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Solum Wants 65 More Homes on ‘Great Wall of Guildford’

Published on: 29 Mar, 2021
Updated on: 29 Mar, 2021

An impression of how the Solum station development will look

By Martin Giles

Solum wants 65 more flats added to the “Great Wall of Guildford”, their unpopular station development, the Guildford Society reports on its website.

The Keir-Network Rail Joint Venture has asked the borough council for an opinion on the scope of an Environmental Impact Assessment (‘EIA’) to be submitted in conjunction with a planning application for the redevelopment (21/S/00003).

The Society says that would increase the number of dwellings on four of the five blocks from 340 to 405. At the appeal hearing, permission was given for 438 dwellings. The new total would be 503.

The increase does not apply to the northernmost block E, the first to be built, which is expected to remain at 98 dwellings.

In July, Grainger PLC the UK’s largest listed private rented sector (PRS) landlord had agreed a deal with Solum to forward-fund part of the development, subject to conditions, in exchange for circa 100 units. Grainger are said to be acquiring Block E.

No further details have been made available via the GBC planning portal. The EIA being proposed will include consideration of socio-economics, air quality, noise and vibration, ground conditions, water resources and flood risk, daylight, sunlight, and overshadowing.

A statement on the Guildford Society’s website says: “Although many of these aspects may relate to the building of the development, we hope the reference to ‘daylight, sunlight and overshadowing’ doesn’t indicate changes to what is already a damaging bulk of the buildings.”

Alastair Smith, chair of the Society said today (March 29): “The increase in dwellings on a major part of the development by 17% raises issues about the internal size, and layout, of dwellings being provided, plus possible impact on the mass and scale of the buildings.

“The ability of the town centre to provide the infrastructure (eg sewage) and facilities (eg healthcare) required for these dwellings and their occupants as well as others being developed/planned must be questioned.

“This is yet another example, alongside Howard of Effingham, (see: Berkeley Homes Demand 110 Extra ‘Enabling’ Houses in Effingham) of developers seeking to increase dwelling numbers post-approval. The planning process needs to stop these ‘creeping’ applications.

“The Society supports a well-considered redevelopment of the station. We have consistently argued that the Solum development is fundamentally flawed.”

A response from Solum has been requested. There is no mention of the new proposal on its website.

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test 2 Responses to Solum Wants 65 More Homes on ‘Great Wall of Guildford’

  1. Sue Warner Reply

    March 30, 2021 at 8:20 pm

    No, no, no. Will GBC ever listen to the residents of this town? Or are the financial benefits greater than local opinion?

    Editor’s comment: At the moment the proposal is at the earliest stage. As proper and normal there is no indication that GBC’s Planning Committee intend to allow or refuse it. They will have to consider any application on the basis of what is presented and decide mindful of the relevant planning laws.

  2. Andrew Calladine Reply

    April 4, 2021 at 10:03 am

    Just a reminder that if previous Conservative-led GBC had properly sorted out their Local Plan sooner then this dreadful development would not have gone ahead. You get what you vote for.

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