Press Releases

Guildford Vision calls on Guildford Council to withdraw flawed North Street Development Brief

Guildford Vision calls on Guildford Council to withdraw flawed North Street Development Brief 1920 1440 admin


 Guildford Vision calls on Guildford Council to withdraw flawed North Street Development Brief

Guildford, Monday 13 August 2012: Guildford Vision Group (GVG), the group of concerned Guildford residents calling for a more visionary Master Plan for the town, has submitted a damning critique of the draft North Street Design and Development Brief. Guildford Borough Council’s Brief, on which consultation ended last Friday, seeks to extend the primary shopping area of the town up and behind North Street, the latter currently designated for secondary and tertiary shopping.

GVG also claims that the Brief warranted far more publicity, and a great deal more consultation and engagement than was undertaken.

The North Street Brief follows the Council’s controversial switch last year of the Bellerby site to retail development, which was made by a supplementary planning document (SPD). The Council had previously obtained planning permission in 2007 to build 75 affordable homes on the Bellerby site in accordance with an earlier SPD it revoked last year.

A spokesman for GVG said: ‘There is a widespread perception that the publication of supplementary planning documents is being used to deliver disguised outcomes favoured by the Council as landowner, to the disadvantage of other landowners and the wider community. Directing the foodstore requirement, for example, to an edge-of-centre site owned by the Council, and allocated for housing in the Local Plan, has reinforced that view.’

GVG calls on Guildford Borough Council to withdraw the North Street Brief because of its significant flaws:

  • Consultation on the Brief closed just a few weeks before the Council is due to publish key,
    influential draft and final planning documents affecting the town centre including:
    • Final Interim Town Centre Framework – due for adoption early September 2012
    • Draft Strategic Parking Strategy – due September 2012

Draft Local Plan Core Strategy – due Autumn 2012

  • It makes no proposals for the location of a new bus station or for housing
  • No consideration has been given to the substantial and prolonged impact on existing traders of the 65% increase in retail floorspace
  • No allowance has been factored in for changes in shopping habits. Increased internet shopping and the prolonged poor economic situation will have an impact on existing retail space

GVG believes traffic management is a key first step in any Master Plan for Guildford. The North Street Brief has been drawn up without the benefit of any up to date traffic impact studies. It must be self-evident that an additional 60,000 sq m of retail space and the proposed Waitrose foodstore, on top of the existing 89,000 sq m, must have serious implications for the traffic and transport infrastructure.


Notes for Editors

Guildford Vision seeks to work collaboratively with councillors, council officers and all stakeholders to ensure Guildford sustains and improves its appeal as one of the most attractive locations in the South East in which to live, work and spend leisure time.

A graphic, below, showing the impact of the proposed additional retail space is attached:




For more information, see or contact Yvonka Wilkinson, Campaign Manager, Vision for Guildford Ltd on 07767 251040

20120505 Press Release

20120505 Press Release 1920 1440 admin


Instead of Problems in Store, how about a Plan with Vision?

‘We all want Waitrose in Guildford. We can all see the benefits of their fine produce and service. But we should be urging our elected councillors to press for a more imaginative and sustainable solution for the proposed Waitrose site off York Road, and for the many other town centre sites the Council’s Executive wish to see developed.’

Thus says John Rigg, chair of Guildford Vision Group (GVG), the group of concerned Guildford residents calling for a more visionary Master Plan for the town, claiming the site off York Road is a stark example of planning short-termism of a kind that bedevils any chance to use economic development to improve Guildford’s creaking infrastructure. GVG also point to the plans for the station redevelopment, fearing that the long term implications of short termism, taken for immediate financial gain, will prohibit any future bold moves to improve, for example, Guildford’s dreadful traffic blight.

This is not to say that GVG is against substantial redevelopment be it at the station or elsewhere. What GVG is calling for is:

  • A moratorium on major development in the town centre until a comprehensive study has been carried out by independent experts into the gyratory system, its feeder roads and their respective capacities;
  • A clear strategy to re-connect Guildford – the railway divides the town and, with no new rail crossing for 100 years, adds to the pressure on the town centre;
  • The ability for pedestrians to move freely between visitor attractions, transport hubs, shops, residential areas and schools without having to fight with the traffic;
  • An appropriate gateway from the station to the Cathedral and University – the latter being a major economic contributor to Guildford – poorly served by its lack of connectedness; and
  • A long term sustainable plan where developments fit into a strategy that works towards more social and amenity space along the River Wey, encouraging visitors and business to come to Guildford; read more

20120410 PR – Town Centre Masterplan is Scrapped

20120410 PR – Town Centre Masterplan is Scrapped 1920 1440 admin

PRESS RELEASE – 10th April 2012
Town Centre Masterplan is Scrapped

In a shock move Guildford Vision Group have learned that Guildford Borough Councillors were told last week that work to finalise the Town Centre Masterplan will be abandoned.

Instead the Council intends commissioning urban design consultants to prepare an Interim Town Centre Framework document in conjunction with the Council’s planning policy team. read more

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