Fringe Box



Proposal to Develop Guildford Park Road Car Park Site Approved

Published on: 25 Nov, 2016
Updated on: 30 Nov, 2016
Guildford Park Avenue Car Park Development

The proposed new development as it will appear from the railway just north of Guildford station.

Guildford Borough Council has approved its own application to build 160 homes for local residents on a brownfield site near Guildford railway station.

The new development on the site of the existing Guildford Park Road car park will offer 64 homes at affordable rents. A new multi-storey car park will also be built to provide parking for residents and visitors.

The development includes 51 one-bed and 82 two-bed flats, plus 27 three-bed houses. 64 units will be retained by the council for letting at affordable rents.

An artists impression of how the development will appear from within.

An artist’s impression of how the development will appear from within.

The car park will have 493 public parking spaces, which the council says will help meet the need for more parking for shoppers, visitors and local residents. Parking for new residents in the development will also be provided. The ground floor of the main building will also be home to a small number of commercial units.

Two nearby residents spoke at the planning meeting, on Wednesday (November 23) to object.

Peter Rule, a resident of Rupert Road, objected to the proposal and especially the inclusion of a five-storey, 493-space, car park, as part of the scheme.

He said: “Why build it at all? Why build more town centre parking? Guildford Park Road and the town centre are gridlocked in the morning and from 4pm. It stands to reason that the new housing will increase town centre traffic but this could be balanced by not building the car-park.

“Guildford is a desirable place to live, so why do we want to reduce the number of green spaces? Why take decisions that increase traffic congestion? And why build a five and a half storey car park that will dominate the skyline from miles around.”

Dan Brayfield representing the Guildford Park Avenue Residents’ Association also objected. He said that the additional parking spaces were being created contrary to direction from central government referred to in Guildford’s draft Local Plan and that no land stability survey of the clay based soil site had been carried out, despite elevation variations.”

A plan showing the outline of the site to be developed which lies between Guildford Park Avenue and the railway line just north of Guildford station.

A plan showing the outline of the site to be developed which lies between Guildford Park Avenue and the railway line just north of Guildford station.

Rachel Dawson, GBC’s “homes delivery officer”, spoke in favour of the application. She said: “The application … represents a major commitment to improve the lives of some of our most vulnerable residents. With over 2,000 people on the council’s housing needs register the lack of good quality affordable homes is a matter for real concern.

“The proposed scheme will make highly efficient use of the site, most notably by the provision of a significant amount of new housing in a sustainable brownfield location.”

“We note adjoining residents concerns regarding the size and appearance of the proposed multi-storey car park. We would like to reassure residents that we are committed to exploring design solutions that will mitigate the specific concerns.”

The car park site as it looks now.

The car park site as it looks now.

But Cllr Tony Phillips (Lib Dem, Onslow) expressed concerns. He said: “Historic England have stated that the development will be visible from the castle as a large and bulky addition to the view which would contrast to the more intricate roofscape that characterises Guildford’s historic core. They also feel that the view of the cathedral from the castle will be eroded by the development…

“Do we want Guildford to lose its unique identity and turn it into just another modern town with concrete blocks spoiling our views and our historic setting?”

Nigel Kearse (Con, South Ash and Tongham) disagreed. He said: “This will definitely be an improvement on what is already there… I believe this ticks all of our boxes for the type of site that we should develop.”

Some of the hosing units that will form part of the development.

An artist’s impression of some of the the housing units that will form part of the development.

And Cllr Susan Parker (GGG, Send), adding to the largely cross-party support for the application, said: “I very much welcome this development. I think it is appropriate in the context of the use of brownfield land I think that the scale of the terraced housing and the size of the garden plots is very much commensurate with the adjacent properties.”

The planning committee voted almost unanimously in favour of approval. The two Lib Dem councillors from the Onslow ward, in which the site is situated, voted against, David Goodwin and Tony Phillips. Cllr Matt Furniss (Con, Christchurch) abstained.

An artists impression of an aerial view of the new development.

An artist’s impression of an aerial view of the new development.

Cllr Tony Rooth (Con, Pilgrims), lead councillor for housing and social welfare, said after the meeting: “We are delighted to now go ahead with these exciting plans for much needed affordable housing in Guildford town centre. This development is part of this council’s commitment to look at brownfield sites first for new housing in the borough.

“40% of the new homes will be available at affordable rents. This means lower income households, including many key workers will be able to live closer to their place of work and thereby also help reduce traffic congestion.”


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Responses to Proposal to Develop Guildford Park Road Car Park Site Approved

  1. Jim Allen Reply

    November 25, 2016 at 11:26 pm

    It sorta makes sense but it doesn’t have any protected lines for possible new roads. The whole masterplan needs sorting before this goes ahead.

  2. John St Claire Lomas Reply

    November 26, 2016 at 12:52 pm

    Looking at Google maps satellite view there appears to be about 200 to 250 parking spaces currently plus about 50 garages, the proposed development will probably generate need for a 150-200 parking spaces. So surely there will be, at most, a very small increase in parking provision.

  3. Bibhas Neogi Reply

    November 26, 2016 at 12:54 pm

    There is no doubt more housing and affordable rental properties are needed in Guildford and this site offers the opportunity to provide some of it. However, the council, in their planning guidance in the past, said access to this site is poor. I wonder if a developer came up with this scheme, the council would have approved it? Most likely not.

    Solum Regeneration must be feeling aggrieved by the council’s decision that rejected their scheme whilst they are proposing and approving their own plan not very dissimilar to theirs.

    The infrastructure issues must be resolved before large schemes are approved. Road infrastructure in Guildford is overloaded well beyond its capacity and to add to that without any improvements cannot be justified. I would like to know what Surrey County Council’s view is on this as they are the Highway Authority.

    An east-west bridge over the railway and the route continuing on to Woodbridge Road is a must if Guildford gyratory is to be replaced by two-way Bridge Street and Park Street. For the town centre to become pedestrian friendly, Millbrook and Onslow Street traffic has to find another way.

    Both myself and Guildford Vision Group (GVG) have proposed ideas for removing traffic through the town centre. A new link has to be created to connect Guildford Park Road with the new bridge and this may well be the answer to a better access for this development but the plan for the site must make provision for this and not compromise the route in the same way as Solum’s current plan of their site. While my proposal requires a two-lane link, GVG’s proposal requires a four-lane link.

    It is not unreasonable to ask the borough and county councils for their thinking on these inter-related issues of traffic planning for Guildford. I suppose we would have to wait until a report by WSP, the consultant engaged by the councils becomes available.

  4. Colin Checkley Reply

    November 26, 2016 at 2:26 pm

    I think it is a great project. Perhaps someone can tell me how to submit my name for a flat on this site? Ideal for work. (Assuming that I have not died before it is ready for me!)

  5. Luke Anthony Reply

    November 26, 2016 at 4:26 pm

    Can someone please provide me with a reason why GVG seem intent on installing a bridge through this site?

    Once it gets over the railway where do we go then? Am I mistaken in thinking that some high-level fly-over crossing over the Wey and then going straight through the Odeon site would be bonkers? Why would anyone travelling down Guildford Park Avenue suddenly want to go west down Woodbridge Road? And what kind of environment would this create?

    The connection we need is to the A281 not to the Woodbridge Road which is already grid locked.

    We should not be not be making it easier or encouraging anymore cars into the town and we certainly shouldn’t be introducing two or even four lane roads which rip right through residential areas and the river we are so desperately trying to open up.

    Regrettably the options are limited and I think some people need to realise this, instead of suggesting schemes more suited to Sim City. Whilst there are some tweaks that can be done to the existing road network at lot of change has to be brought about by discouraging cars altogether and changing people’s habits. Car clubs, the recognition that many of us can walk and, possibly, congestion charges are just some ideas.

    • Bibhas Neogi Reply

      November 26, 2016 at 7:58 pm

      I would like to suggest to Luke Anthony some study into the background of the traffic issues and possible solutions that have been discussed over the last few years here on The Guildford Dragon News would have been helpful.

      The bridge would be over the railway and obviously not through this site. The continuation of the route on a flyover would either connect at the York Road round about (the GVG proposal) or Mary Road (in my proposal).

      The approach road to the bridge needs to be accommodated with a link to Guildford Park Road and therefore the layout of the development proposed for this site should not compromise that route. Currently the access to it is totally inadequate as indeed been mentioned in planning guidance issued by the council.

      It is true options are limited but with a holistic approach and innovative design, a much better road network could be created that vacates the town centre and, with a relocated bus station with routes connecting the railway station, the North Street development could proceed.

      Changing our habits, car clubs and recognition that many of us can walk etc. are all very good but would be marginal in effecting a reduction in congestion since Guildford is a gap town. Congestion charge is only viable if there are alternative routes but there are none.

  6. Guy Sutlieff Reply

    December 1, 2016 at 2:08 pm

    Oh well, it looks like the garage I have rented there for years is going.

    All very well, but like with all these schemes,as the car park and garages are pretty much full on a weekday, you have to wonder where people are going to park whilst they spend years building the replacement car park.

    I know driving and parking in Guildford is one of the most evil things you can do, but that car park (and my garage for instance) is used for Station Parking (and no – given my hours, I can’t take the bus) and by a lot of Guildford office and retail workers who take advantage of its relatively cheap rates. I imagine the new car park will charge the standard £1.50 an hour and not the day rate it does now.

    Perhaps they will build the car park first, whilst keeping the other half open?

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