John Rigg the GVG chairman, participated as a Residents for Guildford & Villages candidate at the Local Elections, in a debate hosted by The Guildford Dragon on developments in North Street. Councillors Geoff (Davis), Caroline Reeves (Lib Dem) and John debated future aspirations for the site. Councillor Geoff Davis is the Lead Councillor for the North Street Site and gave a update on developments. The full debate can be found by Clicking Here – the video opens in a new tab.
The North Street Site is detailed in the local plan, see below, as covering The Friary, Sanofi House, and the derelict area on North Street.
Key points that are emerging include:
- The Site is now considered to be Housing not Retail Led. The local Plan proposes 400 Dwellings but this could go much higher.
- Site is owned 20% GBC, 80% M&G – giving the council a considerable influence on the development plan.
- M&G have appointed St Edwards (Part of the Berkley Group) to develop scheme.
- The council are now proposing the bus station is in Leapdale Rd, the previous scheme to move the Bus Station to Bedford Wharf appears to have been discontinued.
- Public Consultation – Scheduled June 2019, there are likely to be alternate schemes from a number of architects.
- Planning Consent – Scheduled June 2020
- Building Start – Scheduled Autumn 2020 (North Street will be building at the same time as Solum. This may pose challenges for Traffic, Labour Availability etc !!)
- How high the development is still a matter of debate, Councillor Spooner has talked of going up to 6-8 stories. A issue is the viability of the scheme whilst provide 40% affordable housing
- St Edward are looking at a mix of dwellings with Shops or flexible commercial units on the ground floor.
- It appears that The Friary and Sanofi House will remain substantially unchanged apart from modifications to The Friary to enable access from the new North Street Development.
- The site will have some public realm provided.
How his scheme relates to North Street, Bedford Wharf and across to the Station is not yet clear.
GVG will be interested to see if there is a opportunity to create a proper Market Square in the new development, and what provision for Health, Education and Cultural facilities is made.