Fringe Box



Developers Invited to Show Expressions Of Interest in Delayed Council Scheme

Published on: 30 Sep, 2012
Updated on: 1 Oct, 2012

The website from which can be downloaded the brochure inviting ‘expressions of interest’ in the Council’s North Street scheme

Developers are being invited to put forward ‘expressions of interest’ for a scheme to redevelop North Street.

A website with the name ‘’ appears to have been created recently and bears logos for both Guildford Borough Council (GBC) and Cushman & Wakefield who act as strategic property consultants to GBC.

Several councillors, from all three political parties, spoken to by The Guildford Dragon NEWS, were unaware of the website. Publication might have been timed to coincide with a plan drawn up before the legal challenge to planning documents available for download from the site was made at the last meeting of the Council Executive on 6th September.

Adoption of the documents has been delayed while further legal opinions are sought.

The front page of the brochure

Site visitors are invited to download a brochure badged with Guildford Borough Council logos and titled ‘Guildford North Street Site – Expressions of Interest’. It states in the introduction: “The Council is determined to secure a mixed use comprehensive development scheme that protects the town’s future shopping status, provides a new departmental store and reinforces the quality of the historic urban environment.

“This note sets out the envisaged scheme, invites prospective development partners to register their interest and provides details of the proposed selection process. It confirms the Council’s clear intention to support the redevelopment of the North Street site by the inclusion of its existing land ownership and use of its statutory powers.”

It continues: “The Council is now seeking a development partner for the  redevelopment of the North Street site, selected on the basis of their expertise, experience and financial resource.  The Council is not seeking detailed designs and financial bids at this stage.

“Prospective development partners are invited to register  their interest by 12 October 2012.”

The invitation states: “Consultation on the Interim Town Centre Framework and  the North Street Design and Development Brief completed in January 2012 and August 2012 respectively. The Council intend to bring forward both as policy shortly.”

In a section headed ‘Development Objectives’ it states: “Key retail anchor tenants, such as the John Lewis Partnership, remain committed to securing  representation in the town centre, provided that suitable and sustainable opportunities can be brought forward.    

” ‘?…John Lewis require a 200,000 ft2 gross store (160,000 ft2  sales space) ideally arranged on three trading levels with  1,000 car spaces in close proximity..? Further information on the John Lewis Partnership requirement is available on the project web site.

“It should be noted that the Council is not committed to the John Lewis Partnership and would welcome proposals  from other department store operators.”

As previously reported by The Guildford Dragon NEWS, Cushman & Wakefield, who are engaged by GBC as consultants on town planning, also have John Lewis Group within their client portfolio. GBC Chief Executive, David Hill spoke at a seminar chaired by Alistair Parker, an Advisory Panel Member from Cushman and Wakefield, in Liverpool earlier this month at an even organised by the British Council of Shopping Centres.

In a section headed ‘Compulsory Purchase’ the brochure states: “The local planning authority will be seeking a comprehensive redevelopment of the site.  Subject to an appropriate indemnity agreement and a policy compliant proposal, the Council is willing to facilitate the assembly of the site by use of its statutory  powers (including compulsory purchase and supporting  highway closure). The Council is also willing to dispose of  its landownership interest in the site in order to facilitate  delivery of the development.  As noted, the Council previously secured a CPO [compulsory purchase order] for the site in 2006.”

Near the conclusion, under a heading ‘Tenure’ it states: “The envisaged development agreement is likely to provide for a disposal based upon a modern 250 year head lease,  granted upon completion and subject to a geared annual ground rent share of net rents received.”

GBC Conservative Group spokesperson, Cllr Matt Furniss, said: “The website that has been launched is an open invitation, seeking non binding expressions of interest from potential companies interested in becoming development partners to work with Guildford Borough Council on the potential North Street Development. Any approval of a development partner will require Full Council approval and then the normal planning process approval for any application submitted.”

A GBC spokesperson said: “It is a standard process to invite expressions of interest and this is not affected by the legal challenge to the Interim Town Centre Framework and the North Street Development Brief.”

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Responses to Developers Invited to Show Expressions Of Interest in Delayed Council Scheme

  1. Jim Allen

    September 30, 2012 at 10:43 pm

    If CPO’s [Compulsory Purchase Orders] are floating around Guildford the first one should read ‘All roads and land on the town side of the railway station – to allow Buses to meet the trains and trains to meet buses’.

    The second action should be to do a traffic assessment for Guildford Proper (with serious consideration of removal of illogical bus lanes) to assess future traffic patterns. Once completed, then, and only then, should the town regeneration take place. Putting buildings where roads could well need to be to solve the traffic problems is madness. Solve the traffic problems and the town centre will naturally re-generate. Re-generation of the town before looking at the traffic problem will kill the town centred dead.