BERKELEY Homes has reaffirmed its commitment to redevelop The Woolmead shopping precinct in Farnham following widespread speculation that it was pulling out of the project this week.

The housing giant has confirmed that it is "reviewing" the town centre scheme “to ensure it is appropriate for the current market”. But added it remains committed to delivering “important homes and jobs in Farnham” as well as the scheme’s "key" retail element.

It comes after keen onlookers reported that no work has taken place on the East Street site since at least July – prompting speculation online that Berkeley was seeking to remove the retail element, or even pull out of The Woolmead altogether.

Berkeley Homes’ statement in full: "The scheme is under review to ensure that it is appropriate for the current market; this includes the level of car parking given Berkeley’s commitment to reducing carbon and the general trend of decreasing car usage.

“Berkeley believes the retail is a key element of the scheme and is committed to delivering important homes and jobs in Farnham.”

The developer’s reassurance has been welcomed by Farnham Town Council, coming just days ahead of the independent examination of the Farnham Neighbourhood Plan, in which the Woolmead is included as a key strategic housing site.

The Woolmead, dubbed Farnham’s "most hated building" by councillors before its demolition last winter, is set to be replaced by a new block of 138 new homes and high street shops.

See next week’s Herald for more...