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Revised Plan Submitted for Guildford Railway Station

Published on: 13 Nov, 2015
Updated on: 13 Nov, 2015
Station impression Solum Nov 2011

Artist impression of the revised plan for Guildford station. Click to enlarge.

A revised plan for a controversial redevelopment of Guildford railway station has been submitted to Guildford Borough Council (GBC).

Solum Regeneration, the partnership between Network Rail and Kier Property, wants to deliver a £150 million regeneration scheme to include a new station building, 438 homes, office space and a radically enhanced station environment with an station plaza and what it calls a “high quality public realm”.

Plans were originally submitted to the council last year but in February 2015 Solum agreed to make amendments after listening to comments from local groups and to explore the scheme’s relationship with the council’s emerging town centre masterplan.

The changes include a substantial reduction in height, improved pedestrian links, enhancing the design of the station building, increasing the size of the station plaza and providing greater office and commercial space.

Alan Jones from Solum Regeneration, said: “Over the past few months, we have been meeting with various local groups and statutory bodies and undertaken a fundamental review of the scheme. We have examined the many issues raised and have made substantial changes to our proposals.

“It is a radically different scheme from the one submitted last year and will transform Guildford Station, bringing substantial improvements for passengers, while providing much needed housing on a key brownfield site in the town centre.”

Stuart Kirkwood, development director at Network Rail said: “This type of station investment is a major catalyst for wider regeneration.  We are always looking for opportunities to unlock and fully utilise Network Rail owned land to deliver growth, housing, employment space and create new jobs.

“All profits from Network Rail’s commercial activities are reinvested back into the railway. The station upgrade at Guildford is fully funded by commercial development, and the new facilities will therefore be provided for station users at no additional cost to the tax payer.”

The site has long been identified in the GBC’s planning policies for mixed-use development to include residential and commercial uses. There have been various proposals brought forward to redevelop the station in recent years, but no viable development has ever been approved.

The scheme has been designed to accommodate anticipated passenger growth up until 2035. The plan includes:

  • “future proofing” pedestrian links over the railway lines at the station if Network Rail bring forward a new footbridge;
  • a £250,000 contribution to the council’s proposed new bridge over the River Wey;
  • a brand new station building – providing a larger, double height ticket hall with a gate-line twice as wide as the current one to accommodate more passengers;
  • a proposal also safeguard land on Walnut Tree Close to allow for the improvements which have been identified in the recently published town centre masterplan
  • additional secure station bicycle storage spaces.

Solum Regeneration has been working on its plans at Guildford station since 2011. Over that time, it has held numerous workshops and exhibitions and heard from hundreds of local residents. More than three quarters of all those who responded to the consultation support redevelopment of the station.

The press release from Solum stated: “Last month, the West Surrey Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA) concluded that Guildford needs to build an additional 693 homes a year over the next 20 years.  This will place significant pressure on green belt and green field sites, unless brownfield sites within the urban area – such as this one – can be redeveloped.”

Solum Regeneration is a £500 million joint venture between Network Rail and Kier Property established to bring private investment into the rail network by generating funds from the development of under-used railway land.

Councillors from all political parties at GBC have declined to comment until they have had more time to assess the revised plan.


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Responses to Revised Plan Submitted for Guildford Railway Station

  1. Brian Miller Reply

    November 13, 2015 at 5:10 pm

    Are we trying to compete with Woking around their station in terms of design and scale of development?

  2. Bibhas Neogi Reply

    November 13, 2015 at 11:41 pm

    Encouraging to see “future proofing pedestrian links over the railway lines at the station if Network Rail bring forward a new footbridge”. It should cater for non-passenger pedestrians crossing the tracks.

    The revised plan includes “a brand new station building – providing a larger, double height ticket hall… one to accommodate more passengers”, however, passengers would still have to use the footbridge to access all the platforms except platforms 1 and 2 when accessing from the main entrance.

    So why not locate the main ticket office at the level of the footbridge and continue the pedestrian route to Onslow Street/The Friary on a high level enclosed walkway above the proposed new Walnut footbridge? This arrangement would provide a safer and all weather pedestrian route over Walnut Tree Close, River Wey and Onslow Street and ideally should be jointly funded by Guildford Borough Council and Network Rail.

    Not sure what is meant by “a proposal also safeguard land on Walnut Tree Close to allow for the improvements which have been identified in the recently published town centre masterplan.” I would have liked to see also that a route for the railway bridge and its continuation flyover to Woodbridge Road over the station site has been safeguarded.

    Other improvements to road network around the station are also required to cater for increased number of rail users and hence additional traffic predicted but no provision has been made as far as I can ascertain.

    Solum Regeneration should actively work with GBC and SCC to promote a better road network around the station area and create a transport hub with buses connecting with the trains. Current provision in the plan for buses is inadequate.

  3. Mike Gunn Reply

    November 18, 2015 at 9:10 am

    Oh for the days when a station looked like a station and not an office block …

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