Fringe Box



Letter: North Street Scheme is Too High and Too Dense

Published on: 20 Aug, 2023
Updated on: 20 Aug, 2023

St Edward’s revised southern and eastern elevations of “Block E” in the new planning application.

From John Harrison

The Guildford Residents Association (GRA) has just submitted detailed comments to the planning inspector appointed to consider the developer’s appeal on the North Street scheme, and in particular at this stage, on the proposed revisions.

These remove one storey from the tallest building and add second escape staircases to the taller ones as now required by regulations, following the Grenfell disaster.

Whether including two staircases before the regulations required could have been considered by the developer or the planning authority as a good idea in any event, is a question for the reader.

In preparing the submission, GRA carefully studied the “Verified Views” put forward by the developer to illustrate the effect of the scheme and became increasingly concerned that the views were not representative.

They are the same ones shown to GBC’s Planning Committee at the turn of the year, when the scheme was rejected on the casting vote of the chair.

Panoramic town view put forward by St Edward (click on image to enlarge)

For example, “view 4” from the Downs to the west of the town is an eight-frame stitched view, you could only get by turning your head completely from one side to another, and not remotely representative of what you would see walking about. You can’t even make out the Woking towers. Why, ask the GRA, was this view put forward and why was it accepted?

The view that should be used according to the Guildford Residents Association (click on image to enlarge)

They suggest a view similar to the one above, taken from a little further down the hill, and closer to the town – with a straightforward lens to give a natural view – would be a much better basis upon which to illustrate the scheme, and make an honest assessment of its impact.

The GRA contends that the scheme remains not only too high but too dense; that it would create poor living conditions, overwhelm the town and be entirely out of character.

They invite the developer if it is proud of its scheme to prepare a mock-up from this vantage point, and similarly revisit some of the other views to provide realistic illustrations. Is this too much to ask?

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Responses to Letter: North Street Scheme is Too High and Too Dense

  1. Alistair Smith Reply

    August 21, 2023 at 7:43 am

    John Harrison rightly raises the issues related to the views of the site.

    It should be noted GBC also has VU.City a computer model of Guildford to supplement the views of the site including the impact of other proposed developments eg No 1 Onslow Street.

    You can get a glimpse of what is available at

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