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Mixed Reactions to Guildford Town Centre Masterplan Report

Published on: 1 Sep, 2015
Updated on: 5 Sep, 2015

Allies & Morrioson Masterplan Report 2015The Guildford Town Centre Masterplan Report has attracted mixed reactions from two organisations closely involved in local planning matters.

Cllr Susan Parker (GGG, Send), the leader of the Guildford Greenbelt Group, is critical of several aspects of the plan while John Rigg chairman of the Guildford Vision Group (GVG) describes it as a “great step forward”.

The 138 page report, prepared by architects and urban planners Allies & Morrison, was published by Guildford Borough Council (GBC) on Friday but problems downloading the large document prevented some interested parties from viewing the report over the weekend.

Today (September 1) Cllr Susan Parker said: “The mastervision document is too limited in its scope and seems skewed against residential brownfield redevelopment.

Cllr Susan Parker

Cllr Susan Parker, GGG

“Too much land along Walnut Tree Close is still designated for new offices.  On the site next to North Street there are plans for an extended Friary [shopping centre].  On derelict sites within walking distance of the historic town centre, low rise flats, with ground floor boutiques and cafes, would be better than large offices.

“A cultural and historic hub around our castle, museum, High Street and the Guildhall,  focussed on our history, the arts, our theatres and GLive, would be a better heart to our town than more monolithic retail cum office space to compete with Woking or Basingstoke.”

But a press release from the Guildford Vision Group was more positive: “GVG welcomes the Town Centre Masterplan and congratulates the council for commissioning this potentially transformational piece of work in pursuit of a sparkling new vision for the town centre.

Alluding to some of the similarities between the Allies and Morrison report and a masterplan put forward by GVG earlier this year the statement continues: “GVG is very pleased to see included so many elements which it has advocated, including greater pedestrianisation, reclaiming the riverside, new public spaces, more homes and better transport integration.”

The group intend to study the plan closely especially the transport infrastructure proposals widely acknowledged to be a fundamental component of any new plan, given Guildford’s current problems with traffic congestion.

The release continued: “GVG will be examining the masterplan proposals to see if the ideas are bold enough… The October consultation will be a crucial period for [its] success and acceptability.

John Rigg, GVG Chairman

John Rigg, GVG Chairman

Chairman John Rigg said: “Publication of the masterplan is a great step forward. It could move us on light years, so I urge all residents and businesses to get involved and to study it closely.

“Help shape the final document and fashion a better Guildford. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity to really make a positive difference to the future life and health of our lovely town… If the masterplan is to work, it has to be adopted wholeheartedly by the community.”

The Guildford Vision Group intend to hold a public meeting on the subject on Monday October 5th. The venue has yet to be announced.


See also: Masterplan For Town Revealed – Riverside Sites To Be Transformed


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Responses to Mixed Reactions to Guildford Town Centre Masterplan Report

  1. Lisa Wright Reply

    September 5, 2015 at 10:04 pm

    I agree with both Sue and John in their responses to the new Town Mastervision. However, whilst it’s a good start, and encompasses many ideas which both GGG and GVG campaigned for such as affordable housing, I’m hoping GBC and the land owners will see the opportunities for many more homes for our young people and key workers in the town centre.

    There is a distinct lack of homes for these segments and I fear Guildford will become a middle aged, middle income town losing the vibrancy of our young professionals to Woking. If the first time buyers head for Woking it is likely they will also raise their children in Woking leaving Guildford with an ageing population.

    Guildford needs homes for young people, not just established executives.

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