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Guildford Vision Group Withdraws Waitrose Judicial Review Application

Published on: 7 Nov, 2013
Updated on: 8 Nov, 2013
Artist's impression of how the planned Waitrose store may look from The Bars.

Artist’s impression of how the planned Waitrose store may look from The Bars.

The Guildford Vision Group (GVG) has announced this evening (November 7) that it is withdrawing its application for a judicial review (JR) of the planning decision to allow Waitrose to build a supermarket and housing on the Bellerby site, off York Road.

It is almost exactly one year since the planning decision approving Waitrose’s proposal was taken by Guildford Borough Council on November 6, 2012. GVG’s decision should now allow construction to commence but it is thought unlikely to start until February at the earliest..

Some residents in the area around York Road have made it known that they were annoyed that the project had been delayed and the derelict site allowed to remain as an area that might attract crime. Others Guildford residents were pleased that the GVG was preventing a development that they felt could have a detrimental impact on local traffic.

In a poll conducted in the summer by The Guildford Dragon NEWS 70% of voters said yes to the question: “Should the Guildford Vision Group withdraw its application for a judicial review and allow the Waitrose project to proceed?”

In a written statement the GVG said: “A settlement has been reached enabling the Guildford Vision Group to withdraw its application for judicial review of the Bellerby planning consent where, in a mixed-use development including affordable housing, Waitrose will build a foodstore and car park.

“As part of the settlement, Waitrose, an ‘interested party’ in GVG’s application, has noted GVG’s concerns. Waitrose is confident that footpaths and highways surrounding the site and the new access arrangements will work effectively but have agreed to continue to monitor the situation once the store opens.

The Bellerby theatre site where the council have granted Waitrose permission to build a supermarket

The Bellerby Theatre site on which Waitrose has been waiting to start development.

“If the foodstore results in additional congestion in and around the York Road area beyond that envisaged in the 2012 planning application Waitrose has said it will work with Guildford Borough Council and Surrey County Council to take action to ameliorate the situation.

John Rigg, chairman of GVG said: “I’m pleased that we have managed to arrive at the agreement.”

Waitrose’s property and development director, Nigel Keen, said: “Waitrose remains fully committed to our development at the Bellerby site. We welcome GVG’s decision to withdraw their challenge and we’re looking forward to working with the Council over the coming months as we progress this very significant investment.”

Cllr Caroline Reeves (Lib Dem, Friary & St Nicolas), responding to the announcement, said: “I am extremely pleased with this news. Residents in the area have suffered from increased anti-social behaviour as the site has become increasingly neglected while waiting for the challenges put forward by GVG to be resolved.

“It has been very difficult to explain why there has been such a delay when permission was granted so long ago, and so many people definitely support not just the Waitrose store but also the housing.

“The effect on the area has been very distressing. The development of the site will make the area safer, and by the time it’s completed it will once again be an attractive town centre neighbourhood.”

Cllr Angela Gunning (Lab, Stoke) commented: “It’s a good decision by GVG to withdraw; they will have given the matter very careful consideration. I’m pleased that we can now look forward to the development proceeding.  That area of the town centre has waited a long time for this exciting redevelopment, not just the Waitrose store, but also the associated, and much needed housing.”

See also:

Opinion: Waiting For Waitrose

New Twist In Waitrose Site Saga After Judge’s Ruling

On Cue, M&G Real Estate Withdraws Application For Judicial Review of Waitrose Plan

How Will The New Waitrose Look And Why?

There are many other articles on this subject. Please search on ‘Waitrose’ in the search box top right to view them all.

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Responses to Guildford Vision Group Withdraws Waitrose Judicial Review Application

  1. Bibhas Neogi Reply

    November 7, 2013 at 9:52 pm

    Instead of waiting to see if congestion increases after constructing the York Road entry and exit, as per the current plan, Waitrose should consider redesigning both the access to left turn in and the exit to left turn out only. Also they should consult with Surrey County Council and consider keeping the subway open by extending it and replacing the ramps with steps. In this arrangement widening of York Road would be minimised.

    Since right turn into and out of Waitrose site would not be permitted, the York Road/Woodbridge Road roundabout should not be converted into a signalised junction and a round about in York Road near the car park should be created to provide a turn around facility.

    It would reduce congestion if at the same time right turn from Stoke Road into York Road is restricted during peak hours. This could be achieved by creating a short bus lane on the approach to the traffic lights. The nearside lane traffic would then either go straight or turn left and turn around at the roundabout as described above.

    Let’s hope the Councils and Waitrose would consult on these aspects, review and modify the design for best possible outcome.

  2. Bernard Parke Reply

    November 8, 2013 at 8:11 am

    It was back in the eighties that plans to build large multi-story car park on this very site were dropped.

    It was said that any large building on the site would not only be intrusive but would place nearby by residential properties in shadow, depriving them of sunlight from the south.

    Even in those days it was decreed that a development there would cause traffic congestion and so the borough council decided to embark on a park and ride system.

    This period also saw the birth of out of centre shopping zones where traffic movement could be tolerated and, what is more, parking is still free.

  3. David Smith Reply

    November 8, 2013 at 3:00 pm

    I feel we have now debated the suitability of this site for months and we should now just move on, get building and put the sorry events of the last year behind us. Hearing about the eighties and the fact that people seem to still dwell there is depressing.

    We now have the green light to improve a much neglected part of town, provide new jobs, homes and community facilities and enjoy much needed food retail.

    Guildford deserves to be put back on the map and we need to grow and evolve and this is a development we should all be excited about.

    Waitrose please get on with it without further delay.

  4. Stuart Thompson Reply

    November 9, 2013 at 11:33 am

    What is happening with GBC’s costs in dealing with this? The High Court refusal of the application required GVG to pay £8909.75 (and a further £2575 to Waitrose). Can we assume that this will now be paid?

    • Martin Giles Reply

      November 9, 2013 at 6:27 pm

      Bill Stokoe, of the Guildford Vision Group, has told The Guildford Dragon NEWS: “I’m afraid the terms of the settlement are such that we all have to remain silent on the terms of the settlement.”

  5. Karen Fredborg Reply

    November 19, 2013 at 3:06 pm

    I am pleased this farce has finally ended. Waitrose and the needed housing are happening. But I am wondering what GVG gained in the end, apart from a very long and equally costly delay leaving the site looking awful for many months, much to the disappointment of local residents?

  6. Bernard Parke Reply

    November 20, 2013 at 4:23 pm

    I sympathise with Karen Fredborg. I like many others wish to see more housing and a new Waitrose in our catchment area.

    However, an increase of, already heavy, traffic in central Guildford will not only adversely effect the residential quality of life, it will stifle town trade.

  7. Helga Patrick Reply

    November 21, 2013 at 2:00 pm

    I doubt Waitrose will stifle town trade at all. Remember what its selling: high quality food.

    Marks and Spencer is too small and the queues are already massive in there. I am dreading Christmas! Not to mention most of Godalming’s Waitrose customers are actually Guildford residents.

    Let’s leave traffic assessments to the professionals.

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