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Letter: We Must Beware of the Dangers of a High-Rise Guildford

Published on: 30 Jul, 2020
Updated on: 30 Jul, 2020

From: E Shaw

In response to: Residents Invited to Comment on Guildford Local Plan’s Development Management Policies

Residents of Guildford, looking across to high-rise Woking on the skyline, may be relieved they live in what remains, for now, a relatively low-rise town. All this may be about to change.

The planning application for a 10-storey building on The Casino site, at the corner of Bridge Street and Onslow Street in the town centre, now awaits a decision. Serious objections to this have been raised by The Guildford Society and Guildford Residents’ Association. Of all the concerns mentioned, excessive height is the greatest.

At present, our town centre has a distinct “rise and fall” streetscape, as well as many valued heritage assets and beautiful views into the surrounding countryside. If ever there was a town requiring a specific policy on the height of new development, it is Guildford.

A new “Views” supplementary planning document has been prepared, but that is guidance, not policy: an important difference when it comes to considering applications for approval. The lack of a specific policy on building height in the town centre, within an up-to-date Local Plan is, in part, what allowed approval at appeal of the disastrous Solum station development.

Public consultation on the second part of the Local Plan has closed. Cllr Jan Harwood (Lib Dem, Merrow) asked residents to share their views on this exceptionally important draft document and stated, commendably, that “all comments will be considered as part of preparing the Regulation 19 Proposed Submission Local Plan”.

The consultation and subsequent formation of these new, more detailed policies, present the perfect opportunity to ensure a policy on building height is included. Other councils, for instance Epsom and Ewell and the Borough of Richmond, have already done so. Guildford’s draft consultation document did not.

I am aware of two excellent responses to the recent consultation, from The Guildford Society and Residents for Guildford and Villages, pointing out this omission and recommending a specific policy on height be included.

I hope Cllr Harwood will keep his promise and, through his leadership over this vital project, ensure these key recommendations are effectively contained in the preparation of the final Regulation 19 submission. If they are not, the character and beauty of our historic town will be at risk.

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test One Response to Letter: We Must Beware of the Dangers of a High-Rise Guildford

  1. Jim Allen Reply

    July 30, 2020 at 10:33 pm

    Totally agree but beware of Weyside Urban Village. It is destined to be six stories for 70% of the 1,500 housing units.

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