The Guildford Society

Your Civic Society

Respecting the Past and engaging in the Future of Guildford and Environs 

The Society hopes all are keeping safe and well during the Pandemic. 

Guildford Society Design Awards - Please Nominate

The Society continues to encourage good design in Guildford Borough by its bi-annual design awards. We are now seeking nominations for the awards that will be presented in late 2020. The schemes need to have been completed between September 2018 and June 2020. Recognising the delays to some projects’ completion because of coronavirus, projects that were due for completion by June 2020 but delayed for a few weeks will be considered.

The categories of projects for the Awards are:-
• New Commercial Building
• New Public Building
• New Build - Individual House
• New Build - Multiple Housing 
• Restoration or refurbishment Project
• Public Realm Improvements including public artworks.

See full details on our press release

Key Sites in the Town

Bright Hill Car Park - The Council is now moving ahead with developing plans to redevelop the site.  The society has written to the council requesting that they take this opportunity to produce a development of the highest quality.  See Letter

Guildford Park Road Car Park – The council has now agreed to remove the Multi Storey Car Park from the scheme and increase the housing provided this has been enabled in part by the findings of the recent parking study See Link.  The Society has written to the council requesting that this is seen as a opportunity to reconsider the scheme to improve its quality and take into account proposals to provide Cycling and Walking Routes through the site. See Letter

Planning: a Paperwork Mountain

The council has issued its latest ‘Magnus Opus’ in the form of the Guildford Borough Local Plan: Development Management Policies yet another 200 page document to review and comment upon, this follows the Strategic Development Framework – Supplementary Planning Document of a similar size earlier in the year. 

Together with other issued documents and the documents to come the whole set of planning documents relating to Guildford will be circa 800 to 1000 pages.  One does need to question the process that creates this thicket of Policies and Plans which often produce indifferent results, createsa playground for lawyers, and can be easily circumvented e.g. A3 upgrade plans delayed which were seen as key to enabling several sites in the local plan.

It is apparent that other local authorities create more concise and understandable planning documents, often enforcing higher standards on matters such as green space.

Planning: Changes Coming?

With the need to boost the economy post-lockdown, with 100 local authorities in England expected to fail the government’s housing delivery test for 2020 and therefore be required to apply a 20 per cent buffer to their housing land supply, there are issues with the system.

There are signs that the government are looking to shake up the planning process. 

Robert Jenrick Secretary of State Housing, Communities and Local Government  has commented “The time has come to speed up and simplify this country’s overly bureaucratic planning process”.

A panel of experts has been convened to discuss reform. The panel includes a commissioner for the government’s National Infrastructure Commission, an experienced Developer and a planning barrister.

An idea being considered appears to be a “zonal planning system” where “key decisions will be taken from local councils and handed to development corporations”.  The zonal planning system now being floated is similar to one used in the US, whereby specific land uses get automatic right to planning permission in certain areas.

In addition, it has been reported that there will be a new fast-track planning system for developers of high quality, well-designed buildings. Whatever that means. 

The idea of zonal planning has already sparked concern as it would remove yet more powers from Local Authorities.  Recently Sir Oliver Letwin’s recommended enhancing, not diminishing, the role of local authorities in planning.  A considerable political debate can be foreseen!!!



  • About us

    About Us & Meetings

    We are a society of volunteers passionate about Guildford, its past, present & future...

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  • Members

    Become a member

    We need you to get involved. The more members, the more we’re listened to...

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  • Hot topics

    Hot Topics & News

    At any one time there are some very important policy or development matters you should know about... 

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  • Get Social

    Get Social

    Guildford Society on a Ad-Hoc basis organises meetings, lectures and events...

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  • contact us

    Contact Us

    If you would like to find out more about the Guildford Society, or would like to get in touch, please click the link below...

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  • Design and Heritage

    Design and Heritage

    D&H works with and through many major public and national organisations to protect the heritage of Guildford...

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  • News and Publications

    Local Economy

    Here’s the complete news trail about The Society’s work and Guildford happenings...

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  • planning


    The Planning Group reviews all applications in the Guildford town centre, and in the Guildford urban area which it considers to have significant impact on the locality.

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  • transport


    The Transport Group is particularly concerned with the road and rail facilities around the town and with the needs of its users in the area.

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Newsletters  and Publications

We print newsletters twice a year and eventually hope to do so in  an electronic format. GSoc members who have given us their email contacts (and also our registered followers) receive regular news bulletin updates and can sign up to our Facebook and Twitter links

The Guildford Society has a small quantity of books available for sale,
Click here for more information


Your Voice

Your Voice

Guildford faces major developments that will affect its future housing, transport, work, retail & leisure environment .

Do you let it happen or do you get involved?

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Keep up to date

Keep up to date

Local Plan, Town Centre Master Plan, North St redevelopment, Housing numbers, Garden Villages, Transport infrastructure and much more...