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Weyside Urban Village Wins National Planning Award

Published on: 10 Jun, 2023
Updated on: 13 Jun, 2023

The Weyside Urban Village plan (as at October 2021).

Guildford’s  (WUV) project has won the: “Best use of publicly owned land and, or property placemaking” category in the Planning Awards 2023.

But yesterday former council leader Joss Bigmore warned that in the current financial climate it was an “incredibly risky project with current value at around £450 million”.

See: What Does Woking Going Bust Mean for Guildford?

The award recognises the approach to free up previously developed land for new homes and community facilities.

A GBC spokesperson said: “By working with other landowners we have freed up more than 30 hectares of brownfield land. This is equal to 21 and half football pitches. Using land in this way is more sustainable and socially responsible.

“Existing water and waste infrastructure facilities will move to new sites. A new sewage treatment works, and waste depot will be built, bringing new modern facilities to Guildford. These will be more efficient and contribute to our action on climate change.”

The land freed up will be used to build 1,550 “high-quality” new homes. Up to a third of the site will provide new green spaces for recreation, well-being, and healthier lifestyles. 1,200 new trees will contribute to an expected net gain in biodiversity of 20 per cent.

But the development proposal is not without its critics and not just because of the financial risks. Allotment holders have been vociferous in their opposition. They have been forced to move and are losing plots they have made more fertile by ground preparation, over years. And regular Dragon commentator Jim Allen has criticised engineering aspects of the proposals, in particular the planned capacity of the new Sewage Treatment Works which he judges to be too low.

Cllr Tom Hunt

Deputy GBC leader and lead councillor for Regeneration, Cllr Tom Hunt said: “We’re thrilled to have won this award. We beat strong competition from three other excellent projects. Our ability to work in partnership on such a complex project has been instrumental in driving the development forward.

“Weyside Urban Village makes great use of public land, balancing the need for new housing and the protection of the natural environment.

“WUV will make a significant contribution towards meeting our borough’s housing needs. There will be a good mix of properties that will support and encourage low-carbon living. We’ll be prioritising affordable housing in the first phase of development.”

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Responses to Weyside Urban Village Wins National Planning Award

  1. Jim Allen Reply

    June 10, 2023 at 2:01 pm

    The current sewage treatment works (STW) was under capacity in 2017 and had a shortfall 7,000 FTE equivalents as of this year and another 900 per annum at the current build-out rate! The new STW when built will be up from 89,820 to 120,000 which is capacity until 2030. When it will again be under capacity.

    Once again, I express serious concerns on many levels. Too numerous to mention in detail here.

    But water, electricity, transport, loss of adjacent allotments, housing density, lack of parking a SANG in a flood plain, to name but a few are all issues.

    I don’t sing from the same hymn sheet as the council on this project.

  2. Martin Elliott Reply

    June 10, 2023 at 9:33 pm

    So what exactly was the award for?

    Most prestigious awards are given after completion of a project, when a physical presence exists. Such as with the new Crematorium, which then need post project modification to comply with emission standards.

    Apart from the allotment battles, what exists on the ground rather than only in CAD and other computer files?

  3. William Lawrence Reply

    June 11, 2023 at 11:30 am

    It is somewhat a misnomer calling this development “brownfield”.

    Moving facilities onto greenfield sites, so that you can build on the brownfield is rather misleading.

    My biggest concern is the level of secrecy that the council has been using. The current plan to widen the Woking Road with the loss of so many trees on Stringer’s Common comes to mind.

  4. Marc Edwards Reply

    June 12, 2023 at 8:57 am

    What a farce. Planners give planning awards to other planners in Planning Awards at the Savoy. I ask you.

    This project is a total farce, and will do nothing but place Guildford in the fast lane to Woking’s great success in splurging absurd amounts of money on totally nonviable projects, unless and until people sober up and stop it.

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