise and connect with each other and the outside, natural environment. 

Expected to complete in 2027, Canalside will comprise several individual neighbourhoods with clear identities, offering a range of homes and apartments of different sizes, from one-bedroom studios to five-bedroom houses. 

A new leisure complex on the development also opened in early October, featuring a 25-metre swimming pool plus a separate teaching pool, sports hall, studios and a gym. The outside facilities include a full-size 3G football pitch, and new grass football and rugby pitches.

Work is now underway on the next two phases of the development which include flats, mews houses, maisonettes, and homes for older and vulnerable people, along with a new community centre, medical facilities, nursery, retail spaces and a new energy centre to provide low carbon heating to the core of the development. 

Martin Jones, BDP’s landscape and urbanism director, said:

“We are thrilled to see the vision becoming reality at Canalside as the first phase of this major regeneration scheme completes and people start to move into the modern, high quality and highly sustainable new homes.

“Creating a vibrant, connected and contemporary community for all ages and requirements, along with access to nature and outdoors spaces, was central to our masterplanning and design approach. Now completely reimagined, this former post-war housing estate is leading the way in creating a community for all ages – with sheltered housing and homes for older and vulnerable people at the heart of the neighbourhood, in and around homes for families and young people.”

The Canalside regeneration scheme is expected to complete by 2027. For more information visit 

BDP published a new independent report earlier this year highlighting the importance of building greener, more equitable homes for older people with stronger connections to their communities, helping to improve quality of life and help to reduce the need for people to move into specialised accommodation.


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