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1,550-Home Weyside Urban Village Gets Approval To Proceed

Published on: 21 Oct, 2021
Updated on: 18 Nov, 2021

By Hugh Coakley

The 1,550-home Weyside Urban Village development was finally approved by Guildford Borough Council’s planning committee on Tuesday, October 19 with one abstention, after nearly 20 years of preparation and controversy.

The approval is subject to objections from National Highways and Surrey County Council being resolved.

See Weyside Urban Village Planning Application Should Be ‘Deferred’ Says Former Councillor

An aerial view of the Weyside Urban Village site.

Public consultation will begin early next year for the relocation of the council’s waste depot closer to the Slyfield Industrial Estate. An application for the first phase of housing will be made in early 2023.

Cllr John Rigg.

The council’s lead councillor for regeneration, John Rigg (R4GV, Holy Trinity), said: “This is one of our most ambitious and collaborative projects which will create a new neighbourhood on a mile of riverside previously inaccessible to the community.

“The decision to approve outline plans means we can begin making a series of detailed applications for different phases of the project, which are expected to take 10 years to complete.”

The existing Thames Water sewage treatment works is to be relocated to allow up to 1,550 homes to be built (excerpt from the Thames Water new treatment works proposal).

Cllr Jan Harwood.

The deputy leader lead councillor for climate change, Jan Harwood (Lib Dem, Merrow), said: “Weyside Urban Village will be a low-carbon development. We hope that by going further than the current nationally set legal requirements for carbon emission reductions and sustainability, and the standards that we have set, we can inspire future development to do the same.”

Cllr Tony Rooth.

Cllr Tony Rooth (R4GV, Pilgrims) was the only abstention in the otherwise unanimous vote to approve the development. He said he welcomed the new housing so close to the town including the 40% affordable housing but he had abstained because of reservations including access to the site from the Woking Road and the lack of parking provided.

Zoe Franklin.

Zoe Franklin, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Spokesperson for Guildford, Cranleigh and villages, said: “The project is a wonderful opportunity to deliver much needed and sustainable housing through the regeneration of a brownfield site. There are still some outstanding issues to be resolved. We will be pushing for all councillors to have oversight to make sure that these issues are resolved properly.”

The fate of Bellfields allotments is still in the balance with the Secretary of State rejecting the council’s requests to take some of the plots (see Tenants To Object To GBC’s Imminent Application For 77% Of Bellfields Allotments). The council says it will be submitting a new, third submission in early 2022.

Update (November 18 2021): The planning application in clauses 3.1.2 and 7.1.7 says: “a new application under section 8 of the Allotments Act 1925 is being prepared for submission in early 2022″. GBC have emailed The Dragon to say it is incorrect for the article to say it is preparing a third application saying there was a late sheet amendment. A spokesperson said: “Guildford Borough Council submitted a second application to the Secretary of State under Section 8 of the Allotments act 1925 earlier this year and is awaiting his decision. (cl 7.14.95)” End of update.

The meeting also approved a change of use application for 45.9 hectares of land at Burpham Court Farm to be used as a SANG (Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspace).

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test 4 Responses to 1,550-Home Weyside Urban Village Gets Approval To Proceed

  1. Christian Holliday Reply

    October 22, 2021 at 10:43 am

    No planning permission has been granted yet. This job has been delegated to officers further down the line.

    I am pleased councillors spotted that the County Highways Authority still has significant concerns over the scheme and reinstated the “subject to withdrawal of the objection” clause before voting on the recommendation.

    When permission is eventually granted it will be in the form of an outline permission for the residential elements of the scheme, meaning the council still has time to help frame the detailed applications through the adoption of supplementary planning documents (SPDs).

    Christian Holliday is a former Conservative borough councillor for Burpham.

  2. Alastair Watson Reply

    October 26, 2021 at 3:21 pm

    Probably the majority of Guildford residents have little interest in the allotments at Bellfields; but the news that the second request by GBC to the Secretary of State is likely to be rejected, if true, should concern all of us.

    This second approach involved input from a leading international law firm, consultants employed by GBC as well as Council Officers. The cost was likely to be “eye-watering”. In the end, it is the residents of Guildford who will pick up the bill.

    We need to demand disclosure of the money spent.

  3. Jack Woolgar Reply

    October 31, 2021 at 9:51 am

    It is great that permission for most of the development has been granted but why don’t GBC just respect the Secretary of State’s decisions about the allotments and leave them where they are? They are on the edge of the proposed development and could easily be left out. Being rejected by the SOS, three times now, is surely enough for GBC to accept his decision.

    Who is paying for this whole debacle? Most probably us Guildford taxpayers.

  4. Jackie Turner Reply

    October 31, 2021 at 3:10 pm

    Given that this report mentions the Secretary of State turning down GBC’s second application, that they will be submitting a third one in 2022; and that the phases of the plan are likely to take 10 years to complete; it would be good if GBC could communicate with the tenants of the 62 occupied allotments.

    Moving allotments is not something that can be done in a day, at any time of the year. Fruit and vegetables have long planning and growing seasons. Some plot holders have fruit trees, grapevines, rhubarb, raspberries, blackcurrants and asparagus, all of which take years to establish and cannot be moved at short notice.

    With so many other uncertainties in life at the moment, it seems to me it would be common courtesy for GBC to communicate with us with an estimated time for the proposed move (should it actually happen at all).

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