Town Square

I went for a walk in Woking town centre on Monday. I was killing time between dropping Tris off for a hair appointment and collecting her at the end of it. I had one errand – getting a new key cut to replace one I had bent and almost snapped off in its lock – and that only took ten minutes or so. So I strolled out of the Peacocks shopping centre and into Town Square.

This used to be a fairly amorphous shape, not particularly well-defined and definitely not square. Now, well let’s say it’s in transition. Building works have raised the height of the Peacocks entrance and matched it with a new entrance to the old shopping centre. The library entrance is now a cafe and the library has been extended sideways with a new entrance no longer on the square. The space lost to the cafe has been compensated by moving library offices to a new floor and converting old office space to library usage (I nearly said ‘books’, but it could be computers and meeting areas as well – these new-fangled libraries). The Barclays Bank building and Christchurch remain as they were. The workmen were busy with new paving, so the walkways across the Square were narrow and fenced in, but it will look good when it’s done. The higher buildings for the shopping centres will give the Square a more closed-in feel, a more definite shape. But since the facades for the new buildings are curved glass, it’ll be even less a ‘Square’, and more of a circle. But I guess if you told your young children you were going to ‘Town Circus’ they’d be disappointed.

Going past the library, you get to the Theatre and the Council Offices, and past them is a new pedestrian and cycle crossing over Victoria Way, to link the canal towpath cycle route with the town centre. There has been a pedestrian crossing there for ages, which all the cyclists used anyway, but the concept was to have a distinct cycle crossing. Work began, kerbs were excavated and lowered, work stopped. Some problem with the traffic lights, apparently. Thus it remained for many months, many many months. Until now! The crossing is complete, the tarmac looks shiny, and when the green crossing light comes on, there are two – one green man and one green bicycle, right next to each other. So that’s how you know it’s a cycle crossing as well.

Except, except… after waiting for so long, the crossing was completed just as the canal bridge was taken down and the towpath closed, due to the building works for the new WWF headquarters on Brewery Road. So now the crossing goes only to the Lightbox gallery, a worthy destination, but an anti-climax. I used the crossing anyway, and found the Lightbox closed too (as it is on Mondays, I realised), but it was worth it to halt all the traffic…

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