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Council Bids For ‘High Upfront Cash’ To Kick-start 1,000 Homes Development at Slyfield

Published on: 21 Jan, 2015
Updated on: 21 Jan, 2015

Guildford Borough Council’s plans to develop 40 hectares of brownfield land at Slyfield to provide 1,000 new homes needs a huge injection of ‘up front’ capital.

The Slyfield Area Regeneration Project (SARP) is a complicated development that will involve relocating Thames Water’s sewage works and the council’s own depot, plus other infrastructure work before building can begin.

A scenic sunset looking across the River Wey towards the recycling depot at Slyfield.

A scenic sunset looking across the River Wey towards Slyfield and the brownfield area earmearked for development. Picture by Malcolm Fincham.

It was announced last week that the Slyfield project has been added to the Government’s short list of 29 sites across England and outside London bidding for a share of £200 million worth of funding to create what the Government are calling “housing zones”, “to help provide thousands of new homes across the country”.

Only 10 will be successful and if the Slyfield plan is one of those the council will have access to cheaper borrowing from the Public Works Loan Board and priority access to expert planning and technical support from the ATLAS service run by the Homes and Communities Agency.

The Government has set up the scheme so that it will be “easier and quicker to build new homes on brownfield land”.

Chancellor George Osborne said: “A key part of our long term economic plan is to build the houses Britain needs so that more families can have the security that comes with home ownership.That’s why I’m delighted to announce the areas shortlisted to become the first housing zones in England which, as part of a wider package of measures, will help deliver up to 200,000 new homes on brownfield land.”

Expressions of interest consist of two elements – a request from a local authority for an area to be designated as a housing zone and a bid for investment funding to be paid to one or a number of private sector development partners.

GBC LogoA spokesman for Guildford Borough Council said: “At this expression of interest stage, we have expressed interest in PWLB loan for the Slyfield project, for demolition, site remediation, utilities, main infrastructure, site works, relocation of sewage works and council depot.

“Redevelopment of SARP is currently being held back by the high upfront capital that is needed to unlock development of this site.

“We will continue to work with our partners, both Thames Water and Surrey County Council, and all parties are determined to bring forward development of this site. Thames Water is fully behind the project.

“The housing zone bid is one avenue we are exploring which could assist the project.”

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Responses to Council Bids For ‘High Upfront Cash’ To Kick-start 1,000 Homes Development at Slyfield

  1. Andrew Backhurst Reply

    January 23, 2015 at 10:33 am

    One thousand homes on an old landfill site next to a huge industrial estate and sewage works.

    What a wonderful place for the people of Guildford to live.

    Surely it would make far more sense to build offices and industrial buildings on this land and build the houses on virgin land?

    • George Potter Reply

      January 23, 2015 at 6:41 pm

      The article states that the sewage works is to be relocated.

      I’m also not sure why it’s in any way a bad idea to build houses near to places of employment.

      Personally, not that it’s in my patch, I’m very much looking forward to a much neglected area of Guildford being revitalised and regenerated.

  2. Jim Allen Reply

    January 23, 2015 at 4:07 pm

    What makes more sense is to move all the ‘industry’ from around Guildford to the Slyfield site and then build on those cleared industrial sites away from the contamination – or is that too much like common sense?

    • Susan Parker Reply

      January 25, 2015 at 9:30 am

      We think that makes sense, and have said so, but GBC haven’t been listening.

      • James Wild Reply

        January 28, 2015 at 12:55 pm

        In reply to Susan Parker: What if they don’t want to move? Do we force them? I am not sure the local authority has the powers to force businesses and people off their land unless it is for major infrastructure such as airports, railways or highways. Can you tell us if this is possible?

        • John Robson Reply

          February 12, 2015 at 2:02 pm

          It’s just money isn’t it?

          Incentivise them? Offer them a shiny new industrial unit, with better transport links, lower rates, better access / parking.

          Build affordable housing on the town centre industrial estates for key workers, people can walk and cycle into Guildford, reduces congestion and removes the unsightly Industrial areas, three birds with one stone?

          Yes this will be more expensive (there is Government money available to assist with problematical bronwfield development) and yes it will be problematical, but not beyond the realms of British engineering expertise and in the long run, this will be better for the controlled development of this town.

          But it appears this will involve vision and too much endeavour for a Conservative council who remain at the behest of their offshore Developer “partners”.

    • Ngaire Wadman Reply

      January 29, 2015 at 11:09 am

      As the town has expanded and Slyfield has become the de facto site for large commercial enterprises, the council should have the courage to look at re-zoning the centre of Guildford for housing.
      It’s obvious common sense.

      Surely, sewage treatment works nowadays can be designed to be less objectionable and bulky?

      We’ll need twice the current capacity if the profiteering builders get their way with Guildford.

      • Jim Allen Reply

        January 30, 2015 at 4:31 pm

        This is precisely why the treatment works should not be moved. They should be constantly improved ‘on site’.

        The engineers of old knew exactly where to place such works in terms of gravity and efficiency of settlement beds.

        Why move it from the perfect place to somewhere less perfect? Why spend money re-piping to a new location? Why spend money pumping from now until eternity, when gravity works well?

        There is simply no rational logic behind this proposal.

  3. Lisa Wright Reply

    January 23, 2015 at 8:40 pm

    I wonder what lucky ward will be chosen to house the new sewage works?

    Perhaps a glance at the property pages in the Surrey Advertiser will give us a clue?

  4. Andrew Backhurst Reply

    January 24, 2015 at 5:12 pm

    In all towns you will always find the sewage works next to the River.

    It can only move east towards Bowers Lock.

    Beyond that is Sutton Place. Well, it will not be in there as it’s owned by one of the richest men on the planet.

    So my hunch is elsewhere on the same site or on Burpham Court Farm.

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