A planning application for 929 new homes, including 48 affordable homes, communal residential and operational spaces, commercial uses at ground floor and a homeless shelter across 5 tower blocks (between 9 and 37 storeys) as part of the regeneration of Goldsworth Road in Woking has been refused at planning committee, despite being recommended for approval by the planning officer.

The height of the proposed development was apparently a common complaint among the objections received. It remains to be seen whether the developer will appeal.

The refusal and opposition to other tall buildings raises wider questions about how we meet the national target of delivering 300,000 new homes per year. Housing delivery currently falls well short of this target, at 187,000 new homes per year. The government wants to speed up delivery, as evidenced by the recent permitted development rights to add on storeys and proposed planning reforms.

The reality is that to achieve the government's new homes target we need to become comfortable with building upwards. Taller buildings are part of the solution to meet the increasing pressure for growth coupled with a lack of available land for development in certain areas. Of course, not every location is suitable for a tall building, but we may need to accept some change to deliver the benefits that well designed tall buildings can bring.

We are exploring some of the opportunities and challenges that tall buildings pose – keep an eye on theBuilding Up page on our website for the latest insights.