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Council Ask For Volunteers to Join North Street ‘Panel’

Published on: 13 Jan, 2014
Updated on: 15 Jan, 2014
Aerial photo showing the North Street redevelopment area

Aerial photo showing the North Street redevelopment area.

Local people with knowledge of planning, retail, transport, property or sustainability are invited by Guildford borough Council (GBC) to join their new North Street Advisory Panel.

A council spokesperson said: “The panel will work with the council, our development partner Land Securities, major landowners including M&G Real Estate, stakeholders and community representatives to help shape this important town centre site.”

Lead Councillor for Planning and Governance, Cllr Monika Juneja, said: “Community involvement in the redevelopment of the North Street area is vital to the success and long-term prosperity of our town. We are looking for six motivated and enthusiastic local people to join our advisory panel and give their input for the duration of the project.

“We want to establish an effective and focussed advisory panel that involves and draws upon the knowledge of residents, businesses, property owners and transport providers. Our local community has people with a wealth of experience and we’d like them to help create the best development for North Street and the wider town centre.”

Volunteer panel members will be expected to be able to reflect the views of the wider community, have excellent communication skills, and be available to attend meetings.Short-listed applicants may be invited to attend an interview.

If you would like to find out more or apply to join the panel, email: The application form can be downloaded at:

The council say that they wish to make it clear that there will also be wide-scale public engagement throughout the development process.

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Responses to Council Ask For Volunteers to Join North Street ‘Panel’

  1. Anna-Marie Davis Reply

    January 15, 2014 at 11:21 am

    It should not be forgotten by any readers that the honesty and integrity of Councillor Juneja is currently under review by the GBC Monitoring Officer as she has described herself as a Barrister without having been called to the Bar.

  2. Gerald Bland Reply

    January 20, 2014 at 7:07 pm

    Your readers will be aware Guildford Borough Council’s North Street design and development brief was abandoned by them in late 2012 as the council were unwilling to allow the document to be examined in public before an inspector appointed by the Secretary of State.

    Notwithstanding this, the eight-year-old retail study which the council intend as the evidence base for the 2015 Local Plan has been lifted from the North Street brief. The recent Issues and Options document also carefully skirts round any detailed proposals for the town centre.

    Now the January 2014 document inviting community involvement in the redevelopment of the North Street area through membership of an advisory panel reads:

    ‘This site is one of the principal areas within the retail core capable of accommodating the required amount of retail floor space to meet the needs of our residents and visitors…..We are determined to secure a comprehensive development scheme for the North Street site.This will protect the town’s future shopping status,provide a new department store and reinforce the quality of the historic environment.’

    It seems the council do not intend to allow their much vaunted full community engagement on the draft Local Plan to include a debate about what sort of core town centre the community want. Instead we can expect a detailed planning application later in the year for a 200,000 square feet John Lewis store with a wrap-around outline application for 450,000+ square feet of retail floorspace – with this hybrid application doubtless intended to be a condition precedent in any agreement Land Securities and/or John Lewis may sign.

    Some will recognise this template and the conflicts inherent in the council being both landowner and local planning authority. Others will realise that still more brownfield sites devoted to commercial development will ratchet up the pressure on the release of green belt land for housing.

    Quite what it might also do to the ability to masterplan the wider town centre and our overloaded infrastructure should concern us all.

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