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240 New Homes Now Revealed for Guildford Park Road Site

Published on: 17 May, 2022
Updated on: 23 May, 2022

By Hugh Coakley

Guildford Borough Council has unveiled its latest plans for housing development on the Guildford Park Road site. Currently used as a car park, the early plans for public feedback show six blocks, ranging from three to 10 storeys high, providing about 240 homes, mainly flats.

Guildford Park Road proposed site layout.

GBC plan to have a second consultation in the summer, after feedback from the initial consultation has been considered. The planning application for the final scheme is scheduled for later in 2022 with construction starting in 2023, subject to approval.

40 per cent of the homes will be affordable, say the council, in line with the local plan. But the Guildford Labour Party have called the lack of social housing on one of the “rare developments on council owned land” as “genuinely baffling”.

A screenshot from consultation presentation giving a summary of the number of homes planned at GBC’s Guildford Park Road site.

The town centre site already has planning permission for 170 homes and a car park, which is now said to be unnecessary. Taking the proposed car park from the scheme has allowed additional homes to be built. GBC said: “Our town-wide parking capacity studies tell us that we don’t need the extra space. We think that a much better scheme is possible and that using the site to provide more homes is the right thing to do.”

GBC say it will be a sustainable project with minimum excavation, efficient buildings and a “non-gas powered energy strategy” including renewable energy.

Alistair Smith, chair of the Guildford Society, said the new scheme was a “welcome change” from the previous scheme but they were “concerned at the mass and height of the tall block at the north of the site, particularly how it affects surrounding buildings by shading and wind effects”.

Smith said: “An overall issue is the proportion of dwellings of different sizes. Guildford appears to be have a large number of single bedroom units being proposed across various sites. The town centre does need to allow for families to live in the centre.”

The site off Guildford Park Road is currently used as a surface car park.

Sue Hackman. branch secretary of the Guildford Labour Party, welcomed the 40 per cent affordable housing but called for council houses “because affordable in Guildford is unaffordable for the people on the housing waiting list”adding that “the council must not flinch when builders try to pull out on grounds of viability.”

She said: “I liked the modern urban townscape feel but much of the design seems rather uninspiring and unimaginative. And there is not enough green space for the number of people in flats without gardens, the pandemic reminded us how needed green space is.

“I think an in-principle decision is needed about how far we wish to go down the Woking route of high rise living. Guildford’s historical buildings are a major and untapped asset and we don’t want to see that heritage degraded in any way. Perhaps there should have a local cap on the number of storeys in the town?”

You can get involved in the consultation online here.

We contacted the Guildford Conservative Association and the Guildford Greenbelt Group for a comment.

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test 4 Responses to 240 New Homes Now Revealed for Guildford Park Road Site

  1. Guy Sutlieff Reply

    May 24, 2022 at 7:11 pm

    I’m certainly no NIMBY (I don’t live in Guildford Park anyhow) and I’m all for building affordable homes in Guildford, but this is one truly horrid bit of planning and design. The original plan was better.

    I’m not also convinced by this “we don’t need car parks” idea either, that car park is used by people who are using the station and don’t want to pay SWR’s ridiculous prices, as well people working all day in Guildford.

    Business and shops especially are struggling so much at the moment, I don’t see how making it harder to park helps anybody.

    But anyway, parking or not, this design is just ugly.

  2. Nathan Cassidy Reply

    May 24, 2022 at 7:21 pm

    Contrary to popular belief, removing parking is often better for business, especially when that parking is replaced by high density housing which will bring new customers right to the doorstep of the town centre.
    Source: https://www.sustrans.org.uk/our-blog/opinion/2020/may/what-are-the-economic-impacts-of-making-more-space-for-walking-and-cycling

  3. Peter Brayne Reply

    May 24, 2022 at 9:10 pm

    Surely we need this to be 100 per cent social housing?

  4. Clive Bodicker Reply

    May 26, 2022 at 8:58 pm

    Good to see a positive investment in the area that will benefit the town and welcome new families. The previous scheme appeared tailor made to ghettoise the surrounding area by making Guildford Park a through route to the university and overshadow Rupert Road with a five-story car park. The sad fact is that this aim was acheived without a brick being laid.

    Don’t believe me? Just attempt to walk the area in the summer and see the piles of rubbish and bins clogging the streets. And that’s far from the worst anti-social behaviour one will witness.

    Once home owners fled and the HMO (houses of multiple occupancy) dominated, a report was quietly produced proving that the car park was not needed after all. Sadly not in time to prevent the obsurdly over-engineered access road being built at great expense.

    Still, at least other, leafier areas of the town will get more places at the local secondary and be much less likely to have those pesky HMO’s popping up now that the market is saturated. Too bad that finding a parking spot for the Mercedes on a Saturday may be a bit more challenging!

    The new development is a small light at the end of the tunnel but the estimated time to build is five years and local politics will likely operate on a much shorter timescale than that.

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