After years of planning and consultation, the first diggers have begun work on the multi-million pound regeneration of the Sheerwater estate.

Teams broke ground to start building a state-of-the-art leisure complex as part of the Canalside development.

The facility at Bishop David Brown School will include a 25-metre swimming pool, separate teaching pool, a five-court sports hall, studios and a gym. There will also be a full-size, floodlit 3G football pitch and new grass football and rugby pitches.

The complex will be heated, in part, by low-carbon energy provided by heat pumps and solar panels. This is in keeping with the scheme’s mission to minimise environmental impact and provide sustainable living spaces for a modern, thriving community.

A Community Use Agreement means the complex will be available to the wider public.

The long-awaited work is another welcome chapter of a story that began in 2013 when Woking Borough Council gave its consent to ThamesWey’s regeneration project. Revised plans were approved in April this year.

Work on the 74-acre (30-hectare) site will take place in phases to keep disruption to a minimum. It will involve building nearly 1,200 energy-efficient homes, half of which will be affordable housing. Neighbourhoods with distinct identities will be built around the green heart of landscaped parkland.

Properties that cater for all stages in life will benefit from shared open spaces and tree-lined streets that prioritise pedestrians over cars. They will be available for sale or rent.

Canalside will include a new community centre, pre-school nursery, health centre and dentist’s surgery, as well as shops and restaurants.

But most importantly, it will be a place where the need for new homes is balanced with the need to care for our environment.

ThamesWey’s Chief Executive Officer Mark Rolt said: “We are delighted work is underway on Canalside after all the planning, discussion and consultation.

“The team at ThamesWey, and our partners, are all committed to creating a vibrant and sustainable community and now we can look forward to watching the development grow.”